Wikipedia:Village pump (policy)/Archive 77

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Policy on a Wikipedia Editor writing a Published Biography?

I am a realtively new editor, and my first article is a biography on Douglas Youvan. If at some time in the future, I decided to write a more extensive biography (e.g., a 200 page book!) on Youvan ... Have I somehow placed myself in a conflict of interest as an editor here on Wikipedia? Also, as I find more verifiable tidbits on this living person, is there a general guideline on how long a wiki biography should / can be? The published, longer biography is likely to be a pdf file, published as free source on some website. In other words, I am not trying to make money, advertise, or push some POV. Any thoughts on this subject or policy that alreay exisits? Please don't bite, I am new, and I am very willing to comply and take constructive advise. I am editing elsewhere on Wikipedia, primarily by dropping questions on discussion pages that I will come back to when I have time. So, it's not like I am a single-issue person, although that might appear to be true at this time. Bridgettttttte (talk) 12:42, 13 June 2010 (UTC)

There's no conflict at all, and I'm sure it wouldn't be the first time it's happened. Good luck with both projects. Barnabypage (talk) 13:35, 13 June 2010 (UTC)
Thank you. I get nervous when I see these "edit wars" and policy things, and I would rather back off and leave. So, I will proceed on your advise unless another comment is made invoking some hard policy idk about. Bridgettttttte (talk) 14:27, 13 June 2010 (UTC)
You should be fine as long as you take care to attribute statements in your Wikipedia article to published sources - using unpublished sources (e.g. an interview you have conducted with Youvan) excites (rightly) the wrath of the Original Research police. Save them for your biography! Barnabypage (talk) 14:34, 13 June 2010 (UTC)
Thanks to u all again. NOR! Might be too long and boring anyway. I guess a biographer has some artistic freedom not allowed in an encylopedia. Where is that GREEN CHECK MARK indicating done? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Bridgettttttte (talkcontribs) 17:53, 13 June 2010 (UTC) Bridgettttttte (talk) 17:56, 13 June 2010 (UTC)
{{Done}} - Or Template:Done whichever link style you prefer. – allennames 01:45, 14 June 2010 (UTC)

When to apply Category:Pseudoscience?

We are having back-and-forth discussions in Acupuncture over whether or not is it Category:Pseudoscience. There seem to be three interpretations, and the policy documents don't appear to speak directly to the point raised: How to determine whether to apply the category to an article? In our discussion, several options are being argued over:

Option (1) is to look for a RS from a scientific source explicitly asserting that "[topic] is pseudoscience." And If this can't be found, then we can't apply the label. This position is argued against by some, saying that it's too restrictive: the category page doesn't require this. Also, scientists don't study and write about pseudoscience usually, and so this is a catch-22 which prevents applying the category when it ought to be. Also, they argue, the usual OR requirement (secondary source explicitly supporting the assertion) shouldn't apply here because the category tag is a Wikipedia-meta-management device, not actual article content.

Option (2) has been proposed; to use the definition of pseudoscience found in several Wikipedia policy documents as the test itself. Namely, we should apply Category:Pseudoscience if [article topic] is "a broad system of theories or assertions about the natural world that [1] claim or appear to be scientific, but that [2] are not considered being so by the scientific community." Proponents of this option say it sets a more realistic, attainable yet reliable standard for inclusion. They also argue that of course we're supposed to apply some logic here; that's why we have multiple policy documents (like Category:Pseudoscience and WP:Fringe) which define pseudoscience carefully. If instead, we were only supposed to apply the label once it's written in an RS, then there's no reason to truly define it specially for Wikipedia use.

Finally, an Option (3) is by transitivity: Both alternative medicine and energy medicine are in category pseudoscience. And since Acupuncture is in both alt. med. and energy med., then it is therefore pseudoscience as well. (It would be cool if Wikipedia's database understood sub-categories, or relationships like these; then this would be automatic.) Can anyone here weigh in? How has this been done on other articles? Thanks!

Disclosure: I'm involved in the discussion/argument, and am in favor of options 2 or 3. Dogweather (talk) 05:55, 6 June 2010 (UTC)

Neither term is a suitable category to have in an encyclopedia, why have either of them -that's the real issue. Whilst they may both have dictionary definitions, their common use is as a 'judgemental' label. Thus, they will always mean different thing to different people and be dependant on context, so ruddy useless in an encyclopedia. I would support having them deleted.--Aspro (talk) 10:51, 6 June 2010 (UTC)
Because real encyclopaedias use them and because they are reliably sourced. Verbal chat 11:05, 6 June 2010 (UTC)
Option 2 sounds an awful lot like original research - Wikipedians taking content from reliable sources, applying their own logic, then adding content based on it. As far as I can tell, there is no indication on the category page itself that it is not a content category. I think 2 could be an option, but it would need to be made clear on the category page that it is a "management" category only, and a not a content one - it shouldn't have other content categories as subcats, it should be hidden on articles with {{hiddencat}}, and it should probably be renamed to something like "Wikipedia pseudoscience articles." Otherwise, option 1 is really the only thing consistent with our sourcing policies. Mr.Z-man 15:35, 6 June 2010 (UTC)
The issues of whether these categories should be kept and how these kinds of labels should be applied are separate issues. I think the main question is the application of these labels. The way this was asked indicates the question is being looked at from the wrong perspective. In general assertions of fact or opinions about facts should not be stated unless they reflect widespread consensus among the experts. Usually if there is no widespread consensus for or against a viewpoint it is best not to bring up the viewpoint at all. In the rare cases where it would be a glaring omission not to at least discuss the viewpoint it should be clearly discussed as a controversy and the article should not attempt to weigh in one way or another. To the extent that we use categories or other formal labeling mechanisms these should be reserved for topics where the general scholarly consensus indicates that they belong. In the case of acupuncture there is no consensus for or against its being a "real" treatment so labels like this are inappropriate. --Mcorazao (talk) 15:35, 6 June 2010 (UTC)
Dogweather's "Option 1" includes a straw man, since scientists do write about well-known topics whose demarcation has been debated (homeopathy, acupuncture and Chinese medicine, psychanalysis, even astrology, etc.). For some time, there has been consensus on WP that WP:PSCI WP:FRINGE##Pseudoscience explicitly refers to the user of category:pseudoscience, and that the type of source needed to categorize well-known topics (like astrology and the rest above) is described in RS#Academic_consensus: something like a statement from a mainstream scientific academy such as those found in List of scientific societies explicitly rejecting intelligent design and Scientific opinion on climate change. We put Homeopathy in category:pseudoscience based on such a source, which I fully supported. Interestingly, there are no sources of that caliber calling acupuncture or any aspect of Chinese Medicine a pseudoscience, suggesting that some skeptics are more eager to use the term than mainstream scientists, and perhaps scientists see something of value worth investigating (the prescientific map of TCM theory is not the same as the clinical territory, it includes useful hints not predicted biomedically, e.g. acupoint P6 for nausea). Chinese Medicine is the best-known and most widely-practiced indigenous medicine in the world, and mainstream scientific bodies will not have missed the opportunity to comment on it (just as one recently did with homeopathy).
So, Support Option 1 with the above parameters. If you want to discard that metric and use something loosey-goosey like Discover magazine or an article in CSICOP or anything else that's miles away from a good WP:MEDRS, be my guest, and take a few more steps toward the reign of wikiality (which comes in many flavors). regards, Middle 8 (talk) 16:41, 6 June 2010 (UTC)
Addendum: We can and do label tiny-, fringe topics as pseudoscience -- see "obvious pseudoscience" under WP:PSCI WP:FRINGE##Pseudoscience. That (along with RS#Academic_consensus) has worked fine and I see no reason to change it. Have a look at Category:Pseudoscience: as it stands, it's amply populated, and I don't see much over- or under-inclusion, if any at all. --Middle 8 (talk) 19:59, 6 June 2010 (UTC)
NOTE - Please see corrected shortcuts above; they changed since the last time I checked. --Middle 8 (talk) 23:32, 7 June 2010 (UTC)
Ugh, the never-ending pseudoscience wars... The problem here (as it has always been) Is that while pseudoscience is a valid encyclopedic concept (e.g., it has been used in a certain analytic/historical context in the real world), it is a heavily-pushed form of original research on wikipedia. In brief, there are a number of wikipedia editors who (unintentionally, most likely) engage in a denying the antecedent type fallacy - i.e. "Things accepted by the scientific community are not pseudoscience; X is not accepted by the scientific community; therefore X is pseudoscience" - to make novel assertions about the status of all sorts of ideas that the scientific community hasn't weighed in on at all. Wikipedia isn't the place to determine what is and isn't pseudoscience, and topics should not be considered pseudoscientific except in the strong case where we have a reliable source that clearly explains why it is pseudoscientific in scientific terms. In this sense, even proposition #1 is too loose: the simple assertion that some idea is pseudoscience without a descriptive explanation of the claim is not a scientific or scholarly statement - it might reflect the speaker's ignorance or misunderstanding, a conflict of interest, or may simply be an ill-considered off-hand statement. There are countless examples of researchers who have offered opinions against ideas that later became accepted - even a few who thought that Einstein's special relativity was idiotic.
Acupuncture is not pseudoscientific by any meaningful definition of the word. It does not conform to the principles of modern analytical science, true (it uses a different medical model, and has a different set of validity rules for empirical evidence), but it does not violate modern medical principles in any significant way either - TCM and modern medical science simply tend to talk past each other. They can be, and have been, used in tandem without contradiction. I do understand that there is an urge to label things like acupuncture as pseudoscience out of a fear of charlatanism, but that, too, is part of the original research I noted above (it is the medical community's job to deal with charlatans, and wikipedia should not get ahead of them). I think it's time we put a rest to this conflict. --Ludwigs2 18:40, 6 June 2010 (UTC)
+1; well-said --Middle 8 (talk) 19:59, 6 June 2010 (UTC)

Regarding (in option 1) "...the usual OR requirement ... shouldn't apply here because the category tag is a Wikipedia-meta-management device, not actual article content." Crap. The term is heavily loaded with contempt and, plastered over an article, is making an assertion about the subject, which needs to be supported by more than an anonymous Wikipedian's considered judgment.

Regarding option 2, it's OR.

Regarding option 3, are you kidding? Are you serious!?? Anthony (talk) 23:44, 6 June 2010 (UTC)

I hear you about Options 1 and 2. But right now option 3 makes the most sense to me. Yes! I'm being serious. Taking acupuncture for the moment, it's been in category pseudoscience for a long, long time: ever since it was first attached to any of the categories Acunpuncture (it's a category too), Traditional Chinese Medicine, and Energy Therapies. Because each of those are subcategories of Pseudoscience. So what is the problem here? Are these three categories erroneously made subcategories of pseudoscience? Dogweather (talk) 07:29, 8 June 2010 (UTC)
The problem is that the term "alternative medicine" is broad and vague, with some people demarcating subjects as alt-med that have no evidence while others demarcate alt-med based on sphere of usage. Thus, it is possible to have an alt-med for which there is evidence: acupuncture is probably the best example. Characterizing it as unambiguously pseudoscientific is misleading as long as we lack proof for scientific consensus on the matter (and well-known topics like acu do attract scientific commentary, unlike tiny, little-known fringe topics). It's more informative to quote who calls it pseudo and why rather than to use a broad brush (as long as a mainstream scientific body hasn't called it pseudo; compare homeopathy where the Royal Society did). As for the other supercategories, I'm not sure TCM belong in the category (where's the source?), and Energy Therapies refers to qi which is prescientific and likewise (for that reason?) lacks the proper kind of source. --Middle 8 (talk) 17:28, 8 June 2010 (UTC)

Rules of this game

  1. Rule 1: Those who believe in pseudoscience don't like being told it's pseudoscience
  2. Rule 2: Wikipedia doesn't discriminate against those who believe in pseudoscience
  3. Rule 3: Wikipedia will always have issues with people who believe in pseudoscience arguing that their pet subjects shouldn't be called pseudoscience.
  4. Rule 4: Some people who are aware of rule 3 will decide that it is better to remove any hint that a particular subject is pseudoscience just to avoid the inevitable confrontations.

The pseudoscience category has survived deletion debates whenever they've come up. The arbcomm ruling, for better or worse, can only be objectively associated with four topics. We need a system to determine which articles satisfy the vague criteria that arbcom gave. Certain individuals think that "organizations are better than individuals" or "all skeptics are biased" are good reasons to keep out categorization of pseudoscientific articles under the category:pseudoscience.

I have a better idea.

All articles listed at List of pseudosciences can be categorized as pseudoscience. They do not have to be categorized as pseudoscience.

ScienceApologist (talk) 01:54, 7 June 2010 (UTC)

People might like to consider this all in the light of discussions at Talk:Ghost, Talk:Reincarnation & several other fora. An apparently reliable source, the US National Science Foundation, apparently described belief in ghosts, reincarnation & witchcraft as pseudoscientific. Common sense suggests they were using language loosely, & never intended to apply this term to religion, folklore & "superstition". Peter jackson (talk) 10:37, 7 June 2010 (UTC)
I don't believe in pseudoscience, ScienceApologist, and I don't believe in your pseudo-ability to judge what is and what is not pseudo-science. Did the Lord hand you those "rules"? How dare you. Anthony (talk) 12:33, 7 June 2010 (UTC)
You don't believe in the existence of pseudoscience? Hmm. And you don't believe that I have a "pseudo-ability to judge" something you don't believe in? Does that mean since you don't believe in my pseudo-ability, you believe in my ability? Or are you not into the whole binary thing? I don't believe in the Lord as writ large here, so, the answer to the question you ask is, "no". And the last interjection which probably should end in an exclamation mark is so funny I laughed out loud. You should consider comedy, Anthony! ScienceApologist (talk) 13:08, 7 June 2010 (UTC)
You didn't get it. I was quoting your confused thinking back at you. The eye sees not itself. Let me be your mirror. "Rule 1: Those who believe in pseudoscience don't like being told it's pseudoscience." Anthony (talk) 13:14, 7 June 2010 (UTC)
Actually, you're the one who doesn't get it. I was quoting your confused thinking back at you. The eye sees not itself. Let me be your mirror. "How dare you. (sic)". ScienceApologist (talk) 20:01, 7 June 2010 (UTC)

A waste of time and energy; simple guidelines already work

It's always good to look to relevant policies for global consensus. Here, we have a system that works; we just need to remember to apply it. The relevant guidelines are WP:FRINGE/PS and WP:RS/AC. According to these, all we need, in order to use category:pseudoscience on a well-known topic, is this. That's it. Just an edit furnishing a source like that (a mainstream, scientific body sounding off), and then we can use the category on any well-known topic. Otherwise, we wait -- we don't stick a fork in anything prematurely, or mislabel any alternative views or other oddities that may not be science, but aren't quite pseudoscience either (see: much of Freudian theory); we wait to see where verifiable scientific consensus goes. (Of course, for tiny fringe topics, we can go ahead and use the topic based only on editorial consensus; WP:FRINGE/PS is very clear about this.)

Also, up front, let us acknowledge that scientific societies indeed comment on important topics that they believe are pseudosciences: oh boy, do they, when the issue is important, and impacts large numbers of people educationally, in terms of their basic well-being, health and so on. See List of scientific societies explicitly rejecting intelligent design, or even more important, Scientific opinion on climate change. Then there are old favorites like astrology, which also easily qualify (see this and others). By contrast, homeopathy, which most scientists seem to think is relatively harmless BS (as long as appropriate medical care isn't withheld), took awhile to elicit the commentary of a mainstream scientific body: see this BBC News article from 2006, which quotes the Royal Society of Pathologists as saying that promoting homeopathy is a move "away from science" (which is close enough to pseudo for our purposes).

But I do believe that it's important, for well-known, grey topics that may have been called pseudo by various people but not yet by a scientific body, we recognize the obvious: there is not yet verifiable consensus that the topic is pseudoscience. This is one of many areas where WP shouldn't play at leading, but rather follow science. And, in the case of homeopathy, waiting worked! The trend was clear, and a scientific body finally spoke up. It was inevitable. That's simply what WP:FRINGE/PS and WP:RS/AC require. What is unreasonable about this? It's based on guidelines that are very nearly policy, so it's firmly part of global consensus on WP, and in terms of scientific rigor it's solid enough to make any encyclopedia proud.

I really think we could happily get along with out the category or the even more "in your face" infobox (see #3) at all. Just telling it like it is ought to be enough, certainly for the biggest pseudosciences in the world (intelligent design, say, or climate change denialism, or genocide denialism) as well as the littlest and the grey areas. But if we're going to keep the damned things, I think the above provide some reasonable guidelines that have worked in the past.

Finally, I'd like to say that I believe this is an unusually annoying debate, especially because it's so polarizing: we have editors putting great deal of energy into whether to use the label or not, and it's only a fucking label, and not a very informative one at that, in certain cases. If we were able to bypass this debate, which is not all that important but has become a time-sink, we could work on genuinely interesting things. Just because editors oppose use of category:pseudoscience on certain articles does not mean they are blind "promoters" who obdurately refuse to allow debate or criticism of the article. It just means we disagree over a content issue, and have backed it up with evidence and reason and resort to global WP consensus. Now we ask those who disagree either to meet and engage us on that ground, or join us and move on to more interesting issues. And wait for what the real authorities have to say, as scientific consensus emerges.

Years ago, I remember one WP editor saying, regarding category:pseudoscience, something like "the more the merrier!" Huh? As if there's no point at which enough is enough? Madness. Many of us are just bloody tired of the debate, the epithets it generates, and the overeagerness of some "label-proponents" (I tried for neutral language) to get ahead of what what scientific consensus verifiably is. My view is that where there is a reasonable doubt, we should err on the side of caution, and in any case just go with WP:FRINGE/PS and WP:RS/AC. They're well-established, they're not broke, and they don't need fixin'. cheers --Middle 8 (talk) 09:12, 13 June 2010 (UTC)

"genocide denialism"? History isn't a science, so pseudohistory isn't pseudoscience.
As I mentioned further up, the US National Science Foundation apparently described belief in ghosts, witchcraft & reincarnation as pseudoscientific. This seems silly, as religion, folklore & "superstition" usually make no pretence of being scientific in the 1st place, so how could they be pseudo? Peter jackson (talk) 10:26, 14 June 2010 (UTC)

WP:BLPRFC3 is open

When the giant BLP RFC was closed, it included a mandatory review after three months. That review is now being conducted at WP:BLPRFC3. If you have comments about how the measures adopted are working, or how we could do better to protect out Biographies of Living People, your input would be appreciated. The WordsmithCommunicate 16:27, 14 June 2010 (UTC)

Wikipedia:WikiProject Deletion sorting/People has been marked as a guideline

Wikipedia:WikiProject Deletion sorting/People (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, 15 June 2010 (UTC)

Proposal to disallow creation of new accounts with the same username as an existing account.

I was recently surprised to learn that current practice at WP:ACC is to grant a request for an account that has the same username as an older, inactive account, differing only in case. For example, if User:BobMcGuire had been created a while back, and never used for many edits, ACC would create User:BobmcGuire upon request. It's been proposed that we do not allow two accounts to have the same username, regardless of whether the older account is inactive or not. If someone wants to have such an account, it should be processed through usurpation rather than ACC so that the old account can never be reactivated. Note that the "Go/Search" box is case insensitive. Prior discussion here.

Counterpoints from the other discussion:

  • Because of unified accounts, users could still create the account on another wiki and unify it over.
  • We have quite a few existing account that conflict in this way, we probably should not force them to change username Gigs (talk) 14:03, 9 June 2010 (UTC)
  • Seems sensible to me. Yes the unified account issue is a good point, and ideally this should be done across the whole of Wikimedia. But I see no harm in starting here. Equally we should remember that this can only apply to new accounts as accounts already exist - much as we still have some old accounts containing the syllable bot despite several years of reserving bot for bot accounts. Neither counterpoint seems to me a reason not to make this change. If the developers were to reveal that the search box will in future become case sensitive that would be a reason not to make this change, but I can't see that happening. ϢereSpielChequers 14:17, 9 June 2010 (UTC)
    I believe the developers have gone to great lengths to make the search box case-insensitive, so that would be a regression. –xenotalk 14:47, 9 June 2010 (UTC)
  • I believe that two usernames which are identical except for a difference in case are effectively the same username - because some features of mediawiki treat them that way (e.g. search) and because human perception won't always effectively be able to tell them apart. Of course technically mediawiki usernames are case-sensitive and the two usernames are technically quite separate, but actually having both of them exist is bad practice. Many readers will be aware that UNIX and UNIX-like systems have case sensitive usernames; yet in 15 years of experience as a UNIX systems administrator working in large companies I have never seen one which actually allowed multiple variations of the same username with different capitalisation. Thparkth (talk) 14:44, 9 June 2010 (UTC)
  • This seems reasonable, although what we do with existing usernames which clash needs clarification. Take, for example, User:Aiken drum (several thousand edits) and User:Aiken Drum (no live edits, two edits to a now-deleted page). Is the inactive account removed? What happens to User talk:Aiken Drum, which is entirely separate from the rather more active User talk:Aiken drum? Alzarian16 (talk) 15:27, 9 June 2010 (UTC)
    If I understand this correctly, the proposal seeks to discourage or forbid accountcreators from granting names that differ only in case, instead directing the user to WP:USURP. Current users will not be affected. –xenotalk 16:15, 9 June 2010 (UTC)
  • We currently have 12 million user accounts. About 1% of them have made at least one edit in the last 30 days.[1] I dare say that 95% of all our accounts will never, ever edit again. That's more than 11 million user names we're going forbid. That's kinda weird, quite frankly. Of course, the actual number will probably be lower, but it'll still be in the millions. --Conti| 16:03, 9 June 2010 (UTC)
    The usurp process exists to deal with people who want to use those inactive usernames. At present you can skip WP:USURP entirely if you're willing to be KingFisher instead of Kingfisher or FredMcspoon instead of FredMcSpoon. Thparkth (talk) 16:23, 9 June 2010 (UTC)
    You can only usurp user names that have made no or next to no edits. So if FredMcspoon never made an edit, you can register FredMcSpoon and be done with it. With this new rule, you have to usurp the account. How many newbies are we going to scare away with this for no reason? --Conti| 17:52, 9 June 2010 (UTC)
    If we want to purge old, inactive, never used accounts, then we should have a discussion about doing that, rather than compensating with a confusing half-measure of allowing the same account with different case. Gigs (talk) 17:29, 9 June 2010 (UTC)
    Just out of curiosity, did this ever actually happen? Users editing at the same time with almost exactly the same name? This seems like a rather theoretical problem to me (and one that can be solved easily when it actually shows up every once in a blue moon). --Conti| 17:59, 9 June 2010 (UTC)
    I have a vague recollection of an ANI thread and an editor with a name similar to an admin. {{distinguish}} was used. –xenotalk 18:13, 9 June 2010 (UTC)
    Ever the reader that i am, this is the section i do believe xeno is speaking of vaguely recalling: Wikipedia:Administrators' noticeboard/IncidentArchive558#.27Similar name.27 problem It is a matter of User:Dougweller vs User:Dougweler. Dougweler (one "l") SUL'd to ENWP from GLWP. After the matter was brought to ANI here on English Dougweler decided to be renamed across projects to User:Dou Gweler, at which point his ENWP account was merged into the new SUL. If this is not what xeno is recalling then my ability to read minds is malfunctioning ;) delirious & lost~talk to her~ 22:36, 15 June 2010 (UTC)
    Yea, I found that in the archives when I was looking for the one I recalled - but I could've sworn it was a little more recent, and that I had commented in it. But I could just be going senile. –xenotalk 22:40, 15 June 2010 (UTC) (found it!)
    The matter of Barek (talk · contribs) vs Berek (talk · contribs) vs Borek (talk · contribs) vs Burek (talk · contribs). Barek and Burek are admins on different projects. Barek has an SUL while the others do not. I just did a check on the ACC sandbox [2] and Birek (talk · contribs) was not flagged as a spoof. The request would be declined should it come to ACC though as the exact user name exists on Commons, commons:User:Birek (SUL). I do not know when the spoofing check came into force and based on the failure to pick up on the spoof with Birek it appears that the spoofing check does not consider the difference of a single vowel to be too similar. I also had a test on the ACC sandbox for User:Deliriousandlost9. That exactly matches the 16 characters of my user name and adds on a number at the end. It was not considered too similar per the spoof check despite a 16/17 character match. User:FunPika thought to take it a step further and he actually successfully created testwiki:User:Deliriousandlost9 despite my SUL already including There is also the matter that any account that is renamed will not be checked for spoofing. I just did a request in the ACC sandbox to test a spoof of an account that was just renamed a few hours ago. All i did was change the capitalisation and it was not picked up by the spoofing check.[3] To explain this for those who do not have access to the ACC Sandbox, if Honey Nut Cheerios lover (talk · contribs) is renamed to Dismantled Bomb (talk · contribs) there is nothing stopping someone from spoofing with DismantIed Bomb (talk · contribs) (caps "i" instead of lower case "L"). Once that first spoof has been done any subsequent spoof attempts are then caught, but only as a similarity to the first spoof. So i really don't know what to say about the spoofing check other than it has some serious flaws. We do out best at ACC to compensate with a lot of manual checking but in the case of a renamed account well anyone can spoof that, they don't need to submit a request to ACC. And if an account has been renamed then clearly it is active and we would not be granting a similar user name to someone else. delirious & lost~talk to her~ 05:37, 16 June 2010 (UTC)
    The example you may be thinking of is user:MastCell, an admin, vs User:Mastcell, who is not. The non-admin is no longer active, but editors still leave messages on the non-admin's page for the admin. Karanacs (talk) 18:52, 16 June 2010 (UTC)
    Yes, that's the one. Thanks! –xenotalk 18:55, 16 June 2010 (UTC)
  • Oppose this proposal. It sounds simple, but I don't believe that users should have to usurp an account that differs in case. Usurp for a particular case that's in use, but other users may purposefully want altered case. As the best example I can think of at the time, I suggest hypothetical CamelCase users User:ABandOnshore and User:AbandonShore, as a band being onshore and abandoning a shore are independent concepts. —Ost (talk) 19:15, 9 June 2010 (UTC)
  • Nay I wrote a lot on wikipedia talk:username policy#Case conflicts in usernames before suggesting seeking broader input here. Something that has been assumed but has no substance is that everyone wants the exact case of an abandoned account and that they are presently settling for some variation. More often than not people, based on their requests and comments, want a variation but the spoofing check is prohibiting them from making it themselves. I don't understand the fixation with case-variation. The similarity concerns that lead to this actually also include spacing-hyphens-periods-asterisks-etc, use of non-latin characters, and characters that look like each other (O / 0 or -LOL / *101). There is also the matter that a person without an account comes to ACC for an account; how are we to send someone to CHU/U if they still don't have an account? Brand new, fresh and shiny users are not that often permitted to usurp an account, even if they want that exact user name. Per the proposed policy, if someone wants a name similar to but not exactly what exists they would create some random name they don't really want, edit until they qualify to usurp, usurp the existing account that has similarity to what they want, then file a rename request to end up with the exact user name that would have been granted in the first place via ACC. You still end up with ExiSting account being similar to Existing Account (usurped). If that person recreates the account via SUL with each rename along the way how many similar accounts would that result in? Existing Account and whatever the person started off with. The net result would be creating two similarities instead of one. The concerns have validity. In my opinion when you look to putting the proposal in action it just doesn't make sense. delirious & lost~talk to her~ 08:38, 10 June 2010 (UTC)

Why workpages are evil and should be avoided

I'd like to invite comments on my suggestion to rewrite Wikipedia:Workpages here. --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| talk 19:57, 11 June 2010 (UTC)

I think you make a lot of good points but I also think Working in a draftspace shows the mentality of "my work is not good enough to be seen publicly, I need to improve it". Such mentality is counter to how Wikipedia. Almost all drafts are acceptable in mainspace. is going a bit far. There are plenty of good reasons why editors might prefer to work on drafts than put everything straight into the mainspace, most obviously when an article or section simply isn't completed at one sitting and isn't coherent in its incomplete form (for example, if it narrates a historical event, but stops halfway through). However, having said that, there's no reason that userpages or - whisper it - word processors can't be used for that purpose. Barnabypage (talk) 20:22, 11 June 2010 (UTC)
But it is very common for articles or sections to be incomplete and incoherent :) This is why our articles are drafts. Leaving them in mainspace makes it more likely others are going to help finish and improve them. Sure, I can understand the desire not to let imperfect work be added, but the common problem is, in my experience, that this is likely to lead to such work never being finished - as the editor who started it forgets about it or cannot find time/will to finish the project, where if he just started in in the mainspace, it is likely somebody would do it for him. PS. Just to be clear: my goal is not to forbid people from using workpages for such purposes - it's a free world :) But I think we should discourage them from doing so, particularly when it comes to explaining to new editors how Wikipedia works (they should be encouraged to contribute directly to the article, and not encouraged to create drafts in their userspace). --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| talk 20:31, 11 June 2010 (UTC)
The problem with that is NPP. OrangeDog (τε) 14:30, 12 June 2010 (UTC)
I guess the issue then is how long content remains in workpages. For a few days, it might be helpful - after a few months, as you say, it's probably been forgotten. I wonder if there could be some kind of mechanism to remind users of forgotten workpages...something like the opposite of a Watchlist, alerting you to pages that haven't been edited for a certain amount of time? Just a thought. Barnabypage (talk) 14:46, 12 June 2010 (UTC)
Piotr Konieczny, you assume that articles are the only things stored in sub-pages. Other uses include:
  • Citations. The NPP patrollers will other kill a new article in seconds, and will kill WP by drive away new editors. New editors can save citation in sub-pages, then create a article complete with citations, so the NPP patrollers will have to allow the new article.
  • Other projects which are meant to be articles. --Philcha (talk) 23:43, 12 June 2010 (UTC)
I agree. It is almost impossible to start and finish an article without saving. In fact, it would be a waste of time and a possible loss of content not to save. Several times something has interrupted work on something in Wikipedia and I've lost an hour's work or so -- just because of mashing a button or something like that. When one does save, the next time one looks there will be a snarky message about lack of citations, etc., etc. People who put up these notices do not seem to even look at when the article was created, whether it has been edited before, etc. Beginning users are likely to react even more negatively to that kind of thing than I do. P0M (talk) 01:23, 13 June 2010 (UTC)
A workpage can also be useful for testing and leaving personal notices. For example, a long table. If the user is checking each entry (if it belongs in the table, and the information is correct), the table may have some "done" or "not done" ticks next to it, which of course should never be used at the real one. Even more, what if someone wishes to add a new column to it? If the entries are not upgraded as well, and/or the content of the new field included, the table may look weird. A user page will serve to work in the "weird table", and move it once in a ready state MBelgrano (talk) 11:46, 15 June 2010 (UTC)
At the risk of piling on, I strongly disagree that workpages should be prohibited or discouraged. In fact, one of my goals at Wikipedia is to encourage the use of user subpages. Having said that, I am sympathetic to your point that the very point of WP is that many eyes make an article better. I don't disagree, but I've seen brand-new editors start pages in main space that are abysmal, yet have some promise. (If you want to see example, hang around Requests for feedback for a few days. When these are in main space, they get littered with deficiency templates or Prod templates. In many cases, the deficiency templates are hit and run, so the editor makes a good faith attempt to address, then wonders why the template doesn't disappear. Having an incubation period helps resolve some of these issues.
I will meet you part way - I think there should be a time limit. I think a subpage inactive for six months should be deleted, but maybe after a couple months, there could be alternative responses - such as pushing them to move to main space, or actively seeking help from a relevant project. I haven't given these latter issues too much thought, but I'm open to the possibility that userspace work should be time limited.--SPhilbrickT 12:07, 16 June 2010 (UTC)
I see workpages as a matter of personal choice. Some editors feel more comfortable with them. I do agree that they stymy wiki style contribution, but if a work page is sitting idle nobody can stop you from copying it into mainspace, since all text is CC-BY-SA regardless of namespace. If we had a policy against this I would be upset. Dcoetzee 23:10, 16 June 2010 (UTC)

Phone numbers and other contact info

Is there a policy against publication of phone numbers, email addresses, physical addresses, and other contact info? This is a broad question, but I guess I am asking this in the non-encyclopedic sense, like "Bob Smith's phone number is 555-4421" (like this, I guess or this). Many times, an article that includes this type of info is deleted as [dead link], but I'm wondering if this type of text should be immediately removed. Sorry for a broad question... — Timneu22 · talk 16:02, 14 June 2010 (UTC)

Generally, I believe such stuff is supposed to be oversighted (or revdeled) unless it is someone just spamming their business contact (in which case it should just be removed). -- AnmaFinotera (talk · contribs) 16:10, 14 June 2010 (UTC)
This kind of information should be reported immediately to WP:Oversight and should never be included into a wikipedia article. It has been my experience that when you come across things of this nature it is either being done in a WP:Vandalism situation or it is being done in an WP:Advertisement way. Both are against the rules and should be removed immediately. Canyouhearmenow 11:13, 16 June 2010 (UTC)

Copyright management of WMF Projects

According to WP:C, the Wikimedia Foundation does not hold the copyright over contributions made to Wikipedia. This is very different from the practice adopted by software projects (see this). I think FSF’s policy of registering copyright on its own name is a better way of managing copyrights. In case of a large scale violation of our licensing terms, it would become almost impossible to enforce copyrights. Comments?--Nilotpal42 07:42, 15 June 2010 (UTC)

I'd rather retain my own copyright than hand it off to the foundation, thanks. It's also perfectly easy to enforce, I've seen it done successfully by others many times. OrangeDog (τ • ε) 12:06, 15 June 2010 (UTC)
It's also not true that most Free and open source software projects use the FSF copyright assignment model - in fact, the license model (what we use) is more common. In any case, we have ten years worth of copyrighted material without an assignment, and the copyright holders would be difficult to find for a majority of it, so there's no way for the Foundation to actually consolidate the copyright in practice. Like OrangeDog, I myself very much prefer retaining copyright on my work as well. Gavia immer (talk) 13:02, 15 June 2010 (UTC)
The present model does have its problems. The way things are right now, the foundation does not owns content. If someone flouts the licensing terms, the foundation would be in no position to act. It would be up to individual contributors to enforce the licensing terms. Now that in itself could be problematic. I could cite hypothetical examples:
  1. User:Deadmeet631267 (not a real user) was a significant editor on the English Wikipedia. He had written a certain article and it gets flicked without attribution. Now that User:Deadmeet631267 is dead, who shall enforce his copyright? His descendants either died with him or do not care about the article or are not aware about it.
  2. User:Nilotpal42 (that is me, by the way) has written a book titled "Copyrights in the Wiki environment". LexisFlicksis, a publisher prints it and in doing so violates the license restrictions. LexisFlicksis is a publisher in the U.S. How does User:Nilotpal42 sue the publisher from India.
  3. User:Alolymos has a similar fate with his contributions to Wikipedia. How does he stay anonymous and sue in his own name at the same time?
In each of these cases the editor may have the copyright. But how would they enforce it under the current model?--Nilotpal42 18:08, 15 June 2010 (UTC)
I think that your third example could be enforced by Alolymos hiring an attourney to act as his agent and protect his identity. IANAL but I have seen/heard of several situations where a lawyer "fronts" for an anonymous client such a ghostwriter. Of course this could vary applicability in different legal juridictions. (talk) 19:06, 16 June 2010 (UTC)
If the foundation holds the copyright, then they may be considered legally responsible for other things like libel. Personally I doubt that even if the foundation owned the copyright that they would take any actions except in the worst cases. The foundation suing people to prevent them from copying Wikipedia article due to a legal technicality (all they need to technically comply is the URL of the article and the URL of the CC license) probably wouldn't look very good PR-wise. Mr.Z-man 22:04, 15 June 2010 (UTC)
How does not owning the copyright insulate the foundation from liability from bad faith edits? I am not saying that the foundation should be held liable for defamation. The law in most countries seems to be clearly against helding internet service providers' liabile for defamation. Either way the foundation does get sued (I hope, mostly unsuccessfully). Holding the copyright in trust would, on the other hand, secure the content being used in non-open licensed formats. What you see as mere technicality, I see as the very spirit of the project. I have seen and heard stories where verbatim copies of Wikipedia content is published without att. What the CC-BY-SA 3.0 license really requires is that derivative work be not just attributed but also shared under similar licenses.
I raise my concern in anticipation of "worst cases" irrespective of whether there have been any in the past.--Nilotpal42 05:34, 16 June 2010 (UTC)
The current terms seem to be a subtle way of reminding contributors that the WMF really doesn't care to deal with legal action over what are (frequently, but not necessarily) trivialities. (If you think it's complex for you, imagine what it would be like for the WMF to deal with dozens of cases, few of which have any prospect of recouping the expenditures used to prosecute them.) Plus, given the scope of the Wikipedia project, I think they tacitly recognize that infringement of a free encyclopedia isn't actually such a big deal in terms of the core mission of offering unrestricted access to knowledge. TheFeds 05:56, 16 June 2010 (UTC)
One usually finds that a polite letter is sufficient to deal with most copyright infringement. I'm far more likely to do something if it's my work then the Foundation would be if they owned it. OrangeDog (τ • ε) 19:28, 16 June 2010 (UTC)
By not owning the copyright, the WMF has basically no responsibility for the actual content as they are not the publisher of the content, only the provider of a service. If the foundation owns the copyright to the content, they could be considered a publisher (I don't think any such situation has actually been tested in a court). The point TheFeds raises is also good. We provide the content for free and the authors of the content are not compensated in any way for writing it. The best we could hope for is to recoup attorney fees and get a portion of the profits from sales of the content (which for most random websites where most infringement occurs, is nothing). Its not what I see as a technicality, its how it would likely be presented in most media. It might get a well written story in some technical and free content blogs, but if it hits national media in articles not written by IP and free content experts, it will likely just be seen as a technicality. Mr.Z-man 22:06, 16 June 2010 (UTC)
Assigning copyright creates practical limitations for editors - among other things, if I write content for Wikipedia under the assignment model, I cannot later take that same work and contribute it to a public domain project, because I am violating the CC-BY-SA license held by WMF. I don't like FSF's use of the assignment model, and I would never work under it, but I see how it's useful for pursuing infringement claims. There's also a moral issue: if someone is copying stuff I created, and I don't care enough to complain, why should they be punished? Dcoetzee 23:07, 16 June 2010 (UTC)

Questions about the reviewing policy

Several interesting questions about the "pending changes" system have come up at Wikipedia talk:Reviewing, and they would benefit from wider participation. They include:

I hope we can keep the discussion centralized at WT:Reviewing. — Carl (CBM · talk) 15:46, 16 June 2010 (UTC)

Introductory articles

Another editor suggested that this topic has broad enough interest wrt Wikipedia policy that it should be discussed here.

There has been a trend toward creating introductory articles as means to deal with complex topics. Briefly, introductory articles are simplified discussions for readers who do not want to read the more involved discussion of the topic. Though I believe this trend is well-intentioned I believe that it violates policy and, regardless, is a bad idea in the context of what Wikipedia is intended to be.

Policy violation

The two policies that I am particularly concerned with are WP:NOTTEXTBOOK and WP:Content forking.

WP:NOTTEXTBOOK says, among other things

A Wikipedia article should not be presented on the assumption that the reader is well versed in the topic's field. Introductory language in the lead and initial sections of the article should be written in plain terms and concepts that can be understood by any literate reader of Wikipedia without any knowledge in the given field before advancing to more detailed explanations of the topic.

If the original article has actually followed the guideline then the novice reader should be able to understand the material in the earlier part of the article. The introductory article should not be necessary. Perhaps more importantly, Wikipedia:Content forking says

A content fork is the creation of multiple separate articles all treating the same subject. ... As an article grows, editors often create Summary style spin-offs or new, linked article for related material. This is acceptable, and often encouraged, as a way of making articles clearer and easier to manage.

By this definition an introductory article is a content fork. WP:Summary style clearly discusses creating article hierarchies but in no way advocates creating two articles on the same topic for different purposes.

Larger concern

In general there are two problems with allowing notions like introductory articles to develop:

  • The idea that you can neatly divide readers into technical and non-technical readers, or similar distinctions, is elitist and fallacious. Trying to divide treatment of a topic into two classes of reader makes an assumption that is not really true. The reality is that for any particular topic the amout that any particular reader can or wants to understand about a topic can vary greatly.
  • Wikipedia could start to fragment into more than one encyclopedia, each targeted toward a different type of reader. Though specialized encyclopedia's may serve a purpose, Wikipedia's aim has always been to be targeted to everyone, not simply any particular segment of readers. The introductory article concept runs counter to this aim.


IMHO the motivations for creating introductory articles fall into two general categories:

  1. Editors who have difficulty writing and are trying to do something to compensate.
  2. Experts who want the main article on their pet topic to be treated formally like a paper or a textbook.

To whatever extent it is possible to create an introductory article it is similarly possible to incorporate this same discussion into the main article. Doing so may make the main article longer requiring splitting sub-topics into their own articles. But that is how Wikipedia is intended to be organized.

Forgive me. I did not sign this. --Mcorazao (talk) 14:29, 7 June 2010 (UTC)



  • The above interesting thoughts are unsigned. Peter jackson (talk) 10:42, 7 June 2010 (UTC)
  • Such separation of articles risks their ending up controlled by different cabals of editors & pushing different POVs. Maybe this could be considered a good thing in warning the reader not to trust Wikipedia. Peter jackson (talk) 10:42, 7 June 2010 (UTC)
    • That's a nice drum you're banging there, Peter. Fences&Windows 18:30, 7 June 2010 (UTC)
My view on this: "Introductory articles" of sorts can be perfectly done with the current system, in fact that's what we actually do. If a topic, let's say a long war, is so complex and there's so much information about it, then there's already an introductory article: the article itself. It provides a general overview, while the most specialized or detailed information is moved into related articles (battles, war leaders, treaties, etc.) or content forks (Causes of X war, Timeline of X War, X War in popular culture, etc). If things are done as they should, the specific article "X War" will always be smaller than "The big and heavy book about X war", even if all its important information was considered and included at the right place within the web of articles MBelgrano (talk) 12:17, 7 June 2010 (UTC)
    • MBelgrano, I think that you are saying that you agree with me (i.e. that using the standard Wikipedia process of article hierarchies should be used instead of introductory articles). Is that correct? --Mcorazao (talk) 14:33, 7 June 2010 (UTC)
  • Introductory articles are a form of topic that fails WP:MADEUP. They don't exist in the real world as a subject of study, for it is a heading or a title used to denote that a topic is being studied in a casual way for a short period of time. They are rubbish articles, like "outline of" they are little more than content forks. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 14:10, 7 June 2010 (UTC)
    • I don't agree. There are countless books, and university courses, in the real world called "An Introduction To Subject XYZ". Barnabypage (talk) 14:48, 7 June 2010 (UTC)
Actually, WP:MADEUP is completely unrelated with this proposal. There may be reasons to avoid creating "Introduction to World War I" articles, but "This a novel idea you and/or your friends made up" is not one of them MBelgrano (talk) 17:19, 7 June 2010 (UTC)
Yes, WP:MADEUP has nothing to do with this. Fences&Windows 18:30, 7 June 2010 (UTC)
Of course they are made up. There are no sources which address the topic directly and in detail. Call them "Introduction to...XYZ", "Dummies guide to...XYZ" or maybe "XYZlite". Its all the same, all made up. I think some editors are living in a buble in which they can create topics that have no external source of validation. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 18:04, 13 June 2010 (UTC)
All the existing "Introduction to..." articles (of which there are only a handful) are on technical scientific or mathematical topics. At least one of them is a featured article. I can see the content fork argument, but I reckon if people want to make accessible introductions to technical topics, let them. An alternative would be to take what's good about the "Introduction to..." articles and merge them in. Fences&Windows 18:30, 7 June 2010 (UTC)

I agree with MBelgrano in principle. As a rule, in most situations, the main article on the topic is already likely to serve as an introductory article and a special article is inappropriate. An article called Introduction to World War One, should serve no purpose on Wikipedia because that should already be covered by World War One.

However, in practice, I can see a strong case for simplified introductory articles in topics where any reasonable main article on the subject is likely to be far too technical for many readers. The most obvious example I can think of is Quantum mechanics. Quantum mechanics, as a theory, is highly technical and strongly counterintuitive. Even a basic overview of the topic, such as one would expect in the lead of the main article on the subject, is likely to be full of concepts that, while absolutely fundamental to the understanding of the topic, will require a non-trivial explanation for uninitiated readers.

So the standard practice would be to just Wikilink them. Fine, but a lay reader is then going to find himself constantly going down Wikilinks, simply in order to find out what the article is talking about. But how many readers are going to have the patience to follow five Wikilinks in the same sentence simply in order to work out what the article's on about? Entirely understandably, they'll lose interest. Physics students lose track of Quantum Mechanics pretty quickly, so non-technical readers are always going to find it difficult. Explaining the topic in line has exactly the same problem.

But lose those topics and you no longer provide even a basic description of Quantum mechanics in the main article on the topic. It would be like trying to write an article on World War One without mentioning Austria-Hungary or Germany. An article on Quantum mechanics that actually does its job cannot be written without them.

So we're stuck. Discuss those basic concepts in detail in the article or in separate dedicated articles, and we lose the reader's interest by writing an article that is overly fragmented. Remove the basic concepts and the article no longer achieves its basic aim of describing its topic.

Thus the concept of an introductory article. The main article Quantum Mechanics should be equivalent to, say, World War One. But I would suggest that having an additional article, Introduction to quantum mechanics, going through the basics of the topic, is a good way of explaining the topic to our readers while allowing us to maintain a full and appropriate treatment of the topic in the main article. Pfainuk talk 18:29, 7 June 2010 (UTC)

I agree with and would go on to state to consider that we're not a textbook but we should provide as much useful navigation links as we can, something that likely won't be in X. Taking an expanded idea, Chemistry is quite a large field, so if you're very unsure of where to find a specific piece of information and search isn't cutting it, an intro article that explains - briefly - what each of the subfields are within in, and a list of useful links, will help you narrow your search. So we could have sections on the various types of chemistry (organic, inorganic, analytical, etc.), the disciplines within chemistry (experimentation, thermodynamics, etc.), the types of terminology used in chemistry (including elements, compounds, etc.), with just enough prose with the list to establish the context to help the end reader. Such articles are only good when the number of articles that fall within the subject surpass 40 or so articles - where a end-of-page template or navigation box becomes too complicated to easily follow. --MASEM (t) 19:15, 7 June 2010 (UTC)
Pfainuk and Masem, thank you for the feedback. But can you clarify your arguments more? These arguments seem (to me) to be skirting the point and/or straying into things are already established no-nos. E.g.
  • "So the standard practice would be to just Wikilink them." This is completely untrue. It is a violation of WP:MOS to use Wikilinks to compensate for a lack of explanation in the text. The fact that some inexperienced editors often do that is irrelevant (that's like arguing that because most drivers in the U.S. speed, then speeding is not illegal).
  • "Even a basic overview of the topic, such as one would expect in the lead of the main article on the subject, is likely to be full of concepts that, while absolutely fundamental to the understanding of the topic, will require a non-trivial explanation for uninitiated readers." This doesn't make sense. If it were impossible to introduce Quantum Mechanics without straying immediately into highly technical jargon then it would be impossible to write the "Introduction to ..." article. This is circular reasoning.
  • "so if you're very unsure of where to find a specific piece of information and search isn't cutting it, an intro article that explains - briefly - what each of the subfields are within it" This is what the main article should be doing. If it is not doing it then it is not properly covering the topic (i.e. it is not following Wikipedia's guidelines).
  • "a list of useful links" This violates Wikipedia policy. Articles are articles and lists are lists. As a general rule lists of links for the purpose of navigation are to be avoided altogether except in "See also" sections. The type of article you are describing is explicitly discouraged.
Please forgive me if I am missing your points. To more specific, please explain how an article could follow Wikipedia's guidelines and yet still need an introductory article.
--Mcorazao (talk) 21:26, 7 June 2010 (UTC)
As I pointed out, you don't have to use wikilinks. You can instead provide explanation in the text. But given the volume of explanation that would be necessary to do explain what are in some cases complex and strongly counterintuitive concepts, the article would quickly become far too long and far too fragmented to hold the reader's interest. It doesn't matter: whether you use wikilinks or provide explanation in the text - or indeed both - you're likely to lose the reader. Better to produce an introductory article to help the lay reader with the basic parts of the theory and leave the main article to do the job of covering the topic appropriately.
You ask how we write the introductory article if we need all this technical information. My response would be that the introductory article could not plausibly replace the main article. It does not adequately cover the topic of quantum mechanics as the main article on the subject of quantum mechanics should. That's OK, because that's not what it's aiming to do. But it is what the main article should be aiming to do. Pfainuk talk 22:00, 7 June 2010 (UTC)
There is no policy that makes distinctions between articles and lists for sake of intra-wiki links. You can have hybrids without any problems.
But here's a better way to think of an introductory article: Done correctly, it is serving two purposes: an executive summary of the topic - that if you only had 5 minutes to read up on something, this would get the job done, with less detail than the main article but at more depth than the lede would allow, and secondly, a table of contents of sorts to jump to other sections of that topic. --MASEM (t) 12:44, 8 June 2010 (UTC)
  • I was led here by Mcorazao's note on Talk:Introduction to quantum mechanics to the effect that the article, by virtue of covering the same topic as Quantum mechanics, is a content fork and a "serious violation of policy", and that, "If these types of violations of Wikipedia continue to develop I believe Wikipedia is in danger of falling apart." I was skeptical that there could be so many well-established introductory articles in spite of community consensus against them. Coming to this discussion I now see that such consensus does not exist. Anyway, the spirit of Wikipedia:Content forking is that we should avoid content forking when it is out of laziness, ignorance, or a desire to POV-push, and that forks are OK so long as they are done for a good reason. I think having accessible introductions to complicated, technical topics of wide public interest (quantum mechanics, general relativity, etc.) is a good reason to create a fork. Strad (talk) 02:57, 8 June 2010 (UTC)
Hmmm, I expected when I brought this up that consensus would not be readily forthcoming. Let me say that some of the arguments above amount to "well, it may be a content fork but I still think it's ok". It is a troubling path to say that we abandon our own policies whenever they are uncomfortable or challenging to follow.
I hope that the rest of you will think about this and maybe this will be discussed again in the future.
--Mcorazao (talk) 04:57, 8 June 2010 (UTC)
I also responded to over in the Intro QM talk page, and that has what has led me here. There are two problems with the arguments against the Intro to QM article.
First, Intro to QM is an article already packed with content - aimed at the introductory level. It is currently at around 76 kilobytes. This is already at close to the maximum advised limit. The Main QM itself is alreay at 64 kilobytes. Merging the content of these two articles would create a much larger, harder to download page. It would become less navigable. Let's say everything in the Main QM is needed for this topic. Even if you cut 25 kilobytes from the Intro to QM the resulting article would still be much larger, harder to download, and less navigable.
Second, characterizing Intro to QM as a content fork is not accurate. That is an oversimplification, and merely labeling. This article is consistent with WP:VERIFY, WP:CONSENSUS, WP:RS, WP:NPV, etc., etc. The editors on this article discuss and collaborate. It has even achieved featured status. It is a Wikipedia article in the every sense of those two words. It is not a content fork. ----Steve Quinn (formerly Ti-30X) (talk) 05:42, 8 June 2010 (UTC)
But if you look at the wider picture, these arguements don't hold up. If two articles share identical subject matter - right down to the defintion of the topic itself - then they are the same, with only slightly differing article titles. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 11:50, 8 June 2010 (UTC)
  • These are not the same article. I am sure the main QM article covers a lot more information. Saying these share identitcal subject matter, and that's all there is to it - is not the correct way to characterize these articles. The main QM article is dense with technical language, and that is as it should be, in this particular instance. This is a great article.
The intro to QM article is written in a much more understandable language and more easily accessible to the lay reader.
The intent of introduction articles in general, and Intro to QM in particular, is that introduction articles were (or are) written to provide readers with a non-technical introduction to unavoidably technical subjects.
The main QM article covers the subject in a succinct, but technical manner compared to the "overview" of the intro article. Except maybe for the very first section of the main QM article, it is not understandable to a general audience. The Intro to QM article is much more understandable to a general audience.
This is not simply a black and white issue. There are all kinds of guidelines, intentions, and even the policy WP:IGNORE, which are at play in this situation. And as I stated above, Intro to QM is consistent with policies and guidelines in its own right. One more thing - it appears to me that to present a good introduction to this topic it takes around 75 kilobytes. I know this because more could have been added to the Intro to the QM article, but there was agreement to stop where it is. There is a good faith intention for the article to be composed as it stands today. ----Steve Quinn (formerly Ti-30X) (talk) 19:10, 8 June 2010 (UTC)
I agree with Steve.
The object of any good book or article is to serve the needs of readers. Some readers have no math or physics background whatsoever, and others may be grad school level individuals with a formidable competency in calculus. It is very difficult to write an article that can provide for the needs of all levels of readers. Putting higher math in the middle of an account that can be meaningful to a novice reader will affect the coherence of the article. The advanced reader may feel talked down to because of the need to put things in basic terms for the novice readers.
One of the functions of Wikipedia is to educate. To educate may mean to take a reader somewhat beyond his/her comfort level. An article written for the advanced reader will use math and conceptual approaches that will be beyond the reach of less advanced readers, and will not include the mathematical explanations that are within reach of those who have not taken several years of higher math.
Einstein was very well able to write comprehensibly for a general readership, and he was of course also very well able to supply the higher math. But he did not try to talk to more than one audience at a time.P0M (talk) 07:48, 9 June 2010 (UTC)
See also #How to improve Wikipedia's readability? [sic] below, which overlaps this discussion. Peter jackson (talk) 08:59, 11 June 2010 (UTC)
Does that mean we should have articles such as "INTRODUCTION TO XYZ" in capitals so that readers with bad eyesight (or who SHOUT!) can read them? Hell no. There is no external source of a validation for these topics, so Wikipedia should not have articles on them, capitals or no capitals. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 18:07, 13 June 2010 (UTC)
As the encyclopedia that "anyone can edit," reliance on sources is important. It may seem a good idea to create an article on an "introductory" version of an otherwise "non-introductory" article. But there is really only one article. Sources are not likely supporting one or the other of two articles — sources are supporting one topic. Articles should only be written on topics that have been established by sources to have a real-world existence outside of Wikipedia. We should not have editors creating articles simply because an idea appeals to them. I think an "introductory article" is an "editorial creation" without a separate counterpart in sources aside from the sources pertaining to the topic in general. Close adherence to sources is crucial to Wikipedia. Bus stop (talk) 19:34, 13 June 2010 (UTC)
WP's goal is verifiability not verified. As long as an introductory article on an obviously notable topic is not introducing original research, quotes, or statements of contention, there is no issue with backing up the whole of the article with a number of useful references for more information on the topic. Remember, we the editors are already deciding how we best summarize information on notable topics, and there seems to be wide consensus for intro articles as part of the summary for large, multi-article topics. --MASEM (t) 20:26, 13 June 2010 (UTC)
An introductory article is an "obviously notable topic." That is not the question. The question is do sources establish the introductory version of the topic? They do not. They establish the topic itself. The further manipulation of that material into "introductory" and "non-introductory" is something conceived in the minds of the editors favoring the creation of that article. That freewheeling approach cuts against Wikipedia policy. Better to arrange the article to provide overview, with transition into more dense (or detailed, or more difficult-to-comprehend) coverage, either in the article, or in articles on subtopics that can be easily linked to off of the main article. This project is ultimately based in sources. It may seem like an innocuous thing to do to create two versions of an article. But it is not. Two such articles would take different developmental paths, and no mechanism exists at Wikipedia to tie them together. Nor do I think any two articles should be tied to one another. [User:Bus stop|Bus stop]] (talk) 21:34, 13 June 2010 (UTC)
We are writing a encyclopedia via community standards - a learning tool, not a bastion of perfect research. The comment "The question is do sources establish the introductory version of the topic?" flies completely in the face of the goals of WP. Obviously, most topics don't need a separate introductory article - that's part of the article on that topic, but for very large topics, like chemistry, World War II, or the like, an article written to provide a roadmap of where one can find more information can only help the work, not harm it. --MASEM (t) 21:49, 13 June 2010 (UTC)
I am not arguing for perfection of any sort. In fact I think one has to see that Wikipedia is the unique entity that it is. It is not another encyclopedia. It has its strong points and it has its weak points (though overall it is very strong). Within the context of Wikipedia we may have to make choices, and this is one such juncture. We can opt for what we think is a "good idea," which is what I think you are arguing for, even if I am paraphrasing you. Or we can opt for adhering closely to sources, which is what I think this project always calls for us to opt for. All that is required is a layout of information that progresses from the general to the particular. This would take place within an article and it would also span articles — more in-depth coverage might be found at articles linking to a main article. And even at these satellite articles, information can be presented as transitioning from the general to the particular, or from the less difficult to understand to the more difficult to understand. Bus stop (talk) 22:34, 13 June 2010 (UTC)
First, let me say that I support having introductory articles on Wikipedia. Second, User:Bus stop, I agree with adhering closely to sources. To me this makes Wikipedia a quality encyclopedia and resource. Third, it appears that I have discovered sources which may actually support having an Introduction to Quantum mechanics article on Wikipedia. Please excuse my elaboration of the first source. I guess I just want to be clear. The sources are numbered 1, 2, 3and 4 and are as follows:
1. Philips, A.C. Introduction to Quantum mechanics. Publisher: John Wiley & Sons Ltd. 2003. (Part of the Manchester Physics Series, developed at Manchester University) Author's Preface: "...there is a distinct lack of books which attempt to give a serious introduction at a level suitable for undergraduates who have a tentative understanding of mathematics, probability and classical physics. This book introduces the most important aspects of quantum mechanics in the simplest way possible.... [This introduction]"
  • reviews relevant concepts in classical physics before corresponding concepts are developed in quantum mechanics.
  • presents mathematical arguments in their simplest form
  • provides an understanding of the power and elegance of quantum mechanics that will make more advanced texts accessible
2. Manners, Joy Quantum physics: an introduction Taylor & Francis, Inc. July 2000
3. An Introduction to Quantum Mechanics Betha Chemistry Tutorial, Ohio State University. (choose the second menu, it works better). With all these modules combined is this any less of an introduction than Wikipedia's introductory article?
4. The next two give a view of what another Intro to QM article looks like on a wiki or the web:Introduction to Quantum Theory and Chapter 1: Introduction to Quantum Physics.
Comment - It appears there are more sources available to take a look at which have this very similar, or the same titles. ----Steve Quinn (talk) 02:14, 14 June 2010 (UTC)
This would be a judgment call. If sources are establishing "Introduction to quantum mechanics" as a topic that has its own established identity then such an article could be created, in my opinion. No article title, or topic, is utterly off-limits, in my opinion. If "introduction to quantum mechanics" has truly adequate sourcing for exactly that topic, we would have no choice but to accept that topic as the basis of an article. I am unable to weigh those sources. A determination would have to be made by editors with familiarity with the topic.
But I think there still remains a problem — isn't the same subject being covered by both an "introductory" and an "advanced" article? The topic has not changed, only the approach to the topic has changed. Can't both of the approaches be easily enough placed in one article? The real judgment call is whether a source representing itself as "introductory" is really primarily that. I am skeptical of the significance of such terms as "introduction to" in sources. The underlying topic remains the same in all treatments of it. I am not sure that sources using the word "introduction" are placing as much weight on it as we may be attributing to that word found in for instance the titles of books on a subject. It is possible that a term such as "introduction to" is not intended to set apart a topic from a more "advanced" treatment as we may be assuming. Bus stop (talk) 03:04, 14 June 2010 (UTC)
Of course they are not seperate topics, for they are truly the one and the same topic. If you do a word search in the articles cited by Steve Quinn[4][5], you will see that the article title does not appear anywhere in the body of the article: its just a label used to describe the fact that it is just a brief outline. I think there is some confusion here: often university courses and text books use the title "Introduction to..." but the subject matter is merely a label. All of the coverage in the article is derived from the study of Quantum methanics; there are no scientists out there doing research into the "Introduction to Quantum methanics", nor are they publishing any papers about this topic. There may well be books with the term "Introduction" in the title, but again this is merely a label, in the same way "Advanced Quantum methanics" might be used to label a more advanced course or book on the subject. I think this is a fundamental mistake made by the creators of these "Introduction to...XYZ" articles have made: they have mixed up descriptive titles used to describe the summary level at which a topic is being discussed, thinking that they are somehow distinct or seperate from the over-arching topic itself. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 11:14, 14 June 2010 (UTC)
Titles can give guidance to both the subject matter covered, and to the level of reader preparation that is expected. Such a high level of math competence is demanded in modern physics that certain math courses are prerequisites for certain physics courses. The physics student who is at the first year level can expect to do lots of back-filling should s/he decide to dip into something in an advanced physics course or an article in a professional journal. Heisenberg's ground-breaking 1925 article leave many professional physicists scratching their heads -- not particularly due to the math level itself is anything too arcane but because so much of the article is implicit. If one has the proper background one presumably can figure it all out by supplying what Heisenberg forgot to mention, but even with a very good math background some people seem not to see how he arrives at his conclusions. They regard the discovery announced in this article as a "magical" process.
In addition to levels of difficulty, there is also a fan-out factor. The same basic concepts must be learned in an "introductory" course to allow progress in specialized courses, but competence in one specialized study may be of little help if a student decides to take on another specialty.
The current Introduction to quantum mechanics is not a study of how quantum mechanics is introduced, nor is it intended to cover a field of learning separate from that of the senior article on Quantum mechanics. "All of the coverage in the article is derived from the study of Quantum methanics," but it take account of what can and what cannot be understood by someone with only a high school math education. "The underlying topic remains the same in [both] treatments of it," but one approach would be appropriate for someone with a good high school preparation in math, and another approach would tell things in more depth because it could depend on a more advanced math level and a greater contextual understanding.
A case in point is the explanation that was worked out by Huygens for the phenomenon of diffraction. It is now regarded as having been superseded by a quantum mechanical explanation, but the explanation of Huygens is a coarser-grained explanation that gives the general features of a diffraction pattern. The quantum-mechanical description/calculation is more precise, but study of the classical explanation gives students a way of understanding why the phenomenon occurs, and the method is simple enough that individuals with a ruler, a compass, and a piece of paper can work the solution out for himself/herself. Advanced coverage of the subject would go directly to the quantum mechanical calculations because that gives a more precise picture, a more highly detailed picture, or you could call it a more finely grained picture. Moreover, the calculations would help consolidate the learning of the math for a student at that level instead of providing a stumbling block as those calculations would for a student without the required math background. (See Optics#Physical optics. P0M (talk) 21:23, 16 June 2010 (UTC)
(←)WP has chosen to adapt to certain size constrants for the body of a given article, a constraint that doesn't exist if we were printed. I doubt we'll be ever easily change our size constraints for numerous reasons, mostly technical (the cost of serving up large pages in bandwidth and CPU; limitations on the end-user side). So let's start with the fact that one job of WP editors is to figure out how to take a topic that easily breaks the size barrier for one page and split it among as many pages as necessary to get the job done of summarizing the topic as a whole. There are two added complexities to this: We need to make sure each resultant page is able to stand alone by itself to be understood by the reader, providing hyperlinks to help connect it back to the main topic and other pages under that; and we need to make sure that the splits are not so infinitesimal to have short, stubby, hard-to-source articles on singular, non-notable topics. Thus, when covering a large topic that certainly spreads well beyond a few pages, its a lot of work to make sure the balance is right between coverage and comprehension and page sizes.
What does this have to with intro articles? Well, I don't think any disagrees that an article on a topic should start off with an introduction to establish what the topic is to the reader completely unfamiliar with the area; this is a combination of the lede and first few sections on a page. But when you have a huge topic that spans several dozens of articles (in appropriate fashion, natch), a clear introduction could take up a whole page within size limitations. This makes the main page, to those who are researching that topic out of familiarity, rather useless. Thus, in such cases, it makes sense to put this introduction into a separate article, referring their as a means of preparing the unaware reader, and making the main page suitable for those familiar with the topic and serving them better.
Remember, if this was a printed work without any size issues, that introduction would lead off the printed article.
This is similar part of our mission couples with size constraints. We have to do something like that because there is no other possible solution except completely drop this introduction, which to me seems like failing to meet our educational requirements. The topic and introductory contents are still verifiable and notable, nor present any POV or original research. It simply seems to be this hold up on the fact that "no sources have "introduction to X"". But again, I argue - our job as WP editors is to figure out how best to summarize topics in a tertiary manner with the added constraint of WP:SIZE. If we were paper, it would be easy to include such, but the fact that suddenly this becomes taboo in an electronic form makes no sense. Again, I stress that the proper distillation of a large topic across numerous pages is a tricky prospect and can also likely be done in several ways, though I'd argue we've adapted a certain approach on WP for that. Introductory articles are not always appropriate - a two-page topic isn't going to need one, and sometimes even on a 40+ page topic the same can be effected by the use of navboxes and the like. But when it does seem correct to use, we shouldn't be shunning those just because sources don't say anything about it. That hurts the encyclopedia more than helps it. --MASEM (t) 18:00, 14 June 2010 (UTC)
You make reference to "failing to meet our educational requirements." What "educational requirements" are you referring to? Bus stop (talk) 14:26, 15 June 2010 (UTC)
From my perspective, I'd note that on Wikipedia, all articles have to come up with a way of balancing the encyclopædic need for appropriate coverage of the topic with our readership's need for a clear and concise explanation of the topic, taking into account article size constraints (noted by Masem). In most cases this is not that difficult to do. But it does become a problem when we start to deal with the main articles on highly technical topics. If we give appropriate coverage in such a way as to be well understood by the lay reader, our article will be far too long. If our coverage is clear and concise, it will, by necessity, miss out information that is absolutely fundamental to the topic. And if we give appropriate coverage concisely, it will be impenetrable to the uninitiated reader.
So which do we lose? When it comes down to it, there's one that gives more easily than the others. The size constraints aren't going to disappear any time soon as Masem notes. And if we're not aiming to provide appropriate coverage of a topic on the main article about that topic then it's difficult to see what the point of that article is. But if we're sacrificing clarity on the main article, we can then write an article to clear things up - an introductory article. An introductory article can be more relaxed about giving appropriate coverage because it is not intended to be the main article on the topic. It can thus be written at a lower level, to allow the reader to understand the basics of the topic while giving appropriate coverage in the main article. Pfainuk talk 19:50, 14 June 2010 (UTC)
I just noticed a question that had been deleted from a discussion page (because, I suppose, it didn't belong there) from a fifteen year old student who had become interested in Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle by viewing a television program on the subject by a noted physicist. He is obviously a bright student, but he had become confused over some of the arguments and/or vocabulary in the program. I haven't seen the program myself, so it is possible that it was a bad lecture, but it doubt it. The problem, for the lecturer, must have been how to cram as much information into the lecture as possible. So he probably did not explain the meanings of terms such as "momentum." He used terms such as "λ" for the wavelength of light, when he might better of used "L." The high school student remembered the pronunciation of λ, but it is not clear that he understood what it stands for. We can't expect the lecturer to have taken four or five minutes to explicate the idea of momentum as it is used in physics. By the time he had gotten through with the basic vocabulary, the program would have been over. His target audience was presumably adults who have not given up on the idea of ever understanding science and so may be presumed to have at least the basic concepts of classical physics straight.
I doubt that there are any cases where all members of a TV audience come with even the same general level of preparation to understand something technical. So we ought to expect one level of presentation on Sesame Street, another level of presentation on Charlie Rose, and perhaps a third level of presentation on "Re-tread Your Creds" between 3 and 5 a.m. I think everyone can see the problems for viewers with different levels of competence. The same general considerations apply to encyclopedia presentations. In the world of paper books, there are encyclopedias written for high school students, and there are encyclopedias written for adults. Even among the adult-target encyclopedias there are probably differences in the expected background of readers. Beyond the encyclopedia articles dealing with topics such as the Uncertainty Principle, there are books that go beyond the "Intro to Physics" level, and articles in professional journals. All of these levels should be talking about the same general subject, and in the best of all possible worlds even the high school encyclopedia would never over-simplify or simply put in false information.
I contend that it is the high school student who most needs a reliable article, and the physicist (or the specialist in whatever the subject is) who least needs an encyclopedia article. In fact, the third tier kind of reader should be writing articles for the first tier reader. The reader in the middle is likely to need a good article, but it also likely to have the ability to get an appropriate book out of a library or via an on-line seller that will give an appropriate level of guidance. The last time I had reason to try to follow through on some of the more esoteric physics articles they were above the level of most college students -- including physics majors who have taken one year of physics for majors. In cases where one can only understand something if one is already a B.S. in physics, then that may be appropriate. But there are subjects that can be presented to the average well-informed reader without misinforming them. It would be wrong to make the specialist approach the standard for all articles. P0M (talk) 21:08, 14 June 2010 (UTC)
Just pointing out that we also have the Wikipedia:Simple English Wikipedia to handle describing a topic at its most simplest terms - eg, the "Sesame Street" presentation you describe above. However, an intro article should not be written at that simplicity of the language. --MASEM (t) 21:15, 14 June 2010 (UTC)
The Simple English articles do not assume that the people who read them are not well educated, only that they do not have a great facility for reading English. In a way, the more math one can use in a Simple English article the better. One of the motivations for writing articles in Simple English is to provide information for people who cannot find adequate articles in their own languages. I think that ordinarily Simple English articles are not read by people whose native tongue in German because they are almost sure to find adequate articles in German. Someone whose native language is connected with a small community without a very good availability of technical books. If that person has managed to develop good math skills, however, they may easily make their way through the math and just need a rough narrative to go along with the numbers.P0M (talk) 08:46, 16 June 2010 (UTC)
Introductory articles cut against Wikipedia policy. Wikipedia depends on a broad base of editors for stability and quality. The division of one topic into two articles is arbitrary and probably cuts against both wp:verifiability as well as wp:reliable sources. I say "probably" because I am allowing for the possibility that sources make the distinction between two different approaches to the same topic. I don't think a book for instance titled "Introduction to XYZ" can be said to constitute a different approach to the subject "XYZ" than a book for instance titled "Advanced XYZ." The approach is the same because the challenge is the same. The challenge is to shed light on the topic. Wikipedia editors are supposed to draw upon sources to compose our own articles. We are expected to paraphrase but to not stray too far from that which is supported by sources. It is in this way that we are supposed to create our own articles. When topics are extensive we branch articles off of other articles. Earlier articles or earlier paragraphs in the same article are generally of a simpler nature. Later articles or later paragraphs in the same article delve more deeply into the subject. All editors interested in a given topic follow this progression which covers one given topic, and the large number of editors ensures that the topic covered by the article or articles in question is of optimal stability and of optimal quality. The notion of "introductory articles" is contrary to standard operating procedure at Wikipedia. Editor's interests are what guides participation in this project. One does not have an "introductory" interest in a topic and/or an "advanced" interest in a topic. This is an arbitrary distinction between editors. And I think it is unlikely we would find this distinction reflected in sources. Bus stop (talk) 13:51, 15 June 2010 (UTC)
We're already talking about topics that, by necessity, are split up into many many pages due to breadth, so its not an issue of a topic being covered on two different pages. There's no violation of WP:V either, since material in intro articles still needs to be verifiable. There are no policies that intro pages can, by their nature, violate. (Of course, poor written intro pages with editor's bias are a different story, but the general case is that they are fine).
Put it another way. Intro articles are appropriate to WP in the same way we have other navigational pages, like lists or the like; it is a necessary due to the fact that we don't cover a topic in a single super long article. As long as one agrees that in a printed medium, a very long encyclopedic article would start with an introduction overall, then it makes perfect sense to translate that to the electronic format. --MASEM (t) 14:17, 15 June 2010 (UTC)
There is no justification for two articles on the same topic. We are supposed to try to "improve" the article, if possible. We are not supposed to be creating an entirely new article on an identical topic. And there is no reason why one or more articles, involving branching into subtopics or related topics, cannot be presented in an understandable way. That is our job — to integrate material from sources to present material in a way that is understandable. That, in general, involves progressing from the general to the particular. First the editor spells out subject matter in a cursory way. Then an editor delves more into depth on same material or on related material. This methodology is operational within articles and this methodology is operational across articles. Bus stop (talk) 14:50, 15 June 2010 (UTC)
(←)I've been looking around at what we have as "introductory" articles [6] based on the template for those, and I'm seeing part of the problem here per the above "general to particular". Basically, given an article on topic X, that article will have a technically-heavy background section (T) and then summary-style drill-downs (S) that follow that. Alone that's good. Meanwhile, over in the intro article, we'll have the non-technical introduction of the topic (N) that may overlap with to some extent with T - however, for most purposes these are sections with two different types of content and approaches to discussing T. None of T, S, or N violate any verification/POV/OR policy so we want to include T, S, and N in WP, but T, S, and N are so large as if they were in the same article, it would violate SIZE. Taking this case, the question really is here: should the main article on X contain N and S, with T split off as (as "Technical background" or "mathematical derivation" or whatever is the most suitable topic, or should we retain the status quo with T and S in the main article and N off on its own.
That question leads us to who is the intended average audience of topic X. In general, WP urges to write towards someone that's aware of the English language and basic concepts, but otherwise not technical in that field. This would suggest that article X should start with N and S, and push T off to a separate article (N being aimed towards that audience). But I've also seen people argue that a basic familiarity with core concepts should be presumed, so we should start with T and S in X, with N off as the intro. Given the examples I'm seeing in intro articles and the main topic pages, I'd push my weight behind having X include N and S, with T off as a separate article, so that a person landing on the topic X always moves towards more specific material from the general. That said, there is a lot of copyediting that I see to be done to be able to streamline N and T into a single section (the example that stands out is entropy and the associated intro article). In other cases, the intro article is just labeled wrong: Introduction to quantum mechanics is actually History of quantum mechanics if you read it closely. I feel there may be situations where an introduction article that is all N by itself and T and S in the main article may be appropriate, but spot-checking our present examples, I'm just not seeing it. I don't want to rule out the possibility however, and still insist that introductory articles aren't always bad, but they can be avoided in many cases with the right copyediting and thought to article content.
One type of article that is still important for larger topics is an outline article, which can act as an intro article - though it should not get into any depth and only be sections with summaries of the more specific articles, organized appropriately to work as navigation aids for a large topic. That, I think, is more what this discussion should support over the use of intro articles for large topics. --MASEM (t) 15:34, 15 June 2010 (UTC)
MASEM brings to mind two or three things. First let's look at Quantum mechanics. This is something I noticed earlier. This time I simply did a Wikipedia search of main space articles with the title (or words) "Quantum mechanics". First there is the "main" Quantum mechanics article. This followed by Interpretation of quantum mechanics, Mathematical formulation of quantum mechanics, Introduction to quantum mechanics, Measurement in quantum mechanics, Schrödinger equation (which is central to quantum mechanics), Matrix mechanics (a formulation of quantum mechanics created by Werner Heisenberg , Max Born , and Pascual Jordan...), Relational quantum mechanics, Hamiltonian (quantum mechanics), Perturbation theory (quantum mechanics)... and the list continues. There is more on this page, and twenty more on the next. How many Quantum mechanics articles are there? I don't know. There is also a History of Quantum mechanics. The result of the searh is here. There is a lot of ground covered under the general topic "Quantum mechanics". Perhaps it can be argued that Quantum mechanics is being viewed from differenct perspectives, but it is still Quantum mechanics.
I don't know if everbody is a aware of this category entitled Category:Introductions. This category lists separate introduction articles. There is a rationale provided for the exsistence of these articles on the Category:Introductions page. Apparently there must be some agreement for the exsitence of these articles. Also there is Category:Articles with separate introductions. There is a template entitled {{seeintro}} for these articles. There is also Wikipedia:List of Introductory Articles which is apparently incomplete. Based on these items I could probably say that Introductory articles are an accepted part of the Wikipedia culture.
And one final thing. Editors on Wikipedia did not invent the concept of Introductory works or articles. As has been stated above, in different ways, this is an accepted communication or learning tool at universities, with text books, tutorials, and perhaps even part of the high school curriculum. ----Steve Quinn (talk) 23:04, 15 June 2010 (UTC)
Right. An introductory textbook is not the same as a popularization. A popularization may include mention of some of the conceptually/mathematically most difficult things because the author just wants to report on the interesting stuff without having to help the reader understand how these startling conclusions were reached. An introductory textbook is intended to take students from where they all presumably start, e.g., with a high school math background that includs trig and solid geometry, to as far as one can get in all directions or most directions (not tunnelling down in some specialized area) in the course of a semester or a year.
Quantum physics is almost equivalent to post-ninteenth-century physics. It is the successor of classical physics in all respects except for gravity. So the idea that anybody could give adequate coverage of the subject in 32k or 64k is incredible as far as I am concerned.
There are at least two fundamentally different ideas about how to introduce people to quantum mechanics. One idea is to teach students higher levels of calculus, and then hit them with Schrödinger's wave equations, and never teach them about classical physics. The reasoning behind this approach is that classical physics is wrong, that to the extent that one could argue that classical physics is right, it is just how quantum mechanics works out over a certain range of values, and that it is better for the students if they never learn a mistaken way of thinking about the world. One consequence of this idea, were it to be put into practice, is that most people would not learn physics unless we got most people to learn several years of calculus. There would be no physics taught in high school.
In a univeristy situation, where learning can be pretty much under the direction of a physics professor, one can learn enough calculus to keep up with a physics course that presents the laws of motion by deriving them using calculus -- rather than presenting them as formulas to be memorized as is done in a course for students who do not know calculus. The high school approach using memorization makes physics something that one must take on faith, and the only approach to grounding the formulas taught is to try to test them out in the physics lab.
The second fundamental approach to introducing people to quantum mechanics (or anything else in physics, for that matter) is to move the student from what they already know to some clearer understanding by supplying a little more information and helping the reader draw conclusions so that they actually come to understand the subject rather than simply taking statements about the subject on trust. In order to make the concepts comprehensible, it is generally helpful to put them in their temporal sequence. That kind of developmental approach will thus be in historical sequence, but the intent in the "Introduction to Quantum Mechanics" article was to facilitate the readers' understanding of the physics, not primarily to present an account of the history of the field. An account of what principles or laws were discovered when would not have required the math and the detailed conceptualization pertaining to the physical world.
I have a couple of books in my library, one is called an "Introduction to Quantum Mechanics," one of "The M.I.I Introductory Physics Series," and one is intended as a first-year college physics textbook. These books are intended neither for high school students nor for students working on their doctorates. They both have an undergraduate physics major readership in mind. As such, they neither write simply enough for high school students nor do they contain anything that the physics grad student would not already be expected to know. Their math level is intended to keep pace with the work of university students taking a five hour calculus class both freshman semesters and probably continuing with at least three hour courses later on. So the readership of these books is one that excludes all but exceptional secondary school students, and the concentration on the fundamental issues of modern physics means that grad students in physics would probably only use them for review.
The idea of an "introductory" physics writing would be to build the competency of students at a certain level. The standard Sears and Zemansky University Physics is an introductory text that condenses a series of very good physics text books by Francis Weston Sears on mechanics, optics, thermodynamics, etc. Even in ints first edition it was a fat, expensive book. If anyone had attempted to write a comparable book to include all of physics and all of the knowledge of physics that had already been presented in textbooks published at the same time, it surely would have required several equally fat volumes. If I recall correctly, the original Sears and Zemansky did not have a section on Relativity, so the decisions on what to teach first and what to teach later in the sequence may not have any absolute standard. On the other hand, it is a general principle of such writing that the fundamental stuff is taught before the stuff that is dependent on it.
Any writing on physics will be appropriate only for those people who have the preparation necessary to understand it, and people who have substantially higher preparation will find the material mostly irrelevant to their lives. That's different from writing in a subject whose information is basically "flat," e.g., statutory requirements for buildings over three stories tall in the European Union. P0M (talk) 08:46, 16 June 2010 (UTC)

Introductions: a topic or a source?

It is clear that are many books entitled "Introduction to XYZ". But does that mean that an Introduction is a seperate standalone topic? I am not convinced myself. In the same way there are "reliable" or "questionable" sources, so too can sources be classified as "Introductory" or "Advanced". If Wikipedia does not have articles such as "Reliable source about Quantum Mechanics", then why should there be articles on "Introductory sources about Quantum Mechanics"?

I think the problem is that Introductory articles are a form of systematic content fork that has arisen because editors cannot agree on how to edit articles by consensus. Where an article is the subject of huge range of sources, cherry picking the best ones is complex process. These introductory articles have been created so that editors don't have to make difficult choices about which sources are best, or maybe because they encounter resistence from so called "experts" a.k.a. article owners. Instead, they have just madeup an article topic and created an Introductory article instead of having a discussion about which sources to use, and which to discard.

As Bus Stop said earlier, the editorial process for writing articles involves several stages. First the editor spells out subject matter in a cursory way. Then an editor delves more into depth on same material or on related material. This methodology is operational within articles and this methodology is operational across articles. Simply ignoring these stages and creating content forks to avoid editorial discussion is not the way forward. These introductory articles represent lazy editorial practice and have no place in Wikipedia. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 10:44, 16 June 2010 (UTC)

Have you tried writing an article on maths? I couldn't as I dropped maths after high school. And remember that the idea reader is a bright 14-year old, and that most adults have no better readings skills. --Philcha (talk) 12:03, 16 June 2010 (UTC)
It is clearly common sense that "Introduction to X" is not a new topic, but part of existing topic X and need not be notable of itself. There are still other issues to deal with, but they are not some made-up context fork but instead part of the necessary decisions WP editors have to make about how to present a very large topic that spans multiple pages. --MASEM (t) 12:24, 16 June 2010 (UTC)
As Masem knows, "common sense" (aka his opinion) is not a rationale for inclusion. I think the case still stands: introductory level coverage is just another way of classifying a source, but its not a topic in its own right. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 12:54, 16 June 2010 (UTC)
WP is built by consensus, not objective rules. Common sense of consensus overturns whatever may be present or lacking in the sources. --MASEM (t) 13:06, 16 June 2010 (UTC)
Yes, apparently sources can be classified as "Introductory" or "Advanced", and they are. Books and textbooks in particular do have titles such as Introduction to... and Advanced.... Here are some "sources" that are "advanced".
Advanced physics, Advanced chemistry textbook, Advanced mathematical concepts, Advanced engineering mathematics textbook
Here are some sources that are apparently "Introductions to..."
Introduction to psychology textbooks, Introduction to programming textbooks, Introduction to quantum mechanics, introduction to chemistry textbook
Therefore, apparently, sources cited on Wikipedia derived from sources entitled "Introductory" by qualified experts (with expereince in their respective fields) would be acceptable for WP:RS. It is these persons who term the work or texbook "introductory" or "advanced", and they are qualified to determine which label is appropriate. It is the same "topic" - Chemistry, Engineering, or Mathematics, etc. But a distinction has been made by people eminently qualified to do so. Therefore, referecnes from these "Introductory" works would be appropriate for an "Introduction to..." article on Wikipedia. At the same time, I am willing to bet sources for these introductory books dovetails with sources for the advanced books. Hence, Wikipedia "Introduction to..." articles end up using these sources as well. And the argument becomes circular. ----Steve Quinn (talk) 17:55, 16 June 2010 (UTC)
Stating that introductory articles are content forks because editors cannot agree on how to edit articles by consensus is not grounded in fact. The process has been exactly the opposite. Introduction to QM, for example, was created explicitly because there was agreement to do so. Furthermore, collaboration, and consensus between a group of editors developed this article. In addition, as far as I know, this article has the support of the Physics community on Wikipedia.
There is an assertion that these introductory articles have been created so that editors don't have to make difficult choices about which sources are best. This statement is also not grounded in fact. One look at the references in the introductory articles, and especially, Intro to QM should reveal the quality of sources. And anyway, "best sources" have nothing to do with acceptability of sources, nor notablility of article. The benchmark is WP:RS and WP:VERIFY. Not "best sources".
There is a supposition that editors encounter resistance from another group of editors, for whatever reason, and this is the reason for an introductory article. Personally, I have to doubt that this is a strong motivating factor. More experienced editors would likely WP:PROD, speedily delete, or WP:AfD the article. For example, I believe I am addressing a group of vigilant editors in this thread. How likely is it that a nonsensical article will be given a pass by a group such as this?----Steve Quinn (talk) 18:33, 16 June 2010 (UTC)
I am afraid it is so. If your mother calls you Steve, and your doctor calls you Mr Quinn, they are addressing the same person: you would have to be schizophrenic to think they were different people. If a book is at introductory or advanced level, it is still about that particular topic - sources can't be schizophrenic, even if you argue they can. These are just labels that can be applied in different circumstances to any source, not just those with "Introduction" or "Advanced" in their title, but to all sources. The fact is that Introduction to Quantum Mechanics cites "advanced" as well as "introductory" sources. If an article cites sources that cover topics that are the subject of an existing standalone article, this is a very definite symptom of a content fork.--Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 21:32, 16 June 2010 (UTC)
By this logic we should delete all ledes as duplication of content from the body, and remove summary-style summaries typically used in conjunction with {{main}} or {{seealso}} templates, since they duplication information too.
WP, by consensus, can decide that for a very large or complex topic, that an article that may duplicate content but in a non-biased way, is necessary for helping every level of reader in comprehending the topic. Unbiased duplication is not content forking, as already determined from previous discussions there. --MASEM (t) 21:38, 16 June 2010 (UTC)
WP:CFORK does not actually ban content forks in principle. If it did, then the introductory articles we have would be the tiniest part of the problem. After all, most of the topics we're discussing are pretty clearly content forks of Science. No, the content forks that are discouraged are those that are redundant and those used to further a POV.
These introductory articles are not, generally speaking, redundant. They do not seek to duplicate the material in other existing articles. Rather, they serve to introduce the topic in a way that is difficult to do in the main article. They aim to explain the basic details of a topic so as to allow the main article to explain the topic in all its technical glory without constantly having to interrupt itself. They allow the reader to get a feel for the topic without constantly having to click on constantly click through links to work out WTF the article's on about.
We shouldn't be looking at a narrow interpretation of the rules but at the bigger picture. I contend that the limited use of introductory articles to aid readers in their understanding of highly technical topics is ultimately a good thing for the encyclopædia. That we want our readers to understand us and that - given our size constraints - introductory articles are likely the best way of doing this while maintaining due and appropriate coverage of the topics concerned. And that if this breaks the letter of some rule that's written down, so be it. Pfainuk talk 21:55, 16 June 2010 (UTC)
I agree. The main complaint that we have received about the Introduction to Quantum Mechanics article is that it is not easy enough, not that it fudges the science. P0M (talk) 06:51, 17 June 2010 (UTC)
I think the main point is that naming an article "Introduction to..." is not WP:RS, nor is it WP:OR. This is because there is plethora of sources available which are entitled "Introduction to..." Also, the "Introduction to..." articles on Wikipedia are not content forks. I also see that the presumption of good faith is lacking WP:AGF. Not related to that, please refrain from using me as an illustration or an example. I am not a book or an article. ----Steve Quinn (talk) 04:46, 17 June 2010 (UTC)
The Intro to QM article can be termed a spin-off article, because of how it came to be created, developed and established. See: WP:CFORK section entitled "Article spinouts - summar style". In the Quantum mechanics article the overview is the summation, and there is a link to Introduction to quantum mechanics. The other main, and introduction articles probably have the same or similar set up. This is in agreement with "summary style", WP:SS, and article size, WP:LENGTH, and WP:SPLIT. I believe that pretty much sums up the strategy and rationale employed. Certianly not a content fork. ----Steve Quinn (talk) 05:10, 17 June 2010 (UTC)
Right. This article was begun in September of 2005. Since that time very many people have contributed to it, and I can recall few if any cases where there were possible divergences in science from the senior article, which I and others would have jumped on immediately upon detecting them. Forks usually occur when one contributor finds himself/herself unable to get a certain point of view or interpretation of some subject accepted into the original article and therefore writes a new article that "explains things the way they are in reality." I've corresponded with some of the contributors to the senior article from time to time, calling their attention to things I found questionable or unclear in the Intro article, and none of them have challenged the accuracy of the article, claimed it to be a fork, etc. P0M (talk) 06:51, 17 June 2010 (UTC)
Its not a summary style article in fairness, because it fails WP:AVOIDSPLIT. It is entirely legitimate to have a heading within an article entitled "Introduction", but to create a standalone article based on a heading is a misunderstanding. There are no articles in Wikipedia entitled "Preface to Quantum Mechanics" or "Postscript to Quantum Mechanics" because that would silly. Having an article called "Introduction to Quantum Mechanics" is equally as silly. This article is a content fork, there can be no doubt. I don't see how you can have a "good content fork" if the two articles share the same sources and subject matter - it is just needless duplication. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 07:19, 17 June 2010 (UTC)
You're using "introduction" in term of #3 of wikt:introduction, while everyone else is talking about the common sense, non-literal version "introduction" #1. Of course we're not talking about the literal split-off of the introduction section of a topic, but instead an article that introduces the topic at a level lower than we normally use to write about the topic. Completely rationale and common sense in a work. --MASEM (t) 17:20, 17 June 2010 (UTC)
I disagree, and, more importantly, the status of this article has been reviewed by other readers with appropriate qualifications several times over the past five years. Pfainuk has explained the correct rationale for you (see above), but you are not responsive to his words. Some of what is useful to the reader without calculus, e.g., the matrix approach that Heisenberg lucked onto, would be regarded as a useless detour into old news by the reader in search of knowledge who has a good background in higher math because for that reader one hairy-looking equation encapsulates a few pages of elaboration needed to limn what Heisenberg had to do to produce the original solution that later got expressed with such economy.
Haggling over the word "introduction" will not be helpful. I forget what Paulc1001 originally called this article. It went by several names. Eventually one of the older heads around here told us to call it "Introduction..." because "that's what other articles of this type are called." In the Wikipedia context, an "introduction" refers to a treatment on the level of writing of Introducing Quantum Theory by J.P. McEvoy and Oscar Zarate. A senior article uses a level of writing more like An Introduction to Quantum Physics by A.P. French and Edwin F. Taylor. (It's in the M.I.T. Introductory Physics Series of textbooks.) The first book is an admirable treatment for the general reader. The second book is unreadable for anyone without at least a prior ten units of "physics for majors." It is over 600 pages long, and the writing is comparatively terse. Combining the two would make a concoction the likes of a dense steamed pudding into which marshmallows had been interspersed. P0M (talk) 18:05, 17 June 2010 (UTC)
I think you must have missed my earlier point. Both Quantum Mechanics and Introduction to Quantum Mechanics share the same subject matter and the same "advanced" sources, because they address the same topic directly and in detail - they are one and the same. Wikipedia is an encyclopedia that brings all of human knowledge to the reader at a level which is understandable. Some would argue that "one level of knowledge fits all" is not what Wikipedia is about, but I beg to differ. Simply put, Wikipedia is an encyclopedic reference source, not a place for scientific papers: A Wikipedia article should not be presented on the assumption that the reader is well versed in the topic's field. All articles in Wikipedia are more or less at an introductory level. You can pull out the Animal farm defense if you like ("all articles are equal, but some are more equal than others"), but I don't accept this line of thinking. The arguments that there are "introductory" articles and "advanced" articles, or that there are "senior" articles and "junior" articles is more or less the same old argument put forward for articles without a rationale for inclusion in Wikipedia: WP:IKNOWIT. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 22:56, 17 June 2010 (UTC)
Explaining article content from the same presumption of knowledge the reader has is certainly the right goal, but a topic particularly as complex as Quantum Mechanics means to set the stage to actually be able to talk about the topic in depth from that starting point means we spend 90% of the allotted WP:SIZE getting there. So suddenly we need at least one more article, once the background information has been developed, to go from there to actually discuss the topic. So either Quantum mechanics becomes the intro article and moving the core details to something else, or we accept that in certain cases like this, where the details on the topic are determined by consensus to be more important to the reader, then we shuffle all that buildup from the "presumed set of knowledge" for all readers to the point where they can appreciate the rest of the article.
And yes, I would actually expect an intro article and the main article to use the same quality sources. Most of those sources are going to have similar introductions within them to build up from a low-level of knowledge to field-specific, and there is no reason not to shun those in an introduction article just because we used them elsewhere. By necessarily there may be some duplication of information but it should not be great nor anywhere close to problematic if the introduction article is done properly. --MASEM (t) 00:20, 18 June 2010 (UTC)
I don't accept the argument that you need two articles to cover the same topic: that is duplication of effort. What we have here is Wikipedia editors running competing articles: this goes against Wikipedia's policy on consensus. These articles are about the same topic, using the same sources, at the same level - only the style and presentation differ. The result is one topic, covered by two summaries and two sets of sub-topics. Its down to editors to write one article by agreeing on what is the appropriate level of coverge, and what weight should be given to different sub-topics. There is no rationale for these articles, and it should be the objective of editors to effect a merger of these content forks. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 06:44, 18 June 2010 (UTC)
You are right they cover the same topic with the same sourced, but they are written in very different styles. Furthermore, I would argue the "sum" of the facts are also different. I cannot stress this enough: if we were paper or had no SIZE limit, intro articles would be impractical over having that content at the start of the actual article on the topic. However, we have SIZE limits, and thus the necessity of these articles are required. --MASEM (t) 12:23, 18 June 2010 (UTC)

Back to the left margin.

I was working on something else and I came across a professional programmer's reactions to different kinds of books intended to help people learn programming in Objective C.

I would agree with the previously-reviewed notion that this book as an absolute beginner's guide is misleading. I happen to be an experienced programmer who works day-to-day in an object-oriented language (but not Objective-C), utilizing design patterns. I found the shorter explanations useful...I learned a few things and some (Objective-) C concepts were made clear, but I didn't have to wade through pages of "this is a loop. This is a function" that gets tiring to one who understands the general programming concepts. But as one who moonlights as a college professor that teaches these very same concepts, I would expect a beginner to get quickly overwhelmed by this book.


I think that it is clear from the world of paper publishing that some books are written for novice programmers or novice students of Buddhism, and other books are written for the advanced student who may be a religion professor. There is a book that attempts to say everything about the subject of Buddhism, but it is larger than the Encyclopedia Britanica and the Encyclopedia Americana combined. It's a collection, so the writing levels are uneven. Just a book that attempts to be "complete" and is written in English, makes for a very substantial weight in one's backpack. But such a book is not a combination of "Buddhism for the Novice Student" and the kind of professional prose that someone like Sangarakshita will write.

Efficient communication depends on the levels of both the writing and of the readers. What is a riddle or a mystery for even the fairly well prepared reader may be a clear communication for the person with a great depth of knowledge. For instance, Born saw almost immediately that the multiplication of the matrices that Heisenberg's "magical" equations could set up would involve inevitable differences, and he even saw that the differences between them could be calculated. The factors that he determined to play a necessary part in these differences, i and h, are the same factors that appear in Heisenberg's uncertainty principle. Almost anything that Heisenberg could have added to his breakthrough article would have been excess baggage to Born, and yet many physicists who study that article find it most difficult to comprehend. The difference between Born and the rest of them is probably not intelligence but the depth of Born's math preparation and the fact that he was totally involved in the social context out of which that paper had grown. Heisenberg's writing may have been sketchy, but it didn't matter to Born because he already knew all that background.

Wikipedia should not be bound by the conventions of paper publishing -- especially when following those conventions would decrease the benefits offered to various kinds of readers. If it is appropriate to find an analogy, perhaps the appropriate one would be a publishing house that offers a complete range of books on each subject. P0M (talk) 07:40, 19 June 2010 (UTC)

As I said earlier, I don't accept the Animal farm excuse that "some articles are more equal than others". I would suggest that if the article on the Heisenberg uncertainty principle is hard to comprehend, then it should be rewritten, rather than to starting again from scratch and creating a content fork in the process.--Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 13:33, 19 June 2010 (UTC)

RFC: Should Notability (fiction) be reinstated as a guideline?

There has been a long and detailed debate about the inclusion criteria for fictional topics, which have involved many changes and proposals. Have the discussions reached a point where Wikipedia:Notability (fiction) could be reinstated as guideline? Comments welcome at the RFC. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 10:14, 18 June 2010 (UTC)

Citing yourself via contribution to a tabloid article

When an editor contributes (via interview) to a press article, then adds material from that article to the related Wikipedia article and cites the press article as a source, they are, in effect, citing themselves. Is there any policy or guideline that covers this kind of situation? i've posted a COI notice concerning such a case [[7]] --Zanthorp (talk) 05:18, 19 June 2010 (UTC)

Would there have been a problem if a different editor had added the source? If not, then the only issue is the possibility of CoI. OrangeDog (τ • ε) 22:09, 19 June 2010 (UTC)



To me, the flagged revision logo is too similar to the CBS logo (see this file: File:CBS news logo.jpg) and is an invitation for a trademark infringement suit... Is it sufficiently different to pass the test? (talk) 05:07, 19 June 2010 (UTC)

Trademark law is not copyright law; it largely depends upon the context in which the image is being used. I think, however, they have already thought about changing the FlaggedRevs image on both trademark and other grounds. - Jarry1250 [Humorous? Discuss.] 11:23, 19 June 2010 (UTC)
It may be worth looking at Wikipedia:SOSUMI Fasach Nua (talk) 19:08, 19 June 2010 (UTC)

Cross-posting everywhere I know there's a related conversation: see commons:Commons:Deletion requests/File:Redaktor Wikipedia 600px.png, commons:Commons:Deletion requests/File:Wikipedia Reviewer.svg, and commons:Commons:Deletion requests/File:FlaggedRevs-2-1.svg. VernoWhitney (talk) 23:53, 19 June 2010 (UTC)

On denying requests for reviewer permission

Comments invited: Wikipedia talk:Reviewing#On denying requests for reviewer permission. –xenotalk 15:50, 20 June 2010 (UTC)

Is W3C Software Notice and License compatible with Wikipedia

There is a related discussion at Wikipedia:Media_copyright_questions#W3C_Software_Notice_and_License.

Is the W3C Software Notice and License compatible with the CC-BY-SA license? If so, could someone please create a template I could use to tag the appropriate files.Smallman12q (talk) 19:42, 20 June 2010 (UTC)

Archaic "common knowledge" terminology

I have looked but cannot find any Wikipedia policies on archaic terminology. Additionally I have read the policies relating to common knowledge but there is no policy addressing former common knowledge that has fallen into disuse.

I recently watched the old movie "Bell, Book and Candle" with Jimmy Stewart. In that movie there is a sign outside an herb shop listing various conditions that can be treated by the herbs. These names (as used in that time) were obviously common knowledge at the time (why else would they be used on public signage?) but some of them have fallen out of common usage or been replaced by more precise terminology. I wanted to know what diseases they meant so I went to Wikipedia and found very few answers. Here are the names I did not know, of which only two were actually helpful:

I have always considered an encyclopedia as a reference tool first and foremost. As a kid I had the 26 volume set plus an unabridged dictionary. Whenever I had a question on a word or a concept I could go to the bookshelf and find the answer in one of those 27 books. So I somewhat expect that is the way Wikipedia ought to work, and usually it does. Now however I have run into an oddity of material that I think ought to be in the encyclopedia but isn't.

How should Wikipedia deal with archaic terminology for what were once "common knowledge" terms? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:02, 14 June 2010 (UTC)

I don't think this is a policy matter, but rather a content issue. If WP has anything on these terms, you can find it with the search function (which searches text as well as titles). Redirects from common names (as per milk leg) is appropriate; as is a mention on disambiguation pages (if the term is verifiable, and not just made up for a TV programme); content could also be included on the condition pages, or a history of medicine page. If a search of WP does not yield an answer for any question you have, then try asking at the reference desks: there's usually someone there who can help. The information could then be added to the appropriate article. Gwinva (talk) 08:43, 14 June 2010 (UTC)
Thanks DuncanHill. (talk) 16:28, 14 June 2010 (UTC)
I've posted your question regarding the meaning of the terms at Wikipedia:Reference_desk/Science#Old_medical_terms. Gwinva (talk) 08:53, 14 June 2010 (UTC)
I haven't seen the movie, but its lede calls it a romantic comedy. Is it possible that an animal disease was used for humor and general ailments like spleen trouble or blood disease were used to fill out the sign? The wiktionary entry on unshoe also mentions hollow heels in a line about horses, so perhaps it used to be common to refer to hooves that way. —Ost (talk) 15:47, 15 June 2010 (UTC)

The reason I think this could be a policy issue is because "common knowledge" is often difficult to cite, and here we are talking about colloquial or informal common knowledge vocabularies that have become obsolete. I guess -- and it is dangerous I know -- but in the same vein as Notability is not temporary I wonder if common knowledge is temporary? Will current articles that are using current common knowledge have to be subjected to having to add citations as time moves forward? I've met people today who did not understand why we say "dial a phone" -- yet once the concept of dialing was common knowledge and I doubt very seriously anyone could find a way to cite that. Should we (can we?) anticipate the impact of time on this issue? (talk) 18:35, 14 June 2010 (UTC)

  • Common knowledge is not only temporary, it is a patchwork of regional/ethnic/local "knols" that are very rarely collated together. No, depreciation of common knowledge is rarely predictable because we cannot predict the new knowledge that supersedes the old. We'd recognize the change when it's already irreversible. Even the more or less straightforward technological progress (dial -> push button -> scroll right over glass) is not predictable (especially when it takes us backwards). Social phenomena, from revolutions to that new reality show that premiers in September, are absolutely out of control. East of Borschov (talk) 09:38, 15 June 2010 (UTC)
So how then does Wikipedia deal with ideas like "dialling" ... which currently is not sourced and which is very unlikely to be challenged because it is still "common (enough) knowledge" for the moment. If we cannot cite it now, how will we ever cite it or any other similar terms in the future. Do we start deleting every article/section that has uncited common knowledge? Another good example is the abbreviation "LP" ... most of us with any years on this planet know this is a "Long Playing phonograph 33 rpm 12 inch recording disc" (as opposed to 45rpm or 78 rpm discs). Yet there are kids/teens who have no clue what a record is let alone a "45" or an "LP". I would be amazed to see a WP:RS citation anywhere that says "an LP is the nickname for a 33 rpm 12 inch record". Yet as an encyclopedia shouldn't a teenager doing his homework essay on the History of Music be able to come across a mention of something called an LP and then come to Wikipedia (hmmm .. can any find a WP:RS citation that says "WP was the common nickname for Wikipedia"?) and find out what those cryptic two letters mean. (talk) 18:54, 16 June 2010 (UTC)
You shouldn't have any trouble finding a source. If ordinary dictionaries haven't got it, there are dictionaries of abbreviations. Peter jackson (talk) 10:00, 17 June 2010 (UTC)
Chambers 10th ed & Merriam-Webster Collegiate 11th both have LP = long-playing (record) & the latter adds 33. Peter jackson (talk) 17:13, 17 June 2010 (UTC)
"Milk leg" is a condition which has the Latin name "Phlegmasia alba dolens" which is a kind of phlebitis of the femoral vein, etc.
Always try something on the line of "dictionary whites" (without quotes) in your search engine first. More often than not it comes up. "Wobbles and thrumps" has been mentioned in "Bloodbrothers" but not what they are.
As for the more general terms you mentioned such as "blood disease", "spleen trouble", or "catarrh", that could be almost anything. I am sure the words you saw advertised outside the apothecaries' in the movie exist, but they are so obscure that no-one in Wikipedia has stumbled upon them. Little point finding fault with the Wikipedians. It is a matter of what is likely to be found in general literary works, it is only then that people start looking for these obscure terms. Dieter Simon (talk) 23:58, 17 June 2010 (UTC)
Ah Dieter Simon, but that is my point. At one time those terms were 'not obscure ... now in time they have become obscure/obsolete/archaic. Because they were common usage words back then they were never "notable" enough to be written about back then and now they never will be. I am not so much concerned with "thrumps" (though I am curious) as I am with the key question ... How will Wikipedia deal with words that are common usage now but which eventually become obscure. I know WP is not a crystal ball ... but that applies to predicting what will become notable. How do we handle material that is well known (undocumented common knowledge) now but someday may be unknown? How do we preserve that knowledge within the encyclopedia? Then, by extrapolation, how can we apply such a principal to already lost common knowledge so that we can include it into the encyclopedia appropriately? (talk) 02:41, 19 June 2010 (UTC)
But all those diseases are notable, and we do have articles on them, we just aren't sure which ones they are. Notability applies to subjects/topics, not the current name for the subject/topic. Recording the definitions and meanings of words is what Wiktionary does, not Wikipedia. OrangeDog (τε) 19:41, 19 June 2010 (UTC)

Hi,, sorry lacking you name I can only address you thus: the main point is not so much obscurity, obsoleteness or archaic terms, it is what sources are available to substantiate creating an article about these subjects. As you know, we can only create articles about subjects which are already in the public domain, that is things that have been written about by other authors, that have been published already somewhere and we can thus cite them in the articles. That is not only a Wikipedia concept but any encyclopaedia's concept, we can only substantiate those things by citation, in other words we cannot conduct our own research and experimentation, nor even create new words.

In this way, it doesn't really matter where these words once existed, whether they were once common or not, or whether they were notable or not, you can only create articles about "words", "expressions" or "concepts" if they existed and were in the public domain, be it in how ever so obscure dictionaries defining them, or whether they were included in literature of fiction, the sciences or other cultural sources. In other words, if you can find sources, by all means, create your article. With regard to your movie (or any other medium, come to that) the above terms you were querying are only notable in so far as you can substantiate them with sources and of course find definitions for them. You cannot create an article on something that cannot be shown to exist in existing literature. I suppose, that is a kind of notability. So as long as there are no sources there can be no article.

As for words, terms, concepts and ideas that are common now but that might become obsolete in future, well, that is something nobody has any control over and cannot predict, and apart from that can be of little concern of our present generation. Let the future take care of itself. The whole thing would be a matter of pure supposition, another thing we in Wikipedia cannot indulge in. It is facts and nothing but facts we are concerned with, which are citeable, be that in the arts, sciences or philosophy. Dieter Simon (talk) 23:15, 19 June 2010 (UTC) Sorry, forget to enter an Edit summary. Dieter Simon (talk) 23:23, 19 June 2010 (UTC)

Ah! I see why you do not understand my concern. Two things...
  • (1) OrangeDog: This is not about notability but about verifiability. An article needs to be notable, but a fact or factoid within the article does not, merely verifiable and of course relevant. However, while the latter revered policy is sacrosanct various essays (and yes I know essays have no real power other than persuasion) discussing citation policy show a common theme that common knowledge usually seldom needs to be cited. In fact, as I note above, the article on dialling is notable when discussed in the context of dialling as a mathematical and chronological concept. In that article however is the uncited statement "Dialling usually means to make a telephone call by operating its rotary dial.". Only the most tendacious of editors would actually add a FACT tag to that statement but if someone did then where would one find a citation to support such common knowledge? A dictionary would lend a definition for the word dialing but the "... usually means..." part is what would be hard to cite on the first statement. That would be like finding a citation for "people usually breath through their mouth or nose" (some people do not, such a tracheotomy patients) yet we all know it is true and no one who is sane would challenge that statement. Likewise we all know that dialling usually does refer to using a telephone -- now -- but in time fewer and fewer people may know that. (talk) 03:49, 20 June 2010 (UTC)
  • (2) Dieter Simon: Good policies often take into account the foreseeable eventualities. To fail to do so is to be forever reactionary rather than proactive. Consider, when Wikipedia was founded the first policies, the five pillars, were all proactive because they recognized certain situations (like neutrality) would likely arise and that certain risks would need to be prevented. Here we know for a fact that some currently uncited common knowledge is likely to become obsolete. That is a foreseeable eventuality. Exactly what factoids will be affected is unknown, just as is predicting exactly which editors will be uncivil is unknown. Should we not have a policy for civility just because we cannot predict with accuracy exactly when it will need to be applied? In this case we have a rare opportunity to carefully think about this policy before it becomes problematic. The other choice is wait until someone starts fact tagging all sorts of common knowledge -- in good faith -- and disrupting vast numbers of articles. So I once again will try to refocus the discussion on this question that I have been asking: How should Wikipedia deal with the very forseeable eventuality of obsolete common knowledge? What should be our policy on this issue? (talk) 03:49, 20 June 2010 (UTC)
Ok, I take your point, but to what I was referring was the existing guide-line WP:V, which puts my point in a nutshell. Yes, perhaps I should have mentioned the magic word "verifiability" before. Well, if you think you can reconcile your proactive anticipating future trends then please do so. I somehow think though, that you would be getting very close to that other term "own research", which just would not be encyclopaedic, certainly not Wikipedic. This would include any guessing at where the future lies for any word, however you dress it up. Without citing a source any speculation as to where the history of a term lies, you almost surely would be reverted by the next editor who comes across it. What you certainly can do, is to cite published material by established authors who are speculating as to how a word may evolve, or pointing out even generally future trends of language as a whole. What you cannot do is to make that speculation yourself.
This is not a personal opinion on my part to confront you with unpleasantness or incivility, it is just to draw your attention to an existing Wikipedia guideline. So, I do wish you well in your endeavours, to find these sources to substantiate your search for future trends. Dieter Simon (talk) 01:02, 21 June 2010 (UTC)
First, I would like to say that I have sensed NO unpleasantness or incivility on your part. You have been civil and collegiate in this discussion and I appreciate that very much. I am quite certain your opinions are honest and good faith disagreements and I wish more Wikipedians would learn from your example. Thank you sir.
Second, I fear that somehow I have still left the issue cloudy. If I am correctly understanding your comments you seem to feel I wish to create some sort of a documented prediction on some specifically identified data (words, phrases, concepts) that I think will become less common knowledge. Nothing could be further from the truth. I certainly have no desire to try and be some sort of Wiki-Nostradamus. What I am seeking comment from other WP:VPP folks on is the creation of a policy (in the generic sense of the word; essay/guideline/policy ... whatever seems most agreeable) which would resemble Notability is not temporary and "in a nutshell" would say something like:

"In the eventuality that an uncited article element or section which has been unchallenged for considerable time becomes challenged, an editor may attempt to gain concensus that the challenged element was able to endure in the past because it was common knowledge and should continue to be treated as such."

The rest of the policy would cover specifics such as defining "considerable time" and outlining a process for building such a consenus .. perhaps by restricting it to a consensus among the admins to help prevent gaming the system. Perhaps something like an RfD process but in this case for "salvaging" challenged facts on the rare occasions when something once common knowledge becomes just a cultural memory. I use the word "rare" with some certainty that most (but not all) common knowledge facts can be cited and that what remains would become obsolete only slowly and periodically. I know what I have just described is crude and needs refinement (which is why I am asking for input). I also know it will be controversial -- as it should be -- but I think it will be much easier to deal with this issue by creating an anticipatory policy before a specific instance arises where individual editors would have vested interests and agendas. (talk) 12:48, 21 June 2010 (UTC)

Mass Imagocide

I'm sure this has been discussed many times before, but what's with the mass deletions of nearly every image? Why have the deleting aspies using automated messages been allowed such power.

I noted that User:MBisanz brags about having deleted 60344 pages!

For instance, and image of a money frog because it "is a sculpture"! What a ridiculous decision. These people target those not using Wikipedia frequently (often because of stupid decisions like this). Then they discuss it in vague, ignored areas of the site. Tristanb (talk) 09:00, 19 June 2010 (UTC)

User:MBisanz is probably right with that one. Most people don't understand intellectual property law, and we understand why not. Many images people upload images that aren't acceptable on Wikipedia over legal concerns. That's most often the case for deletion. On another note, pages are not necessarily images, in fact, images probably make up a very small share of the 60,000 or so. - Jarry1250 [Humorous? Discuss.] 10:16, 19 June 2010 (UTC)
Most images are not deleted. Admins are able to rack up very large numbers of image deletions because they tend to be fairly straight forward. The issue with the image you point to is that it does not fall within the limits of Freedom of panorama see Commons:Commons:Freedom of panorama for more details.©Geni 10:23, 19 June 2010 (UTC)
Discussion of FOP is pointless unless you know the location where the image was taken. This kitschy ashtray (or is it a melee weapon?) could be anywhere. Tristan has not mentioned the location ever (could be his bathroom but we don't know where it is either). East of Borschov (talk) 10:54, 19 June 2010 (UTC)
If the uploader or someone else cannot provide enough information to verify if FOP would apply or not, we need to assume non-free per our free content missions. Content needs to be explicitly confirmed as free to treat it as free. --MASEM (t) 13:29, 19 June 2010 (UTC)
Masem: it seems that you assume that it is a copyrightable work of art before even approaching your mission. But is it? East of Borschov (talk) 14:19, 19 June 2010 (UTC)
We have to assume that it is copyrighted unless explicitly stated otherwise. The onus is on the uploader to prove the image is either free or has a valid FU rationale. If they fail to do so, the image needs to be removed. Resolute 14:25, 19 June 2010 (UTC)
Particularly given that most copyright laws around the world presume copyright unless explicitly stated, making the assumption of free content a necessary requirement to show that no copyright exists. --MASEM (t) 14:33, 19 June 2010 (UTC)
I would point out in that connection that we don't have to comply with "copyright laws around the world". We have to comply with United States copyright law. I suppose an individual editor uploading from outside the States might be liable under another jurisdiction's law, but that's not what controls our policies. --Trovatore (talk) 06:21, 20 June 2010 (UTC)
Again, before talking of "assumed copyrighted" ask yourself "is it copyrightable?" Is a run-of-the-mill ashtray a work of art or a common household item? Does a (c) stamped on a toilet paper holder make it copyrightable? East of Borschov (talk) 04:38, 22 June 2010 (UTC)
Tristan has also not noted that he undeleted that and another image out of process. Stifle (talk) 13:09, 19 June 2010 (UTC)

I know firsthand that there are always a chorus of complaints about every deletion forum, so I'm going to limit my gripes to one specific issue that has a solution: lack of notice. Typically image deletions occur only with a notice on the image description page and (maybe) on the uploader's talk page. But it should be required that whenever any image that is in use in articles is listed for deletion, a notice should be placed on those articles' talk pages and/or on the image's captions in those articles. A common deletion rationale is that the image fails WP:NFCC#1, i.e., that it's a non-free image that could be replaced by a free one. As that analysis requires a discussion of how the image is in use in the article, what relevant information it provides, and what information a replacement could provide, article contributors would typically be the most capable of answering those questions. Ideally, I'd like to see discussions on claims of replaceability happen first on an article's talk page rather than jumping to a deletion nom straight away. Unfortunately, my experience has been that some are not interested in that discussion, but rather just in seeing that an image is deleted with as little effort as possible. postdlf (talk) 15:01, 19 June 2010 (UTC)

  • Since I'm personally called out, I've been an admin for two and a half years now and had over a 99.5% success rate in my deletions. I disagree with the strictness of our image policy, but follow it because that is what the community wants. To call me an "aspie" is rather offensive and not what I would expect from another admin. Further, I would encourage anyone who disagrees with my actions to bring them to my attention and if they are not satisfied with my response, to either follow one of the established procedures for overturning it (DRV, ANI, etc) or recall me. In this case I see others have explained my actions, so I don't think there is anything specific I need to do further at this time. MBisanz talk 04:14, 20 June 2010 (UTC)
Tangentially, most of the image deletion notices I've come across hinge on seemingly minor issues about properly citing sources and even more pedantic issues, such as improper links to The Commons. In most cases 5-10 seconds of work resolves the problem, but the deletionists never do that work, as far as I've seen. They just post templates and delete, unless overtaxed editors like myself notice such templates on other--often semi-inactive user pages--and "save" the image myself by doing the 5-10 seconds of work. But even I am sometimes semi-active and perfectly fine images get deleted because no one--most notably the template-pasting deletionist has done the 10 seconds of work to make all good. Compound this with the habit of marking tens of images for deletion in one swoop and the "drive-by" deletionists in effect force people like me to forego working on improving *content* in order to save useful images with imperfect metadata. Every time this happens I grow more frustrated with these kind of deletionists. I wish they would not just paste a template but take a few moments to see if the problem is relatively easy to fix, and then fix it themselves. Not long ago I spent about 30 minutes saving 10-20 images from deletion when I would much rather have been improving the content of certain pages. It was obvious to anyone taking a moment to think that the images were fine but needed additional metadata. Every time I experience this kind of thing my opinion of deletionists drops another few notches. I'm sure there are thoughtful deletionists, like perhaps MBisanz, but in my experience the majority are not helpful and do more harm than good--and, again my impression, there seems to be a rapidly increasing number of these kind of users. apologies for ranting--my frustration on this issue has been simmering a long while now. The editor I most enjoyed collaborating with recent left Wikipedia in digust over this type of careless "drive-by" deletionism. All this said, I do understand the need for images to be well sourced with good metadata. Still, please have a care! When posting deletion templates take some time to see if the issue can be fixed relatively easily--and if so, SO FIX IT. Thanks. Pfly (talk) 09:41, 20 June 2010 (UTC)
There was a discussion on this aspect a few months ago, and basically the conclusions were this: it is not the burden of the admins to fix errors that are not obvious to repair in image descriptions/rationales. If it is not immediately obvious the source of the image, or what other problems there may be with an image link. it could take 5 secs or 5 hrs to resolve that point, something admins don't have time to do. Now, if there is a single admin that is clearly deleting images that seem to be easily fixed, that's cause for concern, but most image deleting admins are aware what is "easy" and what isn't. --MASEM (t) 12:48, 20 June 2010 (UTC)
(Note: I'm speaking in general terms, not accusing Masem or anyone specific of anything, and I agree that the image that kicked off this discussion should probably be deleted) Often the tagging, deletion, removal of images from articles, restoration or reupload of the image, and restoration to articles, all takes far more effort and time than it does to correct a problem with an image's NFUR. This was particularly true when NFUR was first being implemented, and uses that were clearly permissible even under the new criteria (such as the cover of a book in an article on that book) were being tagged for deletion because a boilerplate NFUR had not yet been plugged in. In such cases where there was no legal concern, I found it hard to understand why deletion was being given such urgency rather than the issue viewed as one to be corrected over time. I don't know how much that kind of deletion tagging is happening now, but I know it still isn't often acknowledged that it takes valuable time and effort to find or scan a non-free image, upload it, describe it, and place it within an article. If an image is deleted because of fixable reasons, then all of that effort is needlessly wasted, unless another admin happens to spend his time undeleting it and fixing what could have been fixed in the first place.
We are all volunteers, so claiming that policy dictates that someone tag something for deletion or delete it outright is a cop-out, because we all decide when and where we're going to go out of our way to delete something, when we're going to ignore it for someone else to deal with, or when we're going to deal with it in another way. No one will strip you of your admin powers for leaving a message on an article talk page in lieu of tagging an image for deletion, like "hey, I'm concerned this isn't a solid non-free use; maybe you should look for a replacement or better explain your rationale to prevent its eventual deletion". And that comes down to a difference of approach: are you deciding to treat it as a matter of "law enforcement," or to treat it as an issue to resolve collaboratively. postdlf (talk) 16:06, 21 June 2010 (UTC)
The urgency to assure non-free media meets with policy is set forth by the Foundation in their Licensing policy that all wikis they fund are expected to run under. Note that we're talking about images that have broken rationales that don't include things like a proper license template, no article title, no source information, or clear replacement from free images. These are all appropriate reasons to tag and delete without comment if they are not fixed. On the other hand, if everything else is ok but the rationale is disputed, that should not be deleted via a CSD-type approach but needs to be xFD. This is all spelled out at WP:CSD#Files. And it is important again that what we do have listed under CSD for images are all things that fixing may be trivial to the uploader but not to anyone else. The image uploader should be notified when one of their images is flagged by CSD so they can fix it within time, but if they fail to do so, that's unfortunate but the Foundation has set these rules. --MASEM (t) 16:15, 21 June 2010 (UTC)


One thing I've never understood about Wikipedia's deletion policy is that articles are guilty until proven innocent. Anyone can post an article for deletion willy nilly; the burden of proof falls on the article's editors to defend it. While this works for essays and blatant cases of self-promotion, on issues of notability it becomes a handicap. Surely it should be the job of the deleter to make his case? A deleter should come armed with evidence of the article's lack of notability, such as Google searches. I would also suggest that "deletion hammering" (nominating an article for deletion more than twice in six months, say) should be made illegal. Serendipodous 12:41, 20 June 2010 (UTC)

It is impossible to prove a lack of sources. Also add to the fact that our verifibility policy places the burden of sourcing on those that want to keep it, and thus it is necessary to provide the correct sourcing if you want to ensure your article is kept. --MASEM (t) 12:45, 20 June 2010 (UTC)
The one problem I have with the current deletion policy is mainly the unfriendly nature that it has towards new article development, and the combative nature that it introduces in terms of article supporters and defenders. More significantly, it tends to encourage article ownership, something that supposedly WP:OWN tries to avoid but in fact the opposite really must occur when you have a dedicated deletionist slaming hard on an article because they think that particular topic is too silly (or whatever other bias they may have against the article) for inclusion in a "serious" encyclopedia. After an article goes through the RfD grinder mill, you certainly feel much more protective of the article afterward.
It really is the issue in regards to new contributors and having a contribution treated like it really doesn't matter, that not everybody can contribute and that Wikipedia is made up of a bunch of elitists that won't let you into their little club. For somebody new to Wikipedia and perhaps not really familiar with all of the policies, it can be particularly daunting to suddenly encounter the full Wikipedia politics all at once with an article that has been worked upon in good faith but with perhaps a couple of flaws that need to be worked on. Mark-ups, tagging for deletion (in most of its flavors), and certainly most of the "automated" anti-vandalism tools are certainly unhelpful for somebody just getting their toes wet for the first time or so with Wikipedia. Perhaps they've even worked on other articles before hand and the new article is their first time to do something a bit different. To me, spending time mentoring a new contributor (or even somebody who has been away for awhile) is far and away more productive than shutting them down and telling that contributor to go away.... we don't need them. Some folks wonder why Wikipedia is stagnating.... and I can name this as one of the reasons why it is happening.
BTW, in terms of nominating an article multiple times for deletion, I personally think that the second and subsequent discussions ought to have a much higher burden of proof in terms of deletion, and the onus of "proof" that the deletion must take place falls squarely on that person who is making the proposal for deletion. Particularly when it hits deletion request #3, there must either be some major policy change (it does happen) or some previously unresolved issue in the previous discussions that should have had some sort of resolution. Bringing up deletion for the same criteria as was used previously should make a "speedy keep" and an instant termination of the discussion. --Robert Horning (talk) 14:00, 20 June 2010 (UTC)
This is less of an issue than you think, as there are many people at AfD who will work to defend salvagable articles - the article creator is rarely the only one defending it. The best way to aid the process is to be one of these people. Dcoetzee 03:36, 22 June 2010 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Stand-alone lists (television)


What should our policy be on articles that contain lists related to television? You are invited to join the discussion at Wikipedia talk:Stand-alone lists (television). Taric25 (talk) 22:39, 20 June 2010 (UTC) (Using {{Please see}})

Already have an RfC at Wikipedia talk:Stand-alone lists (television), making multiple ones redundant. -- AnmaFinotera (talk · contribs) 06:35, 21 June 2010 (UTC)
Sorry, I fixed it. Taric25 (talk) 19:44, 21 June 2010 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Mediation Committee/Policy/Draft has been marked as a policy

Wikipedia:Mediation Committee/Policy/Draft (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, 23 June 2010 (UTC)

Synthesis policy under discussion at WP:NOR discussion page

There is a proposed amendment to the current policy on synthesis under discussion here: If you have an opinion, please share it.Ghostofnemo (talk) 02:06, 23 June 2010 (UTC)

I read the news about Wikipedia relaxing its rules about 2000 articles and I'm thinking

It doesn't solve anything. English Wikipedia has the following simple problem: The large (populous) articles are on a very good footing: hundreds to thousands of users "watch" them at any time. This brings the usual 10 to 20 who will be throwing (and highlighting) the "hard rules" and will remove a lot of the junk. This is useful for the big articles. The problem is that very small articles (few wikipedians) may remain under "fascism" because one or two of the "hardcores" have taken over and ignore "ignore rules when it's a deterrent" with various excuses. i.e. what should be relaxed are the small rather than the large articles. -- (talk) 15:02, 16 June 2010 (UTC)

The 2000 articles are a trial, if it works this will be extended across Wikipedia. If editors are owning articles this can be raised. I don't think characterising article ownership as "fascism" is at all helpful. Fences&Windows 16:18, 16 June 2010 (UTC)
The system still requires people to review the changes to the article. If only a couple people are watching a small article, this likely won't change that. It could actually make things worse, as then the people WP:OWN-ing the article could make it so that changes they don't like are never seen by anyone. Mr.Z-man 22:11, 16 June 2010 (UTC)
Groan. This has been endlessly debated already. After years of bickering and delays it is going to happen as a trial run. I think it's a bit soon to be announcing what the results of that trial will be. I'm not saying I support the idea of flagged revisions, in fact I don't like it all, but it seems clear the trial run is going to proceed and there is little point in more hypothetical conversation about it at this juncture. Once it's been up and running for a bit and the actual results can be seen would be a better time. Beeblebrox (talk) 22:46, 16 June 2010 (UTC)
In any case the current trial doesn't cover the sort of problem that seems to be raised at the head of this section, i.e. bias. Peter jackson (talk) 10:03, 17 June 2010 (UTC)
And it cannot address scalability, not even remotely, which is critical if it's to expand to (at least) the BLPs. It needs a larger, six-digit test population. East of Borschov (talk) 10:58, 19 June 2010 (UTC)
Couldn't a use who "owns" a minor, little-watched article revert edits they don't like whether or not a flagged revision system exists? Just can't see how flagged reversions will have much effect on minor 'owned' articles, other than adding a new method to many others already existing--simple reversion being the most obvious. Pfly (talk) 09:20, 20 June 2010 (UTC)
Exactly. The only possible benefit they might have in such cases is that people will at least be looking at the article & edits, might notice the problems & might do something about them. But how would such articles get on the list in the 1st place? Peter jackson (talk) 09:52, 23 June 2010 (UTC)

Category:Specific-source templates

Is there any reason why most of Category:Specific-source templates shouldn't be substituted and deleted under CSD T3? Does templates like Template:Cite newspaper The Times do anything other than make it more difficult to standardize major templates like Template:Cite news? For another example, Template:Gazette QLD is nothing more than template:cite news with "work = Queensland Government Gazette" filled in. -- Ricky81682 (talk) 06:08, 21 June 2010 (UTC)

It makes them marginally easier to cite? (And anything to encourage citations is good.) --Cybercobra (talk) 07:03, 21 June 2010 (UTC)
It also makes them more difficult for others to understand what's going on, and I'm more concerned about new editors looking at pile of templates they are supposed to use for every book they get over some experienced editor not spending a few seconds copying and pasting a full tag for a book they've cited before. Either way, I'm just trying to get a better idea. This last year was the worst-case scenario I can imagine (essentially, it literally is just a book citation but with the author's bizarre idiosyncrasies as to parameter names) and most make sense but I'll list some of the orphaned ones to clean it out a bit. -- Ricky81682 (talk) 07:36, 21 June 2010 (UTC)
It would be better to change them to use {{cite book}}/{{cite news}}/etc. if you are concerned about maintainability. OrangeDog (τε) 11:49, 21 June 2010 (UTC)
I don't really see how they make it any easier to cite. The names are unweildy and I think it far better for any editor wanting to use cite templates to just learn how to properly use the one, rather than these long named variants. I think it best to get them replaced with proper instances and CSDed. -- AnmaFinotera (talk · contribs) 13:33, 21 June 2010 (UTC)
I agree with Ricky81682, OrangeDog and AnmaFinotera - the very specialise templates should be deleted. If you look at the journal articles we use as sources, each publisher has its own formatting but all use the same parameters - lastx, firstx, title, volume, issue, pages, doi, etc. I'd add url accessdate, and therefore slots for archiveurl and archivedate if needed.
Citing books can be more complex, but we should have one standard--Philcha (talk) 15:15, 21 June 2010 (UTC)
I have been rummaging through the reference and citation templates. Reference templates are fairly well cleaned up (34 left out of 69), but I have TfDed only a handful of the more obscure or single-use citation templates. There are a number of hard-coded citations in templates that are used in articles and mixed with general citation templates. {{e.g. {{Krasilovsky et al. 2007}}). And you will really love {{Source list}}, which uses citations coded as subpages of the template. ---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 15:55, 21 June 2010 (UTC)
I've listed source list for deletion. There are actually two uses, one being to consolidate sources into the ref tag and the other being to call the subpages. I'm somewhat fine with the first use (Harvard citations do essentially the same thing) but the second is just adds difficulty for everybody as it's plain impossible unless you know how to get the list of templates on page and then manage through it. I'd rather list it and let someone re-write it so it does the one proper function rather than fight it out over each single separate citation template. -- Ricky81682 (talk) 22:15, 22 June 2010 (UTC)
I don't know how broadly applicable this is, but Template:DorlandsDict should probably be in this category, and one advantage to the template is that when they rearranged their website a couple of years ago, we could update the template and fix all the URLs at once. I wish that the same could be said for the mess we inherited when the FDA updated its website. WhatamIdoing (talk) 23:57, 23 June 2010 (UTC)

3D pictures


Our article Space suit contains a "3D" picture in it which requires you to have cyan/red glasses in order to view. Seriously? Do we have some sort of policy on this? I think it's ugly garbage and we shouldn't have pictures inline in any article which require these 3D glasses. (Except of course for articles about cyan/red 3D glasses.) It's a novelty that adds nothing to the quality of the article. It subtracts from the quality of the article. Comet Tuttle (talk) 03:06, 22 June 2010 (UTC)

I agree. It's unreasonable to assume that readers will have the applicable equipment. It might be nice, however, to link the anaglyphic version (or perhaps stereoscopic images, if applicable) from a "normal" version of the image, if available. {{Nihiltres|talk|edits|}} 03:42, 22 June 2010 (UTC)
As it is a commons image (it's from NASA ==> public domain), there's no reason an appropriate Commons box can't appear at the bottom of the article and direct people there. But yea, as it is not an article about 3D glasses, its inappropriate on the space suit page. --MASEM (t) 04:19, 22 June 2010 (UTC)
I agree, although for a different reason: standard cyan/red glasses require standard, properly calibrated, colour-managed screens. Most monitors aren't calibrated and are too far from the reference to be useful for 3D. East of Borschov (talk) 04:27, 22 June 2010 (UTC)
I don't know about that, I remember that they aired 3D movies on network TV in the 80's, with this color split scheme (either red-green or red-blue). I hardly think that people's CRT TVs, many of which have vacuum tubes, are that good at color representation. (talk) 05:33, 22 June 2010 (UTC)
The average CRT, even when struggling with NTSC encoding, was not as bad as modern office monitors are. Another thing to remember is that the 3D films made for big screen but aired on TV were professionally processed to match typical consumer CRTs. The broadcaster effectively did all the color management. A photo made by NASA or my neighbor is matched to... precisely what? East of Borschov (talk) 05:23, 24 June 2010 (UTC)
It might be useful if someone separated the anaglyphic version into a stereoscopic pair... (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 05:40, 22 June 2010 (UTC).

updating a score on a sport article ?!

on 2010_Wimbledon_Championships_–_Men's_Singles#Section_8 you can watch ridiculous users updating the very very long match between isner and mahut : it brings nothing but 100s of lines :

a few users like User:SOAD KoRn or User:Armbrust tried to stop that... (see WP:NOTNEWS)

pretty annoying!!! kernitou talk 19:19, 23 June 2010 (UTC)

indeed annoying, that is one of the reasons for the nonews policy. Arnoutf (talk) 20:44, 23 June 2010 (UTC)

Can somebody explain Pending changes to me?

The semi-protection on Eminem was changed to Pending changes. Vandalism continued rampant. The protection level was changed back to semi-protection, but immediately changed back to Pending changes. Vandalism continues. So. Does that mean that all of the vandalism will never appear in the article, or are people supposed to just keep fighting the extensive vandalism indefinitely? I don't understand how this works. Everard Proudfoot (talk) 23:16, 23 June 2010 (UTC)

As a logged-in user, you see the latest version, which includes the vandalism. However, yes, generic readers to the encyclopedia only see the last "approved" version. Thus, all the difference is that the vandalism versions aren't seen by the public. This does make sure that the vandalism isn't displayed, but it also makes the individuals approving the version have to check. There is an advantage because some of the new editors have their edits being approved, so it does help encourage them. The only way to fully stop the vandals is full protection which would prevent them from editing the article at all (at least until they make 10 edits and are autoconfirmed). -- Ricky81682 (talk) 23:30, 23 June 2010 (UTC)
So anybody with a logged in account sees the vandalism. How, then, can Pending changes help to deal with a BLP like this that is such a target for vandals, if only non-logged in readers can't see the vandalism? Everard Proudfoot (talk) 23:39, 23 June 2010 (UTC)
Non-logged in readers can't see the vandalism?  :) In my opinion, it somewhat does what Special:Recentchangeslinked/Category:Living people was intended to do: give a running list of recent changes on particularly susceptible articles to review for BLP. It's not like we're ever going to stop the vandals. -- Ricky81682 (talk) 23:46, 23 June 2010 (UTC)
(e/c) First, the vast majority of our readership do not have accounts. I'm just making up numbers here but isn't it a good thing when a BLP is vandalized if only 3% of those viewing the article see the bad edits? Second, if the vandal is not a registered user (and registered vandals get perma-blocked pretty fast) they will see the vandalism didn't work, even if they don't know the reason why, and maybe fuck off much faster than they might have otherwise and also not bother to vandalize other articles. Third, once it becomes well known that vandalism doesn't work, it will stop being an attractive nuisance so less vandals will come in the first place. Meanwhile, those users who have reviewer rights can approve a pending change or not accept it, so the vandalism is taken care of just as it would be normally, and yet it never makes it into the version shown to most people.--Fuhghettaboutit (talk) 23:57, 23 June 2010 (UTC)


How should one use WP:Game? Does it basically outline the use of Wikipedia policies against Wikipedia policies? :| TelCoNaSpVe :| 20:48, 22 June 2010 (UTC)

I think it's kind of clear, what do you not understand about it? Fences&Windows 00:46, 23 June 2010 (UTC)I lost.
Ha ha, that's funny. :| TelCoNaSpVe :| 01:49, 23 June 2010 (UTC)
Aren't you supposed to trap your opponent into breaching it, so you can use it against him and get him blocked?--Kotniski (talk) 16:10, 23 June 2010 (UTC)
Isn't there a certain threshold to breach this policy? :| TelCoNaSpVe :| 21:02, 23 June 2010 (UTC)
No, it's a judgement call. Fences&Windows 18:22, 25 June 2010 (UTC)

What is the policy that says not to make an edit just to improve the performance of Wikipedia?

I remember reading some policy that said something like: "Wikipedia has vast amounts of space, and a large server, so changes just to save room or make Wikipedia run faster are unnecessary. Wikipedia's servers are so fast that any change would probably be unnoticeable." I am sure this was part of a policy or guideline or process or something like that. Please give me the link to where it is. --WikiDonn (talk) 20:34, 24 June 2010 (UTC)

WP:PERF. ---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 20:49, 24 June 2010 (UTC)
Thanks! --WikiDonn (talk) 15:39, 25 June 2010 (UTC)
Note that this isn't entirely true; Wikipedia bogs down considerably on articles like United States when you're logged in, so it would in fact be possible to affect a large performance gain by changing... whatever causes it to bog down. I hear it's the refs. I would dearly love for Wikipedia's servers to be so fast as to make such a change unnoticeable and article parsing instantaneous, but anyone logged in who has clicked on that article, and many like it, knows, that's simply not the case. They are interminably slow with particular articles. --Golbez (talk) 22:20, 24 June 2010 (UTC)
PERF does cover situations where there is a known issue - see the last quote by Brion. Mr.Z-man 22:27, 24 June 2010 (UTC)
PERF might be true but there are times where performance *does* need to be taken into consideration. Those incidents are not that common but they are known to occur. So blindly citing that essay is not always right. (I know that from personal experience when I tried to clear my bots watchlist and couldnt due to its size, I had to have a dev lend a hand and they where not happy deleting several hundred thousand rows from the database by hand ). βcommand 22:21, 24 June 2010 (UTC)
Indeed. Someone asked me to 'worry about performance' and file this BRFA and complete this task, which reduced the number of {{CountryAbbr}} transclusions by over 114,000 uses to speed up editing. –xenotalk 22:54, 24 June 2010 (UTC)

Use of WP text, unattributed, in a non-sharealike publication

I'm not sure if this is going to be visible because Newsday has a paywall, but the slideshow captions here:

Use the text from our New York Islanders article in the section on jerseys. I know that our text predates Newsday's because I contributed to large sections of that text years ago. Is this something that violates our license? If so, do we care? Croctotheface (talk) 20:53, 24 June 2010 (UTC)

It does violate the license, and there is a letter that can be sent reminding folks of this at Wikipedia:Standard license violation letter. However, in my own experience, I've yet to see any organization that plagarized content from Wikipedia properly fix attribution issues when informed of it. Still, gotta right, right :-) I think it is important to care, though, as we don't want people coming back and thinking Wikipedia is the one that took some else's content. I think there is a talk page template you can put on the article, if it is not already there, that notes that text from the article appeared at the URL. -- AnmaFinotera (talk · contribs) 22:45, 24 June 2010 (UTC)
Do we care? We don't but we should. This sort of thing happens everyday. Here in India, big media regularly plagiarizes Wikipedia as a matter of right.--Forty twoYou talkin' to me? 04:37, 25 June 2010 (UTC)

What is the longest name it is possible to have here?

I saw User:ManymerrymenmakingmuchmoneyinthemonthofMay in an article's history. I didn't even try to count the letters.Vchimpanzee · talk · contributions · 17:17, 25 June 2010 (UTC)

42 characters...impressive, though I wanna see them log in. The software DB itself, presuming Wikipedia hasn't changed it from what MediaWiki allows, has it as a 255 character field. There was a discussion in 2008 to limit usernames to 42 characters, so that may be it now. -- AnmaFinotera (talk · contribs) 17:55, 25 June 2010 (UTC)

Please help review commons:Commons:Sexual content

Commons has been developing a proposed policy regarding sexual content at commons:Commons:Sexual content. It is now stable and ready for review by third parties - please look it over and provide any feedback on the talk page. We want to move forward on adoption soon. I'd also appreciate it if you can help spread the news to other relevant forums and local wikis, since this affects everyone. Thank you! Dcoetzee (talk) 22:58, 25 June 2010 (UTC)

Update the dates of the articles regularly?

In the article "NHL 11", some IP-addresses update the dates "As of date" on a regular basis, like every other day. For example: "As of June 22, 2010,..." and two days later: "As of June 24, 2010,...". Is it really worth it updating on a daily basis, or at least so often? /HeyMid (contributions) 21:58, 24 June 2010 (UTC)

I see no reason for such an update, considering the section is otherwise empty; however, if they're willing to do it, I see no reason to really complain. --Golbez (talk) 22:17, 24 June 2010 (UTC)
I'd recommend just removing the section. If it hasn't been announced yet, why even mention it yet? It isn't really something that can be sourced, as you can't quite "verify" a negative. Otherwise, it is just kinda silly to keep updating it. If the section really needs to be there, maybe just change it to the {{As of}} and go more general such as As of June 2010 instead of a specific date. -- AnmaFinotera (talk · contribs) 22:35, 24 June 2010 (UTC)
If a text needs to be updated daily, it may be better to reformulate it, using more "atemporal" words that remain true for a longer time. The problem may be with the articles about "in the news" topics that develop everyday into new information; but this article doesn't seem to be the case MBelgrano (talk) 13:20, 25 June 2010 (UTC)

The statement in the article is that no soundtrack has been announced for this video game as of [date]; this should just be removed. It's unsourced anyway; "No announcement has been made" is an assertion of fact. If the lack of an announcement isn't cited to a reliable source commenting on that, then it may just be that the WP article's editors haven't found that information yet.

On a bit of a tangent... Often these "announcement" statements in articles are just what I term "leaky" references, in that the cite for a fact—the "announcement"—leaks into the article text when it is really just sourcing and belongs in a ref tag, particularly if what was "announced" has already occurred and the occurrence therefore has overtaken the announcement of it as the operative fact. Even when what was "announced" is still an upcoming event, the announcement itself is still usually just a reference, unless you have information on the buzz created by the announcement itself, for example. I always cringe when I see sentences like "It was announced on June 25, 2010 in USA Today that Breakin' 3: Electric Jubilee will be released on October 1, 2010", when it should be more like "Breakin' 3: Electric Jubilee is scheduled to be released on October 1, 2010.<ref>''USA Today'', June 25, 2010.</ref> When that information became known usually isn't interesting outside of the citation, unless you have information on the buzz created by an announcement, for example. And just because you found an "announcement" of that fact doesn't mean that was when and where it was first announced anyway, to the extent it's at all relevant. postdlf (talk) 16:18, 25 June 2010 (UTC)

To play devil's advocate: Sometimes the date is needed in connection with a fact that is likely to change with time, for example sales figures that will increase as time passes, dates that are likely to be delayed, or practices that are expected to be modified or ended. "Leaky references" are recommended when writing about situations where reliable sources disagree, or when a particular person's or organization's opinion is deemed relevant enough to mention (e.g. published critics in movie articles). Anomie 21:55, 26 June 2010 (UTC)
There are instances when it's useful, such as to attribute an opinion or discuss a dispute among sources, but most often it is just leaky references. postdlf (talk) 05:45, 28 June 2010 (UTC)

Enough information to write a biography

I've started a discussion on whether the principle of considering whether we have enough information about a living person to write a neutral biography is one we want to use when judging inclusion of biographies. See Wikipedia talk:Biographies of living persons#Do we have enough information to write a biography?. Fences&Windows 14:34, 27 June 2010 (UTC)


So I have been kicking the idea around of clarifying the use of YouTube videos as sources. There is a gap that leads to uncertainty and confusion on various noticeboards and talk pages since so many different guidelines apply. Took it to Wikipedia:Village pump (idea lab)#YouTube (not just External links) where another editor made some changes. He suggested taking it here and then WP:CENT. Let me know if WP:VPR would be better for now. Any thoughts would be great. I don't really feel (and can't have) any ownership of it so changes to the layout, wording, tone, or whatever would be sweet. Wikipedia:Video links (why is the font silly? That makes sense. Oops for not catching it.) --Cptnono (talk) 21:41, 25 June 2010 (UTC)

I am going to make some changes based on Dcmq's input. 1) Verifiability does "implies nothing about ease of access to sources" (WP:Access to sources). I made a mention of this but think expanding it is a good idea. I am going to add a bit in about trying to use the minute parameter to have increase its chances of being accepted since watching a 5 hour documentary to verify one line would suck. 2) It sounds like you are getting at someone using anything from a South Park episode or movie to detail every little detail. Maybe some examples of calling for caution in using only a single source and over use of primary sources along with mentions of WP:PLOT and WP:TRIVIA?Cptnono (talk) 05:01, 29 June 2010 (UTC)

RFC: Should Wikipedia:Notability (criminal acts) be merged with Wikipedia:Notability (events) and Wikipedia:Notability (people)?

Wikipedia:Notability (criminal acts) is currently a notability guideline that touches upon the notability of 1) criminal acts [i.e. events] and 2) people who are either the victim or a perpetrator of a criminal act. As an option to help alleviate a bit of redundancy within the growing number of notability guidelines, I am wondering if there is any support or opposition to merging the first section of that guideline with Wikipedia:Notability (events) and the second part to an appropriate subsection within Wikipedia:Notability (people). Click on the header to go to the centralized discussion. Location (talk) 02:21, 30 June 2010 (UTC)

How should AFDs be closed when the consensus is counter to policy?

This is an issue I have been tempted to bring up ever since last July when I NAC closed this AFD and had it challenged it DRV. More recently, I closed this AFD and a misunderstanding of my closing statement lead to an immediate renomination, a speedy close, a dramafest at WP:ANI, and a speedy reopen. Note that both articles in question are "low risk" articles, one a fictional character and the other a defunct TV show. (also note that it's not my intention to start a discussion of the "appropriateness" of these 2 closes in particular or of non admin closures in general.)

Now as anybody involved at AFD knows, AFD is not a "vote" and an AFD can be closed contrary to the snout count if the minority !votes are grounded in policy. It's also generally agreed that an AFD can't be closed "delete" if, assuming ample participation by good faith editors, all or nearly all the !votes are "keep" except under exceptional circumstances such as sock puppetry, obvious unverifiability, or BLP issues. However, there are some editors who feel strongly that any AFD should be closed delete if the article fails a guideline/policy regardless of the snout count on the grounds that "a local consensus can't trump a global one" and any policy changes should be made on the talk pages of the policy/guideline page and/or RFCs. This is what I call the "pseudo-prescriptive" approach. (the only policies that are truly prescriptive are foundation policy and the 5 pillars).

There are others who take the descriptive approach. That is in almost all circumstances, AFDs should be closed according to the consensus in the AFD in question. That is, if the subject is verifiable then it should be closed "keep", even if the nominator's rationale is sound and all the !voters say WP:ILIKEIT. (and there are probably a few that think an AFD should be closed as "delete" if the nom and everybody else say WP:ITSCRUFT even if the subject is obviously notable)

So what approach should we take when closing deletion discussions? My own opinion is to take the "pseudo-prescriptive" approach when it comes to "high risk" articles such as BLPs (and non-free images on WP:FFD) and the "descriptive approach" for "low risk" articles. --Ron Ritzman (talk) 13:48, 22 June 2010 (UTC)

If nearly everyone in an AfD agrees but you disagree, the best option is not to close it but to add your own opinion to it, and let the next person to come to close it judge it. If your own is clearly more policy-based, then a good closer should give it preference over the other, less-policy based majority !votes. If, on the other hand, the consensus is not so outspoken, then you can go with the minority as long as it has the strongest arguments. Note that policy based arguments carry much more weight than guideline based ones (with WP:N and WP:RS probably the two strongest (i.e. closest to policy status) guidelines, and other ones less so), so going against the consensus because it doesn't follow some obscure guideline is probably unwise, but going against the consensus because they support keeping an unverifiable article as "funny" is not only preferable but actually the only good closure. Fram (talk) 14:09, 22 June 2010 (UTC)
  • It is our policy that our policies are not laws and we have a core statement of this: WP:IAR. So, there's always some wiggle-room and this is even more true with guidelines such as notability which are explicitly open to exception. The best way to think of our policies and guidelines is that they record our customs and best practise. As such, they follow outcomes rather than determining them. Colonel Warden (talk) 14:34, 22 June 2010 (UTC)
Something like WP:V or WP:NPOV doesn't follow outcomes in the sense that if everyone in an AfD agrees that for topic X, no verifiable sources are needed, we need to change or ignore WP:V. Policies (and to a lesser extent guidelines do determine outcomes instead of following them, an no local consensus will change or overrule that. Fram (talk) 14:40, 22 June 2010 (UTC)
<ec>I agree with Fram and CW (though there is a gap between them). In general if you plan on closing something against consensus you are better of !voting than closing (of course if that consensus is a bunch of new users !voting I like it or it's funny it _might_ be okay to close against consensus). I tend to believe our guidelines are by-and-large good and right, so I cringe a bit when we _clearly_ close against policy/guidelines because of !votes. But I also cringe when people close against !votes when they basically say "I know you all think this meets WP:N, but I disagree and I'm the closer." People have a hard time distinguishing between their opinions and objective fact and should remember their job is to gauge consensus, not place their own opinions in place of that consensus. Hobit (talk) 14:46, 22 June 2010 (UTC)
I agree, we shouldn't close against consensus with an argument like "2 paragraphs is not significant coverage, at least a full page is needed". It's an argument that can be used for a delete opinion, but not as the reason to close against consensus (the opposite is equally true of course, if nearly everyone beliefs that the mentions are trivial but you disagree, then add your opinion, but don't close). Fram (talk) 14:51, 22 June 2010 (UTC)
Well, that depends. If (like the Crash TV program article mentioned above), an article has no sources at all despite plenty of time being given, then it doesn't matter what the consensus is - it fails WP:V and should go. That isn't an admin using a supervote - it's an admin following policy. Black Kite (t) (c) 06:20, 23 June 2010 (UTC)
  • "How should AFDs be closed when the consensus is counter to policy?"—Carefully. And with a bloody good closing statement.

    It's late here and I'm tired, so I hope this next bit makes as much sense on the screen as it does in my head.

    The Crash (1984) case that Ron brings up bears close examination. Ron non-admin closed it, and it was instantly renominated. A week later I non-admin closed it, Verbal reverted my close, there was a brief discussion on AN, and then Black Kite relisted it for a third time. The important thing about that AfD is the common thread running through it every time it's been re-closed: each closer, including yours truly, refused to make a final decision. Even Black Kite wouldn't, and Black Kite's shown elsewhere that he's not afraid to make the tough closes. But this time, he chose a rare third re-listing. Eerily, the closest we've come to an actual "close" of that discussion was Ron's. And whichever unfortunate who draws the short straw and closes it this time is definitely going to have to explain themselves at DRV, since we aren't short of users who see that debate in black and white terms. (If only they could all agree on what's black and what's white...)

    There was a time, historically, when if there wasn't a consensus to delete, then the article was kept. That's in the process of changing, as you might be able to tell from the increasingly shrill posts coming from some inclusionists of late; essentially, from their point of view, they're on the back foot in this Summer 2010 campaign of WikiWar III.

    I don't know the answer to the WikiWars problem, but I do know that it is a problem. You show me an article, and I will tell you before I've read the debate how certain users will !vote on it and which policies and guidelines they will cite in support of their opinion. The tactics some users employ at AfD are getting more sophisticated, so closing a contentious debate is getting harder.

    My strict reading of closure-by-policy is this:-

    1) BLP violations, copyvios etc. ought to be easy and if you don't know how those should be closed, you shouldn't be closing.

    2) NPOV violations where that's the only issue can normally be fixed by regular editing so there isn't normally sufficient grounds for deletion.

    3) Verifiability violations ought to be straightforward. The rules say inline citations to a reliable source or it's gone. They aren't straightforward because it's not always bright-line what's a reliable source and what isn't, and it's becoming fashionable at the moment to (wrongly, in my view) say that a local source isn't reliable. (The AfD for Kenneth Dickson is a fascinating case-in-point and even though I started out from a "delete" position and the article was in fact deleted, I'm now not 100% confident the consensus was right. That AfD's a whole can of worms that needs separate discussion, though.)

    4) The guideline-that-AfD-treats-like-policy is WP:N, and here what the rules say is, notability's a guideline and the fifth pillar trumps it. A sufficiently strong consensus can keep material that isn't notable. Whether that's correct or not is a matter that needs discussion and possibly revision of the rules, but it is what the rules say.

    And that's rather more than two cents from me, so even though I have a lot more to say on this, it's time to let someone else chime in! :)—S Marshall T/C 00:30, 23 June 2010 (UTC)

  • Notability I view as a "necessary evil". (come to think of it, so is "deletion" itself. We're here to write articles not make them go away) If it weren't for "notability" we would be swimming in spam, vanity pages, and more BLPs then we could ever hope to monitor. However, you're right that it's still an "ignorable rule". The question is when should a consensus to "ignore" notability in an AFD be honored? Earlier I mentioned "high risk" and "low risk" articles and that should be taken into account by the closer and by those who participate at DRV. I'll make a first rough attempt to define these terms.
  • High risk article. An article where there is a risk of harm to living people and a risk of an article promoting the subject. Examples, BLPs, the recently deceased, bands, companies still in business.
  • Medium risk article. A risk of an article promoting the subject. Examples, Neologisms (think Frindle), Internet memes (memes centered around living people are "high risk"), most consumer products, websites, songs and albums of marginally notable bands and musicians.
  • Low risk article. One where there is little risk of an article promoting the subject. Examples. Fictional elements of otherwise notable works of fiction, Episodes of otherwise notable TV shows, albums and songs of highly notable bands and musicians, books of highly notable authors. (It's doubtful that Stephen King or Dr Dre would need to use wikipedia to sell their work). --Ron Ritzman (talk) 02:03, 23 June 2010 (UTC)
  • To be honest, the only reason I re-listed the Crash article was because it was so speedily renominated the first time. It's a clear Delete - the article's got no sources at all, and therefore every single Keep !vote that says "it's notable, it just hasn't been sourced yet" fails on the spot. I've no doubt there are sources out there - but where? Even the Danish Wikipedia article on the programme has no sources other than a TV listing that says it exists. If there still aren't any sources there by next week, any admin that closes as anything other than Delete isn't doing their job properly, frankly. Oh, I know a Danish 80's TV show isn't that interesting in the grand scheme of things, but it's the principle... Black Kite (t) (c) 06:17, 23 June 2010 (UTC)
  • Oh I definitely see your point and that's why I closed the first AFD the way I did. If sources turn up then it will be because someone took a walk down to a local library and went "fiching". Still, I have to wonder if those who first discussed and drafted the notability guideline had articles like this in mind or was it the "spam and vanity" they were worried about? One thing's for certain, it would be more helpful if those who !vote to keep such articles would just come out and say "Keep Yes foo fails WP:N but it should be kept anyway because "blah blah blah"" then the current practice of trying to shoehorn such articles into WP:N by saying "of course it's notable", "there's gotta be sources", "it's a popular show", "what about [1][2][3] (blog, forumpost, fansite)". If the former were done more often then "blah blah blah" could be written into the guidelines. --Ron Ritzman (talk) 11:49, 23 June 2010 (UTC)
  • The best variation I've come across is "It isn't notable, but keep per WP:IAR.". Priceless! Far more honest than most, cites a policy... and 100% guarunteed to be ignored by the closing admin. Alzarian16 (talk) 13:50, 23 June 2010 (UTC)
  • It really shouldn't be. Discounted, of course, but if there were 10 !votes stating that the topic didn't meet WP:N but was one of those rare exceptions to WP:N and 2 people !voted to delete due to WP:N I'd certainly hope the article wouldn't be deleted. IARs has a place, in policy I'll remind you, and guidelines are just that. The should generally be deferred to, but they aren't always right. As a closer, if you think it should still be deleted you should !vote rather than close... Hobit (talk) 18:48, 23 June 2010 (UTC)
  • It depends on the article. If the article in question is a BLP and those 10 IAR !voters are saying "Yes he fails WP:N but he's the most popular uploader to GooTube and helps widows and orphans or "Yes he fails WP:N but the world needs to know the truth about this terrible person" then delete it. Call it a "supervote" if you want but the article needs to go. --Ron Ritzman (talk) 04:21, 24 June 2010 (UTC)

The closing admin must follow the consensus achieved, or have strong reasons to close against it. He should be more of an "agent" to apply the achieved consensus than a "judge" of it. There is a potential risk involved if it's not done that way: if the admin was free to judge in broad terms the arguments provided and/or dismiss the numeric support for either one entirely, then the admin would be closing based on his own opinion, and all previous discussion would become pointless. The "judgement" of the reasons provided, and the possible dismiss of them, is to be an exception, not the regular rule. Notice as well that the line between "this argument goes against policy" and "I don't agree with this argument, I think that policy expects us to (etc etc)" is a rather thin one. Also, the mere existence of policy is a thing, and whenever something goes against it or not, is another. There may be agreement in that "ILIKEIT" arguments should not be considerd, but to dismiss a specific argument as a "ILIKEIT" one may be inappropriate (for example, someone asks for the deletion of a popular culture item, and rejects oposing arguments accusing them of being motivated by "ILIKEIT" reasonings). MBelgrano (talk) 12:31, 23 June 2010 (UTC)

  • I think that's quite right, MBelgrano, but I also think Fram's covered it excellently in his earlier remark. Closers need to see that policy is implemented, but sometimes it's best practice for someone who came to a debate to close it, to refrain and !vote instead, so that the next person who comes along to close it has a better consensus to assess.

    The problem with the "consensus is king" view is that consensus can be wrong—if 10,000 people make the same mistake, it's still a mistake. And any mathematician or scientist will tell you that a compromise between a correct answer and a wrong answer, is a wrong answer. But this is not to say that closers need to make "supervotes" that unilaterally overturn the consensus. Closers should instead seek to influence or guide it towards the correct conclusion.—S Marshall T/C 13:40, 23 June 2010 (UTC)

I'd agree with that last point; but let's remember that policy can be wrong too. Particularly in the field of article deletion, where rule-mongers run amock with their "delete: fails WP:XYZ" (non-)arguments, we must remember that making the encyclopedia better is a higher aim than conforming to some policy or notability guideline.--Kotniski (talk) 13:57, 23 June 2010 (UTC)
It isn't really a higher aim, just a much more subjective one. Everyone agrees that deleting articles can sometimes make the encyclopedia better (I believe most people agree that deleting the article "President X is a paedophile" would improve the encyclopedia). The problem is in deciding when an article is actually improving the encyclopedia, and when the encyclopedia is better of without it. And our methods of making this judgment have been codified in policies and guidelines. Following policies and guidelines is following what according to longs-standing, global consensus will improve the encyclopedia. IAR should be used very sparingly, mainly (in my opinion) as a shortcut for things that would get consensus anyway, but need a swift resolution (like speedy deletions of pags that don't fit any speedy deletion cat but are clearly unacceptable anyway). Oh, and describing those wanting to delete a page because it fails some policy and guideline as rule-mongers that run amock is not really helpful, just like an opposite description of everyone wanting to keep an article as short-sighted fanboys wouldn't be very helpful. Fram (talk) 14:17, 23 June 2010 (UTC)
If someone wants something because of some rule, rather than because they want to improve the encyclopedia, then I think they definitely need re-educating. (Of course I don't mean everyone who ever wants to delete an article; but it's my experience that there is a higher than usual density of such people around deletion discussions , and - dare I say it - particularly on the "delete" side. Basically the whole culture of deletion is warped; it's been made into a combat sport rather than working-together-to-make-something-good.)--Kotniski (talk) 16:07, 23 June 2010 (UTC)
  • While we're talking about policy -v- consensus at AfD, look at this one. It's not a new discussion (March 2009), but I think it's very instructive. Was JulianColton right to close it so?—S Marshall T/C 14:06, 23 June 2010 (UTC)
  • When questions like this come up, I'm tempted to change the opening sentence of WP:N to read "On Wikipedia, notability means 'whatever topics the community permits to have their own articles'. Non-notable means 'whatever topics the community usually chooses to WP:DELete or WP:MERGE away'." It'd be accurate, and it might be more informative than what we've got. Consensus is an absolute monarch in discussions about notability. WhatamIdoing (talk) 00:06, 24 June 2010 (UTC)
And everything else too. Consensus decides what's a "reliable source". Consensus decides what's "neutral point of view". Consensus decides what's "original research". ... And if consensus violates policy, tough.
Note by the way that WP:5P seems to imply that IAR is equal tothe other 4, & so doesn't override them. Peter jackson (talk) 17:24, 24 June 2010 (UTC)
The "Ignore all rules" policy isn't a valid argument, for either side. When policies seem clear in that an article should be deleted or kept, it's not enough to state otherwise simply because rules may be ignored. Equally, to justify the dismiss of someone else's opinion, the opinion to justify it can't be based solely in that rules may be ignored.
Even more, when we get it to the point where many users state their opinions about something, to ignore all rules (meaning, to leave aside procedures and act unilaterally doing what someone thinks it's better) should not be an option to even consider anymore. MBelgrano (talk) 03:40, 26 June 2010 (UTC)
Yes, IAR can never itself be an argument, only a rebuke to those who would counter arguments based on improving the encyclopedia with arguments based on quotes from policies etc. And it's ignore all rules, not ignore all editors, so I'd certainly agree with the second point too.--Kotniski (talk) 05:06, 26 June 2010 (UTC)

Poster child for this thread

Just closed this. None of the "keep" !voters really addressed the nominator's concerns and one !voter called it a frivolous nomination but there were no "delete" !votes. What else can you do? If it were closed any other way it would be overturned at DRV. --Ron Ritzman (talk) 00:29, 26 June 2010 (UTC)

This is indeed a clear example of what shouldn't be done. If there is such a great consensus for keeping, but you don't agree with the users that supported the keeping option, then like or not it must be kept, period. It is not the role of an administrator to be a "superheroe" saving wikipedia from the poor choices of a "mistaken" group of users. If you don't want to close an AFD with reasons you don't agree with, post your opinion instead of closing (you may convince some users and make them change their votes) or simply leave it and let someone else close it MBelgrano (talk) 02:35, 26 June 2010 (UTC)
And that's what I would have done if it were a BLP. For low risk articles such as fictional characters and settings, I personally don't have a problem with them. (but perhaps Wikia would be a better place for detailed articles on fictional elements) I just wish that those who !vote to keep such articles would acknowledge that the nominator is right and the article doesn't meet WP:N and say why we should IAR and keep the article anyway.
Also, by the time I see most of these, they are ready to be closed or relisted. If there are too many !votes to justify a relist then my lone 11th hour delete !vote would not likely make a difference. --Ron Ritzman (talk) 03:10, 26 June 2010 (UTC)
I don't think this is a very good example; clearly the vast majority thought that the article did comply with the notability guidelines, and I don't see any particularly strong arguments to show that it definitely didn't. The "list of common misconceptions" example given above was more to the point: it was pretty clear that it was in breach of "Wikipedia is not...", but still many editors considered the particular article an asset to the encyclopedia, so their views were rightly taken into full consideration by the closer.--Kotniski (talk) 05:12, 26 June 2010 (UTC)
As nom, I think there are very strong reasons to delete that article, in that it violates the guideline WP:PLOT - i.e. that we shouldn't have excessively detailed accounts of fictional entities which have only in-universe importance. The article did not clearly meet WP:GNG, and as I pointed out during the discussion, the sources given did not provide significant coverage. I myself can see why other participants !voted Keep, but it's an example of local consensus trumping global consensus. Claritas § 10:15, 27 June 2010 (UTC)
Just on a lark I did a little research on this "global policy". It was added back in July of 2006 by this edit as a result of this discussion. I've seen AFDs with more participation then that. I'm not going to make a judgment on whether they were right or wrong but an admin closing an AFD shouldn't override a consensus in an AFD based on the opinions of 12 editors who happened to be hanging around WT:NOT back in June of 2006. They may have been right and you may be right (and I already have said that Wikia might be a better place for such articles) but that's why we have AFD, to "reconfirm" and "reinforce" our "descriptive" guidelines and policies. --Ron Ritzman (talk) 13:04, 27 June 2010 (UTC)
It may have been added aftger a limited discussion, but it has since then been discussed by countless people on many, many pages, and the consensus for WP:NOTPLOT is much stronger than that initial discussion may indicate. Policies and guidelines often are changed or created afterlimited participation discussions, but when it turns out that there is no consensus for it, it rarely survives for four years. Contrary to what you say, a local (AfD) consensus should definitely be overrules by a global (WP:NOT) consensus. Fram (talk) 13:31, 29 June 2010 (UTC)
There's only a consensus for WP:NOTPLOT as long as people !vote "Delete per WP:NOTPLOT" in AFDs. It's a good example of a "descriptive" rule. Before it gets enforced in a "prescriptive" manner like we do for WP:BLP or WP:NFCC There should be a lot more centralized discussion on the issue. Also, if you look at the talk page archives for WP:NOT you'll find that NOTPLOT has been marked as "under dispute" several times. --Ron Ritzman (talk) 01:36, 1 July 2010 (UTC)
BLP and NFCC are mandatory policies that enact Foundation directives in response to serious legal concerns. So there are definitely instances in which those policies may prescribe deletion even where an XFD consensus supported keeping content. I see no reason that an editorial guideline such as NOTPLOT could, or should, ever attain that level of "prescriptive" enforcement such that it could trump XFD consensus. Particularly since NOTPLOT is arguably more about how an article is written, not about whether an article should exist. postdlf (talk) 02:00, 1 July 2010 (UTC)
It's usually not used as a deletion rationale by itself but is combined with WP:N on AFD noms for fictional elements that consist almost entirely of "plot". The nominators of some of these such as claritas definitely have a good case but such articles seem to have a lot of defenders showing up en mass at the AFDs. Also, just to nitpick a little, WP:NOT which WP:NOTPLOT is part of is technically a "policy" but it seems to be a catchall for a lot of popular pet peeves, not all of which IMHO should be tagged as "policy" even if they make some sense. --Ron Ritzman (talk) 02:30, 1 July 2010 (UTC)
While I agree the article should have been deleted, it would have been a serious misuse of the admin "delete" feature to close the AFD as "delete" and proceed to do that, because there is zero backing of that action in the discussion. AFDs should be considered a "blessing" on an admin to pull the delete trigger and have the final say if there is support for that (with DRV to handle mistriggers), but when there's no such backing, deleting in such cases is the same as vetoing, and can be consider misuse of powers. (In the same manner, if everyone voted delete, a "keep" result is similarly inappropriate). Of course, if I were the person to try to close this AFD - noting again I feel it should be deleted - I'd either pass it up to let another admin close it or relist for more input, simply to avoid issues. Of course, this is only the case when no policy is being grossly violated to harm WP (such as this one); if it were a BLP or other similar highly worrisome issue, I'd override the local consensus against hot-button topics. --MASEM (t) 13:39, 29 June 2010 (UTC)

Draft of policy: Citing video as references

I've created a draft of a policy for citing video material as references. The page is at WP:Videos as references. This is mostly material that was deleted from WP:VIDEOLINK. Ghostofnemo (talk) 06:51, 27 June 2010 (UTC)

The drama and making the process even harder is not appreciated.Cptnono (talk) 06:58, 27 June 2010 (UTC)
I made a good faith effort to incorporate this information into WP:VIDEOLINK but it was almost completely deleted without any discussion. So much for cooperation. Ghostofnemo (talk) 07:02, 27 June 2010 (UTC)
You made a change to the layout which seemed to turn the scope from filling the hole that is currently in the guidelines into also a tutorial. Another editor had adjusted the section headings at WP:VIDEOLINK and I personally thought it was better. You should have made a mention of layout on the talk page after you were reverted. The mention of citevideo was inserted and even expanded upon so that wasn't even all removed. You also introduced multiple MOS errors. And the whole bit of using the quote parameter doesn't seem to have any consensus from what I saw in the previous discussion.
This process has gone from talking on one of these pages to making an inquiry on IRC to a draft to a RS discussion to another editor making adjustments to the proposal. It has been a pain and the last thing that is needed is you causing confusion by making a draft that says basically the same thing but has several concerns. You can't let having your ideas being altered hurt your feelings. I wikilinked WP:BRD for a reason and it sucks that trying to create something to make things easier is now so confusing and duplicated that I doubt consensus is possible for either now. You were more than welcome to discuss. The only reason I mentioned you "bickering" is because you have done so much of it that I saw a pattern repeating itself. I apologize if that came across too harsh earlier.Cptnono (talk) 07:15, 27 June 2010 (UTC)
Please see the WP:VIDEOLINK edit log and discussion page. They seem to differ with the account you have presented above. Ghostofnemo (talk) 07:43, 27 June 2010 (UTC)
I don't see a problem really. WP:VIDEOLINK is mostly about direct links to videos and WP:CITEVIDEO is about how to use templates to cite videos as a reference. Ghostofnemo (talk) 07:46, 27 June 2010 (UTC)
It isn't exactly helpful to start a fork of a draft proposal if your edits aren't accepted. You're of course free to work on that draft, but I won't be contributing to it. Fences&Windows 14:42, 27 June 2010 (UTC)
I think "not accepted" implies there was some discussion. My edits were deleted without any discussion whatsoever, including removing any mention of the {{cite video}} template from the policy! Ghostofnemo (talk) 05:05, 28 June 2010 (UTC)
First, it isn't policy and is unlikely to be one with this fork and arguing not looking like something that other editors want to get involved with. Second, the template is in because you brought it up.Cptnono (talk) 05:37, 28 June 2010 (UTC)
Now it's back in, tucked away as a minor point. Ghostofnemo (talk) 06:59, 28 June 2010 (UTC)
I had a quick look at both proposals and the main thing that worries me that isn't dealt with properly by either is how do we know if something is said by a video as opposed to some editor just noticing it or making up their own story? I see no point in the fork and think it should be userfied. Dmcq (talk) 12:59, 28 June 2010 (UTC)
How do we know editors aren't doing that with other off-line sources? I thought it should be one page too, but all my stuff got deleted. Ghostofnemo (talk) 13:19, 28 June 2010 (UTC)
If for example there is a mistake in a film and somebody goes through a door with a red shirt on one side and a blue one on the other I don't believe we should note that in Wikipedia unless someone says so. The film can't act as a reliable source for it no matter how notable or verifiable the film is or what reliable source it came from. Dmcq (talk) 15:05, 28 June 2010 (UTC)
I agree that minor points about movies are probably not notable, but documentaries can be sources for serious articles. Also, you have video footage of noteworthy events, like landings on the moon or the Kennedys being shot or the Berlin Wall falling. Or news video of hooded prisoners, proving the prisoners were indeed hooded. Ghostofnemo (talk) 02:49, 29 June 2010 (UTC)
Only if someone points that out or it is obvious the film was made to illustrate it. Otherwise it is WP:Original research. Dmcq (talk) 02:59, 29 June 2010 (UTC)
I got involved in this via a documentary made by Mark Lane about the JF Kennedy assassination. I found Lane's video "Two Men in Dallas" on YouTube. Lane explains in the film that the rifle that was found by the police in the Dallas School Book Depository was initial identified as a Mauser. He shows an affidavit signed by one officer right after the discovery stating that it was a Mauser, and interviews another officer who was present who claims it was identified as a Mauser, and who states that he personally saw "7.65 Mauser" stamped on the barrel. Another editor deleted the link to the YouTube video, claiming it was a policy violation. I sought input from other editors at the Village Pump, and was told that video should be sourced from the original source using the "cite video" template, not from YouTube. I found the original documentary information and sourced the information using that, with no link to YouTube. Ghostofnemo (talk) 03:16, 29 June 2010 (UTC)
  • Trash it as a violation of upper-level cite guideline. Wikipedia:Citing sources says clearly: "The use of citation templates is neither encouraged nor discouraged." If you don't see the difference between "Editors should consider using" (WP:VIDEOLINK) and "Editors should use" (proposal) ... East of Borschov 04:49, 29 June 2010 (UTC)
    • Cptnono: thanks for an update. I am still confident that this guideline is not necessary. All significant points (copyvio, ext.links, trivia and OR...) are already regulated elsewhere. East of Borschov 06:52, 29 June 2010 (UTC)
My pleasure. It was actually an update to WP:VIDEOLINK (up above) and not this. I noticed that I had a line that was not toned down enough there as well. The primary scope of WP:VIDEOLINK is to fill the gap that is filled by WP:YOUTUBE only discussing external links. WP:VIDEOLINK is intended to stop the countless discussions about if YouTube or other user submitted sites can be used. Alternatives get some play since there are so many times using YouTube is not appropriate. Cptnono (talk) 07:00, 29 June 2010 (UTC)
I think there is a call to have a good easily read guideline put the applicable policies together. Many people use the internet to watch videos. Often they will see a video of a cat playing a piano and think that is evidence that cats can play pianos. They notice trivia in videos and think therefore it is notable and reliably sourced. Worse they get worked up about things they see, pictures of alien autopsies are TRUTH that must be told. Something that they can read quickly to explain things would be useful I believe. Dmcq (talk) 13:55, 29 June 2010 (UTC)
Oh yeah East of Borschov? There needs to be a way to make wagers on Wikipedia :) . Do you mind if I shoot you links everytime I see it come up on various noticeboards or talk pages? I'm only teasing of course. I disagree that something isn't needed but I do agree most of the information is available in already existing guidelines. From my experience (which really isn't even that much), these conversations come up often enough and it takes awhile for an editor to finally point out the corresponding guideline leading to drawn out conversations where people don't know what is going on.
Thanks Dmcq. How would you word "Don't put up stupid stuff just because you saw it". I'm actually not teasing there since that is something that needs to be clear. The last thing we need are links to Keyboard Cat everywhere simply to link it.
I think the recent edits make it clear that Wikipedia is for encyclopedic content but the whole reason I brought it up here was for more thoughts on it since my perception was obviously off. Another editor mentioned letting the idea r a bitrest fo(not in those words) for now due to the confusion. There are now 2 drafts for reasons that I don't need to go into again. I would be happy to step back for a bit and focus on noticeboards discussing YouTube or even opening an RfC. This whole process is new to me so thanks again for the input even if it isn't positive. Cptnono (talk) 02:43, 30 June 2010 (UTC)
Dmcq: Yet another policy - can it persuade anyone writing about aliens, or singing in the rain, not to do it? Not really. Don't count on rational adult behavior in these matters. Children chatting about the latest youtube fad don't read policies. Crackpot theorist don't do it either (unless the policy actually helps them). So the policy degenerates into a sysop's stick. But there are plenty sticks already, why bother? East of Borschov 08:16, 30 June 2010 (UTC)
I guess it woudn't be much use with Beavis and Butt-head but there's a large pool of potential editors out there who might start editing properly if they are weaned to Wikipedia gently. Youtube and suchlike is a large part of modern life and some might just start editing responsibly if they aren't just shown WP:OR or suchlike Dmcq (talk) 08:46, 30 June 2010 (UTC)
We write guidelines for those willing to read them. Some people may be good faith but be confused about whether and how to use sites like YouTube as sources. Those unwilling to read guidelines and policies... they get blocked eventually. Fences&Windows 23:34, 30 June 2010 (UTC)

RfC on Consensus

Given WP:CONLIMITED, to what extent and under what circumstances can individual WikiProjects and users customize article appearance with individual styles that deviate from site-wide style guidelines? Interested contributors are invited to participate there. --Moonriddengirl (talk)

Where would that RfC be? LeadSongDog come howl! 18:37, 30 June 2010 (UTC)
Doh! Wikipedia talk:Consensus/RfC of course.LeadSongDog come howl! 18:41, 30 June 2010 (UTC)
Oops! I meant to link it. My bad. :) I'll make sure I did at other points of publication. --Moonriddengirl (talk) 18:54, 30 June 2010 (UTC)

Requested moves from namespace

Is WP:RM or WP:AFD or some other venue the correct place for a request to move an article from the namespace to another space, e.g. project space?

Context: I just removed a requested move at Talk:Wikipedia in culture#Requested move that wanted Wikipedia in culture moved to Wikipedia:Wikipedia in culture as I thought this fell out of the scope of requested moves (as it is a requested removal), but then I read the closing admin's comments at the last AfD in 2008, which said that "A proposal to move this in to the Wikipedia namespace should be carried through the normal move decision making process, as I don't see a clear consensus for such a move at the moment." So... what's the process?

Please discuss at Wikipedia talk:Requested moves#Requested moves from namespace to keep in one place. Fences&Windows 22:47, 30 June 2010 (UTC)

Username Policy

I had this crazy idea a while ago about the username policy. Instead of indefinately blocking the user with a bad username, administrators could give them a link to the name changing page. And if the user doesn't change their name in about a week then they could get blocked indefinitly. Thanks -- 水の男の子 chat 18:11, 25 June 2010 (UTC)

So you can do as much vandalism as you want as long as you change your name? OrangeDog (τε) 17:23, 26 June 2010 (UTC)
I don't mean it like that. If the User has a bad username they could be given the oppertunity to change their name to prevent them from gettingt blocked indefinately ONLY because of their username. If they do vandalize, I would indeed encourage blocking.-- 水の男の子 chat 20:19, 26 June 2010 (UTC)
I think it is a good suggestion. Imagine the following siltation, which I contend is highly plausible. A person is aware of Wikipedia as a resource, but has only been a reader, and knows nothing about the policies, except maybe hearing that it is the encyclopedia anyone can edit. They are employed by xyz, and they realize that there is no article on xyz. They decide they should create an article, and muse about a username. They consider their own name, and then they consider a silly name. But then they decide, being a highly moral,ethical individual, that whether or not WP has rules about it, they don't want to edit under false pretenses, so they create a screen name such as "xyz employee". Our approach could be to explain why that perfectly plausible decision is not what we have placed into policy, and give the editor a few days to change their user name. :::But no, we block them. What a welcome!
Let me emphasize that I concur with our policy—I simply suggest that it is not prima facie obvious, so it is understandable that some would not come up with the argument on their own. Moreover, I contend that the use of barred usernames may not be an attempt to be sneaky, but may be an honest attempt to be open and ethical. Our response could be much more welcoming.--SPhilbrickT 15:10, 27 June 2010 (UTC)
Guideline is already in place at WP:BADNAME. Templates such as {{uw-username}} are used to warn the editor of a problematic name. It gives the the opportunity to reply or to request a name change. ---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 16:24, 27 June 2010 (UTC)
I feel that, in the event of a bad username without any vandalism, the user should not be blocked but should instead be immediately renamed. If the user is vandalizing, though, I feel the user should be blocked. Immunize Contact me Contributions 13:33, 1 July 2010 (UTC)
I would support this. Dcoetzee 19:04, 1 July 2010 (UTC)

RfC: Should editors remove POV tags before the dispute has been resolved?

In reference to our article about the Climatic Research Unit email controversy, should editors remove POV tags before the dispute has been resolved?[8] A Quest For Knowledge (talk) 14:14, 30 June 2010 (UTC)

Depends if there's really a genuine reason to think that readers need to be told that the article might be biased. These "disputes about disputes" (or "attempts to reach consensus as to what the consensus is") remain basically unsolvable unless we have an explicit process (body) to resolve them. We don't, so it's up to who can edit-war the most skilfully.--Kotniski (talk) 18:01, 30 June 2010 (UTC)
Anyone who thinks they are skilfull at editwarring has entirely missed the point. Consensus only forms through persuasion. Sooner or later the editwarrior gets tired, or sloppy, and winds up sanctioned. OTQ, however, the purpose of the POV tag is not to be a badge of shame, it is to attract attention of editors to a neglected aspect of the article. Once it has served that purpose, it should come off while the discussion continues on the talkpage. LeadSongDog come howl! 18:25, 30 June 2010 (UTC)
Oh no, everyone is an editwarrior. Some do it more effectively than others (that includes avoiding being sanctioned for it). And the purpose of the POV tag most definitely is as a badge of shame. But speaking aspirationally rather than cynically telling the truth, I don't agree that it serves to attract the attention to editors (that would be done on the talk page); it is only justified (like all tags on the article itself) as something to give information to readers ("trust this even less than you normally would a Wikipedia article").--Kotniski (talk) 18:42, 30 June 2010 (UTC)
I agree. To attract the attention of editors, you're supposed to post notices in appopriate places, in this case POVN &/or RFC. The latter, in my experience, usually attracts hardly anyone. I don't really know about the former, but when I raised the question there (October 2008, I think) there seemed to be an embarrassed silence. Last I looked at the page it said there was a backlog.
In practice, as you say, it can often be a matter of skill at edit warring. One editor said he'd sometimes deliberately got himself blocked in order simply to get publicity for an issue. Just like the real world, in fact. A system that operates like that is obviously seriously flawed. Just like the real world. Peter jackson (talk) 10:35, 1 July 2010 (UTC)

Clarification on WP:NPOV

I'm currently involved in a significant dispute with other editors on a controversial article. I'd rather not link to the article (or my username and contributions) to avoid getting entangled in the subject matter... but, if possible, I'd like clarification on whether the WP:NPOV guideline applies to the issue.

We're in the process of rewriting the lead (which has been changed based on consensus a few times in the past couple months). Currently, the lead opens with 3 definitions of the term, each of which are well sourced and verifiable. The ordering of those three definitions is the source of contention. There are currently two proposals:

  1. Beginning with the broadest def, and further refining in the following sentences. i.e. "A banana is a fruit. Often it is a yellow fruit. Sometimes it is green."
  2. Beginning with the most common def, and ranking the other two based on prominence. i.e. "A banana is a yellow fruit. It can also be green. Least often it is red."

Those supporting the first proposal contend that there is precedent to begin with a def which includes everything under the label, and list other definitions thereafter. Further, since all 3 are well sourced and verifiable, and the term as a whole is not fully agreed upon in any context, ranking based on what is most common would be dubious.

Those supporting the second proposal contend that, per Due Weight, the definition which is most common among the sources should begin the article, followed by the other two. Further, while the term is not fully agreed upon, there are a larger number of sources using 1 definition over the other 2.

I'm trying to understand if a definition should be considered a viewpoint. If so, then proposal 2 is correct due to Due Weight. If not, then it seems that precedent based on every other article I can find would support proposal 1. We do have consensus support for one of the two proposals, but consensus support should not factor in if a proposal conflicts with a WP guideline. Could someone with more copyedit experience weigh in on the applicability of this guideline to the issue. Thanks! (talk) 02:22, 27 June 2010 (UTC)

I think it will be too hard for anyone to say in the abstract. I would hazard that if there are conflicting definitions for a term, and none of them is clearly prevalent, then the opening sentence shouldn't mislead the reader by stating just one definition as fact. I don't think it has much to do with NPOV as with the unwritten but most important content policy - convey information clearly to the reader.--Kotniski (talk) 06:05, 27 June 2010 (UTC)
I fully appreciate that this is a hard question to answer abstractly. I can link to the article if necessary, but I already have concerns that some editors involved are looking too much at the (controversial) topic, rather than style and format guidelines, so I'd really prefer not to. My question ultimately boils down to whether definitions of a term are considered to be viewpoints per WP:Due. If they are, then they should be ranked by pervasiveness, and proposal 2 should stand. If not, then WP:Due doesn't apply, and proposal 1 makes more sense to maintain coherence and flow. (talk) 06:38, 27 June 2010 (UTC)
One thing you have to be careful of is to not write about more than one topic in the same article. If the definitions of the term are similar, it's a case of coming to a consensus about the definition. If the definitions are totally different, you're better off writing about the different topics on different pages. But having an example would help us get our heads around this idea. Fences&Windows 14:47, 27 June 2010 (UTC)
p.s. There have been disputes along these lines at Palestinian right of return, Government in exile, and Adultery, Stillbirth, Abortion, White people, Feminism, Gnosis, etc. Fences&Windows 14:56, 27 June 2010 (UTC)
I basically agree with Kotniski. People might like to think about the example of religion. As far back as 1912, Leuba (Psychology of Religion, I think) listed 50 definitions. No doubt there are far more by now. Try to work out a policy/guideline that would fit that, & the current case would be easy. Peter jackson (talk) 10:40, 28 June 2010 (UTC)
while I agree with Kotniski that the question can't be answered in the abstract, I can say this much. this is not a problem of definitions; this is a problem of spin-doctoring. Just to use your example, no one would generally care whether one said "A banana is a yellow fruit that tastes sweet" or "A banana is a sweet fruit that is commonly yellow". However, if one is sneakily using the term 'yellow' in the old-fashioned sense of 'cowardly', then banana-lovers will prefer the second reading while banana-haters will prefer the first. and in general, both sides will loudly proclaim that they are not banana-lovers/haters but are instead just sticking to the 'definition' like any good, honest wiki-bwana.
The solution I generally try in cases like this (which doesn't work as well as one might hope) is to look for a rewrite that forces the sneaky word into a grammatical structure where it loses its sneakiness. For instance, the sentence "A banana is a fruit that ripens to a yellow color and has a high sugar content" mostly precludes the 'cowardly' implication of 'yellow'. of course, the spin-doctors will object, and it will turn into a protracted dispute about grammar, but you can leverage the approach to bring the sneakiness of the language out into the open. --Ludwigs2 22:56, 28 June 2010 (UTC)
Thank you everyone for your responses. The impression I'm getting is that WP:Due may or may not apply to definitions within the lead, and it's impossible to say without seeing the article. Is that accurate? To clarify on some other points which were raised, the article in question is a long standing FA. That is to say, the 3 definitions in the lead are there for good cause, and considerable debate has taken place over the years to arrive there. We do seem to (mostly) have consensus for an ordering change, but the prospect of removing two of the three defs is unfortunately out of the question.
@Ludwigs I'm afraid your example probably very much applies to this issue... as all those participating in the discussion now are described by the article. (i.e. if the article were white people, then we'd all be Caucasian)... and I'm sure many of us have strong (and biased) views on exactly what that means. Hence my attempt to post here and get a truly objective take on policy. If there's nothing else anyone can contribute abstractly, then I'll (reluctantly) ditch that idea and post the article tomorrow. Thanks again! (talk) 23:54, 28 June 2010 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Alright. Since there doesn't seem to be any way to definitively comment on policy without seeing the specific article... it is Atheism. You'll see on the current discussion page (and going back through the archives) this is an issue which has been extensively discussed. For those of you who may not want to wade through that exorbitant amount of content, the current lead is:

Atheism, in a broad sense, is the rejection of belief in the existence of deities. In a narrower sense, atheism is specifically the position that there are no deities. Most inclusively, atheism is simply the absence of belief that any deities exist. Atheism is contrasted with theism, which in its most general form is the belief that at least one deity exists.

As you can see, the three definitions are "absence of belief", "rejection of belief" and "position of nonbelief". "absence" includes all atheists under any mainstream definition. "rejection" includes all self-identifying atheists (but not necessarily those who they would identify). "position" only includes strong atheists, and should clearly not begin the article. The new proposal offered by User:Mann_jess was:

Atheism, in a broad sense, is the absence of belief in the existence of deities. In a narrower sense, atheism can be the rejection of belief in the existence of deities, or the position that no deities exist. Atheism is contrasted with theism, which in its most general form is the belief that at least one deity exists.

It was also suggested we keep the same sentence structure, but only re-oder, making the most recent proposal:

Atheism, in a broad sense, is the absence of belief that any deities exist. In a narrower sense, it is the rejection of belief in the existence of deities. Most exclusively, atheism can specifically be the position that there are no deities. Atheism is contrasted with theism, which in its most general form is the belief that at least one deity exists.

If my position isn't already readily apparent, I'd rather not share it. But, any input which can be provided here would make me better informed in supporting or responding to the notion that the definition should be ordered based on prominence of the def alone, per policy. Again, the ultimate question appears to be, is a definition (like "absence of belief") considered a viewpoint per WP:Weight.

I know this is a lot of content to wade through, and I know the distinctions being proposed are mainly pedantic and uninteresting, but I do believe it is an important distinction in the quality of the article (either way), and clarity on policy would really help further along the discussion. Thanks so much! (talk) 03:16, 1 July 2010 (UTC)

I think you probably have to start with dictionaries here to find how words are used. Look at their explanations of arrangement. Some list commonest uses 1st, others arrange historically, maybe others by whatever order makes things clearest or most convenient. And remember to check both British & American (& Australian &c if you want to be thorough): usage isn't always the same.
Speaking only from my own experience & impressions in Britain, I'd say the normal meaning is what I think you mean by strong atheist above: someone who asserts there is no G/god. All the others are lumped together as agnostics. Personally again, I've long regarded the distinction as umimportant: nearly all those commonly called agnostics live identical lives to atheists. Peter jackson (talk) 10:26, 1 July 2010 (UTC)
again, my suggestion is to rewrite so as to render any sneakiness impossible. The sneakiness here is in the ordering (narrow vs. broad vs. most inclusive - words that try to specify importance as much as scope), so simply eliminate the ordering and the evaluative terms. Something like ["Atheism can refer to a number of personal and philosophical positions that preclude the existence of a god or gods, ranging from an absence of any beliefs about god(s) (compare with agnosticism) to an overt rejection of any belief in god(s)." --Ludwigs2 20:20, 3 July 2010 (UTC)

Image placement

I apologize if I am submitting this in the wrong location. It has been brought to my attention these past days, looking at the rules for image placement. My question is, why it is required that images should start on the right-hand side? Really, it doesn't matter what side it's on, as long it's on some side. I also acknowledge that preference is up to the user. But, I'm just thinking aloud on this. I'd enjoy viewing other users' views on this, SwisterTwister (talk) 05:59, 1 July 2010 (UTC)

Probably because in English we read from left to right, and we naturally expect text to appear first on the very left side of the screen, rather than an image. -- œ 06:19, 1 July 2010 (UTC)
All sorts of funny things happen with image placement. If I were to put a large picture here & nobody said anything else in this section, most of the picture would appear to the right of the next section. Peter jackson (talk) 10:39, 1 July 2010 (UTC)

I have to admit that's a good point. We do read left to right, as opposed to Hebrew and Arabic. SwisterTwister (talk) 17:27, 1 July 2010 (UTC)

Yup, and as you'll notice on the Hebrew Wikipedia the images are on the left. -- œ 08:22, 2 July 2010 (UTC)

Clarification on WP:NEO

There is an article that was recently cleaned up by removing several unsourced paragraphs of original research. Afterwards, there were basically 3 to 4 sentences of contradictory statements left. The provided sources briefly use the term, but none of them talks about the term and they show no actual definition of the term.

The neologism policy says: "To support an article about a particular term or concept we must cite reliable secondary sources such as books and papers about the term or concept, not books and papers that use the term."

According to that policy I intended to challenge that article on the grounds of that policy to find out whether it is a neologism or not. Per WP:NEO, this evidence are simply sources about the term.

However, an editor claimed that it is not appropriate to apply the policy in that case. According to the editor, the WP:NEO policy is not a definition of neologism and the term must first match a definition of neologism before WP:NEO can be applied; however he did not answer where such a definition can be found.

The question is whether there is some other definition of neologisms that needs to be applied before a term is challenged on the grounds of WP:NEO; or whether WP:NEO is the actual criteria of determining neologisms on Wikipedia. Any answer appreciated.--  LYKANTROP  14:27, 2 July 2010 (UTC)

I think part of the problem may be that a "neologism" is the word itself, not the thing being described by the word, and the guideline is not sufficiently clear on the difference between an article about the word, and an article about the thing the word describes. An article about the neologism itself requires sources that talk specifically about the word, because that is the same standard we apply to articles about any topic. But if the article is not actually about the neologism, but about the thing being described by the neologism, then there's no need for sources to discuss the actual word being applied to that thing, in order to establish that the thing itself is notable enough for an article.
For example, in order to write an article about the phenomenon of tricking someone into viewing a Rick Astley music video, we need to establish that the phenomenon itself is notable. In order to write an article about the word "Rickrolling," we would need to establish that the word itself is notable. We have an article about Rickrolling, but it's about the phenomenon, not the word (neologism) itself. We could have the same article and title it Rick Astley prank or something like that, but it's titled by the neologism because of consensus that that's the common way to refer to it. But it's not about the neologism itself, anymore than our article on the apple is about the word "apple"; it's about the red fruit. To me it seems a big mistake for the policy to either imply, or to be inferred as implying, that in order to write an article about a topic that is known primarily by a neologism, you must have sources that talk specifically about the neologism. The neologism is just a label. Propaniac (talk) 15:15, 2 July 2010 (UTC)
Yea. But the name of the article is fixed in this case, so this is not the problem anway, even though you're right. The article is about the particular term. It's still about whether WP:NEO determines neologisms on its own or not.--  LYKANTROP  15:25, 2 July 2010 (UTC)
I had experience of this some years ago when I suggested deletion of Pre-sectarian Buddhism on these grounds. The term is barely mentioned in RSs (the authors of the article took months from my original citation request to find any mentions at all). Result keep. Peter jackson (talk) 15:30, 2 July 2010 (UTC)
I see it's sourced now. So you say such a citation request is authorized per the policy?--  LYKANTROP  15:37, 2 July 2010 (UTC)
I don't know how much the current version may differ from the version you proposed deleting, but the current version appears to be about an early form of Buddhism, not about a neologism used to refer to that early form. Propaniac (talk) 16:11, 2 July 2010 (UTC)
I guess I don't understand why there would be a dispute over whether to apply WP:NEO because the term in question may or may not be a neologism, primarily because, if it's simply a term that's not a neologism, you still need to prove notability using sources that are about the term itself if the term is the topic of the article. I don't see how WP:NEO is a more demanding standard than regular old WP:GNG. If the sources only mention the term in passing, that does not sound like "significant coverage." Propaniac (talk) 16:11, 2 July 2010 (UTC)
I'm not sure what distinction is being made here. Are we saying that an article headed X may be about either of 2 different things:
  1. the topic referred to by the term "X";
  2. the term "X" itself?
This might lead to ambiguities & seems not entirely logical. Peter jackson (talk) 10:33, 3 July 2010 (UTC)
Propaniac brought this up, but this really was not exactly my question. The article is about a particular term anyway.
So, WP:NEO: "Some neologisms can be in frequent use, and it may be possible to pull together many facts about a particular term and show evidence of its usage on the Internet or in larger society". If an article contains a list of sources that mention the term, some might consider it a sufficient coverage for notability. The wording of WP:NEO is more explicit than the one of notability.
An editor claimed that any term must be a neologism according to some definition of neologisms before WP:NEO can be applied at all. I claimed that WP:NEO is the actual Wikipedia policy that determines neologisms here. It seems to be obvious that it's the case, but I just need a confirmation that WP:NEO is a standard criteria that an article should pass just like WP:GNG or any other Wikipedia policy.--  LYKANTROP  11:07, 3 July 2010 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Pedophilia has been marked as a policy

Wikipedia:Pedophilia has now been redirected to Wikipedia:Child protection now, so this discussion isn't relevant any more AzaToth 22:48, 4 July 2010 (UTC)
The following discussion has been closed. Please do not modify it.

Wikipedia:Pedophilia (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 July 2010 (UTC)

  • What the hell? Did someone just make a fully protected page policy? I'm seeing significant objections to this policy on the talk page and think that ramming a change through this way is beyond bogus.Hobit (talk) 05:23, 1 July 2010 (UTC)
I've just had a read through the talk page and I feel the whole business stinks. It gives me the definite feeling that if I should, say, add the result of a survey which showed children weren't in general harmed to the extent they'd this policy crowd like to think they were then they would quietly ban me without explanation. That is a definite chilling effect. Who's next? People who write about dictators or communists but mention something good about them? People who say that a drug doesn't kill you or make you mad? I've advocated having self-censoring aids in Wikipedia but got nowhere and now I also see in the discussion of the policy being set up about porno pictures about quietly doing things behind the scenes as well. This is getting to feel a bit too much like Conservapaedia not saying things straight or discussing things openly. If I had an inoperable brain tumour I'd want the doctor to say 'you have an inoperable brain tumour'. I wouldn't want people prissing around censoring the place giving people bland things about we don't want you and won't say why. Dmcq (talk) 07:24, 1 July 2010 (UTC)
It's part of the sanctimonious undercurrent. Loonies believe there are paedophiles hiding under every bush just waiting to lure their often hideously ugly children into sordid sex games. The alleged moral majority (those who have nothing to hide have nothing to fear) love to have a prurient interest in what they believe other people want to do. Children are today's current fashion for a feeding frenzy.
So, apart form objecting to well meaning people creating more and more and more petty rules and regulations until we get a true totalitarian regime here, I'm off to throw stones at a paediatrician.
Seriousy, if you say a child is beautiful, or edit an article like Otto Lohmüller does that mean you get banned? This so called policy sucks and should be rescinded at once. Knee jerk policy is bad policy. Or did that mean, to those fools, that I have just self identified as something? I edited one of those articles and read the other. Fiddle Faddle (talk) 08:11, 1 July 2010 (UTC)
I'd suggest all who have opinions, one way or the other, comment on the policy talk page if you want your voices heard. Hobit (talk) 11:53, 1 July 2010 (UTC)
This policy is redundant. We have policies on Harassment and biographies of living people. They should be enough to cover all potencial problems related to this topic. However, given that it is a serious thing, with consequences beyond wikipedia, involving real people and the site's reputation, perhaps it's a redundancy we can live with MBelgrano (talk) 13:09, 1 July 2010 (UTC)
It's not exactly redundant. Somebody who does a little POV pushing to advocate fringe science (for example) might get a warning. Somebody who does a little pro-pedophilia POV pushing will get an indef block. The difference is that most POV pushing only hurts articles, whereas pedophilia presents a real life threat to our editors who are minors. Therefore, we are much stricter against pedophilia. For that reason, this policy needs to be clearly explained. For years and years we have banned pedophile accounts. The policy does not represent any change in our administrative enforcement activities; it is merely documenting what has already been done for years and years. Jehochman Talk 13:24, 1 July 2010 (UTC)
By "redundant" I meant that it was a thing where there are already other policies which may deal with it, and there is already a problem with too much policies, guidelines and MOS, where many of them overlap or deal with the same topics. However, I recognize that's an internal issue of ours, and for the "real world" ramifications it can be an acceptable redundancy to keep this policy around. MBelgrano (talk) 13:49, 1 July 2010 (UTC)
The page is quite short. It has unique information, such as instructions not to accuse other of pedophilia, for administrators to use neutral blocking summaries, and to contact ArbCom in confidence about suspected cases. These are unique instructions that are not part of other relevant policies. Therefore, it makes sense to have this page. It helps avoid people needing to look here and there to find the relevant bits of other policies, and it helps protect those accused (who might be innocent) from public humiliation. Jehochman Talk 14:51, 1 July 2010 (UTC)
I think having a policy on this topic is a good idea, and the policy isn't even that bad, but I can't possibly agree with a provision that anyone identified as a pedophile should be banned indefinitely on sight, even if they're conscientious moral persons who don't act on their fantasies, or even edit in a related area. In practice, though, the effect of this policy will be that editors who are pedophiles will just have to be very quiet about this. Dcoetzee 16:30, 1 July 2010 (UTC)

I see no definition of pedophilia there, other than, I suppose, someone who expresses an interest in relationships with "minors," but what constitutes a minor varies widely. And more importantly, the age of consent and the age of majority are not even the same within many jurisdictions. Even notwithstanding that legal point, there's a vast difference between sexual interest in prepubescents and sexual interest in postpubescent teenagers. This "policy" as written does not distinguish. postdlf (talk) 15:11, 1 July 2010 (UTC)

We presumably mean the age of consent where the servers are, which it appears is 18 if the other person is over 24, and 16 if they're under. See here. SlimVirgin talk|contribs 16:42, 1 July 2010 (UTC)
It would, I expect, be extrememly rare for people to have a psychological interest in people below a certain chronological age, let alone one that varies with place & time. The psychological conditions referred to by the pseudo-Greek term "paedophilia" are concerned with phases of biological development, not chronological age. Peter jackson (talk) 17:00, 1 July 2010 (UTC)
So an 18-year old high school senior who discloses that his girlfriend is a 14-year old freshman classmate should be blocked from Wikipedia? postdlf (talk) 18:46, 1 July 2010 (UTC)
Not by any common sense definition, no. The problem now is that some of the posts on the policy talk page indicate otherwise, and these things depend not on the words on the page, or on common sense, but on how administrators behave. SlimVirgin talk|contribs 18:56, 1 July 2010 (UTC)

@Peter Jackson - no. Lets talk about the reality for a moment. Paedophilia is the sexual attraction of the adult to the pre-pubescent child. The last few cases to make the news in the UK have involved the rape of a 10 year old, passing around indecent images of five year olds, and offences against children at a nursery. People who experience this paraphilia argue that children - even babies - are sexual beings, and are capable of giving informed consent to sex acts with adults, that no-one is harmed because paedophiles love the children they are abusing, that they are being discriminated against because they are prevented from legally enjoying their preferred form of sexual congress, and that paedophilia will one day be accepted just as homosexuality has been.Elen of the Roads (talk) 14:48, 2 July 2010 (UTC)

I'm not sure what you think you're responding to, or what your attitude to it is. I'm not an expert on psychiatry, so I don't know how the term is used in the field. It may be as narrow as you say. Certainly the media often seem to use the term in a broader, but undefined, sense, & that's what I was commenting on above. Peter jackson (talk) 15:27, 2 July 2010 (UTC)
@Elen: You are patently incorrect. Many pedophiles do not believe that children are capable of giving informed consent, and that the laws against sex with minors have a strong moral foundation; these persons generally don't act on their desires as they would believe it would be immoral to do so. A person with kleptomania does not generally advocate the abolishment of laws against theft - don't conflate paraphilia with advocacy. Dcoetzee 04:33, 3 July 2010 (UTC)
In which case the policy should focus on those that do. Elen of the Roads (talk) 09:26, 3 July 2010 (UTC)
  • I oppose this policy simply because pedophilia is classified as a mental illness and to discriminate against an editor based on their mental health seems to be discriminatory to me. It's not as if pedophiles have been using Wikipedia as a vehicle to access young children, and it seems this is a clear restriction on freedom of expression on Wikipedia. I strongly disagree with advocates of pedophila, but to ban otherwise productive users who are suffering from this particular mental issue seems, to me, to be submitting to the tabloid journalism of Fox news. The policy, IMO, should state 1) - statements advocating pedophilia on userspace will be removed - via admin edit history removed and 2) users who are adding pro-pedophile content to articles despite warnings not to do so will be indefintely blocked. This reflects WP:NOTTHERAPY and Wikipedia's policy towards those who suffer from mental illnesses which affect their judgement. Claritas § 20:12, 4 July 2010 (UTC)
Please see WP:Child protection which is an info page describing the policy -- the result of several days of discussion about this. This is a redirect from WP:Pedophilia, and the discussion can be found on the talk page for that project. See also the actual policy at WP:Block subsection Child protection issues. The policy is not far from what you are stating, other than there will be no warnings given. It is not the thought or state of being that is prohibited -- it is the expression, which is disruptive and harmful. Minor4th • talk 22:48, 4 July 2010 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Child protection has been marked as a policy

Wikipedia:Child protection (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, 6 July 2010 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Pedophilia no longer marked as a policy

Wikipedia:Pedophilia (edit | talk | history | links | watch | logs) has been edited so that it is no longer marked as a policy. It was previously marked as a policy. This is an automated notice of the change (more information). -- VeblenBot (talk) 02:00, 6 July 2010 (UTC)

Note: The part was moved to Wikipedia:Child protection for a history merge, in case anyone is concerned. -- Ricky81682 (talk) 02:22, 6 July 2010 (UTC)
No doubt it'll get moved again, too. Gavia immer (talk) 02:38, 6 July 2010 (UTC)


So the Wikipedia:Video links proposal was just recently archived. One editor mentioned that it didn't seem necessary. I still believe there is a gap and editors often need clarification. Funny enough, it has already come up again at Wikipedia:Reliable sources/Noticeboard#Youtube So thought I would throw the link up here again. Please noter that this is not the same proposal mentioned above that was created as a fork.Cptnono (talk) 04:33, 6 July 2010 (UTC)

WP:AFTER as counterpart to WP:BEFORE

I think there should be a counterpart to WP:BEFORE in Wikipedia:Articles for deletion.

The problem

  • Afd outcomes are sometimes not enforced, for instance:
    • discussion closes with a merge but nothing is done about it
    • discussion closes with a redirect but nobody redirects it
    • consensus exists to move the article to a better title but nobody does it
  • In keep closures: Suggested article improvements often do not happen, for instance,
    • sources are given to establish whatever policy was cited for deletion, but no one incorporates them into the article
    • non-negotiable conditions ("keep and rewrite", "keep but remove spam") are not enforced

A possible solution

WP:AFTER, stating the minimum work the closer of the AfD discussion has to do:

  1. If the closure was redirect, change article into the requested redirect, citing the AfD discussion in the edit summary
  2. If the closure was merge, put the suggested-merge templates on both source and destination article, or merge it yourself
  3. If there was a consensus to move, list the article at Requested moves, citing the AfD discussion in the edit summary, or move it yourself
  4. If the closure was keep:
    1. If the discussion contains suggestions for article improvements that are not yet incorporated into the article, copy the suggestions to the talk page of the article, or improve the article yourself
    2. If the keep consensus contained non-negotiable conditions ("keep and rewrite", "keep but remove spam"), tag the article with the appropriate templates, or improve it yourself.

Sincere apologies if this has been suggested before. I did search the archives but found nothing appropriate. --Pgallert (talk) 11:38, 5 July 2010 (UTC)

  • Can't these things be done by anyone? There's no need for the closer him/herself to do anything except for the mechanics of the closure and anything that requires admin privileges (like deleting the page). If there was a consensus to do something else, then anyone involved in that consensus can do it. --Kotniski (talk) 11:44, 5 July 2010 (UTC)
    • Note that WP:BEFORE is not a policy, it is a subsection of a page giving information on a procedure. Delicious carbuncle (talk) 12:23, 5 July 2010 (UTC)
      • When it comes to AFD, there are certain essays that have become "pseudo-policy". Nominators are often beaten over the head with WP:BEFORE even if they have done that but missed a source or disregarded a buncha blog and forum posts found by other !voters, Non-admin closers often get WP:NAC thrown in their face, (though sometimes this if appropriate for some completely backwards NACs) and WP:OUTCOMES is sometimes used by !voters calling for a speedy close for AFDs for high schools and towns.

        The concept of WP:AFTER makes sense but such an "essay" could become creepy if we're not careful. One example, if closing an AFD as "redirect" then it's reasonable to expect the closer to actually redirect the article. (most closing scripts do this automatically) It would be helpful if the closer removes any redlinks in the target article to the redirected article but this should not be required. On merges, the closer should put the big purple tag (afdmergeto) on the article and the "afdmergefrom" on the target's talk page. Yes it would be great if the closer actually did the merge but this shouldn't be required and in some cases isn't even possible. What if the regular editors of the target reject the merge? Carrying out the merge may require coordination from editors on both articles. As far as moves/renames go, this is beyond the scope of AFD. I sometimes do it if the suggested move would be uncontroversial but a closer absolutely should not attempt to enforce a "move" consensus at AFD. (an exception being certain BLP based suggestions to rename an article on someone known for only 1 event to the name of the event) --Ron Ritzman (talk) 13:30, 5 July 2010 (UTC)

  • Of course the closer should not be required to do the article improvement him/herself, but the least that should be done is the documentation of what needs to be done. A lot of useful commentary is lost once the AfD is closed; not many casual editors are aware of possible suggestions at Talk:Article ==> OldAfDFull ==> This article's entry.

    BTW, I was thinking of the status of WP:BEFORE. Is it not policy, considering that it is placed on a page that states how a process is (always) done? --Pgallert (talk) 13:58, 5 July 2010 (UTC)

  • Surely admins and other closers are already doing most these things? I thought before of having a WikiProject After to do clean-up after deletion proposals, i.e. to treat a PROD or deletion nomination as a sign that the article needed work, but I never got beyond some scribbles. Fences&Windows 00:00, 6 July 2010 (UTC)
    • Sometimes yes, sometimes no, sometimes so-so. The last example is what I would like to achieve - the !voter added one source to show the person is what the article says it is, and then tagged it as {{refimprove}}. A project as you suggest would also be a good solution to the problem, feel free to invite me to help. --Pgallert (talk) 10:06, 6 July 2010 (UTC)

Here are two long-standing principles from AFD discussions over many years:

  • Closing administrators are not magic edit-on-demand services. They aren't there to magically provide content, find sources, clean up content, rewrite articles, or do other tasks. The sole task they are responsible for is choosing to hit, or not to hit, the delete button.
  • Any editor opining an editorial action in an AFD discussion is implicitly volunteering to take that action. Don't opine a merger, or a cleanup, or some other ordinary editorial action, unless you are prepared to put your own edits where your discussion contributions are, and use your own tools to do what you say "someone" should do. And you don't have a leg to stand upon when complaining about inaction if you've been just as inactive as the "someone else" that you wanted to shift the burden onto. Editing the encyclopaedia is not Somebody Else's Problem.

And we already have pages explaining this: Wikipedia:Be bold, Wikipedia:Editing policy, and so forth. We even have Wikipedia:Somebody Else's Problem.

Uncle G (talk) 01:05, 6 July 2010 (UTC)

No need to get angry, Uncle G. I would not be posting something like this to load off work to someone else. My concern is that your suggestion is not practical: Nothing informs the AfD !voters about their responsibility, not a single word of advice in this direction is written at WP:Articles for deletion. To offload all the work to the AfD respondents without singling out one of them does not always work. I am just as frustrated as you by editors taking the time to search for marvelous reliable sources and then to paste them only into the AfD discussion but not into the article. If no-one tells them that this is only half the work done, they will continue. Newer editors might even be afraid to change the shape of the article that is currently being discussed. Sure, Wikipedia:Be bold covers such actions but not everyone is bold.
BTW, isn't your assertion The sole task they are responsible for is choosing to hit, or not to hit, the delete button just a perfect application of Wikipedia:Somebody Else's Problem? --Pgallert (talk) 09:45, 6 July 2010 (UTC)
PS: One example where it just does not work that way. Admitted, it was closed as no consensus, and yes, Wikipedia:WikiProject_Deletion_sorting/Philippines/archive lists it, but it didn't even have a tag (until now, I added it). Do you want to forbid keep votes like these? --Pgallert (talk) 10:27, 6 July 2010 (UTC)

Comments welcome on new proposed guideline for Supporting articles

I have created a new proposed guideline, Wikipedia:Supporting Articles, that I have a feeling will go through some significant amount of wringing before it achieves consensus on the issue of supporting articles - articles that tend to not have their own notable topic but are necessary to support a larger topic due to SIZE issues. This is a accumulation of a lot of issues of recent, including introductory articles, descriptive article titles, lists, etc. Comments and suggestions are welcome. --MASEM (t) 18:01, 6 July 2010 (UTC)

The somewhat non-generic user icon before one's user name at top right of page

Hi- I think we may need to revisit this issue again, see: Wikipedia:Village pump (policy)/Image:User.gif: unintended bias? Somehow, it is not to my liking that I have to look at an icon everyday which more closely resembles a bald-headed white guy than anything else. Is there a better icon out there somewhere that is more generic? I know that File:Gnome-stock person.svg exists, but since it is pretty much colorless (which is good), it may not stand up very well against the background. Also, please let me know if there is a better forum page to discuss this. Any help is appreciated and thanks for the consideration! --Funandtrvl (talk) 18:18, 30 June 2010 (UTC)

I had to check the top of my page to see what icon you were talking about! They don't look bald, male or white to me, but then I'm using monobook. Try Wikimedia Commons for alternatives. Fences&Windows 22:58, 30 June 2010 (UTC)

Person with a red beret.svg This is my preference, to symbolise how Wikipedians are all communists.[9] Fences&Windows 23:05, 30 June 2010 (UTC)

Looks to me like a confident Latino woman, albeit with no face. Beeblebrox (talk) 23:07, 30 June 2010 (UTC)
Damn, I thought it's a French sailor with nothing on except a beret. What an embarrassment. East of Borschov 08:11, 1 July 2010 (UTC)
Looks like a snowman to me. (Or should that be snowperson?) Peter jackson (talk) 14:12, 4 July 2010 (UTC)

I hide the icon, because I find it distracting and aesthetically displeasing, using this code in Special:MyPage/vector.css

li#pt-userpage {background:none} /* Turn off the small user image at top of page. */

So I agree the icon could be improved, and that we should use Gnome-stock person.svg (Gnome-stock person.svg) instead, but for a completely different reason!

Add this code to your vector.css to try it out

li#pt-userpage {background:url( left top no-repeat;padding-left: 15px !important;text-transform: none;} /* Tweak the small user image at top of page. */

That colorless icon is fine, as it is not actually a functional link anywhere. -- Quiddity (talk) 03:55, 8 July 2010 (UTC)

Wow, thanks for working out the code!! I think the gnome-stock person would be a better choice too, not that I don't like the current icon, but the hair (or lack of it!), the color blue and the shirt are all wrong! :-) --Funandtrvl (talk) 04:31, 8 July 2010 (UTC)

Wikipedia:File use policy has been marked as a policy

Wikipedia:File use policy (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, 7 July 2010 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Image use policy no longer marked as a policy

Wikipedia:Image use policy (edit | talk | history | links | watch | logs) has been edited so that it is no longer marked as a policy. It was previously marked as a policy. This is an automated notice of the change (more information). -- VeblenBot (talk) 02:00, 7 July 2010 (UTC)

The page was renamed apparently. --Cybercobra (talk) 05:17, 7 July 2010 (UTC)

And I moved it back, as it was not discussed and the page is only about images. Fences&Windows 18:48, 7 July 2010 (UTC)

What constitutes plagiarism

Recently I discovered that an article's wording for two sentences (about 45 words) differed only by two words from the source cited to support them. The sentences in this Wikipedia article did not have quotes around them, nor were they formatted in any way to suggest they were quoting a source. One would naturally conclude that this was plagiarism. I did not (at the time) reach a conclusion as to the direction of copying, however -- copyvio or reversecopyvio.

OK, at this point, you might be saying, "Yeah, we've all been there. And?"

Here's where it gets strange: In the ensuring discussion of this change, another editor repeatedly insisted that that this was "not quite plagiarism", because it bore a supporting citation to the source containing the original wording. I, quite naturally, boggled. Wording without quotes clearly implies the sort of non-quote prose we editors are supposed to provide in articles: our own, not the cited source's. Yet the wording supplied in this case was 95% verbatim from the source it was citing. If the direction of copying is source-to-Wikipedia, this is no borderline case of "not quite plagiarism". If anything, it's a relatively clear-cut case of it.

Repeatedly trying to make this point with this editor has only resulted in his repetition of his opinion, repeated assertions that I'm wrong, and that I'm the one who needs education on this issue. Providing links to sources describing plagiarism that was punished even when it was on a lesser scale, and to recent cases of it, and to the Wikipedia article plagiarism, and to relevant guidelines and policies, hasn't helped.

Circumstantially: on his user page, he blockquotes himself (I think he does, anyway, hard to tell) to the effect that copyright law is childish and greedy. That concerns me a little. And I've noticed he copies from article to article without mentioning (as reasonable protocol would naturally suggest) that he's copying; in fact, with no edit summary at all in the cases I've seen.

I want to get this particular article up to GA status again. (It was dropped because it lacked adequate citations for a BLP.) Submitting it for GA assessment only to have plagiarism spotted would be mortifying. But I don't want to have check this editor's every bit of added wording against the sources he cites. Besides which: presenting other people's work as your own is, well, wrong. Right? I don't want to work with people who haven't figured when that's happening, and who apparently (going by flaunted sentiments on their User pages) don't much care anyway.

How do you suggest I proceed? (Please don't say "reason with him". I've done that to exhaustion, page after page.) Yakushima (talk) 13:46, 4 July 2010 (UTC)

Something that often comes up & seems relevant here is that editors & readers may disgree about the interpretation of a source, so that to reach consensus &/or avoid the risk of misleading the reader WP would present the source nearly verbatim. Peter jackson (talk) 14:15, 4 July 2010 (UTC)
Not relevant here. If you present it nearly verbatim from the source cited, you're supposed to provide quote formatting (moreover, using standard quoting conventions such as ellipses, and brackets, to indicate where you're omitting and adding words, respectively). Besides, if you want to discuss interpretation, you can quote the source on the talk page; it doesn't have to go into the article. Yakushima (talk) 14:53, 4 July 2010 (UTC)
Have you pointed him to Wikipedia:Plagiarism? Community consensus is that direct copying of prose is plagiarism unless it is clearly identified as a copy. Copying from article to article is actually a copyright issue, as pointed out at Wikipedia:Copying within Wikipedia. --Moonriddengirl (talk) 14:19, 4 July 2010 (UTC)
Yes, I pointed him to plenty of WP guidelines, policies, as well as external sources. That's not the problem. Yakushima (talk) 14:53, 4 July 2010 (UTC)
If you have pointed him to policies and guidelines and the two of you do not agree, the next step - as with all disputes - is to invite additional input. You may ask for opinions at Wikipedia talk:Plagiarism, for instance, or at the content noticeboard. If there's only the two of you, you can ask for a WP:3O. --Moonriddengirl (talk) 15:01, 4 July 2010 (UTC)

Never mind. Problem solved. [See below] The real problem is much bigger, it seems: Wikipedia is (*yawn* ... oh, sorry) a dictatorship of sysops who no longer even feel any need to explain their resistance to positive change. [10] (A supporting link is provided a few edits later, to an article posted to a WP:FRINGE-oriented site. Just to give you an idea of what I was dealing with.) Yakushima (talk) 15:09, 4 July 2010 (UTC)

(e/c) Here's my understanding. If it's in quotes we are indicating it's a quote (and it must have an inline citation) and we are not violating copyright (well there is a length issue, but that's beyond the scope here). If it's not in quotes and contains the same text as a source, or text that only superficially modifies the copyrighted text, then it is a copyright violation even if a citation is provided. A citation tells the reader, "this is where the information comes from"—it does not in any way, shape or form mean or imply that "this is where the words used come from"—that's what quotes are for. Two things complicate this. One is that there are times when there is no good way to say something that isn't the same as the original—it's akin to the concept of inevitable discovery—it would have been written that way by anyone and that's not a copyright violation. This "exception" comes up for very short phrasing that's probably not copyrightable in the first place, and can never be used for a 45 word "almost quote". Second is that if material is in the public domain or under a free license compatible with ours, it is okay to use the material without quotes, so long as there is a clear notice on the page to the effect of "this article incorporates text from _____________, which is in the public domain" or similar statement. Finally, if you copy material from one article to another, and you don't provide attribution, that is a copyright violation. So in sum, I agree with you on what you've been telling this user.--Fuhghettaboutit (talk) 15:18, 4 July 2010 (UTC)
Thanks. That was pretty much my understanding (though yours is impressively detailed and nuanced.) As it happens, the whole situation was somewhat academic, because I quickly determined that the source quoted was the Wikipedia article itself, in an earlier version, on a site that had never properly attributed the text to Wikipedia. (This editor restored the cite anyway, after I deleted it, and added fact-tagging. So, for one brief, shining moment, these sentences not only had a footnote effectively citing only themselves in a previous life, but also a [citation needed] notice. My brain collapsed into pure neutronium. But I'm OK now.) Yakushima (talk) 15:33, 4 July 2010 (UTC)
I do not understand where you get these ideas from? Why do you think that by using quote marks you can get away with requirements of the copyright law? Here you are (as quite usual in this project) conflating two entirely different concepts: plagiarism (lack of an attribution) and copyright violation (lack of a permission). Since the citation was present it was not a plagiarism, but may have been a copyright violation. (No, a citation does not imply that the text was not copied verbatim. It just implies that what was written come from the source specified.) Ruslik_Zero 18:23, 4 July 2010 (UTC)
Ruslik: "Since the citation was present it was not a plagiarism ...."
First off, Ruslik, though I'm not sure whether you're addressing Fuhghettaboutit or me or both of us, and allowing that maybe Ruslik Fuhghettaboutit went off topic there, but speaking for myself: I don't conflate copyright violation with plagiarism. In fact, I pointed out the distinction to the editor in question: I told him that even if you give credit, you can still be violating copyright (as when you publish somebody's copyrighted book without their permission). Further, I understand that you can unethically omit credit (plagiarism), without violating copyright (e.g., using public domain sources without abiding by Wikipedia's rule to mark them as such.)
That's not the issue here. The question is: when you use someone else's wording verbatim, without quoting (and allowing for the special cases Fuhghettaboutit brings in), is it taking credit for someone else's work? The answer, to me, is obvious: yes.
But, like this editor I mention, you also seem to think "It's not plagiarism if you have a link." [Later clarification: those quotes allude to the internet meme [11], which I assumed was laughing at people who believe such things; i.e., the quote marks do not signal that this was literal wording of the editor I tangled with.] This was nearly verbatim copying from a source, not clearly indicated as such. Do you really believe that's not plagiarism? Just because it cites what it ripped off? Most people, reading most stuff, don't check the cited sources. Most people, reading most text, assume it's written by the stated (or implied) authors, where they aren't indicating a quote. They don't think, "Oh, there's a footnote -- so the sentence I just read might be verbatim (or nearly so) from the source cited." And most people editing Wikipedia know this, or should know it.
Therefore, copying something without quoting it (or providing appropriate tagging in certain special cases, as User:Fuhghettaboutit points out above) is essentially taking credit for someone else's work, citation or no, by virtue of entirely understandable (and widely understood) assumptions about sources that most readers will bring to Wikipedia. At best, someone might be clueless about this ethic, unwittingly committing plagiarism. (And I've done it by accident on Wikipedia, leaving an edit half-finished. Taught me a lesson: don't copy-paste, then edit to supply your own wording. Reword it separately.) But it's still plagiarism. I would have thought this was obvious. Apparently, it's not. Scary. Yakushima (talk) 06:54, 5 July 2010 (UTC)
When I said "nearly verbatim", I meant, in many cases, simply transposing from direct to indirect speech:
  • source: "X is Y"
  • WP: author A says that X is Y, or said that X was Y
Does this sort of thing violate copyright? Peter jackson (talk) 10:41, 5 July 2010 (UTC)
I'm not a lawyer, but my understanding is that attribution is usually more or less irrelevant to copyright, with the major exception of copyrighted content that is licensed on condition that it be attributed (e.g. most free licenses). Attribution is the key issue, on the other hand, as regards plagiarism.
So your first example might violate copyright, if X and Y are actually stand-ins for blocks of text sufficient to contain creative content (then there's the fair-use issue to consider as a defense to that), but would never be plagiarism.
Your second example would also never be plagiarism and would be even less likely than the first example to be a copyright violation, though still not impossible if X and Y are sufficiently involved.
I really wish everyone would get straight on the distinction between plagiarism and copyright violation, which really don't have much to do with one another. Carelessly using one word as a stand-in for the other concept is a recipe for confusion all around. --Trovatore (talk) 10:52, 5 July 2010 (UTC)
Indirect quoting doesn't get you off the hook, I agree. Formulating it pseudo-algebraically has the unfortunate effect of obscuring how complex X and/or Y might be. To put a finer point on it, if source says this (note that I remove the confusing quote marks; Peter Jackson doesn't make it clear whether those are in the source or not):
X is Y
and WP says this
author A says that X is Y
with no indication of quoting, and no particular "creative content" in either X or Y, the WP version could still be plagiarism if that indirect-quote wording could be found (verbatim or close enough) in yet another original source, whether credited or not, IF A contains some creative content. "The peripatetic and salacious Brombeck Q. Noboddie says history is bunk." Is that already in some source, somewhere, and are you copying that source without making it clear you're copying?
The most important question for plagiarism always comes down to the same one: "Are those your words?" If they aren't, it's still possible that it's not plagiarism, if those words are, in some agreed-upon sense, everybody's words (i.e., there's no creative content). In the case I bring up, however, only 2 out of about 45 words were different. There are no commonplace observations I know of that are anywhere near that long. And anyway, this instance wasn't even composed of commonplace observations. Yakushima (talk) 13:28, 5 July 2010 (UTC)
I note that the editor in question has been copying between articles without attribution. I've seen editors blocked for this as it is copyright violation (they wouldn't stop doing it, which was the reason for the block). Dougweller (talk) 13:41, 5 July 2010 (UTC)
(outdent) Yakushima says the most important question for plagiarism is whether these are "your words". That is completely 100% wrong. The question for plagiarism is whether these are your ideas, and if not, whether you've attributed them.
Let's take an example, with two scenarios. Someone I know writes an unpublished paper arguing that the works attributed to Shakespeare were actually written by Danielle Steele, and gives evidence and arguments for her thesis.
In the first scenario, I publish a paper arguing that Shakespeare was written by Steele, and give the same evidence and arguments, but I completely reword it so that I have not used any of her expressive content. I present this as my own work and do not credit her. Plagiarism yes, copyvio no. (Well, at least I don't think it's copyvio; as I say I'm not a lawyer. Plagiarism is not a legal issue, and this absolutely is plagiarism.)
In the second scenario, I publish her paper unchanged, without permission, naming her as the author. Copyvio yes, plagiarism no.
Plagiarism is mostly about ideas; copyright is mostly about expression. That's what needs to be kept in mind when using this terminology; otherwise everything gets confused. --Trovatore (talk) 18:53, 5 July 2010 (UTC)
I do agree we have to keep copyright and plagiarism seperate. However, I do not fully agree with Trovatore, as the exact wording is often linked to the idea.
For example putting in the line: "To be or not to be– that is the question", without quotations is not copyright violation (as the author of that line died more than 70 yrs ago). However, it is still plagiarism, although in this case incredibly easily spotted plagiarism ;-). Arnoutf (talk) 19:12, 5 July 2010 (UTC)

The particular text that Yakushima was referring to was copyright violation, not plagiarism. Trovatore gives a very good explanation as to the difference above. I suggested on the talk page that Yakushima "make [the text] identical and use quotation marks", rather making hasty accusations of "blatant plagiarism" on the talk page. From that point, to his credit, Yakushima did actually begin to make constructive edits to the article. I have not reverted any of his edits, so I don't really see what his problem is. Gregcaletta (talk) 04:57, 6 July 2010 (UTC)

Gregcaletta is not exactly being 100% truthful here about never reverting my edits; he actually restored [12] a citation I deleted for being circular, i.e., to an earlier version of the Wikipedia article itself). No, he didn't hit "undo", but he did revert my edit, after [13] I'd explained why and offered evidence on the talk page. The passage in question was then left with a citation to an earlier version of itself and a [citation needed] tag. Why he thought it was OK to have both at the same time is quite beyond me.
Gregcalleta's misrepresentations don't stop there: while I did use the term "blatant plagiarism", I went on to say, before I figured out that the article source being cited copied from Wikipedia [14]
"Now, I'm not sure who's plagiarizing who, here. [I.e., is it WP-to-source or vice versa?] But I think there's little question we could find a more reliable source, and a better way to say this [because of a fairly glaring WP:FRINGE violation implied by the two-word difference between the WP version and source.] For now, I'll just summarize it more briefly, relying on that same source but with different wording."
Immediately afterward, Gregcaletta starts a sentence with these words, which are pretty unambiguous:
It's not quite plagiarism when a citation is provided ....
a sentence that goes on only to suggest repairing the text to make it seem as if there'd never been a problem in the first place, without qualifying its first statement in any way.
Trovatore makes a good point about claiming credit for entire ideas, but by an important measure (frequency), plagiarism is not "mostly about ideas" if most plagiarism is in fact ripped-off wording. If your measure is, instead, a share of box office receipts, then the "most important" might be ideas. But since nobody's making any big-budget movies based on any Wikipedia article (AFAIK), it doesn't apply to the dispute I have with Gregcaletta. After all, if someone were making a big-budget movie about a Wikipedia article, based on its content, it would have to be a Wikipedia article violating any number of policies and guidelines. When I said "most important", I meant "what's most important here, in this discussion, and on Wikipedia." In that sense, I'm pretty far from being, as Trovatore claims, "100% wrong". My apologies if the precise context of my statement wasn't clear. Perhaps I could have done better.
Gregcaletta appears to believe that copyright violation somehow excludes plagiarism. It doesn't. If you don't give your source due credit, even if you fall short of "fair use" length, it is plagiarism if it's in a context where the reader will naturally assume that the words you've supplied in a Wikipedia article are your own.
Adding a citation of the source from which words were copied makes no difference: without indication of quoting, and if the words are "creative content", it's not giving due credit. If anything, it's representing other people's words as your own and decorating them with a sign of your diligent scholarship, impressing the reader that you've "done your homework" -- and therefore, if anything, that you are less likely, in the reader's eyes, to be contributing to Wikipedia unethically. Of course, providing a citation can increase the risk of being found out if someone actually checks (especially if there's a link, as in this case), but it probably reduces the risk overall if it leads to almost everyone admiring not only "your" sterling prose but your ostensible scholarly diligence as shown by citing a source. In fact, in this case, had two words not been altered in something already smacking of WP:NPOV violation to suggest WP:FRINGE, I probably wouldn't have checked the source myself.
Gregcaletta seems to think adding footnotes to the source copied with no quote indication can exonerate someone of plagiarism. I pointed him to sources showing him he's wrong, and why. He's had plenty of chances to say, "No, of course that's not what I meant." He's had plenty of chances to say something like, "What I meant was, if something's apparently copied from the source it cites, you still haven't proven plagiarism -- and sorry if I jumped to the conclusion that you were making that accusation, I just didn't read your Talk page comment carefully enough." He hasn't taken any of those chances. Yakushima (talk) 06:14, 6 July 2010 (UTC)
I'm sorry if I don't express myself in exactly the way you might like, but I'm still pretty confident in the statement that "it's not quite plagiarism when a citation is provided", although in this case it looks like it may have been a copyright violation, as several of the editors above have pointed out. In response to to my addition of an old citation alongside the citation needed tag you added rather than replacing it, if you had a problem with that edit, we can discuss it, but that particular edit had nothing to do with plagiarism. Nor was it a reversion; it was attempting to build consensus by compromise. (from my talk page) "After that, you did some research and showed that the citation was circular, at which point I accepted your removal of the citation. If you have problems with any of my other edits, you can revert them, or we can discuss them on the Daniel Ellsberg talk page, but none of my edits come anywhere near plagiarism". In any case, I would appreciate it if you stop wasting space on my personal talk page with this issue. Gregcaletta (talk) 07:36, 6 July 2010 (UTC)
Okay then, is the 'none of my edits come anywhere near plagiarism' in your sense or the sense others expressed here, or in your sense "may have been a copyright violation"? Whatever about the language anything like that would have to be fixed. Dmcq (talk) 08:40, 6 July 2010 (UTC)
This gets to what I think is the most significant issue I brought up repeatedly with Gregcaletta on his talk page. If he really thinks "it's not quite plagiarism when a citation is provided", he could be copying stuff into Wikipedia, not properly quoted, thinking "this is short enough to qualify under fair use", and "it's not plagiarism because I'm providing a citation." He might say he hasn't done that. He might say he's not going to do that. What he apparently doesn't understand, however, is that whether he sees that as plagiarism or not, in a 45-word excerpt with only two words of difference, with no indication of quoting, it categorically is plagiarism (modulo the special cases we should all understand from above discussion). It might be unwitting, but it is. If he doesn't understand that, maybe he might change his mind someday about his editing practices, and start committing it. If he doesn't understand that, he might end up collaborating on other people's plagiarism. If he doesn't understand that, he might end up endorsing instances of such when other editors do it.
Wikipedia has enough problems with this kind of thing. For example, just today, trying to take a break from all this, trying to get back to working on articles (preferably not the same ones), I was looking at User interface design, because I wanted to write an article about some interesting and clearly notable research [15], but within some overarching WP context already established for the topic. Suddenly, the tingling: "Wait a minute: crap organization, but well-written content, in this Current Research section? Uh-oh." I read the sources cited for that section. Yes: the whole section was ripped verbatim from the sources it cited. The bulk of the text in User interface design, in fact. With no indication of quoting.
Wow. I take a break from wrangling about plagiarism, only to run smack into plagiarism again. What are the odds? (I've since sort of fixed it, using the same sources, but with my own brief wording.) As I understand how Gregcalleta expresses his thoughts on this subject (sneeringly implying that it's in ways that are a problem only for me), there might be better ways to have handled what's in that version of User interface design [[16] but he'd say there's nothing seriously wrong with it, no ethical breach. Why, it's a stylistic thing, he seems to be implying, mainly a matter of taste, or of willingness to apply effort.
Let Gregcalleta declare himself here: every subsection under "Current Research" in this [17] version of User interface design was copied verbatim from its sources. Nothing hypothetical or squirrelly about this one. Look at it: Would you say this isn't quite plagiarism? (Is that like being not quite pregnant?) C'mon, no hemming and hawing. Yes? No? If not, why not?

Gregcalleta says "Nor was it a reversion; it was attempting to build consensus by compromise." The place you build consensus by compromise is on the Talk page, not by making an edit that amounts to reverting mine, restoring the original cite (already sniffed out and reported as problematic, on the Talk page, at that point), then adding the non-sequitur [citation needed] tag, and only commenting on what you did in the edit summary. It would only be an attempt to 'build consensus' if you had proposed that change on the talk page. Smarter: go actually read the external biography cited, see where it's identical (or nearly so) to the BLP, note that there was no credit to Wikipedia on site, then come back with a report corroborating what I'd observed, asking (if you didn't know) just how we might proceed. All of which is, of course, real work (as I know too well from having done it, and more) as opposed to just making quick, easy, high-handed edits and asking me to go look for good sources after simply reverting my edit (in effect) and leaving the sourcing a non sequitur.

Dmcq, in response to your point, the particular passage Yakushima is referring to was not even written by me, which is why I am slightly confused by his attacks. I just attempted to suggest on the talk pages that he not accuse others of plagiarism so easily. Yakushima, you are discussing now a different subject which is no longer appropriate for the Village Pump, so I will respond on my talk page. Gregcaletta (talk) 10:02, 6 July 2010 (UTC)
Here, Gregcaletta drags in the (heavily implied) strawman that he thought I might be accusing him of plagiarism. Everybody is free to go look at the Talk page for Daniel Ellsberg. Everybody is free to go look at what he and I have written on his Talk page. At no point have I ever accused him of committing plagiarism. Repeatedly, I've said that his confusion on this point could lead him into that practice. At some point in the discussion, he began saying that there was no issue here as long as none of his edits to any articles crossed the line I was pointing out to him. I strongly disagree: having editors who don't understand (and apparently, in Gregcaletta's case, can't understand) such basic things is a problem on Wikipedia -- as my recent edits to User interface design see discussion above) should make clear to anyone who thinks this is not their problem. It is, in fact, a potential problem in every article any editor works on. All of us will have to work with people who don't understand this. None of us should have to work with people who can't understand it. Yakushima (talk) 10:23, 6 July 2010 (UTC)
Of course I did not think you were accusing me of plagiarism. I had not even edited the article at that point. It's the fact that you are not accusing me of plagiarism, while accusing me of not understanding me of plagiarism, that confuses me. I agree that it would be better if everyone understood plagiarism. It would also be good if everyone understood the distinction between plagiarism and copyright violation (which you apparently do not). But unfortunately, with so many people editing Wikipedia it is impossible to ensure that everyone understands. All you can do is warm people when they commit it, revert their edits and point them to WP:PLAGIARISM. Making accusation of plagiarism when you see copyright violation is not really useful to anyone. Gregcaletta (talk) 10:40, 6 July 2010 (UTC)
I have repeatedly pointed out how copyright violation and plagiarism differ. You still seem to think there's no overlap. In fact, if you violate copyright, you can do it with or without proper attribution. Doing it without attribution is plagiarism on top of copyright violation. They are not two entirely separate things. You still don't seem to get that. I saw plagiarism, I called attention to it, at that time I didn't know which direction it went. There is nothing wrong with doing that. If you don't find it "useful", maybe it's because you're not interested in the distinctions. Since you think something fall short of plagiarism if there's a citation, being unaware of those distinctions might get you into trouble. Yakushima (talk) 15:41, 6 July 2010 (UTC)
Anyway, we are boring people by discussing this here on the Village Pump. If you really want to discuss it further then take it to my talk page, although if you just keep going I'm eventually going to have to start ignoring you. It's been made pretty clear by everyone above that it was copyright violation, not plagiarism, so your not going to get much help here on convincing yourself that I need to be educated by you on plagiarism. Gregcaletta (talk) 10:45, 6 July 2010 (UTC)
Boring people? Discusssion seems rather brisk, actually. And again "copyright violation, not plagiarism" -- you seem to think you can't have both at the same time. DO you think they are mutually exclusive? Yakushima (talk) 15:41, 6 July 2010 (UTC)
It does come under the WP:PLAGIARISM policy because only a citation was used rather than a statement that some of the text was copied, but on a dictionary definition of plagiarism it might get by and so "it's not quite plagiarism when a citation is provided" might be true. I agree with Gregcaletta though that WP:COPYRIGHT is the most appropriate policy to use when text is copyright, sticking in a statement that the text was copied wouldn't solve the problem. Dmcq (talk) 11:39, 6 July 2010 (UTC)
WP:COPYRIGHT is, as you say, the right policy. WP:PLAGIARISM is the right guideline (it's not actually policy). As for dictionary definitions, the first one I find is:
"-- the unauthorized use or close imitation of the language and thoughts of another author and the representation of them as one's own original work." [18]
Obviously, if you contribute wording from another source verbatim, or nearly so, without making it clear you're quoting it, that's "use ... of the language ... of another author and representation of [it] as one's own original work." It doesn't matter if you have a footnote or not -- you haven't followed understood orthographic conventions that make it clear you didn't write those words. I'm glad it's not at all difficult to see that an easily accessible dictionary definition squares so neatly with WP:PLAGIARISM 15:31, 6 July 2010 (UTC)
WP:PLAGIARISM makes it quite clear that in a number of circumstances you don't need quotes, that a footnote attributing the text is enough. A straightforward citation however is not enough. If you disagree with that you should do it on that guidelines talk page. Dmcq (talk) 16:17, 6 July 2010 (UTC)
And I'm quite clear on that, Dmcq. I don't disagree with WP:PLAGIARISM. Remember the context: Two sentences of about 45 words total, identical to those in the source, except for a two-word difference. No quote marks or other quote indication. Gregcaletta said, "it's not quite plagiarism", and only, he said, because it's got a footnote to the source. He doesn't understand that a footnote makes no difference in a case like that. Yakushima (talk) 18:07, 6 July 2010 (UTC)

I don't seem to have succeeded in getting over the question I was asking, so let me illustrate it by example. See Pali Canon, text to notes 20, 23-5 & 32. Is this copyvio &/or plagiarism? Would it make a difference if the exact quotations in the footnotes weren't there (as happens in some other cases)? Peter jackson (talk) 17:28, 8 July 2010 (UTC)

Reviewing anon contributions

I thought that all contributions from IP addresses and non-established users were subject to review before acceptance? However, I am coming across vandalism such as this which is obviously not caught by the reviewing net. Bridgeplayer (talk) 18:37, 8 July 2010 (UTC)

That behavior is only seen on pages using WP:Pending Changes, which is currently in a trial run. Other pages still allow all users to edit the live version unless it is locked. —Ost (talk) 18:48, 8 July 2010 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Identifying reliable sources (medicine-related articles) has been marked as a guideline

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

Wikipedia:Reliable sources (medicine-related articles) no longer marked as a guideline

Wikipedia:Reliable sources (medicine-related articles) (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, 9 July 2010 (UTC)


Does Wikipedia have a policy on signatures (not username ones). A political representatives has contacted me and ANownlin about indentity theft. Of course, signatures are public domain/copyright free, but are there any particulars about their inclusion in WP articles? Adabow (talk) 09:15, 6 July 2010 (UTC)

It was recently discussed at Jimbo's talk page: User_talk:Jimbo_Wales/Archive_58#Re:_Bianca_Jagger_article. I don't know that we have a policy specifically on the matter, though see Wikipedia:Image use policy#Privacy rights. Risk of identity theft is not an idle concern. We do have Category:Images of signatures. Fences&Windows 16:23, 6 July 2010 (UTC)
Wikipedia:BLP#Misuse of primary sources and Wikipedia:BLP#Privacy of personal information and using primary sources also apply, I think. Reproducing signatures that have not widely appeared in secondary sources is, in my opinion, a misuse of a primary source and an invasion of their privacy. Fences&Windows 16:29, 6 July 2010 (UTC)
I agree with Fences and windows, the signature also adds nothing of encyclopedic or educational value. If there is a hint of a complaint from a subject they should be removed without question. Off2riorob (talk) 16:41, 6 July 2010 (UTC)
I support the removal of signatures from WP:BLPs where there is not good reason to believe that the signature has been publicly released (for such cases, the person probably uses one signature for public display, and a different signature for legal purposes). A signature adds zero encyclopedic value (why not favorite color, name of pet, and so on). From User talk:Adabow#File:David Clendon signature.jpg I see a credible request to remove signatures from articles in Category:Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand MPs. I think that should be done. Opinions? Johnuniq (talk) 23:38, 6 July 2010 (UTC)
I've actually never understood why we have these signatures anyway. As with others, I don't fell they add anything to the article. I've wondered whether it partially arose from the apparently popularity of signatures of politicans in the US (while it's true signatures of politicians are used in promotional material and websites in other countries, my impression is that in the US it's far more common) Nil Einne (talk) 03:18, 8 July 2010 (UTC)
There are thousands of them at commons:Category:Signatures, commons:Category:Handwriting, and their subcats. Mostly from historical figures though. I would guess that the main reasons for considering these as being potentially 'encyclopedic' are in artistic authentication, and in the pseudoscience of graphology (handwriting analysis); is there any other rationale for having these? I've never understood why Ludwig van Beethoven has it in the lead section! -- Quiddity (talk) 18:34, 8 July 2010 (UTC)

I am drafting Wikipedia:Signatures of living persons. If you can add to it please do so! Adabow (talk) 22:23, 6 July 2010 (UTC)

I'm against removing it from non-BLP pages. There's no identity theft involved there, and there's no tangible benefit in removing it. Rogue Penguin 16:18, 10 July 2010 (UTC)

Virus in citation link

A user at the help desk reported that a citation link in an article contains a virus. I've never seen any discussion of what to do in such situations and there's nothing about this at WP:CITE or WP:EL. I posted a notice in the reference so that people are not taken unaware by this (diff). So two things: what should we do about this, and should we mention this anywhere in policy? My initial thoughts are that if an external link, it should always be removed, and that instruction is maybe worth a one sentence mention at WP:EL. If it's a link in a reliable citation, but it's a courtesy link for a print source, the link should likewise be removed. However, if it's a reliable web-based source, then it should get an explicit warning note in the reference text (and maybe a standardized template can be created for this) but should remain in the article because of the importance of verifiability. Both of these matters can be added to WP:CITE in one or two sentences. Thoughts?--Fuhghettaboutit (talk) 02:11, 9 July 2010 (UTC)

Well, we shouldn't link to malware, so I broke the link for now. And it is true that PDF files can contain malware, though I haven't inspected this one. The best thing to do would be to find a better source than that one, which doesn't appear to be of very high quality in any case. Gavia immer (talk) 02:20, 9 July 2010 (UTC)
An update: I just found a direct source for the quotation and used that, rather than a sketchy PDF. All is well. Gavia immer (talk) 02:37, 9 July 2010 (UTC)
I just ran it though 41 virus scanners and only NOD32 came up as showing its infected, [19] my suspicion is that this is a false positive. βcommand 02:44, 9 July 2010 (UTC)
Thanks to both of you for taking care of this particular incident. Still looking for input on whether we should mention this anywhere regarding when it's not a false positive and not fixable by a replacement link.--Fuhghettaboutit (talk) 12:18, 9 July 2010 (UTC)
WP:ELNO #3: "Sites containing malware, malicious scripts, trojan exploits, or content that is illegal to access in the state of Florida." Fences&Windows 20:42, 10 July 2010 (UTC)

Racism and Anglocentrism in Wikipedia naming conventions

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

There is a slow-boiling edit skirmish going on in Angel Falls right now, largely as a result of what is an obnoxious WP policy regarding the use of English names for geographical features. The actual name of Angel Falls is Kerepakupai merú, an indigenous name which was used for thousands of years before white men started enforcing Wikipedia's naming policies with smallpox blankets. The idea that Wikipedia should choose "official" names based on which man with white skin was first to put an English name on a piece of European paper for consumption by European imperialists is infuriating -- and unutterably racist. It is part of Wikipedia's systemic bias. The policy of using the name most commonly used by people with white skin and computer access must be changed. SmashTheState (talk) 13:03, 10 July 2010 (UTC)

This reminds me of some political business in Ireland where there was a fire-brand saying he land should be taken from the imperialist oppressors and given back to the original inhabitants. He was asked whether the original inhabitants were the Fir Bolg or the Tuatha Dé Danann. If they get the common name to be the name given then Wikipedia will change but it is not Wikipedia's place to change the world. Dmcq (talk) 13:27, 10 July 2010 (UTC)
The "common name" for whom? This is the very systemic bias about which I was writing. I guarantee you that among the Pemon, Kerepakupai merú is the common name used. The fact that they don't have broadband access and white skin should not be the determining factor of whose culture gets to decide which name is "common." SmashTheState (talk) 13:45, 10 July 2010 (UTC)
Nobody is telling the Pemon what to call anything. Nobody is telling the English-speaking population what to call anything, either; we just report what that population is actually doing. Gavia immer (talk) 13:53, 10 July 2010 (UTC)
You're not "reporting" this fact, you're enforcing its use. There is a huge difference. Reporting it would be including a statement in the article that, among affluent, European-descended, white, male, computer-using, broadband-accessing people, the English-language name most commonly used is Angel Falls. What Wikipedia is doing is not reporting this, it is instituting a policy which gives cultural hegemony to this group of people by normalizing their beliefs and customs. SmashTheState (talk) 13:58, 10 July 2010 (UTC)
It is also the English-language name most commonly used by people who aren't invented caricatures, of course. And we aren't "enforcing its use" - if we had the article at a title not commonly used in English, such as the Pemon name, and we forced editors and readers to think that their preconceived name for the falls was deficient or suspect, then that would be force. Merely using the name that is used is not force. Gavia immer (talk) 14:13, 10 July 2010 (UTC)
Likewise, because English is originally a European language, we're more likely to have ridiculous impositive names for places in Europe - Greece, Germany, Hungary, etc. - than for places such as Massachusetts or the Dakotas. Gavia immer (talk) 13:37, 10 July 2010 (UTC)
(edit conflict) In the English texts, I believe the falls are referred to almost exclusively by their English name. By convention, we should use the name that is most notable and familiar. Dmcq is correct—changing the name on Wiki will not undo the horrible crimes of the past. Personally, I feel the article does a good job by listing the native names in bold in the opening sentence. The only other thing I would do is create a redirect for the second name, Parakupa-vena. Also, please watch the tone when bringing such an "edit skirmish" to a new location. If an debate gets heated, you shouldn't drag the sentiments to the new location when trying get outside opinions. How would you feel if someone walked away from an argument with someone else, came up to you, and started ranting angry at you rather than calmly and rationally explaining their side? Let's be civil here. Best, – VisionHolder « talk » 13:54, 10 July 2010 (UTC)
If this was April Fools' Day :-)
A little more sensibly, this is en.WP, which assumes that readers and editors are happy to use English. If this discussion were on fr.WP, I'd expect it to be in French, and so on. --Philcha (talk) 14:31, 10 July 2010 (UTC)
I'm not certain where this idea that a name is a particular intonation of sounds came from either. The article says this means 'waterfall of the deepest place'. Is it some thing from mysticism where you captured the true name of a person? And how about people who use sign language, what should they do? Spell out an anglicized version of the sounds? Dmcq (talk) 14:56, 10 July 2010 (UTC)
Anglocentrism on the English Wikipedia. Who would have guessed? Resolute 14:58, 10 July 2010 (UTC)
Also, Smash the State, I would note that people who who are looking for racism everywhere they turn need only to look in the mirror to find what they seek. Resolute 14:59, 10 July 2010 (UTC)
You don't get it both ways. Either I'm a ridiculous buffoon for seeing anglocentrism and racism on Wikipedia where there is none, or Wikipedia has a formal policy of racism and anglocenstrism and I should "get over it" as BritishWatcher suggests. Which is it? SmashTheState (talk) 16:04, 10 July 2010 (UTC)
I have an idea on the alternative I'd choose, but I can't express it because it would be a personal attack. --Cyclopiatalk 16:08, 10 July 2010 (UTC)
Creating a false dilemma speaks more about your intentions here than it does your argument. At any rate, you are obviously trolling, so I will bow out of this discussion here. Resolute 20:39, 10 July 2010 (UTC)

More disgusting attacks on the English language and the English speaking world. This is the English language wikipedia, Get over it. BritishWatcher (talk) 15:32, 10 July 2010 (UTC)

This seems to be pretty much what SmashTheState does. Every time I see his posts, they are trollish like this. And to be on topic, I agree with everyone else. English WP, English name. I'm sure there's thousands of examples of places not being in their "official original language" names across ALL the various langauge Wikipedias. ♫ Melodia Chaconne ♫ (talk) 16:11, 10 July 2010 (UTC)
While we're on the subject of true names I'd like to point out that Haddocks' Eyes is only what the name of the song A-sitting On a Gate is called. The name of the song is The Aged Aged Man but since the song is actually called Ways and Means according to the most reliable source it should be renamed to that. (Personally I doubt the reliable source on that but putting in my own opinion would be original research) Dmcq (talk) 16:43, 10 July 2010 (UTC)
  • News flash: The Chinese name for the Great Wall of China is actually Chángchéng which means "the long fortress." We better get over there with the move tool and correct this awful racist slur. Did you know there is even racism against other white people on Wikipedia? Astoundingly, Germans do not call their country Germany, they call it Bundesrepublik Deutschland, somebody get Al Sharpton on the phone, we need to organize a large scale protest against all this obvious racism! Beeblebrox (talk) 17:05, 10 July 2010 (UTC)
  • Is there a bias on the English language Wikipedia? Yes, there is a bias in favor of using the English language. A person reading the English language Wikipedia is much more likely to know this location by its English name than by a non-English name. —Farix (t | c) 17:43, 10 July 2010 (UTC)
  • The obvious solution for the original poster is to start his very own Pemon language Wikipedia and title the article there using the indigenous language name for the place. The Pemon speaking people can write there to their heart's content. On the English language Wikipedia, we call things by their English names of greatest use and long standing. Take your soapbox and move along. No one's buying the argument. --Bookworm857158367 (talk) 17:57, 10 July 2010 (UTC)

Please chill this is the English Wikipedia. God save the Queen! Melanesian obsession (talk) 19:30, 10 July 2010 (UTC)

This strikes me as a troll topic designed to provoke a response rather than a serious request. Feeding will not make it go away. SDY (talk) 19:56, 10 July 2010 (UTC)

What is troll? Melanesian obsession (talk) 20:17, 10 July 2010 (UTC)

A troll is a mythical creature (a sort of evil, violent, or stupid giant) whose name has been given to people who start flame wars and other emotional or offensive, but ultimately fruitless, conversations online (Internet trolls). A common piece of advice is please don't feed the trolls, because ignoring the inflammatory messages discourages future disruptive messages. WhatamIdoing (talk) 20:37, 10 July 2010 (UTC)
Trolls "start flamewars" for the purpose of creating havoc and amusing themselves. Merely starting a flamewar doesn't make a person a troll. I am perfectly aware that Wikipedia has a systemic bias, and that any attempt to point out this systemic bias will result in a snarling wolfpack of Angry White Males. Do you see your tautological argument, and how it helps to support the systemic bias? If anything which serves to make an Angry White Male angry is "trolling" and systemic bias is caused by an inability to circumvent the desires of Angry White Males, and if "trolling" is sufficient reason never to even discuss an issue, then by definition you have created a system in which systemic bias can never be removed. Ever. SmashTheState (talk) 22:54, 10 July 2010 (UTC)
The angry white male sterotype is not widely represented on wikipedia. Furthermore the existance of Wikipedia:WikiProject Countering systemic bias/members does not generaly provoke complaints thus your position appears unsustainable in the face of the evidence. If you wish to object to the english wikipedia's policy of using the common english name for items please provide a comprehensive rational. Simly lableing is as "unutterably racist" is not sufficient to result in a change to such a long standing policy.©Geni 23:39, 10 July 2010 (UTC)

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

Papua New Guinea infoboxes

Comments at Talk:Papua New Guinea would be very much appreciated to settle a disagreement over whther or not Papua New Guineans villages should have their own infobox against having a standard infobox settlement. Our policy in my view is generally to use infobox settlement. Dr. Blofeld White cat 17:00, 10 July 2010 (UTC)

There is no "policy" to use any template - such is for a consensus of editors to decide. Please note this was forum-shopped from Village pump (technical), and *still* has not been raised with the project from whence it came or any of the maintaining editors. Orderinchaos 17:09, 10 July 2010 (UTC)
I believe I can settle this for you right here. You both have enormous genitals that are very impressive to the ladies. You may put them back in your pants now. Beeblebrox (talk) 17:12, 10 July 2010 (UTC)
Good call. :) Orderinchaos 17:18, 10 July 2010 (UTC)

Marking an article as {{advert}}?

I was researching non-newtonian fluids for a school project, and I stumbled across the page d3o. It seems very short, and written (IMO) much like an advertisement. So, I marked it as being written like and advert with {{advert}} and Friendly. Am I being too strict, or does marking it as being written like an advert seem like fair treatment? Hmmwhatsthisdo (talk) 00:55, 11 July 2010 (UTC)

FInding and identifying attempts to use Wikipedia for advertising or promotion is always welcome, and the great thing about Wikipedia is that it's ok to be wrong sometimes as almost anything you do can be easily undone if it was an error. Beeblebrox (talk) 17:30, 11 July 2010 (UTC)
So, does that mean that I was right? Hmmwhatsthisdo (talk) 01:50, 12 July 2010 (UTC)
It means you weren't wrong. If the tag was inappropriate, someone else will remove it. -- SGBailey (talk) 08:05, 12 July 2010 (UTC)
Ok, good. I just wanted to make sure I wasn't being another "Gen. Jackass". Hmmwhatsthisdo (talk) 18:14, 12 July 2010 (UTC)
FWIW, I agree with the tag.--SPhilbrickT 19:27, 12 July 2010 (UTC)

Edit Summaries?

Simple question, so pardon me. How do we keep people from lying in their edit summaries? How do we find out when they do? Melanesian obsession (talk) 01:21, 12 July 2010 (UTC)

Peer pressure. People have articles on their watchlists, or will be tracking the Recent Changes page, or looking an an article history; and will periodically check the edit against the edit summary. And get a little testy on the user's talk page if needsbe. --Tagishsimon (talk) 01:25, 12 July 2010 (UTC)
Hopefully, that was a rhetorical question! The honor system applies here, (un)fortunately. I've seen cases where anon IPs have used a reasonable edit summary, only to discover by checking the diffs that vandalism occurred. Haven't found a solution as of yet, and yes, it's a pain! --Funandtrvl (talk) 01:28, 12 July 2010 (UTC)

Score format

I have observed scores in both "score = 2 – 1" and "score = 2–1" format. The former having spaces around the dash,, the latter not so. Which is preferred? Also what should the dash be? I've also seen it as &ndash;. What mechanism is preferred to prevent linebreaking in a score? -- SGBailey (talk) 07:58, 12 July 2010 (UTC)

Generally (and following manual of style practice), go with unspaced with an en dash ("2–1", coded as 2–1 and meaning "two to one"). If you don't want it to break at the dash (which it will do by default), use {{nowrap}} or similar ("2–1", coded as {{nowrap|2–1}}). I would definitely avoid formatting it as "score = 2–1", because that looks like an equation with a minus sign. TheFeds 19:04, 12 July 2010 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Updating information

It seems this 'official guideline' may apparently need updating itself. However, trying to figure out the mess of relations between that page and Wikipedia:As of and the slew of accompanying templates and their talk pages/archives plus the changes since made to them was giving me a headache: Is [update needed] still the current indicator in use or is it now supposed to be [dated info]? Were these links ever supposed to work? Is the message at the top of Wikipedia talk:Updating information still relevant? Should WP:As of and WP:Updating information be merged? -- œ 08:52, 12 July 2010 (UTC)

This guideline looks like a waste of space to me, and I'd happily support a merge. Its page view statistics make interesting reading: it's only gone over 10 views a day once in the last month! It doesn't even have a shortcut. The links don't work and never have, and what information there is looks out of date. It appears there was no consultation on making this a guideline - it just sort of happened for no apparent reason (relevant diffs this and this). I'm tempted to say that it should be straight redirected and not even merged at all. Alzarian16 (talk) 11:42, 12 July 2010 (UTC)

This seems more like a template documentation (perhaps written before adding documentation to templates was a standard). That's where the merge should be done MBelgrano (talk) 14:26, 12 July 2010 (UTC)

Copyright question on image

Moved to Talk:Colton Harris-Moore § Photo: Consolidating discussion at one talk page; please direct your comments there. (Further comments moved to that page; summary of issue below.) TheFeds 06:46, 13 July 2010 (UTC)

I uploaded the following image (File:Colton Harris-Moore.jpg) to the Colton Harris-Moore (barefoot bandit) article. Another user has placed bold copyright violation tags on the article and is now calling for its deletion. I'm really not sure what the appropriate copyright solution is here, since Time Magazine states that the image was taken by the subject himself from a stolen digital camera that was claimed by police. So the real question is, who owns the copyright of this image? Can someone legally claim copyright on an image that they took with a stolen camera? A GIS for "barefoot bandit" reveals that the image is being used by numerous media sources all over the place. What copyright tag is appropriate here? Thanks! WTF? (talk) 05:28, 3 July 2010 (UTC)

Question about CSD-G1 (nonsense) in the particular case of poorly translated material

I'm looking at Paolo Seganti, which I believe is primarily still a machine translation of the Italian WP page [20], and it's pretty much a mess, until I visited it today it'd sat for 2+ years with the first name of the article subject having been translated to Paul (all sources I can find use Paolo, not Paul.) The use of film titles is going to make this a heck of a job to check, because some of them (I suspect) should undergo translation to talk about the film in English and others not. So, is this really a candidate for CSD-G1? Other recommendations? Thanks in advance --je deckertalk 04:51, 14 July 2010 (UTC)

Being written in poor English is not a qualifier for G1, no. G1 is for pages where the writing is so bad or nonsensicle as to have no discernible subject. --erachima talk 05:33, 14 July 2010 (UTC)
That I understand, my concern was not a simple matter of Poor English, it's about a 50-50 chance of any proper noun (that is, film titles and titles of television programs in that article being wrong (translated when they shouldn't have been, or not translated when they should have been) because of the fussy nature of titles. The sentence structure and verb tenses are the least of it. But I hear ya. Thanks for the reply. --je deckertalk 05:47, 14 July 2010 (UTC)

Guideline WP:CANVASS needs to be demoted

WP:CANVASS is another case of typical problems caused by an illogical guideline. The wording, and exact meaning, of the guideline has expanded, since first being edited to say "Guideline" on 10 January 2007, based on an ArbCom ruling about a "provocative attempt to stack an ongoing poll" not announcing a new article; see original page text:

I have posted, at Wikipedia_talk:CANVASS, that WP:CANVASS needs to be removed as a guideline, due to numerous problems (as of June 2010):

  • WP:AfD is no longer voting (now termed "non-votes" or !vote") so "votestacking" no longer applies.
  • WP:CANVASS warns users not to announce new articles, which clearly thwarts collaboration. General meta-guideline: "Any guideline that thwarts collaboration (with other users) is a bad guideline".
  • WP:CANVASS is based on an original-research view of "canvassing". As you might know, "canvassing" (in the real world) is actually covering an entire area (a "whole canvas") to get opinions (and perhaps tilt them before response). Canvassing is NOT announcing to 4 people out of 23: it must involve nearly all and get their responses or "no comment". For elections, a Canvassing board is typically tasked to record the vote of every active voter (or get every vote in a recount).
  • The basic problem with WP:CANVASS is an attempt to "catch" people planning a nefarious warping of WP decisions by collusion with other users. It is attempting to ban "pre-crime" activities, such as talking to users about a new article, which might (God forbid), lead to other people taking an interest and expanding a new article.
  • WP:CANVASS has a major loophole: if someone begins notifying supporters with one message, and then finds opponents have been notified already, the perception is that he only notified the supporters, rather than the truth (he could not "notify" the opponents because they were already notified). As a result, the loophole must be handled by re-notifying the opponents, but that might be judged as "double-notifying" one group (while not re-notifying the supporters), so it is a hopeless Catch 22 and dooms people.

I've been an authorized user much longer than WP:CANVASS has been a guideline, so it slipped past me and became "approved" (for which I apologize not being able to stop every new guideline), when someone changed the page header to say "Guideline" on 10 January 2007. Anyway, WP:CANVASS does not have consensus with me. WP:CANVASS needs to de-approved and demoted as a guideline, but then archived, as an infamous reminder of how a guideline can grow and mutate, while long-term users are unaware of the impending menace. Imagine: there was a time (now) when a guideline advised not to tell other users about a new article, quote:

"For example, suppose you've written a new article, and you want people to see it. Simply add links to it from other encyclopedia articles, where it is relevant, and also add it to appropriate categories. This increases the exposure of your article, while simultaneously benefiting the encyclopedia, without the need to directly inform your fellow contributors." --excerpt from "Wikipedia:Canvassing#If you intend to canvass".

I didn't even hunt to find when that wording (about "written a new article") was added to the guideline. I cannot remember the psychological term for the process by which a specific word (like "canvassing") gets mutated, into: Don't "inform your fellow contributors" about a new article. I think people are correct in saying that guidelines need to be formally approved by a rigorous process, with a formal "amendment process" when someone wants to change the wording. No longer should someone be allowed to change the wording and "assume consensus" if not reverted in 2(?) days. I recommend to quickly kill WP:CANVASS, then propose a simpler, focused guideline to thwart collusion which intended to slant WP decisions. Avoid banning "pre-crime" actions, and don't allow any guideline to ban telling fellow editors about a new article. Perhaps someone already has a document similar to that. Reply either below or at Wikipedia_talk:CANVASS, whichever you prefer. -Wikid77 (talk) 17:59, 4 July 2010 (UTC)

Votestacking still very much applies; Wikipedia:Deletion guidelines for administrators at WP:ROUGH CONSENSUS links to rough consensus which better explains: "In general, the dominant view of the working group shall prevail." Unless there are overriding policy issues which make one view clearly stronger than the other, then numbers do carry the day. And, of course, it doesn't only apply to AfD. WP:RFA also notes that " a general descriptive rule of thumb most of those above ~80% approval pass; most of those below ~70% fail, and the area between is subject to bureaucratic discretion", reinforcing this notion. While a bureaucrat may decline an RfA if the last person involved presents, say, conclusive evidence that the nom is the sock-puppet of an Arb-com banned user, in the absence of overwhelming factors, numbers matter. The guideline may need to be improved, but I think it serves an important purpose in helping to keep the consensus process working fairly. --Moonriddengirl (talk) 18:12, 4 July 2010 (UTC)
(I hate edit conflicts x.x) I've always found the whole canvass thing a bit silly. There are even editors who will pretty much say that ANYTHING said by a user who happened to find something because of a canvass is invalid, despite the fact they 1) Have just as much right to the opinion as any WP editor and 2) Might have found it beforehand anyway. If someone posts on my talk page to, say, "go save x article from being brutally deleted!", according to some the Canvass rules means that I'm not allowed to participate in the AFD. Despite the fact that I may have already seen it. But even if not, it's still ridiculous. So yeah, I guess what I'm saying is I Support any drive to remove the stupid rule. ♫ Melodia Chaconne ♫ (talk) 18:13, 4 July 2010 (UTC)
Do you think it's okay for a contributor to e-mail his friends to support him in his RfA? Or to put a notice on his Facebook account? --Moonriddengirl (talk) 18:20, 4 July 2010 (UTC)
Silly weapons are perfect weapons ... if they work. The rules are made to destroy enemies, and although this one is very lame compared to other options, it must stay in the inventory. Press F2 or F3 to select, fire. East of Borschov 06:59, 5 July 2010 (UTC)
canvassing vote stacking and grabbing biased groups of editors is hard to spot... (it sounds kind of stupid that telling a friend about a new article could be an act of bad faith... but then i have seen creative tricks to push a POV on wiki so i withold judgment) the root problem is wikipedia is supposed to work consensus... but a lot of people treat discussions as a vote... which means you see people trying to jam consensus-building talks by voting oppose and running away... i find WP:CANVASS so poorly enforced... even when someone canvasses an army to turn a search for a compromise into a a total battleground people tend to say "see? there is no consensus" and accept the most toxic partisan votes as an acceptable way to make (or jam) decisions on wikipedia... i think we need to look at this guideline again but demoting it is a mistake... Arskwad (talk) 19:28, 4 July 2010 (UTC)
  • CANVASS should be strengthened and enforced as policy, not demoted. Consensus here is everything. Everything which swayes consensus, especially if not transparent, is therefore poison for the WP community. --Cyclopiatalk 19:59, 4 July 2010 (UTC)
    • We have rules against canvassing for the same reason there are rules against Branch stacking and Electoral fraud in the real world. Wikipedia may not usually function by voting, but a biased selection of participants will not give a true consensus (as though we ever really use proper consensus processes...). Fences&Windows 21:46, 4 July 2010 (UTC)
      • It may be poorly named, but the rule is there for good, sound reasons. --Cybercobra (talk) 04:15, 5 July 2010 (UTC)
  • WP:CANVASS does allow canvassing, despite the confusion from the name. A Wikipedian is allowed to go to a large forum, and announce an AfD has been started on some article, or a person can send a "neutered message" to everyone who commented at a prior discussion, and they are allowed to reply how they would "vote". Perhaps it could be said that WP:CANVASS does NOT allow "partial canvassing" or a message to "have a message" so they even recommend a set of notice-templates, pre-neutered, so someone doesn't write any notice with a slant. It certainly seems severe. When I think about getting people's "votes" I remember election times in Athens, Greece: as I understand it, the reason streets are covered with campaign flyers is because, during the election period, cars go through the streets throwing stacks of flyer sheets into the air (as Greek "Freedom of Speech"), landing everywhere, while it is illegal to pick up flyer-trash from the streets and put it in trashcans (until after the election). I think, the term "WP:Canvassing" needs to be renamed as something else, and determine what really needs to be prohibited. I saw no law in Athens for how cars had to throw flyers on every street in the city. -Wikid77 (talk) 22:38, 4 July 2010 (UTC)
  • The thing that bothers me is that off-wiki canvasing appears to be fairly common and no one seems to care too much. I like WP:CANVAS for the reasons discussed by others above, but I'm not sure how we adjust to off-site canvassing. Hobit (talk) 03:30, 5 July 2010 (UTC)
    • It's not so much a case of not caring as not being able to do anything about it. Wikipedia does not have jurisdiction over other websites. Suppose for instance that an article is nominated for deletion and that its creator immediately goes running to an off-Wiki forum, asking the people there to come and votestack the AfD. If we find out about it, we can make a note of it and the closing admin will know to disregard the agitated swarm of IPs that have turned up. We can't do anything about the off-Wiki forum and we'd probably need to tread carefully about sanctioning the votestacking editor, because their off-Wiki activities aren't strictly within our scope. Reyk YO! 03:42, 5 July 2010 (UTC)
      • Sort of. We could make it a policy that canvassing off-site is a blockable offense. We might not find them all, but it would at least make the expectations clear. Otherwise I don't see why we would block for on-site canvassing if all you need to do is get in contact off-wiki. Hobit (talk) 19:06, 5 July 2010 (UTC)
        • ... the best thing we can do is to make canvassing useless... we can some times block people but if they are off wiki then it is hard to punish them... it would be better to show people that canvassing does not pay by having canvassing not count... maybe reboot the discussion in the event of canvassing... or adjust the numbers accordingly.... Arskwad (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 16:30, 6 July 2010 (UTC).

New articles

The clause apparently prohibiting telling others about articles you have written was added by this diff. It use to be part of WP:SPAM. I would support the removal of that clause from WP:CANVASS as I can't see how informing a few editors about an article you have written is in the same league with trying to "votestack" a discussion. Of course informing too many users would be "talk page spamming". --Ron Ritzman (talk) 02:37, 5 July 2010 (UTC)

Makes sense to me. :) --Moonriddengirl (talk) 13:43, 5 July 2010 (UTC)
Agree. In general I'm of the opinion that WP:CANVAS does it job quite well but this bit is totally unnecessary. Alzarian16 (talk) 18:21, 5 July 2010 (UTC)
Oppose. I see no problem for one or two that one knows is interested and wouldn't mind the message but there are problems with allowing it in general and I believe it should stay. Telling ones friends can lead to a bad case of POV. Think what difference there will be in an article by a gun libertarian telling only their friends about their new article compared to a gun control one telling only their friends. What one should really do to publicise it is stick a message into a forum or project and add links to other articles. Also have you ever considered your friends might prefer you not fill up their talk page with stuff they could read in a common interest forum instead? Dmcq (talk) 09:12, 6 July 2010 (UTC)
The problem is when telling 2 interested people that a new article exists, but the majority who dreaded that article read the forum announcement, posted where most people said they didn't want to have a new article. The WP:CANVASSNot issue is a perception that new people (notified outside the forum) got unfair advantage, whereas all the regulars in the forum did not get individual messages. Ironically, telling the 2 people, who wanted the article, is "good news" whereas telling people in a forum (who don't care) is actually spamming, so one case is "invalid partial canvassing" and the other is, technically, spamming. Hence, all this crap needs to go away: it is trying to stop unfairness by limiting announcements, of new articles, to be posted in areas where new articles are not wanted. This is a case of excess regulation which allows people to be guilty of anything, by setting traps which prohibit normal collaboration, thus a "Catch 22" which dooms many people. As I noted, the way to make decisions in an age-old democracy (Athens) is to allow posting multiple messages to everyone interested. In fact, WP:CANVASS would likely be a violation of law in Athens. Replace it with a suggestion to notify all the interested people twice, perhaps twice after 4 days, and stop blaming people for not re-notifying everyone. -Wikid77 (talk) 10:25, 7 July 2010 (UTC)

New wording of guideline

I've boldly rewritten the canvassing guideline, mainly in order to make it a lot shorter: diff. I've invited people to revert if they don't like it (someone may do so), but I think such simplification is worth considering; in fact, most guidelines could probably use the same treatment - they seem to gradually get overgrown with vague and repetitive (and sometimes hardly supportable) text. Also, do canvassing and forum shopping really belong in the same guideline? And if so, shouldn't the title be changed to reflect that (I wouldn't have expected to find forum shopping under the topic of "Canvassing"). --Kotniski (talk) 16:43, 6 July 2010 (UTC)

I don't agree with the reduction, particularly the removal of the table and most section headings. Flatscan (talk) 04:24, 7 July 2010 (UTC)
Can you say why? (The removal of the section headings is a natural result of the reduction of the text. I'm not a fan of the table myself - it seems to overrcomplicate what is really quite a simple matter - but you're the second person to say they liked it, so feel free to put it back in.)--Kotniski (talk) 09:28, 7 July 2010 (UTC)
I added section headings, as they aid reading. I think cutting down the guideline is a good idea, our guidelines and policies are subject to too much bloat. Fences&Windows 21:23, 7 July 2010 (UTC)
The current section headings are good. I think the table provides a helpful framework for describing or evaluating alleged canvassing. Flatscan (talk) 04:19, 8 July 2010 (UTC)
I went ahead and replaced the table, since I too feel that it's helpful for a quick overview. I love that the text has been trimmed; if only all of them could be so short. VernoWhitney (talk) 15:16, 8 July 2010 (UTC)
I have actually put back some of the deleted material. It is very useful clarification material (a fuzzy guideline is a bad guideline). --Cyclopiatalk 14:57, 10 July 2010 (UTC)
Which is surely a good reason for keeping it short and to the point? What do you think needed clarifying? I really don't know why we have this page at all in fact - we could have one moderately sized guideline about resolving disagreements through discussion (like WP:Consensus), and the two topics of this page (canvassing and forum shopping - which are not in any way the same thing) would be short subsections. Honestly, we make our "rules" extremely and unnecessarily complicated, when they would be far effective for all their purposes (description and prescription) if we wrote them crisply, clearly and without redundant verbiage. (If the verbiage actually said something, I wouldn't mind, but 90% is just pointless waffle that serves to hide the real message, and waste people's time - and most importantly, potentially discourages them from being part of Wikipedia - should they ever feel the urge to read it.)--Kotniski (talk) 18:34, 10 July 2010 (UTC)
Keeping it short is a good thing as long as it maintains its value. The sections you deleted contained a lot of perfectly meaningful examples that very much help making a precise point when citing the guideline. Deleting them makes the guideline more vague and more open to misinterpretation. Perhaps you don't imagine how often guidelines/policies are misquoted and misused. Now, I am all about removing redundancy, but I don't want to remove examples and detailed clarification. I'd say the best compromise would be to have a kind of few-sentences abstract that gives the gist of the guideline, and then keeping the rest to clarify in detail the meaning of the guideline, exceptions etc. (and even expanding it, if possible). --Cyclopiatalk 21:57, 10 July 2010 (UTC)
?? I don't see any "examples" in the text you restored. In fact I don't see anything except repetition of what was already there, in slightly different (or in some cases exactly the same) words. This seems to be how our instructions do their creeping - when someone feels like adding something, there's rarely much opposition (at least, not as determined as the person is to do the addition), but when someone subtracts something, there's a panic that something must have been lost (even if examination of the actual text reveals that nothing except repetition and garbage has been lost) and it gets reverted.--Kotniski (talk) 09:06, 11 July 2010 (UTC)
I prefer the version prior to Cyclopia's restorations. I think that the individual subheadings are unnecessary. Flatscan (talk) 04:07, 12 July 2010 (UTC)
  • 1. It is almost impossible to make CANVASSing useless. Many admins will still not notice WP:False consensus even if it is pointed out. 2. Because it is frequently successful, folks continue to abuse it. 3. The only rational solution is not only to bar it on-wiki, but also, as fasr as possible, to bar it off-wiki, with substantial penalties for being found out. This includes so-called "neutral" usage, as that is used too often as an excuse to address a chosen group where one has good reason to suspect their reaction. 4. Clearly one or two notes to others should never be conflated with CANVASS violations, which would cut out some of the scurrilous claims that an editor has canvassed. 5. The editors so notified should be barred from acting as a "chain letter" to canvass others.
  • Hence:
    1. It shall be improper to send any notice of any Wikipedia related issues, including XfD discussions, noticeboard discussions, article discussions, or other discussions or actions, to more than three other editors, and such notice must include a statement that they should not notify other editors in turn. This is irrespective of any wording of such notice.
    2. This shall not apply to procedurally required notifications.
    3. Any violation may be acted upon by any disinterested administrator with a block up to 31 hours without separate warning.
  • I think this covers it <g>. Collect (talk) 12:02, 14 July 2010 (UTC)

Notability and the National Register of Historic Places

This policy discussion stems from an issue at List of Masonic buildings. The crux of the matter is the idea that being listed on the National Register of Historic Places automatically confers notability on a building. I can find no particular policy on this, and yet to avoid invalidating an entire WikiProject as a result, I don't think it should necessarily be dismissed out of hand.

The listing criteria are very subjective, however - from the WP article: To meet the "Event" category, criterion A, the property must make a contribution to the broad patterns of American history. Criterion B, "Person," is associated with significant people in the American past. The third criterion, C, "Design/Construction," concerns the distinctive characteristics of the building through its construction and architecture, including having high artistic value or being the work of a master. The final criterion, D, "Information potential," is satisfied if the property has yielded or may be likely to yield information important to prehistory or history. There is a 60-page bulletin available for those who are interested.

Generally speaking, this means that 3 of the 4 criteria for listing a building fall under the category of notability by association, which WP specifically prohibits under "inherited notability". Moreover, most of the sourcing available to assert notability via an NRHP listing is an online database of nomination forms (which, incidentally, seems to be blank for what we were looking for, though the search queries did return results). Said forms are available via email request, but even then, we only have the nomination forms, which are considered a primary source. It also appears that buildings can be delisted, which potential thereof seems to violate the adage that "notability is not temporary."

In the case of Masonic buildings, for example, I could see inclusion simply for being the first Masonic building in a town or state, which isn't really unique - there's at least 100 Masonic buildings in any given state, and rarely more than one per town. If it's instead a matter of the architect or the style, then that has nothing to do with the role of the building as far as notability goes. Association with a person is clearly tricky - "George Washington was on the premises"-type stuff is clearly not within the GNG.

So I suppose that what I see is a disconnect between claims and policy, without any clear way to determine one way or the other. Therefore, I think we need to clarify whether or not NRHP designation confers notability on its own or not, and if not, what else needs to be met? MSJapan (talk) 06:11, 13 July 2010 (UTC)

The GNG requirement is for multiple, independent sources that reference the subject in depth. Any NRHP designated building is going to have multiple references that are easy to look up in the NRHP designation! These are obviously notable automatically for us, because we know that anyone who bothered to look would find references to meet the GNG. SchmuckyTheCat (talk)
As the NRHP is a national organization that was built upon establishing historical notability I can't say I disagree with the idea that a NRHP listing inherently makes a building notable. PeRshGo (talk) 06:52, 13 July 2010 (UTC)
Hypothetical corner-cases aside, being on the NRHP is a reliable indicator of notability. Note, however, that simply because a subject is notable does not mean that an independent article is necessary, merely that it would be acceptable. If you've got a building on the NRHP but not much to say about it, discuss what you have in a broader article. --erachima talk 06:56, 13 July 2010 (UTC)
I think it's probably a given that many editors will default to saying that inclusion on the register denotes notability. The issue that we really have is the absence of evidence beyond the listing that indicates why the building is included, so that we can inform the context of discussing it in an article.
While a building may, and I do question it, be notable through listing, is it appropriate to include mention of it in another article. Our ability to discern the detail is somewhat restricted by the apparent unwillingness of the editor with access to the information being prepared to share the detail.
My issue with the listing denoting automagical notability is the GNG itself. The GNG calls for multiple references and more than a passing mention in those references. For the buildings that we're concerned about there does appear to be a dearth of other material. From the responses that we're seeing it looks as if there aren't these multiple references.
ALR (talk) 09:02, 13 July 2010 (UTC)
You're conflating notability and practicality. The notability standard simply asks the question "is a worthwhile article on this subject theoretically possible?" This question is markedly different from the question of whether it is practical for a given editor to write said worthwhile article, especially when it comes to subjects that require offline research. Fortunately, Wikipedia is a work in progress, so a given editor doesn't NEED to be able to write the article, just someone someday.
Of course, the best way to prove notability has always been to actually write a worthwhile article, and as I stressed in my first reply, just because something meets GNG doesn't mean we must have an article on it if sound editorial judgment says otherwise. But these are best practices, and notability is not concerned with best practices but with bare minimums. --erachima talk 09:30, 13 July 2010 (UTC)
There is some background to the question, hence having to put notability into practice.
I remain unconvinced that inclusion in this register is an inherent indicator of notability, given the apparent absence of sources related to some of the buildings in question it doesn't appear to be a particularly rigorous criterion. The issue of whether a building is notable or not should be predicated on the GNG, an assumption that listing confers notability does seem to short circuit the requirements of the GNG.
The issues may predominantly be around individual behaviour, essentially refusing to engage with requests for further evidence, but no others involved in the NRHP have provided anything more of substance either, which suggests that there isn't much.
ALR (talk) 09:52, 13 July 2010 (UTC)
I think what it is suggests is that like requesting information from any government organization, it’s a big pain. Some of their records are digital but the vast majority are not, and they don’t even have a central location for all the paper documents. Due to policy changes throughout the years sometimes they are in one place on physical paper, at other times they are in another place on microfilm, and sometimes they just direct you to the state the listing is in. And while I have to say that due to a few real world experiences with them they are a pain to deal with, that doesn’t mean their inclusion guidelines are any less rigorous. If you think it’s hard to get information from them, try submitting a new place. It makes sourcing a Wikipedia article child’s play by comparison. PeRshGo (talk) 13:38, 13 July 2010 (UTC)
I concur with what erachima has said here. I think any building on the NRHP should be deemed article-worthy, but that doesn't mean the article should be started now. Unless and until there is verifiable information sufficient to write an article, it may be better to leave it to broader articles and to the appropriate lists (see Category:National Register of Historic Places), preferably in redlink format as a reminder that the article still remains to be written someday, when the verification shows up. Some day, the building will be the subject of a newspaper article, or a discussion will appear in a book about the architect or the history of the area, or some editor who knows where to find the sources will see the redlink,and hey, presto, it's time for a new, sourced article.--Arxiloxos (talk) 17:05, 13 July 2010 (UTC)
I agree that inclusion on the NRHP should indicate that a building is notable... but our discussions at List of Masonic buildings has shown that there is a systematic sourcing problem when it comes to reliably substantiating whether a given building actually is on the NRHP or not. A large proportion of the articles about these buildings are sourced entirely to []... a database that no longer seems to work. In working with an editor involved in the NRHP project, we have not been able to find any reliable source to replace this faulty database. Every other source that has been suggested has ended up being flawed in some way (the other on-line databases contain too many obvious errors to be acceptable... and while there are hard-copy nomination documents we could cite... these are considered primary source material and thus should not be used as the only source material for an article).
The actual database is still working: go to the Download Center, and from there you can download the complete database. Nyttend (talk) 22:45, 14 July 2010 (UTC)
What's wrong with this one [21]? That should at least tell you if the building is listed or not and how to obtain the proper documentation. PeRshGo (talk) 03:29, 14 July 2010 (UTC)
In other words... almost everyone agrees that being on the NRHP should confer notability, but for most of these buildings, we have no reliable sources that can be used to substantiate that notability. We seem to have a conflict between WP:NOTE and WP:V (and WP:NOR) here. Blueboar (talk) 18:21, 13 July 2010 (UTC)

Comment: "delisting" from the NRHP is usually done in anticipation of demolition by a developer. This does not mean the building was no longer "notable" at all. The vast majority of delisted buildings are now gone - hence could not be on a list <g>. 11:32, 14 July 2010 (UTC)

  • Some clarification. First off the Register is not confined to buildings - boats, bridges, fire towers, water towers, and archeological sites that are farm fields are all examples of listed properties. Second, the nomination forms should provide reliable sources for each property listed, and these are available online in most cases - see Wikipedia:WikiProject National Register of Historic Places/Editor help - and can also be obtained at no charge on writing to the NRHP in Washington DC if they are not online. Third, per WP:NN, please note that even delisting or destruction does not make a property non-notable. There is at least one FA on a delisted (and sadly destroyed) bridge that was on the NRHP - see Plunketts Creek Bridge No. 3. Finally, I believe that listing on the NRHP automatically confers notability per the above arguments. Hope this helps, Ruhrfisch ><>°° 17:23, 14 July 2010 (UTC)
  • There are also two scrapes of the NRHP database that may be helpful in determining if a property is listed or not - one is commercial here and the other is maintained by Elkman, primarily for use by the NRHP WikiProject here. Ruhrfisch ><>°° 18:16, 14 July 2010 (UTC)
For you who wonder whether sources are available — part of the process of nomination for the National Register is the completion of a nomination form, which is reviewed both by historic preservation people on both the state and national levels; it's thus either peer-reviewed or even better. You can obtain a copy of any nomination form for free, simply by emailing Some forms are already online; for example, see here (note that it's more minimal than most forms) for the Locus 7 Site in Pennsylvania. Nyttend (talk) 22:45, 14 July 2010 (UTC)