Wikipedia:Village pump (policy)/Archive 8

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Blocking large IP ranges on request owner IP

Hi, a large Dutch government agency (Ministry of Justice) blocked all access to Wikipedia. 30,000 government officials are unable to see any content. The Ministry did this because of some vandalism from their IP adresses which was noticed by journalists. The Ministry is probably (from inside sources) going to ask us to block their entire range from editing so that they can restore access to Wikipedia. My question: is their a policy on the English Wikipedia about this kind of requests and/or do these kinds of requests occur often? I would appreciate your help. Thanks! .Koen (talk) 10:06, 21 November 2007 (UTC)

this over-reaction of theirs was presumably because the event involved a member of the royal family. I think it is very strongly against the spirit of WP to help any government or anyone else censor our content or participation. We block ip ranges according to our own independent standards. That vandalism once occurred from an ip address is not cause to block a large range like that. DGG (talk) 12:36, 21 November 2007 (UTC)
This is actualy a different situation then the royalty scandal. For as far as I can tell, it is just about plain pure vandalism. Anyway, if the Dutch Ministry of Justice wants to block access to Wikipedia for their employees, that is their problem. If Wikipedia sees the range as a blockable range, we should block it, but not by request. It might be a good idea to keep them on the list of organisations to send abuse reports to if annons are behaving badly. As long as they disallow access to Wikipedia, it's not a problem, but when they do start to allow it again, at least they will be listed. Maybe some wiki bigwig could contact them, seeing if a proper solution can be worked out together? Martijn Hoekstra (talk) 13:42, 21 November 2007 (UTC)
My employer briefly blocked the ability to edit wikipedia. We could read the content, but not edit. (This was done, I think, on the theory that reading WPs content may be have a useful business purpose, but editing is just playing on company time, get back to work dammit.) The Dutch, I assume can do the same. Dsmdgold (talk) 15:15, 21 November 2007 (UTC)
This occasionally comes up with schools as well.[1] I agree that we should leave this up to their IT staff and not block preemptively if so requested. — Satori Son 15:32, 21 November 2007 (UTC)
I think it's perfectly legitimate to block a range at the request of the owner of the range, if we can clearly establish the bonafides of the request. (I strongly suggest that the request be sent to OTRS and tracked that way, with a ticket number given to reference it) We have done this for school districts in the past. There is no way to block editing at the other end that doesn't also block some other useful non editing things, as far as I currently understand things. ++Lar: t/c 16:14, 22 November 2007 (UTC)
Hmm. Would the same argument apply to such a request from a totalitarian government, rather than the Dutch government or a school? Raymond Arritt (talk) 00:03, 23 November 2007 (UTC)
Good counterexample. I'd say that if the People's Republic of China government asked for a ban of the IPs that the PRC themselves owned, to prevent their employees from posting, it should be taken under advisement, but if the PRC asked for a ban of all IPs that were assigned to, for instance, an IP in the PRC, we should say no. But ya, maybe your counter shows why bans might not be good, as doing them for the Podunk School District starts you on a slippery slope. If so, maybe we have some bans we ought to consider lifting? ++Lar: t/c 01:08, 23 November 2007 (UTC)
I think that we should never block on demand. We should only block in cases of vandalism or other misbehavior. Sarsaparilla (talk) 23:45, 25 November 2007 (UTC)
If it's anything like here (Canada) this smells like political ass covering. Some journalist write a quick paper on 'bad government employee behavior' and every political enemy jumps in to create a scandal to make to government look bad. WP should not get involved. What if a month later some totalitarian regime ask the same thing just days before a purge?YegLi (talk) 22:23, 22 November 2007 (UTC)
Our Blocking policy provides for blocking for damage to Wikipedia. There is no other policy basis for blocking users. I believe we would need to change the policy to authorize administrators to perform their functions in the interests of anyone other than Wikipedia. And I wouldn't support such a change. The general thrust of Wikipedia is to encourage and support open access to information as a general public good. Our rules of veracity and civil conduct that are the basis of the blocking policy are intended to be in support of this thrust. The fact that other people may have different interests and views does not require us to change this thrust. Best, --Shirahadasha (talk) 04:27, 23 November 2007 (UTC)

Proper units?

If you go have a look at the Saffron article, you'll find some interesting information about the number of flowers you need to produce some amount of ready-to-use saffron. For some strange reason though, weights are given mostly in pounds. SI units are used, but only in parenthesis after the non-SI units. This phenomenon is not limited to the saffron article. It's actually somewhat common to see non-SI units being the first, or sometimes only, units used. Considering that this is the English language Wikipedia, not the US Wikipedia, and considering that SI Units are more widely used, I see no good reason to give numbers in pounds, or other non-SI units first. If the article deals with 1) a phenomenon closely related to a "non-SI culture" or 2) something that is defined in terms of non-SI units, I think it's justified to use non-SI units first, but not otherwise. So, for example, the article on Baseball is a good example of a place where non-SI units are justified. Is there any official Wikipedia policy on the subject?
On a similar note, there appears to be several tons in somewhat widespread use across the globe. Whenever I come across a measurement given in tons, I feel unsure as to which ton the article author was refering to. I think that any Wikipedia policy on the subject of which units to use, should also deal with the tons. (talk) 10:45, 24 November 2007 (UTC)

Just like British English vs American English, both are acceptable and shouldn't be changed to a different standard without discussion. It's a case-by-case basis. — Someguy0830 (T | C) 10:59, 24 November 2007 (UTC)

We don't need different units, all the world must use the same measurements. So I propose using solely the SI units.Tiago65 (talk) 15:28, 13 May 2013 (UTC)

Standard procedure is to give the original measure first, followed by any conversions. So, if the source cited says "x threads per pound", we write "x threads per pound (y threads per gram)". --Carnildo (talk) 11:13, 24 November 2007 (UTC)
I do support the standarization in SI units. Sadly the English Wikipedia has a strong US-centric bias instead of he global perspective (lack of localist/ethnocentric bias) it should have. --Sugaar (talk) 12:01, 24 November 2007 (UTC)
Standardization on SI units is an appropriate policy, but let's not go overboard on the notion that use of non-SI units is US-centric. In fact a large fraction of English-speakers grew up with miles and pounds in other countries where there was later a policy to convert to metric measure. The old units still survive in use to some extent. British roads are measured in miles with speed limits in mph. In the Canadian supermarket where I shop, I reguarly see meat prices posted with dollars per pound in large print and then a smaller translation into dollars per kilogram -- this may be partly to be able to quote a smaller number, but I also think that's what they expect a lot of their customers to understand more easily. I don't see things marked in gallons any more, but when I hear the word I still think first of an Imperial gallon and not the undersized :-) US gallon. -- (talk) 22:35, 25 November 2007 (UTC)
There is no issue in giving measurements in SI-units. However, given the large US readership of the English Wikipedia, it is beneficial to provide the US Standard Units as well. Doing so is not a systemic bias either, but is accommodating the readers by using units they already know and understand. --Farix (Talk) 22:49, 25 November 2007 (UTC)


Hey, I just saw a "100 dollars prize" for winners of a "contest to improve key articles". What's going on here. Monetary incentives are against the spirit of Wikipedia. Amit@Talk 16:59, 24 November 2007 (UTC)

Well, not technically. See Wikipedia:Five pillars and also the foundation's mission statement. You can pay someone to create free content and it's no less free for other people to distribute and modify. --W.marsh 17:19, 24 November 2007 (UTC)
You may want to take part in the discussion here Lurker (said · done) 16:45, 25 November 2007 (UTC)

Why is the link to block log for all users shown in blue?

It is, regardless of whether they've ever been blocked or not. This is confusing as if you have clicked in 'user contribs' the block log link's always blue, you have to click on it to see if any blocks are listed there. For most users, there's not any. If it was a red link like if a talk or user page is empty, it could be seen at a glance.Merkinsmum (talk) 21:49, 24 November 2007 (UTC)

It's a link to a log (a special page), not a link to an actual page. Or, to put it differently, it's to a page that is created on the fly, and can't be watched/monitored. Yes, it would be nice if the MediaWiki software were changed - for example, to have a "block bit" (on/off) to indicate whether or not someone has any entries in the log; then, when the bit is "off", the link to the log page could be turned red. Getting something like that implemented would be a feature request (requiring a database change, as well as updating the bit when a new block is added to the log).
Though thinking about this, I suppose that someone could write some JavaScript to do a "look ahead" at the log, and, if empty, to change the color of the link, or even hide it. -- John Broughton (♫♫) 22:28, 24 November 2007 (UTC)
I, personally, don't think that this is a big deal. Also, this probably should be discussed someplace else, as I don't see anything relevent to a policy. Maybe WP:VP/T or WP:VP/M. - Rjd0060 (talk) 01:37, 25 November 2007 (UTC)
Special:Log (the page being linked to) always exists, it's more a question of whether any entries will match the given search parameters. Doesn't seem like a big deal, to me, but if you want to submit a feature request, there's always Bugzilla. – Luna Santin (talk) 03:32, 25 November 2007 (UTC)
I meant to post in the 'Miscellaneous' section but the top of the page said you should try and post anywhere else but there if possible.:) I just thought it would be a good idea, might get round to the 'Bugzilla' thing, thanks.:)Merkinsmum (talk) 13:44, 25 November 2007 (UTC)

Internet pharmacy may be copying user pages and representing them as members

I’m fully aware that posts on Wikipedia go into the public domain. Nevertheless, I’ve just discovered that, a site I have never visited before finding my information there in a Google search for another purpose, has taken my user page, in its entirety, and represents me as a member of their site. If it’s happened to me, it has probably happened to others, especially people that have posted on pharmacology. Is there any policy on the large-scale use of Wiki userpages?


Howard (user hcberkowitz)

  • Userpages are necessarily licensed under the GFDL. So they can be reprinted. Best is to add to the page if it bugs you. WilyD 19:39, 16 November 2007 (UTC)
Just FYI they have rather indiscriminately ported all articles and userpages from wikipedia. Here I am. —Cronholm144 19:46, 16 November 2007 (UTC)
At the bottom of every page on the pharmacy's website it states "This article is from Wikipedia. All text is available under the terms of the GFDL (GNU Free Documentation License)". So they are abiding by all terms.
It annoys me because it messes up wiki mark up, but it is perfectly legal. However, enabling copying is one of the most prominent features of GFDL, and while it has some disadvantages, the free nature of Wikipedia is one of my primary motives for contributing. Puchiko (Talk-email) 20:11, 16 November 2007 (UTC)
Oh I know GFDL, and I noticed the disclaimer; it's just rather strange, that's all. I wonder what their motivation is. —Cronholm144 20:37, 16 November 2007 (UTC)
Laziness. It's easier to copy everything than parse the database dump. WilyD 20:44, 16 November 2007 (UTC)
Probably done in the hope to get higher Google ranking. It is frustrating if they end up selling cheap drugs, or related to some scam.YegLi (talk) 21:52, 22 November 2007 (UTC)
Hehe, I hope they like my list of insults.[2] :) EVula // talk // // 20:51, 16 November 2007 (UTC)

I'm on there, weird. Maybe I should make a subpage on why their website sucks. SashaCall 21:50, 16 November 2007 (UTC)

  • Let's be clear about one thing. The GFDL is NOT Public domain. There are similarities, but the two are quite different. - Mgm|(talk) 13:47, 17 November 2007 (UTC)
  • The site is a known live mirror, i.e. it mirrors anything and everything on Wikipedia, fetching the current version of each page when it is requested. It even "mirrors" special pages, such as Recent Changes. -- AJR | Talk 22:10, 18 November 2007 (UTC)
And that update it fetches is instant, and current. -- Yellowdesk (talk) 03:20, 27 November 2007 (UTC)
  • If I would add something like "Prescription Drug Info is a scam website trying to steal your money and murder your children. Don't buy from them, buy from <some competitor>." to my userpage, could they sue me? Olaus (talk) 22:20, 22 November 2007 (UTC)
  • Unless the allegation is true, yes, it'd be libel. WilyD 22:24, 22 November 2007 (UTC)
I am not really interested in waging a private war against some sleazy Viagra spammer, or whatever they are, but it seems like websites doing stuff like this leave themselves vulnerable to subversive campaigns from the users whose pages they copy. Olaus (talk) 00:33, 23 November 2007 (UTC)

Overuse of "retrieved on" in citations?

Hi all. Is it just me or is anyone else annoyed by the "retrieved on" dates some editors keep adding to their citations. More specifically, I know there's a reason we have that option in the cite templates, because something on the web can change at any time. But I see that more for use with, say, an organization's web page as a primary source. On the other hand, if the article being cited is a newspaper or journal that's published in a serialized format, and it's available on paper, who cares what day the editor read it on? Squidfryerchef (talk) 05:15, 17 November 2007 (UTC)

An organization might change its web site so the old information has moved or is no longer there. The date can help find the original info, and sometimes helps find the new location. (SEWilco (talk) 05:37, 17 November 2007 (UTC))
Even newspapers that have a print edition have been known to edit their web version of articles post publication. Dsmdgold (talk) 11:36, 17 November 2007 (UTC)
Many news org websites such as BBC News and CNN update their pages regularly to fix errors or review an already covered story for instance original page with headline - current page with headline. Also there are hundreds of thousands of broken links in article references, the cite date helps up replace these with copies from the wayback machine and other archive stores.
I agree that the usage of 'retrieved on' is not relevant for journals and print media, as the issue number or publishing date is more important, but if the citation includes a link to a web edition of the source then we would still like to know which web version you were looking at to get the info. (talk) 14:01, 17 November 2007 (UTC)
However, I'm pretty sure news sites with articles that expire also prevent sites like from archiving... I've tried to find copies of stories purged from news sites and says archiving wasn't allowed. --W.marsh 14:08, 17 November 2007 (UTC)
The retrieve date is still useful - assuming good faith and all, I can reconcile that the original article may be gone forever, or may be behind a pay window, but that the difference between the article publication date and the retrieve date is certainly within that window and thus likely a good source.--MASEM 14:23, 17 November 2007 (UTC)
I am slightly annoyed by the wikilinking of the retrieved date though. Seems weird to wikilink that, as the date retrieved hold little relevance for the article. Martijn Hoekstra (talk) 14:35, 17 November 2007 (UTC)
It allows for the date to be rendered per user preferences (see here). --MASEM 14:38, 17 November 2007 (UTC)
I have to admit, I'm a little dim in setting my preferences, but I changed nothing so this is default behaviour for the template. It seems to go against the MOS, that says: Wikipedia has articles on days of the year, years, decades, centuries and millennia. Link to one of these pages only if it is likely to deepen readers' understanding of a topic. I don't think it will deepen the readers understanding of how I retrieved a link, or the articles subject. Martijn Hoekstra (talk) 14:50, 17 November 2007 (UTC)
The wikilinking is done automatically via the various citation templates - you enter the raw date into the template and the template does the rest. Wikilinking it seems to be the only way to achieve the date conversion even if it goes against MOS. --MASEM 14:57, 17 November 2007 (UTC)
The very section you are quoting from MOS:DATE starts with the preference issue and supports it: "Full dates, and days and months, are normally autoformatted...This instructs the MediaWiki software to format the item according to the date preferences...". The language concerning "days of the year, years, decades, centuries and millennia", in the same section of that page, does not concern full dates: "days of the year"= [[January 1]]; "years"= [[1968]], [[1974]] etc.--Fuhghettaboutit (talk) 15:17, 17 November 2007 (UTC)
Some more points: For wire services that update stories continuously, wouldn't it be more appropriate to cite the time of their update rather than the time we looked at it? For the case where a media organization moves its WWW archives, wouldn't it be more useful to have the date and page number so we can look it up in their archive search? Also, if we do need to look up a dead URL with no date in the Internet Archive, is it that much of a bother to look through the few times it might have been updated? ( And if the "retrieved on" date is for our benefit, isn't the edit history enough? ) Finally, I've only seen "retrieved on" used with things that are on the WWW for free. I never see people put "retrieved from paid-journal-subscription-service" in their articles; is there any reason why we only datestamp free URLs? Squidfryerchef (talk) 17:12, 17 November 2007 (UTC)
According to the rules of academic citation, it's needed for everything. I agree that this can look a little excessive. Unfortunately, i think we're stuck with it. If there's a source where time of day matters, yes the time should go in also as well as the date. And yes, for any media organization, the actual internal page number and other citation information for the formal edition is necessary.
In most cases it adds clutter to the reference list, and I'm often tempted to delete it. When we read a journal article, we're supposed to cite the journal article with ISSN, issue date or volume, and page number. The link is just there for convenience. For wire service stories we'd use their timestamp as part of the date. The only time this "downloaded on" business is necessary is for a web site that's only a web site and doesn't publish in a serialized format. Squidfryerchef (talk) 22:07, 18 November 2007 (UTC)
Why don't we put this in the category "Editors do the oddest things" and move on? As long as editors include a date of a news or magazine article, separate from the retrieved on date, Wikipedia has what it needs. The retrieved on date is, arguably, unnecessary then, but a (re)education campaign for editors, on this subject, is not in any way a good use of time; nor is getting into fights with editors about their adding a field that is unnecessary but is an acceptable parameter. Yes, the extra date "clutters up" footnotes; when Wikipedia is so squeaky clean that this is the worst of our problems, then let's take it on. (Me, personally, I'm happy whenever an editor puts a footnote that has more than just a URL.) -- John Broughton (♫♫) 20:26, 19 November 2007 (UTC)

I think that the "retrieved on" citations are redundant because the page history lists when that reference was added; so if an editor added a reference to the Wall Street Journal, for instance, on July 11, 2007, we automatically know that the "retrieved on" date was July 11 or earlier. But if the page subsequently changes, then where is the verifiability of that reference? Sarsaparilla (talk) 19:55, 26 November 2007 (UTC)

  • For a contrary opinion, I have edited pages with more than a little controversy, or political pages, and the "retrieved on" information is useful for figuring out how old a dead link might be, and how useful the source is for citation. It took the "retrieved on" to understand that all Associated Press articles are no good after a week or so. This information is not clutter, and on an actively edited page, it is a lot of work to to track down a lot of references and when they were put in. Tracking down one reference is already a bit of work.
    -- Yellowdesk (talk) 03:27, 27 November 2007 (UTC)

How obvious is OBVIOUS?

WP:OBVIOUS: "State facts which may be obvious to you, but are not necessarily obvious to the reader."

Based on this I started doing a bit of wikignoming by adding USA after Virginia to articles in Category:Registered Historic Places in Virginia (for instance this edit). I've done some 30 articles and have had a query about whether it is necessary. Now doing this seems to me to perfectly fit the example in WP:OBVIOUS and I do wonder if the average reader in, say India, knows where Virginia is. But I don't want to cause conflict, so before continuing I'm asking here for some more opinions. Thanks, Smalljim (talk) 11:41, 18 November 2007 (UTC)

On a tangent don't use [[USA]] use either [[United States|US]] or [[United States|U.S.]] depending on the result of the "dotting" discussion at WP:MoS or use United States. Rich Farmbrough, 13:03 18 November 2007 (GMT).
Noted, but I don't understand your objection to [[USA]]. It's short, commonly understood, and redirects to exactly the right place. --Smalljim (talk) 22:55, 18 November 2007 (UTC)
It's not "my objection to" it's simply an "arbitrary but well informed" choice. Rich Farmbrough, 10:06 28 November 2007 (GMT).
That seems like a very sensible bit of wikignoming. Context and clarity are important. Adrian M. H. 21:26, 18 November 2007 (UTC)
Please don't do that. If someone is looking up "Berry Hill Plantation" they're going to know which country it's in. I'd ask the same for people editing articles local to India. The state name should be enough. Squidfryerchef (talk) 22:02, 18 November 2007 (UTC)
I don't think that argument stands up. Many readers will not be looking up an article directly. What if our reader was researching agriculture, and came across the article from Category:Plantations? --Smalljim (talk) 22:51, 18 November 2007 (UTC)
I always put the nation in an article; not everyone knows the state or county of a geographical area, so may use the country as a search parameter - i.e. London/United States (does anyone outside of the State know where London is in the USA). Primarily we are assisting search engines by including all relevant information. LessHeard vanU (talk) 13:53, 20 November 2007 (UTC)
I looked through your contributions. The specification of the country was, in my opinion, justified in all cases but one ("U.S. Route 17 in Virginia, USA" is overdoing it in my opinion). I'll remove it from the article soon, unless objections are raised.
Otherwise I agree that the country name should always be in an article about a place. Puchiko (Talk-email) 02:03, 19 November 2007 (UTC)
Embarrassed grin. Of course that one's wrong! I'll remove it myself. Thanks for the comments. --Smalljim (talk) 09:02, 19 November 2007 (UTC)
It seems to me that the original policy is a bit overboard. That Ford Thunderbird is a link to an article that fully describes it seems sufficient to fill in the user. Isn't that the beauty of hyperlinks? Virginia also is but one click away from telling you that it is in the US. The extreme end of this is pasting the entire article in place of the hyperlink... why even begin down that road? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Heptazane (talkcontribs) 00:52, 27 November 2007 (UTC)
  • Let me add my query that sparked this discussion and elaborate on it:
QUERY: I just wonder if it is really necessary to add USA to every article relating to Virginia and other American states. I don't know that this is what WP:OBVIOUS is supposed to deal with. Most articles on Devon and other counties in England don't tell us that the place is in the UK. Should they? I can understand people outside the USA not understanding the postal abbreviations for state names. Many Americans don't even understand them all. I admit that using MA instead of Massachusetts in the name of an article is more common than it should be. That is something that really needs to be corrected. clariosophic (talk) 02:27, 18 November 2007 (UTC)
Postal abbreviations for state names are deprecated. Rich Farmbrough, 10:06 28 November 2007 (GMT).
  • If USA or the proper variant thereof should be added to every geographic place article in the US, then UK or the proper variant thereof should be added to every geographic place article in the UK. The main articles on England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland may state that they are in the UK, but very few if any subordinate articles do so. It seems to be assumed that everyone knows that England etc are in the UK and it's not necessary to tell the reader for instance that Devon is in the UK, only that it is in England.
  • Time spent adding USA to place articles in the US could much better be spent eliminating the use of postal abbreviations for the states from article titles as well as the texts of articles. See Education in Framingham, MA and Government of Framingham, MA for examples. clariosophic (talk) 02:26, 19 November 2007 (UTC)
Thanks for the elaboration, clariosophic. Your first point addresses a separate question of "how obvious is obvious": would people who are likely to use WP know what and where England is without the clarifying UK? I think that they would - certainly more would than would know what and where Virginia is without the clarifying USA - but this is a different issue and I don't want to get sidetracked. // Your second point is a related issue that really reinforces my concern, which, in case I haven't made it clear, is about setting context and writing better articles generally, per WP:BETTER. I think these thought experiments in that guide are very useful, and with them in mind Government of Framingham, MA as it stands today is an awful article, isn't it? What would our reader from India make of that first para! // So, I think we agree that there are a lot of articles that need better context, though I still don't understand why you think I shouldn't be clarifying those Virginia articles. I'm sure you're not trying to tell me to spend my time here doing what you think is more important :) --Smalljim (talk) 11:20, 19 November 2007 (UTC)
Thanks for your response. I was speaking rhetorically. I would never dream of telling another editor how to spend his or her time. Cheers. clariosophic (talk) 13:02, 19 November 2007 (UTC)
Oh I knew that, hence the smiley. Are we in broad agreement? Will you object if I continue? --Smalljim (talk) 13:23, 19 November 2007 (UTC)
No objection. I would agree that adding United States is better than US or USA. clariosophic (talk) 19:51, 19 November 2007 (UTC)


What do other editors think are the pros and cons of changing existing simple links of the form [[article title here]] to piped links of the form [[Article title here|article title here]]? A recent example is this edit. It doesn't break any links or change anything from the point of view of passing readers, but it makes the wiki markup harder to read while editing, particularly for visually impaired editors, and more complicated to edit, especially for newbies, and is more verbose. Is it an improvement? I'd like to hear other editors' opinions, and see if there is a consensus. I can't find any policy, guideline, or previous discussion that discusses whether it is or is not appropriate to use piped links like that. I think it would be useful to have clear guidance on this issue. I originally posted this question here (please continue the conversation here for ease-of-reference). Thanks, - Neparis (talk) 20:55, 24 November 2007 (UTC)

If all you're doing is capping the first letter just to have it capped, it's a silly edit. It doesn't need to be capped in the brackets; article still goes to Article (leave the cursor over it and you'll see it in the hover text, as well as in the activity area of your browser window). EVula // talk // // 21:00, 24 November 2007 (UTC)
I agree. By the way, the example edit was by another editor, not by me! Thanks for your comments. - Neparis (talk) 22:21, 24 November 2007 (UTC)
It's an extremely trivial edit and completely unnecessary, so it should be avoided. I suggest that you contact the editor in question if he or she does this regularly. --Farix (Talk) 21:51, 24 November 2007 (UTC)
Yes, that's how I felt about it. I've seen a lot of the same sort of edits recently by other editors. If the consensus here is against such usage of piped links, I think it ought to be covered in a policy or guideline such as WP:PIPE. Neparis (talk) 22:21, 24 November 2007 (UTC)
Thought I'd seen this stated directly, at the same place where it talks about not doing [[noun|nouns]], because [[noun]]s does the same thing. Can't find either. In any case, I can't imagine why an editor would defend a practice that (a) takes longer to create/type and (b) is likely to confuse most editors, who don't - for obvious reasons - follow it. Particularly since there is absolutely no advantages whatsoever. (I hope someone isn't saying "Well, I'm going to keep doing that because I'm used to it", since that would be disruptive editing.) -- John Broughton (♫♫) 22:36, 24 November 2007 (UTC)
Ok, it seems there is a consensus developing against abusing piped links in this way. It would be useful to be able to refer editors to a specific part of a policy or guideline against the practice. Would anybody object if I were to propose wording to this effect to go in WP:PIPE? Neparis (talk) 23:36, 24 November 2007 (UTC)
Relatedly, is there a consensus view on editors changing piped links that go to redirects, such as DMSA, to piped links that go directly to an article? such as DMSA A recent example is [ here]. Neparis (talk) 23:36, 24 November 2007 (UTC)
Sorry, bad example; the article exists only with lower-case first letter. I'll dig out another one. Neparis (talk) 23:40, 24 November 2007 (UTC) Recent examples of this sort of editing of links: [3]][4][5][6] - Neparis (talk) 15:59, 25 November 2007 (UTC)
There is already a guideline on this. Tra (Talk) 00:34, 25 November 2007 (UTC)
Thanks for that. It seems very clear that editors should not change links to redirects that are not broken, save for the two exceptions of (1) links to redirects in series templates, and (2) hints that are misleading. However, after a quick search, I just found an edit that doesn't appear at first glance to fit either of these exceptions. Any thoughts on why this edit that changed a link to a redirect that is not broken is not against WP:R? - Neparis (talk) 15:59, 25 November 2007 (UTC)

(undent) I'm guessing that popups is set to "Automatically fix links to bypass redirects and disambiguation pages" (an optional parameter). But I suggest asking the editor, BrownHairedGirl, directly; we can speculate endlessly, otherwise. -- John Broughton (♫♫) 02:01, 26 November 2007 (UTC)

I had moved the relevant article from Spanish Congress of Deputies to Congress of Deputies (Spain), because its title is "Congress of Deputies" (or more precisely "Congress of the Deputies"), and had fixed a bundle of double redirects which that caused. Maybe I canonicalised more of the links than was essential, but I don't see any harm done, and unlike the examples which kicked off this discussion, the link was piped both before and after.
There is one situation where I will try to never bypass a redirect, and that's where the redirect indicates a possible new articles (e.g. if "battle of the big toe" redirected to "war of the bodily extremities"). Otherwise, when tidying up after a page move (as I was doing in this case) I try to standardise the links on one page. Possibly a waste of my time, but no harm in this case to either readers or other editors. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 18:47, 26 November 2007 (UTC)

Template suppression

Since this has to do with the guideline WP:SPOILER and its recent rewrite, I have posted this here. I have left a comment (diff) on the guideline WP:SPOILER (timestamp 13:12, 26 November 2007) about template suppression that I think the entire Wikipedia community needs to be aware of. Thanks. --Pixelface (talk) 13:23, 26 November 2007 (UTC)

Proposed notability guideline for schools

FYI - Discussion taking place for a proposed notability guideline relating to schools. See Wikipedia:School and discuss it on the associated talk page. Thanks, Rjd0060 (talk) 17:27, 26 November 2007 (UTC)

Traditional Knowledge Disclaimer

A user has raised an interesting point regarding the "traditional ownership" of knowledge, with the particular case of Aboriginal Australian place names, lore, and the like, and how it relates to the licence and general disclaimer of the site. I was hoping some Wikipedians with a better knowledge of legal matters would be able to have a look at [[7]], and offer a learned opinion on the matter. Lankiveil (talk) 02:40, 24 November 2007 (UTC)

Please, it would also be appreciated if any Wikipedians with better knowledge of intellectual property matters might also look at the most recent discussion surrounding an edit request made to see 'traditional knowledge' inserted into the General Disclaimers current list of pre-existing intellectual property (somewhere between 'collective marks', 'design rights & 'personality rights'), here: Wikipedia_talk:General_disclaimer#Traditional Knowledge.
The edit request appears to have been declined because 2X Wikipedia administrators are uncertain and doubt that 'traditional knowledge' is a sufficiently, legally enforcible form of pre-existing intellectual property against which GFDL users need to be forewarned. I believe the 2X administrators are mistaken (particularly on a world-wide scale), but I think I need, and would greatly appreciate some assistance from greater authority or any other/alternative suggestions/ advice from fellow Wikipedians?
As a final 'policy' proposal/ proposition arising from the above .. I for one can see no harm in increasing the coverage of the General Disclaimer, and therefore wish to propose a broader "when in doubt, include edit" policy for administrators editing disclaimers, so preventing admistrators from adopting overly narrow, overly conservative "when in doubt, decline edit" block on forewarning users of the possible liabilities and vulnerabilities of relying on GFDL without addition checking?? Bruceanthro (talk) 03:12, 26 November 2007 (UTC)
With all due respect it looks a nonsense. There's already too much mess with copyright paranoia and, for good or bad, hardly any legal frame supports this kind of "knowledge ownership". In my humble opinion, knowledge can't be owned, at most kept secret. Once it's not secret anymore... it's public domain.
Anyhow, I'd like if you who support this kind of "traditional copyright/patent" would illustrate what the heck are you talking about with examples. You really seem to be talking about some very interesting secret knowledge, I would love to know more about. --Sugaar (talk) 06:12, 26 November 2007 (UTC)
That's pretty humorous - is it supposed to be? The notion of knowledge being owned in a legal sense by people as a birthright on account of their cultural heritage is diametrically opposed to American ideals of equality, free speech, freedom of information, scholarship, pursuit of truth, etc. However, as a matter of cultural sensitivity it is often best not to pry into deeply cherished secret knowledge simply for entertainment or curiosity value, personal fame, book sales, scholarship, etc. We have taboos in majority western culture too, just different things perhaps. There's no legal prohibition in the US and Wikipedia is uncensored, so it has to be a matter of discretion and good taste. Why repeat something if you know it is offensive to the people involved? I think there should be a higher standard for inclusion - it has to be really important. But that's up to each editor, nothing we can really put into policy. Wikidemo (talk) 13:02, 26 November 2007 (UTC)
When I read this I thought it was related to the Maroi/Lego incident described here: [8]. (Of course it involves a completely separate culture, even though the Maori live in approximately the same part of the world). It's easy to make fun of this, but I think there is some valid concern here. Just imagine a world in the process of globalisation, in which the dominent culture has been developed in Australia and New Zealand. Now an Australian company gets hold of an old book (Ovid) of the European culture that has been in decline ever since the first colonizers arrived from the East Islands, and they trademark most of the words in it for their products: "Jupiter", "Venus", "Hercules", "Perseus", "Icarus", ... I would certainly want to stop them. The reason why this hasn't happened with western culture is that our laws have grown in our culture. – Whether this kind of thing can be stopped with a legal disclaimer on Wikipedia is, of course, a matter for legal experts. --Hans Adler (talk) 13:38, 26 November 2007 (UTC)
I've looked into the discussion, & I'm unclear exactly what these "native intellectual property rights" are that extend beyond what is covered by such concepts as "trade secrets", "trademark", & so forth. Is there something in Australian law that explains this concept? If not, then why do we need this statement? -- llywrch (talk) 19:26, 27 November 2007 (UTC)
I've now done a little homework!. Article 31 of the United Nations Declaration_on_the_Rights_of_Indigenous_Peoples proclaims the following regarding indigenous intellectual property-
"Indigenous peoples have the right to maintain, control, protect and develop their cultural heritage, traditional knowledge and traditional cultural expressions, as well as the manifestations of their sciences, technologies and cultures, including human and genetic resources, seeds, medicines, knowledge of the properties of fauna and flora, oral traditions, literatures, designs, sports and traditional games and visual and performing arts. They also have the right to maintain, control, protect and develop their intellectual property over such cultural heritage, traditional knowledge, and traditional cultural expressions"
Countries likely to us the english Wikipedia, with statues/legislation protecting indigenous intellectual property of this kind include (but is not limited to): Nigeria (Copyright Act 1990), Central African Republic (Ordinance No. 85-002 on Copyright (Central African Republic)) and Ghana (Copy Right Act 2005 )
Relevant court law in Australia include
Milpurrurru v Indofurn Pty Ltd (1995), with courts recognising the 'cultural harm' indigenous plaintiff's suffered as a consequence of misuse of their designs on carpets, awarding damages, and implying communal ownership of indigenous designs;
Foster v Mountford (1976), where the court granted indigenous plaintiffs an injunction to prevent the sale of a book written by an anthropologist (Mountford) containing confidential information given to the author in confidence.
The World Intellectual Property Organisation maintains a database of existing codes, guides, policies, protocols and standard agreements relating to the recording, digitization and dissemination of intangible cultural heritage, with an emphasis on intellectual property .. [9].
In the end, though, all that was asked for of Wikipedia administrators, was to insert the words 'traditional knowledge' into an existing list comprised of things like "collective marks" and, yes, "personality rights" (still not sure what these are?). I have since suggested there is sufficient rationale for such a small edit of the general disclaimer, of the kind requested, and because there can be no harm (?) and there is no real reason not to make this edit .. then let Wikipedia community be more encompassing, and less narrow.
Hans Adler (talk) comments were understanding and useful. Perhaps there may be one or more administrators who may be similarly understanding and perhaps agreeable to (re)editing the disclaimer, or alternative measure (perhaps a notice regarding indigenous content on relevant articles?) Bruceanthro (talk) 21:34, 27 November 2007 (UTC)

Descriptive plot summaries and primary sources

There has been a debate on Talk:Million Dollar Baby about whether the film can be used as a primary source in writing a descriptive plot summary of the film so long as the summary does not make any analytic, synthetic, interpretive, explanatory, or evaluative claims. One editor is suggesting that because there are no reliable secondary sources cited in the plot summary, it is entirely original research, and we cannot trust that the editor who wrote the summary actually saw the film. He even went so far as to remove the citation to the movie that I placed from the plot summary because I didn't write the summary. Your comments are welcomed. --Farix (Talk) 21:42, 24 November 2007 (UTC)

Summery? Let's not get all wintry here. :-) (I've corrected the spellings). Primary sources can be used to verify simple facts. Secondary sources are needed for anything with a hint of interpretation or opinion. Mostly, it depends on the example. In this case, a short plot summary can indeed be verified by watching the film. Summarising is what encyclopedias are all about. When done properly, there shouldn't be a problem. A balance needs to be struck between editors parroting what others wrote, and editors having some freedom to summarise in their own words. Carcharoth (talk) 02:39, 25 November 2007 (UTC)
I have no problem with assuming that a raw plot summary being assumed to be cited to the work itself. However, that doesn't mean that there are a lot of good plot summaries in Wikipedia articles (many are longer than the work itself :) ... ), however in principle this seems fine by me. Any analysis, opinion, explanation, etc. needs sources, but to say "Person X did Action Y..." etc etc does not need to have secondary sources, IMHO. --Jayron32|talk|contribs 03:17, 25 November 2007 (UTC)
My comment? I am increasingly frustrated with these extremist interpretations of "No original research" -- one editor's strawman argument far too often is shown to be another editor's received truth. Sometimes I wonder if WP:DISRUPT could be used against them -- or would I then be shooting myself in the foot? -- llywrch (talk) 19:45, 27 November 2007 (UTC)

Images to the Commons?

I've encountered an editor who has been tagging contentless image description pages, thus "creating" them ([10], [11], [12], [13], [14], [15], [16], [17]), even for Commons media that are not even used on WP (1,2,3,4).

I was under the impression that we were attempting to move all free images to the Commons, and CSD:I8 "includes empty (i.e., no content) image description pages for Commons images", yet the logical conclusion of creating duplicate image description pages and image categories is an unwieldy mirror of the Commons, which would simply increase the amount of pages needing to be maintained on En WP. What do you all think? TewfikTalk 01:51, 25 November 2007 (UTC)

Commons was created exactly so image-related stuff should move there, and all this work being done to categorize images on en should be diverted to help commons (and by this help all Wikimedia projects rather than just the English Wikipedia). I've talked to the editor before and it seems that he isn't satisfied with the current multilingual category support on commons (and neither am i) but lack of a software solution isn't a reason to waste time on something. Either way, the categories on commons are in English so en.wp users should have no problems using them (and WP categories are supposed to be linked to commons categories for the benefit of wikipedia users). Yonatan talk 01:54, 25 November 2007 (UTC)
en copies should be deleted. βcommand 01:59, 25 November 2007 (UTC)
If you create a local image description of a image hosted on Commons then both the local page and the Commons page are displayed. This is entirely appropriate for tags like {{FeaturedPicture}}, where there is en-specific information in addition to the Commons description. Whether en images should also have categories and other less en-specific info, has been a source of contention. Personally, I think we should categorize images locally, since Commons categories are not visible at all here, and being well-organized contributes to making the best possible encyclopedia. (Not to mention that we have many images that don't appear on Commons, and Commons has a variety of images that aren't encyclopedic in character.) However, I understand why some people dislike such duplication of effort. Last time I saw a discussion like this (and unfortunately I don't remember where), I think the best "consensus" was that such categorization wasn't harmful enough to actively delete, but also not useful enough to actively encourage. Dragons flight (talk) 02:27, 25 November 2007 (UTC)

I am somehwat concerned by the indiscriminate moving of maps and graphs to commons. Many of my maps have suffered that fate, even if they are not (most of them) mute maps but have significative text in English. Additionally in few cases, creator attribution has been altered in the process (and in a couple of cases the deletion of history may have been perjudicial for the current version, after some excessive edition).

Some people is not aware that material at Commons should be language-neutral and I'm bored of finding maps (my speciality) in many different languages sitting there as if they would be usable in any Wikipedia, independent of language. Worse: many of these maps in other languages actually illustrate many en.Wikipedia articles.

The logical thing is to make a linguistically adptated map or even a mute version (with legend off-image) for commons, not to move every single Wikipedia image to commons indiscriminately. --Sugaar (talk) 08:57, 25 November 2007 (UTC)

Please show me the commons guideline that says that material there "should be language-neutral". --Golbez (talk) 23:51, 25 November 2007 (UTC)
Content at commons needn't be language-neutral. There are many Wikimedia projects besides Wikipedias, the English Wiktionary should be able to use these maps you made (in English) if they can, and in order to do that, the maps need to be on commons. Commons has many maps in Hebrew, for example, so there should be no problem with English. Regarding attribution, you should let the users who transferred the images to commons what they did wrong so they can do it better next time. Just because some users aren't copying pictures properly doesn't mean they shouldn't be (and that's besides the point being raised here anyway, you can't prevent your images from being copied to commons although you can prevent them from being deleted on here once copied to commons, even though that's pointless). The point being discussed here is whether commons images should be categorized on en and the answer to that, is no (with the exception of the en featured pics). Yonatan talk 12:19, 25 November 2007 (UTC)
Historical maps??? A dictionary describes things like "sardine", "yellowish" or "innaction". I am not involved with Wikitionary but I doubt it talks about Chalcolithic Europe, Bronze Age Iberia or the Kingdom of Pamplona under Sancho the Great. It doesn't because it's a dictionary, not a encyclopedia, hence these maps are irrelevant.
What should be in commons are neutral images such as a photos but most maps and graphs are better re-created for each project, according to its language. It's absurd to reach out for commons for a map in Hebrew that most people can't read: logically it should be in the Hebrew language Wikipedia. --Sugaar (talk) 17:03, 25 November 2007 (UTC)
I disagree strongly, Commons is for all free images, not just language-neutral ones. My maps are all on commons and I'm very happy with that arrangement. Also, Sugaar, there's more to Wikimedia than Wiktionary. What if someone created a history Wikibook? Please calm down. --Golbez (talk) 23:51, 25 November 2007 (UTC)
I think that Sugaar's ultimate point/problem is that images are being transwikied, which is fine, but they are free to be modified on commons without Sugaar really seeing it or being a part of discussion. This is a part of the licensing agreement that is legal and valid BUT the user would rather have local hosting. In other words if a user would prefer an image to remain on as well as commons, would there be a problem with that? Keegantalk 07:19, 26 November 2007 (UTC)
No, there is no problem with that but that's not what this discussion is about anyway. Okay, fine, not Wiktionary then but Wikiversity, Wikibooks or Wikisource, there are many projects other than the English Wikipedia that can use things such as maps in English. Yonatan talk 13:31, 27 November 2007 (UTC)