Wikipedia:Village pump (policy)/Archive 80

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How should two related companies be handled?

If there is not enough information on a company we'll call Company A, is it okay to include its information in the Wikipedia article about Company B? The two companies have the same name in the specific case I'm wondering about, because in the 1950s, Company A was a unit of the company that became Company B. It would be only natural to look for Company A in the Company B article. In the 1990s, Company B and Company C were formed from Company D (which no longer exists, though Company B was somehow merged into this company earlier), and Company B owned one-fifth of Company C, which was Company A's parent. Now Company C and, because it is a subsidiary, Company A are part of Company E and I'm not aware of any further connection with Company B.

I'm also considering a similar case where Company A and Company B merged. I think Company B has enough information for its own article, though separating the two companies' individual details into two articles will be tricky. But both have lost their separate identities and are now Company C. For historical purposes the other two companies are entitled to articles because they have long histories.Vchimpanzee · talk · contributions · 17:40, 24 September 2010 (UTC)

If it's verifiable that the companies merged, then adding information about the formerly independent company into the article about the merged company would seem fine. As for whether companies pre-merger deserve separate articles, that really depends on the amount of independent coverage in reliable sources. Applied Biosystems merged with Invitrogen to form Life Technologies in 2008; we have articles on all three. Fences&Windows 18:50, 24 September 2010 (UTC)
In the first case, only Company B and Company E now have articles. I'm finding very little about Company A and Company C.
In the second instance, neither Company A nor Company B had an article and I saw the need for Company A's article first. but Company E and the new Company C are huge and have gone through so many mergers, having details on every company in the merged company's article wouldn't be feasible. That's my feeling. A split would likely be recommend ed if it was tried.Vchimpanzee · talk · contributions · 18:56, 24 September 2010 (UTC)
Wikipedia never refuses verifiable, neutral and relevent information. There is nothing wrong with mentioning Company A in the article about Company B, even if Company A lacks sources to establish notability on its own. WP:N is about establishing criteria for a stand-alone article on a subject, not on including information in articles. For example, many articles contain brief biographical information on the parents, siblings, or children of notable people, even if those family members don't merit an article on their own, that doesn't mean its verboten to mention them in any article. This seems to apply here. If Company B is notable, but its ancestor Company A does not have enough information to sustain a seperate article, there's no reason not to include some basic info about Company A in B's article. --Jayron32 05:08, 25 September 2010 (UTC)
In the second case, A and B and C all get articles, if they're individually significant; if A does but B doesn't, then summarise B's details in with C but keep A distinct. In the first case, I confess you've lost me! You might want to have a look at how we handle Rolls-Royce, though. Shimgray | talk | 13:29, 25 September 2010 (UTC)
In the first case, see Talk:Voestalpine/Archives/2012#Which company is which?. I was afraid to ask here for information that specific (so I made it a more general policy question), but no one seems to be responding there. In the second case, Company C has an article, I created one for Company A and now feel I can probably do the same when I get time for Company B. The parent company for Company A and Company B is iffy seeing as how it didn't last long before Compnay C took over and all the others disappeared.Vchimpanzee · talk · contributions · 17:19, 27 September 2010 (UTC)

I come to bury editors, not to praise them ...

It is believed that the deletion policy is not being properly followed. Whilst I am not experienced in patrolling pages and therefore do not have a broad overview of the issues, the small amount of evidence I do see gives me cause for concern. I believe part of the problem is that the ATD section of the deletion policy should be described in the lead as per LEAD. This would hightlight to editors that articles can, in many cases should, be improved by the main contributing editor, in this context, usually an inexperienced editor. The processes, CSD's, PROD's and AFD (have I missed one?) are being applied to articles by nominators that, in the cases I have seen, are not topic aware enough to make such judgements. In one case, a PROD occured within two minutes of the page creation. The net result is that new editors are being driven away by our over-prescriptive approach when common sense suggests a more gentle and sympathetic treatment of such editors is required.

I am a relatively new editor, who wishes to write articles of interest, with some limited success. I am however distracted by what I see as an unjust deletion process against new or inexperienced editors. I am frustrated because I do not feel I can express the issue properly, as I do not have the experience nor tools necessary, am too new to see the wider picture and the examples that I can give will unfairly single out a few patrollers and limited topic areas. What follows is a list of articles that have been rescued

I guess what I am trying to alert you to is that new editors are not being treated with respect. Each one I come across already has a bad experience via a csd, prod, or afd which are very aggressive processes to new people who do not understand the policy driven terminology we use. In all the articles above, a little gentle encouragement on the new editors concerned may have created a new editor; instead many of them have gone.

As a community, we should resolve to do the following

  1. Patrol editors are not using AGF nor are they considering please do not bite the newcomers
  2. aggressive posting on new editors talk pages should be punished, this includes writing wiki-speak which has no meaning to a new person - perhaps for every such post found, 5,000 edits are removed from the editors "edits since" count! That would stop them
  3. Cease and desist posting negative sections (prods, afd, policy violations etc) on new editors talk pages without first considering if the new editor needs sympathetic help
  4. be more proactive with the mentor programme. If necessary wikipedia should be prescriptive with established editors, such as every wikipedian must adopt one new editor a month or something similar

If you have read this far you deserve a little light relief. You have probably quite rightly ignored the subtle message embedded in the list above. In addition, you have probably interpreted the mis-quote from Julius Ceasar in one particular way. Which way? If you are one of the patrollers I have been describing, then cynically, the mis-quote is your mantra. My original meaning was not to praise the patrollers! —Preceding unsigned comment added by Senra (talkcontribs) 15:53, September 11, 2010

For what it is worth I have been involved in four or five deletions, one of which was the second article I ever wrote. In all but one case it was as you described... an editor who basically was deleting because "I never heard of this". Deleting based on technical aspects of an editor not knowing how to source correctly or not living up to our expectations is NEVER a reason to delete and anyone deleting on that reason should be banned from putting up an AfD ever again. We are a work in progress and if you see an article you think reflects poorly on the quality of Wikipedia then either clean it up or move along, do not delete. If you cant clean it up because you are too lazy, then please be too lazy to nominate it for deletion. Notability is the only issue that comes into play. That is my comment to these editors who are deleting what they consider to be "low quality" work. Do some freakin' work of your own.Camelbinky (talk) 00:46, 12 September 2010 (UTC)
Some of us disagree. What both of you are advocating is View Two of WP:DEADLINE--that is, as long as an article might potentially be good/source-able/neutral, then it should be kept and improved. However, please note that some of us, myself included, take View One, which is that there is no hurry to create articles, and that an article should already fulfill basic policies prior to being put into mainspace. There are several ways to develop articles prior to adding them to the live encyclopedia, and if you can't bring it into compliance with policy prior to that point, then it shouldn't be in mainspace. I agree that we don't need to be too hasty in deletions, but I think that's only a problem with speedy deletions. By definition, both of the other deletion processes take at least a week, and that should be plenty of time for someone to fix the problems, if they are, in fact, fixable. Yes, we shouldn't prod a (non-BLP) article within minutes of creation, but that doesn't mean we need to let it lie around for a long time, hoping someone will improve the article. As for the claim that we're too "lazy," please see WP:BURDEN. If I believe an article is non-notable, I do a few searches in appropriate places, and I don't find anything, it's not up to me to go to the library, search through thousands of pages of false hits in an online search, etc. It's up to the person who wants to include the article. Perhaps the only thing I agree with is that people need to be careful with subjects outside of their realm of ability. I, for instance, have become far more cautious than I once was on articles relating to music, because I find the notability guidelines difficult to apply and in contradiction to WP:GNG; rather than try to deal with the conflict every time, I simply stay out of it, for the most part. But there are times where exactly what is needed is someone who does not have subject matter competence--that is the person who can evaluate a little more carefully things like WP:N and WP:OR. Qwyrxian (talk) 02:11, 12 September 2010 (UTC)
You are justifying actions that are in contrast to policy by quoting an essay. Not a great argument. Policy states that we are always under construction and that an editor's good faith contributions done incorrectly or incompletely do not invalidate their contributions. There may be two views, but one is codified in policy and one is codified in an essay. Who do you think we should follow? I see no reason to delete something. WP:PRESERVE is part of POLICY and precedence over that essay. Preserve instead of delete.Camelbinky (talk) 02:20, 12 September 2010 (UTC)
I'm sure he will respond himself, but it seems to me that Qwyrxian is trying to explain a difference in philosophy, not mandate what any one person should be doing, so whether it's an essay or a policy or something written on a fortune cookie really makes no difference. There is no doubt that the approach Qwyrxian advocates leads to better-quality articles, but it also inevitably leads to fewer new articles and fewer new productive editors. Whether or not that's a reasonable trade-off is very much a matter of individual opinion. Regardless of one's feelings on that, there is a real issue with how new editors are welcomed and treated when they make their first edits. For a new user to put together a good-faith article and press the "Save page" button may represent hours of work, learning wiki markup and tweaking their wording. They desperately need to feel validated and encouraged, and to understand that their effort is appreciated. Having their article tagged for speedy deletion or similar within minutes of creation must be a terrible discouragement, and many promising wiki-careers probably end right there. Thparkth (talk) 02:36, 12 September 2010 (UTC)
So then what do we do if their article really is unsalvageable? Let it sit around for a few days or weeks, until we think they can handle it, then say "Oh, by the way, we need to delete that, we've just been lying to you all this time"? What about all the thousands of articles that clearly did not represent hours of work? The ones that are riddled with spelling errors and are totally unformatted? Mr.Z-man 04:04, 12 September 2010 (UTC)
(@ Mr.Z-man) - I regularly patrol the pages tagged for speedy deletion, and I can back up what you're saying about the "thousands of articles that clearly did not represent hours of work." The majority of pages tagged for speedy deletion absolutely need to be deleted, as speedily as possible. In my opinion, someone who comes here to write an article that is blatantly spam, or someone who writes an attack page, or someone who wants to impress Suzanne in the 8th grade by having a Wikipedia article about themselves... I'm not too concerned about hurting their feelings, because they are clearly not motivated to improve wikipedia anyway.
But there are other cases too. There are articles by retired carpenters about some technical detail of their craft, utterly unsourced and probably unsourcable, but almost certainly true, and almost certianly harmless. There are articles by systems adminstrators (like me) who know perfectly well that dig is an essential tool used by millions of people every day, and that the world economy would actually suffer a blip if it stopped working, so who don't comprehend why we might question it's notability. Or maybe they don't understand yet that the UNIX manual page for it is not a "reliable source" in wiki-speak, when in the real world it's THE reliable source, far more "reliable" than some crappy article by a know-nothing tech journalist, which for some reason we want them to reference instead ;)
I'm rambling here, but the point is that things that seem obvious to those of us who've been around this project for a while, that aren't obvious to a newbie - even a smart one. There are many articles being created in good faith, by people motivated to improve the encyclopedia, containing nothing but true information with absolutely no legal issues, which are nevertheless deleted within minutes of creation because some over-eager new page patroller and some lazy admin had never heard of it and didn't find it in the first page of a google search. This is losing us people - the specific people we want to keep. I'm not arguing that those articles shouldn't ever be deleted, but they certainly shouldn't be speedily-deleted, with the article creator having basically no chance to learn about the problem and fix it. There is no hurry to delete a harmless article IMHO. Why not work with the creator to see if it can be improved? If it's done right, it will either end up with a good article that can be kept forever, or with the article creator agreeing themselves that it probably should be deleted, because although interesting, it just doesn't fit the guidelines.
Of course, this will never happen, because the people with great content editing and mentoring skills are generally busy editing content and mentoring people, rather than doing new page patrols - different people have different skills. But what if there was a formal "new article resuscitation" team waiting to handle new articles identified by patrollers as being possibly hopeless, but made in good faith? I'd sign up for that. Thparkth (talk) 04:29, 12 September 2010 (UTC)
This isn't really a direct reply, as I mostly agree, at least in theory. Personally, I think we need to simply discourage people from creating new articles. They should be encouraged instead to add their information to existing ones. It kills 3 birds with one stone 1) Its easier to edit an existing article than create a new one so they're less likely to be reverted or discouraged simply by the process of editing. 2) It results in a net improvement in our huge corpus of stubs, rather than continuing to expand it. 3) It reduces the load on new page patrollers, so they potentially can devote more time to each page. Why can't the retired carpenter add his content to one of our other dozens of articles on the subject? If one is working within the context of existing articles, primary sources like man pages are often perfectly acceptable. The current idea that "new users create articles" stopped making sense about 2.5 million articles ago. We've been scraping the bottom of the notability barrel for a few years now. But of course, that too will never happen - old habits die hard. We have a discussion like this every couple of months. People complain that new users aren't being treated well and present some solutions that are either too vague to be workable or wholly impractical, while the underlying problem (Why the hell do so many people feel the need to create a new article as their first edit?) is not considered. Mr.Z-man 05:07, 12 September 2010 (UTC)
<ec>I'll admit to being guilty of this. I tend to be in favor of keeping and improving material rather than deleting it, but when I use tools to delete things I just post the generic templates that the Twinkle tool gives. As what I often do is remove an attempt to summarily remove material (WP:PROD) and replace it with an actual discussion (WP:AFD), I'm actually trying to give their work a chance. But what they get is a wall of notices. So we have two issues. #1 We do have inclusion guidelines such as WP:N which insists that "good" sourcing must exist on a given topic for us to have an article. I favor this pretty strongly. But at the same time we want to avoid WP:BITE because otherwise we'll lose potentially useful editors. Honestly I think the problem is that the standards we have for Wikipedia have gotten so high that it's really hard for a new user to contribute without doing a lot of reading and work first. And that's going to scare away people. But we also don't want so many bad articles that the encyclopedia is an unmaintainable disaster. And frankly the new page patrollers are already overworked, so writing nice notes to each person just isn't realistic. One thought I've had is to have articles fit into different layers of Wikipedia. Some articles are just bad and are part of the outer ring. Some are good, some are featured etc. It's pretty much what we do right now, with Good and Featured articles, but maybe we need a new layer, the "seems okay" layer and somehow only grant access to the layer below that when the user specifically asks for it. Given that people generally use search engines to get here, we'd need to work something out with them so that any such tag shows up in the search result. Probably not viable, but it's the best I've got. Thoughts? Hobit (talk) 02:41, 12 September 2010 (UTC)
Actually, I see Senra has suggested that by default we move articles without BLP/copyright problems into the creator's userspace. I think doing that with a tag at the top which A) describes issues that need to be resolved B) states if it stays in userspace for more than (say) 6 months it will be deleted and C) makes it plain this isn't an article might be a great way to handle this. Thoughts? I think it would be a wonderful change to our standard procedures without causing any meaningful harm I can see. Hobit (talk) 02:53, 12 September 2010 (UTC)
This is such a huge change in the basic philosophy of Wikipedia that I'm beside myself to even see such a concept in print, much less advocated strongly. Assuming good faith is a fundamental principle behind Wikipedia that to give it up is to change the nature of this project entirely. While I don't mind user space articles if they are under development for some reason or another, I think that is something which should be strongly discouraged and that articles ought to be kept in the main development space even if they are stubs. An incomplete article, even a single sentence is just fine in terms of an article. Label it as a stub if you have to, but don't go deleting things just because you've never heard about it.
For myself, it ticks me off to no end to see somebody PROD an article a mere minutes after its creation and demand two or more reliable sources for it when clearly the article is under active development. I've had that happen to me on articles I've created... and I'm hardly even a newcomer to this project. A much more friendly tone can certainly be coming from the crew that is involved in recent changes patrol to distinguish between a good-faith article creation attempt and something that is pure drivel, spam, or trollish behavior. If you can't tell the difference, hold back and learn a bit before you start PROD'ing articles again and ask questions. I've been an admin before (I'm not on Wikipedia, but I don't want to involve myself in the politics here) and I do know some of the tricks and trash that happens when trying to stop the trolls. Unfortunately all edits start to look like trolls when in fact they aren't. Don't get hyper sensitive here and do encourage new contributors. A few bad admins can really spoil the environment for everybody here too.
If the complaint is about disc space on the servers, I should point out that deleting articles actually takes up more hard drive space than simply keeping the article in place. If something needs to be merged into another article, make the merger and add the redirect. Unfortunately that is often much harder to perform as it requires real editing as opposed to simply hitting the "delete" button. Nobody said that participation on Wikipedia was easy, and if you are using admin tools you should be cautious about using those extra tools that mere mortals don't have. My first instinct as an admin has always been to do what I can with the normal editor tools and use the admin stuff as a very last resort.
Importantly, remember the five pillars and don't create unnecessary bureaucracy and policies that start conflicting with those principles. I was involved with this project back in the Nupedia days, and remember how Wikipedia was set up as a sort of bastard child of the "serious" encyclopedia effort. I sure hope that we don't need to go back to that original model of Wikipedia on another site where we need to create a website where the "rest of us" can edit while the privileged and select few concentrate on refining the ever higher standards for inclusion into the main project. Just look at how successful Nupedia became and how widely used its content has been spread around the globe and then tell me which method works out better. Time and experience shows that a project of this nature works out best when you are as inclusive of all ideas as possible and the people you need to be stopping are those who somehow block new users from participating. Those are the real trolls here. --Robert Horning (talk) 03:33, 12 September 2010 (UTC)
Adding a P.S. here. It was said above by Hobit

'And frankly the new page patrollers are already overworked, so writing nice notes to each person just isn't realistic."

I completely disagree. While perhaps the new page patrollers may feel overworked, try to be human here for a change. You can't get to everybody, but if you get to somebody and respond to their work with some real words of encouragement, it goes a long way. Whenever I do an introduction to a new user, I always include a personal note on top of and beyond the simple template. It is quality over quantity, even if you can't get to everybody or look at everything. A "nice note" to a person who has raised an eyebrow in terms of something questionable goes a long way to finding out what the real problem might be... or if that person is simply a troll. You might be surprised and get a real answer to a query you make too. From my own experience, far more new users respond to a genuine query than don't, unless they are sock puppets or troll accounts. Generally it is easy to tel the difference too. Just don't go assuming that everybody is a troll. --Robert Horning (talk) 03:43, 12 September 2010 (UTC)
"I certainly see where you are coming from. But A) I think userfying articles that we are currently deleting is more friendly, not less and B) the new page patrol folks are overworked. Either things don't get patrolled (which maybe okay) or templates are the best you're going to get. As far as the userficaiton thing goes, I would worry that by having such a policy we'd start "deleting" more articles and we'd move more toward a future where stubs of notable topics are userfied rather than left in mainspace. That would suck. Bah. So what is the next step forward? How can we make this place more friendly for new editors? Should we ask the new page patrol to patrol less and work with users more? Assuming that generates a backlog (which I strongly suspect it would) is that acceptable? What should we do with articles that have no hope of meeting WP:N? Deleting them 15 minutes after creation is a problem (per WP:BITE), but leaving them around is also a problem (do we really want to have a massive number of unsourced and unsourcable articles?) Thoughts? Hobit (talk) 04:03, 12 September 2010 (UTC)
Is a backlog acceptable? All that shows is where some extra help is needed on Wikipedia, and if this project is more inviting to newcomers it will generate the support and help to take care of the problems from massive growth. If instead you are pushing new users away from this project, it indicates a dying project that will only require more effort with fewer people willing to do the work. No, I don't think having a massive number of unsourced and "unsourceable" articles. If it bugs you, clean it up. Demand that sources be found. At least give the person creating the article a chance to create the article.... which implies something on the order of months to develop the article instead of mere minutes or days. If an article goes unnoticed for a couple of years and then gets an AfD, it makes no difference if it is a bad article. I say give the new users the benefit of the doubt here, and cleanup can happen in other ways besides squishing the new users within the first few minutes of their contributions. There are articles that were created years ago that are in much worse shape than many of the articles that come up for AfD.
I also argue that if we let a "massive number of unsourced and unsourceable articles" into Wikipedia, there will also be a number of those articles that will eventually turn into quality articles. The question here is where should be draw the line on these articles? Articles that are stale are ones that ought to be more of a concern, such as WP:DUSTY. If the topic is something that nobody is paying attention to, generally you aren't hurting new users when you are deleting old content that hasn't had an update for years. I say let those article go stale and then delete them rather than "protecting" Wikipedia to keep them from getting created in the first place. Obvious trollish behavior is a exception. --Robert Horning (talk) 15:51, 12 September 2010 (UTC)
(e/c)I'm personally not a huge fan of userfication (in most cases it results in no improvement). If we not going to delete them, the Article incubator is nice, as it allows everyone to work on, and it means we're keeping track of what's there. The problem is that these articles are not "incomplete" like a stub, they don't meet basic standards of verifiability and NPOV. I agree that things shouldn't be tagged for deletion within minutes, but when does "active development" end? An hour without an edit? A day? A week? Wikipedia is long past the point where we can continue to treat it like was done in 2001. We're a top-5 website that millions of people turn to every day for information. That calls for higher standards. If we've learned anything from the history of the project, its that the "it doesn't matter if it sucks, someone will fix it" philosophy doesn't work. Unless someone comes up with a way to automate the fixing, the problems just keep piling up. About 3 years ago, there were 26,000 articles needing cleanup. Today there are more than 60,000 including nearly 200 that were tagged in 2006. The number of people creating substandard content is greater than the number of people improving it. And yes, the people doing new page patrol are overworked. 2 users have done 25% of the new article review work this month so far (each more than 1200 articles, or about 100 articles per day). Mr.Z-man 04:39, 12 September 2010 (UTC)
Wikipedia is one of the top-5 websites because of the policies of openness, being friendly to new contributors, and a willingness to allow article creation that doesn't require a lengthly process for somebody willing to start a page on that topic. Where the complaints about Wikipedia come from are those who have been manhandled and disrespected... usually with a gross violation of established policies in terms of editor to editor or admin to editor conduct. There are detractors to Wikipedia, and not all of them are trolls that have been burned in the past. There are some very valid complaints that do need to be addressed.
My broad and general experience over years of participation is that "if it sucks, somebody will fix it" actually happens. You need to have the perspective of years of effort rather than merely hours or weeks. The statistics you are quoting here indicate a growth of this project rather than a lack of effort to clean up articles. That is a good thing and is indicating that the efforts to review articles is being successful. The problem facing new page patrollers is that those people who are patrolling new pages are not accepting new users nor are doing an effective job at recruitment. If the number of people involved with that activity is going down, the question should be raised in terms of what is driving folks away from that activity and how can new users be introduced into helping to support that work.... including training those new users on what is an acceptable practice and what isn't. If you are feeling overworked, that is a system problem that requires more openness and developing tools to help with the issue.
My issue is that new page patrollers are the front-line folks meeting new people coming to Wikipedia. It is a people to people issue more than being a bunch of security guards watching the front door. To me, I'd rather let a few articles slip by that may be of poor quality and instead concentrate on helping those who may be lost and need an extra little bit of help. A "kinder, gentler" new page patroller group that is focused on working with new users may be a much better paradigm than acting like security guards at a major airport. That, to me, is where the problem lies. --Robert Horning (talk) 16:07, 12 September 2010 (UTC)
No, we're a top-5 website because of the amount of information we have. On a normal day, 4-6 million people view the Main Page, only about 30,000 people edit the site, including vandals. Readers outnumber editors by about 150:1, many are totally clueless about where the content comes from. There really are people who don't know that anyone can edit Wikipedia. I've been here for years as well. I've seen how little the average quality of the site has improved. That is not just a "growth of the project" - hundreds of articles have been waiting nearly 4 years for cleanup. In 2007 around this time, we had about 2 million articles. We now have 3.4 million, a 170% increase. The cleanup category increased by 230% in the same time. We get about 2000 new articles every day; probably about 500 of them will be deleted. A few articles slipping by might be 10 or 20 every day. That adds up fast. The real problem, to me, is our nonsensical quantity over quality approach. It seems like most people on Wikipedia would rather have 20 stubs than one high quality, comprehensive article. People should be encouraged to add their knowledge to existing articles, creating a new one only as a last resort if no other article should reasonably contain that information. Mr.Z-man 18:41, 12 September 2010 (UTC)
How did all of that content get written in the first place if it wasn't open to new contributors? What standard is being used here for "average content"? I've seen the quality of the top articles certainly improve over time, and the standards for becoming a featured article dramatically increase. The quality improvement is there as well, and when watching individual articles that at least are getting some regular attention, I most certainly watch the quality improve gradually over time. The trick is to get some eyeballs on an article and get at least some level of regular contributors. Even articles I've worked on have had some major overhauls that included text I wrote... and had some of that text substantially improved simply because somebody with better skills than I have was able to edit the article. I argue that while the backlog is certainly there for some cleanup, you don't need to stress oer the increase here.... all that is showing is the growth of the project not necessarily that problems are happening here.
Restricting new article creation and demanding that articles appearing on Wikipedia meeting some minimum standards before the article is in the main namespace is something that I think is flat out wrong and is contrary to how this project was started in the first place. The encouragement of quantity over quality is something foundational and part of what makes Wikipedia work out the way that it does. It is a strength, not a weakness. It isn't nonsense, it is precisely the way that got so many people together to be contributing to the development of the content that is found here. 30,000 people editing Wikipedia on any given day? How wonderful! Isn't it amazing that so many people are willing to help here and contribute so many hours of effort to share information with others! It sounds like things are working out just fine and the problem here is the complaint about the growth, and a desire to change Wikipedia into something it never was in the first place. Nupedia was a flop and I don't want to see Wikipedia be turned into Nupedia II. It will fail as a project if that happens. --Robert Horning (talk) 03:44, 14 September 2010 (UTC)
No, the main complaint is that our articles are of an extremely low average quality. More than 40% of our articles are stubs and more than 20% have a maintenance tag. Nearly 400,000 articles (not including disambig pages) have fewer than 1000 characters of wikitext - assuming no formatting, templates, or categories that would be ~200 words. The encouragement of quantity over quality is why Wikipedia is not taken seriously in the real world. Most of the newest articles are seen by a handful of people (the creator, his friends, and search engine bots) a month because they're of such minor interest, meanwhile we have articles seen by thousands that are embarrassingly short and unreferenced. Mr.Z-man 04:48, 14 September 2010 (UTC)
There is no possible way to placate most of the critics involved here, other than going to a traditional proprietary model of encyclopedia article writing that has a stiff gateway of contributors that must have a PhD after their name. Wikipedia has never been taken all that seriously and I don't think it should either. It is the incarnation of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, but done with slightly less humor. If an article on Podunk, Oklahoma says only "mostly harmless", that seems to be typical for many of these articles that you are complaining about here. I stand by my statement that over time articles are improved and that this is an issue of recruitment and not standard raising. The rest is a complaint about notability guidelines being too lax. I argue that those articles aren't being read anyway so it isn't really an issue. Deleting these minor articles isn't going to get the articles read by thousands fixed any time soon.... which are precisely the ones I am arguing are getting improved over time. --Robert Horning (talk) 23:55, 14 September 2010 (UTC)
I'm not saying we need perfection, but frankly, much of what we have is just marginally better than "useless" (though we do have some that's worse). Its not that we don't need the information, its that we don't need it so massively spread out. We should be making an effort to consolidate information into comprehensive articles rather than have a billion 2 sentence stubs just so that we can say we have 2 billion articles on the main page. Why do we need 50 nearly-identical stubs on towns like Podunk, Oklahoma, when we could have a much more useful "List of towns in Podunk County, Oklahoma" - where we only split off individual articles when there's a significant amount of information. Its not even that the notability guidelines are too lax, its that people take them too seriously. Some people feel that if notability allows it, that we not only can have an article on a subject, but we actually need one. Though I still disagree that articles are improved over time. We not only have articles that need cleanup from 2006, we have articles that haven't been touched since 2006. Or, take Studio album for example (200000+ pageviews last month). It was created in 2005 as a 3 sentence stub. 5+ years and 200+ edits later, it has ... 3 sentences. They're better/longer, but its not much of an improvement, especially for 5 years on a highly visible article. While some are improved, certainly, we are getting more low-quality new articles than we're improving old ones. Recruiting more users to do cleanup will help with that imbalance, but its probably the more difficult option. Mr.Z-man 02:40, 15 September 2010 (UTC)
From long experience on many other wiki projects besides Wikipedia, I have noted that a wiki tends to get much more participation and fewer editor disputes when you have more articles rather than fewer. Using the Podunk, Oklamhoma example, there is bound to be an occasional editor that is from one of those towns in "Podunk County, Oklahoma" that will start to edit. Sure, it is still only once in awhile, but it does happen. I am simply noting that the philosophy of deleting seldom edited articles to concentrate all new users into editing the "popular" articles doesn't work. Not everybody is willing to get into the fray of editing Barack Obama or George W. Bush. I don't think they should either... those aren't very good articles for new users to make their first edits. Removing articles from my perspective and experience tends to drive new contributors away more than it helps in concentrating the efforts of new users. BTW, many of those dusty articles are obscure topics like things taken from the 1911 Encyclopaedia Britannica... obscure because it is old history. That is part of the bias that Wikipedia has in terms of its editor community, which is particular strong on technology, arts (popular culture), and science. Proportionally, I say we are getting as many poorly written articles and stubs turning into high quality articles as ever happened, and the reason more low-quality new articles is being written is simply because that is where high quality articles start. Almost no article starts out on edit #2 or #3 completely finished as a featured article candidate... and on those I tend to get very suspicious if I'm patrolling as those tend to be copyvios instead. The poor quality articles are a part of the process and how this project gets its high quality content. Killing off the low quality stubs will kill off the culture that has brought about Wikipedia as we know it. --Robert Horning (talk) 20:57, 15 September 2010 (UTC)
If the new page patrolers are overworked, they can stop being new page patrolers. Everyone's a volunteer here, I don't understand why so many people seem to forget that. ♫ Melodia Chaconne ♫ (talk) 04:14, 12 September 2010 (UTC)
Just because they're overworked doesn't mean they're miserable. But just because they're not miserable doesn't mean they have the time to do extra work. Mr.Z-man 04:39, 12 September 2010 (UTC)
I believe new page patrolling should be done in two waves, one shortly after say a few hours or a day, and another a week or so after. The first pass should be mainly speedy deletes of the obvious attack pages and suchlike obvious total rubbish, they could also tag the page for the probable type content if that is missing. The second pass could select by content type or missing type and check more carefully when there has been time for something that might eventually be reasonable. Having new pages tagged quickly could also alert people with an interest in a subject so the editor might get some support or be shown an existing page covering the topic. Dmcq (talk) 11:10, 12 September 2010 (UTC)
I believe Wikipedia:New pages patrol says all the right sorts of things. I believe though that a two stage process would take less overall effort and give a better result than having in effect a single check as it is at present. Dmcq (talk) 11:20, 12 September 2010 (UTC)

Senra makes a good point. I'm not sure that this can be fixed by policy changes (I'm not saying it can't either). I try to follow the behavior he has described. It is time consuming. A couple of suggestions, beyond just being mindful of what he has said: 1) People, don't be shy about chiding an editor who has tagged or deleted an article that could have been salvaged, or tagged it too soon, or not engaged the editor beyond using a template (when warranted). You're doing them and everyone a favor, how else can they learn? 2) We need to change the template graphics, I think. The triangle-wow sign used to notify editors that there article is being considered for deletion is the same sign use for second warnings to vandals (I think). Herostratus (talk) 14:26, 12 September 2010 (UTC)

Perhaps part of the reason I differed above is that maybe myself and Camelbinky (and, presumably others) are actually talking about a different kind of article. While WP:PRESERVE is policy, so is WP:V and WP:OR, and WP:N is a guideline (and policies do not trump guidelines). If an article is unsourced, at least 2 people (a nominator and an admin if speedy/PROD; more if AfD) need to make a judgment call as to whether or not the information can ever meet those criteria. If it appears to be the case (e.g., non-notable companies, actors who are "about" to make it, scientific principles of highly dubious quality and no reliable sources), we shouldn't PRESERVE that information, because that information is fundamentally inappropriate for an encyclopedia. Let me make bring up a set of examples, ones I see a lot because of the time zone I live in--articles about people, townships, and schools in India. If an article comes up about a living person, and it has no sources, it should either be marked for speedy deletion or with a BLP-prod, and I have no qualms doing that within an hour of the article's creation, because BLPs fall under far more stringent rules than anything else. If a school shows up without sources, I'm inclined to let it sit for quite a bit longer, because it's likely that (if it's HS or post-secondary), it counts as notable, and it's likely that sources can, eventually, be found. If an article about a village shows up (or is significantly expanded), it's really important (I think) to get in there and start editing right away, if you can. That's because I find that those articles, while fundamentally notable and valuable, are regularly filled with all sorts of non-encyclopedic information that should not be preserved (lists of people who live there, puffery about how great the village is, dubious unsourced claims of historical importance, etc.). Now, I certainly think that, along with all of these instances (save for outright vandalism or disruptive edits), it's nice to add some detailed, personal, non-templated information to the editor's talk page--if nothing else, that increases the likelihood that the info won't be re-added without any conversation.
Sorry, I know I'm going on and on, but I'm trying to get down to the idea that simply because one editor added something, or created a new article, that doesn't mean we are automatically compelled to keep it. WP:PRESERVE actually contains all of the explanation I listed above and more for why deletion is sometimes the best choice. I don't believe that I'm alone in thinking that a better encyclopedia is, well, better than a large one. Maybe that's even what people above meant, and I just misinterpreted their words; if so, I'm sorry. I agree that the retired carpenter should be encouraged to find a way to get what he knows (that can be "reliably sourced") into the encyclopedia. I think that if patrollers are just speedying these articles and not giving at least a one paragraph, personal discussion to the contributor, then they're doing something wrong. But I don't think the way to get that person to become a "good" contributor is to let their contributions float around in our encyclopedia indefinitely, hoping someone sometime improves it until it meets minimum standards. Qwyrxian (talk) 00:09, 13 September 2010 (UTC)
I completely agree with you Qwyrxian.Camelbinky (talk) 00:52, 13 September 2010 (UTC)
The problem is that speedies at least don't require that an article can't be improved. In some cases a lack of assertion of notability is enough. In other words it's about the state of the article and it can be improved. Perhaps speedy deletion notes like that should go to the creator and let them know userfication is an option... Hobit (talk) 13:20, 13 September 2010 (UTC)
Notability is such a subjective and slippery slope to follow. My main complaint there is throwing up the notability complaint immediately after the article is being created fails to even give the opportunity to even list references in the first place, much less be able to document the notability or lack thereof of the article topic. I'm not saying that notability should be removed as a rationale for deletion, but I am saying that there should be at least an effort to find out if it is non-notable before it is PROD'd. Several new page patrollers abuse the tools and PROD just about anything they've personally never heard about, often getting overruled and having notability proven. That is most certainly not friendly to new contributors, particularly if a substantial number of articles end up going through the AfD process. That is generally not a pleasant way to introduce new contributors to Wikipedia, even if the article is "proven" as notable in the process. --Robert Horning (talk) 03:53, 14 September 2010 (UTC)
  • Conciseness would have helped get across many of the contributions above! I'm a novice to article creation and deletion, but two issues appear to be (1) civility and respect: I prefer to give and receive a personal message to a template. (2) Finality of deletion. Where poor or insufficient content have been the reasons for deletion, yes, page would be better "off-line". Off-line (eg. moved to user space) as a concept is an incentive to the creator to improve the article, get it into shape; deletion, the opposite. Feedback from non-contributing users amonst my friends indicates a poor-quality article is a worse reflection on WP than no article. Let articles be incubated before they're thrown up for instant gratification and then become throw-away! As per Qwyrxian, "..there is no hurry to create" –most– "articles.." (my qualification). Best, Trev M   13:56, 13 September 2010 (UTC)

      A similar problem was mentioned a year ago at Bullypedia, A Wikipedian Who’s Tired of Getting Beat Up. This lead to a month long test of how newbies were treated at WP:CSD. The results of that test were recorded at Wikipedia:Newbie treatment at Criteria for speedy deletion. A lot of the same issues were brought up at that time. A series of proposed solutions was the result, so maybe reviewing them could be helpful. (talk) 15:04, 13 September 2010 (UTC)

Related article at Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2009-11-09/New pages experiment (talk) 15:15, 13 September 2010 (UTC)

So, why don't we solve both problems? Quite honestly, it's very rare that I see a new editor contribute an article that's on a topic that's even workable. Happens, but rare. We just waste a bunch of time from experienced editors cleaning it up, while pissing off the new editors who don't understand that this is not the place for an article on your dog, or your best friend, even if you write it really well. (And most of it is not written really well). So I propose we solve both problems, and don't let people start right out by creating articles. Make it (at least) an autoconfirmed right. Non-autoconfirmed editors can still use articles for creation as normal, if they've got something they're sure works. Everyone else can get a few edits under their belt before starting to create pages—and hopefully learn a few things in the process, including quite possibly that the page they were intending really won't work. It'll reduce biting on the newbies (and I think "You're not allowed to do that quite yet, but you can try it with some help here" is far less bitey than "Your page is going to be deleted immediately.") Don't get me wrong. I'm all for deletion, and consolidation, and cleanup. We don't need hundreds of thousands of articles that will never be more than a stub. But this problem can be solved at its root, and save frustration and trouble for everyone involved—the newbies and the old hands. Seraphimblade Talk to me 04:18, 14 September 2010 (UTC)

This approach worked before, too - pre 1995 and instant gratification. Anyone an experienced USENET contributor from those days likely remembers that newbies were always told to lurk to get a feel for how the community worked. I see no reason why, from a WP standpoint, we can't limit article creation to an editor with a reasonable amount of time or handful of other edits under their belt; it is far from harmful and will improve the perceptions new editors get. --MASEM (t) 04:36, 14 September 2010 (UTC)
Yes, please. Even if we don't technically restrict article creation by new users, we should at least stop going out of our way to encourage it. Mr.Z-man 04:48, 14 September 2010 (UTC)
The technical ability to restrict article creation is clearly in the MediaWiki software. If you want, we could restrict this to only somebody with a "founder" flag on their account. I certainly don't advocate such a position. There is also a "Autoconfirmed users" category that applies to users with multiple edits.... currently used to restrict page moves only for established accounts. I might.... grudgingly... accept this as a compromise in terms of where article creation ought to be allowed. The current requirements are 10 edits and an account that is at least 4 days old to be a part of this category and doesn't require any extra administration. That to me is still a relatively low threshold but keeps the trolls more at bay and requires somebody at least trying to participate with Wikipedia before new articles can be contributed. This is a change that could technically be done right now, but as a policy question it is something that does cut deep into the heart of what Wikipedia actually is. I certainly don't see the developers making a change of this nature without a major site-wide policy poll being taken... and expect a flame war royale if the question is posed in a formal manner with commentary by the WMF board too. There would be incredible resistance to any tougher standards than this. See also Special:ListGroupRights
I also don't see that this is going to resolve the whole problem, but it does resolve a complete novice landing on a red link and typing in some random gibberish. That might be beneficial. This kind of change coupled with an increased effort to put the new page patrollers into a new user helper attitude would go a long way to "fixing" this problem. It can't be solved purely by technical means as this is a people to people issue, and it can only really be resolved by having people responding to people in a very human way. --Robert Horning (talk) 23:40, 14 September 2010 (UTC)
Would it be possible to put that restriction in place but still allow a user to create a new page in userspace without being autoconfirmed? Also, I find myself wondering whether or not it would be useful to beef up the text on the page when a user tries to create a new page--it seems to me that it would be helpful to guide users to create new articles in userspace, so they can work on it a bit before bringing it to mainspace. --Nuujinn (talk) 00:06, 15 September 2010 (UTC)
  • Not sure I expected such a well reasoned and informative debate, so thank you all for your comments. I am sorely tempted to respond, though I expect I would merely end up cherry picking responses which support my thesis. Please be assured I am watching these posts --Senra (Talk) 23:47, 14 September 2010 (UTC)

How do we proceed?

An issue was raised and generated a lot of input. I'm new here and don't know how things work. So how do we procede to ensure that the issue is addressed and that the community is satisfied? Thanks. -      Hydroxonium (talk) 23:49, 14 September 2010 (UTC)(fix edit conflict Hydroxonium (talk 23:55, 14 September 2010 (UTC)

Concensus seems to be centering on changing the user rights for creating new article to be changed to Autoconfirmed users. Secondary concensus seems to be centered more on how the new page patrollers interact with those creating those articles... with an emphasis on perhaps some education/training of new page patrollers in some fashion. These are two distinctively different proposals.
This is significant enough that I think a formal poll needs to happen in terms of the technical changes to the user rights, and announced beyond just the Village Pump. The question here is who wants to run this, and who is impartial on this topic that would also be willing to get the leg work happening to make this known to the wider Wikipedia community. At the very least, notifying the en-wikipedia mailing list and putting something in the Signpost would be a place to start, as would the Admin noticeboard to perhaps get something on a sitenotice message.... if we think it deserves that level of attention. --Robert Horning (talk) 00:05, 15 September 2010 (UTC)
I proposed last year that users not be able to create articles one microsecond after registering their account, but was not successful. That discussion is still technically active at Wikipedia talk:User access levels#Be autoconfirmed to create a page? and there is a previous discussion along these lines at Wikipedia:Village pump (proposals)/Archive 53#autoconfirmed for unassisted article creation. I continue to think this a good idea, but be warned that you have a hard road ahead of you if you want to actually make it policy. Beeblebrox (talk) 01:32, 15 September 2010 (UTC)
Oh yeah, please don't make it "poll" per se, a WP:RFC is probably a good format for this, once constructed it can be added to WP:CENT and any other relevant forums can be notified. Beeblebrox (talk) 01:35, 15 September 2010 (UTC)
One thing I'd like to see done is gathering of actual statistics regarding new users. How many users actually do get their start by creating a new article? How many actually quit after their article gets deleted? If their article isn't deleted, how many still don't edit afterward? We had WP:NEWT, but its experimental methods were so shoddy, its impossible to draw any real conclusions from it. Mr.Z-man 03:01, 15 September 2010 (UTC)
Perhaps the proposal could be along the lines that users without a small edit record only be able to create pages in user space, or some other off-line space and that such articles may be requested to be moved to mainspace? I go to new page patrol and there's not many pages I can say whether are Notable enough (they probably aren't), so I'm reluctant to "define them" as such by clicking patrolled or recommending them for deletion, but I would be prepared to cast a quick vote either way for them that didn't change their status, in a process that automatically took several editors views into account, and the same for a page that was being incubated that was not yet on line. I know that's beyond the policy of whether straight into mainspace or not is on, but a simpler, quicker and not so heavy on any one assessor means of evaluating articles is surely fundamental to dealing with the flow, whether they already be in main space or a queue to get there? Trev M   09:44, 15 September 2010 (UTC)

One thing to keep in mind when discussing a restriction of page creation to autoconfirmed users: IP editors are never autoconfirmed. Even if they could create articles in their user space this would be problematic, because they are unlikely to remember their old IP if that changes. So we would effectively bar IPs from creating articles. Personally I think that IP editing should be thought of as a no-barriers preview to editing Wikipedia, and that in a sense most long-term IP editors are abusing the system. But if you don't follow this theory (which doesn't seem to be a popular one), then forbidding IPs to create articles is problematic. Hans Adler 10:07, 15 September 2010 (UTC)

Tell me about long term IP editors! Personally, I think the privilege of creating articles in main space should come with at least a user name. What other un-notable website lets you come along and start creating content without even giving yourself a handle? But as for an IP editor finding the article they just created in their user space: they can bookmark with their browser, can't they, or search for it? (although I do now see what you mean about if tthey wanted to edit their article from a different IP address. They soon realise the value of being autoconfirmed. Trev M   10:35, 15 September 2010 (UTC)Et seq.
IP editors have been prevented from creating articles for years. Mr.Z-man 12:04, 15 September 2010 (UTC)
Hypothetical "...if it's not in mainspace, maybe anyone can create articles?" space. Off topic, return to thread at end. Trev M   01:12, 16 September 2010 (UTC)
At the very least, I suggest deletion policy be modified to be more NPOV by having more than zero sentences in the lead suggesting alternatives to deletion --Senra (Talk) 10:38, 15 September 2010 (UTC)
Surely you realize that NPOV applies to content and not policy? Anyway when you get to the part about the actual process at Wikipedia:GTD#Nomination, it is very explicit in explaining alternatives to deletion. Beeblebrox (talk) 16:36, 15 September 2010 (UTC)
(re Beeblebrox) now that response is nit-picking. The spirit of what I am saying, irrespective of guidelines or policy, is that the lead of the deletion policy "article" should be written from a more neutral perspective, to more fairly represent the fact that deletion should be a last resort. Currently, the WP:ATD (alternatives to deletion) section is not mentioned within the deletion policy "article" until around one-third of the way into the document. To be clear, I was knowingly and explicitly referring to policy; your reference (Wikipedia:GTD#Nomination), whilst valid, is to a guideline only document --Senra (Talk) 19:45, 15 September 2010 (UTC)
Considering that there are clearly Deletionists, Mergists, and Inclusionists on Wikipedia, I would say that the principles of NPOV apply to policy as well as content. Yes, this it nitpicking here, but there is no reason that it can't or shouldn't be written in a neutral tone rather than taking on the philosophy and point of view of one of these editing camps. NPOV is a basic pillar policy that can and perhaps even should be considered a meta-policy. It certainly is the one indisputable policy that must apply to all language versions of Wikipedia and is also in all Wikimedia projects. Why shouldn't that also apply to most policies as well? --Robert Horning (talk) 20:23, 15 September 2010 (UTC)
I have to agree with Robert Horning...I'm not so sure that deletion should always be the last resort. Additionally, my understanding is that it is incorrect to say that policy necessarily trumps guidelines. Qwyrxian (talk) 22:30, 15 September 2010 (UTC)
We are wandering farther and farther afield from the original subject of this discussion, but let me say that the lead to the deletion policy is in fact written like the lead of an article in that it provides a broad overview of the subject without delving into details and in fact is followed by a brief section listing valid reasons for deletion, followed by seven subsections detailing alternatives to deletion. In short, even if we accept a content policy as a valid guide for how a policy page should be constructed I still consider the argument that alternatives are not given enough weight invalid. If this line of discussion is going to continue to be pursued I suggest it be split off into it's own section as it has little bearing on the proposal we are supposed to be discussing.(as an aside I was not trying to lay down a "trump card" by mentioning WP:GTD, I just thought it was the most widely used deletion related guide page and is the one I always refer people to if they have questions about deletion.) Beeblebrox (talk) 00:37, 16 September 2010 (UTC)
The original subject of this whole debate is that far too many articles are being needlessly nominated for deletion and that some recent change patrollers are complaining that they are being "overworked" by the crushing influx of new pages being created by apparently clueless new users. The topic is how to deal with those new users and if perhaps something ought to be done to help with this situation.... including a minor rework of the instruction that are being given to those who perform a vital function to Wikipedia in general. There is a problem here, and more than one solution can be applied in terms of how to resolve it. If this includes reworking the lead paragraph of the formal deletion policy, perhaps that is something which can be very useful to make those who are applying this policy to be encouraged to be more friendly to new users in general. How is that for staying on topic? --Robert Horning (talk) 00:52, 16 September 2010 (UTC)
As a result of following this thread, I've had a fairly informative read of WP:DEL and it actually suggests many of the things that I thought "ought" to be implemented, not least of moving articles to the incubator! So armed with that one at least, I shall do a bit of duty on the new page patrol, and send any that fit that criterion off for incubation. But hey, as I was reminded above, IP editors can't create their own pages; nor can hatchling editors: can't the proposal simply be that that x-day, y-edits period be extended for main-space page creation? That's not an earth shattering policy change: that's just adjustments: new page numbers excessive + quality poor = increase incubation time: fewer but better live. By the time they've built their page in their user space they'll have all the edit-credits they need and had time to compare and re-evaluate their page, or got bored and gone away and left less work for other editors...? But those statistics talked about by Z-man would be good to see. If editors with time served are creating crap pages, then forget all the above! Trev M   01:12, 16 September 2010 (UTC)
Registered users are able to create new articles from the moment of creation. Also, I'm working on getting some of the statistics. I should hopefully have them in a day or so. Mr.Z-man 05:35, 19 September 2010 (UTC)
As someone who routinely does NPP, I like this idea. It makes no sense to allow users to create articles if they have no idea what the hell they're doing, any more than it makes sense to allow users to begin moving articles before they're familiar with the relevant guidelines (MoS, NPOV, and others). Not only would this be easier on the new editors, it'd make our job as patrollers much easier. I'd be glad not to sift through the enormous reams of garage bands and guides on how to become an Internet millionare (if you think I'm kidding...) that new users frequently create. Having users wait a few days would cut down the amount of suspicion we patrollers have when we see a new article, especially one with "band" in the title, and reduce the hair trigger CSD tagging. In short, it'd help everyone, and help solve, not exacerbate, the underlying problem. The Blade of the Northern Lights (話して下さい) 06:46, 19 September 2010 (UTC)
I finished gathering the stats about new users and article creation. The full results are here. To summarize:
  • Users who create an article are much more likely to leave the project if their article is deleted. 1 in ~160 will stay if their article is deleted while 1 in ~22 will stay otherwise
  • Our main source of regular users is not users who start by creating an article.
    • Users who start by editing an existing page outnumber article creators by 3:1
    • Users who start by editing an existing article are far less likely to have their first edits deleted (and therefore are far more likely to stay)
    • From the users analyzed, we got fewer than 200 regular users from those who created articles (1.3% retention), we got more than 900 from users who edited existing pages (2.5% retention)
  • A significant number of regular users (24%) get their start outside of mainspace.
-- Mr.Z-man 01:43, 22 September 2010 (UTC)
  • I would like to thank Mr.Z-man (talk · contribs) for going to the trouble of producing the above interesting statistics. I have never really been a fan of such numbers as it is so easy to think of a thesis, then gather statistics that prove that thesis. I will find it difficult to interpret the above results without adding my own bias. Nevertheless, if I understand the above results correctly (which I may not of course) one potential new user stays for every 160 new users that go away (in the period studied)? If my interprestation is correct, that is a really sad indictment to the deletion process --Senra (Talk) 13:57, 23 September 2010 (UTC)
  • An alternate explanation for the data is that the (vast) majority of users whose first action is creation of a new article are here for reasons other than creation/improvement of the encyclopedia. In my time at NPP, I learned the first four steps in forming a band are gathering a group of friends, choosing a band name, creation of the band's Wikipedia article, and finally learning to play musical instruments. Add in the variety of bored school kiddie inventions, resumé postings, and advertisements for taco stands and hot dog cart vendors and it is not hard to see where the 160 new users who leave come from. The "deletion problem" has always been a GIGO issue and until the project is willing to look at the input side of the problem there will be no good solution. --Allen3 talk 14:54, 23 September 2010 (UTC)
  • Yep, that's exactly what I was thinking of (today I had to tag yet another set of garage bands; my latest contributions will show that). It's really easy to talk about being easy on CSD tagging, but there's no good way to avoid the fact that many new articles are useless. There are a lot of new articles that are pure vandalism and obvious hoaxes (the one I found and tagged today was Negroponte Isle). And it's even worse when someone creates 10 articles advertising themselves under different titles; and yes, I actually came across someone who literally had 10 articles spamming his resume. No matter what you do, there's no way to soften the blow of telling some 12 year old kid that he has to wait until he is the next Snoop Dogg, and that his page will be deleted until then. If only autoconfirmed editors are making articles, the G5 speedy deletions probably won't go down much, but the articles that are being created are far more likely to be of at least some use, and the number of garage bands (which are probably the biggest problem) will probably be reduced. And like Allen3 said above, the input does have to be examined. Autoconfirmed editors are far more likely to have enough useful input to create a whole page, thus increasing the chance that a new article will be useful. The Blade of the Northern Lights (話して下さい) 05:09, 24 September 2010 (UTC)
  • One new user will stay for every 160 in the group of people whose first attempt at writing an article is deleted. For users whose first article isn't deleted, 1 in 22 will stay. There's no way to tell (with this data) whether the latter people are more likely to stay because they had a better experience or their article being kept just shows that they were more dedicated from the beginning and therefore more likely to stay regardless of the outcome (or both). But yes, the script only looks to see if the article is deleted, not why (though if the user is indef blocked for vandalism, they will be excluded). Mr.Z-man 16:41, 25 September 2010 (UTC)

Summarizing issues and suggestions

Important: Wikipedia needs new editors to help improve and maintain the project.


  • Educate new page patrollers to use WP:INCUBATOR and WP:USERFY more often and to be nicer to new users
  • Modify WP:ATD section of deletion policy
  • Encourage new editors before posting notices on talk pages
  • Increase mentoring of new users
  • Educate new users that new pages must be notable
  • Modify notices used on talk pages and related notice images
  • Change requirements for creating new pages — previous discussions here and here.
  • Collect statistics of the situation
  • Only allow new users to create articles in their userspace
  • Change deletion policy to be more neutral
  • Educate new users that articles must follow WP:MoS and WP:NPOV

Does this accurately summarize the situation? -      Hydroxonium (talk) 10:33, 19 September 2010 (UTC)

There were a few other things that came up either in WP:NEWT#proposals_inspired_by_these_tests or above:
  1. Appoint more editors as WP:Autopatrolled this takes pressure off NPP and reduces the chance of an incorrect speedy deletion tag (I've appointed about 100 since NEWT)
  2. Give more feedback to Newpage patrollers on incorrect tags, there are a lot of incorrect speedy deletion tags, and taggers rarely get feedback until RFA
  3. Expand the list of tags that shouldn't be applied in the first minutes from A1 and A3 to "don't tag goodfaith contributions for deletion in their first hour".
  4. Require all new articles to have a source, and change the software to prompt people for their source - I believe DE wiki does this already
ϢereSpielChequers 16:12, 25 September 2010 (UTC)
I have some strong objections to requiring "new articles" to have a source right at the get go. This implies that article development absolutely must start in user space and can't be created in the main namespace until after it has at least passed some sort of quality review, and expecting C-class standards or better for all new articles. I think that is a massive mistake and in the long run will hurt at least the English language version of Wikipedia, given the demographics of some of the readers and new contributors. This isn't a technical issue, but a people to people communication and relationship issue that needs to be solved. I'll leave it for now that this is an issue that is a point of contention. As for the other items you list here, these are pretty good ideas. --Robert Horning (talk)
I actually think that idea is a very sound one. It doesn't really solve many of the problems (since many people will still create, for example, articles to their garage band and you the band's myspace page as a "source," which the software obviously can't handle), but compelling that inclusion helps point everyone, new and old, to the fact that Wikipedia is not like other places on the internet. Such a prompt would necessarily need a link to WP:V, to show people that we absolutely do not want articles which are not verifiable in a reliable source. Wikipedia is quite old enough (as a site) that we no longer need to allow articles to start out at such a low level. Incrementalism can be a good thing, but we are no longer in a situation where we need to set the starting bar so low. If we want, we could conceivably allow a user to bypass the need to add a source by clicking some sort of box that said "I understand that not including a source means that the article will likely by nominated for deletion shortly, as all Wikipedia article content must be verified by reliable sources."
On the other issues, I definitely like the idea of giving feedback to new page patrollers in principle, as it does seem a bit odd that we "coach" people in creating new content (through the use of the deletion process and talk page comments), but we don't "train the trainers" to themselves give appropriate feedback.
In a certain sense, I could almost imagine a wikipedia in which the tagging of articles for some types of deletion is itself attached to some higher right (like rollbacker, reviewer, or some as yet unnamed category). That is, allow any editor to raise an AfD (since that itself requires a community guided process), but restrict prodding and especially speedy prodding to some user level higher than autoconfirmed. Now, I know that many editors disagree with increasing the amount of hierarchy (bureaucracy-creep), but this could help balance out the need to keep removing cruft/attacks/OR/etc., while keeping the ability to do so in the hands of people more careful about not biting the newcomers. Qwyrxian (talk) 00:47, 27 September 2010 (UTC)
One of the tough parts about that is the fact that not many people are interested in NPP. I personally very much enjoy it (I've come across some really neat articles in the process, and I've done a lot of copyediting for newly translated articles from ja-wiki), but I can totally understand why most people want nothing to do with it. It's sometimes hard to tell new users that their article will have to be deleted because they/their company aren't notable enough, and it's even harder when people keep recreating their articles and/or removing speedy tags, because it becomes a huge, drawn-out process that can seriously test people's patience; those who haven't done it before would be impressed at the amount of deafness some new users have, especially with regard to notability. I'd be fine with requiring someone to have some sort of status (reviewer and/or rollbacker status) before being able to PROD/speedy tag articles, because I think a user needs to have some experience before tagging. However, there's also the additional issue of copyright violations, which 1. need to be dealt with as quickly as possible, due to the potential legal liability, and 2. don't necessarily need someone familiar with Wikipedia policy to identify, just someone familiar with copyright law. Right now, one user, VernoWhitney, does most of the work there, and I've started to become more active in that myself. It's very difficult, because it's not always just as easy as running a Google search or looking at what the bot says, and the last thing we need is to narrow the field of people who do it, because that will just perpetuate some of the hair trigger tagging if those of us on NPP know that there are only a few of us. The Blade of the Northern Lights (話して下さい) 23:54, 27 September 2010 (UTC)
I'm a new page patroller. There's alot of info to read above, so I haven't. I'll just throw in one thing that I've mentioned numerous times at WT:CSD: the idea of having a "speedy userfication" process is highly appealing to me, and less off-putting to new editors. I think they'd understand a message like "hey, we see this article, but there are some problems: 1, 2, 3, 4. We didn't want to destroy your work, but feel free to edit in your userspace then ask someone for assistance before posting." This type of activity would instantly let the user know that we want to work with them and it shows that this is a collaborative project. — Timneu22 · talk 14:01, 28 September 2010 (UTC)
Actually, I came across a case last night where that would have been ideal; I'm in the process of guiding this user through getting a copy of their deleted work, but a speedy userfication would have taken care of it with much less hassle. In this case, the band he was writing about (WeMusic) is actually right on the line between notability and non-notability, and userfication is the best way to handle those sorts of pages from newbies. Seems like something logical, to me at least. The Blade of the Northern Lights (話して下さい) 15:45, 28 September 2010 (UTC)

(outdent) I too, am working with a new user that had their page deleted. I am walking them through the process of creating a good article. If anybody comes across a new user willing to learn, send them my way. They can join in on my teaching effort. -      Hydroxonium (talk) 00:44, 29 September 2010 (UTC)

North Korea images

I happened to notice this image [1]. What struck me is that it's uploaded with a license that seems to designate it as a "copyrighted but free for wikipedia/noncommercial" image. This is based on the language in the license template itself. Since all content on Wikipedia is supposed to be free/libre and must be available for commercial reuse, except in cases of fair use, wouldn't this license tag be redundant and wouldn't any images uploaded and tagged with this license need a fair use rationale? (I think legitimate fair use is obvious in the case of Kim family photos since so few exist and there is no chance of creating a free one). - Burpelson AFB 15:43, 28 September 2010 (UTC)

Correct, releases only for "wikipedia/noncommercial" use and similar are not sufficient and, absent an appropriate non-free use rationale, such images should be tagged for deletion. – ukexpat (talk) 16:37, 28 September 2010 (UTC)

Regarding images for which there is noncommercial usage permission, shouldn't the only applicable WP:NFCC be #1, whether the image is replaceable by a free image? Because all the other NFCC seem to be concerned with satisfying legal fair use. But with an image licensed for noncommercial use or for use on Wikipedia specifically, the only concern is that the image would supplant free content; there's no concern I can see regarding using too much of the image, or using it on a user page, etc.

A corollary thought is that a completely unlicensed image, even if not replaceable by a freely licensed one, should still not be used where it is replaceable by an image licensed for noncommercial usage or for use specifically on Wikipedia, as it's certainly better to avoid the need to rely on any fair use legal claims. postdlf (talk) 16:56, 28 September 2010 (UTC)

For myself, I would think that content of this nature should only be used with the same guidelines as fair-use. There is one image that has set some precedence for how content like this ought to be handled, and that would be with the image: File:WW2 Iwo Jima flag raising.jpg. Somebody was able to contact the Associated Press, who actually gave permission to Wikipedia but on a non-commercial only and non-reuse basis. Just has has been done with this Iwo Jima flag raising photo, I think any non-commercial use only images ought to have some fair use rational applied to them... if not they should be tagged for deletion, just as Ukexpat mentioned above.
The issue of non-commercial only images is one that has been debated extensively, and apparently some other language editions of Wikimedia projects do permit some non-commercial only images on their projects. We can reopen that ugly discussion if you really want, but generally the consensus in the past has been to remove any non-commercial only images from the project for a whole bunch or reasons I won't get into right now. The only concern is not just that it would supplant free content, but that non-commercial only content carries additional baggage for those who might want to use Wikipedia content on a commercial basis. Seriously, I can reopen this controversy in full force, but at the moment I merely want to express that it is an old argument that has been rehashed so many times that it isn't worth creating a flame war at the moment. --Robert Horning (talk) 18:20, 28 September 2010 (UTC)
Yeah, this has been an ideologue-heavy area for years now. I think my suggestions are logical and pragmatic; it makes sense to value free content above all, but it further makes sense to value noncom/wikipedia-only licensed content above fair use content. I'm not going to waste time shouting myself blue in the face over it though, if the consensus is still far from even thinking about it. postdlf (talk) 18:45, 28 September 2010 (UTC)
If used within the scope of fair use content, but it happens to be available for noncommercial-only purposes as well, I think that is quite reasonable. My concern is if somebody would include the non-commercial content where the fair-use application is shaky ground and really doesn't apply, but it gets a pass anyway because it is "legal". Certainly how these images from Korea are being used doesn't have a fair-use rationale applied at the moment. It was also rather bold for the editor to create this kind of template, so under the principle of being bold I am a bit impressed. --Robert Horning (talk) 00:11, 29 September 2010 (UTC)

(outdent) since noncommercial licenses are incompatible with Wikipedia, I have nominated the license template for deletion. Discussion is here [2], stop by and weigh in if you like. - Burpelson AFB 17:19, 29 September 2010 (UTC)

Manual of Style / non-initial acronyms

Not sure if this is the most appropriate place but here we go. I began going through some articles making them fit more with the Manual of Style, particularly the first lines of the lead, and I've run into a problem with abbreviations. What set it off is EXOSAT, a former spacecraft of the European Space Agency. Before my recent edit the first line of the article stated the name was "Exosat" as per the main ESA public website [3], however the article name uses an all-caps "EXOSAT" which curiously is also used in the "in depth" ESA article [4]. In fact after a quick google-search there appears to be no consensus among the reliable sources about which is correct! After I added the fact that Exosat is actually an acronym [5] and hence why it was being capitalised, I realised the public pages were probably doing this because the acronym uses some non-initial letters so in this instance they were using the syllabic abbreviation convention in a similar fashion to direct portmanteau names, e.g another satellite Meteosat, despite the fact it is neither. Note, they did capitalise initial-letter acronyms, [6] and [7]. Even so, this usage of lowercase is not consistent even within the organisation!

So to my main point about why this isn't an isolated issue, the Manual of Style does appear to weigh in on this. MOS:ALLCAPS,

Do write in all capitals for acronyms and initialisms, unless the acronym gains common usage as an ordinary, lowercase word (such as scuba and laser, but not NATO).

Although it doesn't state any non-initial acronyms this would tend to suggest that they be in all-caps. After looking there are a number of non-initial acronyms on a similar theme like COBE and Hipparcos that appear to be using different standards despite no obvious reason why. Some sources give "HIPPARCOS".

I'm sure this applies to acronyms in many different fields of knowledge on Wikipedia so there's not much point bringing it up on a specific WikiProject. So is this a "common sense" part of the guidelines that should be taken on a "case by case" basis, which seems strange as this is a style issue that doesn't appear resolved by outside sources, or has this been accidentally overlooked? ChiZeroOne (talk) 03:35, 30 September 2010 (UTC)

All Wikipedia is a case-by-case basis. The first remedy would be to find people who are familiar with the subject, and find out if they can direct you to sources which use the term, and find which version has a preponderance of common usage. WP:UCN applies even to acronyms, as far as I know. If there is no clear "winner" among competing styles, then there is also no compelling reason to change whatever the style in the current article is to something else. --Jayron32 04:44, 30 September 2010 (UTC)
Why should WP:UCN take precedence, it's no more impervious to IAR? This is a style issue, not a factual one; consensus in the MoS ignores UCN in some instances. In any case as I noted the article name and the lead are different so the article had no "style" or consistency to maintain, really it should adopt one! Given this is a style issue, and hence sources are bound to disagree on the "common name" in such cases, I think it's something for the MoS. That's why I raised the issue, asking what consensus is on this because the MoS does state a related one but not this specific point.
As well as this I wasn't aware that was the standard interpretation of Ignore All Rules, for a start that appears to lead to unresolvable conflict and invalidates consensus. As far as I'm aware IAR allows exceptions to guidelines when it makes sense to, but it's not a carte blanche to ignore it. It doesn't stop the enforcement of policies or guidelines over multiple articles, simply recognises that a certain guideline may not always be the best solution to improving them. I see no reason why this is applicable in this case. See another situation in the Hipparcos article; a user removed boldface emphasis in the expansion of the acronym stating the MoS guidelines on abbreviation, another user has now replaced this without explanation. Personally I'm inclined to remove the emphasis again, especially as it doesn't fit most similar articles. If you apply IAR and accept this and every other style and ignore the MoS are you not invalidating the MoS and Consensus? And more to the point if everything is on a case-by-case basis without adherence to Wikipedia-wide consensus then should the MoS exist because it will incite edit wars like above despite having no obvious purpose? ChiZeroOne (talk) 11:41, 30 September 2010 (UTC)

Deleting images that I've tagged for deletion

Last week, I tagged File:Zmill sign.jpg, File:Zirkle Mill wiki Notated sm.jpg, and File:Zirkle Mill wiki Notated.jpg for deletion: they say that someone other than the uploader took them and has released them under free licenses, but they have no proof for such a statement. They're now eligible for deletion, but is it appropriate for me to delete them, since I was the one who tagged them? I'm not sure whether to see deleting them myself as a COI or as a case in which any reasonable administrator would take the same type of action. Nyttend (talk) 12:24, 30 September 2010 (UTC)

Admins should be like Cæsar's wife. Leave it to another. DuncanHill (talk) 12:28, 30 September 2010 (UTC)
Some of them are tagged to say the uploader took them Noneofubusiness appears to be the account of Robert B. Andrews and in File:Zmill sign.jpg he attests to being copyright holder. The other two were taken by the other founding member of the Preservation Society Sherryl Andrews Belinsky and the uploader attests that copyright rests with the society which is releasing them under GPL. contacting the society through their webpage should be able to confirm that this is the case - however it then raises a significant WP:COI issue, in that the article on the mill and mentions of the mill in other articles were all committed by Robert B. Andrews the owner of the mill. Stuart.Jamieson (talk) 13:39, 30 September 2010 (UTC)
I deleted them since we lack confirmation that the uploader has permission to release them under this license, and the website asserts Copyright 2006, RBA Internet Services and the Historic Zirkle Mill. Shall I email them for verification? - 2/0 (cont.) 13:56, 30 September 2010 (UTC)
As I understand it, the onus is on the uploader to provide evidence of an appropriate release/permission rather than the responsibility of someone else to e-mail the copyright owner to confirm it. – ukexpat (talk) 14:13, 30 September 2010 (UTC)
True, but the article is poorer without them, and I am willing to take the time. At least when I visit them in person, people who run historical locations like this tend to be tickled pink that anyone is interested, so they might be willing to release the images under a compatible license even if the uploader did not have permission. Does anyone think that this would be a bad idea? - 2/0 (cont.) 14:34, 30 September 2010 (UTC)
By all means, go ahead and do so if you want to. But we should not be giving the impression that users can upload copyright images willy-nilly and expect others to seek out appropriate permissions/licenses. – ukexpat (talk) 15:07, 30 September 2010 (UTC)
Quite so, we certainly shouldn't give the impression that anyone on Wikipedia might be prepared to actually help someone who's confused by licensing. Helping people out goes against the nature of Wikipedia - I mean, where will it end? We'll have people asking for help with wikimarkup, or referencing, or advice on whether to delete things if we start offering help willy-nilly to people who are trying to add useful and informative images. DuncanHill (talk) 15:18, 30 September 2010 (UTC)
Sarcasm duly noted. – ukexpat (talk) 16:05, 30 September 2010 (UTC)
I think you meant 'dully noted'. Face-wink.svg --Ludwigs2 18:46, 30 September 2010 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Database reports/Cross-namespace redirects/2 has been marked as a policy

Wikipedia:Database reports/Cross-namespace redirects/2 (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 October 2010 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Database reports/Cross-namespace redirects/2 has been marked as a guideline

Wikipedia:Database reports/Cross-namespace redirects/2 (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, 1 October 2010 (UTC)

Quoting sources

I'd like to ask for opinion on making it more the norm to provide a relevant quote (in footnotes) when citing sources. While this is not usual practice in academic contexts, etc. I think there are a number of special circumstaces that we need to consider.

For example, over time as an article is developed, references can "float" away from statements they originally supported because later editors are unsure about what exactly the reference supported. Or the statement a reference originally supported can gradually change in meaning as other editors (in good faith) copy edit the article or add new material to the statement over time. In both circumstances, we get a reference that seemingly supports a statement that the original editor did not mean and which the source itself may not even comment on, never mind actually support.

Including a brief quotation (or summary as appropriate) with each reference would cure this by making it immediately obvious exactly what the reference supports and to what extent.

Including a brief quotation would also aid with verifiability. Currently Verifiability (in a footnote) suggests, "When there is dispute about whether a piece of text is fully supported by a given source, direct quotes and other relevant details from the source should be provided to other editors as a courtesy." I believe this courtesy is useful at all time, even when there is no dispute at the time of adding the source. Later there may be and a quote can clarify exactly what the reference was intended to support and to what extent.

I am not suggesting that policy be that all sources should be cited with a quote - but I do believe that it should become good practice.

What are other's thoughts? --RA (talk) 22:29, 29 September 2010 (UTC)

I can actually think of a situation where that applies, although not in the way you were thinking. The one I'm thinking of has to do with Japanese names; most people write their names in kanji, but a few (Masuda Sayo and Chihiro Iwasaki come immediately to mind) spelled their names in hiragana. In those instances, it would probably be helpful to have a footnote and small quote to explain why there's an unusual transliteration at the top- the Chihiro Iwasaki article actually has that already (you can take a look and see how you like it), and I think it would be good to expand that into other similar articles. Of course, I know that probably wasn't where you were going with that, but it's an idea. The Blade of the Northern Lights (話して下さい) 23:28, 29 September 2010 (UTC)
I don't think this would be practical for all types of articles. For the type of editing I usually do, a page or so of textbook exposition is summarized into a paragraph of WP text. Fact-by-fact referencing is impractical in this case and including quotes to support everything would be tantamount to including pages from the textbook. I've seen the type of referencing you're talking about but there is the danger of over using it and infringing on copyrights. You're right though in that the location of a footnote is not a very clear indicator of what exactly is supposedly being referenced.--RDBury (talk) 02:25, 30 September 2010 (UTC)
First, on the above quote from WP:V, I'm fairly certain that means that, when Editor A says Source X contains some info, and Editor B doubts that claim, that it is good practice for Editor A to provide Editor B with the quotation. My emphasis points to the fact that this is from editor to editor (most likely via the talk page), not a recommendation that the quote be provided in article text. I think this issue is there mainly when Editor A is using a source that Editor B doesn't have access to (because it's a print source or behind a paywall). This clause is not, as far as I can tell, saying anything about how articles themselves should read.
As to the more general point, I don't think that we should consider it good practice to include quotes. In fact, if we want Wikipedia to read like a classic print encyclopedia, I think we should actually want to minimize quotes. Now, I don't think we should abolish them entirely--we have the luxury of quoting because we have unlimited space, whereas paper dictionaries do not. But I think we want to preserve quotes only for those times when a sources says something in such a special way that we can't say it better (and more succinctly) ourselves. Sometimes quotes are also useful when we are dealing with a contentious subject and we're being extra careful to not impute opinions onto our sources that may not be exactly what they hold. I would find it very cumbersome as a reader if we starting quoting more than we already do, and I think many articles could ideally do with much less. Qwyrxian (talk) 04:36, 30 September 2010 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────I think I might not have been very clear, Qwyrxian. I don't mean in-line quotes. I mean quotes in references.

Here's a hypothetical example of what I mean. In the example below, the accompanying reference is:

  • 1 Mobberley, 2007.

This does not give a quote source when giving the reference:

1. Editor A: The diameter of the moon is 3,476km at its equator.[1]
This is correct and supported by the reference.

Now, watch what can happen over time:

2. Editor B: The Moon is 250,000km from the earth. Its diameter is 3,476km at its equator.[1]
The new sentence about the distance from the earth is incorrect. The second sentence is still correct and supported by the reference.
3. Editor C: The Moon is 250,000km from the earth and is 3,476km wide at its equator.[1]
This edit combined the two sentences (for whatever reason). It is now unclear, which part or to what extent the entire sentence is supported by the reference.
4. Editor D: The Moon is 250,000km from the earth.[1]
This edit removed the second part of the sentence (for whatever reason). The edit was in good faith but the editor didn't know that first part of the sentence was unsupported.

In the above example, the reference "drifted" over time away from the original statement it supported and ended up seemingly supporting another statement (in this case one that is untrue).

A simple way to stave off references from "drifting" like this is to provide a brief quote when citing sources. In this example below, the accompanying reference is:

  • 1 Mobberley, 2007: "The Moon's equatorial diameter is 3,476 km and the polar diameter is 3,470 km.".

This gives a brief quote from the source so it is clear what is supported by the reference.

1. Editor A: The diameter of the moon is 3,476km at its equator.[1]
This is correct and supported by the reference.

Now, the future edits can take a different form:

2. Editor B: The Moon is 250,000km from the earth. Its diameter is 3,476km at its equator.[1]
As before, the new sentence about the distance from the earth is incorrect. The second sentence is still correct and supported by the reference.
3. Editor C: The Moon is 250,000km from the earth and is 3,476km wide at its equator.[1]
This edit combined the two sentences (for whatever reason). However, unlike the first example, it is clear what the reference supports and to what extent.
4. Editor D: The Moon is 250,000km from the earth.
Like in the first example, this edit removed the second part of the sentence (for whatever reason). However, because the editor could tell what the reference supported, they knew to remove the reference when removing the statement about the diameter of the Moon.
5. Editor E: The Moon is 250,000km from the earth.[citation needed]
Now future editors know the statement about the distance of the Moon from the earth is unsupported.

In this way, giving a brief quote from a source (not inline, but with the reference) makes it clear what is supported by the reference and to what extent. --RA (talk) 09:43, 30 September 2010 (UTC)

  • Three objections.
    • I don't see any reasonable ways of separating appropriate (and obligatory) and inappropriate (and thus unnecessary) usage of at-length quotes. I agree that present-day practice is not robust, but where would you draw the line?
    • At-length quotations = copyvio. Why do we have to struggle with condensed paraphrasing of source pages, if we must (as proposed) provide copies of these pages? This is not an exaggeration. Consider a biographical article that draws heavily on a single book. One hundred individual pages cited. Even quoting one paragraph from each crosses the line.
    • Bloated article size. Some already have hundreds of footnotes. Throw in quotations, and welcome to megabyte-sized articles. East of Borschov

To me, copyright violation is the only real deal-breaker here. Dumb idea perhaps, but would it perhaps suffice to summarize / paraphrase what the source said? For the moon example, the reference could say "250,000km from Earth". (talk) 17:51, 1 October 2010 (UTC)

Good objections. And thought provoking. One thing I want to emphasise is that I'm not suggesting we must give quotes but that it might be good practice. Both of you raise objections that are practical problems, so the question, I guess, is what would be "good" practice.
For articles I normally work on, it would be unusual to rely heavily on just one or two sources but I have worked on bio articles that definitely do. Certainly, if we give a quote for every reference, very quickly half the book would be copied onto the article, which is obviously not workable. Maybe good practice in that case would be to summarise/paraphrase the point made in the source in those cases. In other cases, where many references are cited, maybe it is to give a quote - but like you say, East of Borschov, we would have to draw the line at inappropriately lengthy quotes - or needlessly bloating articles.
The focus, I think, should be not on following a rote - as you have both pointed out, a simple formulation of giving a quote is not always workable. Instead, maybe good practice but be to keep a focus on the courtesy to others, so that they know what the reference was to. If so, what would good practice be? Is less than 10 word summary sufficient, e.g.:
  • Mobberley (2007) gives the equatorial diameter of the moon as 3,476 km.
Another approach may be to include the quote in the wiki code but not show it in the rendered HTML, e.g.:
  • <ref>Mobberley, 2007{{no-render|"The Moon's equatorial diameter is 3,476 km and the polar diameter is 3,470 km."}}</ref>
Or to include a summary/paraphrasing in that way.
(The last example will not include the quote when a reader loads the page, so would not slow download times and may (not a lawyer) avoid copy-vio issues. See this sandbox and choose View -> Source on your browser, for example. Notice that the quote does not get rendered in the output.)
What kind of limits would be good practice to place on quotes/paraphrasing? --RA (talk) 16:13, 3 October 2010 (UTC)


I've proposed this (changed based on the feedback from the above) as a guideline. See here. --RA (talk) 22:06, 3 October 2010 (UTC)

Gratuitous - removal of a pic

Hi not sure if in the right place. However it struck me today that a picture was deleted of a page for today's featured article -> Ayumi Hamasaki

I than done some research on how this "Gratuitous policy" works and can only find one answer to this -> Jealousy

As you can see the pic was deleted on this ID:

Can some explain to me how would this picture be NOT RELEVANT?

Thanks cronopl (talk) 15:42, 1 October 2010 (UTC) cronopl @ 2010-10-01 14:45 GMT

This isn't really the right place, the first place to ask is either the user in question's talk page, or on the talk page of the article. --Golbez (talk) 15:45, 1 October 2010 (UTC)
Or you can restore it (once!) per WP:BRD. I did that, and started a section to discuss the issue on the talk page of the article if necessary. --GRuban (talk) 21:45, 1 October 2010 (UTC)

Image talk pages for Commons' images

We have many images that are loaded from Commons. I have seen a number of cases where people use the Wikipedia local image talk page to discuss the image or ask questions about it. Such comments are unlikely to attract much (or any) attention, but they not necessarily bad per se. At the same time, I have seen some admins who routinely speedy delete image talk pages if the image is hosted on Commons. Generally they invoke G8 (pages dependent on a non-existent or deleted page), even though WP:CSD G8 explictly "excludes any page that is useful to the project [including] ... talk pages for images that exist on Wikimedia Commons". The applicability of G8 is perhaps ambiguous to some since the talk page depends on a page that certainly is visible locally and hence "does exist" even though the code lives on Commons and doesn't actually exist here.

Personally, I think that status quo is bad. Either we should find a way to redirect people to the Commons talk pages, or we need to more actively discourage people from speedying the local discussion pages. But it is not good to have a situation where people click on the local "discussion" link, make well-intentioned comments, and then have those comments vanish with no explanation. Personally, I think it would be best to redirect people away from the local discussion pages (this could be done via edit notice and/or javascript). Alternatively, we can improve CSD to more forcefully say that it does not apply to image discussion pages like this. The latter might be necessary anyway if we generally intend to tolerate things like Category:File-Class meteorology articles where individuals apply {{Meteorology|class=Image|importance=Low}} to the local talk pages of images that exist on Commons in order to list the files in a local category.

Thoughts, opinions? Dragons flight (talk) 17:55, 1 October 2010 (UTC)

Interesting. Do you know of any specific cases where G8 has been applied to useful comments? Or is it all random vandalism / unhelpful comments? - Jarry1250 [Who? Discuss.] 18:54, 1 October 2010 (UTC)
Here are examples where the content was not vandalism, from 2007 in 2008 in 2008 today today and in 2008 Some of these examples are quite old so it is a little hard to know if CSD practice has changed; however, the exception for preserving talk pages of images hosted on Commons was already part of CSD G8 in Dec. 2006. I'm sure there are other examples, but they aren't the easiest things to find (these come from my watchlist). Dragons flight (talk) 19:47, 1 October 2010 (UTC)
I think what you've said above is sound. An edit notice directing users to the Commons talk page seems sensible, but could this be implemented specifically for files on Commons as opposed to all file talk pages? For those talk pages that do exist, perhaps we could use some form of soft redirect that incorporated {{G8-exempt}}? As for CSD, I'm not sure what to say since there is already an explicit exception for such pages, but perhaps {{db-talk}} could display an additional message highlighting this when used in the "File talk" namespace? PC78 (talk) 21:05, 1 October 2010 (UTC)
ParserFunctions can detect a commons image where none exists here. I think you ifexist file: to see here; media: to see about commons. –xenotalk 16:31, 3 October 2010 (UTC)
Commenting as a person who once did tagged G8 to such pages by accident; I think redirecting to Commons is a very helpful and great option. Although, I am pretty sure that we would then have heap of more problems relating to global accounts, wont we? I mean, for user XYZ to comment on another project/wiki, an attached account needs to be created/auto-created on the relevant site. And as of lately, there are numerous, maybe millions, of cases where the same username is used on different project by different people.
Unless of course, we start moving people, and strictly add a policy to have one username over all projects. And give the poor volunteers at WP:CHUU, META:CHU, etc, an everlasting job. ;) Rehman(+) 01:08, 2 October 2010 (UTC)
I don't think Rehman's concerns represent a very serious problem. If the username "Rehman" is taken on another Wiki, then possibly "Rehman123" is available. Unified sign-in is a great concept but may not work 100% of the time. Cullen328 (talk) 03:39, 2 October 2010 (UTC)
No, for any account created in the past couple years (pretty much ever since SUL was turned on IIRC) the name must be unique on all projects to be creatable. Conflicts only happen with older (pre-mid-2008) accounts, and even then, it certainly isn't "millions;" the 2nd largest Wikipedia (de.wikipedia) has only slightly more than 1 million accounts today). Mr.Z-man 03:46, 4 October 2010 (UTC)

A deliberate "governor" on nominating articles for deletion

Here's a thought: Robert Horning above has raised some objections to the quantity of articles nominated for deletion. So...

What if if we, as a matter of policy, prohibited scripts that nominate articles for deletion?

Sometimes people do limit technologies below their technical capabilities on purpose. One that comes to mind: it is quite difficult to launch a nuclear missile. Technically, it could be easily made into a simple push-button operation, but this is not done for policy reasons. Governors on machines is another example.

I use Twinkle, and it sure does make it easier to nominate articles for deletion. But maybe we should have to cut-and-paste or type our way through the various steps. If a person isn't willing to do be bothered with that, maybe the article really shouldn't be nominated.

I, personally, don't have an opinion on this at this time. But I think it's an interesting idea. Herostratus (talk) 16:07, 23 September 2010 (UTC)

Strongest Possible Oppose: Twinkle and its brethren are invaluable tools in the right hands. If they are being abused, deal with the abusers appropriately, don't throttle the tools for those of us who use them responsibly for deletion tagging or any other purpose. – ukexpat (talk) 16:18, 23 September 2010 (UTC)
Vehement oppose - the process for AfD nominations when I don't have access to Twinkle is so horrendously complex that I never bother. Don't deliberately break our tools. --Orange Mike | Talk 16:28, 23 September 2010 (UTC)
Nominating an article for deletion ought to be a last resort tactic, where there are some serious problems. It ought to be a somewhat complex process that takes more than simply making a single mouse click. If the process of making an AfD is so difficult to make "manually", it sounds like the problem is in the AfD process itself too. BTW, how do you deal with users who are being irresponsible with their AfD/PROD nominations? Yes, some are legitimate, but if somebody has a large number that get overturned (50% +) of the nominations are kept or have the PRODs removed by more responsible editors, it sounds like there is some education that needs to happen too. Currently there is little to no consequence to those who do the abusing here. --Robert Horning (talk) 17:00, 23 September 2010 (UTC)
"Horrendously complex"? I just listed an article for deletion; the time it took to complete the three steps of tagging the article, creating and saving the AFD page, and adding the AFD to the day's log was about five minutes, most of which was spent actually writing the deletion rationale and doublechecking it.

I forget which automated tool it was, but at one time when one of them was used to tag images for deletion at FFD, it was overwriting the image's caption in the process. One editor's response when I pointed this out to him was basically "I don't care, it's faster to do it that way." Never mind the fact that wiping out the caption for no valid editorial reason basically constituted blanking vandalism (an image at FFD remains up and in articles pending deletion, and the caption is of course necessary to evaluate NFU claims). Such glitches in how the tools operate can be fixed, but perhaps the ease of these tools can foster the wrong attitude about what a deletion nomination means. Maybe it is a process for which you should be forced to manually go through the steps so you have to think about it at every step. postdlf (talk) 17:29, 23 September 2010 (UTC)

Nominating an article for deletion ought to be a last resort tactic..., yes if you mean Afd, but for obvious speedy cases such as vandalism, attack pages, copyvios, clear A7s that stand no chance, it is a first resort and the tools are a huge help. Same for PRODs. I agree that if the tools are being misused in any situation, AFD nomination or otherwise, the miscreants should be "educated" and/or access to the tools revoked, but please don't penalise the rest of us by restricting them for everyone. – ukexpat (talk) 17:17, 23 September 2010 (UTC)
Interesting discussion. A couple of points: Wikipedia, as an organization, has precisely zero interest in making any editing task easier to do except inasmuch as it furthers the interests of the encyclopedia. We (well, I), don't care about your personal ease, only that the mix of articles in the Wikipedia be as optimal as possible. Obviously we wouldn't want to artificially make it too hard or bad articles would not get nominated. Have we made it too easy? I don't know, but clearly some people think so. I think the answer to the question What should be the degree of difficulty for nominating an article for AfD? For PROD? For Speedy? does not have an obvious easy answer, and I think it quite likely that the people who wrote and approved the scripts didn't even ask it. That's OK, that's not their job. Making useful tools in their job. Saying "too useful" would be ours. Herostratus (talk) 19:51, 23 September 2010 (UTC)
Second point is: re educating deleters and/or chastising overly enthusiastic one: wishes/horses. This is not going to happen absent a major concerted effort by several editors, so this is not a good solution. Herostratus (talk) 20:34, 23 September 2010 (UTC)
I do see one big objection: the deletion-nomination scripts automatically place a notice on the article creator's talk page. When doing the task manually, the editor is supposed to do this, but I'll bet that that step gets forgotten or skipped sometimes. And its an important step. Herostratus (talk) 10:40, 24 September 2010 (UTC)
An oppose that's worth twenty supports! Perhaps, indeed, all twinkie users need to cool down once in a while and play it by the rules like common peasants. Make every Monday No Twinkie Day! Yes, rubber-stamping useless templates is fun, but try saying the same with your own words! East of Borschov 05:55, 27 September 2010 (UTC)
I think we already have our "governor", our "two keys in two locks at the same time" model, since every deletion requires an admin (or, in some cases, a trusted long-term user) to close and/or do the actual deletion. AfDs and PRODs already have to run for at least 7 days. What's wrong with making the nomination itself easier, along with ensuring that none of the steps (especially notification) get skipped? As others have pointed out, if someone's Twinkling up a dozen AfDs an hour (and they don't deserve it), then we have a problem, and we can remove that user's tools and/or rights. But why making it harder for trusted editors to be able to nominate things for deletion? To me, saying that the process of nominating should be hard to discourage people from doing it is almost like assuming bad faith on the part of the nominators. Qwyrxian (talk) 11:45, 24 September 2010 (UTC)
Forcing the use of manual nominations would produce more incomplete nominations which someone else would need to fix. This would be making work to no good end. As others have noted, there are already perfectly adequate ways of dealing with repeated spurious nominations. Angus McLellan (Talk) 14:19, 24 September 2010 (UTC)
What is wrong with simply giving the benefit of the doubt and taking an incomplete AfD and simply removing it? This seems like it is assuming good faith on the part of the original editor when that happens, and that the individual making the nomination isn't familiar with the AfD process. BTW, what is the approach for fixing repeated spurious nominations, who is keeping track, and how are those being dealt with right now? ArbCom? At most all I see is a message on the talk page of the eager patroller saying "please be nice to the new users" and that is about it. Perhaps I'm missing something here. --Robert Horning (talk) 03:37, 25 September 2010 (UTC)
Why should we assume "good faith" on the part of (for example) spammers who create articles, but not on the part of an inexperienced editor who thinks it should be deleted, or any of us, if the electricity goes away while we're mid-process? "Good faith" should apply equally to everyone, not merely to article creators.
To put it another way: The AfD nomination process is not supposed to be a test of the nominator's intelligence, tolerance for complex systems, or electrical stability. WhatamIdoing (talk) 04:01, 25 September 2010 (UTC)
Electrical stability? Herostratus (talk) 12:41, 25 September 2010 (UTC)
AfD nominations require editors to follow a multi-step process. Robert has proposed that all(!) incomplete nominations be deleted.
What do you think the effect is on the nomination, if the electricity blinks in the middle of your nomination work? Do you personally think that "the battery on the nominator's laptop died unexpectedly" or "an electrical storm interrupted power and/or internet connections during the nomination process" is an appropriate reason to remove the AfD nomination? WhatamIdoing (talk) 20:40, 25 September 2010 (UTC)
If there are problems with an article and it is likely to be confirmed for deletion through an AfD process, somebody somewhere else will notice the same problems and go through the steps for an AfD later on. Or perhaps the person who made the original nomination will finish the process when they get a network connection working again. These articles don't exist in a vacuum and have only one chance to be deleted or they will be kept. I'm just saying that the benefit of the doubt should be to keep these articles and if an incomplete nomination is hanging around, there shouldn't be any harm applied to an editor who simply removes the deletion markings as if it is a failed AfD nomination. Perhaps somebody doing cleanup work could review these articles to see if an AfD is warranted based on their own standards and interpretations of Wikipedia policies, but it shouldn't be required. You are not obligated to finish the nomination process for an AfD. --Robert Horning (talk) 00:05, 26 September 2010 (UTC)
Somebody who is venturing into the realm of nominating articles, lists, categories, and more for deletion should already be at least a somewhat experienced editor.... certainly much more experienced than those who are creating the new articles in the first place. Yes, spammers and trolls are creating some articles, but you need to learn the difference between that and some genuinely new contributors who are unsure about Wikipedia policy or even if policies exist in the first place. The AfD process is where the content is coming up for review, but I repeat that it is an awful thing for a brand new contributor for the first sentence that they write on this project to face an AfD within mere minutes of making that contribution. There are indeed many well intentioned individuals who are trying to make their first contribution but having the door slammed in their face because of the bureaucracy involved with adding to Wikipedia.
This is my point: Wikipedia is losing steam. New editors aren't coming into the project as quickly as it happened in the past. I am strongly questioning this process of new page patrols explicitly as I believe that it is here that new contributors to this project are being lost simply because a few people are trashing those contributors before they can get established. The process for creating a new article is becoming needlessly bureaucratic and new contributors making an honest attempt are not being treated with respect. If I have to favor a few hundred or thousand potential new contributors over the actions of a few rogue admins or over zealous page patrollers, I'm willing to side with the new contributors. Yes, we need admins who can protect the project and page patrollers who can monitor what is coming in. But that can and ought to be tempered, which I am asserting that tempering is not happening... at least not enough to restore Wikipedia to what made it so useful in the first place and what energy it had originally to bring hundreds of thousands of people together to write a collaborative encyclopedia. I will not sit idly by as people slam the door on new contributors or try to dismiss these contributions as meaningless. Every contribution to this project, no matter how small, ought to be given due respect and every new contributor ought to be encouraged to develop to their best potential. --Robert Horning (talk) 15:52, 25 September 2010 (UTC)
Yes, we have a problem with new users creating articles and having them deleted. Simply deleting fewer articles by making deletion more difficult is quite possibly the worst possible solution. The effective result of such a policy would be lower standards for notability, spam, etc. as people will be less likely to consider deletion for borderline cases. While at the same time, it will annoy the hell out of more experienced users. We might gain a few more users, but at the cost of a (potentially large) loss in quality. Mr.Z-man 21:53, 25 September 2010 (UTC)
The standards for notability are not in question here. This is a philosophical difference between you and I where you seem to believe these articles ought to be stopped immediately after their creation, and I am suggesting that perhaps we ought to give these new editors a little benefit of doubt, assume good faith, and let the article at least try to develop. I am also not suggesting that standards for spam, trolling, and general gibberish be lowered to permit Willy on Wheels or some other infamous troll from trashing this project. Speedy deletion standards are very different from the AfD process and don't cover the same kinds of content. I don't care about trolls. Sometimes a troll will "convert" and become a good editor with age and maturity, but patent nonsense can and should be deleted without even a debate by a reasonable admin or marked for speedy deletion by any other editor. As an admin (on other wiki projects) I have occasionally merely marked an article for speedy deletion if I thought it was a borderline case to get a second opinion from another admin, but that was if it was borderline between a speedy and an AfD (or equivalent) situation.
What I suggested earlier is explicitly oriented at new contributors, many of whom start at creating the very articles that you are complaining need to be contained because of lousy quality. Notability problems are not something that qualifies as an article needing to be marked for speedy deletion, nor is a lack of sources or references. Even bad grammar and markup language mistakes should be given a pass here. Yes, a backlog of potential articles to review is happening, and perhaps some method of going through that backlog ought to happen. But at the same time new contributors to Wikipedia ought to be welcomed and it is education, not a flogging that needs to happen. I certainly don't see that the quality of Wikipedia is going to go downhill if the same way Wikipedia articles were created years ago is allowed to continue today. --Robert Horning (talk) 00:05, 26 September 2010 (UTC)
I agree with Robert that this is part of a larger philosophical debate regarding how quickly articles should get deleted. What many seem to not remember is that QUALITY should never come into play when deleting. Wikipedia is a work-in-progress and as such we do not hold our articles to high standards, we allow them to be imperfect and we work to make them better. Instead of a governor on tools like Twinkle we should (and let the howls of "instruction creep" begin) hold limits on how many articles editors can nominate for AfD in a day, how long after an article has been created, and strong suggestions that before nominating that an editor attempt to rectify and fix any problems that could save the article. Too many times it seems AfD is made not in an attempt to force others to show notability but instead to force people to fix the problems found, well if you found the problem then you can fix them. If fixing the problems with an article was easier than nominating it for deletion and assuming if it can be fixed someone will do it, if no one wants to fix it then it deserves to be deleted, then perhaps editors will fix more articles or just not delete them. Either way win-win in my book.
  • Ive seen many poorly researched AfD nominations such as- an article that was a redirect for 2 years was nominated two days after it was changed to a stand-alone article on grounds that it has existed as a stub for two years, obviously the nominator did not check the history thoroughly. PROD, from my understanding, does not mean prod editors to make the article a B class article, unfortunately when you can do that very easily that is what the nomination becomes. Any stub article is up for nomination because of quality. Lets have better !rules on how, when, and why nominations should be placed and more responsibility on the nominator instead of putting the responsibility on those defending. And maybe consequences for editors who nominate AfD and continually lose, such as loss of priveledge for nominating.Camelbinky (talk) 00:55, 26 September 2010 (UTC)
Then, if our purpose here is to perpetuate this sense of mediocrity, then why are we here? –MuZemike 20:31, 26 September 2010 (UTC)
That is the real genius of Wikipedia. When it was started, a "companion" project called Nupedia had the higher standards. One discussion that I vividly remember went into how somebody without a graduate degree might be able to contribute a stub, but that only somebody with a PhD could possibly contribute anything to a real article. Wikipedia, on the other hand, was for the "rest of us"... the unwashed masses of people that didn't have the credentials (at least of the kind wanted by some of the Nupedia folks) and wanted to poke and prod at articles in real-time without having to constantly justify yourself merely because of who you were.
I suppose that the mediocre articles have continued with absolutely nothing worth seeing over the years but pure trash and dribble. Nobody could possibly want to read a Wikipedia article and the experiment has failed, as nobody would be willing to fix up a stub or add any images or other media to an article either.
The very principle by which this project was started was to allow "anybody to edit", which included new articles. Even anonymous editors who refuse to register with an account have been permitted to make edits to pages and make major contributions. Why are we here? To work together and help build a collection of articles that encompass the whole of human knowledge. The one and only purpose of the notability rules is simply to proscribe a limit to how far we can carry out that basic mission, as listing all 50+ billion people who have ever lived or are alive would flood the hard drives being used to store the data on the computers running Wikipedia. The purpose of the scoping rules are not to "force" participants into working on other articles more worthy of attention, it is simply to deal with practical realities related to computer equipment and storage devices. Over time, that is becoming a rather weak excuse, especially for what is mostly textual data that is being deleted. Patent nonsense and drivel is an exception and there is reason to clean that gunk out of Wikipedia, but notability standards have been acknowledged to be loosened over time on this project precisely for this reason.
The argument I'm making here is that editors are leaving Wikipedia and new contributors are not coming in explicitly because they are being turned away. The first people that these new contributors are meeting is the new page patrollers, and those who follow the recent changes to this project. If we want to have Wikipedia grow, to get some fresh blood into this project, I am suggesting that there are some changes that need to happen in terms of how recent changes are monitored and more importantly what standards are being used for bashing content that needs to be fixed as well as how the new editors are going to have communications with the greater Wikipedia community in terms of introductions. I certainly think that it is wrong to have most new users have as their first introduction "go away, you're not welcome here. Your edit was stupid and you should have memorized all of the site policies before editing here." --Robert Horning (talk) 21:59, 26 September 2010 (UTC)
Just because that's the way the project started doesn't mean that it is the best way for the project to continue, say, at this stage. Many many aspects of Wikipedia have and should change. While I haven't been around for long, I can see and have looked at some of the history for these changes. There is nothing wrong with the encyclopedia changing to account for differences in demographic and the encyclopedia's overall importance in world knowledge and the internet specifically. As has been pointed out elsewhere, Wikipedia articles on new topics can rise to top five rankings on Google searches within minutes of their creation--that means that it really does matter more what we have and what gets created. Second (partially as a consequence of the above), I don't think that many of the people contributing new articles are doing so, any more, for reasons that we would consider consistent with our basic goals. More and more, people from outside the project I believe see Wikipedia as a means of creating notability, rather than a place of reflecting what is already regarded elsewhere as notable. What I'm trying to say is that I'm not so sure that those editors who read a deletion template/process as "your edit was stupid, get out," are necessarily the people that we want to keep. As above, I'm not trying to be too much of a hard***--I do believe that the process could be made nicer, and that perhaps some form of NPP training should be instituted. But, at the same time, I don't actually think that many of the so-called articles by "new contributors" really have the best interest of the encyclopedia at heart. Finally, I have to add that, even if you are right, you don't really fix the problem. By definition, every editor always makes at least 3 edits prior to ever creating an article (since you have to be autoconfirmed to do so). Even if we made the new article creation process friendlier, that wouldn't stop the situations where a person's first edit is deleted based on some policy. And I think it would be pure ridiculousness for an established editor who sees an edit that needs to be undone (for whatever reason), to have to look through that contributor's user history every time to determine, initially, whether or not that other person is new and thus needs to be hand-held when their "very first edit" is reverted per policy. Qwyrxian (talk) 01:55, 27 September 2010 (UTC)
I think Robert Horning is on the right track here, and I disagree with Qwyrxian's opinion that it is "ridiculousness" for an editor working on deletions to look at whether another editor is a newcomer or not. When I created my first article 15 months ago, another editor thanked me, welcomed me, and said that Wikipedia had needed that article for a long time. That response brought me on board and I've continued to write new articles that others find useful. Intelligent editors should be able to determine almost at a glance if a new article has potential, take a look at the user page and user talk page, and know if the contributor is new or experienced. I object to those editors who don't bother to take those few seconds and then don't go on to welcome and perhaps mentor a new contributor. Cullen328 (talk) 03:35, 27 September 2010 (UTC)
That's really more of an argument for better tools (that e.g. when tagging for deletion, warn the tagger if the creator appears to be a newbie by virtue of edit count or some other heuristic) rather than blanket disallowing tools as is being suggested. --Cybercobra (talk) 05:43, 27 September 2010 (UTC)
No, no, you (Cullen328) misunderstood me . My point was that even if we accepted Robert's proposal, the vast majority of newcomers would still be the "victim" of curt dismissals--because rather than create a new article, a newcomer is much more likely to make an edit first (and, in fact, has to, unless they're using Articles for creation). That is, I would be willing to bet that many many users start of by making some sort of edit to an existing article, and that, very many times, that edit was reverted, quite possibly with a very simple edit summary ("Rv POV;" "Per WP:EL, that link is not acceptable", or "rv personal opinion"). There is no way that, in the course of normal editing, I can research the contribution history of everyone I revert. Thus, even if we made deletion discussions "friendlier," the vast majority of new users will still at some point be reverted because they didn't follow a policy they didn't know anything about. Thus, Robert's proposal (which I don't agree with) doesn't even solve the problem he sets it out to solve. Qwyrxian (talk) 06:05, 27 September 2010 (UTC)

Perhaps you are right, Qwyrxian, but I suspect that most new editors don't put the first few articles they touch on their watchlists, so may well be unaware of reversions. They may well not care much if minor edits don't survive. However, creating a first new article is a major undertaking for many new editors, and to have someone experienced propose AfD without bothering to notice that the editor is new, is an unfriendly way to start out contributing new articles. I know from recent experience that this happens fairly often. Cullen328 (talk) 01:06, 28 September 2010 (UTC)

The subject here is nominating articles for deletion, not routine reversion of routine (usually minor) edits. I signed up for Wikipedia to write new articles and make significant improvements to existing articles. Routine copyediting is surely important but secondary to improving factual, verifiable content, in my view. Let's take every creative measure to welcome and mentor new editors who really want to add greater depth to the encyclopedia. I endorse the goal rather than any specific tool toward that end, as I don't yet use Twinkle or anything similar. Cullen328 (talk) 01:17, 28 September 2010 (UTC)
Strong oppose. Anybody who has done New Page Patrol will know that articles are created at a great rate and it is all that can be done to keep up with it. Lots of articles are created which are obviously misconceived and which need to be deleted. Scripts like Twinkle make it far easier to do this and, more importantly, to get it right. This means that people always get their notifications and everything is listed correctly. I think it is fundamentally mistaken to assume that slowly shepherding a no-hope article (on a demonstrably unencyclopaedic or non-notable subject) is kinder than killing it off quickly. It isn't! It encourages people to waste time their desperately trying to fix the unfixable, which is obviously going to lead to frustration. Improvement tags are for articles that can actually be improved. There is no point in tagging a pig with {{needs lipstick}}. Tags like "notability" are for articles where the notability is borderline or hard to verify, not for articles that say "Bert is a kid from Nebraska. Check out his Myspace page. LOLZ!!!". We need to get rid of articles with no chance of becoming encyclopaedic and there is no point in making this more difficult and error prone than it needs to be. If we want to improve the human side of the way we handle new users, like the aforementioned Bert, we need to do a better job of explaining why their page got deleted and how that doesn't mean that we hate them or that they can't try again if they can think of a more appropriate idea for an article. We should also consider whether welcome templates should be handed out automatically at account creation time, to reduce users who go wrong because they didn't get a welcome message, and whether watchlisting everything one edits should be the default behaviour for new users. --DanielRigal (talk) 19:15, 29 September 2010 (UTC)
I am enthusiastically in favor of an automatic (but very friendly and informative) welcome template for newly registered users. I am also in favor of not accepting any edits from a newly registered user until that user has visited his/her user page and (one would hope) read that welcome message. I know from experience that many articles proposed for AfD are very promising, and way above Bert's "effort" mentioned above. Cullen328 (talk) 15:30, 1 October 2010 (UTC)

Page Patroller Academy

In the interest of being pro-active here, I'm proposing something a little bit different than simply throttling the tools, and perhaps this is something akin to a Wikiproject. The overall objectives are to:

  1. Recruit new people into the ranks of folks who watch recent changes or new pages being created
  2. Establishing standards of conduct that would apply to those who patrol the edits, and to educate those in the patrol to Wikipedia policies and standards

BTW, I came across this page that has something similar but not exactly akin to this concept: Wikipedia:WikiProject Military history/Academy Rather than just keep the focus for a single topic theme, this is something for work done on the wiki as a whole.

There are several aspects of this that I've considered, including perhaps a Wikiversity learning module that would include some of the tools on that sister project that can help with quizzing and evaluations. I also want to let those who have been outstanding helpers to this project realize that their help is still needed, and in fact we need them to help get the "next generation" of patrollers up to speed.

There ought to be a mentoring program where some veteran page patroller would be "assigned" to work with somebody new to the task, where they would sort of "look over the shoulder" of what it is that the new patroller is doing, fix mistakes that happen along the way, recommend tools, and in short deal one on one with a single editor. This shouldn't take too much time, but going over the "candidate's" contributions to see if perhaps they are being over zealous or perhaps missing some points (calling an article "clean" when it should have been marked). Being a mentor would be completely voluntary and on a time as available basis, but if you do agree to mentor a particular editor you ought to see it through to the end where they "graduate" or whatever you want to call it.

A number of examples ought to be presented to potential page patrollers as a sort of "what would you do here" kind of thing. For the most part, we ought to take existing content that has problems and are both easy to spot and some that are borderline cases. This is to be a part of the learning, where some very experienced page patrollers would review these examples and come up with what the best practices ought to be in those cases. Show some things that an editor ought to consider in each case, and what kinds of templates ought to be put onto each example. The objective here is to set up a potential new patroller with some experience and training even before they first start to wade into the experience by acting.

This is also perhaps something that even the ArbCom could use, where they might insist that for an editor to continue to engage in patrols that they need to "re-take" the training program for new patrollers and be mentored again as an education process. It certainly would be useful to give them options besides doing nothing or an account ban.

Training is the key here, and something that doesn't seem to be happening as much as it could. Expecting volunteers to complete training isn't unknown in other volunteer organizations I've been involved with such as in Boy Scouting or with the Red Cross. If you are going to have access to tools, you ought to know how to use those tools and certainly you should learn that the tools are even available. If there is interest in this idea, I'm willing to work with those who might want to help out with an idea like this. We can debate what those "best practices" really ought to be, but it might be useful to set up a more permanent forum for such issues too. I know it can be difficult to get involved with Wikipedia in some way if you are new to the whole thing, and perhaps this might help to lower the bar a little bit in terms of getting into some of the things that can really help out this project as a whole. This also should ultimately put a "kinder, gentler" face to Wikipedia if it is done right. --Robert Horning (talk) 19:22, 27 September 2010 (UTC)

  • Oppose: Do we really need yet more process here? There is a huge new page backlog in any event and adding another hurdle for would-be patrollers is just going to put them off. IMHO this is a solution in search of a problem. If patrollers make mistakes, they should be informed of same. Continued errors should attract appropriate sanctions (withdrawal of access to automated tools, possibly blocks) based on the severity of the error. – ukexpat (talk) 19:59, 27 September 2010 (UTC)
I am not proposing anything for existing page patrollers..... they can go abut their business and keep doing what they've been doing. I'm just trying to propose a way to make sure that anybody new to the process knows what in the heck they are doing and making sure that people new to patrolling pages know what it is that they are doing. If you think that the learning curve for being effective at watching over recent changes is so low that a brand new editor who has only added a period or comma to an article is fully capable of being able to mark up articles with PROD and AfD requests.... be my guest and prove that to me. Telling people to click on recent changes (or whatever "special page" you are referring to for the task) and to "have fun" is precisely the problem we are facing right now.... too many mistakes are being made! Tell me.... who is watching the watcher? What is being done to make sure those who are adding these templates are doing the right thing and not being overly zealous, or passing on weak articles for that matter which need to be marked up and PROD'd? I hear that there is a backload, but rejecting this suggestion is to me seeming like you just want to keep the new page patrol to a small and select group.
Fine. If that is what you and the others watching new pages want, I'll wash my hands of this and move on to other things. I just thought I could offer a bit of help and direction. It also sounds like not only are other users being explicitly rejected from helping, but I am too. This is something I know a thing or two to help out in terms of putting something together, and I'm willing to do the work, but I need others to work with me too. This is a completely voluntary process and if you want to jump in with the sharks, there is nothing stopping an editor from doing just that. --Robert Horning (talk) 01:39, 28 September 2010 (UTC)
Go ahead and put something together if you want. My point is that IMHO Wikipedia is already way too process-heavy (just look at the endless, ridiculous navel contemplation we have had over getting "pending changes" - or whatever it's called now - implemented). – ukexpat (talk) 16:34, 28 September 2010 (UTC)
After reading this I spent an hour in Nominations for Deletions. I was surprised how often Deletion is the tool of first resort. Instead of tagging it for notability or needing cleanup or any of those things... editors just fire off Nom for Deletion and some little line about how they aren't notable. I think that behavior should be discouraged and I can think of no better way than forcing people to think (by way of effort or time or whatever) before they act than what you proposed. There are clearly cases where deletion is called for, begged for, but you really do turn off new editors by saying quickly (even correctly, often) "You're stuff is crap, deleted," instead of even just throwing up a "notability" tag which would help guide improvement. Nevertheless, it's a tough problem to solve because arguments cut so deeply both ways.
One issue I noted that should be fixed is that new editors seem much more comfortable and likely to comment on the deletion on the article's talk page (this is actually where I thought deletion discussions took place until I investigated & I've been using Wikipedia since 06). If there is anything worse than the threat of deletion it's the inability to contest it because of a lack of understanding the process. Everything else about an article is discussed on a the Article Talk page and it is natural that an editor would go there to discuss that article. I would strongly beg that Talk pages of articles that have been nominated for be deleted include a bright warning that deletion discussion should take place at XYZ, not on the talk page (otherwise it doesn't seem to count for anything), no the link in the top-hat is not sufficient because the natural behavior is to always goto the Talk page to talk about the article. Having your voice not heard would be even more frustrating to new editors. Please fix this. -- CáliKewlKid (talk) 03:37, 28 September 2010 (UTC)
See, this is what I actually still don't understand. If an article appears not notable, for me, I do one of three things:
  1. If the article is new, I run through the usual "is this an ad? is this just garbage?" If not, I either just watchlist it and wait or, if it's a little older start adding some tags.
  2. If I don't have time to do research on my own, I hit it with a notability tag, watchlist it, and try to check up again later.
  3. If I do have time, and I do a search on Google News/Archives, and or any relevant topic specific engines, look at the subject's official home page if they have one, and decide that the group is not notable, why do I have to tag the article? Why does bad content get to stay on the site any longer than it has to? It actually doesn't take all that much time in many cases to determine if something is likely to meet notability guidelines, especially for living people, companies, and bands. Another way of saying this is that if "the stuff" really "is crap," it should be deleted. Period. End of question. We're not here to make people feel better for contributing. This is not to say that you can't be polite about it--I often spend a fair amount of time helping new users understand why the process is occurring and what needs to be done to save the article. But I do that in the context of a deletion/prod discussion, so that users can understand that our work here occurs within a framework of processes and rules. I think we do the project far greater harm by letting someone coast along thinking that they're creating good articles when all we're really doing is waiting until the new editor is "strong enough" to handle the deletion discussion.
As for your final note, about adding another template to the talk page, that sounds reasonable. Even without a template, I think it can be useful to add a few notes explaining the AfD/Prod. And any responsible person tagging an article for deletion should be watchlisting it, and should be responsible if a new editor does make comments there but not the AfD. This plays into my larger point—we do have to be nice, helpful, and informative to new users, but we don't have to baby them. But we don't need to create some sort of "easy" starting point wherein we wait to enforce guidelines or policies until the editor "gets it" and is comfortable. Qwyrxian (talk) 04:06, 28 September 2010 (UTC)
"We're not here to make people feel better for contributing." - I think we should let people know that we are grateful that they have at least tried to contribute to the project. I'm not insisting necessarily that you personally should do all of the work, but I have taken my time in the past to offer words of encouragement to a new writer and contributor to this and other wiki projects. Wiki editing is not really so new anymore for many people, but I still find people who have never done it before and it can get very intimidating if you are new to the process. A friendly nature to new contributors is indeed something that needs to be examined, and I am suggesting that Wikipedia has become much more intimidating to start making your first contributions as compared to what I remember when I first started adding content to this project. I'm an old hand and I get frustrated with some of the the PROD'ing and AfD that have been put on pages I've made recently.... which is part of my beef here. I got thick skin so I can get over it, but I did think of what my reaction would have been had I been a new user and that happened to me... which is part of what I'm complaining about here. --Robert Horning (talk) 04:26, 28 September 2010 (UTC)
Qwyrxian, thank you for your response. Number 1 and Number 2 make perfect sense. Number 3 is what I find troublesome.
  1. Birth begins with crap, it's just usually how things get started, so to use the quality of the newly-born article as the deciding factor for deletion is crappy.
  2. On notability, how can you rely soley upon the Internet to determine it? If an editor is acting in good faith they may have more knowledge about the topic than you and specifically information that may not be available online*. Why not throw up the notability tag and see what the editors of the world have? (at the very least, it saves you the time if they actually do it!). Even if you are right -- and it's crap and should be deleted -- it means that you are assuming that the editor is acting in bad faith. It's a teachable moment for new editors and it would show the openness of the community. ( * In the case where you do have sufficient knowledge about the topic to be considered an expert, I would expect you'd note why the person or topic was not-notable in your nomination for deletion and not simply say: Not notable. These are not the cases I'm talking about, I'm referring specifically the half-dozen articles I reviewed that were newly created, by new editors who appeared to be acting in good faith.)
  3. If you want more volunteers and supporters Wikipedia's efforts, you are here to make them feel better for contributing. I'm nervous, even contributing to this big behemoth of a page/discussion, I'm constantly afraid I'm putting my remarks in the wrong section or not using the right wikitext to properly indent or that I'm generally screwing up in wiki-ettiquette. It's nerve-wracking! And if you didn't make me feel good about my contribution I'd go away (in this case responding to me at all makes me feel good).
  4. I'd feel good about my work -- even if I was wrong -- if you explained to me why. If someone throws up a notability tag and I can't come up with a good response -- and then it gets nominated for deletion -- well, I had my chance. My bad -- but deletion is just like having your English teacher tear up your homework for getting their required header wrong.
The community can choose to spurn those who "jump in" by creating an article and invalidate their efforts by immediately nominating it for deletion but that is a path that will invariably lead to less contributors because even smart people are going to make mistakes in a system as complex as this. -- CáliKewlKid (talk) 03:36, 29 September 2010 (UTC)
Why do you say that we must assume that a newbie who creates an article about a non-notable subject is acting in bad faith? This is simply wrong. I see articles fairly often from new people who honestly believe that Wikipedia desperately wants an article about the small businesses they're opening tomorrow, or the tiny club at their church, or other WP:ORG-failing groups.
When I see someone create such articles, I never say to myself, "Well, there's a bad person who only wants to hurt the encyclopedia by filling it with WP:Garbage!" Can't you assume a little good faith about my motivations? WhatamIdoing (talk) 04:35, 29 September 2010 (UTC)
I do have faith in your motivations! My point is not that you won't ultimately prevail in your assertion that an article should be deleted. My point is that you are not omnipotent enough to be able to determine whether a topic is inherently notable and that creator and editors of the article may be better equipped. If we assume they are acting in good faith then why not start by encouraging them? Tag it as failing to meet notability guidelines instead of immediately nominating it for deletion? It would be a divine being, indeed, for one to know so much about every topic as to know whether it was notable or not. The good faith effort should start with the "This doesn't seem notable to me, anyone care to make it better?" not "This doesn't seem notable to me, let's delete it!" (This clearly does not apply in many instances of spam articles or obvious vandalism but I'm only speaking to those instances where it would) -- CáliKewlKid (talk) 07:23, 29 September 2010 (UTC)
This, like so many things, comes down to a fundamental disagreement in philosophy, focusing on how to interpret the intersection between WP:V and WP:CIVIL. As a (mostly) immediatist, my opinion is that articles in mainspace should meet a certain minimum set of criteria. That means verification (reliable sources), and either have proven notability or some indication that notability is likely. My opinion is that, barring speedy situations, the 7 days you get by prod or by AfD are sufficient to get that info going. My further opinion is that while we need to be civil, we don't need to be so civil that we assume people new to Wikipedia are actually able to follow our policies without knowing them. I think that, now that we have a core encyclopedia covering a very wide range of topics, odds are greater than any given new topic is non-notable than notable (precisely because the vast majority of things, people, companies, bands, concepts, etc., are, by our standards, non-notable). You, I think, are arguing that civility (and the consequent goal of getting more editors) outweighs the need to have articles meet a minimum standard before appearing in mainspace (as a side note, I am of the opinion that we should at least consider userfying or Article incubating after deletion discussions more often than we do). To sum up, in response to just your final sentence, I actually do believe that, if something has no evidence of notability, and I can't find any with the tools I have, the correct, policy-based approach to take is to nominate it for deletion. Qwyrxian (talk) 08:30, 29 September 2010 (UTC)
Ah, but I am omniscient enough to know whether a topic is inherently notable. So are you -- because nothing is inherently notable. Notability requires verifiable evidence.
I'm also experienced enough to know that "Joe's Hamburger Stand, grand opening tomorrow!" doesn't meet Wikipedia's standards, and that the same is true for "Campground Troop X293, which now has seventeen members!" There's no good reason for me to slap {{notability}} at the top of these non-compliant articles rather than properly WP:PRODding them. If the newbie wants to prove me wrong, he can do it just as easily during the five-day prod cycle as he can with a notability tag on the top. WhatamIdoing (talk) 14:02, 29 September 2010 (UTC)
Both of those examples fall under A7, not prod. — Timneu22 · talk 14:07, 29 September 2010 (UTC)
Maybe, and maybe not. It depends on what the rest of the page says. For myself, I'm far more likely to use prod than CSD in non-vandalism cases. WhatamIdoing (talk) 14:28, 29 September 2010 (UTC)
Ah, there's my problem. I was under the distinct impression that citations were not a requirement to add a Wikipedia page, clearly if nothing is inherently notable then the de facto requirement to add a Wikipedia article is proving notability when initially posting. I apologize and withdraw my concerns. -- CáliKewlKid (talk) 21:24, 29 September 2010 (UTC)

I'm still trying to figure out why there is opposition to this idea or what the opposition really is trying to explain as a reason for not doing this. The only lucid argument is more of a feature creep issue, where Wikipedia is already too bureaucratic. Fine, I can accept that to a point.

There have been some suggestions in terms of how to patrol pages effectively that have been opinionated on this section of the Village Pump that I think ought to be somehow preserved and even encouraged for other users to emulate. Obviously there have been some very dedicated people who are performing a really useful service to the community, but there are certainly areas of dispute and different philosophies in terms of how you deal with the massive crushing influx of new content that is constantly added to Wikipedia everyday. At the very least, if you are interested in helping out with this idea, please at least acknowledge that fact.

I'm trying to bring this back on-topic at least so far as if this concept of a page patroller academy is a good idea or not. There is much I could learn from those who are experienced in this area, and I'd love to be able to let you pass that knowledge onto me and to other potential patrollers. If this isn't the way to get that knowledge passed around, they how else are we going to get it done? Either that or I want some people to admit that they are more than willing to shoulder all of the responsibility for this part of Wikipedia and don't want anybody else participating. But if that is the case, don't complain that your workload here is overwhelming. --Robert Horning (talk) 16:20, 29 September 2010 (UTC)

I have been doing NPP for several months now (since late May or so), and your idea isn't too bad. The problem is, it's very difficult to get anyone to do it at all, and putting more process in isn't going to help get more people in. One of the issues is that, if you haven't done NPP before, you'd be shocked at the amount of useless pages that come up. For instance, in under a minute, I tagged Lamuria band for the second time; it was a garage band from Indonesia (formed 3 weeks ago, 4 at the most, if I remember correctly), written in Indonesian. Given how many of those types of pages pop up, it's sometimes difficult to distinguish between articles that might actually make it and articles that are totally useless. I've had to rescue a few articles translated from ja-wiki because most people would have thought it was G1 Engrish. I know enough Japanese to fix those sorts of articles, but most people don't; it's worse when some article in Arabic or Sinhalese pops up, because almost no one knows those languages (and in the case of Sinhalese, many computers can't even support the script). There are so few people working there that the backlog can build up incredibly quickly, and the last thing we want is another Slow Blind Driveway sneaking through, so you have to make a very quick decision. There's also the issue of copyvios, which I brought up in another section; copyvios don't necessarily take people familiar with WP to detect, and those are potentially the biggest problem we face on NPP. Training people would help get them to make better decisions; however, getting people through the training would be very hard, because NPP is very high-stress when you first start. The Blade of the Northern Lights (話して下さい) 18:32, 29 September 2010 (UTC) For those of you who don't know what I mean by Slow Blind Driveway, it's this. This is the sort of thing one needs to learn to look for on NPP; if it doesn't get zapped right away, it might languish for years; check out the full list. The Blade of the Northern Lights (話して下さい) 23:06, 29 September 2010 (UTC)
I believe the digression is my fault, apologies, I had been trying to add my thoughts to the debate on the topic of biting newbies with immediate prods (Prod Biting?). A NPP Academy sounds like an excellent idea so long as it's purpose is instructional, not policy-based. In other words, having experienced moderators provide guidance, tips and perhaps a checklist on NPP seems entirely worthwhile. Requiring someone be 'certified', though, would not. -- CáliKewlKid (talk) 21:24, 29 September 2010 (UTC)
No problems; I think you might be on to something. Right before I got into NPP, I used to do RC, and I managed to tag Oh Teacher (cartoon) as A7, without realizing that Disney cartoons are inherently notable. A few days ago, I came across an A7 tag for KPHN, a Disney radio station; that may have been avoided if we knew. To be honest, I haven't seen many bad taggings; usually, the declines are just a difference in interpretation (such as Tunnu Ki Tina, which I tagged for G1 (and stand by it, I challenge anyone to make any sense of it)). But I can also see where there would be benefits; I think I'd have to see it in action before I make judgments. If it does go through, of course, I'd be more than happy to offer my services. Of course, one of the reasons I started on NPP was because there were so few people doing it that I could make a substantial impact, but... </getting far afield>. The Blade of the Northern Lights (話して下さい) 23:13, 29 September 2010 (UTC)
The only "certification" would be only if somebody was abusing the process and it was suggested by ArbCom or a moderator to go through the training process as a way to keep their account or access to certain tools. It could be a pro-active step rather than a negative one to tell people to go away because they aren't playing nice with others. This should be otherwise a completely voluntary process where certainly somebody could jump in right away and just start doing page patrols, but I think it ought to be recommended to at least read some of the "best practices" that experienced users have been doing. It is this knowledge that I'm trying to preserve. --Robert Horning (talk) 01:57, 30 September 2010 (UTC)
Now that I could certainly agree to. The Blade of the Northern Lights (話して下さい) 02:29, 30 September 2010 (UTC)
I'll admit that I was one of the rubberstamping NPPers, after reading this thread I'm significantly more cautious (Improvement tagging, Prodding, then CSD as a last resort). I'm now on the opposite wing of trying to throw the breaks on the Delete train and trying to get the original authors to improve the article. I guess I'd rather see the CSD templates (and automated tools that use them) require a explanation to be typed out. Just a simple "click click" to put the article on track to CSDland is much too fast for my new tastes. Hasteur (talk) 18:18, 30 September 2010 (UTC)
I did that for months before I realized Twinkle would make it easier, and I didn't notice any change in my behavior. All I found was that Twinkle made it easier to keep track of what I had tagged, and to go back to it if the tag had been removed so I could figure out what went wrong and/or put it back on (depending on who removed it). Of course, if an article is anything approaching salvageable, I will do what I can (my personal specialty is copyediting, especially with translated ja-wiki articles) and tell the author that their work is a good start, and I treat speedy deletion as a last resort; however, I didn't find that switching to Twinkle made me more aggressive, just that it made it easier to tag pages. The Blade of the Northern Lights (話して下さい) 19:26, 30 September 2010 (UTC)

On the original proposal (sorry if we got sidetracked), I have no problem with a New Page Patroller Academy, so long as it is neither mandatory nor excessive. The devil, of course, is in the details, and that is what much of the discussion has been about. For example, I would be opposed to a learning module that taught new page patrollers that the default is either researching or tagging, and prodding/CSDing is only for extreme circumstances. So part of the question here isn't "should we have an NPP Academy," it's, "Can we agree on what an NPP Academy should teach/say?" As for making it mandatory, I think it's futile--it's usually nearly trivially easy to blaze through any but the best designed e-learning modules without actually paying attention, so anyone who doesn't care to read what's there wouldn't really be forced to learn anything. If someone isn't patrolling properly, I'd prefer mandatory mentoring (the pattern of "You have 2 choices: Stop doing task X, or accept a mentor who will teach you how to do task X."). The goal of the Academy should be to provide a set of best practices and review of the appropriate policies so that those who want to start NPP but aren't really sure about how to go about it could get everything packaged from one easy-to-use source. As a final note, one thing you have to consider whenever you make a training program is that you will need people to maintain it. Since consensus can and does change on Wikipedia, including both policy changes and standard interpretations of policy, we'll need people to continually be making sure the Academy matches the current state of the Wiki. Qwyrxian (talk) 23:35, 30 September 2010 (UTC)

Should solution focus on encouragement?

Wikipedia has a goal

  • It needs many users to fulfill that goal so must encourage new people to join

There are 2 issues
1. Wikipedia is getting garbage

  • We have CSD, AfD and PROD for removing it
  • We have a myriad of tags for improving it

2. Users are feeling abused and are either

  • Leaving
  • Becoming vandals
  • Learning the rules

Above all else, the system needs to encourage people to join up. The system also needs to encourage them to learn the rules.

CSD, AfD and PROD seem to be the problem here. Maybe they should be replaced with something else. An example would be a new article graduation program. All new articles would be held in a holding area and, when ready, they graduate to Wikipedia. Maybe Wikia could be the holding space, then nothing would need to be deleted and people wouldn't feel abused. This way people are encouraged to learn the rules so their article can graduate to Wikipedia. I'm not saying this is the solution. This is just an example. I believe we need to think "out of the box" rather than trying to patch up a system with so many issues.

I believe the solution should focus on encouraging users first and keeping the garbage out second. Contrary ideas are welcome and encouraged. -      Hydroxonium (talk) 03:03, 4 October 2010 (UTC)

All of this is still based on what I think is a very mistaken idea--that the majority (or even a substantial minority) of our good contributors come from people who come to Wikipedia to create a new article. I sincerely doubt that that is true anymore. In fact, I've already gone so far as to say that, if we're talking about an editor who isn't part of the under-served community (non-U.S., non-European countries, etc.), then if they come here with the expressed intent of creating an article, they probably don't have the motives or inclination needed to become a long-term, positive contributor to the project. I would be willing to bet that the vast majority of good contributors who've joined in the last few years are much more like myself: we come to Wikipedia for information. Maybe we spot something wrong (from a "fact" to a simple typo), and we actually decide to have a go at making a change. Later (in some cases, maybe years later), some particular issue/article really catches our eye, and we end up doing some substantial editing. In that process, maybe we get exposed to one or two of the policies governing WP articles (like when we try to add the Truth but find out that WP isn't really about the Truth, but about verifiability). Some editors might stay around because they have a long term interest in keeping some aspect of Wikipedia updated (like someone interested in sports or pop culture). Others might want to work with a contentious topic, although those people's success will depend on their ability to be collaborators rather than combatants. Some (probably a smaller number) might simply like the idea of preserving and keeping what is here at a high level of quality (the gnomes and vandal fighters). An even smaller number might actually be interested less in content, and more in the behind the scenes work. In any event, none of these are people who came here with the intention of making a new article. Some may actually never author a new article (although they may do substantial overhauls of existing articles).
My point behind all of this is that I disbelieve the premise that the people we supposedly "lose" because of the deletion process is either 1) substantial or 2) meaningful. I think we need to put far more effort into the way we deal with people on a day-to-day level--in how we handle someone adding Truth to an article, on how we coach people to add/format references, on how we conduct ourselves in content disputes. Right now, I think the system does what it should--it separates the wheat from the chaff, both in terms of articles and in terms of editors. Qwyrxian (talk) 04:05, 4 October 2010 (UTC)
You are correct, it isn't true; see my statistics. Users who start by editing an existing page outnumber those who create new articles by ~3:1 (though that's only looking at the very first edit, in the future I'd like to expand it to the first N edits). As to the proposal, I've written about that as well; the problem is that the majority of articles deleted are in fact, unsalvageable. There is no amount of editing that will make a non-notable subject notable. In most cases, the articles are just as inappropriate for Wikia, which has its own standards – it isn't just a dumping ground for what we don't want. Mr.Z-man 04:39, 4 October 2010 (UTC)
While I appreciate the statistics, I think this is looking at the problem in the wrong way. By your own statistics you are quoting here, roughly 25% of new users (at least) are creating new articles as their first edit. That sounds like a huge number of people and certainly contributes substantially to the new page patrol. A more interesting statistic to look at would be how many non-vandalism/troll/test new pages are created by new contributors vs. veteran editors. How many of the new pages are created by new editors genuinely trying to expand Wikipedia due to their different background that they bring to this project? My contention earlier is that those who are patrolling these new pages are encountering and interacting with these new contributors, but that those who are doing the page patrols aren't really trained, have the proper tools, and apparently even have the patience to deal with these new contributors. This is perhaps one of several reasons why new contributors aren't coming into Wikipedia. It is a problem in general, in spite of the fact that as a percentage of the population involved far more people edit the German edition of Wikipedia than English speakers contribute to the English language edition of Wikipedia, even if you restrict the numbers to just native born English speakers. Why is that? --Robert Horning (talk) 00:09, 5 October 2010 (UTC)
As someone from the U.S., I would honestly say it has far far more to do with differences between the two countries in general education level, the social value of knowledge and academic pursuits, and simple demographics. Robert, I'm assuming you NPP, right? Do you really regularly encounter new articles whose subjects meet notability guidelines, or are ever likely to meet them? If so, how often, and on what kinds of topics? I patrol recent changes rather than new pages, so maybe my impression is skewed, but I really, honestly, in my heart of hearts, believe that most of those 25% are people coming to either vandalize, attack, or promote something in a way that means that the subject will never meet Wikipedia's standards. At best, the third group there might, in a few instances, be shown the policies and guidelines we have, and shown how just because something exists, doesn't mean it gets a WP page. But I really don't believe that anything we do will "save" the majority of those people. Finally, did I miss statistics somewhere? Is there some evidence that we're not getting substantial/enough new editors? Qwyrxian (talk) 00:24, 5 October 2010 (UTC)
I am not disputing that there are trolls out there who both explicitly and maliciously attack Wikipedia as a hobby, some who simply choose to experiment with crazy things on Wikipedia like adding a crude joke onto an article or doing some other really weird stuff, or make up stuff out of whole cloth. I've seen just about everything you can throw at me in that regard from companies hoping to use Wikipedia as a promotional vehicle (it gets you higher Google rank and has been advertised explicitly as such if your company or product has a link on a Wikipedia page) or for people who write up articles about their favorite school teachers or pets. I am not disputing that there is junk that is being added that needs to be culled. Don't get me wrong here and I'm sure I can cite many other kinds of articles that are created which are certainly deserving of a speedy deletion.
On the other hand, it is also very easy if you are patrolling changes to the wiki (new pages or recent changes) to get this mentality that all things contributed are automatically junk and you get punchy to the point that you start calling everything garbage. After dealing with so many trolls you can, if you aren't careful, get the attitude that almost everybody and certainly anybody new is a troll. On smaller wikis I do indeed give extra review on new contributors as opposed to old hands in terms of patrolling the edits. If there is a familiar name who did an edit, I'll let is pass by often without even bothering to patrol. I do that on my watchlist even here on Wikipedia. What I'm trying to say, however, is that we must assume good faith and there is some content being added that while it may not meet quality standards, is something useful for adding to Wikipedia. As mentioned above, just because it is lousy quality does not mean it has to be subject to a speedy deletion. This is a work in progress and sometimes articles have to start from some very lousy quality. --Robert Horning (talk) 18:12, 5 October 2010 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Vandalism/Sandbox has been marked as a policy

Wikipedia:Vandalism/Sandbox (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 October 2010 (UTC)

and now it's been removed. It's just a page for sandboxing possible changes to the real policy page, nothing to see here. Beeblebrox (talk) 17:07, 6 October 2010 (UTC)

Wikipedia:WikiProject Airlines/Notability has been marked as a guideline

Wikipedia:WikiProject Airlines/Notability (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, 6 October 2010 (UTC)

Although in reality it is the lack of a new guideline, I marked it as such so that persons looking for something like this could find it more easily and see that we do not have a specific guideline for airlines at this time, despite three attempts to formulate one. Beeblebrox (talk) 16:19, 6 October 2010 (UTC)

When is an image too low quality to include?

This is a general question arising from a specific case. When, if ever, is a low quality picture worse than having no picture? In the instant case, User:ElKevbo removed this image of John Calipari from his article because it was a poor quality picture. I admit I wish I had a better one, but this is what I could get with a 12x zoom camera from ten or fifteen rows back across the court at Rupp. Still, this does show what Calipari looks like and, absent a physical description in the article (which most articles don't and shouldn't have), it provides the only information about his appearance to the reader. I contend that a project that relies on images with free licenses can't expect to get "glamor shots" for every article, and that almost any picture is better than no picture. ElKevbo disagrees, which is certainly fine. We posted this particular case on the article's talk page, where it has generated no commentary outside the two of us. I'm not really looking for commentary on the instant case, but more for some guidance in general about how poor a photo has to be before it shouldn't be included in an article that is otherwise unillustrated. Acdixon (talk contribs count) 17:43, 30 September 2010 (UTC)

It's not a great picture, but it's better than nothing; it's clear enough to be informative. I see the editor who removed it quoted WP:BLP in his edit summary as at least partial justification, but the only BLP concern regarding images is that the image not cast the subject "in a false light." There's nothing about concern that an amateur photo may simply not be the most flattering. It's not like you caught him in a bathroom stall; he's on the bench at a game, which is what he does for a living. I say restore it. postdlf (talk) 18:00, 30 September 2010 (UTC)
Thanks for that feedback on this particular case. Do you have any suggestions regarding a general guideline about picture quality and inclusion? I also posted photos of similar quality (or lack thereof, I suppose) of John Wall, John Robic, Orlando Antigua, Tony Delk, and Rod Strickland among others. (All were taken from the same camera, same location, same game.) Again, none of these articles was illustrated before. In general, how bad do you think a photo has to be before it is worse than having no photo at all? Acdixon (talk contribs count) 18:35, 30 September 2010 (UTC)
I doubt we need a guideline on this. it's a matter of pure aesthetic common sense. If you tun into a conflict with a user over a particular image, do an RfC to get a wider opinion. --Ludwigs2 18:44, 30 September 2010 (UTC)
The folks over at Wikimedia Commons might be able to GIMP it, to sharpen it up a bit. Here is their Graphic Lab/Photography workshop. A 'despeckle' will also smooth out some of the grain.--Aspro (talk) 19:12, 30 September 2010 (UTC)

(I guess Acdixon forgot to let me know about this conversation...) As the person who originally removed the photo, I disagree with the blanket assertion that "low-quality photos are better than nothing." With that said, my concern here is not only the poor quality of the photo (no blame placed on the photographer; you play the hand you're dealt!) but the composition of the photo. It just seems oddly disrespectful that the image we want to show the world is the guy hunched over and frowning. If that is how he usually sits and looks then it might be ok. But presumably this was just poor timing for the photo. Those two factors combined motivated me to remove the photo. ElKevbo (talk) 19:30, 4 October 2010 (UTC)

His posture looks like someone sitting on a folding chair at a basketball game. And his frown communicates that he's concerned about the game. On those scores, it's a very appropriate news photo-esque picture of a basketball coach: aside from the technical issues, I wouldn't be shocked to see something very much like it in Sports Illustrated. So you're going to have to better explain how it is "disrespectful", because no one else seems to agree with you right now that the image should stay out. No subject is entitled to only being portrayed by professional glamor shots. postdlf (talk) 19:43, 4 October 2010 (UTC)
The photo is of acceptable quality and in no way disrespectful. I am surprised it was deleted from the article. Darrell_Greenwood (talk) 19:33, 7 October 2010 (UTC)

'Year' and 'Month' articles

No idea where to post this (obviously not on any single year article) so here goes...

The 'Year' and articles, e.g. 1997, are arguably one of the most useful features of Wikipedia for finding out signifricant events of the year, and important events do seem to get listed there. However some events are more important than others. For example, in teh 1997 article;

1 July – The United Kingdom hands sovereignty of Hong Kong to the People's Republic of China.

is (arguably!) more importnat than:

11 July – Thailand's worst hotel fire at Pattaya kills 90.

Obviously I'd like to propose some sort of policy whereby very important date events are in bold or something, while the others are left alone. I'm aware of the inheren problems with this - and indeed fully expect someone to reply to this asserting that Thailand's hotel fire is indeed more important than the handover of Hong Kong - and I am afraid I really don't have a solution to propose. I just experience this issue in differentiating important events whenever I look at year articlel and wanted to see, first of all, if there's already been any discussion on this topic?

--Christopher (talk) 19:19, 4 October 2010 (UTC)

I can see where something like this might spawn numerous edit wars unless some specific criteria were developed. These pages are fairly popular and it might be helpful to have the most significant events highlighted, it should be a relatively small number though; less than 20% say.--RDBury (talk) 10:01, 5 October 2010 (UTC)
"Encyclopaedically significant" is a passable phrase. 20% would be far to many in my opinion, maybe 6 to 12 per year. Even then they may be better abstracted into a short lead. Rich Farmbrough, 16:49, 7 October 2010 (UTC).

Request for picture template

At Talk:Dan Fefferman there is a disagreement about the template that requests a picture of the subject of a biography. One editor put one on and then another, who seems to know the person in the article, took it off and said he would provide a picture when he next had a chance to photograph the person. The first editor then put it back on. I removed it again since it didn't seem like it was needed and I thought they had come to some kind of agreement. The first editor then reversed my action and put it back on. I don't think it's such a big thing, but is there some kind of policy about the use of this template? Thanks. Kitfoxxe (talk) 23:58, 5 October 2010 (UTC)

I am the person who removed the template. I didn't think it was a major problem, it just clutters up the article. Steve Dufour (talk) 01:30, 6 October 2010 (UTC)
File:Replace this image male.svg is widely used on Wikipedia, on over 100 articles. It serves a very useful purpose in encouraging obtaining free use media for the project, and it should remain on the article page until a suitable free use image is available. -- Cirt (talk) 08:57, 6 October 2010 (UTC)
Should it, really? The file page says there was no consensus in 2008. East of Borschov 09:39, 6 October 2010 (UTC)
I am probably the only person on WP who is likely to provide a photo of Dr. Fefferman and I already got the message that one is requested. Steve Dufour (talk) 16:24, 6 October 2010 (UTC)
There is a more low-profile way to go about this, you can add {{reqphoto}} to the talk page. Alternately you can add the "needs-photo=yes" parameter to {{WPBIO}} on the talk page. However, like other templates, it probably shouldn't be removed until the problem actually is fixed, as opposed to someone being aware of it and planning to do something about it later. In either event it hardly seems like it is worth edit warring over. Beeblebrox (talk) 16:46, 6 October 2010 (UTC)
"However, like other templates, it probably shouldn't be removed until the problem actually is fixed, as opposed to someone being aware of it and planning to do something about it later." - I agree with this comment by Beeblebrox (talk · contribs). -- Cirt (talk) 16:58, 6 October 2010 (UTC)
The low-profile method (talk page) doesn't get photos. In my experience, the high-profile method (the picture template right there on the article) does. Downside: if I add the template I tend to get the emails from people who have a photo! And sometimes have to explain free content to them. But it does net us pictures, if not at a blazing rate. Similar placeholders are commonly used on other large wikis, e.g. fr:wp.
Steve - if you will have a photo in future that's excellent - but until you do, you don't. So it would likely be a better idea not to remove the generic request until it is actually fulfilled in reality. It does make Wikipedia look unfinished ... but that's because it is unfinished - David Gerard (talk) 19:56, 6 October 2010 (UTC)
If it was me I would be more likely to provide a picture if there was a little more politeness involved, rather than maybe a hint of bullying. Kitfoxxe (talk) 12:51, 7 October 2010 (UTC)

Surnames and disambiguation

Recently Vogler, a hill range in Germany, was moved to Vogler (mountain range) and Vogler turned into a list of people with the surname Vogler. This seems the wrong way round - a list has become the primary article. If we follow this precedent, many of our articles could turn into lists of names or disambiguation (dab) pages. There appears to be no convention for this: Hill and Miller are primary topics, Cooper is a dab page. There are also several ways of dealing with surnames e.g. Hill (surname), Carder (name), List of people with surname Miller, as well as a list on a dab page. Would it make sense to have a set of conventions here e.g. all surname pages are called FOO (surname); all surname lists over 5 names have their own page called FOO (surname); if under 5 names they are listed on a FOO (disambiguation) page, leaving the primary topic (often the one after whom they were originally named) as FOO. What do fellow Wikipedians think? --Bermicourt (talk) 07:31, 9 October 2010 (UTC)

The main issues is, which is what the reason is more likely to be looking for? Hill is obviously going to be about the topographical feature, but this isn't nessesarily true for something like Vogler (note: I dunno in this case if it is or isn't). ♫ Melodia Chaconne ♫ (talk) 14:08, 9 October 2010 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Naming conventions (Tibetan)

I wrote up a new proposal for Tibetan naming conventions in late April, which met with predominantly favorable responses on the proposal's talk page. On the Naming conventions talk page, I have raised the question of how we can move toward making this a policy.—Nat Krause(Talk!·What have I done?) 01:18, 10 October 2010 (UTC)

Community Sanctions noticeboard

Hi, there is currently a proposal at Wikipedia:Administrators' noticeboard#How to enforce that might involve reactivating WP:CSN, but as a community-run version of Arbitration Enforcement board. Input would be appreciated over there. Thanks, The WordsmithCommunicate 01:55, 10 October 2010 (UTC)

What say we Soft Block those problematic school IPs (With New Account CREATION Enabled)

I understand that it is possible to soft-block an IP or even a range of IPs, so that only name users can edit from those accounts, yet new name-user creation is still enabled from that IP (or IP range). It can also be hardblocked so only previously autoconfimed users can edit from that IP or range, and no new once can be created. I'm suggesting only the FIRST type of soft block, for bad school IPs.

If a school IP is noted that is responsible for multiple vandalisms (and they usually are), I propose that they simply be soft-blocked in the first way, so that name-users can still register. That way, students who want to edit sprotected articles must wait 4 days to become an auto-confirmed name-user, and they are thus responsible for that name-account. It takes 4 days for a name to "mature" and autoconfirm before it can name-edit sprotected articles (typical school subjects), and must make 10 "good edits". It's really no fun for a school vandal to lose that 4 days and the work of 10 good edits, as a result of one vandalism, which will get a nameuser blocked for a long time. Schools and their students learn very quickly this is no fun. 4 days is a long time to wait, if you intend to do mischief, especially if you have to wait that long, EVERY time you vandalize (since vandal-only nameusers are typically indef blocked after only one or two warnings). But good editors only have to wait that time ONCE, and then only for sprotected articles (meanwhile they can edit open articles).

No email address is needed for autoconfirm nameuser editing, as you know, although people have to remember the passwords that go with their names if they have no email. Keeping track of all this (what username goes with which password) is more work than the average vandal in the average school wants to do, to ripen a "sock" just to vandalize in the typical school way (which is to write "Joey is ghey" in some article on hydrogen or George Washington). This type of vandal is not the socking kind. This kind of school vandal needs immediate gratification. So if we soft block these problematic IP's, we simply remove immediate gratification, without doing much to inhibit the editing of non-vandal students.

Here's an example of the kind of page I see all the time. It just vandalized a science page: [8]. SBHarris 21:14, 6 October 2010 (UTC)

  • Support - obvious smart move is obvious. Should have been done quite some time ago. Yes, blah blah blah, free encyclopedia that anyone can edit, blah. We write for readers, and it is better to prevent them from seeing stupid (and possibly BLP violating) misinformation. With the mindless and inexplicable (in real-world terms; the usual Wikipedia kneejerk opposition to anything remotely resembling logic or change is depressingly predictable) opposition to rolling out FlaggedRevs projectwide, this is the only solution for combating petty vandalism that affects not only the reader's ability to find useful and reliable information, it also affects our reputation. → ROUX  21:38, 6 October 2010 (UTC)
The vast majority of vandalism from school IPs is to unprotected articles - it's because they can edit they get blocked. This means you block the IP with a message encouraging them to create an account, they immediately create an account, vandalise, and then after the autoblock wears off you have no idea which school IP needs re-blocking for creating vandal accounts. As long as vandals can readily create accounts in 10 seconds you might as well not block their IP at all. -- zzuuzz (talk) 21:40, 6 October 2010 (UTC)
It's because schools often never DO get blocked for serious amounts of time "for creating vandal accounts" that I'm making this argument in the first place! If you PERSONALLY are willing to block a school IP for any serious amount of time, for "creating vandal edits", then you can prove your sincerity by blocking the one above! If not, let me suggest you are not making a serious argument.

That said, it goes without saying (I thought) that the above policy naturally dovetails with our present tendency to sprotect "school subjects" like U.S. President bios, knowing that students often vandalise them in frustration out of being forced to do "research" on them. I'm not convinced that all or even most school vandalism is because the student wants to vandalise SOMETHING, and will go to arcane subjects like Lie algebra if prevented from vandalizing Abraham Lincoln. But the experiment needs to be done, in order to see.

One can always argue that any proactive preventive measures should never be undertaken to prevent criminal activity, since this only make the criminals do more clever things. So, don't bother to lock the doors, etc. I think this is self-evidently wrong, and so I'm not going to bother defending against that view. Which I think is what you're suggesting. SBHarris 21:54, 6 October 2010 (UTC)

Addendum to zzuuzz: I see your money is where your mouth is. Thanks for that block! SBHarris 22:00, 6 October 2010 (UTC)
As for the rest, please check my blocking log, and those of other admins who regularly deal with vandalism. Additionally, most of the time I personally have around half a million school IPs under (ACB) rangeblocks. There is not enough time in the day to block enough schools. They will vandalise almost anything. -- zzuuzz (talk) 22:01, 6 October 2010 (UTC)
Excellent! Your name is on my list for go-to admins for problematic schools. There are many who won't do anything. Thanks again. SBHarris 22:04, 6 October 2010 (UTC)
My guess is that AIV won't block because they haven't vandalised recently. That rule is there because there are simply too many vandals to block if you don't only go for the recent ones. And then the backlogs build up and you get more vandalism. I still think allowing account creation by default is a bad idea. The mechanisms for requesting account creation, where there is no other way of doing so, work well enough most of the time. -- zzuuzz (talk) 22:13, 6 October 2010 (UTC)
I'm editing from a school that's been blocked right now. That block has already stopped a ton of vandalism like this. Thing is, it's all too easy to create an account to vandalise from if the block doesn't prevent that as well, so I'd probably support the harder block if possible. Alzarian16 (talk) 10:00, 7 October 2010 (UTC)
  • Oppose - I believe the way forward is to support the new facility where edits for articles which tend to be vandalised need to be confirmed by an established editor before they are generally visible. All school articles would rapidly get marked that way so their pupils couldn't get their vandalism immediately visible. I believe in letting children have a go at editing even if it does mean dealing with the vandals. Also I'd like to not encourage vandals to create accounts as it makes it harder to spot their vandalism. Dmcq (talk) 10:57, 7 October 2010 (UTC)
  • Support - There are some people in public institutions that want to help Wikipedia, and we should not deny them that chance. Either that, or we should include a link to WP:ACC in the schoolblock template. Ajraddatz (Talk) 15:32, 8 October 2010 (UTC)
  • Oppose per WP:CREEP. Admins need flexibility to deal with subtly different situations in subtly different ways. Sometimes an IP merits a softblock, and sometimes a hardblock, and we don't need to write into policy when these are mandated. --Jayron32 04:50, 9 October 2010 (UTC)
  • Support as a guideline. Jayron is quite right that we should not forbid hardblocks of school IPs, if indeed this is the best cost/benefit tradeoff for a given school (ideally with a link to WP:ACC as Ajraddatz suggested). On the other hand, some students only have access to the Internet at school, and to deny them participation in the project would eliminate many who would go on to be good editors, so I see a hardblock as a high cost measure. Don't forget that although they may be young, in certain topic areas (e.g. popular culture) they're often the most knowledgable contributor in a specialized area. Dcoetzee 06:30, 9 October 2010 (UTC)
  • Oppose - Agreeing with Jayron32 and WP:CREEP that this is a needless policy. There are plenty of tools available to admins to deal with this situation. If there is a block of IP addresses that tend to vandalize, it will get noticed and dealt with. At the very least, we should continue to assume good faith on the part of contributors unless they prove to be something else. If this is a case of educating admins, so be it, but policies like requiring a certain number of good edits isn't the answer here either. What else is being proposed that existing policies and tools aren't handling already? --Robert Horning (talk) 20:09, 9 October 2010 (UTC)
You can't "educate" anybody about a policy until a policy exists. Are there indeed policies or guidelines for admins on how long to hardblock or softblock a school shared IP address, for what frequencies of vandalisms, over time? If you could point out this policy, I could share it with administrators who seem to believe that blocking school IPs for more than 48 hours is not a good idea, since it contradictes the idea that "anyone can edit." So educate ME, here. SBHarris 22:44, 10 October 2010 (UTC)
If you get to the position of being an administrator, you shouldn't have to be hand fed every single rule. If some admins don't feel compelled to perform a block for more than 48 hours, who are you to "force" them to do something different? I'll admit my admin experience is on other smaller wikis (still rather considerable but not quite Wikipedia) where typically I would up the blocking time based on recurring vandalism or the kinds of vandalism being done (such as a image would result in a harsher "penalty" than random nonsense, or if they demonstrated knowledge of MediaWiki software even as a troll). I'm just saying that this is something that you shouldn't have to force into necessarily a policy and it is one of the reasons why the selection of an administrator is serious business that should be reserved for mature and trusted individuals. I know some admins will give two, three, and sometimes more "warnings" without even a block at all even for blatant vandalism. How can you make a hard and fast "policy" out of that kind of treatment? --Robert Horning (talk) 01:17, 11 October 2010 (UTC)
I don't know-- how can you? Is that a trick question? Above, you said we already had the tools and policies we need, and didn't need more. Now you tell me there really isn't a policy, but just the tools. Pity me for wanting a policy on school IPs, bcause that would be hand feeding me a rule. And WP doesn't do due process. In fact, doesn't do much process at all, which is why I fight all the time with IP vandals from schools, while trying to write and edit. WP is sort of, well, arbitrary. And if you don't like it, you'll be told to go to WP:PUMP and see if you can get anybody to agree to anything, regarding new policy. And the answer to that appears to be: no. SBHarris 01:54, 11 October 2010 (UTC)
I didn't say there aren't policies in place, but those are content policies. It is also more philosophies on how to handle contributors, and more importantly, assuming good faith on the part of those who are contributing. Usually the problem isn't reining in editors who are trolls, but rather overzealous admins who start deleting everything in sight and going on blocking sprees. It is a fine balance where being nice to users has a tendency to encourage them to come back, but then again you get people to walk all over you if you aren't careful. By going on a rampage to block whole IP ranges, you do face the potential to stop legitimate users from participating. It doesn't even have to be a school as I've seen IP addresses from internet cafes be a source of some vandalism. Open proxy addresses are also a problem. On the other hand, I've seen some editors complain almost to the point of numbness at Foundation-l and other places when their account has been suspended... and these were active "trusted users" with admin privileges on several Wikimedia projects that had their accounts blocked merely because they shared an IP address with a particularly nasty troll. It happens.
BTW, there is "due process" on Wikipedia, and you are here. It is raising your voice and letting yourself be heard. If there is a problem, letting others know that it is a problem for you is the first step to getting is solved. If you find something objectionable, letting others know your objection is the best way to seek relief. If there is a particular user that is giving you grief, there are even ways to solve that problem too including but not limited to the ArbCom, moderators, or doing an RfC. If you are expecting a god-king like Jimbo to come to your aid and grant your petition, that is a rare and IMHO usually unwarranted event when it does happen. Most of us simply muddle through and try to make things work. It isn't perfect, but it does get things to happen eventually. If you have strong feelings for getting something to change, it is up to you to make that persuasive argument and recruit others to your side of the discussion (if it has sides). Often it is merely a process of perhaps getting somebody to take a fresh look at an issue and suggest something nobody else thought of before. I've seen that happen more than I can count. --Robert Horning (talk) 04:33, 11 October 2010 (UTC)

New articles

I am of the opinion that new articles should have to go through some sort of review process before being allowed into the mainspace. We already have a forum for reviewing new articles WP: requests for feedback and although this will mean a huge amount of work for the few editors that review there; those page patrollers that nominate new articles for speedy deletion won't be quite as busy so maybe they could help out. Obvious adverts and self publicising dross could be weeded before it did any damage to Wikipedia's reputation. Any thoughts?--Ykraps (talk) 18:20, 9 October 2010 (UTC)

Rather than rehashing previous arguments, I'd suggest reading Wikipedia:Village pump (policy)/Archive 80#I come to bury editors, not to praise them ...
Personally, I think it is a bad idea and contrary to how Wikipedia became so successful. Nupedia was established with an extensive review process and those involved set up Wikipedia to be a more free-for-all process that didn't require the bureaucratic overhead and lacked a review process to get articles started. Guess which one ended up being more successful? If this is a restoration of the Nupedia review process, I am 100% against the idea, at least for Wikipedia. If you want to start another project, that is fine, but don't turn Wikipedia into Nupedia or Citizendium. Let Wikipedia do what it has done and can continue to do into the future. At the very least understand how Wikipedia got to where it is right now before major changes happen. Getting changes like this to happen is also going to be a huge uphill fight if you really want to pursue this line of thinking.
BTW, I think it is also plain wrong to be advising new contributors against creating articles in the main namespace for several reasons I won't go into now. If you are worried about self-promotion articles and corporate advertisements, isn't that what the new page patrol is all about? I don't see what "reputation" is at stake here with Wikipedia anyway... it is what Wikipedia is, including this kind of self-promotional content. --Robert Horning (talk) 19:53, 9 October 2010 (UTC)
@Robert Horning. Fully agree. We'll just end up with a huge stack of new articles for review and Wikipedia will stagnate. There is already a quick review process in the guise of new page patrol. Also allowing the creation of new articles in mainspace enables them to be quickly spotted and culled if necessary or expanded by other editors, which is why Wikipedia grows so quickly. --Bermicourt (talk) 20:03, 10 October 2010 (UTC)
I wasn't advocating a lengthy review process, more of a quick glance to ensure the subject is notable and referenced. I would have thought that those who create articles which are speedily deleted, are less likely to contribute in the future and that would be counterproductive to growth as well. Anyway it was just an idea and this is after all, the place to discuss them.--Ykraps (talk) 22:25, 10 October 2010 (UTC)
BTW if that is what Wikipedia is about, why is that stuff being deleted?--Ykraps (talk) 22:28, 10 October 2010 (UTC)
New Page Patrol is designed to verify that new articles aren't outright hoaxes, and tag ones that lack references (particularly for BLP) for CSD or PROD depending on the severity. But that doesn't prevent the articles from going live before that point. --MASEM (t) 22:29, 10 October 2010 (UTC)

Describing locations of things.

I'm looking at Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Plant, which begins:

The Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Plant (CCNPP) is a nuclear power plant located on the western shores of the Chesapeake Bay in Lusby, Calvert County, Maryland.

It strikes me as being excessively wordy, and would be better written as:

The Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Plant (CCNPP) is a nuclear power plant Lusby, Maryland.

Anybody who wants to find out more about the location, can click the Lusby link and discover that Lusby is in Calvert County and that Calvert County is on the western shore of the Chesapeake. Is there some specific policy which gives guidance about this? In general, I find that this is a common flaw in writing style used in our articles; people tend to cram as much detail as they can into a description. The overall effect is that the article the main point gets lost in a sea of verbosity. -- RoySmith (talk) 14:18, 10 October 2010 (UTC)

I don't really see this as a problem, at least not this example. Yes, we could eliminate all redundancy by the use of wikilinks, but it would make articles harder to read. Perhaps the county information could be removed, but if I'm reading about it, I might want to know where Lusby, Maryland is, without wanting to read a whole article about the town. "Lusby, Maryland" means nothing to me in terms of location. "western shores of the Chesapeake Bay" at least gives me a vague idea of the location. In this case, not only is the town on the western shore, but the plant is physically located on the shoreline as well (as opposed to just near it), so its not even fully redundant here. Mr.Z-man 14:28, 10 October 2010 (UTC)
This is really more of a WP:MOS issue than any particular policy, unless you are proposing a new policy... Beeblebrox (talk) 22:34, 10 October 2010 (UTC)

Defining "involved admin" more explicitly

I've started a discussion on this with a draft proposal here.  Roger Davies talk 10:05, 11 October 2010 (UTC)

Lists with uncited entries

Can a list which consists only of uncited entries be deleted for that reason alone? patsw (talk) 01:21, 12 October 2010 (UTC)

In my opinion, absofuckinglutely yes. WP:V isn't just a cute little shortcut. If it's not sourced, it's garbage, get rid of it. Of course the way Wikipedia actually works? You'll have a bunch of people who really like the list making your life a living hell until you give up. → ROUX  01:24, 12 October 2010 (UTC)
Question: are the vast majority (ideally, all) of the entries Wikilinked? That is, is this a list of things that have their pages? In such a case, even though I don't like them, these are considered to be "Navigation list", which is complementary to our categorization system and thus can be used for navigation. If the list is entirely or mostly redlinks or non-linked items, then the list could be deleted. However, usually before something is deleted for being unverified, first you'll need to establish that it's unverifiable. That is, if the list was "List of cities of more than 10,000 people in Botswana", then you could assume that such a list could be sourced, even if it wasn't currently. Mind you, the list could still be deleted (or, more likely, merged into the main Botswana article) if you could successfully argue that the list isn't notable enough for its own page. Lastly, note that if this is a list of people, the rules change very quickly in favor of deletion, because unsourced info about living people should not reside anywhere on Wikipedia, per WP:BLP (especially if it's at all negative). Is there a specific list that you're concerned about? Then maybe we could look and see if it needs improvement or eradication. Qwyrxian (talk) 03:22, 12 October 2010 (UTC)
The problem with saying "okay as long as it's reffed at its original page" is how often pages are out of sync with one another. Everything needs to be referenced on the page(s) on which it appears, IMHO. There is no excuse not to. → ROUX  03:40, 12 October 2010 (UTC)
I don't think anyone would stop you from adding references to a list. postdlf (talk) 04:22, 12 October 2010 (UTC)
If it's a list of linked articles and the list itself seems encyclopedic or a useful navigation tool, then it should be improved or tagged for references. It shouldn't be deleted unless it opens up WP:BLP issues (e.g., a really long List of American pissants, which would require constant checking to make sure that every linked article supported the insult. To get to Good or Featured Article status it should have a ref for every entry that explicitly demonstrates that it meets the inclusion criteria of the list, as should every redlinked or unlinked entry (with, I think, exceptions for some 100% blue-linked lists). List of Presidents of the United States who died in office is a good example of a Featured list that would make us all happy, I think. List of Cabinet-level positions in the United States is a good example of a list that needs no references or only one, as this one has. Living First Ladies of the United States is a good example of a list that has to depend on the linked articles for references, otherwise it might have hundreds. Finally, List of Presidents of the United States, with 173 references (four for each president) to prove that they were actually in office, is a pretty good example, I think, of an article with unnecessary references.--Hjal (talk) 05:22, 12 October 2010 (UTC)
I think the same common sense as when we are to source controversial or challenged facts should apply here. "List of US Presidents" is going to be far from controversial, though I'm sure one can find sources. "List of movies considered the worst ever" is going to require them. I know of two articles List of Internet phenomenon and List of commercial failures in video gaming where if entries aren't sourced, they are deleted hastily. --MASEM (t) 05:30, 12 October 2010 (UTC)
In answer to Roux - WP:V is not a criteria for deleting list articles, WP:N is. In any case, it usually more helpful to find a reference for (or at least tag) something that is encyclopaedic rather than deleting it just because you can't be bothered. OrangeDog (τε) 14:11, 12 October 2010 (UTC)
Even WP:N is only if it's about one or more real people, a real animal, web content (all of these are CSD A7) or a musical recording by a person/group without an article on Wikipedia (CSD A9). עוד מישהו Od Mishehu 14:44, 12 October 2010 (UTC)
No, notability is for everything. What you've listed are just the exceptional cases when deletion can occur without discussion. OrangeDog (τε) 15:50, 12 October 2010 (UTC)
List of Cabinet-level positions in the United States is a plain navigational style list, and needs no references. List of Presidents of the United States is an annotated list and needs references just like any article. ---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 15:29, 12 October 2010 (UTC)
I'll add the many Lists of diseases as examples of purely navigational lists that really don't require any sort of references (inline or otherwise). I strongly believe that Wikipedia editors are capable of figuring out whether an entry belongs in List of diseases (Z). If that's Roux's idea of "garbage" that needs to be "gotten rid of", then we have different ideas of what best serves our readers. WhatamIdoing (talk) 05:21, 13 October 2010 (UTC)

Community-based discretionary sanctions

Hello, I'm currently drafting a new, standardized community-based discretionary sanctions system, somewhat similar to Wikipedia:General sanctions (but, with approval, intended to supercede that system for future topic areas placed under probation). It is currently located at User:The Wordsmith/Community sanctions. Input would be appreciated in drafting a proposal ready for RFC. The WordsmithCommunicate 16:32, 12 October 2010 (UTC)

Proposed change on which version of a page to protect in a content dispute

This is a heads up for a proposed change on which version of a page to protect in a content dispute See: Wikipedia talk:Protection policy#RFC: Proposed change on which version of a page to protect in a content dispute -- PBS (talk) 01:17, 13 October 2010 (UTC)

Is this a proposal that admins should protect The Right Version? WhatamIdoing (talk) 05:14, 13 October 2010 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Five pillars has been marked as a policy

Wikipedia:Five pillars (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, 13 October 2010 (UTC)

Diff of edit in question. --Cybercobra (talk) 04:08, 13 October 2010 (UTC)
Not any more. We've gone about six rounds on the talk page about this, and it's still disputed.
The two factions at the moment are "It really is just a basic information page, no more 'binding' than any of the other WP:Principles-related essays" and "But Jimbo said 'solid hardcore policy' when asked about it" (NB that he didn't say "This page is itself a solid hardcore policy" or "This page summarizes solid hardcore policy", or any other unambiguous statement -- just those three words, which people naturally interpret to suit themselves.)
If you'd like to join the conversation (which I don't actually recommend, since I'm sure we all have much more important things to do), then the "policy" side needs to provide a plausible explanation for why 5P is "policy", but WP:TRIFECTA and WP:SIMPLE and other pages aren't, and why the page's archives are filled with repeated explanations that it's not a policy, if the community has "always" believed it was a proper, official policy. The "essay" side needs to convince editors that Wikipedia doesn't need to enshrine yet another page as "policy", and that 5P will not be any more effective if we call it a "policy" instead of the Basic information page that it was intended to be. WhatamIdoing (talk) 04:58, 13 October 2010 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Stand-alone lists no longer marked as a guideline

Wikipedia:Stand-alone lists (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, 13 October 2010 (UTC)

And it's now a guideline once again, but as part of the MoS. --Cybercobra (talk) 04:05, 13 October 2010 (UTC)

Mandatory Talk Page post for certain templates

I have an idea - I believe that for certain article problems templates, an explanation on the talk page should be mandatory - if it's not there, the template could be removed without any discussion. In particular, the conflict-of-interest tag. It's nearly impossible for a typical user who sees that tag to see why it's there from reading the article. Even using the page history, it's still very difficult. Anyone placing that tag should be required to justify its placement in the talk page, so other editors will understand the evidence and which user is in question here. This could perhaps apply to other tags as well, such as merge tags - sometimes merge proposals aren't obvious and are very difficult for a later user to judge.

The requirement to explain on the talk page should be noted in the text of the template, as well as the permission for other users to delete the tag if it's not there. D O N D E groovily Talk to me 04:02, 13 October 2010 (UTC)

This is already true for some templates. See Template:POV/doc for an example. I suggest picking one template that you think would particularly benefit from this approach, and starting a conversation on the template's talk page. WhatamIdoing (talk) 05:09, 13 October 2010 (UTC)
See /Archive 79#Article cleanup templates for a related discussion. For the type of thing you're describing perhaps it would be better to have people remove the tag if it's unclear what it means. Making the talk page mandatory seems like WP:CREEP to me since sometimes the problem will be obvious (e.g. editors creating articles about papers they've written).--RDBury (talk) 09:11, 13 October 2010 (UTC)
With COI, it's usually not the slightest bit obvious. Someone might have written about their own work, but it doesn't mean the username matches their real name. Sometimes quite a bit of legwork is involved in figuring out the COI. For example the article Mandela Rhodes Scholarship was started by a username called mrfoundation. I read Mr. Foundation, but someone else read M(andela) R(hodes) foundation and blocked the username. It seems that the same person then got a username that didn't sound like the scholarship name, and continued editing. I suppose I could have figured that out (maybe), but its a waste of time when someone else already did. D O N D E groovily Talk to me 02:13, 14 October 2010 (UTC)

Bird article names

Should it be Superb Starling or Superb starling? I thought WP was trying to have "sentence case" article names. -- SGBailey (talk) 11:52, 14 October 2010 (UTC)

But often "Superb Starling" is a proper noun. WikiProject Birds look after this issue. OrangeDog (τε) 15:49, 14 October 2010 (UTC)
My understanding is that in standard wikipedia this would be sentence case but that Project Birds is following an ornithological standard of 'most words capitalised'. That makes sense now. Thanks. -- SGBailey (talk) 16:06, 14 October 2010 (UTC)
I still don't understand why it is so fantastically important to capitalize bird names, because We aren't using Victorian English, but... the same problem is happening with Horse and Dog articles, and it's really annoying. Oh well, unless you think we can have a successful discussion, we should probably leave this be. The Blade of the Northern Lights (話して下さい) 16:55, 14 October 2010 (UTC)
For the wolf articles I've made, I kept Wolf capitalized. Admittedly, this is because most of the species literature does the same. SilverserenC 17:03, 14 October 2010 (UTC)
At the risk of opening the floodgates (if you think I'm kidding...), I'll say my view and no more; Wikipedia is an encyclopedia, and shouldn't adhere to colloquialisms within various groups. It doesn't make sense to capitalize dog, horse, and bird names if you are following the standard conventions of academic English, which ideally is what Wikipedia should be written in. However, my specialty is in NPP, copyediting ja-wiki translations, and (of late) Burmese articles (I'd love some help if anyone cares to...), so I don't want to get too deep into something I'm not terribly familiar with. The Blade of the Northern Lights (話して下さい) 04:54, 15 October 2010 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Mediation Committee/Policy/Draft 2 has been marked as a policy

Wikipedia:Mediation Committee/Policy/Draft 2 (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, 15 October 2010 (UTC)

It has since been changed to mark it as a draft, which of course is what it is. Gavia immer (talk) 02:06, 15 October 2010 (UTC)

Should anything marked as a "policy" in every case trump anything marked as a "guideline" at AFD?

Recently, there have been several AFDs and DRVs where the issue is whether to apply WP:N (guideline) or WP:NOTNEWS (policy) when deciding whether or not to delete an article and there are some strong opinions that even if a subject meets WP:N, if it fails WP:NOTNEWS then the policy "wins" and the article should be deleted.

Now there's no doubt that certain "non-negotiable" core policies meant to be applied prescriptively such as WP:V, WP:BLP and WP:NFCC should in every case override a "guideline" but I'm not sure that this should be the case for WP:NOT which contains a whole laundry list of loosely related things that over the years different groups of editors have thought Wikipedia should not be. Now usually, there is no conflict because if something fails WP:CRYSTAL or WP:NOTPLOT then the subject is not likely to be notable either. However, recent broad interpretations of NOTNEWS have been applied to subjects that may be notable so this question needs to be asked. When opinions in an XFD are divided on whether or not to apply a guideline or a descriptive "non core" policy, should the policy take precedence over the guideline or should those who participate in the discussion decide? --Ron Ritzman (talk) 02:36, 4 October 2010 (UTC)

I'd say that those in the AfD's are not understanding it is not a matter of policy trumps guideline, it is a matter of- we have many different hoops you need to pass through and if you cant pass each one then you fail, so NOTNEWS is not itself in conflict with WP:V, it is simply a separate hoop and if an article cant jump through it, it goes. There is no conflict between the two.Camelbinky (talk) 02:42, 4 October 2010 (UTC)
WP:N is a minimum standard, not the only one. We generally shouldn't have articles on things that don't pass WP:N, but just because something does pass it does not mean that we must have an article on the subject. Its not an "either or" situation, the article needs to pass all relevant standards. Mr.Z-man 03:35, 4 October 2010 (UTC)
That's not always true. A highly drafted minor league baseball player can potentially pass WP:GNG even if he fails WP:NSPORT for not yet playing a "fully professional" game. --Ron Ritzman (talk) 03:41, 4 October 2010 (UTC)
The alternate notability guidelines are not intended to supplant the GNG. The GNG always takes precedence. The alternate guidelines are designed so that, in theory, any article that meets them should also meet GNG. But nothing is required to meet the alternate guidelines, so they're not really standards, just a rule of thumb. As it states in the lead, "the failure to meet these criteria does not mean an article must be deleted; conversely, the meeting of any of these criteria does not mean that an article must be kept." Mr.Z-man 04:01, 4 October 2010 (UTC)
(ui) I think Wikipedia:NORULES trumps everything. Specifically, if a guideline make more sense in specific context than a policy then common sense should prevail.--RDBury (talk) 05:11, 4 October 2010 (UTC)
Almost everything, as I said in my opening it doesn't trump certain "non-negotiable" core policies. --Ron Ritzman (talk) 11:16, 4 October 2010 (UTC)
Technically, WP:IAR does trump core policies, but the reality is that there probably will never be a case where ignoring BLP, NPOV and the like will serve to improve the encyclopedia, so the point is moot. Regardless, the common sense approach should prevail, as argued above. Resolute 22:03, 5 October 2010 (UTC)

I would generally hold that notability is a necessary but not sufficient condition for article inclusion. If an article fails notability, it is excluded, but passing it is but one of several things required for inclusion. If an article is, at heart, a news story, it can be deleted on those grounds regardless of not failing the notability requirement. It's similar in that way to NOTNEWS—we exclude articles which are just essentially news stories, but that doesn't mean we automatically include all articles which are not news stories. It's but one of many hurdles an article has to pass. Seraphimblade Talk to me 05:15, 4 October 2010 (UTC)

We came up with a solution to the Notability vs. NOTNEWS problem about a year ago. WP:EVENT was created as a way to help balance those two and interpret them, at least for articles on events. The WordsmithCommunicate 05:51, 4 October 2010 (UTC)

Thanks, I know about WP:EVENT and referenced it when closing this AFD but I wasn't aware of its history. Shame that it isn't working in the case of this current series of terrorism related AFDs. Also noticed on WP:EVENT's talk page that making it a policy was rejected. --Ron Ritzman (talk) 10:59, 4 October 2010 (UTC)
Actually, I've been thinking of rewriting it as a policy, since it isn't really serving the intended purpose. It was never really supposed to be a notability guideline in the vein of WP:ATHLETE, but instead was supposed to help interpret a few different policies and guidelines, and to balance them. I was the primary author of the guideline, so if there is support for this idea, I may begin a proposal. The WordsmithCommunicate 18:46, 4 October 2010 (UTC)

I agree with RDBury that Wikipedia:NORULES is important and people should go with what makes sense in the specific situation. However, I can't see how anyone can argue that WP:NOTNEWS trumps WP:N since it references it several times. Yaris678 (talk) 12:09, 4 October 2010 (UTC)

  • I think the conflict is much less than folks think. "most newsworthy events" isn't all. NOTNEWS, as quoted below, asks for enduring notability but doesn't define it. Something which sees 100s of news stories on it is pretty clearly going to be enduring at least as I read it. The "for example" part refers to routine news reporting. I don't think it's asking us to not cover notable events just because they are new. "most newsworthy events" is not all. I honestly think this is a case where the #link name "NOTNEWS" is causing us problems. If we'd called it "NOTROUTINENEWS" it would be better named and more clear even with the same wording. Sometimes more is more... Hobit (talk) 18:28, 4 October 2010 (UTC)
  • I'll support this concept provided that it is applied uniformly so that our editing policy trumps the notability guideline. Colonel Warden (talk) 19:07, 4 October 2010 (UTC)
  • And there you have it, a perfect example of why this is a bad idea. Let's keep things on a case-by-case basis and make decisions on the merits of individual articles instead of playing a game of "mine's bigger than yours" with various policies and guidelines. Beeblebrox (talk) 19:20, 4 October 2010 (UTC)
  • We should also look at things like 2010 Ryder Cup. It is notable? Clearly. Does it violate NOTNEWS? By the letter yes. I'd say this got so much coverage it's obvious, but we can't yet show enduring coverage and in fact the coverage is likely to die down considerably at this point. So why doesn't NOTNEWS apply here? By what policy/guideline or whatever are we writing this article before we have sources 3-4 weeks later? How is the suicide case we're discussing any different? What about the shooting case? I think NOTNEWS has become the new IDONTLIKEIT. By that I mean an excuse for people to delete things they don't think should be notable... Hobit (talk) 03:29, 5 October 2010 (UTC)
    • "NOTNEWS has become the new IDONTLIKEIT" - it never ceased to be. The whole point of WP:NOT is to encourage deletionist flamewars: without it the place would be boring dull. East of Borschov 09:44, 6 October 2010 (UTC)
      • I wouldn't go so far as to say that. The whole point of WP:NOT is to emphasize that Wikipedia is an "encyclopedia" and ones activities here should primarily serve the goal of building the encyclopedia. It needs to be here and it needs to be read. That being said there are a few problems with it being marked as "policy". One being that it is a loosely related list of activities that various groups of editors have agreed to over the years should not be done, they didn't necessarily think they should be policy, just included in a list that happens to be policy. The other thing is that it's easier to get something added to WP:NOT then it is to get a standalone proposal marked as "policy". This means that something can acquire the strength of "policy" without the centralized discussion needed to get a standalone proposal marked as "policy". IMHO not all of the NOTs should be policy. WP:CRYSTAL and WP:MYSPACE should be policy, WP:PLOT should be a guideline. --Ron Ritzman (talk) 21:58, 9 October 2010 (UTC)
  • Much as I like our rules to be clear, I can't support this. In fact, I'd be tempted to clarify the situation by making it clear that policies do not always trump guidelines. I've seen cases in which users cite policies that don't really apply and claim that their argument is more valid as a result. Alzarian16 (talk) 21:26, 5 October 2010 (UTC)
@Hobit: I think the problem comes from your statement "Something which sees 100s of news stories on it is pretty clearly going to be enduring at least as I read it." There are hundreds of potential subjects every day which see hundreds of news stories written about them and yet don't/won't meet our notability guidelines for independent articles (an prime example for me would be a celebrity couple breakup). This is a natural consequence of the fact that every large industrialized country (with a "independent press") has hundreds to thousands of media outlets, especially when you consider all the different formats. Nowadays, we can often rapidly and easily find hundreds of them, even for minor issues, because Google News and other sources allow us to search for them nearly instantly. This is where I think WP:EVENT helps. The line that discusses receiving many sources is this: "Events are also very likely to be notable if they have widespread (national or international) impact and were very widely covered in diverse sources, especially if also re-analyzed afterwards (as described below)." Note the first part of the conjunction: "if they have widespread...impact". That is, its not enough for the subject simply to be covered in diverse sources, but it's also important for it to have impact. Judging impact just after the event is highly difficult, since part of what news coverage does is assert that "today's event" has impact (otherwise, why would we watch/read/listen to it?). I would go so far as to say that the vast majority of reported events should first appear as new paragraphs/sections in existing articles, and only be moved out into their own articles over time. There are exceptions to this, of course (for an extreme example, no reasonable person could have doubted within minutes that the 9/11 attacks, even if they had just been an accident as was thought at the time, would need and have their own article), but I would wager there's fewer exceptions than some might think. We have Wikinews--a great place for every breaking news story. Why not let Wikipedia be only those things that "pass the test of time"? Qwyrxian (talk) 00:24, 6 October 2010 (UTC)
  • Why not? Should it be "an encyclopedia about events that happened 100 years ago."? East of Borschov 09:53, 6 October 2010 (UTC)
Of course not. On the flip side, it shouldn't be an article about everything that gets reported in the news. Some things are obviously deserving of an article (eg. September 11 attacks, elections of major superpowers, etc.) while other subjects are of very transient nature in history (eg. celebrity marriages/breakups, small-scale disasters (local flooding or fires), or general crimes). It's reasonable to hold off a bit on borderline cases to see if they stick around in the news and other reports. — The Hand That Feeds You:Bite 15:58, 6 October 2010 (UTC)
I'll point out that celebrity marriages/breakups do generally get included, just not on their own. small-scale disasters don't generally see 100s of articles (and certainly not nation-wide coverage). I'm fine with NOTNEWS preventing articles on those topics (unless there _is_ a lot of coverage) but at some point news that hits the front page of nearly every major US paper for more than 1 day is probably past the intent NOTNEWS. Hobit (talk) 03:20, 8 October 2010 (UTC)
  • The "policies always trump guidelines" thing has been pushed by a couple of editors into all sorts of inappropriate places. I think that WP:POLICY#Conflicts_between_advice_pages has it right: use your judgment in choosing the most appropriate advice for the situation, no matter what kind of label the page has. WhatamIdoing (talk) 19:02, 6 October 2010 (UTC)
Although this is widening it a little from the AFD point, in my experience, too often editors hide behind Verifiability/Reliable Sources as a reason for doggedly sticking to an erroneous line. Wikipedia Policy is no more "absolute" in its clarity than the US Constitution ... which, despite employing wonderful language, still, to this day, requires a Supreme Court to iron out ambiguity and to ensure that the provisions of the Constitution have been correctly applied to the case in hand. If we all agreed that policy never needed clarification or amplification, then yes, policy could trump guidelines ... but it simply isn't the case. EXAMPLE (hypothetical): A complaint is made by a number of editors that an article about a particular large aircraft (not made by Boeing) uses the nickname "Jumbo Jet" in the opening paragraph. The complainants say that the nickname "Jumbo Jet" is reserved, by the vast majority of people, only for the Boeing 747. However, an editor/admin quotes Reliable Sources, saying that the term "jumbo jet" is used by some dictionaries as a generic for any large passenger aircraft. In this case, I would contend that this is an incorrect application of Reliable Sources and perpetuates an unnecessary inaccuracy as RS neither verifies or validates the original author's use of the term. In this case, the dictionary only verifies that the term "jumbo jet" exists - not that it has been applied within the article in a manner with which the population-at-large would understand or accept as being correct usage. However, once an editor/admin has applied the "Reliable Sources" argument, it's almost as if you are committing blasphemy to disagree and that there can be no further argument. But compare that to the spirit of one of the five pillars of Wikipedia: "Rules on Wikipedia are not fixed in stone, and the spirit of the rule trumps the letter of the rule." --621PWC (talk) 20:21, 12 October 2010 (UTC)
The only way to argue against the use of the term jumbo jet in that situation would be to argue that the other side is doing WP:Original research or some variant such as WP:SYNTH. It shouldn't be like that. People are happy to point others towards WP:NOTDEMOCRACY but they rarely use WP:NOTBUREAUCRACY. Rules are very useful but Wikipedia is about more than rules. Yaris678 (talk) 08:42, 16 October 2010 (UTC)

Change recommended license of images to public domain.

This has been repeatedly suggested by the same editor and it is not going to go anywhere. Recommend that Rishikeshan drop the stick already. —Farix (t | c) 13:46, 16 October 2010 (UTC)
The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Please change recommended license of images to public domain because the modified images must be cc-by-sa. Copyleft is not always good and it is not the real freedom. Copyleft of cc-sa practically affect text lesser, but we have to draw images again for relicensing. Books can be written referring cc-sa content, but book writers, if they want to modify images, they have to draw again, and redrawing is difficult. cc-by is a good license. Rishikeshan (talk) 13:17, 13 October 2010 (UTC)Rishikeshan

Where do you see any "recommended" license? When I try to upload an image it gives a number of different options, but no particular recommendation. As far as "redrawing", I have no idea what you're talking about: cc-by-sa images can be reused as long as they are attributed in the manner specified and maintain the license. –xenotalk 13:24, 13 October 2010 (UTC)
It shows (recommended) —Preceding unsigned comment added by Rishikeshan (talkcontribs) 13:33, 13 October 2010 (UTC)
Where? Wikipedia:Upload/Uploadtext/en-ownwork I guess? –xenotalk 13:36, 13 October 2010 (UTC)
Just as with text, the licenses we recommend for images are generally intended to insure that images remain free. I know you don't like copyleft, but Wikipedia does. --Moonriddengirl (talk) 13:30, 13 October 2010 (UTC)
Oss w/o proprietary is theoretically possible but practically impossible. This can result in close of book writing.Rishikeshan (talk) 13:33, 13 October 2010 (UTC)Rishikeshan
Yes, it can. The community selected a license that required continuation of free license in order to ensure that those who wish to reuse the content must keep it free. Those who wish to release proprietary materials are, of course, able to develop their own content. There is no requirement that they use images or text generated by Wikipedia contributors. --Moonriddengirl (talk) 13:42, 13 October 2010 (UTC)
Some companies (like the one who wrote a license) are jealous about the proprietary and blaming proprietary for their own faults... proprietary is not bad. I am talking about the (recommended) in the list box you see when choosing license. If you want proofs, see PostgreSQL and Apache software foundation. But a thing is thankful: If I annexe a page of GFDL to my book, It goes again GFDL. CC-BY-SA sucks lesser than GFDL, but both SUCK in media.Rishikeshan (talk) 05:24, 16 October 2010 (UTC)Rishikeshan
You are free to leave anything you write in the public domain, if that is what you wish. There are many contributors who choose explicitly to release their content that they make with other licensing models, including potentially no copyright re-use license at all. That is their choice. Wikipedia started out with the GFDL license as the bare minimum and now requires the GFDL and CC-BY-SA 3.0 license for textual contributions at a minimum, but only requires an "open source" license for images. Even this issue has made its rounds in licensing discussions of various kinds over the years. If you don't agree with the licensing terms, don't use the content with that license. It is that simple. The Wikimedia Commons has many images which in fact do fall into the public domain for various reasons, including images which have been newly rendered and created explicitly for use on Wikipedia. You are free to use those images or if you are creating content you are certainly free to release those images into the public domain. I'm not here to stop you, and you wouldn't be alone even here on Wikipedia. --Robert Horning (talk) 13:46, 13 October 2010 (UTC)
People, check out the OP's talk page and his contribs. It's just another rehash, nothing new to see here. ♫ Melodia Chaconne ♫ (talk) 14:08, 13 October 2010 (UTC)
Thank you, but no. I have no issue with people re-using my images, but asking them to credit me for my work is fair. As is asking them to ensure any derivatives they make from my images are equally licensed. I am not interested in allowing people who make derivatives of my work to move to more restrictive licensing. Resolute 14:41, 13 October 2010 (UTC)

I remind the folks here that Rishikeshan has come here before demanding a change from copyleft to public domain, for whatever reason, and dropped to more annoying tactics like all-caps, red text, ordering people not to reply until they read his thread, and strangely suggesting we switch from the "rude" copyleft to the modified BSD license. So this is nothing new. Over half of his edits to Wikipedia have been to badger about moving to public domain. Frankly, his ramblings begin to resemble a Time Cube of copyright after a while. --Golbez (talk) 14:54, 13 October 2010 (UTC)

When people come to Wikipedia or another Wikimedia project to upload images they are doing so in order for Wikimedia projects to use those images. They may or may not be looking to forego all copyright in those images. They may not realise that a public domain licence irrevocably gives up their copyright and could lead to commercial exploitation of their work. It would be irresponsible to recommend that people take such a drastic and irrevocable step when they may not understand the implications. We should make sure that people understand what they are doing before we let them tag their work as public domain. If people use a CC licence then they retain the option to decide later whether to donate their work to the public domain or to negotiate commercial licence terms with anybody who wishes to use it outside of the CC licence. This is the safest option for the copyright owner as it does not "burn any bridges". I don't see a problem here. This is how it should be. --DanielRigal (talk) 15:36, 13 October 2010 (UTC)
CC-BY-SA ...? Rishikeshan (talk) 12:27, 16 October 2010 (UTC)Rishikeshan
Commercial is not bad and no one is going to revenge Wikipedia. Nothing is without money. Money is given to effort and wiseness. Money is a long time invention. If you want to take everything free, then go to jail for stealing. CC-SA is good for text, but not good for media, unless you are selfish. Rishikeshan (talk) 11:35, 14 October 2010 (UTC)Rishikeshan
Copyleft licensing isn't selfish, in my opinion; all it asks is that you distribute the work under the same generous license that you yourself receive. Also, the license we use specifically allows the right to profit from redistribution of a work that may have been obtained for free - that is the opposite of selfish. If we wanted to interfere with commercial reuse, we could have kept the former GFDL-only licensing that put an enormous burden on reuse of images. Gavia immer (talk) 05:50, 16 October 2010 (UTC)

The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Commons discussion regarding "PD-Italy"

There is a discussion at commons:Commons:Village pump#PD-Italy restoration request concerning a possible overturn of the earlier deletion of the "PD-Italy" template on Commons. You may wish to comment. If overturned, {{PD-Italy}} should be modifed to remove the caution about Commons not accepting such images. But I have to say that, even if Commons accepts PD-Italy simple photographs, I do not see that we have a basis for doing so given the unclarity regarding the US copyright status of such images. PD-Italy might well still be a "speedy deletion" tag, albeit with us moving the image to Commons prior to deletion. Angus McLellan (Talk) 15:50, 17 October 2010 (UTC)

Spinout articles as attack pages.

Hello, I've started a discussion on how to handle spinout articles on highly notable subjects that would amount to an attack page here. Hobit (talk) 14:18, 20 October 2010 (UTC)

Watermarks, signatures and credits in images

Currently, Wikipedia:Image use policy says:

Free images should not be watermarked, distorted, have any credits in the image itself or anything else that would hamper their free use, unless, of course, the image is intended to demonstrate watermarking, distortion etc. and is used in the related article. Exceptions may be made for historic images when the credit forms an integral part of the composition.

There is currently discussion at the Image use policy talk page as to whether or not it is appropriate to permit contributors who upload their own images to watermark, sign or otherwise embed their names within their images. If you have an opinion on the matter, please join in the ongoing conversation at Wikipedia talk:Image use policy#Signatures on artwork. Thanks. --Moonriddengirl (talk) 23:49, 21 October 2010 (UTC)


I just left a note on a new editor's page about a draft article she is working on, warning her that a gossip section is likely to be unencyclopedic. To my surprise, we don't seem to have a policy covering gossip (as indicated by the red link in this section heading). The closed I could find was this and this. Do you know any other guideline I could refer her to in explaining problems with such a section? --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| talk 21:06, 22 October 2010 (UTC)

If it's pure unsubstantiated gossip WP:OR and WP:V are sufficient, if it is sourced but is obviously speculation anyway I would say that WP:UNDUE applies, and possibly WP:FRINGE. Beeblebrox (talk) 21:14, 22 October 2010 (UTC)
WP:NOTGOSSIP --Cybercobra (talk) 03:18, 23 October 2010 (UTC)
I bluelinked the missing shortcut, pointing to the same place. Gavia immer (talk) 05:09, 23 October 2010 (UTC)

Maintenance categories "All articles with [...]" has been removed?

I think it was nice to have the maintaince categories "All articles with..." specially when using tools to try to find articles which are in one of the maintaince categories and in a given subject (ie. chemistry). But it look like they has been removed like All articles with topics of unclear notability, All pages needing cleanup, All articles with dead external links and so on... Where did I miss the discussion about this? --Christian75 (talk) 11:14, 19 October 2010 (UTC)

There was no discussion about this that I'm aware of, Richard Farmbrough did this on his own. I had already reverted him on the unsourced articles and unsourced BLP ones, I wan't aware that he did all these other ones as well. I have reverted another 15 now, these are all the ones I could find through his contribs list. Fram (talk) 11:28, 19 October 2010 (UTC)
I don't understand the problem that we're trying to solve. The cats still seem to exist; see e.g., Category:All articles with topics of unclear notability for the first one you complain about. It's got some 28,000 articles in it. But humans usually prefer to have that list presented in a sub-divided, organized form, which you'll find at Category:Articles with topics of unclear notability.
So: the cat still exists, and therefore you can still do whatever you were doing before. What exactly is the problem that we're trying to solve? WhatamIdoing (talk) 19:01, 19 October 2010 (UTC)
If I understand correctly, the problem was that Rich Farmbrough without any prior discussion decided to remove the code that adds pages to those "All articles with ..." in the corresponding templates. Articles may still exist in those categories, either because Fram or someone else reverted Rich's edit or because the job queue hasn't gotten around to processing the thousands of articles involved. Anomie 22:57, 19 October 2010 (UTC)
It is the job queue that hasn't processed the articles yet. As far as I can tell there is no benefit of removing the total list of otherwise separate lists, and R.F.'s summary of "removing clutter" does not explain what clutter exactly is removed. Having articles grouped this way helps those seeking the full list, and is not technically expensive to store. —  HELLKNOWZ  ▎TALK 23:14, 19 October 2010 (UTC)
Yes, the changes by Richard depopulated the cats, and my reverts repopulate them. E.g. Category:All articles with unsourced statements now is at 142,167 articles, while it should have 239,196 articles, according to the counter at Category:Articles with unsourced statements. Category:All unreferenced BLPs has a "random article in this cat" button, which is the preferred way of going through these pages for some editors. Removing or depopulating the cat removed this possibility. No benefit of removing these cats has been presented yet. Fram (talk) 07:46, 20 October 2010 (UTC)
More on this here and here. -DePiep (talk) 13:39, 20 October 2010 (UTC)
Time for ANI, I think. Clear abuse of admin tools has happened, I'll explain it there. Fram (talk) 14:27, 20 October 2010 (UTC)

FYI. The clutter I refer to can be seen here.
Some categories yesterday.png

Rich Farmbrough, 16:43, 20 October 2010 (UTC).
  • Is there any indication that cleanup tags actually have any net benefit? Seems a lot like re-arranging deck chairs. –xenotalk 17:20, 20 October 2010 (UTC)
    • Apart from tracking (for editors) and showing (for readers) the problems? The Unreferenced BLP tags directly lead to the whole unsourced BLP deletion/cleanup saga. Whether you consider this a net benefit is up to you of course ;-), but it certainly had an effect. Users are actuallly using these categories to do cleanup (e.g. I have used the "all uncategorized pages" cat to either categorize them, or to find unwanted articles). As for the clutter: these are hidden categories for a reason. Fram (talk) 19:09, 20 October 2010 (UTC)
      • As long as someone is =] –xenotalk 19:13, 20 October 2010 (UTC)
        • Yes they do, this is throwing the broken deckchairs to the drowning sailors. However since there is a challenge over the brokenness we can have a discussion about it at the appropriate place (although I shan't be starting one for some days at least). Quite how I was supposed to know Fram disagreed with me, since, despite his fairly robust activity on my talk page[s relating to me] and other places, he didn't bother to tell me he reverted 15 edits is a mystery. But it's all meant well I have no doubt. Rich Farmbrough, 21:14, 20 October 2010 (UTC).
          • "despite his fairly robust activity on my talk page"? I have notified you of the ANI discussion, as required. My previous post on your talk page was from February 5 2010, a template merging notification. Please don't spread falsehoods about other editors and stick to the facts. Fram (talk) 07:02, 21 October 2010 (UTC)
              • Please AGF. Correction posted above. Rich Farmbrough, 17:09, 21 October 2010 (UTC).
                • Richard, this thread is a good place to make a new start. Given the topic you showed above by picture, you can grandly enter: "I propose to change [klm], so that the result will look like [pqr]." Or: "I suggest we change X into Y, so the result will be, in the end,: [xyx]". "Any other suggestions?" or "What do you think?". You could start such a talk, like here. Then each other editor here (no small stuff) will enjoy your talk. I myself will (promise) leave this thread forever. To allow this develpment. -DePiep (talk) 20:55, 21 October 2010 (UTC)
                  • Thanks DePiep, however CfD is probably the place to make a proposal. I will drop a note here as and when that happens. Rich Farmbrough, 22:43, 23 October 2010 (UTC).
  • Regarding the utility of maintenance categories: they're already useful via the User:B. Wolterding/Cleanup listings, and they'll (re-)become very useful once Wikipedia:Article alerts bot starts functioning again. HTH. -- Quiddity (talk) 21:36, 21 October 2010 (UTC)
    • I really don't see a clutter issue at all - the "excess" categories are all hidden, so they won't bother readers, just those editors who have chosen to view hidden categories - and, as mentioned above, they are useful to editors who want to see hidden categories. --Philosopher Let us reason together. 21:54, 21 October 2010 (UTC)
      • Well when you are hunting through those categories there is no advantage to see multiples "All articles with problem X", "Articles with problem X", "Articles with problem X from July 2007" - the information is already there if you are human. Unusually, perhaps, I am generally looking for "Articles with problem X" which show that some tag hasn't been dated. Rich Farmbrough, 22:43, 23 October 2010 (UTC).

Should bots that flag references with deadlinks recognize references that link to an archived version?

I dunno if I am asking this in the right spot.

I noticed a bot was adding {{deadlink}} tags to references that were accompanied by links to a webcitation mirror.

I believe the use of webcitation mirrors is generally endorsed. I use them when I know or suspect the site I am referencing doesn't keep articles online, for long. Originally, I wasn't aware that the {{cite}} templates supported an "archiveurl" field. When I became aware of this field I started to use it. I stopped because I found the webcitation site was experiencing considerable downtime. When the archiveurl field is used it becomes the primary url the {{cite}} tag supplies. And because of the webcitations downtime readers who weren't aware they could also click on the blue link with the text "original" were getting the impression the references were no longer online -- when the original usually was online.

When I realized that I went back to the following the {{cite}} template with an external url to the webcitation archived version, with the text "mirror".

  1. Could the {{cite}} templates be modified so that they didn't emphasize the archived version over the original?
  2. Should the bots that look for deadlinks leave a deadlink tag for references that supply a mirror to a webcitation page, or to some other service that volunteers to provide mirrors?
  3. If the bots can and should look for links to archived pages, when they detect a deadlink is that when they should reverse whether the original or the archived version has precedence?
  4. Would I need to return to using the "archiveurl" field for the bots to recognize that the reference has link to an archive?

Cheers! Geo Swan (talk) 22:05, 21 October 2010 (UTC)

  1. There was discussion at some point to have the cite templates recognize a parameter |dead=no to do exactly this when it would be useful, but I don't think it actually went anywhere.
  2. To be fair to the bot and bot operator, you can hardly expect them to anticipate every weird non-standard way of linking to an archive; I'm sure the bot would have handled it correctly had archiveurl been used.
  3. That would be the idea.
  4. That would be the most robust method.
HTH. Anomie 02:15, 22 October 2010 (UTC)

In general, if a Wikipedia 'bot unnecessarily generates work for humans, the 'bot is broken. Bots which complain about broken links should be trying to fix the problem first. Warnings for dead links should only appear after the dead link has been seen as dead over several days. If any link in a template is live, the link should not be marked as dead. If a non-archive link is dead, and there is no "archiveurl" link, "" (and any other suitable archival sources) should be checked for a possible archival copy. Only after all automated attempts at recovery have failed should a template be placed that requires human intervention. --John Nagle (talk) 04:30, 24 October 2010 (UTC)

  1. If you mean to not emphasize archived copy while the original page is still alive, then perhaps |dead=no could be a solution, if implemented.
  2. The correct way of adding archived version have been |archiveurl= and |archivedate= for citations, so I was unaware anyone used to place mirror links.
  3. If |dead=no is implemented, then changing that no->yes can be done.
  4. As I said, I think standard method of using these fields is preferred.

I am attempting to recover the links with Wayback, and I do return to already tagged links to attempt and repair them again. I am also getting around to doing Webcite as well. I am not aware of any other archiving sites? In any case, I still believe tagging problematic links is better than ignoring them. I am perfectly aware just how much work is generated for humans, but am I also sure it is not "unnecessary work" unless there is a consensus that a dead link should be left untagged unless they can be fixed. The link in edit summary of every change that adds dead link tags points both to the bot's task description as well as link rot guide. —  HELLKNOWZ  ▎TALK 17:39, 24 October 2010 (UTC)

The Wayback Machine ( is the other major one, but like it has frequent downtime. For the record, I seriously recommend implementing |dead=no, since it would fix several problems with the cite templates handle archive at present. Gavia immer (talk) 18:03, 24 October 2010 (UTC)
I'll go back to using archiveurl= and dead=no.
I installed greasemonkey, so I could use the F2COM script to upload free flickr images to commons. I've wondered whether greasemonkey could run a script that would take the fields we fill in for the webcitation page, and emit a fully filled out {{cite}} template. Currently we have to do double the amount of work we should, both populate the template and fill out the webcitation form.
Cheers! Geo Swan (talk) 02:59, 25 October 2010 (UTC)

Reverting blocked users policy

I propose a new policy to allow any edits made by a user evading a block to be reverted immediately, and without regards to WP:3RR, in a way similar to banned user reverts. Not sure if such a policy exists, if so please direct me to it. CTJF83 chat 21:44, 21 October 2010 (UTC)

This is mainly an IAR thing - but see here, here, here, and likely some other places. My point is: if a blocked user is editing, there account should be blocked (mainly per this). 04:37, 23 October 2010 (UTC)
None of those really address if a user would be blocked for 3RR for reverting a blocked user. CTJF83 chat 04:42, 23 October 2010 (UTC)
Common sense here, then. When admins block a account, they are blocking the user, not the account. If you're reverting edits by a blocked user, you would report that user and indicate that they were blocked in your revert edit summaries. 17:02, 23 October 2010 (UTC)
Still, it wouldn't hurt to have it in writing. That would also save a considerable amount of drama at times. Ajraddatz (Talk) 13:11, 25 October 2010 (UTC)
A block is just a temporary ban. The policy you're already citing enforces the removal of any edit made by a blocked user. SchmuckyTheCat (talk)

Places versus People

Wikipedia requires that posted articles be about notable subjects. I have noticed that PEOPLE are listed in Wikipedia who, for example, have received some very minor, short-lived press, or who wrote a couple of extremely unknown booklets, whereas a brief article posted about a PLACE -- a twelve acre park in a 100,000 population city, will be deleted. Is it accurate to say Wikipedia allows articles about minor people over articles about minor places? If so, can we correct that by taking any action? Wclay (talk) 20:13, 23 October 2010 (UTC)

Depends on what sort of place. Generally, towns/hamlets/municipalities of any size get Kept. Places smaller than that (e.g. buildings or I guess apparently parks) tend not to get such lenient treatment and usually need more evidence that the WP:GNG is satisfied. With people, it tends to vary based on the applicable sub-guideline (see WP:Notability (people)). For example, I recall there being significant debate over whether the guideline for Athletes is/was too lenient. --Cybercobra (talk) 22:32, 23 October 2010 (UTC)
(edit conflict)There are those who would (and, indeed, have) made more or less the exact opposite complaint. They tend to ask why we delete an article on, say, a minor local politician but allow one on a remote Polish village. I think it really boils down to a sort of confirmation bias based on the sorts of articles an individual deals with.--Fyre2387 (talkcontribs) 22:35, 23 October 2010 (UTC)
I guess you are posting because your two-line creation Lasalle Park was deleted. Just try to write a better version with reliable independent sources. It wasn't deleted for lack of notability (which may never have been judged) but lack of context. It might have helped if you had written the name of the park inside the article, had linked the name of the city, and had included the name of the province and country. Many Wikipedians would probably not know where in the world it was (I'm an educated European and guessed the wrong country). See also Wikipedia:Your first article. Note that articles are not signed. Signatures are for discussions. With around 50 edits I don't think you are experienced enough to know which articles are typically deleted. Many biographies are deleted every day, and note WP:OTHERCRAPEXISTS. PrimeHunter (talk) 22:54, 23 October 2010 (UTC)

It's not a policy but a long established precedent for bots which create geographical or gazetteer article from a government or other authoritative data that any named place (or named geographic reference) can have a standalone article. A new place name article entered by a human user would likely need some government or authoritative source that would verify it to survive Afd at this point, but that's a very low barrier to entry. If you are a new editor and feel treated poorly by experienced editors, I hope you are not discouraged. Some editors want to improve the Wikipedia by adding references to new articles, and others believe the Wikipedia is improved by deleting new articles. patsw (talk) 03:51, 24 October 2010 (UTC)

While other of us of a more reasonable bent believe that both have a place. It's certainly not as black and white as all that. Beeblebrox (talk) 02:18, 25 October 2010 (UTC)
This is true (and then only for inhabited settlements) for that seriously under-represented (sarcasm alert) topic, the geography of the United States. There is ample precedent of AfD deleting geographic articles, although redirecting to a larger geographic entity is perhaps more common, for example: Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Almagill, Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Achnaluachrach, Sutherland, but conversely Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Ebenezer Place, Wick. Certainly the "barrier to entry" is low, just as you say, at least in regions with poor coverage. Any editor who had, for example, a comprehensive list of settlementes in Mali, with populations and coordinates, from a reliable source, could and should track down a bot owner willing to create articles from this data. Even for the US there's probably much still to be covered. Angus McLellan (Talk) 17:26, 25 October 2010 (UTC)
WP:5P says a the very start 'Wikipedia is an online encyclopedia. It incorporates elements of general and specialized encyclopedias, almanacs, and gazetteers'. Not sure where that comes from but it certainly implies a low threshold for articles about places. Dmcq (talk) 18:13, 25 October 2010 (UTC)
I have searched high and low for the exact policy or guideline that states Wikipedia is a gazetteer (though as WhatamIdoing has pointed out in other discussions- the 5P does NOT say Wikipedia IS a gazetteer, only that it incorporates elements of a gazetteer). Someone let me know if I skimmed over something and missed where we have this codified, though I agree with the 5P that we do in fact have gazetteer-like qualities and that should not be removed from the 5P. But is the 5P actually pulling this fact from somewhere or is taking bits of our policies and guidelines and essays and numerous consensuses and weaving a statement from them? Much like the Supreme Court with the penumbra of the Constitution granting rights not specifically enumerated (however controversial that is, I agree with the Supreme Court on the specific ruling in which they used that word). Perhaps this is a discussion that should move to the 5P talk page- does the 5P have a right to take policy and guidelines and consensuses and mash them together and come up with wording not specifically enumerated in our "rules"? I have no opinion but am curious as to Dmcq's and other's opinions on that matter to help shape one of my own.Camelbinky (talk) 21:04, 25 October 2010 (UTC)
As someone who knows a great deal of geography, finding a lot of information on Saharan mining towns is essentially impossible. Even though I personally don't read Arabic, I know people who do, and I get the sense that the articles on Chegga (in Mauritania) or Taoudenni (in Mali) aren't going to be expanded unless something of significance happens there at some point in the future. American towns are guaranteed to have more written information than some of these remote places in the middle of nowhere, which goes a long way towards explaining the disconnect. The Blade of the Northern Lights (話して下さい) 20:35, 25 October 2010 (UTC)
This goes to the heart of the whole problem of systemic bias. We are all volunteers, we can't make anybody write or edit an article, so if nobody is interested in the topic, the article doesn't get written/improved. Beeblebrox (talk)
Yeah, it's somewhat disappointing, too; I've just begun to look into Burmese articles, which badly need some outside attention. The reason I bring that up is that with Burmese articles, we have some information on towns (not nearly enough; I'll have to get to work on creating articles on the Karen villages), but very little in the way of notable people outside of figures like Aung San, Aung San Suu Kyi, and Than Shwe. Compounding that is the utter lack of English-language sources, which can create BLP issues that obviously don't apply to places. At least with places, you can find their names on an atlas, but unless someone from Burma speaks English and gets attention in the English-language media (a la Zoya Phan, which I'm building out of what was an unusually well-referenced stub), most en-wiki users won't touch it. The language issue is a major hindrance in general, but whereas one sentence stubs are sufficient for places, BLP requires considerably more; not necessarily a bad thing, but that's the way it is. I'd personally think it was a lot easier to create articles on places than people, but maybe I'll be proven wrong. The Blade of the Northern Lights (話して下さい) 00:52, 26 October 2010 (UTC)

To propose Autobiographical as a sub-category

There is an embedded problem in the "Biography of Living Persons" policy, which I have been personally experiencing. I am a longtime contributor to Wikipedia, have made hundreds of entries, and happily donate to the site, which I believe may go so far as to save humanity, in its own good time. I wrote my own page, yes I did! Not allowed, I am told, and then experienced heavy editing and deletion of content, because I was not abiding by the rules. And the rules state that content should be verifiable by exterior (or interior) references, and that original unreferenced facts will be deleted. Perhaps I am unusual in that having been deemed to deserve a page as a "notable person", I therefore want to make sure it is accurate. (Most of these similar - living - notables have their pages written up by friends or their representatives or their fans, which is allowed, or at least gets in under the fence.) Here are the questions that should be addressed:

  • 1. If facts appear in current biography articles, whether referenced or not, which are inaccurate, should the subject be allowed to correct them? Date of birth, for example, when all references get it wrong. And if the answer is yes, then that in itself is autobiographical input!
  • 2. Then, should living subjects of pages be allowed to edit, or even write, their page? I think the answer should be yes, why not?

My proposal is that a Sub-category be created, named AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF LIVING PERSONS. If this were to happen, and pages were openly created by the subject, they would then immediately be open to challenge from other users, and thus protected from abuse by vanity types, of which I'm sure it is agreed there are many. There are people such as myself who can point to abuse, inaccurate, and slanted reports by publishers who get selectively referenced. I am referring to the gossip style sources, such as TMZ, National Enquirer, Daily Mail, Mail on Sunday, People Magazine, and often even the regular press. And, of course, discussion pages of such articles may tend to get quite lively, which is as it should be. I'd like to see this proposal discussed intelligently, and not just by WP hardliners. To those people, I say that this new category would reveal some original research which, by its nature, is not verifiable (but always challengeable), and that the name of the category would make this exception to the rules very clear. JohnClarknew (talk) 17:07, 20 October 2010 (UTC)

As I'm not a hardliner, may I be the first to say no. All articles are challengable and so the category would not assistr any with that. What do we gain by giving an individual the authority to decide that this reliable source is okay, that reliable source is not okay. And what do you think the results would be? Surely a proliferation of vanity pages. Further, the exception to the rules would not be obvious to the uninformed reader - that is, most of our audience. So we'd have the peacock pages standing alongside the regular pages, with no warning whatsoever. I understand the frustration that verifiability does not equal truth (however you choose to see the truth) but a very very long process has hashed out that verifiability is the best we can do. --Tagishsimon (talk) 17:12, 20 October 2010 (UTC)
Wouldn't it be more easy to simply write your autobiography at your user page? MBelgrano (talk) 17:14, 20 October 2010 (UTC)
Gosh, I'm looking up John Clark, can't log in because I'm one of a million researchers, not a user, and I cannot see a USER PAGE for John Clark, so I don't know what you're talking about!
OK, let me put it this way: It's around 1870, Wikipedia is flourishing. My name is Charles Darwin. Now, other people have written a page for me. They've done it from references to current newspaper reports, erudite scientific papers, and Catholic Church inputs. I'm pissed off, it's full of inaccuracies, so I re-write the page myself. And it's deleted, for the sin of "original unverified statements of fact". But it's unverifiable. My question is this: Which would you rather read, Darwin and his discoveries written by Darwin, or a page written by the Wiki contributors of the time? Solution: Read above. JohnClarknew (talk) 20:24, 20 October 2010 (UTC)
Trouble is, that works only when it works. For each CD, there are 100 more who want to massage their articles based on their wish to project a particular story of their life. Which would you rather read; an attempt at a neutral article based on so-called reliable sources, or the on-message that gazillions of politicians and businesspeople and others will want to post here? If any individual wants to post their own bio of themselves, there's the whole rest of the web on which to do it. In this corner, we do reliable sources and we do not do unverifiable conflict of interest. --Tagishsimon (talk) 20:33, 20 October 2010 (UTC)
Your article is at John Clark (actor/director), btw. Your user page is at User:JohnClarknew and already seems to have a short bio. --Tagishsimon (talk) 20:33, 20 October 2010 (UTC)
My point is there's no button to click on for people to look up a user page. Yes, there's a workaround to find it. I don't think you want to understand what I've tried to say. If an autobiographical page were written, it would still be subject to attack, and edits, to counteract any NPOV violations and vanity writing (of which there is no shortage in biography pages that I read.) I'm saying that there are facts only known by the subject which get deleted and shouldn't be. (Uncover a lie written by the subject, and he/she can be destroyed right there.) There'd be no harm in having an independent bio also, if the auto appears to be untruthful. The rules were written long ago, and should be updated, in my opinion. JohnClarknew (talk) 21:14, 20 October 2010 (UTC)
You are, however, ALWAYS free to bring up any issues on the discussion page for the article. But WP needs reliable sources to back it up, because this is an encyclopedia. ♫ Melodia Chaconne ♫ (talk) 22:38, 20 October 2010 (UTC)
Give an interview to a reliable source. postdlf (talk) 22:47, 20 October 2010 (UTC)
There's two problems with what you say--one has already been pointed out, which is that many (I would argue most) autobiography pages would end up being unnecessarily positive. For instance, would Bill Clinton willingly include discussion of his scandals on his page if he were given the "authority" to manage it? What about someone like (since you chose a historical example), Josef Stalin? I'm sure he could provide all sorts of "sources" that support a neutral, if not positive explanation for his actions, despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary? We already have a tremendous problem with current politicians using indirect methods to spin their own page positively; if we allowed them to do so openly, I can't see how we could keep any BLP with an interested subject neutral. The other problem would be imposters--what if a new account was registered tomorrow claiming to be someone famous--how would we verify the person's identity? And, even if we used some sort of confirmed identity system, how would we handle truly famous people, who would presumably want to delegate the task to an agent, PR person, or lawyer? Ultimately, it comes down to the fact that Wikipedia isn't here to establish truth, we're here to verify what reliable sources claim is the truth. There are plenty of other places on the internet to initially establish truth, like personal web-pages, news sources, video interviews, etc. Qwyrxian (talk) 23:32, 20 October 2010 (UTC)

Good example. Let's take Bill Clinton. Suppose he were to write his own article. Great! THEN we, other users, would load his page up with what we've read about his affairs, and add this further material. He cannot edit it out without good reason (that it's unverifiable gossip.) He doesn't get to "manage" his page. But he is free to correct facts, maybe just his birthdate if it had been reported wrong, and would not have to supply an image of his birth certificate. Adolph Hitler could write a page concerning how he saved Germany, but he might stop at 1935. At which point we'd step in and take it to the later years. WP is an evolving model, not stuck with one fixed version. And I say that original autobiographical material would yield more interesting facts than what we get now without it. Remember, notables would write their own page at their peril. They might not want to, because of the built-in protections. JohnClarknew (talk) 03:31, 21 October 2010 (UTC)

One of the reasons why autobiography is strongly discouraged is that the article subjects are too emotionally involved in the topic. They naturally assume that the article "belongs" to them and get angry when other editors disagree with them on content issues. Wikipedia has had countless problems with people editing articles about themselves, their families, and their projects.   Will Beback  talk  04:19, 21 October 2010 (UTC)
I grant you that that can be a problem, judging by much of what I read in biographical pages, where subject direction is apparent. Here's a wrinkle: How about autobiographical pages being written by INVITATION only, where a committee of editors select certain notables for permission to write their own pages. And make it possible for people to APPLY to be considered. That would get around the fear. JohnClarknew (talk) 06:47, 21 October 2010 (UTC)
Going back to Clinton, you're saying that he's only allowed to "correct facts", but he's also allowed to make totally unverifiable changes using original research in order to correct inaccuracies in the sources. What's to stop him from just saying "all the negative sources are wrong" and whitewashing the article? You seem to be assuming that everyone will act mostly truthfully and will never use their ability to challenge sources and add OR to remove things that are correct. Mr.Z-man 14:55, 21 October 2010 (UTC)
That doesn't make sense. Nobody has ever made corrections to anything by saying "all the sources are wrong". To do that would be considered vandalism. But consider this: Most images are, due to copyright problems "autobiographical" in the sense that they are shot by the camera person personally. So here we have autobiographical images, but no autobiographical text. JohnClarknew (talk) 15:25, 21 October 2010 (UTC)
In a manner of speaking, yes. postdlf (talk) 16:29, 21 October 2010 (UTC)
Are you not proposing to give people the ability to do that though? Please point out any inaccuracies here. Your proposal was made because sources are occasionally wrong or distort the truth. To combat this, people would be allowed to use unverifiable original research, that may contradict sources we would normally consider reliable, on articles about themselves. Given that, what is there to stop someone from abusing this privilege to remove or whitewash negative content by claiming that the source we have is incorrect? In some cases even normally innocuous details like birthdate (models, actors, porn stars) can be controversial. Mr.Z-man 18:29, 21 October 2010 (UTC)
One shouldn't be allowed to remove any negative published sources. The remedy for the autobiographer would be to add counterbalancing positive published sources. There are those users who have hidden agendas, especially as regards celebrities (models, actors, porn stars.) They are the mischief makers (believe me, I know, click on my talk.) JohnClarknew (talk) 20:53, 21 October 2010 (UTC)
But that isn't what your proposal is or seems to be. "There are people such as myself who can point to abuse, inaccurate, and slanted reports by publishers who get selectively referenced ... often even the regular press. ... this new category would reveal some original research which, by its nature, is not verifiable". Either people can claim a source is inaccurate and replace it with original research, or they can't. You can't just allow for where it works then disallow it where it doesn't, because there would be no way to tell whether the person is lying except in the most blatant cases. If they can only counter it with other reliable sources, then there's nothing new here, because that's already what they're allowed to do. Mr.Z-man 22:06, 21 October 2010 (UTC)
No no no. Let me be clearer. It would work like this: 1. An autobiographical article would be written in the third person, not the first person. 2. The subject, who may have written the original article, would be able to add original information within the text, with or without attribution. Any information, as always, would be subject to challenge with the appropriate tag. 3. Others could add to it, or even subtract from it, but could not do the latter with the excuse that it violates current input restrictions by the subject. 4. The subject can add external links, and they cannot be removed for the same reason. 5. The subject cannot remove links provided by others without explanation on the talk page, and even then they could be reverted. So, you see, I believe it is eminently doable, and I think there could be a trial period to see how and if this would work. I subscribe to the idea that Wikipedia is not frozen into the blueprint of the current model, but rather is a work in progress. I get impatient with those who rattle off unchangeable rules like so many mantras. JohnClarknew (talk) 23:07, 21 October 2010 (UTC)
FWIW, anyone can write an autobiography and publish it in print or online. It can then be used as a source for non-controversial assertions about themselves. If the subject has a website, it's standard practice to link to it, so reader's can get the subject's views of himself and others with just one click. The trend on Wikipedia has been against adding many external links beyond the official ones.   Will Beback  talk  23:20, 21 October 2010 (UTC)
I think this slightly confuses "writing about myself" with "writing about myself on Wikipedia". Nobody has a right to get equal time for their POV on Wikipedia. If you want to publish your own story, then get your own website. We'll cheerfully link it as the WP:ELOFFICIAL website.
As for John Clark (actor/director), if those sources are representative, I think a decent case could be made for WP:NOTINHERITED. A person who is "best known" for marrying a notable person is not necessarily notable. WhatamIdoing (talk) 23:21, 21 October 2010 (UTC)
Why don't you do some minimal research before commenting? I mean, what are you doing? If you trouble yourself to do so, you will find that I was deemed to be notable for my career back in the forties, way before marrying you-know-who. And as for getting my own website, you will find that I have one, and it is referred to. JohnClarknew (talk) 00:07, 22 October 2010 (UTC)
Like I said, if those sources are representative. And if they're not, then the article needs some work, so that a third of the article and half the sources aren't about family members, and so that the list of sources doesn't feature so many weak sources, like YouTube and and imdb. (And, actually, I don't know who; none of the names in the article mean anything to me. Feel free to assume that I'm a cultural Philistine.)
It is not actually possible for anyone to have been deemed WP:Notable more than half a century before Wikipedia was created. "Notable" is a term of the art here: It means that the subject currently meets our inclusion guidelines. A person can be notable in plain English terms without being WP:Notable in Wikipedia terms -- just like an actor can have a method for doing something, without engaging in Method acting. You may or may not be notable; I don't actually know or care. But I do know that obituaries about an ex-wife are not much good for demonstrating that you meet the notability standards yourself.
If you're not familiar with it, you might like to read WP:An article about yourself is nothing to be proud of. WhatamIdoing (talk) 21:38, 22 October 2010 (UTC)
I think by "deemed notable for acting work in the forties" he is referring to the consensus of the AFD which specifically mentioned a 1940s role as grounds for notability alone, not the fact that someone in 1940 may have said "You deserve to be put in an encyclopedia". That AFD was decided by a consensus of Editors who agreed that cleaning was required but that notability as an individual did exist. Perhaps your concerns would be better discussed on the article talkpage where those editors may see them and action them? Stuart.Jamieson (talk) 22:52, 22 October 2010 (UTC)
And on your due diligence tasks, WhatamIdoing, you might note that I did not put in the obit links. That was done by others who have their own agendas. JohnClarknew (talk) 16:01, 26 October 2010 (UTC)

Perhaps in conclusion, I should refer the above commenters to this article Wikipedia:Wikipedia is a work in progress. And in comment to myself, I should write an essay on the subject. I just discovered Wikipedia:The value of essays. JohnClarknew (talk) 19:21, 23 October 2010 (UTC)

John, there is a similar discussion in progress on Jimbo Wales Talkpage User_talk:Jimbo wales#No right of reply?, your input over there may be helpful. Stuart.Jamieson (talk) 19:52, 23 October 2010 (UTC)
Thanks so much, Stuart. Now I've been there, and done that. Very Helpful. Meanwhile, a user has just deleted my entire discussion page. JohnClarknew (talk) 23:15, 23 October 2010 (UTC)
Correction. The page was archived, thus hidden. JohnClarknew (talk) 01:11, 24 October 2010 (UTC)
Let's be perfectly clear here, there was no attempt to hide or censor anything, archiving a talk page is a standard procedure, and a big brown box with a link to the archive was left at the top of the page. There had been no discussion since August 6. And it is not "your page," nobody owns a Wikipedia page even if it is about them. And that is really the heart of this whole matter. Beeblebrox (talk) 01:53, 24 October 2010 (UTC)
Wrong twice. You don't archive talk pages because there's been no activity if the subject remains open, which it probably is, and it's not overlong. Such is the case with many BLP pages. [9] And your point about ownership of BLP pages is absurd. To talk about "my page" is a simple way of identifying it, and is not made to suggest ownership. What do you want? "The page about me which I don't own etc. etc.". Please don't take me for an idiot. However, I'll leave it archived, it protects the contents. JohnClarknew (talk) 19:36, 24 October 2010 (UTC)
You seem to be misunderstanding some basic Wikipedia practices. See WP:ARCHIVE. A discussion that hasn't had any input in over a month is hardly "open" anymore, since no one is participating. People may edit articles about themselves, but its frowned upon and invites close scrutiny due to the habit of people editing to make the article favorable to themselves. See WP:AUTO & WP:COI. That's the reason we require verifiable sources (per WP:V): we won't simply take someone's word for it that X is true. We want to see it documented in a reliable, third-party source. Finally, yes, it's best to say "the page about me," or simply "John Clark (actor/director)" when referring to the article. — The Hand That Feeds You:Bite 15:57, 25 October 2010 (UTC)
Bite me! Meanwhile, why don't you go over to our leader's page (OK, our founder's page) and join the discussion about what is lacking in our current BLP policy? Here it is: User_talk:Jimbo wales#No right of reply?. Of course, it's probably archived already (damn those archives!) JohnClarknew. (talk) 16:01, 26 October 2010 (UTC)

I don't know if this will help you, but there is a precedent for listing a Wikipedian's user page as an external link on their biography article. I had thought there was a userbox or category for Wikipedians with biography articles, but I can't find one. Bovlb (talk) 19:06, 26 October 2010 (UTC)

Try Category:Notable Wikipedians or Category:Connected contributors, and see also Wikipedia:Wikipedians with articles. WhatamIdoing (talk) 05:41, 27 October 2010 (UTC)

If you AGF and ANS then "my" can be used sensibly as "associated with me" - even Left Hand of Darkness uses such a term. WP:KIND applies. Rich Farmbrough, 19:44, 27 October 2010 (UTC).

Rich, Mr. Clark has tried to own the article, that is the central point of this thread, he believes that he should be allowed to write his own article based on his own observations. (And I'm afraid I don't know what ANS means, and WP:KIND leads to a wikiproject page, not a guideline, policy, or even an essay) Beeblebrox (talk) 19:53, 27 October 2010 (UTC)
Rich, did you perhaps assume that he's complaining about the user talk page for his account? That's what I assumed the first time, but the 'problem' was actually the appearance of an archive at the article's talk page, Talk:John Clark (actor), which I'm uncomfortable with anyone calling "my entire discussion page". WhatamIdoing (talk) 20:41, 27 October 2010 (UTC)

WRT tags that oblige tag placers to explain themselves on the talk page

Some wikitags oblige tag placers to explain themselves on the talk page. I asked for advice several years ago, (on WP:ANI I believe), on how to deal with tags like this, when the tag placer has not left an explanation on the talk page why they placed the tag.

I was told that when the tag was placed more than 24 hours previously, and hasn't yet fulfilled their obligation to offer that explanation, that I could simply remove the abandoned tag.

Since then many additional wikitags have been created. Some of them derive whatever authority they have to essays, but from the way they are used one could assume they derive their authority from a policy or guideline. It seems to me that some of these tags imply that the interested parties will find an explanation for the tag on the talk page.

Given that none of us are mind readers, how should we deal with tags that imply they are explained on the talk page, when there is no explanation?

Cheers! Geo Swan (talk) 19:47, 22 October 2010 (UTC)

The one thing we want to avoid here is tag edit wars. I fully agree that one should not simply do a drive-by with such tags without bothering to explain themselves, the best response to such is to ask for specifics yourself on the article's talk page. If they are not forthcoming in a timely manner and you can't see the problem yourself then it is appropriate to remove the tag. Beeblebrox (talk) 21:17, 22 October 2010 (UTC)
If you can't figure out why the tag was placed, then you can assume that was an error and remove it. WhatamIdoing (talk) 21:18, 22 October 2010 (UTC)
Or you can read the tag, assume good faith, and then try to figure out why it was placed in the article. The tag at issue seems to indicate the placer thinks the tagged portion of the article is original research. Given the fact that no cite is utilized to show how the article's information was derived, a simple fix for the problem would be to cite the claims made in the article, which directly addresses the issue raised by the tag. Once done, you can safely remove it, and everyone is the happier for it. Hope that helps. --Yachtsman1 (talk) 22:40, 22 October 2010 (UTC)
The {{Original research}} tag does not require the editor to start a discussion. Some tags, such as {{Globalize}} and {{POV}}, actually require the editor to start a discussion on the talk page. If you see these tags on an article, and there's no discussion on the talk page, you can -- and often should -- remove them. WhatamIdoing (talk) 05:54, 27 October 2010 (UTC)
Some version of this question seems to be posted every week or two. Is there a page that can can be pointed to as a quick answer? If not, maybe it would help to create one.--RDBury (talk) 13:24, 23 October 2010 (UTC)
WP:Tag bombing is probably the closest. Perhaps you'd like to expand it? WhatamIdoing (talk) 05:54, 27 October 2010 (UTC)


A discussion regarding the current rule on sortkeys is active at Wikipedia talk:Categorization#Sortkey. Feel free to voice your opinion there. Fram (talk) 07:41, 27 October 2010 (UTC)

Whopper (disambiguation)

Thread moved to Talk:Whopper (disambiguation) where it belongs. Beeblebrox (talk) 22:07, 27 October 2010 (UTC)

Reintroduction of Username policy against random usernames

Earlier this evening, while patrolling the user creation logs, I came across a user with an extraordinary username, which looked like they'd basically shut their eyes and randomly banged their fingers on the keyboard. I enquired with other English Wikipedia users in the #wikipedia-en IRC channel as to why there was no policy against such usernames - and I was informed that there used to be, but it was scrapped by "community consensus" some years ago.

What the hell was the community thinking? I shouldn't have to copy and paste someone's username into a message because it's so long and random I wouldn't stand a prayer of remembering it. I'm making a proposal here to ask for the username policy against random usernames to be reinstated - they're exceptionally confusing, messy, and quite frankly, I challenge anyone to remember a username like User:Abcesfskvtetslktvsltsvtlskidlcdjjlzbrzcyib without having it engraved on their monitor or tattooed on their forehead.

It's bloody ridiculous. Come on people, show some sense.

BarkingFish 21:45, 27 October 2010 (UTC)

We don't require anyone to even use a name. So who cares if you can read it? We don't even require a username to be romanized. Logging in extends a number of convenience features to the user, and allows some level of consistency with the other editors they interact with. Our prohibitions on user names have a consistent basis on the activities of the user: polemic, promotional, impersonation. None of that is about readability. SchmuckyTheCat (talk)
Is it really that hard to copy and paste a username? In any event the current practice is to not block such usernames on sight. The reason is that we should only block usernames that were obviously made in bad faith, such as blatant spam or attack names. In cases like this a discussion is the preferred alternative to a block. {{uw-username}} is available for those that do not wish to compose a personalized message to the user. I can't remember an awful lot of people's unusual usernames, and some of them contain characters that aren't on my keyboard, but we don't block all of them just because it may be necessary for some users to copy and paste their names. Beeblebrox (talk) 22:01, 27 October 2010 (UTC)
It's not hard to copy and paste it, and I would consider to note also, that this doesn't refer to names in Non-latin scripts, either. All I am saying is that if I want to leave a message for someone, I shouldn't have to copy and paste the nick because of its length and randomness. The idea of a username is that it should name the user, not confuse the hell out of anyone else trying to do so :) BarkingFish 22:10, 27 October 2010 (UTC)
You note that "this doesn't refer to names in Non-latin scripts," but what distinction are you drawing? If a name isn't memorable to you (and therefore must be copied and pasted), why does it matter whether this is because of an unfamiliar script or because of an unfamiliar combination of Latin characters? The latter obviously strikes you as silly, but that's immaterial to usability. —David Levy 22:16, 27 October 2010 (UTC)
I agree with SchmuckyTheCat and Beeblebrox. Most of us probably won't memorize User: or User:果実栽培者 either. —David Levy 22:16, 27 October 2010 (UTC)
However, neither of those were created with the intent of making life difficult for other people. The former is obviously not anybody's choice, and the latter is no doubt perfectly coherent to those gifted people who are familiar with that language. Jsjefsjceaijrpioeajeijcijcseaeklnzansniofasofehseiochne (talk · contribs), on the other hand, was clearly created by someone who was simply taking the piss. There can be no other explanation. ╟─TreasuryTaginternational waters─╢ 22:22, 27 October 2010 (UTC)
Thank you, TreasuryTag. You've summed up exactly what I was aiming at. That nick and the one I posted are simply aimed at being confusing for the sake of being confusing. Someone finally understands what the hell I was trying to say. Hallelujah! BarkingFish 22:32, 27 October 2010 (UTC)
There can easily be another explanation. Perhaps the user tried five or ten other ideas they had and found they were all taken or otherwise prevented by the filters. So they just bang on the keyboard out of frustration. Helpful? No, but not done in bad faith either. That is the point here, if there is even a possibility that a username was not created in bad faith we can discuss it with them instead of block, which is what should be done in these types of cases. Beeblebrox (talk) 22:29, 27 October 2010 (UTC)
(edit conflict) I suggest that formulating a username by "banging on the keyboard out of frustration" is more or less bad faith; the creation of un-necessary trouble to others was an oblique, if not a direct, intention. Eslkjekjpqiel.ejoiesjojocaqqeejiorucytp 22:36, 27 October 2010 (UTC)
And Beeblebrox, if there was a policy against creating such a username, there'd be no need to discuss it with them - just simply say "Randomly generated usernames are not acceptable. Please change your username." BarkingFish 22:34, 27 October 2010 (UTC)
But why is "Jsjefsjceaijrpioeajeijcijcseaeklnzansniofasofehseiochne" any less random than "A" or "隨機名稱"? It isn't. "Barking Fish" sounds as random to me as any "Gerund Noun" so what is the actual problem? SchmuckyTheCat (talk)
Wikipedia:Username_policy#Dealing_with_inappropriate_usernames seems to deal with the matter very well. Some reassurance that BarkingFish has read the policy, not merely relied on an anecdote, would be helpful before we go much further. And hey, there's Wikipedia talk:Username policy, just ready and waiting to host a conversation on, err, Username policy. Which is to say, why on earth was this discussion brought here rather than there? --Tagishsimon (talk) 22:34, 27 October 2010 (UTC)
Tagishsimon - I've been on Wikipedia 6 years, I admin on 2 wikis and hold various privileges on others - I am well aware of the policy - that such usernames are strongly discouraged, but if they're not offensive and don't require an immediate block, discussion is useful. However, as the policy also rightly points out, usernames of this nature are often a red flag for editors, and for people like myself, vandal fighters. Essentially they're throwaway - someone can nip on, register, vandalise a few articles and bugger off, only to turn up again at another time with another completely random username. Please don't assume I am not aware of policy because I'm using an anecdote. BarkingFish 22:45, 27 October 2010 (UTC)
I didn't assume that. I did wonder what you found wrong with the policy, and now I wonder why, with your wealth of experience, you chose a) not to discuss at the policy's talk page and b) not to link to the policy under question. Although both are somewhat rhetorical wonderings, fwiw. --Tagishsimon (talk) 23:02, 27 October 2010 (UTC)
The discussion was bought to the Village pump to attract attention to it, and I apologise for not linking to the relevant policy in my initial post - also for stating that you had assumed I was unfamiliar with the policy. I misunderstood your statement about me "having read the policy...would be reassuring".
Please allow me to clear up from other posts here - I do not object to people using usernames in non-latin scripts because they are clearly not intended to confuse, as TreasuryTag pointed out - they probably make sense and are perfectly pronounceable in their own language.
The objection is only to usernames designed with the express intention of confusing you or where you would require oral surgery and modifications to your tongue and vocal chords to prevent you from choking when you try to say them!
It is, as I stated, not unreasonable to assume that a username should name the user - not simply be composed of absolute garbage. BarkingFish 23:15, 27 October 2010 (UTC)
Which presumes two things:
  1. That a username is a committed identity. It isn't.
  2. That a pronouncable username isn't random or disposable. They often are.
You are trying to impose on the username policy things that aren't important to the project. SchmuckyTheCat (talk)
Neither of your points are relevant. Look, if someone registered the account Chocolate Toothbrush (talk · contribs), I think we can all agree that it's a fairly random choice! However, it's catchy, it's memorable, and it's hard to see how it could cause anyone any trouble. Ejocijoi32lwjolkcpplkjckmzksz89w82 (talk · contribs), on the other hand, is not merely random conceptually, at the level of meaning – ie. there is actually no such thing as a chocolate toothbrush – but is random phonetically, is more or less impossible to type, difficult to recall, and creates needless difficulty if anybody wants to message them, refer to them or scrutinise them. Surely you can see the difference here? ╟─TreasuryTagcabinet─╢ 08:35, 28 October 2010 (UTC)
So if a username is not a committed identity, why do you need a bureaucrat to change them if you need to, and why are you limited to the number you can hold? Surely if they're not so committed, we should be able to change them whenever the hell we feel like it, not have to apply for permission to do so. Eofbodosobdfllldao0eo0oooe9992002*88webdjisis 00:42, 28 October 2010 (UTC)
Really Barking? Please put your signature to its original instead of your VERY pointy and bad faith "joke". Second of all your proposal shouldnt even be considered because- this is an attempt to create an encyclopedia, what does this have to do with that? Nothing. Do we have nothing better to do than care about other user's personal preferences and impose on them our own personal preferences? That is all this is. What is random is subjective. Is Camelbinky random? I think BarkingFish is offensive and completely random and unprofessional for Wikipedia and your name changed because I dont like it and its difficult for me to remember. See, I too can be POINTY. I suggest we all go edit an article now and not care what people wish to call themselves.Camelbinky (talk) 01:48, 28 October 2010 (UTC)
Wow. Someone got out of bed on the wrong side this morning :) If you look at some of the reasons I've listed here, you will understand why random usernames (like my so called *pointy* example above) are a bad idea. And since you don't seem to care what people call themselves, why don't we propose to abandon the username policy altogether, hmm? You'd have no objection to dealing with a user having offensive or threatening remarks or comments in their username? We're already imposing our own personal preferences on people, by having a policy controlling what people can call themselves. Or would you rather we just drop that and call ourselves whatever we wish? BarkingFish 01:57, 28 October 2010 (UTC)
Edit: Incidentally, your attempt to be pointy in response to your claim that I've been pointy, is, in itself, very pointy. Just thought i'd point that out! :) 02:39, 28 October 2010 (UTC)
I'd think a random username would be helpful for a vandalfighter. It helps you to zero-in on potentially troublesome diffs more easily. It's like a bright and colorful signature, an implicit warning that the user is probably trouble... ;) -- Quiddity (talk) 03:50, 28 October 2010 (UTC)
re: to the comment about needing a bureaucrat to change names. You don't need a bureaucrat to change your name unless you want to keep your history. SchmuckyTheCat (talk)
On the contrary, simply creating a new account to avoid the official name-change process is considered pretty poor form. ╟─TreasuryTagLord Speaker─╢ 11:03, 28 October 2010 (UTC)

I would like to point out the similarity of this to the recent RfC on symbols in usernames, which was closed (quite well IMO) as "Use common sense". --Cybercobra (talk) 03:38, 28 October 2010 (UTC)

Does that mean triangle man is still triangle man? ∆ or something. (makes me want to sing). Or did he have to change back? -- Quiddity (talk) 03:50, 28 October 2010 (UTC)
Judging by where User:Betacommand redirects, I'd say the former. He's not a degraded person-man :-) --Cybercobra (talk) 08:49, 28 October 2010 (UTC)
  • I would support a strong encouragement for new users to register pronounceable usernames. I think pronounceable usernames help personalise collaborative interactions. Noting Beeblebrox's point, I'd suggest that the registration process suggest some pronounceable available usernames every time registration is denied due to the desired username not being available. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 22:20, 28 October 2010 (UTC)
How would anyone define "pronounceable"? I interact with several users who have random (or seemingly random) sequences of letters and numbers as their user names. I don't see a problem with any user name, barring the obvious offensive ones etc. Bretonbanquet (talk) 22:39, 28 October 2010 (UTC)
A requirement that names be 'pronounceable' means that we would have to ban most people's initials or other abbreviations. For example, User:Kww and User:JzG don't sound too pronounceable to me.
And given the diversity of languages on the planet, how would you even know whether a name is pronounceable? Maybe a name doesn't make sense to a monolingual English speaker, but perhaps it is common enough in another language or culture. I'm willing to believe that the examples above are people mashing their keyboards, but the fact is that they might be sentences in a language that I don't happen to read. As an example, do you know whether "beztrudanevytaschishyrybkuizpruda" was created by mashing the keyboard, or if it's a real language? How about "caghlaaobbyraash"? And "dakwocvisociwmecunamin"?
Overall, I don't see a problem here that is worth the time and effort required to solve it. WhatamIdoing (talk) 04:37, 29 October 2010 (UTC)

This whole discussion seems to ring echos of when non-Latin names were being proposed for deletion as usernames... and then I pointed out how some of the sister projects (in English) went so far as to even turn some of the users with non-Latin usernames into admins to show how it was mostly a non-issue. This is precisely the same thing, and the difference here ought to be how that user behaves. If I were "god-king", perhaps I would insist that everybody sign in with their legal "real world" name, but that isn't going to fly. If you accept that people can have pseudonyms, I'm willing to be tolerant to the point that almost any sort of crazy combination of UTF-8 characters ought to be valid. The only possible requirement is that the user must be able to sign back in with that account name at some future time, and it is mainly the quality of the edits that ought to count.

BTW, I agree with the sentiments listed above that these crazy user names are good identifiers for trolls, and that they deserve to be examined... particularly if they are red-links and other sorts of clues as they typically won't be used by "legitimate" users. But that isn't a reason to ban them as names but rather something which is a useful tool for admins. If you automatically ban them as a user name, it creates other sorts of problems. This is making a mountain out of a mole hill, and if somebody wants to be creative with their username, let them I say! --Robert Horning (talk) 00:54, 29 October 2010 (UTC)

There's also the point of the fact that something can LOOK random and not be -- yuiopghjklcvbnm is absolutely NOT random in the least. Neither is adgjmpsvy. Or in a different way, neither is Zrybqvn. ♫ Melodia Chaconne ♫ (talk) 06:05, 29 October 2010 (UTC)

I'd suggest some restrictions for Unicode user names. Take a look at Internationalized_domain_name, where much effort went into developing a set of restrictions to allow domain names in non-Latin scripts without driving everybody nuts.[10] These are very complex rules, and would have to be enforced in software. They don't disallow anything sane, but prevent a large number of cases which are seriously annoying and tend to break editors, like mixed left-to-right and right-to-left scripts. --John Nagle (talk) 05:57, 30 October 2010 (UTC)

Administrators' Noticeboard discussion of biographies of living persons that cite no sources

See Wikipedia:Administrators' noticeboard/Unsourced biographies of living persons. Uncle G (talk) 20:24, 28 October 2010 (UTC)

Linking to Google Books pages

Should WP:CITE note that Google Books page links may be added to footnotes? Apparently some editors object to them, so an RfC has been opened to determine consensus. Please comment at WT:CITE#Linking to Google Books pages. SlimVirgin talk|contribs 19:16, 29 October 2010 (UTC)

Spoiler-related proposal

A proposal to make the link to the general disclaimer more prominent in the standard Vector skin by putting it into the sidebar.

From the original proposal:

Wikipedia does not tag spoilers in articles, and instead the content disclaimer for the site warns that Wikipedia may contain spoilers for works of fiction. In the default skin the link to the disclaimers is not very prominent. Should its prominence be increased, and if so in what way and by how much?

There is presently general agreement to alter the sidebar so that the general disclaimer should have more visibility. As this is a site-wide change it's best to have wide discussion. Please join the discussion at Wikipedia talk:Spoiler#RFC:_Change_prominence_of_site_disclaimer_link_in_default_skin. --TS 19:39, 29 October 2010 (UTC)

Again with the Photos

When I originally questioned the inclusion of photos of the hanged person in bios of Nazis (who had been executed) I was told that there is no censorship policy and that I could configure Wikipedia so that I could avoid seeing such photos.

Okay, I accepted this altho it occurs to me that those without an account would not have this configuration ability. But okay...

However, recently looked up the article on Euthanasia and included was a photo of a dead (I think) infant suffering from hydrocephaly. Truly a shocking and sad image and given that there is a wide range of disabilities for which an infant might have been subjected to euthanasia, it strikes me that this particular photo was included for shock value and had nothing to do with the substance of the article.

Those defending the inclusion of shocking images that add no value to an article, that are in fact misplaced, I ask again for reconsideration of this policy, if indeed it is one.

I would guess the more shocking the image (or can't we agree on what is shocking/offensive)the more relevant to the article it would have to be.--Jrm2007 (talk) 06:51, 29 October 2010 (UTC)

How long ago did you look at the article? I can find no image additions/removals in Euthanasia's recent edit history. --Cybercobra (talk) 10:53, 29 October 2010 (UTC)
I also did not see any such image in the most recent 345 revisions of the page (going back to early 2009), either you're thinking of a different article or it was added to and then removed from some template. As for the rest, there is no policy that says articles may contain shocking images that add no value to the article; WP:NOTCENSORED says:
Discussion of potentially objectionable content should not focus on its offensiveness but on whether it is appropriate to include in a given article. Beyond that, "being objectionable" is generally not sufficient grounds for removal of content.
So just "being shocking" is neither a reason to include nor a reason to exclude an image. Discussions of whether or not an image contributes value to an article should normally take place on the article's talk page. Anomie 13:43, 29 October 2010 (UTC)
I believe the editor is referring to the specific article Non-voluntary euthanasia, linked to from the main Euthanasia page. But yes this isn't a policy issue but one specific to the article about whether the image is relevant and adds to the explanation of the issue, so should be brought up on the related talk page. WP:NOTCENSORED is clear in that offensiveness isn't a factor in inclusion. ChiZeroOne (talk) 14:16, 29 October 2010 (UTC)

Jrm2007 (talk) 14:17, 29 October 2010 (UTC)

  • I'm just going to recap what I said the last time : Life can be ugly, dark and brutal. It can also be beautiful and inspiring. Wikipedia is supposed to be a neutral observer and contains images and content that some people will find disturbing. Beeblebrox (talk) 19:46, 29 October 2010 (UTC)
I completely understand your point; I however assert that an image that has been inserted for shock value and adds nothing to the article does not belong. For example, say in the article on human babies this same image were inserted, would you then object? If so, I would argue that it has about as much place there as in the article about euthanasia.
If an image truly "adds nothing to the article," it should be removed regardless of whether it's shocking. postdlf (talk) 00:02, 30 October 2010 (UTC)
How do you know that the image "has been inserted for shock value"? I suggest you assume good faith, indeed if you look there was a discussion on the related talk page about this very issue with a previous image being replaced by the current one because it was deemed more relevant, see Spina bifida pic. I can see nothing wrong with the reasoning. ChiZeroOne (talk) 05:56, 30 October 2010 (UTC)

It is a policy issue: if an offensive image adds nothing to an article, I would argue it does not belong; or if a less offensive image could be substituted, that should be considered. But again, okay, let any sort of garbage be included here, I don't know why I bother.--Jrm2007 (talk) 22:20, 29 October 2010 (UTC)

I don't know why you bother attacking straw men either. Anomie 01:21, 30 October 2010 (UTC)
Any image that, after discussion, is determined to add nothing to an article can be removed anyway. But the current policy, just a statement of accepted practise, is clear in that arbitrary "offensiveness" should not be a consideration in this. Even with only a quick thought on the issue I can see that a policy such as that which you suggest could be abused on contentious articles for instance to "sanitize" and not give a fair account. The real issue is whether an image is relevant, and that is subject-dependant.
If you wish to question Wikipedia's censorship policy you probably should construct a logical argument as to why the removal of any images that some editors may find offensive fits with the primary goal of making a free global encyclopaedia. ChiZeroOne (talk) 07:30, 30 October 2010 (UTC)

Why are British places generally not disambiguated

I find it a rather odd cultural favour that articles on locations in the United Kingdom are not subject to the rules set out at MOS:DAB. Why do places in the UK get articles with a hatnote to a disambiguation page, whereas places on the remainder of the planet that have thousands or millions of residents share a disambiguation page with Bum-frick, Idaho? - ʄɭoʏɗiaɲ τ ¢ 18:12, 14 October 2010 (UTC)

Much as I'm always on the lookout for creeping British imperialism on WP, I'm not sure I think UK places are that much more likely to go undisambiguated. Care to give a specific example? I can think of, say, London versus London, Ontario, and I think that one is fine as it is — it's on the lines of Los Angeles versus Los Angeles, Chile (although that last one escapes a disambiguator by virtue of a happy accent). --Trovatore (talk) 18:25, 14 October 2010 (UTC)
  • I find your racist comment about creeping British imperialism offensive, unwarranted and injurious to, what I consider, the spirit of Wikipedia. Also I suggest you take a long, hard look at your own nation's history and ongoing foreign policy.--Ykraps (talk) 08:00, 30 October 2010 (UTC)
    • It's neither racist, nor directed, nor personal. It's a concept, not an absolute. - ʄɭoʏɗiaɲ τ ¢ 19:35, 30 October 2010 (UTC)
      • What?! It is a race-based prejudicial remark directed at British editors and designed to stir up feelings of resentment. It is offensive and insulting and clearly racist!--Ykraps (talk) 20:34, 30 October 2010 (UTC)
Did you really mean MOS:DAB? I think WP:DAB applies.--Boson (talk) 18:33, 14 October 2010 (UTC)
In particular WP:DAB#Is there a primary topic?--Boson (talk) 18:35, 14 October 2010 (UTC)
Sounds more like there's a problem with articles on Bum-frick than some mythical convention that supposedly favo(u)rs the UK. But this is not really a policy issue; the policy exists already, it just needs to be discussed and implemented on an article-by-article basis. --Bermicourt (talk) 18:43, 14 October 2010 (UTC)
We don't seem to have an article on Bum-frick let alone one which favours Bum-frick, Essex over Bum-frick, Idaho. Off the top of my head Washington goes to disambiguation despite the town in the U.K. being the origin of that name. California covers the U.S. state despite 5 U.K. towns bearing that name. Bangor goes to disambiguation despite the Irish and Welsh towns originating that name. Dunedin goes to New Zealand not a redirect to Edinburgh. I don't see it myself for want of a decent example.Stuart.Jamieson (talk) 19:02, 14 October 2010 (UTC)
Washington is a slightly sore point — personally I think it should go to the state. Washington, DC is in my experience more often called DC than Washington. As for a place in the UK, that's not even on the radar, and historical priority can go whistle. --Trovatore (talk) 19:11, 14 October 2010 (UTC)
I agree in relation to Washington, Tyne and Wear but disagree with the State having precedence. Outside of the U.S. most people don't know where the state is (or even that it exists) and consider Washington to refer to the capital and that's their primary reason for searching WP for it. Stuart.Jamieson (talk) 19:28, 14 October 2010 (UTC)
Need examples. At random, I checked York, which I think is the primary topic, Nottingham, which I think is also the primary topic, and Lancaster, which goes to a DAB page. So it obviously is not a universal style. Meanwhile, there are numerous places in other countries that are not disambiguated despite not being in the UK. Resolute 19:05, 14 October 2010 (UTC)
Worcester, Cambridge, Marlborough, Newport, and Plymouth are the first I could think of where the most common usage is unknown, and should be disambiguated. Also, Wikipedia:Naming_conventions_(settlements)#United_Kingdom calls for articles simply at [[name]] whereas Wikipedia:Naming_conventions_(settlements)#United_States says they need to be at [[name, state]] except in limited instances. ~DC We Can Work It Out 20:10, 14 October 2010 (UTC)
The difference in the naming conventions is not designed to give UK places precedence over US localities, but to reflect common usage in the two countries. For example (and correct me if wrong), the relatively important town of Waukesha, Wisconsin is known as typically known as that even though its the only locality of that name and the mention of the state isn't actually necessary. On the other hand, minor British villages do not have the county attached in normal usage. For instance, Zeal Monachorum is not typically called "Zeal Monachorum, Devon".
In cases where the primary subject is ambiguous, this difference in normal usage should not be used to give the UK article inappropriate significance, and the guidance of WP:PRIMARYTOPIC ought to be followed.--Nilfanion (talk) 21:33, 14 October 2010 (UTC)
But "Cambridge, England" and "Plymouth, England" are not atypical, for example. — Andrwsc (talk · contribs) 21:35, 14 October 2010 (UTC)
(Ditto "London, England" of course). I meant normal usage within the country, not internationally. Normal usage in the US to describe a US town is to include the state, whereas normal usage in the UK to describe a UK town is not to include the county. Plymouth is called "Plymouth" in the UK, not "Plymouth, Devon" or "Plymouth, England". That said, the 5 places mentioned by DC are examples of poorly located articles - due to unclear primary topic etc.--Nilfanion (talk) 21:42, 14 October 2010 (UTC)
And those are just examples from New England. Any way, I think the rule should be that if there is most common usage can't be determined, the name page should be a disambiguation page (so my 5 examples would be DAB pages), and not default to the English place (which seems to be the case right now). ~DC We Can Work It Out 21:55, 14 October 2010 (UTC)
Not disagreeing there, was just pointing out the reason for the difference in the article naming conventions. However, you may want to read the archives of the pages you mentioned to see the previous lack of consensus over the moves. IMO, the hardest single one to handle is Birmingham.--Nilfanion (talk) 22:04, 14 October 2010 (UTC)
I would have thought Cambridge would be a difficult one as well; as home to one of the world's top 5 universities, saying "I studied in Cambridge" is implied internationally to mean the UK not Massachusetts or Ontario Stuart.Jamieson (talk) 22:25, 14 October 2010 (UTC)
Both terms go straight to the English city. I think the reason Nilfanion says Birmingham is more difficult is that Birmingham, AL has probably more grounds to complain than Cambridge, Mass; the latter, while very notable among other things for MIT and Harvard, is generally considered a suburb of Boston, whereas Birmingham, AL is a standalone city. --Trovatore (talk) 22:30, 14 October 2010 (UTC)
(ec) @SJ How so? Cambridge, Massachusetts is home to both Harvard University and MIT, currently #1 and #3 in the Times education rankings. And too me Birmingham means the UK city not the Alabama one. DC TC 22:32, Thursday October 14, 2010 (UTC)
Also, I looked at the archives. The last move request for Worcester was in 2008, Newport was 2006, Plymouth was 2008. Found none for the other cities I mentioned. DC TC 22:41, Thursday October 14, 2010 (UTC)
@DC in my experience, internationally Harvard and MIT are identified as being in Boston. A US Google search for Cambidge throws up the UK College as the second hit despite the geographical preference that google searches use these days.Stuart.Jamieson (talk) 23:03, 14 October 2010 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Okay it shows, the University not the city. Which proves the point that Cambridge is ambiguous because it could refer to the University, the city in Massachusetts, the UK city, or the Canadian one. Also, "internationally" doesn't matter since most readers of this Wikipedia are from the U.S. DC TC 23:15, Thursday October 14, 2010 (UTC)

I don't see the location of the largest number of readers as an even tangentially relevant issue. An encyclopaedia takes a worldwide view and should not intentionally bias its coverage towards its home or the location of its readers. We need to enforce the policy in a way that is neutral and which meets the needs of readers from all countries. Too many editors, of various nationalities, write content without thinking about whether it will make sense to people from another country. --DanielRigal (talk) 23:38, 14 October 2010 (UTC)
If we were to base all our decisions on the (debatable!) claim that "most of our readers are from the US", these decisions would have all been cut and dried a long time ago. The fact that they aren't, and that we still have lengthy discussions about the appropriate weighting between various national styles of English, should be a fairly clear indication that this argument isn't of much weight! Shimgray | talk | 23:46, 14 October 2010 (UTC)
Ooo, there should be a name for that argument, which has never held water here. I thought it used to be mentioned at WP:ENGVAR, but it doesn't seem to be. Seems like a brief discussion of this endlessly repeated argument, and why it won't convince people, would be helpful for relative newbies. (talk) 23:58, 14 October 2010 (UTC)
"most of our readers are from the US"....according to 22.3% of wikipedia traffic is from US so 77.7% is from elsewhere. Regards, SunCreator (talk) 00:15, 15 October 2010 (UTC)
Misleading stat. That is traffic for as a whole, while we care only about That said, this is the English Wikipedia, not the US Wikipedia. Resolute 00:30, 15 October 2010 (UTC)
(ec) My mistake. Did look for but now apparent that was not returned results. Regards, SunCreator (talk) 00:49, 15 October 2010 (UTC)
(EC) Most readers of the English language Wikipedia are not from the US. Even if we combine the US and Canada, total access to EN Wikipedia is rather more than twice total North American access to all Wikimedia projects. As for the theory that Britain gets the primary topics, what about Boston, Lincolnshire, and Dallas, Scotland (I've been to Dallas, it even had a shop, in a corner of someone's front room). ϢereSpielChequers 00:46, 15 October 2010 (UTC)
I absolutely agree that it is improper to claim primacy for American English on Wikipedia. (It's also improper to claim primacy for British English; there's no shortage of editors who want to do that.) This is a settled question and it's not productive to keep bringing it up.
As an aside, since you mentioned Dallas, there might be a bit of a special case for Texas cities. Oh, I don't really mean for WP purposes, but in the vernacular. As a sometime Texan I can tell you that Texans will sometimes say "Dallas, Texas" even when speaking to other Texans in Texas. My theory is that they love saying "Texas" so much that it doesn't matter whether there's any point in disambiguating. --Trovatore (talk) 02:45, 15 October 2010 (UTC)

Middlesex, Northumberland, Renfrew, Cornwall, Hastings, Durham, etc. - ʄɭoʏɗiaɲ τ ¢ 06:01, 15 October 2010 (UTC)

As someone has said, US practice is to quote the state after the town name as if it is part of the name. The same is true incidentally in Germany - e.g. Winsen (Aller) which is even on the road signs as you enter it. If anything the US practice of "Town, State" has been wrongly adapted to become a disambiguation system for places, using commas instead of the normal brackets. So Boston, Lincolnshire should be Boston (Lincolnshire) following the general Wiki convention for placenames, but US practice has prevailed. Of course if the recent suggestion to adopt subtitles for Wikipedia was implemented, most of these arguments would go away. You would just have:
etc. And then who cares because there is no need for a primary topic. --Bermicourt (talk) 06:08, 15 October 2010 (UTC)

That's wrong. The correct way when mailing a letter is to use a comma between a city/town/village and a district/province/state. I believe this is just as true in Europe as in North America. - ʄɭoʏɗiaɲ τ ¢ 14:35, 15 October 2010 (UTC)
Things change. There are suggestions in the UK to deprecate county names in addresses in favour of postcodes. With the setting up of the post office, county names were used to resolve ambiguous addresses: in the event of a problem the dead-letter office would pass it to the 'county town' for resolution. That is now not the mechanism: take Skegness as an example, it has a PE postcode despite being 50 miles from Peterborough and in a different county. And in Germany, for example, the Lande are never used - just the postal code and the town name. Some railway stations, such as Leer, are disambiguated as Leer (Ostrfiesland), but Ostfriesland is a cultural designation, not an administative one (both Leer are in Lower Saxony).
When I learned touch-typing addresses were step-wise indented, and used commas at the end of each line. Now neither thing is true.--Robert EA Harvey (talk) 09:36, 31 October 2010 (UTC)

I've just entered 'Paris' and imagine my surprise when a page about some place in France came up!--Ykraps (talk) 06:50, 15 October 2010 (UTC)

@Floydian I just checked most of those examples you gave all of the UK counties have (or had in the case of Middlesex) a population that is higher than the combined populations of the other places worldwide with the same name. Simply on the basis of individuals in that region looking for information about that region the UK one has the most right to be considered the primary article. Just as U.S. States are considered the primary article when towns with same name exist worldwide. Stuart.Jamieson (talk) 07:07, 15 October 2010 (UTC)
In many cases those towns are equally well reported on as the British counties. In this case there is no primary topic. There's a big difference between Middlesex and Renfrew. - 14:35, 15 October 2010 (UTC)

Primary topic judgments are sometimes got wrong across all Wikipedia topics - generally speaking it doesn't matter that much, even though blatant cases can be annoying (I still can't accept that Duke of Wellington doesn't go to..., well, the Duke of Wellington). The only problem wkith the placenames is that certain editors have tried to make it a religion that US places must have the state in the article title. By adopting this convention, they have built in inconsistency with the way articles are named elsewhere - and so it's no surprise that if Americans don't want to use the article title Plymouth, then the Brits will make use of it. (It doesn't really harm anyone to have a primary topic instead of a dab page when there are only two significant topics, since the hatnote will take readers to the other topic in the same number of clicks.)--Kotniski (talk) 07:45, 15 October 2010 (UTC)

This one annoys me a little bit: Hayfield is an undisambiguated village and civil parish in the Borough of High Peak, in the county of Derbyshire, England, with fewer than 3,000 residents. Take the hatnote to Hayfield (disambiguation) and you find a list with Hayfield, Minnesota, a city in Dodge County; Hayfield, Virginia, an unincorporated community in Frederick County; Hayfield Dundee, Louisville, a neighborhood in eastern Louisville, Kentucky; Hayfield Secondary School, the oldest secondary school in the Fairfax County Public Schools system of Virginia; Hayfield Township, Crawford County, Pennsylvania; and Hayfield Township, Dodge County, Minnesota. The Pennsylvania township has more than 3,000 residents. There is no article about hayfields, but see Field (agriculture).--Hjal (talk) 08:13, 15 October 2010 (UTC)

Well argue the point at Talk:Hayfield, but why is it even necessary when US towns have a ready-made, disambiguation system already widely used by the US and others (even Brits talk about "Boston, Mass" - it just goes together like a "horse and carriage" - hey, there's a song in there somewhere...), but if you don't want to use it, you're now going to have to pick a primary topic from one of 5 US towns. --Bermicourt (talk) 12:40, 15 October 2010 (UTC)

I don't see why it annoys you, Hayfield has enough notability to produce a B-Class Article and despite old census figures has a population roughly similar to Hayfield Township, Crawford County, Pennsylvania which has no apparent notability and has been left as a stub. Most of the other Hayfields have a population of 1/3 or less that of Hayfield, Derbyshire. The next most reasonable article is the one for the school (which is rated as a stub class article but with some more sources could be start-class), but in general readers are going to search for "Hayfield School" for that not just "Hayfield" Stuart.Jamieson (talk) 12:53, 15 October 2010 (UTC)
Boston, Lincolnshire why isn't Boston, Lincolnshire the prime topic as we are on the English language encyclopedia and not the language of the city of Boston, even though the Boston that is the prime topic. I think that any place in England should always be the prime topic no matter how big the place abroad is and no matter how small the place in England is. There is also Christchurch, Dorset Groton, Suffolk, Melbourne, Derbyshire, if there are any more, please add them to this list. Homan's Copse (talk) 11:49, 26 October 2010 (UTC)
I really hope the above person is a troll. ♫ Melodia Chaconne ♫ (talk) 13:29, 26 October 2010 (UTC)
I suspect so. But I'll respond anyway. To Homan's Copse: The language argument fails on a couple of grounds. (a) English is also the primary language of Boston, Massachusetts, anyway. (b) People who speak English (i.e. the vast bulk of our readers) don't necessarily talk or think exclusively about English-speaking places. The goal here is to be helpful to as many readers as possible, not to establish some sort of absolute primacy of one place over another. Barnabypage (talk) 13:31, 26 October 2010 (UTC)

Some numbers

Is this situation - bias for UK places as primary over US ones - really as common as it anecdotally seems?

Using a list of largest places in the US (all locations >100k people in 2002, about 250), we find the first one to be a disambiguation is #6 Phoenix, then #10 (San Jose), #15 (Columbus), and #25 (Washington, perhaps a special case). (I'm not counting here cases where the main name redirects to a pre-disambiguated name - Nashville, Tennessee - as that article effectively "has" the main name) The first to disambiguate with another city is Portland, where the two major US cities are given top billing. In the top hundred, there's 35 - about one in three - which go to primary disambiguation (and five of these are names which appear twice in the total list).

Five more go straight to a different topic - #41 (Mesa), then #59 (St. Paul), #68 (St. Petersburg), #71 (Birmingham), and #73 (Norfolk). It's worth noting that the first of these are a common noun and a person respectively; only three of the conflicts are with other places. In the rest of the list, there's #107 (Durham), #124 (Worcester), #130 (Ontario), #138 (Pomona), #149 (Vancouver), #170 (Alexandria), #174 (Mesquite), #175 (Corona), #178 (Flint), #205 (Independence), #218 (Manchester), #226 (Pueblo), #232 (Westminster), #241 (Portsmouth), #243 (Cambridge), and #246 (Livonia) - in other words, of the 246 largest cities in the US, a total of 21 - 8.5% - have a different topic at "their" primary title. Of those, 13 - 5.2% of the total - have a different geographical place as the primary topic.

Of those 13, I'd say St. Petersburg, Ontario, Vancouver, Alexandria, and Westminster are unarguably "correct" - cases where the US use is definitely secondary - and I don't see an immediate case to be made for some of the others. So we're down to at best eight out of 246, 3%, where there's scope for debate over the primary usage - and none that seem obviously wrong - is this really as large a systemic bias as some of the comments above imply?

As an aside, I pulled up a list of the hundred "world's largest cities" and ran a test to see which (if any) weren't at the primary title. There's only one - Santiago, Chile. One is "force-disambiguated" to Guadalajara, Jalisco. (Mexican articles seem to be a mixture between "City" and "City, State", even when they're the primary topic - there's no obvious consistency either way). Shimgray | talk | 09:46, 15 October 2010 (UTC)

I would be quite happy if everything went to a disambiguation page. After all, if you looked it up in an atlas that's precisely what you'll get. I would argue that it would be of greater educational benefit too, as those living in Boston for example, might not be aware of how many Bostons there are around the world and might even like to find out about them.--Ykraps (talk) 13:46, 15 October 2010 (UTC)

Run those numbers for Ontario, where 9/10 places are named after a British place. - ʄɭoʏɗiaɲ τ ¢ 14:39, 15 October 2010 (UTC)
As before, I've restricted it to "significant places" to avoid endless frittering around with village names - in this case, the 51 places on List of cities in Canada#Ontario. 24 have primary title, 21 go to disambiguation, and six have another subject as the primary topic - #6 (London), #15 (Cambridge), #23 (Niagara Falls), #25 (Peterborough), #32 (Cornwall), and #37 (Woodstock). NF goes to the falls themselves, and Woodstock to the Festival.
Of those six, at least two are definitely "correct", and whilst you could argue for disambiguation for the other four, I'm not sure any look like cases where the Canadian city should be primary but isn't.
Of the redirects, two - Pickering and Welland - look at first glance to be possible should-be-primary cases, but I'm not familiar with most of the places in order to dig any deeper than that just now. Shimgray | talk | 15:43, 15 October 2010 (UTC)
I believe that in instances where a British and Ontario county share a name (with exception to globally known counties such as Middlesex and Essex), there should be a disambiguation page. They are both county governments, and for the most part are unheard of outside of their respective countries. - ʄɭoʏɗiaɲ τ ¢ 21:05, 16 October 2010 (UTC)
Please bear in mind this should not solely be about population, there are many other factors that affect notability. Historical significance is one of these, and is generally (but not always) one that will favour British places over North American ones as they will have a longer history. The problematic articles are generally those with some "real" significance, which makes the primary topic tag contentious. This means a case-by-case review of each should be made - which probably should be on the relevant talk pages. As this will scatter discussion, a central noticeboard somewhere is appropriate.
"Globally known" counties is an example of a vague concept that would need case-by-case discussion. If a dab is more appropriate, the new location for the British article is not always obvious either so should be discussed first too - Cornwall, England is a very bad article location.--Nilfanion (talk) 00:00, 17 October 2010 (UTC)
I remember the great city naming war. The USAns came at us in wave after wave demanding that we follow standard US practice for naming cities rather than the Wikipedia standard article naming practices. In the end they wore s down and we agreed that for US placename articles only they should have city, state as the naming convention. I see now that this is spreading to placenames in Canada and Mexico but I'm too worn down and old to fight anymore so I'm staying out of this one. --filceolaire (talk) 23:01, 17 October 2010 (UTC)
It's actually part of WP:CANSTYLE if I remember correctly. Only for populated places. Rivers, railroads, highways and other types of places still use the regular disambiguation format. - ʄɭoʏɗiaɲ τ ¢ 01:49, 18 October 2010 (UTC)
Actually, looking around the world, the grammatically correct format is NOT using standard wikipedia disambiguation. Stating there are "only a few cases of this" and not doing anything is useless. Just like every other part of the world, Britain should be expected to properly disambiguate its non-global cities (ie Edinborough, London). In trying to do this myself, I am met at every page with raw hitcounts (which are meaningless in comparing an ambiguous title to a disambiguous title) and the assurance of several British editors that their location is the primary topic. Thats wonderful, but the plain title should still link to a disambiguation page, with the first bold link going to the "primary topic". - ʄɭoʏɗiaɲ τ ¢ 19:54, 19 October 2010 (UTC)
You don't appear to understand WP:Primary topic. When the consensus is that a certain topic is the primary topic, that topic gets the plain title, not top of the list on a disambiguation page. Another thing, how do you propose to decide what is or isn't a "globally known city"? One or two of your examples are nowhere near deserving of the main title being a disambiguation page, such as Cornwall, where apart from the fairly small town of Cornwall, Ontario, the other Cornwalls are miniscule villages or hamlets. Some common sense would be beneficial to the argument. Bretonbanquet (talk) 22:22, 19 October 2010 (UTC)
The consensus is formed by the editors of that particular article who watch its talk page, and who'd obviously take pride in their work. - ʄɭoʏɗiaɲ τ ¢ 01:25, 21 October 2010 (UTC)

No changes are needed. Primary topics have prime positions. If there is a city with an equal size population and which gets about the same page views, then it should be a disam page. When the clear majority of views goes to one page and the place in question has a far larger population is more notable for a certain reason (like Birmingham is the UKs second biggest city), it should have the prime spot. BritishWatcher (talk) 10:19, 20 October 2010 (UTC)

A bunch of Wikipedians seem to think the sources claim there is contention about Birmingham's second-city status, so maybe that one isn't as clear-cut a Primacy case as it looks to you BW - Birmingham, Alabama is pretty much a comparable city to Birmingham, England in most other respects and they are of similar ages and sizes, etc. I think it's a closer case than people in Britain think. On the general topic, it seems these debates are just an artefact of the way Wikipedia is set up; if page titles had a more structured approach like USA:Birmingham or UK:Countries:England:Cambridge it would all be so much easier. Jamesinderbyshire (talk) 11:06, 20 October 2010 (UTC)
Agreed on the final point about the structure.. Having articles automatically located in the manner suggested would resolve these sorts of issues, but i cant see such a radical change coming now. On Birmingham, i think the primacy is still clear, although i accept its not as strong as in the case of Cornwall. 3k-4k a day for the Birmingham article compared to 1-2k a day for Birmingham Alabama and under 100 a day for the disambiguation page. Population sizes appear different to me..
compared to
Those differences seem enough to make it the primary topic. Also thanks to immigration and birthrates, without doubt Birmingham will remain the UKs second largest city in the future. BritishWatcher (talk) 11:29, 20 October 2010 (UTC)
I have no idea how easy the information is to access, but Wikipedia's server logs should shed a lot of light on debatable cases. What proportion of visitors to Birmingham then click through to Birmingham, Alabama or Birmingham (disambiguation)? Barnabypage (talk) 11:55, 20 October 2010 (UTC)
The page views last month..
Birmingham, Alabama : 47862
Birmingham (disambiguation) : 1194
Birmingham : 118234
So even if every single person that visited the American city and the disam page (49 056 in total) first visited Birmingham by mistake (which is extremely unlikely) it would still mean (118234-49056=) 69 178 only went to the Birmingham page. That would still be an extra 20,000 views, making it the clear primary topic. BritishWatcher (talk) 12:57, 20 October 2010 (UTC)

Reading through this discussion, there doesn't appear to be much evidence of a widespread problem. However, there are a few specific cases which merit further discussion (Birmingham, Plymouth, Newport and Worcester look the most likely to be problematic, although others have been mentioned). Since the numbers involved are relatively small and each case is substantially dfferent, wouldn't it be better to discuss them individually rather than in one big thread? Alzarian16 (talk) 12:03, 20 October 2010 (UTC)

Plymouth Population sizes: UK: 252,800 / USA: 58,681
Page views last month: UK: 49896 / USA: 21330 / Disam: 2203
So even if every single person that visited the USA and Disam page, (21330+2203=) 23 533 first visited Plymouth by mistake (very unlikely) it would still mean (49896-23 533=) 26 363 only went to the main Plymouth page, which is 2000 more people than those other articles. I agree this is much closer than the above example, but we all know not every person that went to the USA page first went to Plymouth. BritishWatcher (talk) 13:12, 20 October 2010 (UTC)
Hmm, the Newport one on page views is a problem, although based on population size 116,143 compared to 26,475 the UK one is bigger. On page views.. Newport: 26923, Newport, Rhode Island: 24063, Newport (disambiguation): 1550. Maybe that one would be better off as a disam page although yes it is a matter for editors at that article. BritishWatcher (talk) 13:22, 20 October 2010 (UTC)
Worcester is certainly a problem on page views. Worcester : 18197, Worcester (disambiguation) : 733, Worcester, Massachusetts : 27413. So that should be changed, the USA one also has about double the population so the US one should have the prime spot, although considering there is a large number of locations with that name, a dab may be more appropriate. But i see no justification for changes to Birmingham or Plymouth. Although in all of these cases, it needs to be debated at the talk pages. BritishWatcher (talk) 13:35, 20 October 2010 (UTC)

As an aside, I'm wondering if there is any technical measure that could help here. In the UK, Plymouth clearly means the British city; in the US it probably refers to the Massachusetts city or the brand of cars. Newport in the UK clearly means the Welsh city, and just as obviously means the RI city in Rhode Island, and so on. MediaWiki can detect and provide localised information based on IP, such as notifications for wiki-meets. I wonder if something to be done so that if an American IP searches for Newport the search returns Newport, RI whilst a British IP goes to Newport, Wales?--Nilfanion (talk) 22:02, 20 October 2010 (UTC)

Why don't we just have the main title be a disambiguation page? The introduction would contain more than one line for each of these considerably notable cities, which would then be followed by the general disambiguation page. Akin to the way Lincoln is currently set up, and the way every other non-populated place is set up when the primary topic isn't one of absolutely clear and obvious choice.
I would like to hear from someone involved with manual of style issues that is more familiar with these sort of issues. Many places in both the United States and Canada occupy completely undisambiguated titles. Etobicoke comes to mind. - ʄɭoʏɗiaɲ τ ¢ 01:25, 21 October 2010 (UTC)
Lincoln is only set up that way because there is an equal distribution between those looking for a Geographical Place and those looking for an Individual. Washington is the same, neither of these dabs are based on the primacy of the British town of that name over any other town of that name. For an example in the other direction how about 24th U.S. President Grover Cleveland going to Cleveland returns not a dab, not the 24th president, not the original British town to hold that name but the name of the city in Ohio, this is the correct prime page IMHO. The problem seems to be that you don't accept that these towns are prime even when they have higher populations longer histories, etc. What criteria do you feel makes the choice for a prime page? Stuart.Jamieson (talk) 13:59, 21 October 2010 (UTC)
A dab page works of course, but my concern here is usability not a preference for one over the other (I'd have same opinion if Newport went to the RI one and not the Welsh one). My point is that a significant majority of US users will want the RI city and a significant majority of UK users will want the Welsh one. If we could return the article most-likely-to-be-relevant in response to a search we increase usability for both UK and US users, as they will find the article they are most likely to be interested in immediately without further clicks (dab pages are a nuisance), and can then use the dab if they do want something else. With current set up, moving the article on the Welsh city to a disambiguated location is of no benefit to readers looking for the RI city, a hindrance to those looking for the Welsh one (as they need an extra click) and a benefit for those looking for something else (as they save a click). The "main page" would then be the disambiguation, but this would save hassle for all concerned.
Etobicoke is correctly located of course - as its a unique place it shouldn't be disambiguated...--Nilfanion (talk) 11:23, 21 October 2010 (UTC)
I'm not sure you can generalise enough to say "that a significant majority of US users will want the RI city". I think you can generalise enough to say that a significant majority of users from Rhode Island will want the RI city, and that may extend to neighbouring states. But the further geographically you move across the U.S. then the less local relevance it has and the reasons become more specific "going on Holiday there", "interested in the history of there", "Interested in familial connections to there", etc, and that could then apply equally to either Newport. The same would be true as you move across Europe away from Wales. Outside of that immediate geographic relevance the reasons will be specific and the choice of which Newport is wanted will be specific but they won't specifically relate to the Newport that is closes to them. The biggest Technical reason of course is that editors who see newport as referring to their newport will use it in articles, but when readers looking specifically for a Newport outside of their country follow that link they end up in the wrong place. This is not an acceptable situation. Stuart.Jamieson (talk) 14:01, 21 October 2010 (UTC)
Responding to Nilfanion's well-meant suggestion above: God no, let's not use technology to fix this. Having a server use my IP address to determine what I might want can be as annoying as an overenthusiastic sales clerk giving me things before I have a chance to finish my sentences -- & both end up with me getting very frustrated & angry. There are times when I very much want the option that is completely unrelated to where I happen to be at the moment. And even the most confused system of naming is better than a dynamic one created on the fly because it is not likely to change every time looks for it again, which makes every new search an unwanted adventure of exploration. -- llywrch (talk) 23:28, 21 October 2010 (UTC)
Fair enough really. I think the furthest we could go down that route without causing real problems is making the internal search engine be a bit more intelligent and prioritise the suggestions in an order that reflects popularity and IP location. One practical change that would be helpful there is the disambiguation is clearly marked as such in the search irrespective of whether its at foo or foo (disambiguation).--Nilfanion (talk) 00:39, 25 October 2010 (UTC)

Editors taking part in this discussion may wish to visit the discussions that are suddenly taking place at at Talk:Peterborough, Talk:Dover, Talk:Plymouth, Talk:Sydenham, Talk:Cornwall, and Talk:Cambridge, some of which may possibly not have followed required procedure.--Kudpung (talk) 00:43, 25 October 2010 (UTC)

There isn't a procedure involved in starting discussions on the talk page of the articles involved. - ʄɭoʏɗiaɲ τ ¢ 00:51, 25 October 2010 (UTC)
Suddenly? Kud, it's perfectly acceptable to start a move discussion if one hadn't been

Comment: First of all, you guys have forgotten one major thing about this; in the case of Washington and Lincoln, Meta 1000 figures that are hit about 10,000 times a day. For Plymouth, the article Plymouth Colony, about the colonial American settlement is viewed more than the Devonian city. Second of all, the problem with many of the smaller British city move discussions are decided by votes and not evidence. There's been compelling evidence to change how Lincoln works, but it' hasn't happened due to it being stonewalled by votes not based in policy (I guess I do buy into the allegations of nefariousness hinted at above). Same with Cambridge and Plymouth right now...they are losing, even though PRIMARYTOPIC arguments indicate that they probably should be a disambiguation. In the case of most of the places DC mentioned; the next two articles outhit the #1 article, often substantially, indicating that there's probably not a primary topic (In the case of London; it outhits London, ON and the disamb by about 10:1). That's what I think. Less POV, more policy Purplebackpack89 02:09, 25 October 2010 (UTC)

The reason I suggested the move is because the term "Dover" is used for several other instances other than the British city. The first page of a Google search for Dover reveals few results pertaining to the British city. Therefore, Dover, England does not seem to be the most widespread used for "Dover", despite being the original use of the name. In addition, if Dover, Kent is too ambiguous as Dover, Delaware is also in a Kent County, then the British city can be moved to Dover, Kent, England or just Dover, England. The current title at Dover is too ambiguous due to the multiple meanings as the name of countless places as well as use of a surname. For the record, Dover, England, with a population of 28,156, is not the most populous place named Dover as Dover, Delaware has 35,811 people. In the U.S., when many think of Dover they think of the capital city of Delaware. Many readers looking for information on Dover, Delaware or another place, when typing in "Dover", must follow two clicks to get to their intended article. IMO, British cities need to be disambiguated unless they are a major city such as London; this is similar to what is done with the U.S. where large cities such as Philadelphia do not have the state name whereas smaller cities such as Harrisburg, Pennsylvania do. Dough4872 02:15, 25 October 2010 (UTC)
The Google search you mention is carried out on the US Google so it's unsurprising it yields fewer UK results. Try the same search on UK Google and it's a different story.  — Amakuru (talk) 06:24, 25 October 2010 (UTC)
  • The last post (Dough 4872) is an excellent example of why this is not a significant problem. Dover, Delaware is known (if at all) by just that name by the vast majority of Americans, but Dover, Kent grossly fails WP:COMMONNAME as nobody in the UK ever calls it that. If anything they will say "Dover in Kent", for example on news broadcasts. Dover, Kent, England is just an abomination. All but the best known US place names normally come with the state attached, & people searching for their articles, or linking to them, will find them just where they would expect to. Johnbod (talk) 03:19, 25 October 2010 (UTC)
  • I bet you had no idea that both London and Versailles were actually in Kentucky. Beeblebrox (talk) 05:50, 25 October 2010 (UTC)
I am not saying the US titles are wrong, I am just saying "Dover" would be better off as a dab page due to its multiple meanings and the fact Dover, England is not even the most populous place with that name. At the merge proposal at Talk:Dover, it is mentioned that Dover, Delaware has more page views than Dover, England. In addition, I do not see why British cities seem to be exempt from getting the county name tacked on. Most American cities and towns have the state name tacked on to them, with the exceptions being major cities that are recognizable enough to not need the state name. Many smaller Brtish communities such as Warminster (17,000) and Amesbury (8,907) are also exempt from the need of a county name at the end. Both Warminster, Pennsylvania (31,383) and Amesbury, Massachusetts (16,450) have more people than the towns in England that share the same name yet are not disambiguated. I really think all British cities need to have the county name attached to the end unless it is a major city such as London. Dough4872 15:44, 25 October 2010 (UTC)
The problem with that is, as has been said already, that British people don't use the county name when referring to the town. Nobody says "Dover, Kent", or will search for that - it's just never referred to in that way. Americans often refer to their towns with the state name attached - it's just different. Article naming policy does have to conform to common naming, so "Dover, Kent" is not an option. "Dover, Kent, England" is not even worth discussing. "Dover, England" is full of potential problems as well. Many would only accept "Dover, UK". We would also have the ridiculous possibility of "Lincoln, Lincolnshire" and "Cambridge, Cambridgeshire". Bretonbanquet (talk) 16:05, 25 October 2010 (UTC)
This can also apply to the US in the case of larger cities. For example, people usually refer to Philadelphia without a state name, since it is widely assumed that they are talking about Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Even with smaller cities and towns, people in the area will also refer to towns without mentioning the state name. Another reason that Americans often refer to the state name after towns is because we are a larger country and names duplicate in several states and sometimes within states, just imagine how many places named Springfield exist in our country. Just because UK vernacular is different from US vernacular should not give the country priority in not having to disambiguate articles. Dough4872 22:01, 25 October 2010 (UTC)

Comment May I suggest just leaving things as is. Many of the arguments here and on the individual pages have been based on individuals perspectives, North Americans arguing one side, British arguing the other. Looking at some examples Plymouth has good arguments on historical grounds for staying, but you would not want to use the historical justification for moving Calgary as it is obviously more significant today and Windsor is already a disambiguated page. The main argument for keeping things as they are is just the disruption it would cause. Moving something like East York is not a major issue but something like Cambridge would be a lot of work for the brave person that actual does the move. There are thousands of links to this page on other Wikipedia articles that would need to be updated. WP:POINT --Traveler100 (talk) 05:56, 25 October 2010 (UTC)

The number of inbound links is not an issue. Your example is not even close to the most inbound links for a page move. We have a dedicated team of editors that deal with these. In the process they would also correct the bad links to that page. Vegaswikian (talk) 06:50, 25 October 2010 (UTC)

Comment - I don't think this should be a matter for general policy discussion. Each case is different, with different topics to disambiguate between, different importance levels etc. I agree with comments above that we should not append disambiguators to UK settlements as a general rule where there is a clear primary topic - that would be counter to WP:COMMONNAME, as such a convention is not generally used in the UK.  — Amakuru (talk) 06:34, 25 October 2010 (UTC)

Perhaps then it's time to form such policy, instead of using it as a reason to maintain the status quo. - ʄɭoʏɗiaɲ τ ¢ 06:45, 25 October 2010 (UTC)
That would not be needed if editors really understood primary use. Since that seems to be a problem, your proposal could be a logical solution. However it is not likely to gain traction. Vegaswikian (talk) 06:50, 25 October 2010 (UTC)
Floydian: what is your proposal here anyway? There's so much talk above that is becomes unclear what's being discussed. Do you wish to use the Name, County nomenclature for every UK settlement, regardless of primary use? Or are you merely saying that we need to adopt a more neutral approach for the cases where the UK place currently resides at a primary location but there is disagreement about primacy?  — Amakuru (talk) 07:35, 25 October 2010 (UTC)
My understanding is Floydian's position is "some British articles are taking the prime spot when they shouldn't because there's other stuff equally or more important in North America". His proposal is effectively "lets fix that".
Existing guidelines on this matter are clear already - see UK naming conventions (semantic note: guidelines not policy - this is a guideline discussion).
However, I do think there may need to be a change there. They work fine when the English place is the primary topic, and when its a minor town/village. However when it is a major town/city and not primary topic, it causes a conflict with WP:COMMONNAME. For example Lincoln, Lincolnshire is a term no one in the UK would voluntarily use, and no one outside the UK would use it either (going for Lincoln, England by default).--Nilfanion (talk) 08:59, 25 October 2010 (UTC)
I think the specific problem is where the UK town is the county town. This is the case with Lincoln, Cambridge, Oxford, and arguably also Lancaster, and makes the 'Town, county' format sound repetitive and clashing. No-one would object to Boston, Lincolnshire because that sounds helpful. On the more general point, I think users who think the present collision of policies comes off to the benefit of British users may have a point - but so what? Most of the other policies come off to the benefit of American users, eg the fuel used by most cars is at gasoline not petrol and most articles that could use either use American English spellings because they were written by Americans first. British users have just had to put up with it, and have put up with it. It seems unfair that in the small area where American users are disfavoured (or should I say disfavored) they should be able to force a change. Sam Blacketer (talk) 10:55, 25 October 2010 (UTC)

COMMENT We have two different discussions mixed up here. The first is about the primacy of a particular article, which is already well handled using WP:PRIMARYTOPIC. The second is about the naming of UK settlements, where the convention is different to US settlements, which is clearly set out in UK naming conventions. So we have a lot of discussion about two largely solved problems, and one editor trying to make a point (see, for example, Talk:Cornwall). We are re-running the same arguments that originally brought about these guidelines. Naming settlements is pretty straightforward. Deciding the primary topic is in many cases difficult. It always will be (apples and oranges). We argue each case on it merits, and follow the majority. Now, why don't we all go back to writing articles, and leave this teacup-storm to blow over? GyroMagician (talk) 10:43, 25 October 2010 (UTC)

GyroMagician, you're a mind reader! I was about to say pretty much the same thing, but you said it more betterer! Nortonius (talk) 10:47, 25 October 2010 (UTC)

Oppose quite apart from the timewasting and disruptive nature of this proposal, judging the importance of towns by their current size is simply the wrong approach for an encyclopaedia, just think Tikal or Xanadu. If we were a trade listing only concerned with current business advertising then I could see a case for this, but we are an encyclopaedia, and so the length of history counts as we need to think of all the articles about historic events that will mention say Dover not just stuff from the modern era. A good example of this is Petra, yes as a kid I'd heard of a the celebrity long before I'd heard of the city - but it would be silly to move Petra (disambiguation) to the primary subject, even though no-one has lived in Petra for centuries. Most of these discussions are completely unnecessary as we have a working arrangement and the US naming convention of city, state rarely conflicts with British placenames. ϢereSpielChequers 12:22, 25 October 2010 (UTC)

The guideline that governs this whole discussion regarding disambiguations is at WP:PRIMARYTOPIC. Other arguments that fall outside of Wikipedia policies/guidelines should not have weight here. So perhaps arguments like the above about historical relevance by User:WereSpielChequers should be discussed at the talk page of WP:PRIMARYTOPIC in order to possibly change the guideline there, so these points can adhered to uniformly across the wiki and not just in this instance. Zangar (talk) 13:07, 25 October 2010 (UTC)
I've no problem with the current wording of Primary topic. Its the people who seem to think that current town size trumps everything else who would need to change primary topic. Of course as things change and as the proportion of editors, readers and hopefully reliable sources from the global south increases we can expect some of our existing primary topics to change because a Kenyan or Bangladeshi subject starts getting more links and hits than the current primary topic in Britain or the USA. ϢereSpielChequers 13:55, 25 October 2010 (UTC)
Ah, fair enough, I agree. I thought you were countering one extraneous point with another; but I suppose that was your point, that neither is necessary. Cheers Zangar (talk) 14:33, 25 October 2010 (UTC)
It's a common mistake to confuse an easy measure with a useful one - everywhere, not just on WP. It's easy to find numbers for population size, page hits, etc. It's much harder to measure historic importance or cultural impact. So, yes, ϢereSpielChequers, I agree, and well said. GyroMagician (talk) 18:21, 25 October 2010 (UTC)
Coming a little late, and reading this, I think it should be a matter of policy: and there is a very simple policy: every place name without exception should be qualified. We can't predict what any particular reader will need, and we want to serve all our readers. This is the Library of Congress principle: There is Birmingham (Ala.) and Birmingham (England). Even London is London (England). New York City is New York (N.Y.). Paris is Paris (France). Even Tokyo, where there is no other possible place, is Tokyo (Japan). As this is an international project, I'm open to New York (N.Y., USA) also, adding this for every US name. It's just the title, not the way it has to be given every time in the article. Someone said above that only Wikipedia experience is relevant. This is not so. Wikipedia exists in the world, and when we depart from universal convention we need a really good reason. Sometimes it's a technical reason, but I find it very very difficult to imagine other reason to have our own name conventions. (BTW, there's two LC exceptions. Jerusalem is Jerusalem , specifically in order to avoid giving a country designation And there's when a city has changed its name: for books limited to the medieval city, it's Constantinople, not Istanbul(Turkey). New Amsterdam for the Dutch precursor of New York (N.Y) is used also, but not consistently--one of the reasons is that there's a city by the same name in Guyana. I know this is not what Wikipedia does, but it ought to. Some ways of doing things idiosyncratically are not just idiosyncratic but wrong, and this is one of them. DGG ( talk ) 22:23, 25 October 2010 (UTC)
  • Comment When it comes to historical importance being a world superpower does give one's cities better opportunity to become more notable by having it more likely that important things for the world will be happening somewhere in YOUR country as opposed to somewhere else, and things that are important in your history automatically become important for world history (Battle of Saratoga, turning point of the American Revolution is more important than a turning point in one of the 1848 revolutions of Europe, why? Because the US's position today, unfair? Maybe). Britain had that distinction from around the early 1700s to arguably 1918 or definitely 1945 and the US from arguably 1918 to definitely 1945 and that sole position from 1991 to today (and until China truly emerges into its own, we are in that limbo the world was in from 1923 to 1941 when hegemony could have swung to any number of up-and-comers the US, Germany, Italy, Japan, USSR). The Albany in South Africa or Australia just didnt have the opportunity to be as notable as Albany, New York. There are several places in the UK that are more notable than their counter-parts in the US based on the history and importance of the UK in spreading its history and culture around the world. I am surprised we are even debating if the Birmingham in Alabama is as notable as the one in England, there is no debate, the UK one is more famous and important to world history unless you count lynchings or number of hillbillies. Do we weight how long Britain was a world power longer or do we weigh more that the US is the current world superpower, and while we dont explicitly weight it in our considerations history does in that superpowers become a superpower because of the notable things invented, first, best, tallest, biggest whatever built in its cities which give its cities a leg up on being more notable than a similar named city in another country.Camelbinky (talk) 02:06, 26 October 2010 (UTC)
  • Commment. I'm sorry but I don't see how superpower status is relevant. The notability of a town or city should stand on its own merits. There are thousands of unimportant little towns and villages in the US that no-one has ever heard of outside the local county, just as there are in any other country. --Bermicourt (talk) 05:14, 27 October 2010 (UTC)
While this is in some respects an attractive idea, I think preemptive disambiguation should remain discouraged. And think of all the new opportunities this brings for fun and games: Dublin (Ireland) or Dublin (Republic of Ireland)?; Belfast (Northern Ireland), Belfast (United Kingdom), or even Belfast (Ireland)?; London (England) or London (United Kingdom)?; Gibraltar?; Famagusta?; Jerusalem? I hope that, on reflection, you will see that this is undesirable. Angus McLellan (Talk) 23:45, 28 October 2010 (UTC)
Maybe we need to come up with a new Wikipedia convention for how to name places in every country of the world, as the current one seems to have flaws. Dough4872 00:36, 29 October 2010 (UTC)

Arbitrary break

I could be wrong, but my understanding is that UK place names generally follow the wider policy, and that there is a separate policy for U.S. place names.

See Wikipedia:Naming conventions (geographic names)#United States. The policy is that the great majority of U.S. place names be disambiguated. The reasoning given is that many names are duplicated, such as there being a "Springfield" in several states.

This was discussed about six months ago (Wikipedia talk:Naming conventions (geographic names)/Archives/2010/March#City Names), although that was not the original discussion.

To me, if anything is going to change, it would make sense to change the policy for U.S. communities, so that they would only be disambiguated when need be. Maurreen (talk) 18:20, 26 October 2010 (UTC)

Looking at WP:UKPLACE, this calls for British cities to be titled [[placename]], which can cause ambiguity. The policy also calls for [[placename, ceremonial county]] for places that require disambiguation. I think the latter convention should be used for all cities in England with the exception of larger cities such as London, Birmingham, and Manchester. This would roughly parallel the U.S. convention, where [[Placename, State]] is called for most places except larger cities that do not require a state name per the AP Stylebook, which use [[placename]]. Dough4872 18:46, 26 October 2010 (UTC)
It pains me to say that there may be a good point here. Although some of the ideas have been (in my opinion) over the top to prove a point. (Cornwall, seriously?) Looking at some towns and smaller cities in the UK, and comparing them in terms of hits and population to their US (normally) counterparts, there is a good argument for not having any primacy. What for example makes my place of residence, Taunton, that much more important than Taunton, Massachusetts. Obviously, for me; the fact I live here and didn't (until I just checked) even realise there was another Taunton in the world! For the bloke in Massachusetts however.. Well, why does he have to navigate through my Somersetian town to get to his lovely town (or city, whatever!) So, grudgingly, I admit there may be a point to this. Grudgingly. Harrias talk 23:47, 26 October 2010 (UTC)

What for example makes my place of residence, Taunton, that much more important than Taunton, Massachusetts?

A thousand years of history and the fact that Taunton, Massachusetts was named after Taunton, perhaps? --Bermicourt (talk) 05:20, 27 October 2010 (UTC)
That made it more the primary topic in 1636, not necessarily now. Harrias talk 06:47, 27 October 2010 (UTC)
I think there's a case to be made (though I have no idea if it's the case in this particular example), that one place (or more generally, thing) being named for/after another place(/thing) should count towards the latter's primary-topic-hood (as one among several factors). --Cybercobra (talk) 07:15, 27 October 2010 (UTC)
Well, I kinda wonder why age has anything to with notability. I'm older than, say, Natalie Portman, but everyone would agree she's more notable than I. Sure 1000 years is a lot, but if absolutely nothing happened to distinguish the place in that time, why is it notable? (Disclaimer: I haven't looked to see if anything has happened, it's just this one was brought up) ♫ Melodia Chaconne ♫ (talk) 09:46, 27 October 2010 (UTC)
Age does not give notability by itself, but makes notability more probable. In a lot of these discussions, I think some of us have proposed age as a consideration, using it as shorthand to mean that lots of significant events have happened over that time, without explicitly saying so. I guess we need to be more explicit. For example, many English settlements have some Roman history (some more significant than others). US settlements don't, simply because the Romans weren't there. There is a natural bias in human history towards places that have been around for longer, which I don't think we should ignore. GyroMagician (talk) 11:37, 27 October 2010 (UTC)

This problem (and a whole lot of others) would go away if Wikipedia adopted subtitles e.g.



... although we may have to lose the concept of primary topics. But I don't know how we go about making the change. --Bermicourt (talk) 11:39, 27 October 2010 (UTC)

No, subtitles wouldn't change any of this. When you look for Taunton, or Lincoln, or Cornwall, or Paris, you would still either go to a primary topic, which may be the wrong one for you, or to a disambiguation, which is the "wrong one" for everyone. Having a subtitle doesn't change this one bit. Fram (talk) 11:46, 27 October 2010 (UTC)
Another cultural UXB. No-one in England would ever say, or think Taunton, England, but Taunton, Somerset is commonplace.--Robert EA Harvey (talk) 09:42, 31 October 2010 (UTC)

I don't think the suggestion to automatically disambiguate all UK localities, except a minority of the very largest settlements, effectively applying the US Locality, State convention, is going to be very well received by UK editors. MRSC (talk) 12:46, 27 October 2010 (UTC)

If it is genuinely thought helpful, then one should not be put off making a suggestion merely because it will be badly received. But the problem with this is that it will create a great deal of needless disruption to the encyclopaedia, put many articles under pointlessly lengthened titles when the shorter version is not ambiguous, and completely go against the established guideline on WP:COMMONNAME. It will do all that in order to achieve the fairly small and pointless objective of providing an excuse for not privileging a small set of British towns with simple article names which some users don't like. A classic case of sledgehammer-nut syndrome. Sam Blacketer (talk) 14:04, 27 October 2010 (UTC)
In mailing addresses, the UK appears to use [[Placename, United Kingdom]] with [[Placename, county, United Kingdom]] an optional format [11]. Either one of these formats could be acceptable for naming UK articles. Dough4872 15:33, 27 October 2010 (UTC)

I agree that importing the US naming convention (which is supported by the AP Stylebook), would offend WP:COMMONNAME. So I think that we are stuck with these WP:PRIMARYTOPIC debates. The current debates have shown that

  • search engine results are unreliable, because of their geographic bias
  • historic and cultural significance is relevant: in the terms of WP:PRIMARYTOPIC they are factors which determine which topic some users are looking for when they search on the ambiguous term.

A threshold question is whether anywhere else in the world is commonly referred to by that term (without qualifier) outside the immediate area of that locality. You really need someone in the US (outside Massachusetts) to say if that applies to Taunton, Massachusetts. But no-one would I think say that it is not also referred to (or searched for) as Taunton, Massachusetts. That leads us to the "page view problem". If someone views Taunton, Massachusetts, did they get there by looking for Taunton, or Taunton, MA? There has been much discussion whether any weight should be given to the fact that a particular place was the original holder of the name. My view is that some weight should be attached to that, as GyroMagician has said. Inhabitants of Taunton, Massachusetts may be aware that their town was named after a place in England (the Taunton?), but it is clearly not conclusive, as the example of Boston tells us. We need more and better guidance on primary topic.--Mhockey (talk) 14:40, 27 October 2010 (UTC)

Yes, and a greater ability to chill out, if we don't always get our own way! --Bermicourt (talk) 15:12, 27 October 2010 (UTC)

Another thought that nobody has put forward is creating a global policy regarding the primary topic and disambiguation of geographical places. These will always be contentious debates, as locals see it as a kick in the pants, and outsiders view it as article ownership or regional bias. I think, given that this doesn't effect one or two article, but in fact over a dozen (and possibly more, lesser viewed locations as well), that some sort of policy be formed as to what is required, at a bare minimum, for one town to be considered primary over another. - ʄɭoʏɗiaɲ τ ¢ 16:01, 27 October 2010 (UTC)

With all the recent debate, it may be a better idea to disambiguate all places, regardless of population, as DGG suggested above. With this reasoning, there will be no bias toward any one place with a particular name. Dough4872 18:18, 27 October 2010 (UTC)
And so Tokyo would be a disambiguation page? Paris? Powers T 17:55, 28 October 2010 (UTC)
So would England and the United States.--Mhockey (talk) 18:19, 28 October 2010 (UTC)
Correct. I would suggest that if something was floated in this direction, that some small universe of names be given preference for the main name space. Be that the capitals or the largest or by some criteria. The US did that by using the AP style book which still left some cities at ambiguous names. Or take the other direction and not have any exceptions. One point that I keep seeing is that many readers seem to prefer this type of disambiguation as educational since they have no idea where many of these places are. By adding a country, they better understand what is being discussed. Vegaswikian (talk) 18:27, 28 October 2010 (UTC)
I don't think we need to go this far. There are indeed many cities that are genuine primary topics. Places that you could mention by those first names and have the place be instantly recognized. Miami is a good example of this, as is Paris. What we need are more objective criteria for determining the primary topic for geographical places, so that less subjective bickering can occur. For example, a system based on points to compare two similarly named places:
  1. Alpha global cities are always PT
  2. Beta global cities are PT unless they share a name with an alpha city
  3. Vital geography articles are PT unless they share a name with another vital article in the same level
  4. Places with over ten times the population of a similarly named place are PT
etc. Perhaps even adding point values to certain criteria, adding them up, and if there is enough of a difference in the tallied total, the place is the primary topic. This would make these debates less of a "We have the older city" "Well we have the more populated city" back-and-forth bicker. - ʄɭoʏɗiaɲ τ ¢ 18:56, 28 October 2010 (UTC)
While exceptions are good, use care. It is nice to know that if you enter Someplace, England you will always get the correct place. Right now many editors think that by using Someplace you will get to the one they are thinking of. When you go into criteria like global cities, how many editors know what these are? Not saying your suggest is wrong, but whatever exceptions are decided on will require a well reasoned discussion. But clearly when you have a placename shared by 10 settlements, selecting a primary topic can be difficult. Vegaswikian (talk) 19:23, 28 October 2010 (UTC)
Indeed, and like most other subject areas across wikipedia, people will just have to accept that in many cases there is NO primary topic. Not all editors need to know what alpha and global cities are, but like many other discussion areas here, instructions can be given with links to our articles which list these cities. Even for people FROM London, Ontario, the city is "London, Ontario" because "London" refers to the English city. - ʄɭoʏɗiaɲ τ ¢ 19:53, 28 October 2010 (UTC)