Wikipedia:Village pump (policy)/Archive 84

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Proposed: WP:INCLUSIVE - a policy to eliminate cultural barriers on Wikipedia

To be a collection of policies aimed at reducing or eliminating barriers encountered by English speaking people from non-western cultures.

Policy 1: Honorifics are permitted in any article, when their use is customary in the culture to which that person belongs. The editor should exercise their own judgement when using honorifics, keeping in mind their use may in some cases make the article less accessible to "western" readers. In a dispute, the original use (or lack) of an honorific will prevail.

Aquib (talk) 06:40, 19 February 2011 (UTC)

Why would refering to Benedict XVI as "His Holiness" or Queen Elizabeth as "Her Majesty" in their respective articles make them more accessible to non-wester readers? Given that Western culture abounds in honorifics, possibly more than any other culture, (Sir, your Grace, Mr Secretary, Right Reverend, etc) doesn't your proposal increase the barriers for non-western readers? Does Mirza Ghulam Ahmad get to have "AS" as an honorific? Which culture would be applicable to him to determine whether he should have the honorific: Islamic Pakistani culture or Ahmadiyya culture? If you all you want to do is use PBUH, why don't you just say so?DeCausa (talk) 12:51, 19 February 2011 (UTC)
Those are good questions. If someone wants to refer to Benedict XVI as "His Holiness" and it is customary in his culture, then where is the harm? It doesn't make the article less accessible to people from other cultures. But are these honorifics truly customary now in our cultures? What would I find if I read an article on the Queen in the Guardian?
I have confidence the editors could figure out whether they wanted an AS after Mirza Ahmad's name. If not, let them get a third opinion. Or let the two cultures debate. Let them have fight over it. Refine the rules as situations come up. But don't bring the encyclopedia down on them.
Ah, yes. PBUH (Peace be upon him). This should be added after the name of the Islamic prophet Muhammad any time his name is mentioned. There are others as well, I believe. Some editors would also add RA after Ali's name if I am not mistaken. There are actually a lot of variations.
Last time I checked, I am allowed to use the "honorific" prophet one time in an article referring to Muhammad. It cannot be capitalized, and it must be prefixed by the word Islamic. After that, he can only be described by his name, bare of any honorific, unless it is in a quotation. For PBUH, it is permitted only in a quotation.
There is a wiki crew that patrols the Islamic articles, deleting "prophet", "Islamic prophet", "PBUH", "RA" and anything else that sticks out, whether or not it is in a quotation. A good number of the hadith quotations have been damaged in the process. And to what purpose? Talk about systemic bias? How about systematic bias operating under the cover of policies born of systemic bias? And what does the average reader care? They are not going to read the article What is the point? It's a religious war being carried out in the name of Wikipedia policy. It is exclusive, biased, insensitive, pointless and counter-productive.
What is going to happen when western readers encounter "PBUH" or "Prophet Muhammad" in an article? Are they going to fall on their faces crying and profess allegiance to Islam? Must they be protected from these sorts of things in the name of religious purity? Or will they be put off? Perhaps Muslim editors should keep in mind their non-Muslim audiences may very well be put off by excessive honorifics. Perhaps they don't care. Perhaps non-Muslims don't read these sorts of articles. But if they do, they should understand that Wikipedia has taken a truly neutral position on the use of honorifics rather than this pretense we have now. They should understand they are reading an article written by an English speaking member of another culture bound by certain norms different than their own.
Wikipedia needs to get out of the business of enforcing systemic bias on non western cultures. It is oppressive, distasteful, counterproductive, and harmful to the encyclopedia as well as these other cultures.
Aquib (talk) 14:10, 19 February 2011 (UTC)
This does not bias against any particular culture. As to using an honorific I think the current policy is a good one. The articles describe their topic without censorship. It is much more reasonable to say Johannes Maguchi was involved in a scandal than that His Perfect Wonderfulness and the Lord of All was. One is talking about a person, the other implies a whole cult is involved. Dmcq (talk) 14:25, 19 February 2011 (UTC)
Aquib, I think your answers point to why we have the policy we have. Firstly, it will lead to endless arguments about whether a particular honorific should be used eg I'm sure the Guardian doesn't use "Her Majesty". I'm sure the Telegraph often does. "His Holiness": I bet the Catholic Herald does, and I also bet the Belfast Telegraph doesn't. Secondly, "where is the harm" and "what does the average reader care?". One of the fundamentals of Wikipedia is NPOV. An honorific strongly indicates a POV in favour of the subject. Therefore it undermines the trust a reader will have in the NPOV. If NPOV isn't what you think is important, there are other POV-based online encyclopedias: Conservapedia, Islamopedia etc. Thirdly, "A good number of the hadith quotations have been damaged in the process". I don't believe that. Why would it damage them? The basic reason why it can be prohibited is that it conveys no information to the reader and prohibiting it doesnot withhold any information. PBUH is discussed in its own right as a topic - it doesn't need to be added to the name. DeCausa (talk) 14:28, 19 February 2011 (UTC)
Certainly it is not appropriate to damage hadith quotations, or any other quotation, by removing honorifics present in the original text quoted. Any article about a person who is customarily spoken of with honorifics should explain them all as a matter of completeness. It is also acceptable, as with Sir Winston Churchill, to create a redirect containing honorifics. However, using the honorifics every single time would give the impression that Wikipedia is adhering to whatever philosophy urges people to use them, rather than describing the subject from a detached perspective. Thus the article on Jesus uses "he", not "He"; there's a distinct absence of phrases like "Our Lord" and the like.
I should also point out that asking editors to apply honorifics is a subtle sort of original research. For example, a non-Islamic editor wouldn't really know whether to put "PBUH" after Ali or other major figures. Admittedly, there are enough Islamic editors that this could be kept straight, but for less common religions and societies things could quickly reach the point where legitimate adherents couldn't get their point across to a larger pool of editors. This is one reason why honorifics in authentic quotations are useful and should not be removed from them; they provide a sourced example of proper usage. Wnt (talk) 16:48, 19 February 2011 (UTC)
"Or let the two cultures debate. Let them have fight over it." - This is a recipe for disaster. Articles about topics where people have strong beliefs are already warzones when it comes to editing. Having people fight over religion and culture isn't going to attract many editors, at least not the kind we want. Mr.Z-man 18:39, 19 February 2011 (UTC)
At first, I though the proposal of "eliminating barriers" by allowing honorific was counterproductive because honorific actually erects barriers between different groups of people. My original thought was related to Japanese culture where honorifics denotes the relationship between two people and does not translate well into western languages. Now I see that it is based on a push to add honorifics to Islamic religious figures for no other reason than to satisfy a very narrow point of view that a particular person should be revered by applying an honorific. This again, does the exact opposite of the stated attempt to "eliminating barriers". —Farix (t | c) 17:28, 19 February 2011 (UTC)
This is why in my first post I said "if you all you want to do is use PBUH, why don't you just say so?". The arguments about "western systemic bias" and "culturally exclusive policies" that you often see in relation to articles connected to Islam would be much more convincing if they weren't such blatant attempts to replace "western bias" by simply the imposition of Islamic norms and values. DeCausa (talk) 18:14, 19 February 2011 (UTC)
Aquib, one other thing. Will the policies in your WP:INCLUSIVE include one on using inclusive language in connection with homosexuality? i.e. avoiding language that doesn't put up a "cultural barrier" for gay/lesbian people? DeCausa (talk) 18:25, 19 February 2011 (UTC)
The thing not so-far mentioned is it's just not practical to refer to "The Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, KG KT GCB OM AK QSO CD SOM GCL PC AdC(P) FRS" everytime we want to talk about the guy. Even the number of abreviations is obnoxious. Once is enough. The rest of it has to go, by reason of economy. Perhaps every article should have one place, perhaps right after the lede, in which all the honorifics can be mentioned. I think we more or less do that now. SBHarris 18:57, 19 February 2011 (UTC)
I'm sorry, but no. This entire policy is about adding PBUH, and violates WP:NPOV. Resolute 19:12, 19 February 2011 (UTC)
I doesn't violate NPOV, which applies to factual matters, not WP conventions. If it did apply to this matter, you'd have to apply NPOV in the usual way, which does not mean NO POV, but rather representation of POV by representation of people who hold that POV. On a planet in which 1 person in 5 is a Muslim, you'd have to put in "peace be upon him" 20% of the time. SBHarris 19:47, 19 February 2011 (UTC)
That's not really the case. Supposing all sects of Islam hold that Muhammad's name must always be followed by PBUH (they don't, but let's suppose). All that would mean is that in the article on Muhammad, there should probably be a statement to the effect that all sects of Islam hold that Muhammad's name must always be followed by PBUH, followed by a reliable source stating same. It doesn't mean Wikipedia must take on that practice as well. How disastrous that would be in all areas, not just the question of honorifics, if that were the case! Шизомби (Sz) (talk) 03:50, 22 February 2011 (UTC)
Hell, this'll be disruptive and make things endlessly wordy even where it's least expected. Do we have to refer to every US State Senator or Judge as "Honorable"? Who's to decide when we don't? How many adherents does something need to have before we decide its honorifics always need to be used? If someone actually believes in the story of Star Wars do we need to always mention the Dark Lord Vader, blessed be his name, in order to be more inclusive?--Yaksar (let's chat) 20:02, 19 February 2011 (UTC)
This works well enough in Burmese articles only because of what I said in the thread above; no one but U Nu's family and very closest friends would have called him Nu, which was his actual name (U roughly meaning Mr.). In other cultures like this, I could see it working; however, I'm not aware of any. The Blade of the Northern Lights (話して下さい) 20:19, 19 February 2011 (UTC)
I also oppose the idea. It isn't a step towards inclusiveness. For every person who approves of an honorific there will be others who disagree with it and many others who feel that using it sounds like Wikipedia endorsing the subject of the article (or the person mentioned), violating Wikipedia's neutrality. To some people, the honorifics will read as being obsequious.
We should include significant official titles and awarded honours in the lead. We can certainly mention that a person is generally referred to with an honorific when that is demonstrable, and we should never remove the honorifics when they are authentically part of a quote, but we should not be using the honorifics with Wikipedia's own voice. A (mostly) good example of this is the article on Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. This explains that he was known as "Mahatma", and what that means, but does not (apart from a couple of lapses) use the term itself in Wikipedia's voice.
The specific issue here is things like "PBUH". PBUH is not an honorific. It is a prayer. It is as inappropriate for an article as it would be to end an article with "Amen". Having said that, I do understand why some editors feel that they must add it if they are to contribute at all. They feel that what they write is their own voice and that they can't write the name without paying respect to it. The problem is that as soon as they press "Save page" it becomes Wikipedia's voice, not theirs. Wikipedia is an encyclopaedia and encyclopaedias, like any other inanimate entity, can't pray.
The solution is simple. Just take the PBUH (or similar) out whenever it is found (apart from quotations that it is an authentic part of and explanations of its use). I wouldn't sanction the person who put it in in any way. If they are adding good content and simply feel unable to omit the PBUH then that is fine. Somebody else can remove it. The same goes for anybody who can't bring themselves to type the word "God". They can type "G-d" (or whatever) and somebody else can add the "o" later. No big deal. No reason for them to feel that their contributions are unwelcome. Nobody submits perfect copy. So long as their contributions are more good than bad they are welcome. People who go through systematically adding PHUH (or similar) are normally doing so in good faith. We should be sensitive in explaining why this is inappropriate so that we get them to stop without driving them away. --DanielRigal (talk) 20:36, 19 February 2011 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Sure people will argue if we stop policing honorifics. Yes I have an agenda, and it goes way beyond PBUH (which is probably not an honorific). And we could tinker with stopping the sneaky vandalism that creeps in with the current policies. And this policy proposal will have problems in implementation.

But very little of this discussion addresses the fact that our current policies on honorifics are not neutral; they model western publications and they emulate western norms. Trimming honorifics is not a universal norm among global English speakers. This is an encyclopedia for English speakers, not just %100 English speakers and not just English speakers with a %100 western cultural orientation. English is an international language and this is an international encyclopedia.

It's one thing to acknowledge the abstract concept of systemic bias in our encyclopedia and not know what to do. It's quite another to be confronted with a concrete example of it and refuse to take action because it will cause problems or we suspect the motives of the messenger.

-Aquib (talk) 22:37, 19 February 2011 (UTC)

So we need to create a double standard (= cultural bias) in order to eliminate an alleged cultural bias and anybody who disagrees is not be doing so on the merits of it, but because they are motivated by suspecting motives? North8000 (talk) 23:26, 19 February 2011 (UTC)

Are you saying you disagree with my statement our current policies on honorifics are not neutral; they model western publications and they emulate western norms? If so, what are your reasons? -Aquib (talk) 00:02, 20 February 2011 (UTC)
Actually I wondered about that particular statement. Are you saying that western culture is hostile to honorifics generally and therefore that's the non-neutrality? If so, that's just nonsense. Western culture is full of honorifics. What are you talking about? If you are saying that viewing honorifics as something that indicates non-neutrality is particularly Western then OK. I'm not sure that's true, but if it is a particularly Western viewpoint that doesn't mean it's not correct. Look, PBUH is only used by Muslims. Muslims use it to acknowledge Mohammad's position as the final prophet of Islam. By definition, its use is therefore not NPOV. If it were included in the Muhammad article everytime his name was mentioned, it would be as if the reader was being told about Muhammad by a muslim, a believer. What would you think of the Jesus article if every time his name was mentioned it said "Our Lord Jesus Christ, son of God"? Would you not think the people who wrote this are not going to give you anything except a very Christian point of view? That's not what Wikipedia is about. If you're unhappy with that, well sorry that's the way it is. DeCausa (talk) 00:14, 20 February 2011 (UTC)
I was thinking very much the same as what's already been brought up. There are Christians out there who believe it is inappropriate to refer to Jesus without adding "Lord" at least to it. There are Catholics who will not refer to the Pope as anything but "His Holiness" or Mary as "The Blessed Virgin". It would be, I hope, clear why it would still be inappropriate for our articles on those subjects to follow those conventions. So, no. No one gets special treatment. Muhammad gets referred to as "Muhammad", not something else, just as all those other figures would not be named according to the religious conventions. If that offends someone, then to be honest, that's really too bad. I'm sure just about everyone could find something on Wikipedia that offends them. We're not here to pander to everyone's sensitivities. What if some cult believed their leader should only be referred to as "His Most Supreme and Glorious Holiness", and that to refer to him by his real name is the most blasphemous of acts? Should we "respect" their belief? Unless we can say "Sorry, guys, we don't do this for anyone", we'd be hard pressed to say why we shouldn't. Seraphimblade Talk to me 00:37, 20 February 2011 (UTC)
Case in point, I was at a Roman Catholic funeral yesterday where it seemed every third sentence spoken required a verbal prayer to be said afterward. As with PBUH/SAW, it would be utterly inappropriate to be adding those little prayers or honorifics in an encyclopedic context. Resolute 05:10, 20 February 2011 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Well I have not gotten a single positive response to my proposal, but I have received responses. Some responses were perhaps more thoughtful and considerate than others, but they were all civil. Perhaps I have offended or angered some of the readers; if that was the case I apologize; it was not my purpose and I take no pleasure from such a result.

If I am right in what I say, and I believe I am, then patience is in order. We are all products of our cultures, and this is the English Wikipedia. Maybe some day we can take this venue to the next level, but look how far it has come already, and in such a short time. It is an incredible undertaking, a collective effort of monumental proportions, and one I am proud to be associated with.

Regards, -Aquib (talk) 07:37, 20 February 2011 (UTC)

The above conversation did leave one detail hanging - the Burmese honorifics. Or, to consider an even more extreme case, the Sikh honorific and/or surname Singh. I think that when an honorific is so integral to the name that a person is literally not called anything shorter by any significant source, that we should keep it to conform with general practice, but I don't dare to propose a way to codify that precisely. Wnt (talk) 18:21, 21 February 2011 (UTC)
Agreed; until now, I didn't know "U" was an honorific. Considering the fact that people like U Nu and U Thant are overwhelmingly known by those names, and none other, then we should use them. I look at it (excuse me for daring to compare U Thant with this woman) like Lady Gaga - she is known almost entirely by that, including the "honorific" as part of her stage name. But other ones that aren't absolutely vital to labeling the subject have no use. We don't even need to say "Queen Elizabeth II". --Golbez (talk) 16:45, 22 February 2011 (UTC)
Hmm. "Overwhelmingly known by those names". Isn't that a can of worms. Can it be argued that in the Muslim world, Muhammad is "overwhelmingly known as "the Prophet Muhamad PBUH"? It might make me a little more sympathetic to Aquib's "cultural bias" argument. DeCausa (talk) 17:16, 22 February 2011 (UTC)
No one, not even a Muslim, would say Muhammad's name is "The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)", whereas many many people would say U Thant's name was "U Thant". That's what I was getting at. --Golbez (talk) 17:50, 22 February 2011 (UTC)
Except this is the English-language Wikipedia, not the Muslim-world Wikipedia. Anomie 17:38, 22 February 2011 (UTC)
I don't know enough about "U" to say." "Lady Gaga" is not a case of someone named Gaga with the honorific "Lady"; it's a stage name. And if something that happens to also be an honorific is part of somebody's legal name, that's fine, e.g. film director King Vidor. "Prophet" and "PBUH" are not part of Muhammad ibn ‘Abdullāh's name. What if there were reliable sources that a notable religion required all its members to give all people living and dead dishonorifics and attach a curse whenever their name is uttered? The Dishonorable John Doe (MHRIH), The Dishonorable Jane Doe (MSRIH), etc.? We wouldn't follow that practice either. Шизомби (Sz) (talk) 17:44, 22 February 2011 (UTC)
I admit it was one of my more stretched analogies. :P --Golbez (talk) 17:50, 22 February 2011 (UTC)
Excuse the length of the following For those unfamiliar with Burmese naming conventions (which seems to be most everyone here), allow me to explain why this works there. Until very recently in Burma (both ethnic Burmese and Karen), people had one personal name that they would change on a fairly regular basis. This is starting to change a bit now, but it's mostly the revolutionaries (like Padoh Mahn Sha Lah Phan and Aung San Suu Kyi) that have/had more than one name. However, people there have no family name that they carry on; again, revolutionaries have begun to do that in defiance (i.e. Padoh Mahn Sha Lah Phan naming his daughter Zoya Phan, or Aung San naming his daughter Aung San Suu Kyi), but this is not normal practice (and this is why writing "Ms. Suu Kyi" isn't correct; Suu Kyi isn't a surname). Honorifics are used to denote various positions or occupations of the person; we have a full article on it here. In Burma, people use these honorifics in daily speech, and would only dare refer to someone by only their personal name if they were family or very close friends. For instance, Aung San Suu Kyi in Burma is known as "Daw Aung San Suu Kyi", and Nu is known as "U Nu". The only reason we've dropped "Daw" from Aung San Suu Kyi's name is her popularity here in the Anglophone world. Now, if other cultures have similar conventions (as English once did, about a thousand years ago), this works; when it gets more complicated than that, we start to have NPOV issues creep in. The Blade of the Northern Lights (話して下さい) 22:49, 22 February 2011 (UTC)
Thanks for that. The use of Burmese honorifics doesn't in many ways seem different to other cultures (eg japanese). What appears to be the difference is that "U" has been consistently used in the anglophone world because Burmese names typically have only one element. A single name would look odd on its own in, for example, a news report. I think there is a case for just saying that certain Burmese names are an exception to the rule because of usage. But, I don't think it means all Burmese names follow that. Surely, there needs to be evidence that the "honorific" is habitually used for that particular person in the anglophone world. DeCausa (talk) 23:03, 22 February 2011 (UTC)
Yes, that's why we have U Nu versus Zoya Phan. U Nu was always referred to as such, while Zoya Phan is always referred to without any honorifics (for various complicated reasons). When the British incorporated the area into their empire, they didn't distinguish between given names and honorifics because they never bothered to learn the difference, which largely carries over to today; therefore, most historical figures or people not famous in English speaking countries will be referred to as (for instance) U Thant or Ludu Daw Amar . It's when they're famous in our language sphere that we anglicize their names. But yes, what you say is basically correct, if the English-language sources are using the honorifics, use them; if they're not, don't. The Blade of the Northern Lights (話して下さい) 23:20, 22 February 2011 (UTC)
I think that we could have some technical solutions. There could be a special javascript tool that would add the honorifics required for particular groups of people. eg Jewish, Islamic. In the preferences they would pick the tool, and it could enforce things like suppressing inappropriate images or added textual honorifics where needed, or zapping special names. As with others above I think we should use the names as normally published in English language publications, and explain any other common practices. 09:50, 25 February 2011 (UTC)
I'm not sure that would satisfy Muslims. There is already advice on how to hide the images of Muhammad in the Muhammad article. But that doesn't stop some muslims regularly demanding the images removal. It's more a about the existence of images/lack of PBUH etc than whether they see it themselves or not. DeCausa (talk) 18:07, 25 February 2011 (UTC)

Quality policy & cross-article quality

Wikipedia has some policies regarding vandalism. I see these policies as a subset of what may be called "content protection and quality policies". I was going to point to the article on Quality policy but I realized there was none, so I started it a few minutes ago. I think both the article and Wikipedia policies on quality need discussion.

Now, as part of my hidden agenda (so do not tell anyone) for quality improvement in Wikipedia, let us talk about inter-article quality. A good first idea may be to start some type of quality circle with some quality advocates. As is:

  • There are many task descriptions within Wikipedia, e.g. Auto-patroler, Anti-vandal, Copy-editor, etc. There is no task description called "quality advocate". This is needed.
  • There is a noticeboard called the vandalism noticeboard, but there is no quality noticeboard. This is needed.

But not to let this be too abstract let us define a specific ask. An important issue in my mind is "cross article quality". There are many examples of this, e.g. the ranking of various airports in terms of passengers often varies between pages in Wikipedia. That task may even be managed in a semi-automated manner via a abot, but I will bring that up in the future.

But I noticed another example the other day when someone added the category Mitsui to a page about some event at Sumitomo. These are very different companies, as far apart as Apple and IBM yet as of today Sumitomo is still listed under the category Mitsui - and I left it there so I could use the example. However, the Template:Keiretsu at the end of the Mitsui page itself correctly lists the big 6 as: "Mitsubishi • Mitsui • Sumitomo • Fuyo • Dai-Ichi Kangyo • Sanwa".

So the correct information is "somewhere in Wikipedia" and a quality advocate can notice the problem, do a few searches and fix it. It is easy to see that these are different companies, just after a few searches. What I would like to see is:

  • A quality noticebaord where I can mention this cross-article problem, with the tag "cross-quality".
  • The creation of a "quality advocate" mentality/job-description so other people can fix this problem, and the other 300,000 easy to fix problems like it.

Now, if I were the CEO of Wikipedia what I would do is: transfer everyone who works on WP:MOS and the commitees they have and get them to work on quality for a year. There is no point in fixing punctuation in sentences that include incorrect facts. Then after a year move some of them back to MOS to fix the semicolons, etc. Of course that is not how Wikipedia works, but I think you get the idea.

But what I do know is that the creation of a framework, often gets results. And there are many editors in Wikipedia that run AWB and all and fix things. Why not encourage them to pay attention to quality? And there need to be quality barn-stars, etc. to encourage a "culture of quality" and "do not accept mediocrity", etc.

So how does such a quality noticeboard get created? Ideas? History2007 (talk) 16:07, 22 February 2011 (UTC)

We need a vandalism noticeboard because only admins can block vandals, so wp:AIV exists for other editors to report vandals so that admins can block them. There is no need for a comparable bottleneck for quality improvement, instead it is spread across the pedia in places as diverse as wp:FAC and the hundreds of wikiprojects. It is also part of the processes that those who use AWB or discuss changes to MOS are involved in. We have Barnstars and much other bling for quality improvements, whether achieved through AWB or otherwise. BTW When does anyone ever use AWB or copyedit an article other than to improve article quality? ϢereSpielChequers 17:51, 22 February 2011 (UTC)
So I take it that you view the current document at WP:Quality policy as stellar. Now, where is that document? I am sorry, but I see that fragmented approach that you mention as the source of the current lack of cross-article quality. This is not the case of "if it is not broken do not fix it". It is broken. History2007 (talk) 18:03, 22 February 2011 (UTC)
What you see as fragmented I see as diverse and multithreaded, and what you see as broken I see as surprisingly successful. If our quality improvement processes were broken we would expect to see a trend to declining quality, instead the trend is, and long has been, for quality to increase. That does not mean that I consider our current quality level or systems as "stellar", but I am aware of the superiority of a multithreaded diverse system over a single threaded centralised one, and I'm also aware that AWB and copy editing are very much part of our quality improvement processes. ϢereSpielChequers 18:31, 22 February 2011 (UTC)
Well, the two of us are not going to agree. You seem happy with Wikipedia quality - the current quality makes me want to cry. May I have a Kleenex please? Everywhere I look I see errors that could be fixed. Is this what you call quality? As I have said elsewhere Charlie Sheen's page seems high quality, but Wikipedia needs to go beyond that and fix Quality management system too. It would be ironic to have such a low quality on quality management articles (and no WikiProject quality) and award ourselves prizes in quality! Staying put does not achieve improvements. But let us see what others have to say. History2007 (talk) 18:35, 22 February 2011 (UTC)
Personally I see both sides of the coin here and I understand both points of view here. Think of this though History2007; many of the "Quality" things that you are trying to consolidate are integrated into other areas and it would be rather duplicative and difficult to recreate these. Also I think you are going to find that many of the common sense Quality changes that should be done are going to receive push back and quite likely will result in long and heated debates about them being minor, inconsequential or lacking consensus. My current ANI is evidence of that. I applaude your efforts though and can see some sense in having a central guideline or essay that discusses some of the policy regarding quality in one place. I just think your going to have trouble getting support because those that control the fragments will undoubtedly resist the change. The current trend seems to be Policy over content, content over quality. Good luck. --Kumioko (talk) 18:53, 22 February 2011 (UTC)
re to History. I did not say I was happy with the current level of Wikipedia quality - I said I was happy with our decentralised approach to improving it. Like you I see many errors, though not as many as in the past - one has to look harder now to find things that need fixing. If I was happy with Wikipedia quality why would I spend so much of my time improving it? If you have a specific proposal for improving a group of articles then Wikipedia is a supportive environment for quality improvement initiatives. I'm not an advocate for "staying put", for example I launched the Death anomalies project last year and it has already resulted in improvements to many hundreds of articles across dozens of languages. ϢereSpielChequers 19:01, 22 February 2011 (UTC)
Well, I see the Death anomalies table as exactly, exactly the type of cross-article quality approach that is needed. So we may not be that far apart. So if you know how to do that, then how do you set up other cross-article items? The point is that centralized does not mean death to distributed. What goes on now can still go on, but there are huge holes in it. Again, as is Wikipedia does need a WP:Quality policy. No institution can achieve quality without one. And some measures of quality need to be defined. I specifically picked cross-article as an example (my hidden agenda again) because it deals with "factual items" just as the Death anomalies table does and its quality can be measured. So I think the next best thing would be to make a list of what would be a set of quality measures and approaches, draft a "quality policy" and then hoodwink (I mean convince) some people to contribute to it, as in the case of the Death anomalies table. An example like that is companies getting listed on the NASDAQ, DAX or CAC exchanges which are no longer there but on their own pages say they are listed, etc. etc. The CAC Mid 100 has usually been very low quality (note that I complained about its quality more than 2 years ago) and will be a good test case. But first, a WP:Quality policy and some well defined measures of quality beyond your guesses and mine are needed. History2007 (talk) 19:25, 22 February 2011 (UTC)
If you can see an opportunity to do something like the Death anomalies then why not file a bot request and rustle up some volunteers? Alternatively go to the relevant Wiki-Project and bounce the idea by them. Businesses related articles are not exactly my cup of tea, but there will be people for whom they are of interest. As for quality policies you might want to check out Wikipedia:WikiProject Council/Assessment FAQ, personally I'm more one for actually fixing things than assessing things. But if anyone within Wikipedia is systematically measuring quality across all wiki articles it is through processes like that. As for whether my view that article quality is generally improving is merely a guess, there are several things that in my view take my opinion beyond mere guesswork:
  1. I fix typos, have corrected thousands of articles over nearly four years and finding typos to fix is more difficult than it was in the past.
  2. While the number of FAs is stable or slightly increasing the standard at FA has risen so sharply that many former FAs are being demoted because they haven't improved sufficiently to keep pace - merely reverting them to the version that achieved FA wouldn't necessarily improve them and if that FA was more than a couple of years ago they are unlikely to meet current FA standards unless they have been improved.
  3. Expectations at new page patrol have increased sharply, articles that would have been accepted a few years ago are now deleted or rescued almost immediately
  4. Our known backlkog of unreferenced BLPs has been reduced by 40,000 in just over a year despite finding and tagging tens of thousands of unreferenced BLPs created in the era when they were allowed.
  5. I've seen analysis of the time it takes us to revert vandalism and with the increasing use of vandalreversion bots we are reverting vandalism faster than when we did it purely manually.
All these are part of the evidence that supports my contention that quality has been improving. How much it has been improving is a difficult question to which I have not attempted an answer - not least because to say that Wikipedia has improved by x% you would have to somehow combine measurements of things as disparate as the faster removal of vandalism, the reduction in the backlong of unreferenced BLPs and the amount of improvement in articles such as Hoxne Hoard. ϢereSpielChequers 10:20, 23 February 2011 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Well that may be a beginning, but the assessment page does not help much in general and helps zero in cross-article quality. I can talk generalities for ever, but let me give an example based on your death date item. However, I should again stress that my secret agenda is NOT to use a specific opportunity for a minor item, but to improve long term "factual accuracy". Personally, if you emailed me the winning lottery number for next month, it would matter nothing if your email had spelling errors. But if you had great formatting in your email and the wrong number.... then... So I see punctuation as a separate issue and I will sooner than later start writing a first draft of WP:Quality policy. Where is a good place to post it?

Now for the example, think of: "Template:Years ago". This template says "137 years ago" and changes by itself. It requires no quality maintenance. What I would like to see as the next step in "quality of birth, quality of death" is a more general template like that to get the name of a person such as William Shakespeare and insert their dates of birth and death automatically without the user having to know them. That way wherever his date of death is mentioned the system will insert it across pages consistently. And if it turns out that he died in 1617 instead of 1616 then ONLY one change is needed and all relevant pages get automatically updated. I do not want to request (or write) a "one off" bot for that because as is, the bots in Wikipedia are far too scattered anyway. I think CLUEBOT is an example of the "best of Wikipedia" in that one engineer went off and did a great design. But many of the rest are in chaotic form.

Finally about "quality measurement" the metrics just need to be defined, e..g.:

  • Factual, non-numeric quality, as verified via written references via WP:V.
  • Factual numeric values, e.g. annual sales of IBM as verified via official sources.
  • The existence of suitable references, e.g. are the references mostly blogs?
  • Cross article quality, e.g. is the year of death the same as other articles?
  • Quality of prose.
  • Quality of images, etc.

Then each of these gets a weight (say 30%, 70%, 20% etc.) and they get added up. It is pretty simple and pretty standard to score things that way. And it is better than the current official approach which is "pure guesswork". I will start on WP:Quality policy and suggest some measurement criteria. So where is good place to post it? History2007 (talk) 12:40, 23 February 2011 (UTC)

A few things
  • wp:Quality policy is a bad name, for it implies such a page is official wp:policy. I must admit I can't think of an alternative page right away though.
  • Your Shakespeare birth/death date template seems a waste of time. Those dates are perhaps on 5-10 pages and any wrong dates are gonna be added by new editors who are unaware of the template anyway.
  • Can you please clarify what "And it is better than the current official approach which is "pure guesswork"." is supposed to mean? The current official approach is our quality assesment system, but I fail to see how it is "pure guesswork". Yoenit (talk) 13:16, 23 February 2011 (UTC)
WP:QUALITY is not a Quality policy. Does ISO 9000 ring a bell? What is the use for ISO 9000 type approaches if WP does not use ANY of them. And WP:QUALITY just says what the grades are, but does NOT have specific and detailed criteria for assigning the grade. I have a feeling I am having a hard time explaining the concept of Quality control here given that the Wikipedia articles on the topic are so low quality - the Quality control article is rated "C" and really deserved an F anyway. Maybe I should rewrite those first, then start this again.... By the way the article ISO 9000 "does not meet Wikipedia's quality standards".... Amazing... How about we all award ourselves some more barn-stars.... Much of Wikipedia is low quality.... Time to wake up.... History2007 (talk) 14:18, 23 February 2011 (UTC)
I get the feeling we are on completely different wavelengths. What do you think of our wp:Good article criteria and wp:Featured article criteria? Are those not specific and detailed criteria for assigning a grade? Yoenit (talk) 14:49, 23 February 2011 (UTC)
Yes, we are on very, very different wavelengths. Now, the Good and Featured article "criteria" are a good beginning, I would say the first step along 20 or more steps or so. But as you see they just list 5 or 6 issues, and they are "single article" criteria, not cross- article. And if an article fails Good, then how does it get a B or a C? Guesswork? And I know of no overall numeric measures of quality for a project, e.g. saying WikiProject Chemistry scores 75% while WikiProject Physics scores 35% on the quality score. I can tell you that WikiProject Robotics scores 10% on the quality score but that is "guesswork" on my part. And these are just "scoring criteria" they are NOT quality Quality management methods. Again, Wikipedia does not have a written Quality policy. By the way: the Quality management article has very few references for such a large field and is pretty low quality. The "Quality improvement" list there is a beginning but a long way to go and has lumped together too many things, pretty confused as an article. Should get D or E as a score probably .... Does that explain anything? History2007 (talk) 16:26, 23 February 2011 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────History, you have a perspective that's completely the opposite of how Wikipedia works, I'm afraid. It sounds like you want rules for everything, assuming that will fix Wikipedia's problems. The thing is, Wikipedia's strength is that we aren't bound by stringent rules. If we were, it might improve quality, but participation would drop like a rock. Casual IP edits would certainly fall afoul of so many rules, as many people have trouble with the rules we have right now. And trying to rank Projects numerically doesn't make any sense. Look, quality control on Wikipedia is established by WP:V, WP:N and related policies (WP:BLP, WP:RS, etc.). Trying to establish formal "quality control" here would be like herding cats. — The Hand That Feeds You:Bite 19:03, 23 February 2011 (UTC)

No, quality is often achieved by modification of attitudes as a start, not enforcement of rules. Quality circles do not have that many rules, their hidden agenda is to foster an attitude for quality. What there is gets us Quality management and ISO 9000, both in need of an ambulance. A Quality policy is a 10 year plan. In 10 years there will be many fewer IPs. As of now, there are users (many with over 15,000 edits) who spend a lot of time fixing things, if they are given proper suggestions and approaches they can improve quality. But first they need to have definitions, motivation, and measurement criteria. As a start, the good quality article criteria could be extended to the B and C ratings. Is that impossible? History2007 (talk) 19:22, 23 February 2011 (UTC)
If you want to propose a new policy the best way to do so is to write a draft in userspace and seek comments via a request here. Then move it to Wikipedia space if you get positive feedback. My view on your proposal is that quality encompasses many things, including punctuation, accuracy, reliable sourcing, prose and indeed spelling. A quality proposal that said spelling is not a quality issue would I hope and pray be a snow fail. Not least because here on the English language Wkipedia we have a high proportion of readers who have limited or nonexistent English, and a typo such as staring instead of starring or posses instead of possess will come out of translation software as a greatly magnified error. As for whether your proposal for article assessment would involve more or less guesswork than the current system, I suggest you seek input from people currently active in Wikipedia article assessment. But my view as one who is only involved in one specialised area of our current assessment system is that your proposal would be rather more arbitrary and less useful than our current system, though I acknowledge you do incorporate a few of its elements such as quality of prose, factuality and reliability of references. However the process of ascribing a certain percentage weight to each element would make for an odd and arbitrary system that compared Royal Gold Cup to an article on a football tournament and gave facts, images and prose the same weight in both. Some articles will be image heavy, others dominated by facts, whilst the necessary amount of referencing for the biography of a contentious living person is different to that for an ancient artwork. So before writing up a proposal for a new assessment system I suggest you get more experience with the current one, we could do with more reviewers at wp:FAC. If you are going to improve on a system it helps to understand the system you wish to replace, and I don't think that you would be ready to suggest an improvement on our current assessment system until you have learned how much more it is than "Pure Guesswork".
As for quality circles, motivation and ISO 9000 stuff these are all management tools to try and get paid workers to do for money what wikipedians do for free. Your sentence "As of now, there are users (many with over 15,000 edits) who spend a lot of time fixing things, if they are given proper suggestions and approaches they can improve quality" is way off beam. Many editors here spend all or most of their time directly improving the quality of wikipedia, if you include indirect improvements then pretty much every good faith edit here is an attempt to directly or indirectly improve the pedia. By contrast I've worked in organisations where there were more people in Sales than there were improving the product. How many organisations focus as much of their effort on improving their product as Wikipedia does? If you think articles such as ISO 9000 need improving then feel free to go fix them, if you want to think of quality improvement in terms of Quality circles and a right first time philosophy then try looking at how Wikipedia already uses many elements of that. What is a WikiProject or an FAC review if it isn't a quality circle? But beware of bringing in the wrong lessons from business to a volunteer organisation, a ten year plan style quality policy might well suit an organisation that intends to redesign most of its manufactured products and retool its production lines each decade. In a more nimble organisation ten years is the long grass. ϢereSpielChequers 14:44, 24 February 2011 (UTC)
Actually I do not agree. I see the problem now as that of "attitude". I am actually surprised by the very high level of what I perceive as the widespread "the current system is great" (let us give each other another barnstar) attitude, while huge quality problems remain. Before I start writing things up, I have to think about the attitude of the audience. By the way, the "the current system is great" attitude also used to persist within many industries. The wake up call there was competition. For Wikipedia I do not see a wake up call mechanism yet. So I wonder how quality can really be improved. It seems that important facts such as the number of visits of Miss Lohan to rehab do get a lot of attention, and continue to remain correct. But the ISO 9000 article seems to be a dead end until something new happens. My guess is that if those who donate to Wikipedia (the investors in effect) demand better quality beyond the Lohan rehab articles, that may change things. But that will be another story. Yet this is an interesting challenge. This forum may not be the best way to pursue it, but as they say, "when there is a will..." History2007 (talk) 15:47, 24 February 2011 (UTC)
At the moment the competition, such as Citizendium and Wikinfo, is orders of magnitude behind. However, consider this. The number of articles in WP continues to increase rapidly. On the other hand, the amount of editing being done hasn't grown since 2007. That means the same amount of work is being spread more & more thinly over ever-increasing amounts of material. How could quality (e.g. up-to-date-ness) be maintained, let alone improved? Peter jackson (talk) 18:07, 24 February 2011 (UTC)
Yes, there is no competition - yet. But the free economy always amazes, sooner or later. But I would really like to see some numbers for the user behavior you mentioned. Is there a system that graphs overall user behavior on Wikipedia? Is your observation that quality is going down because everyone and his uncle builds a stub every 2 weeks? Yet I am still to see a definition of quality..... So until there are specific definitions, it is all guesswork in the end. But my guess/feeling is that I am unhappy about quality beyond the Sheen and Lohan articles. However, on specific topics such as Art History and Mathematical logic, the super-editor phenomenon has done really well. There are just 2-3 editors on logic and just 1 or 2 on art and they have managed to maintain a really large number of articles with amazing quality. So all is not lost, but quality (whatever it may mean) is very, very inconsistent. History2007 (talk) 18:16, 24 February 2011 (UTC)
editcount vs number of articles
Not sure how to do this link, but let's try.
That wasn't what I was intending, but I don't know about this technical stuff. Feel free to collapse it if it's too obtrusive. Peter jackson (talk) 18:50, 24 February 2011 (UTC)

Yes, that is an interesting graph. But I was also hoping for a breakdown by pie-charts etc. If you look at X's edit counter where the talk page count is separated etc. that gives a different view. As is we do not know from this graph how many of the edits were on those every busy talk pages. And it would be good to get similar charts by Wikiproject, top level category, etc. Moreover, give that the slope of the blue line remains steady that means that the rate of article creation has remained stable, and has not increased. I found more charts here, but there are still gaps in them. And there is a WMF study here and info here. It would be really nice to get more charts by user types and article type, etc. They will say a lot. But your link was very helpful, for it leld to the others. And to this very interesting analysis in a PhD thesis which states:

The analysis of the inequality level of contributions over time, and the evolution of additional key features identified in this thesis, reveals an untenable trend towards progressive increase of the effort spent by the most active authors, as time passes by. This trend may eventually cause that these authors will reach their upper limit in the number of revisions they can perform each month, thus starting a decreasing trend in the number of monthly revisions, and an overall recession of the content creation and reviewing process in Wikipedia.

I already feel that way on several pages and will not even read (let alone edit) a page such as algorithm. It is a waste of time for anyone who knows that topic to even read that page, for every few months a new semi-informed editor arrives and messes it up. So I agree with the comment made by that thesis. So your link was really useful Peter. Thanks. History2007 (talk) 19:02, 24 February 2011 (UTC)

Those further stats are interesting. It seems from them that human edits are slowly decreasing & bot edits slowly increasing. Does WP face a bot-run future? Peter jackson (talk) 16:09, 25 February 2011 (UTC)
Absolutely, absolutely. I talked with the fellow who designed ClueBot and I have been watching ClueBot. It is not perfect but it is clearly in the "best of Wikipedia" category - an example of how one engineer just goes off and gets something impressive working. The underlying technology of Cluebot has been available for many years, it was the design of the inputs fields to it that was so clever. And I would like to see more bots in the future. ClueBot has already offloaded a good deal of vandal reverts from my tasks. So I do see that type of bot and many others that will in time be much more complex as the future, for sure. And I think in the longer term, something like a Wolfram alpha will be part of Wikipedia, as I have suggested elsewhere. History2007 (talk) 17:04, 25 February 2011 (UTC)

What to do if the URL is not really the URL?

I've encountered this problem at least once. Some web sites won't show a specific URL at the top of the screen that you can copy and paste. Instead, regardless of where you go on the site, the URL shown at the top of the screen is the same. So if you use that URL for a reference and someone clicks, that person is not taken to the specific page where the information was found.Vchimpanzee · talk · contributions · 14:46, 23 February 2011 (UTC)

Sometimes you can get around that by opening a new tab, or even "copy link location" (at least in FireFox). ♫ Melodia Chaconne ♫ (talk) 15:19, 23 February 2011 (UTC)
There's usually two ways sites accomplish this: the first is using hidden HTML frames to call database content. In some browsers, if you right-click in the area with the text you want, it will give you an "Open Frame in new Tab" option.
The second is using an HTML object, such as Java or Flash. Those you can't do much with, as there isn't really a direct link at all to whatever's inside the object. — The Hand That Feeds You:Bite 19:11, 23 February 2011 (UTC)
I was looking for a sample, but the site that I remember did this for me no longer does. Unfortunately, the page that I used as a source doesn't seem to come up in a Google search, and the site doesn't have a link. The one article where I know I had the problem was Music of Your Life.Vchimpanzee · talk · contributions · 19:13, 23 February 2011 (UTC)
It's more of an issue on a java-based website. As far as I can tell, nothing you can do will link to a seperate page unless a link goes to an site outside the page.Jinnai 23:29, 23 February 2011 (UTC)
I think I once ran across a citation that said something like ", then click on Foo". That might work if you're desperate. WhatamIdoing (talk) 23:38, 23 February 2011 (UTC)
  • The BPI site is a great example, you can look up the sales certification of an album but not get an url for your result. I'll give a shiny barnstar to anyone who can teach me to unlock that puzzle! J04n(talk page) 23:43, 23 February 2011 (UTC)
    • They're using HTTP POST for the search page, which means the search query isn't part of the URL, hence your problem. No way to link to it. :( --Cybercobra (talk) 07:14, 25 February 2011 (UTC)
    • I'll take the Barnstar then, Go to the URL you post above and save a copy of the page onto your harddrive. Find where you saved it and open it with a text editor, search for the word POST and replace it with the word GET. Save the file and then open it in your web browser - if you search from the saved page rather than the one on their website you should get a url to the result - it's not exceptionally pretty and you need to check that it doesn't contain a sessionid that stops the Url being used later but it will give you something to work from. Stuart.Jamieson (talk) 07:40, 25 February 2011 (UTC)
      • Might work there, but it won't for java-based websites.Jinnai 22:55, 25 February 2011 (UTC)
        • Purely Java based sites are rarer than those that use HTTP POST to hide the direct link, and there are any number of cases that this will not work from from servers coded to only accepted POSTed data, to those which as I've mentioned use Session or Search ID's that expire by the time the link is followed, not to mention Flash/Silverlight sites. However there are still a lot of sites where knowing how to do this will open up a source for referencing purposes. Stuart.Jamieson (talk) 23:15, 25 February 2011 (UTC)

Policy regarding article subjects in flux

Hi everyone,

I'm wondering if the current WP:MOVE policies really cut it when we're talking about rapidly changing events, such as the 2011 Libyan Protests, which are now pretty clearly beyond protests and something much more like an uprising or civil war. I would suggest a special current events policy for Article Titles with a shorter time needed on moving proposals, but with a larger consensus to counteract the possible problems of a shorter time period. It's frustrating to have to wait 7 days when a change is snowballing. I'd also guess that this issue has come up before, but I couldn't find it while searching. --\/\/slack (talk) 02:40, 25 February 2011 (UTC)

I'd caution against making WP:MOVE easier for articles in flux - this could lead to even more heated debates about the issue, when a simple redirect is often all that is needed. See for example the talk pages for Jared Lee Loughner and related articles for examples of how disputes about names can lead to endless going over the same ground, trivial off-topic point scoring, and all the other distractions from article content that disputes about article names entail. The very fact that an article is in flux is a good reason not to rename it, more often than not. Per WP:NOTNEWS, trying to keep up with rapidly-changing events is counterproductive for articles which need a solid long-term base: this is supposed to be an encyclopaedia after all. Leave the 'stop press' journalism for other venues. If there is a genuine deep consensus that a name needs changing, then WP:IAR covers the situation in any case. AndyTheGrump (talk) 03:15, 25 February 2011 (UTC)

Wikipedia should state WHY it's not a credible source in itself but others are.

It is often said by its members that wikipedians are never credible. They are mere mirrors. However, that's very vague and in a stretch, incorrect. Wikipedians are NOT by default not credible. What they are, is LARGELY ANONYMOYS [and highly difficult to verify]. It's a very clear distinction. It's one thing to say "We respect CNN and Fox News and discredit wikipedians as sources of direct information" and another to say "We WOULD respect wikipedians as sources themselves, but we can not do this because we can not independently verify their claims, unless special circumstances occur (e.g. allowing a founder of wikipedia as a source since he is on camera saying something [about quoting himself])". I know this may be hidden somewhere, however, it is very clear most wikipedians do not share this notion when they say to new users how wikipedia works. The general idea one gets as a new user is that "you are nothing, we respect CNN and Fox News". This is disrespectful. You should state clearly it's specifically a matter of anonymity and difficulty to verify, NOT a matter of respect. --Athinker (talk) 08:19, 25 February 2011 (UTC)

Are you talking about Wikipedia? Or Wikipedians? Wikipedia is an unreliable source because we have no editorial oversight; so the material is not adequately verified per our standard policies for reliable sources (it's worth pointing out that Fox News is often not brilliantly reliable either, for other reasons). The issue with Wikipedians is less about anonymity, and more about verification - all material needs to be verifiable in a reliably published source. We, as individuals, are quite clearly not "reliably published". On the other hand anything reasonably considered "common knowledge" is perfectly acceptable in article content, and I suppose technically speaking we are sources for that info :) When talking to newbies I think the focus should not be on Wikipedians being "unreliable sources", but rather on the requirement for material to be verified in reliably published sources. --Errant (chat!) 10:06, 25 February 2011 (UTC)
It would be easier for us to productively discuss this if you could point out the policies/guidelines that you consider problematic, so that if there's consensus for change we can make it. --Danger (talk) 15:55, 25 February 2011 (UTC)
Wouldn't it be original research for us to state why we're not a reliable source just giving reasons like that? There's lots of reliable sources which state it, they should be summarized. Of course that doesn't hold for WP: pages where anything goes, but then again they're just a primary source. ;-) Dmcq (talk) 14:21, 26 February 2011 (UTC)

On the definition of wikiNotability

We're having a discussion at WT:N that I think would benefit from including people other than the regulars (a group that includes me). Here's the situation for those who've found better uses for their time during the last two years:

For better or worse, Wikipedia:Notability is Wikipedia's main inclusion guideline. The guideline—to be implemented with your Best Judgment and Occasional Exceptions—is supposed to help people figure out whether or not their subject qualifies for a separate, stand-alone article wholly dedicated to that single subject, especially if they're less experienced than average. Based on the number of people saying that it's confusing, or feeling betrayed later when their GNG-meeting subject ends up deleted or merged away because it didn't meet the "implied" or "unwritten" rules, we IMO have a problem.

As all experienced editors know, there are multiple factors that go into figuring out whether a subject will make a suitable article The three biggest are:

  1. the existence of WP:Independent sources
  2. whether the subject violates WP:NOT (our exclusion policy), and
  3. editorial judgment.

So, for example, if no independent sources exist, then you flunk the GNG and NRVE subsections of WP:N—and (in theory: no one pretends we're error-free) you get no separate article.

If you have good sources, but it violates NOT, then (in theory) you get no separate article.

If you have sources and you comply with NOT, but people decide to merge it to a larger subject, then you get no separate article.

After the latest complaint and discussion, I expanded the guideline to clarify #2 (already mentioned half a dozen times in WP:N, but never properly explained) and #3 (part of the unwritten rules). Masem reverted it all, on the grounds that he doesn't want to include policies in the guideline, and that notability on Wikipedia is just supposed to mean whatever the dictionary says, rather than what the guideline defines it (and the very first sentence defines notability as meaning whether or not a subject qualifies for an article).

So we're at sort of an existential point, there are proposals to start yet another layer of advice pages, so that "wikiNotability" can mean either the dictionary definition or the GNG, rather than being the whole ball of wax itself, and IMO we need "real people", rather than the same old folks like Masem and me, to help us figure out what to do. When you say, "That's a notable subject" or "That's not a notable subject" at AFD, what do you mean? Are you working strictly from the dictionary definition? Have you considered solely the sourcing requirements of the GNG subsection, or have you also considered other factors like NOT? Are you deliberately using editorial judgment?

If you've got some time, please join the discussion and help us out. (Comments there are likely to be more valuable than messages left here.) WhatamIdoing (talk) 20:36, 26 February 2011 (UTC)

Ansiklopedika and Pornographic actor

Article of Ansiklopedika was deleted for notability problem they say. If Wikipedia is a cultural project but not a fantastic project how come pornactors are notable enough to have an article on wikipedia but Ansiklopedika which has more than 15000 articles and has been viewed on over 110 countries and serving knowledge for thousands of people for 4 years is not notable enough to have an article on wikipedia. You just take of your clothes; have sex in front of cameras and get filmed and you easily be notable for wikipedia. You serve knowledge for people but you are not notable. Is it about being as a potential opponent in the future? Pls i need answers more than the notability policy. I need objective and sensitive answers. Thank you. MULAZIMOGLU (talk) 08:50, 25 February 2011 (UTC)

Are you referring to ? Then see Wikipedia:Notability (web). Meanwhile your comparison of a website with a porn actor serves no purpose whatsoever. And getting pissy because your favourite website is not listed on wikipedia does not impress. If you cannot provide evidence that the website meets wikipedia notability criteria, then the article gets deleted. That's surely not difficult for you to understand. Presumably ansiklopedika has much the same sort of policy, no? --Tagishsimon (talk) 10:20, 25 February 2011 (UTC)
I kindly asked for answers more than the notability policy. But you tell me to look at the notability policy. I maybe know that policy better than a lot of people here. And this page is for discussing policies. Village pump (policy) page is not for referencing policies but discussing policies. I mean but you do not understand is that this notability policy makes pornactors, serial killers, etc notable but serious knowledge source websites non-notable. No one thinks like me? MULAZIMOGLU (talk) 11:16, 25 February 2011 (UTC)
You are welcome to make constructive suggestions for changes to Wikipedia:Notability (web) here or on the talk page of that policy page. Either you get that policy changed, or you prove that your website meets the extant policy .... or the article remains dead. You make a mistake, in my view, by seeking to argue that your website is more worthy than a porn actor. We do not list things based on worthyness. We list them based on notability. Of course, you could seek to change wikipedia policy such that inclusion is based on worthyness. I think you'll find it hard to define that concept in a way such as to make it servicable as an indicator for inclusion of an article. --Tagishsimon (talk) 11:32, 25 February 2011 (UTC)
Hope to see more comments. I do understand you very well. Or maybe we can ask the question like Do you think it is fair that a web site like is not notable to the world's people but the people having sex in fornt of cameras are. Thank you.MULAZIMOGLU (talk) 11:42, 25 February 2011 (UTC)
I fully agree with Tagishsimon. Whats "fair" and whats not is subjective and irrelevant. Yoenit (talk) 11:53, 25 February 2011 (UTC)
True. The term Fair is subjective and irrelevant. I wonder if you and Tagishsimon and others think if it is fair or not? This is not a hard question. Why do you comment like a politician? MULAZIMOGLU (talk) 12:03, 25 February 2011 (UTC)
Not every website is notable. Not even porn actor is notable either. ♫ Melodia Chaconne ♫ (talk) 14:51, 25 February 2011 (UTC)
Your premise is slightly flawed. It was deleted for lack of notability two years ago, yet you say it has been around for four years. If that's the case, then perhaps it's more notable now and, with the right article, could be remade. But two years ago, having been around only for two years, it was deemed not notable enough. I'm not saying it is; I'm saying, things change in two years. However, your attempts at comparing it with porn stars are right out. Articles are generally atomic; one item being notable does not make another item notable, and vice versa. Your comparisons fall weak, and I suggest you stop making them: If Ansiklopedika is to get an article, it will be on its own merits, instead of how well it stands up against a porn star's article. --Golbez (talk) 15:45, 25 February 2011 (UTC)
I'm pretty certain far far more people have watched porn movies than have read Turkish wikis. Find some mentions in a reliable secondary source, that's what it really takes for notability. Dmcq (talk) 16:46, 25 February 2011 (UTC)

I for one don't understand the point you are making. You say that this site "has been viewed on over 110 countries and serving knowledge for thousands of people for 4 years". It sounds as though you are claiming it is notable (presumably you have reliable sources backing up your claim). So is your complaint about how the deletion of that article was handled and it's notability not recognised? In other words you agree with the policy but not its execution in this case. In which case, your complaint is too specific for this forum, which is about policy. Or are you saying the policy is wrong, and non-notable subjects should be allowed if they are in some way "worthy" enough? If it's the latter the answer is too obvious to bother saying. What is it you actually want changed in the policy? DeCausa (talk) 18:26, 25 February 2011 (UTC)

What i want to be changed in the policy is wikisites with thousands of articles like Ansiklopedika must be notable at least like a pornactor. Cause they serve people more knowledge and are more useful for mankind.MULAZIMOGLU (talk) 14:56, 26 February 2011 (UTC)
You are completely misunderstanding the notability policy. ♫ Melodia Chaconne ♫ (talk) 15:08, 26 February 2011 (UTC)
I do understand the policy. Here this page is for discussing the policy. You are completely misunderstanding the aim of this page.MULAZIMOGLU (talk) 15:37, 26 February 2011 (UTC)
All the policy says (putting it simplisticly) is you must get a reliable third party to confirm that this website is notable. What's wrong with that? If this wiki is so "useful for mankind" then you shouldn't have any problem doing that. If you can't do that...well, I don't think it can be as "useful for mankind" as all that. DeCausa (talk) 17:28, 26 February 2011 (UTC)
If only you could see the deleted article you could see those third parties. But they do not even let it be discussed before deleting. Is it because of being seen as an opponent for Turkish Wikipedia?MULAZIMOGLU (talk) 10:07, 27 February 2011 (UTC)
I have seen it per DGG below. And as he says, they "are not sources providing substantial coverage, or are mirrors of Wikipedia". It seems you are over-selling DeCausa (talk) 14:31, 27 February 2011 (UTC)
What you see below is not the original article. I am not overselling but just trying to selling ansiklopedika. But the enforcement system of the country (this is current notability policy) lets only one newspaper to be sold in the country. MULAZIMOGLU (talk) 15:08, 27 February 2011 (UTC)
What? Turkey has only one newspaper? Nonsense, there's a very active press (See this list). If you can't come up with any of them saying how important your website is, then the article deserved to be deleted. DeCausa (talk) 15:19, 27 February 2011 (UTC)
Different frequency. :) MULAZIMOGLU (talk) 16:40, 27 February 2011 (UTC)
what's that supposed to mean? Or are you just admitting you've been found out? DeCausa (talk) 18:10, 27 February 2011 (UTC)
  • The standard advice, is to try making an article with good sources in your own user space. But there is no point in doing so unless you actually do have some references providing substantial coverage from 3rd party independent published reliable sources, print or online, but not blogs or press releases, or material derived from press releases. The sources in the most recently deleted version still visible at are not sources providing substantial coverage, or are mirrors of Wikipedia. If you can show us you have such sources, I'll undelete the present page & move it to your user space to get you started. The usual place for asking for this is WP:Deletion Review, but -- despite the way we sometimes seem--we are not a bureaucracy . If its a question of expanding our rules to include web sites without 3rd party sourcing, the above advice is the best, but I predict that such a discussion will not be likely to get you any satisfaction. DGG ( talk ) 02:42, 26 February 2011 (UTC)

Policy on Correcting Entries About Friends?

O. Pen Sauce (talk) 16:24, 27 February 2011 (UTC)

Hi everyone,

I'm a Wikipedia editor from the very very old days. I'm not up on current policies, and want to check before I take action on something.

Film writer/director Barry Strugatz is a guy I actually know. Someone, apparently trying to be helpful, has posted unauthorized and partially untrue bios of him both here and on IMDB.

I'd like to expunge the fictitious part (the final paragraph), but want to check in here first, since I'm a friend of the guy (which might make me too much of an "insider" to legitimately make edits to his page). Should I just go ahead and do it?

Also, what's policy these days if this turns into a war, with the mystery poster repeatedly reinstating the material? The person who posted the article has no other posting history on Wikipedia, fwiw. — Preceding unsigned comment added by O. Pen Sauce (talkcontribs) 16:22, 27 February 2011 (UTC)

Welcome back. Since the passage is not backed up by any sources, you can just remove it and make an appropriate edit summary; the fact that you know the person shouldn't be an issue in this case. If the adding editor reinstates the material, discuss it on the talk page. (See WP:BRD.) The burden is on them to provide a source. If the situation escalates, you can use any of the steps on WP:DR. I'd suggest bringing it to editor assistance if that happens. Danger (talk) 16:53, 27 February 2011 (UTC)
Note also that we have the the three-revert rule in place. If you want to make more controversial changes to the article, using the method described on Wikipedia:Suggestions for COI compliance is advisable. --Cybercobra (talk) 17:05, 27 February 2011 (UTC)

WP:Notability (video games)

Posting here as there it seems we have a final draft before this gets promoted. This is based on the GNG, WP:VG/GL and common practices, If anyone has any comments please feel free to discuss them there.Jinnai 22:41, 28 February 2011 (UTC)

Non-free images in infoboxes - closing old RfC

It's been a month since the Wikipedia:Non-free content/Cover art RfC has ended. Would anybody like to write up a summary and close the discussion? I have re-read the entire discussion and believe the result was something like this;

Conclusion - In general, artwork used in infoboxes qualifies under non-free content criteria #8 in that the article and image work together to justify its use. Therefore detailed dicussion of the artwork itself is not necessarily required in the body of the article.

I would much prefer that somebody else does this, but if nobody is willing, I can do it. Thanks. - Hydroxonium (H3O+) 03:04, 1 March 2011 (UTC)

 Done - Everybody is free to revert. - Hydroxonium (H3O+) 05:46, 2 March 2011 (UTC)

Hard vs Soft redirects

I'm trying to start a discussion on hard vs soft redirects, and in particular on whether soft redirects could/should be used internally as a replacement for hard redirects in certain cases. If you would like to join in the discussion, please come do so at the soft redirect talk page. - TexasAndroid (talk) 21:52, 1 March 2011 (UTC)

Removing discussion of unblock requests from one's own talk page?

Please see Wikipedia talk:User pages#Is it ok to remove other users' discussion about an unblock request from one's own talk page? and offer input if possible. rʨanaɢ (talk) 17:34, 2 March 2011 (UTC)

User doesn't want to be contacted

A user left a tag saying Yadkin River Bridges needed improvement, but when I went to his talk page to ask for suggestions, it said, "Please don't bother leaving messages, I won't read them." I suppose a Wikipedia user has the right to do this, and I'll respect that, but doesn't this conflict with the goal of improving the encyclopedia? Suppose this person does something wrong? If he is told about some offense, apparently he has no intention of listening.Vchimpanzee · talk · contributions · 14:42, 3 March 2011 (UTC)

In a case like that if I didn't see anything obviously wrong I'd just remove the tag with a comment saying I was unable to find a good reason for it and then get on with my life. Dmcq (talk) 15:16, 3 March 2011 (UTC)
I'm just saying what if the person doesn't intend to read messages and there's a good reason for them? I know this case isn't like that.Vchimpanzee · talk · contributions · 15:23, 3 March 2011 (UTC)
There's no need to worry overmuch about anybody not responding. If it looks like they might it's worth a try. Otherwise for instance I might walk out the door and be run over by a bus or be whisked off on a beautiful holiday. Dmcq (talk) 15:29, 3 March 2011 (UTC)
That user appears to have been bothered by a now-blocked person who wanted to plaster various holiday banners on his page to the point of being a nuisance. I would suggest that you do leave him a polite message addressing his article concerns...I'll bet he will have no problem conversing with you. His talk page history shows that he is cordial and responds well. I'll bet that it was a message intended for the one who was pestering him. If this were a difficult user, I would point out WP:UP#OWN.
⋙–Berean–Hunter—► ((⊕)) 19:23, 3 March 2011 (UTC)
Thanks. I didn't think of the history. He has responded on the article's talk page.Vchimpanzee · talk · contributions · 21:49, 3 March 2011 (UTC)

tag-on to "let's discuss notability policy- again" does inherent notability exist, if so should we note it outside project pages?

I recently nominated a page for deletion, because all its sources were basically catalog entries. I saw it as a test case, in essence, for a much greater class of articles on navy ships about which not much more could be said than "commissioned this date, this class, these are the features of this class." Consensus seems to be all such ships are notable. I want to state first that this is not AFD part 2, the original debate is still going. I just encountered very strong resistance and I want to know if consensus is against me to such a degree that I should withdraw my nomination. Consensus at the AFD seems almost a snowball in favor of supporting that all commissioned navy ships are notable. Is WP:GNG out-dated? Have we made exceptions that should be noted? Various wikiprojects seem to assert that certain things: all ships over 100-foot length, all navy-commissioned ships, all municipalities, all studio albums from a notable band, all of X are inherently notable. Should we start noting these occurrences? Do wikiproject guidelines in these cases supplant GNG in light of their superior experience with the topic? I could use some guidance here because I feel I was following WP:GNG and there appear to be project guidelines that superceed GNG and, to me, make sense. I'm looking for opinions on how I should interpret guidelines in the future to avoid creating a snowball in the future while still doing what I enjoy, which is patrolling new pages and helping build new pages, without falling afoul of consensus. HominidMachinae (talk) 08:42, 5 March 2011 (UTC)

Speaking as one who does frequent (not sure how much I contribute) warship articles and did not feel that arguments for the notability of the ship in question were that convincing, I think that both Milhist and Ships projects need to address this subject. I don't know if its inherent notability or more likely probable notability - as in a ship that has seen active combat service is likely to have done something notable and its more a case of finding the references. In fact to quote from Milhists own guideline "are likely, but not certain, to have such coverage and therefore likely, but not certain, to be suitable for inclusion" (bold is my emphasis). I think in the case of the AfD there were concerns that it might be the thin edge of the wedge. Perhaps HominidMachinae would like to start the subject rolling with the Milhist project and then the members can run with it. GraemeLeggett (talk) 11:21, 5 March 2011 (UTC)
I understand but it's not just warships. There aren't multiple significant sources on pokemon, small villages, albums... lots of things. That's kind of the reason I thought it might be best to post it here. Does the policy need a re-write to keep it in-line with how we're actually using it? HominidMachinae (talk) 17:23, 5 March 2011 (UTC)

Spouses of celebrities

I just wonder; are spouses of celebrities notable, even though the only reason for their notability is their marriage to that celebrity?

Ex: "Jane Doe is the wife of actor John Doe. (a famous and notable actor) Jane Doe worked as John Doe's personal secretary until 2000, when she married Doe. She is now a housewife, and Jane and John Doe have three children: Jacob, Jason and James Doe."

Would "Jane Doe" be notable for being famous actor "John Doe"'s wife? PaoloNapolitano (talk) 09:27, 28 February 2011 (UTC)

Jane Doe would be worthy of note in John Doe's article to some degree. Jane Doe would not be worthy of her own bio unless she is notable in her own right. It is not a slight to the Jane Does of the world, it is a protection of their privacy. It is also an acknowledgement that we can't grow to have two, three or four times more biography articles when there is not anything meaningful to say about these people that cannot be covered in the notable spouse's bio. And it is a distinction between an encyclopedia that focuses on individuals' notability and a tabloid that focuses on every truth and rumor of a notable individual's personal life. Same goes for children of notables, for obvious privacy reasons even more so. Abrazame (talk) 09:59, 28 February 2011 (UTC)
Generally speaking spouses will get a minimal mention (to the extend of "X married Y in ZZZ") but we tend to avoid too much coverage. Certainly most do not qualify for a separate article; notability is not inherited so if the spouse does not stand on their own merit... --Errant (chat!) 10:06, 28 February 2011 (UTC)
Thank you for your answers. Face-smile.svg PaoloNapolitano (talk) 10:22, 28 February 2011 (UTC)
Occasionally there are exceptions, such as Kate Middleton, who would not be notable (despite minor mentions on best-dressed lists) in her own right except that she became the girlfriend of a prince. Her article was created on that merit alone.
⋙–Berean–Hunter—► ((⊕)) 17:50, 28 February 2011 (UTC)
It probably should not have been; that's a pretty weak starting article for a BLP. --Golbez (talk) 18:48, 28 February 2011 (UTC)
It may have been a bad article, but secondary sourcing at the time identified her as notable despite not having done anything of note by herself. Another example may be Coleen Rooney nee McLoughlin who was raised to notability by Press coverage of her turning her into a celebrity for nothing more than dating a footballer. I'm sure further examples can be given of spouses/girlfriends who have been artificially been given a notability that warranted an article simply for being in a relationship with that person. Stuart.Jamieson (talk) 21:59, 28 February 2011 (UTC)
See also celebutante and famous for being famous. Anomie 22:50, 28 February 2011 (UTC)
Pls see Wikipedia:Biographies of living persons#Privacy of names and Relationships do not confer notability . See also Wikipedia:Biographies of living persons#Privacy of personal information and using primary sources.Moxy (talk) 23:00, 28 February 2011 (UTC)
I'm guessing that if Coleen Rooney had not had her own TV show, it would be a race between how many cellphone ads she could book before the AfD (deletion of her bio) was successful. Honestly, if some chick parlays her love life into broader tabloid coverage, or even minor appearances or whatnot (ooh! she "designed" a handbag!) that does not amount to encyclopedic notability, regardless of how active she was in her high school drama program or her approval of her husband's relations with prostitutes. That bio is atrocious and seems to focus on tabloid details. (That TV series that seems to be the anchor of her notability gets less coverage than her high schooling or her residences.) I say this not to harsh on whomever this woman is, but to say that miserable bio is not in any way the model of how an editorially responsible Wikipedian views the notability of such category of person.
I'm guessing that Stuart.Jamieson's point is not to introduce it as such, but to point out that even as Wikipedia does not observe inherited notability, disposable popular culture does, and when it does so to such an extent as it elevates (such as it is) that person into notable circumstances (again, eponymous TV series), it is the (however debatably earned) notable trappings of the unnotable life that makes an article defensible. (Having said that, any number of notable people get their big break only because they knew the right person.) So, not the relationship, not merely the celebrity, nor the tabloid coverage of such, nor even the autobio (all one and the same), but the TV series about the celebrity that makes Rooney biographically notable. Abrazame (talk) 02:21, 1 March 2011 (UTC)
It's an interesting point about Coleen Rooney. There's a comment here on how the notability policy works with cultural differences and perceptions of WP editors. Here in the UK in recent years (it's embarrassing to admit) the wives and girlfriends of footballers (soccer stars) - aka WAGs - have become huge celebrities in their own right with massive press coverage. The closest U.S. equivalent would be (I don't mean to compare them in 'worthiness', just in terms of fame because of their spouse) are the First Ladies. Now, I notice that Michelle Obama has her own page. I don't think the TV show had a bearing on Colleen's notability in the UK. Regretably, I think from a UK perspective WAGs usually are highly notable - but it's very difficult to explain this "cultural phenomenon"(say in the context of an AfD) to non-UK editors. DeCausa (talk) 10:26, 5 March 2011 (UTC)

minority view

Sirs, I protest. If I cannot edit articles that is OK. If I cannot edit discussion pages that is OK too. But to have a policy that restricts people so they are not allowed to talk about a minority view, between each other, on their own talk pages is both repressive and outrageous. This happened to me on the last entry on my talk page. Arydberg (talk) 16:48, 28 February 2011 (UTC)

Wrong forum. don't you need to take this up at AN/I? DeCausa (talk) 16:57, 28 February 2011 (UTC)

I thought this was about policy. Arydberg (talk) 17:34, 28 February 2011 (UTC)

There certainly is no policy that says topic bans imposed as part of arbitration enforcement cannot also cover user talk space. In fact, they are typically understood to do just that as a matter of course. Fut.Perf. 17:49, 28 February 2011 (UTC)
Really? I must admit I haven't seen all that many, but my impression is that the wording is "(topic) pages, broadly conceived". I've often wondered whether that applied to a user page (not subpage) or talk page mainly devoted to the topic, but would it apply if dicussion of the topic is just one thread on a talk page? Peter jackson (talk) 09:50, 4 March 2011 (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.

Resolved: Wikipedia will no longer lie about Finland, and WP:Vandalism will be renamed to WP:Jaako Leinonenism. postdlf (talk) 19:30, 5 March 2011 (UTC)

I hope that you dont write that Finland is in Scandinavia. I am angry, because people in Wikipedia lye about my land! — Preceding unsigned comment added by Jaakko Leinonen (talkcontribs) 18:45, 3 March 2011 (UTC)

I think this issue is well enough covered in Scandinavia, and not alluded to in Finland to render your comment somewhat redundant. Did you read either article before shooting from the hip? --Tagishsimon (talk) 19:50, 3 March 2011 (UTC)

I live in Finland, but my forfathers were Vandals. Wikipedia is a rasistic encyclopedia, because the descendants of Vandals may not make nick names with the word Vandal!. Jaakko Leinonen (talk) 18:53, 3 March 2011 (UTC)

We'll take that as a joke and move on. Thank you. --Tagishsimon (talk) 19:51, 3 March 2011 (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.

On reference BLP

Q1. Was it this discussion that made Wikipedia:Proposed deletion of biographies of living people policy? (If so, the policy page should be clear about where consensus came from for the policy. Q2: If an editors adds one reliable source to the John M. Florescu article that supports at least one statement made about the person in the article (e.g., son, he, lived, etc.), then the prod can be removed? -- Uzma Gamal (talk) 19:18, 5 March 2011 (UTC)

1. I believe so. Propose at WT:BLPPROD what clarifications you think need making. 2. Yes. Fences&Windows 02:14, 6 March 2011 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Assume good faith no longer marked as a guideline

Wikipedia:Assume good faith (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, 6 March 2011 (UTC)

That was due to an IP "correcting" the spelling of "behavio[u]ral" in the template. Fences&Windows 02:08, 6 March 2011 (UTC)
Thanks for fixing it. WhatamIdoing (talk) 02:34, 6 March 2011 (UTC)
Oh I'd assumed it was a change to reflect common practice ;-) Dmcq (talk) 12:08, 6 March 2011 (UTC)
And I'd assumed someone had changed it in bad faith... --Kotniski (talk) 12:11, 6 March 2011 (UTC)

Lack of MP3 support fails our users.

Ideological theory has triumphed over the needs of our users in this case. MP3s have far better support,but, as it stands, we force our users to take OGG - a lossy encoding - and convert it to MP3 - another lossy encoding - in order to use it in almost every possible use: MP3 players ... well, it's in the name. Kindle? MP3 only, and so on and so forth.

We allow other proprietary encoding schemes. If one can upload PDFs - one of the most locked-down file formats, with only one reader completely dominating the market - we can allow something supported by thouusands of free option.

The arguments against MP3s are nonsense; the arguments for OGG are ivory tower ideology.

We must allow MP3, before the point of no return is passed. Already, the source files for many of our sounds are likely lost. Adam Cuerden (talk) 20:07, 6 March 2011 (UTC)

PDF is an open format, allowing open source software readers to be published even if the creation software is locked down. MP3 is patented, requiring players and creators to pay for the license (in theory) to use the patent. --MASEM (t) 20:13, 6 March 2011 (UTC)
Is that even really true in practice? Adam Cuerden (talk) 20:18, 6 March 2011 (UTC)
Even if there exists a number of "freely" developed libraries and programs for MP3 playback, and the format is published and established, it is intellectually burdened for at least another decade, and means that it doesn't fit WP's open content model. --MASEM (t) 20:24, 6 March 2011 (UTC)
Choosing between the lesser of two evils, I'd rather support MP3 than have every poor sap that hasn't abandoned internet explorer yet have issues with listening to sounds on Wikipedia. This would also make it much easier for us to enlarge our collection of sounds, as many more casual users are not going to know about or spend the effort to convert an mp3 they find into .ogg format. Sven Manguard Wha? 22:14, 6 March 2011 (UTC)
WP is a free content work. MP3 presently are counter to that thesis regardless of how more widely they are supported. We have instructions for users to get OGG working from open software on their systems and how to get OGG sounds. It is not impossible. --MASEM (t) 22:43, 6 March 2011 (UTC)
OGG is kind of clunky in my experience. Files seem to take a long time to buffer and begin playing. I don't know anything about the coding or licensing of either technology but if there is some way to get our sounds on a better format I'm all for it. Remember that we aren't making Wikipedia just for ourselves or for people who are completely plugged in to the latest and greatest software, it's for the general public. People using public terminals in libraries and so forth have no choice in the matter of what browser or audio software they are using. Beeblebrox (talk) 23:08, 6 March 2011 (UTC)
Just got off the IRC with Kat Walsh. As far as I'm concerned this is now a dead issue. The WMF won't allow it. We'll get MP3s when all of the patents expire (or at least the ones that incur licensing fees). I donno when that is, but it might be in the next few years. Sven Manguard Wha? 23:12, 6 March 2011 (UTC)
Oh, well, if it's a financial/legal issue then I guess we just have to make the best of what we've got. Beeblebrox (talk) 23:40, 6 March 2011 (UTC)
I don't believe it is. Even if it really was an issue where Wikipedia can only offer a player for OGG, nothing prevents us keeping a library of MP3s for ease of use. There are no patents that prevent us from hosting MP3s, nor any legal reason. Again, this is an ideological issue being held up in ways that directly hurt our users, and mean that we lose the originals for many files. Adam Cuerden (talk) 23:44, 6 March 2011 (UTC)
WP's mission is to distribute free content - MP3 prevents that because it is bound in IP for about 10 more years. We cannot override WP's mission for ease of use. --MASEM (t) 00:06, 7 March 2011 (UTC)
So, asz I said, we bugger over he users (and our six-years-in-the-future selves) to promote our ideology. Great.Adam Cuerden (talk)
I don't like it either Adam. I don't like it either. Sven Manguard Wha? 04:03, 7 March 2011 (UTC)
Why not FLAC?
⋙–Berean–Hunter—► ((⊕)) 04:29, 7 March 2011 (UTC)
It may be ok for free sound files, but for non-frees, its not acceptable since there's no loss of fidelity, and we require low "resolution" sound files. But FLAC I believe is less supported than OGG --MASEM (t) 04:49, 7 March 2011 (UTC)
FLAC's pretty well supported (and in fact, can be put into an ogg "wrapper"), and there's no loss of quality to convert to the format of the user's choice. If there's a case "low resolution" is already required, then why should ogg vs mp3 matter in the first place, as it's already fair use anyway? Seems to me to be the best option. ♫ Melodia Chaconne ♫ (talk) 05:12, 7 March 2011 (UTC)
With non-free MP3, you're doubling the IP issues: the original soundbite, and the MP3 format. Using OGG strips one problem immediately. --MASEM (t) 05:27, 7 March 2011 (UTC)
With HTML5 (coming soon to a browser near you), the implementation for embedding will be
<source src='audio.oga' type='audio/ogg; codecs=flac'> where the oga extension is the ogg wrapper on flac that Melodia is referring to. Until HTML5 is fully implemented, users can still easily obtain free tools like VLC or Audacity for encoding/decoding/playback. See Ogg#Ogg_codecs. I enjoy the lossless aspects of FLAC.
⋙–Berean–Hunter—► ((⊕)) 05:31, 7 March 2011 (UTC)

Lets discuss notability "policy" (again)

Recently redditor "iron_curtain" posted to reddit complaining that articles of programming languages were being deleted, the post became quite popular [1]

As a result of this redditors came to wikipedia and attempted to stop the articles from being deleted through mass voting. When that failed, they pressured User:Christopher_Monsanto who has now agreed to give up deleting articles.

While there were plenty of examples of vandalism and bad behavior, most of the redditors made some very valid points about wikipedia's notability policy. I'm going to summarize some key points here:

  • Wikipedia's notability policy isn't popular. This is my impression at least. Moving against the grain of popular consensus due to tradition is a losing battle.
  • Wikipedia's notability policy isn't constructive. It would be wonderful to have wikipedia contain the sum of human knowledge, and we don't get closer to this goal by deleting knowledge.
  • Wikipedia's notability policy hurts those seeking domain specific knowledge. For instance, if I'm reading about webcomics on wikipedia, and I'd like to see some examples of recently created webcomics, then I need to go offwiki to find that information.
  • Wikipedia's notability policy doesn't have any real benefits. "Space" isn't a good reason due to the electronic nature of wikipedia. "Clutter" also isn't a good reason, since we can rearrange articles at will. For instance we could have a category for "major webcomics" as well as one for "all webcomics."
  • Wikipedia's notability policy creates drama. When someone or something someone cares about is declared not important (which is what non notable sounds like to many) they get rightfully upset. For instance someone who loves webcomics could end up engaging in personal attacks instead of writing knowledgeable articles about webcomics if a article about a webcomic they like gets deleted.
  • Similarly, Wikipedia's notability policy fosters and "us versus them" mentality. A keep or delete vote is a good way to separate editors into "enemy" camps and stir up unnecessary drama.
  • Deleting non notable pages hides potentially valuable information from users without admin powers. For instance the article for Gunnerkrigg Court was deleted at one point back when the webcomic was new and non notable. Later the webcomic became clearly notable. When this takes place, why force a editor to create a new article from scratch when another editor has already written a nice article on the subject.

Now what I'd like to see is "lack of notability" completely removed as a criterion for article deletion, except in the case of a BLPs. Now this would be a big change, but I think there is broad community consensus for going in this direction. The problem is that the consensus is being aired in places such as the talk pages of "deletionists" rather than the proper channels, so hopefully we can begin to focus the discussion here. --ScWizard (talk) 08:16, 14 February 2011 (UTC)

I agree fully. These stubs cost less than a hundredth of a cent to host. BLPs are a clear concern, and I'd say BDPs would be too. We don't need people creating pages about their grandpa who pass away in 2002. I'd say corporate entities should be included as well, as we don't need to be hosting their websites for them. Other than that, "Notability" should be replaced with "Encyclopedic". Is this the kind of information you would go to an encyclopedia to find out? Would a perfect encyclopedia have anything to say about it? This too, may be too narrow, as Wikipedia simply isn't just an encyclopedia anymore. It's far exceeded what traditional encyclopedias could offer. Those works, bound by physical constraints, had to be selective about what they included. We can afford to be much less so. So long as the information we publish is serious and relevant, it shouldn't matter a damned bit whether or not anyone thinks it's notable. Throwaway85 (talk) 08:41, 14 February 2011 (UTC)
Not agreed whatsoever. Notability is intended to ensure two things. First, it is intended to ensure that the subject is notable. That may seem a tautology, but it is to take subjectivity out of the notability equation. It asks a very simple question—"To be notable, has this subject been extensively noted?" That makes notability, like anything else, verifiable. Either reliable sources have or have not in depth noted the subject, showing that it is or is not, in their eyes, notable. Secondly, it ensures that we have sufficient sources to sustain the article, and do not have permastubs that cannot be improved (as well as ensuring that we don't have garbage that can barely be verified beyond its existence, and the rest consists of someone's personal knowledge). Notability serves an essential purpose, and while some people may not like it, a critical part of editing is cutting. A Reddit mob doesn't change that. Seraphimblade Talk to me 09:09, 14 February 2011 (UTC)
You made two points. The first I can't really make sense of. You say that it's important to have an objective notability equation, however what I'm proposing is getting rid of the notability equation entirely. As for the second, I don't see how not having an article is more desirable than having a stub. If you seek out an article on a topic, some information is better than no information. --ScWizard (talk) 09:17, 14 February 2011 (UTC)
On a more philosophical note, you say that a critical part of editing is cutting. I think this is no longer true for the online world, and reddit is the perfect example of this. Reddit's algorithm replaces the binary decision of "publish or don't publish" with a visibility gradient. Links considered "important" will float to the top, and unimportant things will sink to the bottom. The same would be true if wikipedia removed the notability criteria. Highly notable articles would be very visible and referenced by many other notable articles, and unnotable articles would be hard to find, perhaps even orphans. There is no notability brightline, the endless back and forth debates over what constitutes a "passing mention" are proof of this, and pretending that there is a brightline just leads to all the problems mentioned above. --ScWizard (talk) 09:27, 14 February 2011 (UTC)
  • Wikipedia's notability policy isn't popular. I think your impression is wrong. Nearly all editors feels we need a inclusion criteria. And I think most editors feels that GNC is the best we are going to get.
    • popularity among editors does not imply popularity among users. your argument against this point is very weak. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:56, 14 February 2011 (UTC)
  • Wikipedia's notability policy isn't constructive. This is the same point as Wikipedia's notability policy doesn't have any real benefits.. I'l answer it under that heading.
  • Wikipedia's notability policy hurts those seeking domain specific knowledge. Yes, but reliying on unsupported statements is not good.
  • Wikipedia's notability policy doesn't have any real benefits. This is the important point. If there is no reason for the policy, why is it here? However do I feel that notability does have benefits.
    • Very marginal articles are subject to vandalism in a way that is very hard to counter. Without sources to base an article on we are left with editors guessing if a statement is correct or not. Also vandalism on articles that are viewed by few people can stay in place longer. For most articles on wikipedia you can assume that a statement is non vandalism if the edit has been in place for a day or so.
    • How do you write a neutral, verifiable article with no, or only one, independent source?
Here's one example. You can write a neutral verifiable article about a thing such as a programming language by analyzing that programming language. There's enough verifiable information on AliceML out there to say who made it, how to classify it, what it's been used for, what it was designed for etc. Another example is EncyclopediaDramatica. For a very long time we had more than enough verifiable information (the New York Times etc) to say everything the article currents says, but wikipedians kept the article deleted, because undeleting it would mean acknowledging EncyclopediaDramatica as "important." --ScWizard (talk) 16:39, 14 February 2011 (UTC)
Which is to say, you substitute your own WP:Original research for WP:Independent sources. I've got a guy over at an article that wants his personal analysis of why he was so sick to be added to the article. Are you okay with that? I figure he's at least as good at analyzing his own body as I am at analyze programming languages. WhatamIdoing (talk) 21:16, 15 February 2011 (UTC)
    • Certain topics just isn't important. Like my neighbours garage band. Why not, without notability?
  • Wikipedia's notability policy creates drama. Yes. Attempts to rename the policy has been made, but notability is too ingrained so we are stuck with the link to not important.
  • Similarly, Wikipedia's notability policy fosters and "us versus them" mentality. As is unsources contentious articles.
  • Deleting non notable pages hides potentially valuable information from users without admin powers. The editor is not forced to create an article from scratch. He can ask an admin to restore the old article. Admitedly this requires some knowledge of processes on wikipedia. It might be a good idea to point this out on the "you are restoring a deleted page" page.

So all in all think that notability has consensus, and that there is a reason for that consensus. Taemyr (talk) 09:39, 14 February 2011 (UTC)

I can't help noticing that the vast majority of your statements in support of the notability guidelines are in fact statements in support of articles containing verifiable information cited from reliable sources. The exception to this appears to be the "garage band" example, which highlights the difference between notability and policies like WP:RS: notability is, despite reams of words attempting to nail it down, highly subjective, while the existence of newspaper reports or academic journal articles (etc.) is, well, not (at least, not to anything like the same extent). So why keep a guideline that, at best, is redundant with existing pillars of policy and, at worst, boils down to whose subjective opinions win? Ubernostrum (talk) 09:49, 14 February 2011 (UTC)
Yes, the requirement to base our articles on reliable sources is the most important argument for our notability guidelines. I don't follow your claim that WP:RS is less subjective than WP:Note, usually when there is disagreement over GNG it's about wether the sources provided are reliable or not. And we keep the policy because otherwise we would blank-delete pages instead. WP:V is about content in articles, not about the articles in itself. Taemyr (talk) 10:02, 14 February 2011 (UTC)
Agreed, and this is why notability is superfluous, or at the very least the wrong approach. If reliable sources are given, then the subject is notable by definition, as it's been noted. We shouldn't have a second criteria. I would like to hear from those who support the policies as written what, in your opinion, would result from getting rid of notability and keeping everything else? What articles would appear that would be a detriment to the encyclopedia? Throwaway85 (talk) 10:03, 14 February 2011 (UTC)
In addition to reliable we also require non-trivial and indepentent. Basing an article on articles that are not indepented runs against our requirement that we should be neutral, since we end up as a mouth piece for our source. Basing an article on trivial coverage is also bad, because there is no article. Taemyr (talk) 10:20, 14 February 2011 (UTC)
Right, but those are simply requirements for WP:RS and WP:V, not GNG. Also, a source may be reliable for one claim, but not another. If I invent a new widget, and the patent application says it is "steel, cylindrical, and will end world hunger", then my patent application is a perfectly reliable source for claiming my widget is steel and cylindrical. I would need a separate source for claims as to its impact. Similarly, in the cases that brought up this discussion, the spec for a programming language is a perfectly adequate source for talking about its attributes and features. It is not, however, an adequate source for describing what the language is good for, how it's used, etc. OR is much less of an issue in computer science, because it's basically math. Just as many math articles don't cite sources (at least not inline), many additions to a programming article, such as snippets of code, are perfectly acceptable without citation.
Ultimately, my point is that a perfectly adequate stub-class article (which is not a bad thing) can be written on a programming language given only a self-published source by the author, and that wikipedia is better for having it. Saying a language is "trivial" or not in wide use doesn't matter, as we are much better off having an article on an obscure and rarely-used language than not having it. It does no harm, and improves the project. This can be extended to a great many fields.
We need to find a better way to keep out cruft than by requiring everything to adhere to some standard of notability. There are many perfectly non-notable things that are still good to have articles on. Throwaway85 (talk) 11:49, 14 February 2011 (UTC)

An argument that has been repeated many times is that if a topic fails to meet notability criteria then you can't write a verifiable article about it. This is false.

Notability criteria requires not only reliable sources as verifiability does, but also requires reliable sources that are independent of the subject and provide significant coverage. Because of this, you can write a verifiable article about a topic that is not notable according to current guidelines.

For example if there is a publication about Topic X published in a peer-reviewed journal, but it's author is connected with Topic X for some reason, then such a publication can not be used to determine notability, even though it constitutes a reliable source. I have seen deletions based on such reasoning.

Another example is when Topic X is covered by a few reliable independent sources that don't provide "significant coverage". A topic can have enough of such sources for a decent stub-level article, but not be notable because none of the references would provide "significant coverage". Some deletions are based on this too, even though "significant" is a subjective measure.

It is also sometimes assumed that notability criteria requires multiple reliable sources (because "sources" are mentioned in plural there). There where deletions based on article only having one reliable and independent source covering it.

In short, notability criteria is much more limiting than plain verifiability, especially for domain-specific topics. I for one do not see how these limits are beneficial to Wikipedia, and would like them removed. --MagV (talk) 11:18, 14 February 2011 (UTC)

Notability is more restrictive than verifiability, no one is disagreing with this. But we also have want to be neutral, and we are not that if we merely repeat what a single source states. Hence the need for independent sources. Non-trivial follows from WP:NOTCATALOG. Taemyr (talk) 11:41, 14 February 2011 (UTC)
If past discussions are any indicator, there will be people who say so; I just wanted to address this argument advance (apologies if it's obvious).
Using sources that are not "independent of the subject" does not preclude the article from being neutral. This is specifically recognized by WP:V and neutral point of view policy is about the article content, not about the sources used. Notability requirements here unnecessarily preclude some neutral and verifiable articles.
A topic can have enough of reliable independent sources that may be considered "trivial mentions", but together are enough for a decent stub that doesn't fall under WP:NOTCATALOG. Such articles are not allowed too. --MagV (talk) 12:26, 14 February 2011 (UTC)
The need for multiple sources only applies to certain claims. As I said above, my patent application is a perfectly fine source for saying my widget is steel and cylindrical, not so much for "will end world hunger"). Throwaway85 (talk) 11:53, 14 February 2011 (UTC)
I'm not sure that I could disagree with SCWizard more. Notability is a key, necessary thing that distinguishes Wikipedia from a free web host. Without notability, every single person who forms a "band" and makes a myspace page could have a Wikipedia page. Every single business can automatically have an article, and that article will be entirely promotional because the only source we'll have is the company's website. In fact, without notability, I could argue that every building; heck, no, every window in every building could have its own article, because I can certainly provide a legitimate, reliable source to prove the building exists, and since in countries like the US building plans are in public records offices, I could even verify the existence of each building (maybe even each stud). Heck, what about licensed items, like cars and guns? Those could all be verified to exist, although they're clearly not what we currently call notable. In short (too late!) getting rid of notability would turn us into a dumping ground for anything anyone ever wanted to make an article about; our clout as a source of reliable, useful information would be damaged, and, contrary to the other claims, it would have a significant cost, because if you can get Wikipedia to host a web page for you/your country/your band for free, why pay for one, especially since Wikipedia always shows up in the top 10 search results for most searches? Qwyrxian (talk) 12:18, 14 February 2011 (UTC)
I've said it elsewhere, but it bears repeating: There need to be exceptions for people and businesses, to address the very points you raise in regards to them. As for the others, a simple requirement for encyclopedicity would suffice. We can (and, let's face it, would) argue about whether or not a particular subject merits inclusion in an encyclopedia, but that's just about all we do here anyway, so I don't see it as much of an issue. Replacing GNG with a requirement that the subject warrants an encyclopedic article wouldn't result in a flood of crappy pages, given our other policies. Let's say the requirement was that the article's purpose must be to inform, and that a reasonable person interested in the broader field might actually care about it. Making the exceptions for people and businesses above, this would seem to strike an appropriate balance. Throwaway85 (talk) 12:30, 14 February 2011 (UTC)
This is a key point. Getting rid of the notability criterion doesn't mean getting rid of the "Wikipedia is an online encyclopedia" pillar. An article about a webcomic, regardless of how nonnotable the webcomic is is encyclopedic content. You might find it in an "encyclopedia of webcomics." Putting an article about the building in my room in an encylopedia wouldn't make any sense. ---ScWizard (talk) 16:47, 14 February 2011 (UTC)
Notability is a redundant criteria for the examples you give. Almost every one of them fails under consideration of content guidelines, most notably that the content be encyclopaedic in nature, that is, that it must reflect previously documented knowledge. (talk) 14:34, 14 February 2011 (UTC)

Verifiability is about getting the content right, and Notability is about getting the right content. I don't think many would disagree with the WP:V policy, but the WP:N guideline sometimes falls short. We should have two things to have an article here - verifiability and encyclopedic relevance. A subject that passes our notability criteria will usually have encyclopedic relevance, but many subjects that do have encyclopedic relevance do not strictly pass our notability criteria, and this is a failing in my view. Specific notability guidelines aside, discussions of 'notability' too often come down the question of 'significant coverage'; While significant coverage would generally indicate suitability for inclusion, the lack of significant coverage often does not indicate that the subject is unsuitable. It is often possible to have a worthwhile, verifiable article on an encyclopedic subject using only 'brief mention' type sources. We make exceptions for things like villages, we should be more open to making exceptions in other areas. If we could concentrate more on the question of suitability for inclusion rather than getting hung up on 'notability', we would end up with a better encyclopedia.--Michig (talk) 12:08, 14 February 2011 (UTC)

Completely agree. Encyclopedic relevance is something very different from popularity. The problem is that for writing a good encyclopaedia (and for deciding what belongs and what not) you should sometimes be a specialist in given area. My beloved example is ii … it is completely obscure and mostly forgotten effort to write IRC client as a filesystem, and I don’t think there are more than ten users of it other than its author, and yet I do honestly believe that it should be included in any Encyclopedia of the Internet messaging as a clear and simple example of one trend in the software design of internet messaging software. I don’t care if you agree with me on this particular example but please accept it as an example that the encyclopedic relevance may be different from popularity. However, in order to understand why ii might be worthy of inclusion you have to understand something about this particular kind of software and know something about related projects (e.g., here it would be probably Plan_9_from_Bell_Labs). With all due respect there are much less specialists on plan9 among wikipedia editors than specialists on Hannah Montana & co. so the result is that we have Wikipedia full of complete analysis of every stupid TV show which there ever was, but we have to fight about deletion of Gajim (which was to be axed by the deletionist crowd) and people like me who spent some time editing couple of articles on their preferred topic are so disgusted with the deletionist craze, that they left (like me) volunteering on Wikipedia almost completely. Have a nice day. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Ceplm (talkcontribs) 22:24, 14 February 2011 (UTC)
Wikipedia needs to have a inclusion guideline, period. Server space may be "infinite", but manpower going around fixing and improving the articles is not. The "sum of human knowledge" is a it overrated, who would care about an article about me or my family, besides me, my family or my friends? And why should anyone waste his time fixing links or categories for it, or trying to find a source saying when did my parents get m
The real point in notability discussions is not whenever there should be a notability policy or not, but how far it should be enforced. Some cases are clear and self-evident, others may not not be so much (such as topics that get interest only within certain fields). There's also the point of structure, some topics may be "notable" in the sense that they get attention from sources, but should not have an article because they are so overly detailed and specific that there's so little to say aboutit, which can only be understood when included at the parent topic article. For example, usually there's no need to have different articles on a battle and on its battlefield, an article section would be enough. MBelgrano (talk) 12:10, 14 February 2011 (UTC)
There's a difference between having a guideline, and having the current guideline. I agree, we shouldn't host just anything, but I don't agree that a requirement of notability is the optimal solution. Throwaway85 (talk) 12:32, 14 February 2011 (UTC)
I don't understand the difference between "suitability for inclusion" or "encyclopediality" and notability. For me, I can't think of a topic that is "suitable for inclusion" but doesn't meet GNG. I also can't think of as simple and clear a guideline as WP:GNG that would also have the same effect. Some specialty fields do, in fact, have their own notability criteria (which I personally disagree with, but they are generally accepted, as long as they were set up reasonably). Qwyrxian (talk) 14:46, 14 February 2011 (UTC)
Therein lies the problem - passing a requirement for coverage and being suitable for inclusion are often different issues, and many simply don't see that. We should start with asking "is this a suitable topic for an encyclopedia". If it is and we have enough verifiable information for a short article, there should be no problem. Unfortunately this isn't the same as (general) "notability", which demands that we can find multiple significant coverage. As an example, a band that had a top 20 hit in the 1970s is suitable for inclusion (with content limited to that which is verifiable, which means that we must have some sources) even if we cannot demonstrate that it meets WP:GNG via "significant coverage". A village with thousands of years of history is suitable for inclusion even if we cannot demonstrate that it has received "significant coverage". A past president of a small European country is similarly suitable for inclusion as long as WP:V is satisfied. WP:GNG is a decent inclusion criterion but often a poor exclusion criterion.--Michig (talk) 15:39, 14 February 2011 (UTC)
Well I haven't seen a proposal for anything better. The bar for new articles is pretty low I think and I try hard to find something worthwhile about articles instead of getting them deleted, but if after a week of trying it is obvious some subject is just someones vanity box or totally made up junk and not worth spending any effort protecting from spam then yes I will ask for it to be deleted. The same with rubbish externals on articles. If you let the list of bad externals grow on an article they take over and the whole article looks like a wall of bad graffiti. And I view a non-notable article as like a pile of fly-tipping, they can go and do it on their own web site if they want it on the web is what I say. Dmcq (talk) 15:02, 14 February 2011 (UTC)
While I find most specific notability criteria dubious at best, the concept of notability is a useful one in an encyclopedia that is never finished. The point of notability, as I see it, is to prevent the deletion of articles that can be presumed to have additional sources that are not immediately accessible. My go to examples are old gospel Grammies and species. A group that won a Grammy for a gospel performance in the '80s will probably not have a huge presence on the Internet. However, we know that, because they won a Grammy, that there would have been considerable press at that time even in the mainstream media and even more in the gospel specific media world. Someone will have to actually dig through paper archives of perhaps defunct magazines in order to find this coverage, but we can presume that it exists. There's no reason to delete this article because the group is notable. Species are similar. Every species of every type of organism has a minimum amount of coverage in reliable sources that would permit one to write at least a GA class article. However, unless the species has been studied extensively or is particularly weird, these sources will be in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Kazakhstan or something like that and extremely difficult to find. But we know that this exists because it's a species.
On the other hand, there are things that can be presumed, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, to not have good sources. Aformentioned garage band, the hardware store down the street from me, my dad, none of these things or people are particularly interesting to the world of people that write things. There's no point in keeping articles about them; we may never be done, but we shouldn't be trying to build things that are impossible to finish. --Danger (talk) 15:21, 14 February 2011 (UTC)
I agree with Gimme danger here: the concept of notability is important but the specific way we enforce it is "dubious at best". The fiction about our notability guidelines is that they're just there to help us determine which articles are going to be verifiable and maintainable, and this is fiction because many people -- well-informed Wikipedians who participate in a lot of deletion discussions -- will actively disregard verifiable sources if they can't also be satisfied that something is "notable". In the programming languages debacle, those in favor of deletion kept arguing about notability after hordes of people showed up providing sources.
I've seen a lot of guideline drift on Wikipedia, where a guideline says one thing but "everybody knows" it means another. Notability is, I think, one of those things. It was demoted to a guideline long ago but people can't break the habit of treating it like it trumps actual policies. I think we should make an effort to return notability to its status as an informative guideline only. rspεεr (talk) 16:38, 14 February 2011 (UTC)

Now I'm going to post some of the major arguments I've read in favor of keeping the status quo.

  • There's consensus for the notability criterion. We've had this discussion on depth previously, and the community consensus has been towards keeping the status quo.
I don't think this is true. A perception I'm hearing thrown around a lot, is that its a small group of very active wikipedians who are very familiar with wikipedia's bureaucracy, against the community as a whole.
  • The notability criterion is necessary for ensuring that new encyclopedia articles have the potential to be verifiable and encyclopedic.
The very core of wikipedia is that it's a verifiable encyclopedia. However this itself is enough to determine article eligibility. The problem is, is that instead of those rules being used to decide things in AfD debates, people overly focus on the general notability guideline. A perfect example of this is the Encyclopedia Dramatica article. Editors had acquired more than enough information on the website to compile a neutral, verifiable and encyclopedic article. However deletion was upheld again and again because of Wikipedia:Wikilawyering over the GNG. The result of this is that people didn't have a place to turn to read a verifiable neutral point of view article on the subject, which hurt many (it meant they had to go to the ED site itself to satisfy their curiosity) and helped no one.
I see no reason why the debate during an AfD can't be "is this article a verifiable encyclopedic article" instead of "is this subject matter notable?" By making the debate about the encyclopedicness of article and not about the notability subject matter we avoid hurting a lot of feelings and make it clear that the proper solution is to improve upon the article as much as possible by adding verifiable sources for instance. --ScWizard (talk) 17:23, 14 February 2011 (UTC)

I do not like the "policy" because that TODAY, I was searching for NurdRage and it got me to the search page. There was a user talk page and it said that it wasn't notable. I would like it if that there wasn't the policy. Even a little thing is better than nothing.~~Awsome EBE123~~(talk | Contribs) 20:36, 7 March 2011 (UTC)

Arbitrary break 1

I sympathize with many of the points made by the OP, but I'd like to put down a few points to structure the discussion better (in my humble opinion):

  1. Notability per se is not a problem; it is its interpretation. Having an inclusion criteria, as long as it is as much as possible 1)objective (and thus NPOV- and bias-free) and 2)rationally applied is fine. WP:GNG is more or less that, even if with some pitfall (more on that later): it states that if you have 2 or more independent, reliable sources that discuss a subject, then the subject is notable. The problem is that the deletionist camp is slowly but steadily raising the bar and arm-twisting GNG, and recently they've gone so far that I've heard admins explicitly declare in AfD discussions that they don't care about GNG since it's "just a guideline", or calling me a "guideline-thumper" because I tried to reason following the rationale of the guideline instead of throwing it away and judging the article on my personal biases. This has led to unfortunate consequences; I've seen articles with more than a dozen reliable sources cited in the text being deleted. This is what one editor summarized as "Inclusionism is NPOV".
  2. The main problem of WP:GNG is the presumption clause. WP:GNG has an often-cited presumption clause, which says: A topic is presumed to merit an article if it meets the general notability guideline below and is not excluded by WP:NOT - This is often used by deletionists as a jail-free card to argue that one can consensually declare an article not to merit an article in spite of it meeting GNG. They may have a point, technically: for example a subject can be better merged in a larger article. But this doesn't mean that every subjective editorial whim is acceptable to rebuke such a presumption. The clause should be rewritten to make sure that the cases in which the presumption can be rebuked are clear and narrow.
  3. Editors fall into the encyclopedicity fallacy. When we declare that WP is an encyclopedia, we acquire a bias due to our past experiences with historical encyclopedias (say, Britannica). Therefore many editors feel that some subject are not intrinsically encyclopedic, because they're not covered in previous encyclopedias. This is a fallacy because 1) it is circular (see WP:UNENCYC). 2) Wikipedia is mostly free from size and scope limits 3)It is a criteria which provides no true benefit to the reader. What we should do is judging each piece of knowledge on its own merits, following an as rational and as objective as possible criteria.
  4. Deletionists tend to be unable to understand diverging points of view. To deletionists, the encyclopedia is a whole, that shines brighter the more "dirt" is removed. This may be a commendable point of view. The problems are that 1)there different people see different things as dirt or as shine, 2)nobody reads WP as a whole unit: users read individual articles as they feel useful to do. If I read articles on algebric topology, I simply do not care if there are also articles on Pokemons elsewhere: this doesn't change the user experience at all. Deletionists also tend to think that what is encyclopedic for them is encyclopedic for everyone, while in reality there is no objective "encyclopedic" definition and shaping the encyclopedia towards a narrower coverage is to the detriment of many readers.
  5. There is a cultural gap between long-standing editors and most readers. Often external readers are baffled by the deletionist-vs-inclusionist debate, and tend (no doubt with exceptions) to have an inclusionist view of WP: again, breadth of coverage on one subject doesn't change the user experience on another. People go on WP because they expect to find something and most of them are genuinely puzzled to see that there isn't or it is being debated for deletion. WP editors should stand down from their ivory tower and understand that WP does not exist to be a shining but vacuous object, it is meant to be useful for as many people as possible, even for the ones who find interesting and useful the very subjects which we couldn't care less or even that we despise.
  6. The maintainence fallacy. Many deletionists resort to the argument that we have limited editorial manpower, and as such we should narrow our scope to allow maintainance (This is a mantra especially for BLPs but not only). The problem is, again, that once a basic guideline like GNG is met, there is no per se unencyclopedic subject, therefore every narrowing is arbitrary. The point is that the community of volunteers does not have a "duty" to maintainence. Crappy articles will always exist: this is something that deletionists tend to see as a problem, not realizing that WP is and will always be a living work in progress, not the dead but shining diamond they would like it to be. We have no need to maintain what we don't want to maintain. If you don't feel like maintaining an article, deleting it is pointless: just skip it. (For BLPs, due to direct real life consequences, this is perhaps not the case, I have to say).

These are only some of my feelings on the subject. Feedback on this would be welcome -notability and its ramifications is one of the core, most divisive problems of the WP community and it is also one that has a very direct impact on WP relevance and usability. A RfC would be perhaps nice, even only to gauge current feelings of the community. I always thought also about gauging what the readers think of notability guidelines and what they would prefer to see -this could be interesting. --Cyclopiatalk 17:21, 14 February 2011 (UTC)

Another point against the notability criterion I've thought of.

  • The notability criterion leads to monolithic article creation. This discourages new editors and encourages article ownership. Lets say you have a webcomic for which a lot of information exists, but the article is repeatedly deleted. Then the webcomic wins some sort of big time webcomic award (perhaps for "best new webcomic"). This makes recreating the article intimidating for a new user, since they know that the articles been deleted before and that there's a lot of information they'd need to include. So what happens is an experienced user ends up creating a lengthy article from scratch, perhaps with a particular PoV. Then because they spent so long writing this article from scratch, they take ownership and resist good faith changes.

During wikipedia's inception, many articles on very important matters were only a sentence or two when they were created. These articles were slowly built in a bottom up fashion by a broad group of editors. This is the type of editing that built wikipedia, the notability criterion discourages by drawing an arbitrary brightline. --ScWizard (talk) 17:45, 14 February 2011 (UTC)

I am not sure of having understood all of it properly, but there's a kernel of truth in what you say. However many people here around could see it as a bonus (discourages crap in mainspace). I think that 1)there should be some kind of guideline officially recommending people to draft articles in their userspace 2)the possibility of getting back article content from admins should be emphasized. --Cyclopiatalk 17:55, 14 February 2011 (UTC)
I think that the fundamental disagreement between myself and deletionists, is that deletionists see "crap in mainspace" as a detriment to the quality of wikipedia, while I see "crap in mainspace" as the foundations of a future good article. As a result of this I strongly disagree with your proposed guideline recommending people draft articles in userspace. If things began that way, nothing would ever have gotten written. The reason we have deletionists is because we have an excellent encyplopedia, one that certain editors feel needs "protecting." However the reason we have an excellent encylopedia is because wikiepdia's very nature is opposed to protecting the status quo. Proof of this is that I could go and create Nemerle right now if I wanted.
Ok nevermind, turns out someone salted it. --ScWizard (talk) 19:02, 14 February 2011 (UTC)
Wow - here are some of the truest words ever spoken about the Nemerle article and Wikipedia. Wnt (talk) 02:19, 15 February 2011 (UTC)

It's pretty clear that both the notability guideline (yes, it's a guideline not a rule) and the deletion procedures are broken. There should be a general freeze on both until a better policy is implemented. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Elblanco (talkcontribs) 18:27, 14 February 2011 (UTC)

Let's go over the de facto rules of notability.

  1. . The more news sources cover an event, the more likely it is to be deleted. We have hundreds of thousands of unsourced articles, which are in no danger; but the moment you summarize some newspaper reports you see at the top of a Yahoo or Google news page for the day, you get AfD'd as a matter of course.
  2. . WP:NOTNEWS is always misused in AfD discussions. The policy says not to treat breaking news differently. It does not say that recent events can't be covered, but that is what people always mean when they start saying "WP:NOTNEWS".
  3. . Any articles whose deletion is actually controversial are typically proposed for deletion because someone doesn't like what they say. Yes, there are diligent editors who put up a bad article they stumble across, or run through articles systematically to weed out pointless entries. But proceedings like Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Phillip Greaves seem motivated by emotional reactions rather than objective notability.
  4. . An article can go through deletion discussions 24 times, and still be valuable. We waste a lot more space and time arguing about the deletions than keeping the articles.
  5. . What happens when subjects of an article request deletion depends solely on their wealth and power. Compare Inge Lynn Collins Bongo vs. Jim Bell.
  6. . Deletions disgust new editors who came on to document an event which is within the policy of what we should cover, only to be told that their work is useless. They don't know it's supposed to be a huge fight to keep their material in. Sometimes they even get nasty robo-warning messages threatening them for trying.
  7. . Deletions waste a tremendous amount of time that editors could be spending working on articles. No matter whether you win or lose, the deletionists still celebrate their victory - because if they haven't stopped you from writing the first article, they've stopped you from writing the second, third, and fourth in the time you spent arguing. Wnt (talk) 18:34, 14 February 2011 (UTC)
I think the notability criterion with respect of BLPs should be a separate discussion. All the examples you gave in your post were biographies. --ScWizard (talk) 20:00, 14 February 2011 (UTC)

So if this is all about "Butter-Side Up" vs. "Butter-Side Down", let me know who wins, if there is anybody left to tell the tale. –MuZemike 04:17, 15 February 2011 (UTC)

Just an observation but any notability discussion that involves liberal usage and vilifying of the terms "deletionist" or "inclusionist" (regardless of your viewpoint) usually ends up the same way most online discussion do as soon as someone plays the nazi or race card. Overgeneralizing and trying to paint the broad spectrum of diverse perspectives and reasonings into a neat little target is never productive and only serves to further polarize people into "them deletionists" or "those inclusionists" etc. AgneCheese/Wine 05:14, 15 February 2011 (UTC)

Are you suggesting inclusionists have poor grammar and make typos? ;) At any rate, your observation is correct. Let's focus on our desired outcomes, and see if we can't find some common ground and work towards a solution from there. Throwaway85 (talk) 05:36, 15 February 2011 (UTC)
Heh, no. Typos and grammar mistake know no boundaries or POV. :) AgneCheese/Wine 05:57, 15 February 2011 (UTC)

Would a group of informed editors have supported the deletion of these articles? If not, then does the problem not lie with the lack of knowledge and understanding of technical topics (such as these programming languages) amongst the community rather than a general guideline that requires more than just the pedantic application of rules to useful? Rilak (talk) 06:06, 15 February 2011 (UTC)

Notability is abused towards other ends -- One issue I've encountered repeatedly -- editors attempting to use notability as a cudgel to force others to edit articles. The arguments are generally that the discussion proves notability, but the original article did not, and therefore that it should be deleted and recreated (presumably better). The general notion is that articles that need work should be improved via the threat of or act of deletion (and sometimes, that this threat is supposedly the only way they will be improved). This goes far beyond notability policy (although it hides behind it) and is increasingly common on wikipedia. I believe there should be a clear policy statement that this is not what notability is about and not what AfD is about in general. I'd call it say, Build Before Destroy -- i.e. if an article is lacking but has potential, it is worth the effort to do work yourself or to seek to draw in others who could do such work, and it even if this is more effort, this is preferrable to seeking to destroy the work already there. In the software/CS community in particular (and in the sciences as a whole), a note to the appropriate mailinglist/forum that an article is weak/tagged and could use work will often, though not always, yield immediate and positive results. -- Imprecisekludge (talk) 18:51, 15 February 2011 (UTC)

I'd be surprised if you haven't seen WP:BEFORE, while claiming to have encountered this issue… --Izno (talk) 20:17, 15 February 2011 (UTC)
I've seen it before. It's a good note. It clearly isn't doing the job it needs to. There is existing, decent wikipedia policy being repeatedly honored in the breach. The problem is that whoever starts the AfD generally thinks the article isn't notable -- they don't necessarily act in bad faith. But once the discussion is underway, then it takes on a life of its own. Deletion is (until you're villified on reddit) low cost and high consequence. Work to improve an article is higher cost and with less immediate consequence. This imbalance is part of the problem. -- Imprecisekludge (talk) 20:38, 15 February 2011 (UTC)
I find both Cyclopia's and OP's claims to be based on, at best, guesses and their own point of view. I don't have any idea how they can assert with any degree of certainty that they know that most people outside Wikipedia would, if they understood the debate, be inclusionists. I, for one, have become less deletionist the longer I stay on Wikipedia. One of my initial reasons for distrusting Wikipedia was simply the fact that anyone could add anything, and that there were articles on all manner of "unecyclopedic" things. Over time, I've come to believe that there are simply topics and categories that, while they don't make sense to me, at least have justification under a set of policies for inclusion, and I accept that they will continue to be included under, as Cyclopia puts it, alternative interpretations of "encyclopediality". I recognize that my personal interaction with Wikipedia may be atypical, but I don't know for sure either way, and thus I don't attempt to draw conclusions about the rest of the world's interaction with Wikipedia. But I think our notability policy is a key guideline in getting people to accept that this really is a serious project with serious goals, especially to academics (an important audience, as I think we need to persuade college and high school teachers to stop telling their students that Wikipedia is useless, like many of them do). When we can say "No, we don't allow just anything; rather, we have standards, and those standards are fairly objective (i.e., have multiple, significant sources) to have a stand-alone article," we get to make a strong claim about how what we are doing here is not just a free for all.
Now, one thing I can agree with Cyclopia on (shocking, for me) is that if "deletionists" are using the presumption clause to exclude articles that otherwise meet policy, then something is wrong either with editor behavior or with the way the guideline is written (if it's providing confusion or cover for bad behavior). I do not support, for example, "deletionists" saying "Just because there's reliable sources that talk about Band X is detail isn't enough, so delete it." To me, that's just as bad as "inclusionists" saying "This is clearly interesting to some people, and maybe some time in the future we can improve the article, so keep it." So if this really is a problem at AfD's then I agree with the idea that this clause needs to be rewritten. Qwyrxian (talk) 01:10, 16 February 2011 (UTC)
I think that's really the problem. We have an objective notability criterion (must be covered in detail in multiple, independent, reliable sources). Since we require that articles be neutral and source-based, that's a good requirement to have. I do think it's problematic that we think "multiple" always means "two"—if those two give very bare coverage or are largely redundant to one another, that may not be enough. Overall, however, that general rule is a good rule. But the more problematic bit is the subjective notability guidelines (professors are notable if they get cited this often, athletes are notable if they're pros, bands are notable if..., ad nauseum). We already have WP:NOT to go over what may be noted heavily but not be suitable for an encyclopedia, such as flash-in-the-pan news stories. Other than that, we should just use our objective standard—notability is defined as being noted to a good depth by several reliable and independent sources. That should be equally true of Pokemon or professors, and should be true of "census designated places" and asteroids just as surely as fictional characters. The standard shouldn't be "whatever crap someone wants to write", nor should it be "I don't think this meets my definition of encyclopedic, so it needs to go." The question should only be if we have sufficient sources to sustain a full, neutral, and high-quality article. Seraphimblade Talk to me 02:30, 16 February 2011 (UTC)
@Qwyrxian: I find both Cyclopia's and OP's claims to be based on, at best, guesses and their own point of view: Heh, of course. I was stating my own opinions. Face-smile.svg
  • But I think our notability policy is a key guideline in getting people to accept that this really is a serious project with serious goals, especially to academics: As an academic myself (even if only a postdoc), I can guarantee you that, perhaps surprisingly, the one thing academics could care less is the notability standard. Academics care about factual accuracy, reliability and sourcing -they couldn't care less if there are also plenty of articles about non-notable things. What is important is that there is a standard for what can go in an article, not the standard for the articles themselves. Perhaps (but here I'm guessing) their bias could even be the opposite: academics after all are used to spend their lives on subjects that most of the universe wouldn't find "notable" under the layman's definiton of the word.
  • if "deletionists" are using the presumption clause to exclude articles that otherwise meet policy : They do explicitly. See for example these two AfDs on the same article: [2] and [3]. Article had, IIRC, 14 reliable sources when deleted. You can find the deletion discussions peppered with gems like: You claim this is just WP:IDONTLIKEIT, but every decision we make here, as a community is WEDONTLIKEIT, or WEDOLIKEIT. [...] if you want to get into policy wonkery, WP:IAR is a policy, while WP:GNG is a only guideline. or Coverage in reliable sources is a necessary but not sufficient condition of notability. Also here you can find a quite famous admin stating: Guideliens do NOT have to be followed, never have. [...] Personally, I don't read notability guidelines. I choose to consider each case on its merits. - when pointed to WP:GUIDELINE, he answered: The statement that editors "should" attempt to follow guidelines is simply wrong. - good luck arguing with that. --Cyclopiatalk 04:02, 16 February 2011 (UTC)
Actually, I participated in the first Daryl AfD, and recall (and now, re-read) that I, much to my current shame, invoked IAR as grounds for deletion (I hope I haven't done that since). Then again, don't all editors at some point early on in their editing career (this was within my first month of heavy editing) call upon IAR to justify something that can't be justified? However, just to clarify, the real discussion on that issue, and the rationale for eventual deletion, came down to whether or not those qualified as reliable, independent sources of more than regional issue, thus not meeting WP:CORP. If people can use domain specific guidelines to successfully argue for keeping articles which don't meet WP:GNG (I see this happen most often happens with albums that chart but never have anything notable written about them, but I've also seen it for historical sports players, and, of course, in the automatic presumption that all human settlements are notable), then when a topic very clearly falls within a domain-specific guideline, it should be legitimate to delete it on those grounds. In other words, so long as WP:CORP, WP:MUSIC, etc. exist, it's not acceptable to get to pick and choose whether to use WP:GNG or the more specific topic. But even ignoring that, the Daryl argument questioned whether or not restaurant reviews even met the definition of "coverage" in the sense that we mean in WP:GNG, and whether or not local reviews could be considered "independent". However, I'll still trust you if you say that there are actual examples where this bad behavior you speak of has been done, then something should be changed. Do you think WP:GNG needs changing, or just more careful adjudicating of AfDs? Qwyrxian (talk) 04:27, 16 February 2011 (UTC)
Sorrry, to be fair, Cyclopia is somewhat right about the second AfD, which I had not read until just now. It's an interesting read, because while I completely agree with those who want to invoke common sense and something more than just counting sources to see if GNG is satisfied, I can understand Cyclopia's point that those arguing for deletion seemed to be arguing against what the actual guideline says. This, in a sense, points back to the idea that maybe we do need something more clear in place. Maybe what we need, rather than replacing notability with encyclopedialityi, is to keep it and then add something about also needing to establish community consensus on "encyclopediality". In other words, the idea would be that a subject would need to be both notable and be encyclopedic to be kept. I'm worried that this is getting close to bean stuffing, and I know that the way I just wrote it is too vague and open to abuse, but maybe there's something that could be improved on here. Qwyrxian (talk) 04:35, 16 February 2011 (UTC)
Another example concerns Thyrosafe (though it hasn't yet been actually deleted). This was ordered to be merged, even though much of the information is so specific that it's not likely to find a place in a general article on potassium iodide. I think that this product is notable because the U.S. Department of Homeland Security listed it by name on the 2008 Critical Foreign Dependencies Initiative List - even though it is made outside the U.S., this product is seen as critical for American national security. But it still fell victim to a merge, and I feel that the entire reason for this was that some people didn't think Wikipedia should talk about anything that was released in Wikileaks cables, even though these cables are going to be one of the twelve top sources of world news reports for at least the next year. Wnt (talk) 19:11, 16 February 2011 (UTC)

Arbitrary break 2

Didn't read WP:N, but I think it's ok. I've read the content guideline instead and it explicitly prohibits lawyering and calls to common sense. If a deletionist can't meet these requirements, it's a problem with the deletionist, not the policy quality. The guideline is a hint that helps understanding. If the deletionist has a problem with understanding, he could use someone else's help or abstain from action. -- (talk) 12:27, 16 February 2011 (UTC)

User:Uncle G/On notability is worth a read, it gives a clear explanation of why a notability guideline is a good idea. The interpretation of notability can be flawed in individual cases, such as when the participants at AfD fail to find sources that exist, but the principle of requiring coverage of a topic in multiple, independent, reliable sources means we generally write articles only when there's actually something to say on the topic in a manner approaching neutral. It cuts off a lot of self-promotion and POV pushing. Fences&Windows 23:44, 16 February 2011 (UTC)
Well, it's quite obvious that there's a content that doesn't suit encyclopedia. I'd prefer to read a guideline on dealing with fundamentalists. Text, dealing with fundamentalists, huh? -- (talk) 06:33, 17 February 2011 (UTC)
I have just found this Pump discussion, and it is most interesting. I am seeing first hand at Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Ctrl+Alt+Del (webcomic) (2nd nomination) what happens when a guideline is treated as a strict rule. If an admin closes this as delete followed by "confirmed as delete" at any subsequent deletion review it means several other articles will also fail at AFDs. Here's one of mine that would fail I believe: Torquato Accetto (trivial coverage in only one printed source). -84user (talk) 17:51, 18 February 2011 (UTC)
No, Accetto had plenty more than that written about him. Notability is about what sources exist, not what sources are currently used in the article. Nobody who was capable of using Google and not editing in bad faith could propose deleting that bio. Fences&Windows 01:33, 19 February 2011 (UTC)
One problem with the "two sources" rule is that if the subject is treated authoritatively and recently, there is no incentive for other coverage. But certainly the criteria for GNG seems low. Also it is not exclusive - or wasn't last time I looked. The big problem I see is not wikilawyering as such, but blindly following (and insisting others follow) written instruction of all types. I've even had documentation I wrote cited at me as a reason not to change pages I wrote. When we moved house as a small boy I remember the gaffer saying to one of his men, as they handled a huge piece of furniture down the stairs "Bodies before furniture" in the same way I would say "People before policies" - if something is obviously true, verifiable, of interest, and does no harm, attempting to delete it harms the project not just for the loss of the information itself, but for the loss of community it engenders. Rich Farmbrough, 14:59, 20 February 2011 (UTC).

Although I admit I have not read WP:NOTABILITY -- or at least not in the last few years -- the concept of notability is one that few people should have a problem with. The intent of Wikipedia is to have articles on subjects that people can be expected to want information about; that, in one sentence is what notability is all about. While this definition can sometimes be weakened by a subjective approach (e.g., "Of course people want information on this business I just started yesterday, so Wikipedia must keep this article I wrote about it"), every argument I can think of in favor of a subject's notability presumes that definition. For example, because Dante's Divine Comedy is a work many people read, one would expect an article in Wikipedia on every person, place or concept in it: readers seeking further information on those topics will turn to Wikipedia. (No, I haven't verified this, but it would be an interesting test of Wikipedia's usefulness.) So for certain subjects with a well-defined area of relevance, notability is not an issue.

Turning to the issue which gave rise to this thread -- how do we know if a computer-related subject is notable -- we find that the limits of what is notable is not as well defined. I've made a living from the computer industry for 15 years -- & have worked with computers off & on for even longer -- & I have no clear concept of what are notable subjects in this area. Certainly not every software package, item of hardware, or high-tech company is notable; some software I found very useful in the past is, at best, a trivia question. (e.g., "What company staffed Netscape's technical support center when it released its product to market?") The rule of thumb in such situations is to rely on what reliable sources report, a rule endorsed by common sense.

I sincerely believe that a large portion of the disagreements we have about content would not happen if we had a workable definition of what an encyclopedia is, including how to best cover its topics & to what degree, & a consideration of the best practices for achieving the goals of that genre. Instead, we have been working from our assumptions & memories or perceptions of the encyclopedias we know about (which are arguably flawed), while avoiding analysis or criticism of these assumptions & memories, which have led to implement policies of dubious value to creating a truly useful encyclopedia. -- llywrch (talk) 18:38, 21 February 2011 (UTC)

Break just to force a new line which it wouldn't do

I think that the wp notability guidelines are the most confused but least abused on the major guidelines. The GNG makes a pretty good attempt at a objective standard, albeit possibly oversimplified. It's probably missing the test that you describe. It's weakest spot is that it is a bit weak when there is a pseudo-COI involved. A professor wants to put themself in, a band or an entertainer (or one of their fans) wants to put them in, somebody wants to put their business or product in. When such a bias exists, GNG is not enough. So then, when this happens a lot for a particular item, a specialized guideline springs up for that area. So some extent they all conflict with GNG. Astoundingly, there is no consistent answer as to whether which one one has to meet, whether on has to meet both, or they can take their pick. Each time the question comes up , everyone does their best, but since there is no answer, the answer is different every time. IMHO wp:GNG needs to be refined, with a few metrics added, to more fully implement the spirit of what you described, eliminating the need for SNG's.North8000 (talk) 19:24, 21 February 2011 (UTC)

People seem to think of me sometimes as among the more inclusive of regular editors, but I regard the concept of notability, though perhaps not exactly as we presently word the guidelines, as absolutely essential to the nature of an encyclopedia. (Even if we deleted WP:N and all its subpages, we would still have NOT INDISCRIMINATE and NOT DIRECTORY,and they would probably be interpreted about the same as Notability is at present.) Selectivity is what distinguishes an encyclopedia from a directory. People come here not in order to find out about everything on the web--Google does very nicely for that, & with Google Print it can help even with material not otherwise on the web. People come here because they expect it to screen out the subjects which are below a certain level of significance; they look for what they traditionally think of as an encyclopedia, and without it, we would lose a good deal of our current level of respect. We might well have a supplement without the concept of notability, but it would not really be an encyclopedia . (Wikia sort of does that now, but it would be much better to have a non-commercial site instead, and one that, unlike Wikia, insisted on WP:V ) DGG ( talk ) 02:51, 26 February 2011 (UTC)

"People come here because they expect it to screen out the subjects which are below a certain level of significance" - Do they? Sounds like a completely unfounded assertion to me. It's certainly not *my* reason to come to Wikipedia. And this fear of not being taken seriously is *so* 2005 - why do you let an outdated inferiority complex drive you to destroy useful content and put off productive contributors? Brazzy (talk) 23:09, 1 March 2011 (UTC)
DGG has a point in defining one of Wikipedia's functions as a filter of subjects below a certain level of significance. I'm not sure he consciously implied what I'm about to say, but it is something that has obsessed me for a while.

People use Wikipedia to find a certain category of information -- a specific person or event alluded to in something she/he read, a technical term or idea, a fact or statistic -- but not other categories of information. Who would prefer the ideal Wikipedia article on the Peloponnesian War to Thucydides' History? How can the Wikipedia article Propaganda improve on what George Orwell wrote in his essay "Politics and the English Language"? Then there is the issue of what Margaret Mitchell's novel Gone with the Wind contains that American Civil War will never have -- or any literary work compared to a related serious topic. A user might turn to the article on the Peloponnesian War simply to learn the dates it started & ended, which are not obvious from Thucydides' classic work -- which are specific facts. Yet no matter how well-written these articles might become, there is something depressing at the idea a Wikipedia user expects to find everything of value in God, Love or Death, then complains that these articles should be more than a starting point for their own research. This problem is not unique to Wikipedia; would anyone who is either naive or looking for a cheap laugh bother to consult any encyclopedia to understand those topics?

That would be the top end of the filter for an encyclopedia; where Wikipedia excels over its traditional rivals is at the bottom end, providing information -- sometimes incomplete, sometimes wrong -- about subjects other encyclopedias don't cover, most of which one doesn't need to be an expert to write a usable & useful article about. (And the fact that a Wikipedia article isn't good on a given topic informs the intelligent reader that it is something obscure.) Our motivation for pruning out puff-pieces on unknown business people & their companies, fringe theories no one has heard of, & things people make up on a dull school day is not only no one cares about them but anyone who stumbles across the article might be misled in thinking that this cruft is actually worth knowing. And while we might -- & will inevitably -- err in excluding some topics, Wikipedians will always admit where they make a mistake & correct it. We have no incentive to do otherwise. -- llywrch (talk) 20:55, 3 March 2011 (UTC)

Year of Birth

Currently, WP:BLP#Privacy of personal information and using primary sources (WP:DOB) says:

Where the subject complains about the inclusion of the date of birth, or where the person is borderline notable, err on the side of caution and simply list the year.

I've started a discussion about how to handle folks that don't want their YoB in an article.
--William Allen Simpson (talk) 23:43, 4 March 2011 (UTC)


If the subject complains about the inclusion of the date of birth, or the person is borderline notable, err on the side of caution and simply list the year.


If the subject complains about inclusion of the date of birth, or the person is borderline notable, err on the side of caution and omit the date. Add a comment in place of the date, such as:

<!-- subject requested birth date removal --> A similar comment must be added next to a related maintenance category:
[[:Category:Year of birth missing (living people)]]<!-- subject requested birth year removal -->

Agreement? Comments?
--William Allen Simpson (talk) 22:13, 6 March 2011 (UTC)

  • A related concern that some have is the death date blank entry, some find that offensive when the person has not died. Graeme Bartlett (talk) 21:32, 7 March 2011 (UTC)
  • This proposed change is too broad. The date-of-birth provision is specifically targeted to a concern about identity theft. I don't agree that a publicly available and verifiable year of birth should be deleted from an article in every case where the subject of the article might not like it. There might be good cause to do this in specific circumstances for a person of marginal public status, but it should not become a general practice applicable to biographies of public figures.--Arxiloxos (talk) 00:40, 7 March 2011 (UTC)
    Have you considered how this might damage the career of a woman in the entertainment industry? And how it becomes more important the more public the status?
    --William Allen Simpson (talk) 07:15, 7 March 2011 (UTC)
WP:NOTCENSORED - if a date is widely published then there is no reason to excluded the information. We are not concerned about peoples careers - we are here to simply regurgitate verifiable information. Now if the person in question is not all that notable y are we mentioning them to begin with --> Wikipedia:Biographies of living persons#Privacy of names. A spouse or a child does not need to named just accounted for. Moxy (talk) 07:31, 7 March 2011 (UTC)

Guideline on tagging

So I've seen an editor basically claim that editors have a policy-sanctioned right to spam large numbers of tags into an article during a dispute, and that the agreement of multiple editors that a given tag (say, {{Clean up}}) is unhelpful or inappropriate is completely irrelevant. This isn't a one-time thing: It appears to be standard operating procedure for the editor.

All complaints about the editor's behavior are countered with "WP:FOC, please".

I'm aware of several essays, like Wikipedia:Tagging pages for problems and Wikipedia:Tag bombing, but it appears that the editor believes tag bombing to be sanctioned by, or even required by, policy. Do we actually address template use in any official guideline or policy? WhatamIdoing (talk) 23:55, 4 March 2011 (UTC)

Only thing I can think of is wp:disruptive editing, which mentions cite tagging during a dispute as a form of disruptive editing. Yoenit (talk) 10:09, 5 March 2011 (UTC)
DE addresses this in the context of disruption, but I'm actually looking for a page that addresses tagging as a normal behavior. So far as I can tell, no such page exists, and all the "rules" are on the doc pages for the individual templates. WhatamIdoing (talk) 02:27, 6 March 2011 (UTC)
I'm not aware of a guideline or policy that covers tagging as a normal behaviour, but this is probably something that should be addressed somewhere. I went through this sort of thing first hand with an editor who followed me around tagging articles I edited. The typical responses I got were things such as WP:AGF, etc.

As far as "tag bombing" goes, Ronson (company) might also make for a good example of abuse of the multiple issues tag. Tag additions such as this [4] are generally seen as disruptive to the article itself. --Tothwolf (talk) 13:34, 6 March 2011 (UTC)

It's widespread that tags are weapons of warfare and POV pushing, and wikilawyering for such and other bad purposes. It's quite a general topic, and we must recognize that they are just the visible part of the policies / guidelines that the offenders are mis-using. North8000 (talk) 13:45, 6 March 2011 (UTC)
The Ronson tager is another example of one that has not indicated on the talk page which parts of the article seems have having issues, does he expect other editors to be psychic? I would say the it's the tag that need deleting. With a comment to the effect: Tag deleted – the parts of the text with supposed issues not listed on talk page. Delete every tag you come across where no attempt has been made on the talk page to explain what parts of the text seems to contravene guidelines. To do otherwise just encourages laziness and tag bombing.--Aspro (talk) 14:06, 6 March 2011 (UTC)
The best response to a tag depends on the tag. I'd feel pretty silly deleting {{unref}} from an article that names zero reliable sources, simply because it wasn't "explained" on the talk page. ({{POV}}, on the other hand, probably ought to be bot-deleted from any article whose talk page hasn't been edited for more than 30–60 days, since its instructions limit its use to articles at which actual efforts are being made to solve the problem.)
Also, in these situations, I suspect that removing tags would simply lead to edit warring.
But perhaps a guideline should be contemplated... Behavioral, do you suppose? It's not exactly a content issue. WhatamIdoing (talk) 22:48, 7 March 2011 (UTC)
I agree on unref. I'm the same way with others such as {{refimprove}} when it is obvious the article could really use some additional references or inline citations. I think this would tend to fall more within what would be best covered by a behavioural guideline.

From personal experience I can think of at least 4 different types of tagging behaviour that I've witnessed.

1. Well intentioned editors who tag for real issues which they don't know how or don't have time to fix. This could also include things like {{Wikify}}, {{Uncategorized}}, or other issues which the editor adding the tags feels are best left to other editors more familiar with a particular subject area. New page patrollers often do a lot of this type of tagging, the majority of which tends to be very beneficial.

2. Drive-by tagging for issues that the editor thinks exist, but which are difficult for other editors to identify. An example might be adding {{Cleanup}} or another "generic" cleanup template to an article without a reason or a wikilink to a talk page discussion. See also: Wikipedia:Requests for comment/new users#Drive-by tagging

3. Busy-body tagging by an editor trying to "look busy" for various reasons. This may include trying to bury or "hide" edits in their contribution history, inflating their edit count just for the sake of having a high edit count (or have more edits then editor "foo"), etc. These types of edits are often (but not always) made with some sort of automated or semi-automated script or tool. (Editors who engage in this behaviour often will make other types of busy-body edits using automated/semi-automated tools.)

4. Non-well intentioned editors attempting to use dispute templates and tags as "weapons" during a conflict. Tagging for NPOV while edit warring or when they don't like changes to an article, tagging for COI, non-existent issues, etc when they have a personal conflict with another editor, etc. This may also include adding bogus uw- warning templates to the talk pages of the editors they are in conflict with or even engaging in wikihounding or other harassment-type behaviours.

Can anyone think of any others that I may have missed? --Tothwolf (talk) 04:19, 8 March 2011 (UTC)

I just want to add that the fact that the VAST majority of cases are #1 and #2, but that does not excuse people who participate in #4. In other words, the fact that tags are a necessary and important part of Wikipedia does not mean that people get to use tags in bad faith to be WP:DICKs during content disputes. That being said, I don't think we need any further guidance on this beyond what is already covered in existing policies and guidelines, such as WP:POINT, WP:DE, WP:TE, and a host of other pages. There are an infinited and uncountable number of ways that someone can be obnoxious. We don't, however, need an infinite number of guideline pages to deal with these individually. If someone is being disruptive with tags, the existance of a guideline which tells them specifically not to be wouldn't magically make them a collegial and well-behaved editor. If someone is being disruptive, tell them to stop. If they don't, seek the help of others, including admins if necessary. --Jayron32 04:37, 8 March 2011 (UTC)

Template for new articles by new users

I recently got involved with a new editor (actually a professor for a class) who had some issues with an experienced editor deleting his class' contributions rather than improving them. This got me to thinking, while we have a number of template messages for experienced users to communicate with new users, I was aware of none that go in the opposite direction. I made this template (based partially on Template:New unreviewed article and Template:New page) that new editors can use to notify experienced editors of their newcomer status, and hopefully encourage constructive interactions between new and experienced editors:

The template's parameter makes a link directly to the creator's talk page. Please let me know what you think. If people think this is a good idea, I'm curious how we could notify new users about this template's existence, perhaps by including instructions in some of the common welcome messages. Antony–22 (talkcontribs) 01:27, 6 March 2011 (UTC)

It's true we don't have templates for new users to communicate with experienced editors, but I assume this is because new users don't know how to use templates. You might be interested in the existing template, Template:New unreviewed article, which is something similar. Intelligentsium 01:32, 6 March 2011 (UTC)
Hence the idea of potentially leaving instructions in the welcome templates, or we could even get a bot to place the message. It would also be useful for students creating articles, for example as part of the Public Policy Initiative. Template:New unreviewed article is a bit terse for me, and doesn't explicitly encourage constructive communications with new editors. Antony–22 (talkcontribs) 01:44, 6 March 2011 (UTC)

I think this is a good idea. Even where new users don't add it themselves, if it's used occasionally it will soon gain awareness among experienced editors (or that could be promoted), and some of those would probably add it in appropriate circumstances. I would also suggest emphasising "constructive" as "constructive". --Demiurge1000 (talk) 21:40, 8 March 2011 (UTC)

I didn't see any instructions in the doc page about where the template should be placed. My feeling, though, is that it should go on talk pages rather than articles, and that should be made clear in the documentation. (I realize, though, that that is not how {{New unreviewed article}} works.) rʨanaɢ (talk) 03:37, 9 March 2011 (UTC)

The key to a template like this being successful would be for it to be auto-inserted at the time of creation by the software itself. New users don't have the first clue about templates, after all... This flag would be both a "please don't trample the daisies" sign for experienced editors overlooking the page as well as something of a warning beacon that an article might require extra scrutiny. In short, I like the idea and the actual template here — it's just not gonna work unless the software installs it automatically, in my opiniion. Carrite (talk)

A reminder: "Meatpuppet" is an insult. Don't call anyone a meatpuppet.

At some point, our sock puppetry policy lost a sentence reminding people "don't call people 'meatpuppet' to their face". Anyone know why? Has consensus actually swerved to say it's okay to hurl derogatory terms at newbies on AfD, or (I hope) did someone just not notice that that line was important while editing?

Using the term "meatpuppet" to the people you are accusing of being meatpuppets is uncivil and nothing good ever comes of it. It is an insult and everyone knows it, and it seems like a desperate tactic for established Wikipedians to try to gain more influence over the discussion by shouting down their opposers. And the established Wikipedians already have all the influence, so the people who use this term out loud are gaining nothing. They're demonstrating that they're getting too emotionally involved in a debate once they go outside the rules of the debate and start simply insulting the other side.

Besides, it's rarely even accurate. Most people accused of being "meatpuppets" aren't doing anything related to the sock puppetry policy. They're just new users with the same opinion, not people recruited to post on behalf of one person.

This is one of the things that turned ugly really fast in the Old Man Murray debate, as a long-established admin was screaming "meatpuppet" at every new user that showed up. We don't need to pile on that admin any more, but can we try to put a line back in the policy (in case anyone ever reads it) reminding people not to use these kind of "fighting words" on AfD?

rspεεr (talk) 18:30, 8 March 2011 (UTC)

Why did you feel the need to say this to me or anyone else here? Dmcq (talk) 19:30, 8 March 2011 (UTC)
Excuse me if I missed the whole OMM situation but was it not a classic example of Meatpuppetry? i.e. lots of people on an external site saying "let's go sort them out over on WP"? FWIW, I always thought that WP:SOCK did say that, and if it does not perhaps asking on WT:SOCK might be a good idea, it quite possibly just got lost over time. --Errant (chat!) 19:43, 8 March 2011 (UTC)
ErrantX, I see "let's go sort them out over on WP" as a caricature of the situation. It reflects a "Wikipedia versus the Internet" mentality that accomplishes nothing. A number of people who read Wikipedia and care about its content showed up, because they heard about this dispute, which was highly publicized on many Web sites. If "meatpuppetry" means anything at all besides "being a noob", it should have more sinister implications: for example, someone telling their friends to show up and post in a Wikipedia dispute that they would otherwise have no stake in, in order to create the false appearance that more people share that opinion. When the people actually do have that opinion, then what use is the label "meatpuppet"? rspεεr (talk) 00:28, 9 March 2011 (UTC)
WP:SOCK does say, at WP:MEAT: "The term meatpuppet may be considered derogatory and should be used with care." Although there was some talk of changing the term to shill last October, that didn't happen. LeadSongDog come howl! 20:09, 8 March 2011 (UTC)
In an ideal world, the fact that it's derogatory would mean Wikipedians wouldn't say it, but in the real world I think it needs to be clearer. rspεεr (talk) 00:28, 9 March 2011 (UTC)
Dmcq: Nothing aimed at you in particular -- why would you think it was? I said it because I think that part of the sock puppetry policy has become more wishy-washy over time, and we need to re-add the more explicit sentence to the policy: "Do not call people 'meatpuppets' to their face". I intend to take it to WT:SOCK, but that kind of change has more legitimacy if it's brought up on a large forum as well. rspεεr (talk) 00:28, 9 March 2011 (UTC)

Proposal made at WT:SOCK. rspεεr (talk) 00:49, 9 March 2011 (UTC)

PC RFC reset

Just a note that Wikipedia:Pending changes/Request for Comment February 2011 has entered a second phase structured like an WP:RFC/U as opposed to the free-for-all it was before. The new format should allow for participation without requiring you to read 20,000 words on the subject first. Beeblebrox (talk) 21:42, 8 March 2011 (UTC)

Uniform Disambiguation page naming

Thusfar, we as a community have codified the following convention regarding links to Disambiguation pages

To link to a disambiguation to the title that includes the text "(disambiguation)", even if that's a redirect - WP:INTDABLINK

I will now suggest taking the idea behind this convention two steps further.

Step 1: uniform naming of Disambiguation pages

Make all disambiguation pages have the same naming format. Assuming step 2 is rejected, that would mean that all disambiguation pages would reside at the page with "(disambiguation)" at the end of its title. Ambiguous page titles would redirect to the "(disambiguation)" page, rather than the current practice of placing the dab page at that location.

Step 2: put Disambiguation pages in their own namespace

This idea has been alluded to in previous discussions, but never seriously discussed. I imagine the Disambiguation: namespace will be somewhat like the Portal: or Category: namespaces, but all the same dab rules and guidelines will still apply to Disambiguation pages. All dab pages will reside at "Disambiguation:Pagename", and ambiguous page titles, where in the past the dab page would reside, will instead redirect to this page.


Disambiguation pages are clearly distinct from the rest of article namespace. There should be an intuitive and uniform way to codify this difference.

Form of discussion

I'm creating the following sections in order to guide and aid discussion regarding these two steps. The "steps" don't actually have to be taken separately. If the community agrees to go through step 2, it could be enacted in one fell swoop. ...comments? ~BFizz 00:53, 7 March 2011 (UTC)

List of related previous discussions

Discussion of Step 1

Pros and cons of uniform Disambiguation page naming. Difficulties of implementing step 1. (use this section to discuss the general concept of uniform dab naming, without regard of the namespace idea)


  • I tentatively support the proposition that all disambiguation pages should be named "Foo (disambiguation)", and that if there is no primary topic, the "Foo" title should redirect to "Foo (disambiguation)". I am tentative because I think this will require a substantial amount of work to carry out, and I'd like to see a roadmap of how we are going to carry out such a change most effectively. bd2412 T 01:40, 7 March 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose Proposer has cited no benefits to doing this; it would be added maintenance burden to perform the moves; current practice nicely solves the issue of what to have at ambiguous titles. --Cybercobra (talk) 04:45, 7 March 2011 (UTC)
    The move process could be automated, couldn't it? ...comments? ~BFizz 06:01, 7 March 2011 (UTC)
    I added a short "reasoning" section above. ...comments? ~BFizz 06:05, 7 March 2011 (UTC)
  • I would oppose this. Besides the fact that no real reason is given for this proposal, this is basically just "wasting" a perfectly good title in cases where no article takes precedence over the others. Mr.Z-man 04:49, 7 March 2011 (UTC)
    Current policy is to always link to the "(disambiguation)" page. Isn't making that page a redirect a "waste" in the same way? ...comments? ~BFizz 06:01, 7 March 2011 (UTC)
    I'm not sure what you're talking about. Current practice is to make the main title – the title without any parentheticals – either the location of the primary topic (like as done with Detroit/Detroit (disambiguation)) or the location of the disambiguation page (like Toledo). The main title should never be a redirect. Mr.Z-man 15:54, 7 March 2011 (UTC)
    They're referring to WP:INTDABLINK. When the disambiguation page is at the base name, intentional links to it should use a redirect at the "(disambiguation)" name, to facilitate distinguishing them from the unintentional links that need to be fixed. (But if there are no intentional links, the redirect needn't exist, so the "waste" is smaller.)-- JHunterJ (talk) 16:21, 7 March 2011 (UTC)

I didn't ask for a vote, I asked for discussion. The clear benefit is standardization. All disambiguation pages would reside at a predictably-located name. Per the current practice, the title with "(disambiguation)" should always exist and always be linked to. It seems like a small, but logical, paradigm shift to also always locate the dab page at that place. ...comments? ~BFizz 05:55, 7 March 2011 (UTC)

The vote could be arising because you left out a step. "Step 0: Determine if there's a need to or net benefit of uniform disambiguation page naming." IMO, it's a foolish consistency, and the encyclopedia is better served by the current mechanisms of placing the disambiguation page at the base name when there's no primary topic (NPT). It provides a minor obstacle to primary-topic-change wars, and changing it would involve a lot of little otherwise pointless edits to the mass of NPT dab pages. -- JHunterJ (talk) 14:29, 7 March 2011 (UTC)
These are legitimate concerns. I have a few ideas about how to assuage them under the new guideline.
Regarding pointless mass edits: they could be performed by a bot, and would serve the dual purpose of letting everyone that follows a NPT dab page know about the guideline change.
One way to preserve the "minor obstacle to primary-topic-change wars" under the new policy would be to put edit protection on the NPT base name. Another way would be to have a bot watch such pages, and keep a log of which ones are being changed, so that interested Wikipedians could review the log and make sure the changes made are legitimate.
One benefit of the new policy's standardization is a clearer separation of intent. Determining whether there is a PT and determining the location and content of the dab become separate issues. However, note that in the general case I recommend policy for when there is a primary topic remain the same, meaning if someone wanted to make a particular page the proper PT, they would still have to request a page move.
Another benefit is it is more "noob-intuitive"; it is a typical case for the newcomer Wikipedian to see that dab pages are always linked to with the (disambiguation) text, so when he goes to create a dab page, he will locate it at the (disambiguation) title, whether the guideline suggests this or not. The new guideline would make the noob's intuition correct, rather than incorrect.
I agree that current policy has served us well. Step 0 is what I'm trying to do with this discussion: determine the ways this idea would serve us better/worse. I personally believe there is a net benefit to this. ...comments? ~BFizz 15:07, 7 March 2011 (UTC)
I gathered some quick stats about current disambig page titles, and the results were rather surprising. There are more disambig pages that are just a title than there are "title (disambiguation)" pages. There are currently around 160,000 pages with just a title, like Halifax, and only 31,000 "(disambiguation)" pages like Mail (disambiguation). So this proposal would be standardizing titles to what's currently the minority naming scheme. Mr.Z-man 20:53, 7 March 2011 (UTC)
Yes, that's correct. ...comments? ~BFizz 01:44, 8 March 2011 (UTC)
I know it's correct. But that calls into question the reasoning behind this. Why should we "standardize" something to what's currently the minority format? Mr.Z-man 16:55, 8 March 2011 (UTC)
Standardizing to the majority format is impossible without conflicting with "primary topic" policy. So if we standardize, it must be to the minority format. Then the real question becomes, "why standardize?" which I have attempted to address in my other various responses here. ...comments? ~BFizz 05:33, 10 March 2011 (UTC)
Or we could just say that having only 2 possible options with clear guidelines when to use them is standardized enough. Mr.Z-man 19:23, 10 March 2011 (UTC)
Yes, we could. I've attempted to explain why I think this change would be the better choice. Do you have any reason besides hesitation for sticking with the status quo? "It's good enough" is a weak argument for the status quo if the change is "better", and on top of that, very easy to automate. ...comments? ~BFizz 19:43, 10 March 2011 (UTC)
I just don't think it is better. You're arguing that it's better, you haven't conclusively proven it. Is there really an issue with new users creating disambig pages in the wrong location, or is this just a theoretical benefit? You say things like "redirects are cheap" and that it's "easy to automate." But not only is "cheap" not the same as "free", but what you're proposing includes more than redirects, it's pagemoves, possibly deletions if there's a conflict, and possibly protection to enforce it, the latter two are not cheap. It may be easy to automate, but it does still require someone to program it. "Easy" may mean that it only takes a few hours instead of a few days. If it does require deletion or protection abilities, it will need to be run by an admin and put through more stringent testing and review. And of course, before we get to the stage of writing and reviewing the bot, this will likely require a lot more discussion than is currently here. The implementation costs, while low, are not quite as low as you're making them out to be. Mr.Z-man 23:36, 10 March 2011 (UTC)
I apologize. I feel that the lasting benefit of a more intuitive policy far outweighs its implementation cost, so when speaking only of the cost it is tempting to downplay it. This is the main benefit that I see: when one asks "where should this dab page be located", the current guideline says "well, usually at the ambiguous term's base page, unless there's a primary topic." The proposed guideline would say "at the (disambiguation) title", a much simpler and stronger answer. The proposed guideline causes a decoupling of "dab page location" and "primary topic" guidelines, which are currently intertwined. If you don't see this as a benefit, that's fine. I can respect that. ...comments? ~BFizz 00:14, 11 March 2011 (UTC)
As somebody who would like to have a database supporting infoboxs a radical revamp of the template system and cross language working - I still can't raise any enthusiasm for this bit of standardization. So I very much doubt it will raise even a blip of support from editors in general. Dmcq (talk) 21:53, 7 March 2011 (UTC)
This prophecy has thusfar proven itself to be accurate. Sigh. ...comments? ~BFizz 00:18, 11 March 2011 (UTC)
This seems like pointless makework. And a disambiguation namespace seems to be missing the point entirely - how would anyone find it? We'd have to specifically add cross-namespace redirects to it, it would be utterly redundant. This is a discussion and solution looking for a problem. Fences&Windows 23:02, 7 March 2011 (UTC)
You are correct. I'm not trying to "solve" a "problem". I'm trying to take something good and make it better. I see disambiguation pages as distinct from article space, and I think Wikipedia would be well served to split them into their own namespace. Yes, there would be a lot of cross-namespace redirects. But how is that a bad thing? To the namespace idea, you say "how would anyone find it?" I counter with this question, how do we find disambiguation pages, unless they have the dab template on them? I could just as easily cite the placement of the {{dab}} template as "unnecessary" as you could cite the cross-namespace redirects are. ...comments? ~BFizz 01:44, 8 March 2011 (UTC)

Possible roadmap of carrying out step 1

Should we choose to carry out step 1...(a similar approach could be used should we choose to also carry out step 2)

  1. Ammend WP:DAB with new policy
  2. Get a bot approved to
    1. identify "(disambiguation)" pages that are redirects
    2. identify the base name they redirect to (if such is the case)
    3. move each page at the base name to the "(disambiguation)" name
  3. Spot check the bot's contribs, make sure it does its job correctly
  4. [possible] continue to run the bot every so often
    1. [possible] modify the bot to be semi-autonomous
    2. [possible] or modify the bot to only keep a log rather than performing the moves itself

Any gaping holes in this plan? Can bots be given the privileges necessary to perform these moves? Should we make sure the Bot Approvals Group says the technical details are OK before we proceed with this discussion? ...comments? ~BFizz 06:25, 7 March 2011 (UTC)

I hopped on the BAG irc channel. They said a bot could easily perform the moves, it would just need admin status. The only issue, then, is consensus that performing the moves is a Good Idea. ...comments? ~BFizz 06:54, 7 March 2011 (UTC)
Roadmap step 0, don't do it because it is a bad idea. SchmuckyTheCat (talk)
Care to explain why you feel it's a bad idea? ...comments? ~BFizz 01:33, 8 March 2011 (UTC)

Few have taken the time to engage in actual conversation about this idea beyond a drive-by oppose. what? Consensus per lack of trolling? Take it to an rfc? ...comments? ~BFizz 05:38, 10 March 2011 (UTC)

There is not enough support for an RfC. The discussion could continue, but it does not look like a viable proposal. Graeme Bartlett (talk) 06:15, 10 March 2011 (UTC)
Alas, intelligent discussion on why it is not a viable proposal has yet to arise. Some concerns were raised, and I attempted to satisfy them. Now...silence. ...comments? ~BFizz 19:47, 10 March 2011 (UTC)

Discussion of Step 2

Pros and cons of creating a Disambiguation: namespace. (Discuss any pros/cons regarding the general concept of uniform dab naming in the previous section; reserve this section specifically for discussion of namespacing issues)


  • I am dubious about the need for a new namespace. bd2412 T 02:01, 7 March 2011 (UTC)
    I could imagine the same reaction to proposing the Portal: or Category: namespaces. It doesn't have to be a full-fledged namespace, though; it could be a pseudo-namespace. I can't say there is a need, but I can say that I think it would be beneficial. Putting dabs in their own (real, not pseudo) namespace would allow us to uniformly apply a different stylesheet to them, to further distinguish a dab page from article space. ...comments? ~BFizz 06:09, 7 March 2011 (UTC)
  • A different Disambiguation: name space would cause confusion and make things harder to find. There would be no meaningful links created to it. The current mechanism is better, links may actually want the ambiguous term, or a normal article may need to be disambiguated later as more article appear. Graeme Bartlett (talk) 21:27, 7 March 2011 (UTC)
    I don't understand how using Disambiguation: at the beginning of the title is any more difficult than using (disambiguation) at the end. In the event where a normal article may need to be disambiguated later, if there is no primary topic, the base title could simply redirect to the Disambiguation: page. I don't understand why you say the new namespace idea would "cause confusion and make things harder to find". ...comments? ~BFizz 01:31, 8 March 2011 (UTC)
  • I cannot begin to imagine how you think this would work. This came straight out of the Wikipedia:Bad Idea Machine. It would disrupt people finding and using disambiguation pages. Fences&Windows 23:07, 7 March 2011 (UTC)
    Redirects are cheap. ...comments? ~BFizz 01:47, 8 March 2011 (UTC)

citing the lyrics of a song

As I understand it, the lyrics of a song don't need citing. A song is a published work, so the cite would be a cite.. to the song itself. I know this is used for the plot of a film or TV show here on Wikipedia, but I can't find the policy/guideline that discusses this.

Absent this, what's the preferred citation style for a work of music? tedder (talk) 00:12, 11 March 2011 (UTC)

The exemption is usually applied to articles that are actually about the book, film, etc., on the grounds that readers should be able to figure out the bibliographic information from the article.
The citation style naturally depends on the style you're using in the rest of the article. If you're using Chicago (preferred by historians, and thus seems appropriate to an article about a place), then this web page probably has your answer. WhatamIdoing (talk) 00:28, 11 March 2011 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Wikipedia is not omniscient has been marked as a policy

Wikipedia:Wikipedia is not omniscient (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, 11 March 2011 (UTC)

Well I'd certainly disagree with that. Perhaps we should a face-off to decide beteen the Wikipedia editors and IBM's Watson. When an encyclopaedia salesman came to the door to try and sell my mother a set he asked "so how do you find out something if you don't know about it?". "I ask my husband" she answered. "But what if he doesn't know?" he persisted. "But he knows everything" she answered. Exit the salesman. ;-) Dmcq (talk) 11:42, 11 March 2011 (UTC)
This was clearly just a test edit. The page does not even describe well the idea of the title. Which is a moot point anyway: no media, organization or institution in the world is "omniscient". There is no Big Brother watching us, least of all Wikipedia MBelgrano (talk) 12:24, 11 March 2011 (UTC)

Long page

Please look at WP:VPT#32K. Simply south...... 00:33, 12 March 2011 (UTC)

BLP, ethnicity, gender

Resolve arguments about differences between guidelines. Add "ethnicity, gender," to BLP, matching all other guidelines.
--William Allen Simpson (talk) 01:47, 7 March 2011 (UTC)

To avoid repeating myself ad infinitum:

  • All categorization is required to be both notable and relevant.
  • Certain quibblers have noted that ethnicity and gender are not specifically listed in WP:BLP.
  • WP:BLP is a "policy", while Wikipedia:Categorization, Wikipedia:Categorization of people (WP:COP), Wikipedia:Category names, WP:EGRS, and Wikipedia:Overcategorization (especially WP:OC#EGRS) are "guidelines".
  • Certain quibblers argue that policy trumps guidelines for these special cases.
  • Thus, (non-notable or irrelevant) ethnicity and gender might be allowed for living people, but removed for the dead, undead, or incorporeal.
  • This is difficult to enforce or implement (and was certainly never the intent of the policy).

Category names do not carry disclaimers or modifiers, so the case for each category must be made clear by the article text and its reliable sources. Categories regarding ethnicity, gender, religious beliefs, and sexual orientation should not be used unless the subject has publicly self-identified with the information in question; and this information is relevant to their notable activities or public life, according to reliable published sources.
These principles apply equally to lists, navigation templates, and/or {{infobox}} statements that are based on ethnicity, gender, religious beliefs, sexual orientation, or suggest that persons have a poor reputation.

Please visit the Talk section above to certify the slight wording change.
--William Allen Simpson (talk) 14:46, 7 March 2011 (UTC)

"All categorization is required to be both notable and relevant." Relevant is a no-brainer, but I don't know what you mean by "notable" in the context of categories. postdlf (talk) 15:01, 7 March 2011 (UTC)
Why is relevance a no-brainer? Even for Marlyn Monroe I see no point in specially pointing out she was a woman. Dmcq (talk) 15:28, 7 March 2011 (UTC)
She was? Collect (talk) 15:29, 7 March 2011 (UTC)
I meant that it isn't necessary to explain why a category should be relevant to the article it is categorizing. postdlf (talk) 15:34, 7 March 2011 (UTC)
Hmm... Does this mean that we oughtn't have Category:Queens and Category:Kings and such? Those certainly categorize by gender, and if the reigning monarch has the same powers regardless of gender, then you could argue that categorizing by gender was neither notable nor relevant. WhatamIdoing (talk) 22:55, 7 March 2011 (UTC)
I'd have no objection to just having a unified category including both. However I'd see doing work to achieve that as being a bit over politically correct, and there's no need for it as that's normally part of their title. Dmcq (talk) 23:51, 7 March 2011 (UTC)
I still don't know what it's supposed to mean that "categorizing" is or isn't notable. postdlf (talk) 23:54, 7 March 2011 (UTC)
The same thing as notability anywhere else in Wikipedia is my reading. Does it often contribute to the notability of the people described by it? Wikipedia isn't quite so stringent in its categories and often just uses categories as a search aid. That's not necessary I think as we have good search tools. Dmcq (talk) 00:11, 8 March 2011 (UTC)
If that's what is meant, then it's not true to say that "categorization is required to be...notable." That's simply not the standard, not as reflected in actual category practice, not as reflected at WP:CFD, and not as reflected in relevant guidelines such as WP:CAT and WP:OCAT. postdlf (talk) 00:20, 8 March 2011 (UTC)
Could you give a couple of examples to illustrate the problem please? Dmcq (talk) 11:02, 8 March 2011 (UTC)
People are always notable for being a U.S. president. They are sometimes notable because they are a New York lawyer. They are never notable because they were born in 1920, or because they went to Harvard. Nor is a building ever notable just because it was completed in 1931 or even just because it was made in the Art Deco style, nor is a controversy notable because of the year in which it occurred. Yet these are all valid consensus-supported categories. WP:CAT and WP:OCAT focus on "defining" facts, and that's in most circumstances the standard that holds sway at CFD, and really what the overwhelming majority of categories are based on. So I'm having a hard time figuring out why anyone would think categories are limited to only the facts that cause subjects to be notable (however that might be determined). postdlf (talk) 13:17, 8 March 2011 (UTC)
Well those categories definitely fail any sort of notability. They are just there to catalogue entries as an alternative to using search. Dmcq (talk) 13:32, 8 March 2011 (UTC)
Just like all other categories. Ntsimp (talk) 16:17, 8 March 2011 (UTC)
They're supposed to satisfy some notability criteria but are actually often being used as a broken sort of search aid for searches that few people actually do.. What should really happen is that Wikipedia should support something like an inverted index based on infoboxes so people could put in queries like 'bridge built between 1930 and 1939' and get articles with that information in the infobox before everything else. As it is Google is starting to get intelligent enough to actually determine if an article is mainly about a bridge or if that is just an also mentioned. Dmcq (talk) 17:36, 8 March 2011 (UTC)
Categories have nothing to do with notability. They categorise articles. Where did that bizarre idea come from? Why are you arguing it as though it is established policy? Fences&Windows 01:41, 9 March 2011 (UTC)
Oh man, I see now that our guidelines do mention "notability" as though it has some meaningful connection to categories, when on Wikipedia it is a specific term of art referring to article inclusion. How did we let such loose wording get included? See my edit to Wikipedia:Overcategorization and comment at Wikipedia talk:Categorization/Ethnicity, gender, religion and sexuality. A requirement for categories to be "notable" for each article is very wrong-headed, that would require multiple, independent reliable sources talking about that categorisation. We're using the wrong word and the wrong shortcut simply because it already exists - but WP:N is about articles, not categories. We need to stop talking about categories being "notable". Fences&Windows 02:12, 9 March 2011 (UTC)
So if there is no requirement that a category be 'notable', it's ok to create one for left-handed vegetarian British males aged 50-55 who have a BSc and create pointless categories for Wikipedia? Or are you suggesting that the 'category' should be notable, but 'membership' of it need not be? I thought (perhaps wrongly) that a criteria for inclusion of anything in an article was relevance... AndyTheGrump (talk) 02:27, 9 March 2011 (UTC)
...because if the standard isn't "notability," there is no standard? Is that what you're implying? Your hypothetical category wouldn't survive a second at CFD because it's a trivial and irrelevant septuple intersection; there's no need to apply a "notability" analysis, whatever the hell that would even mean for categories. WP:CAT and WP:OCAT (and nearly all CFDs) talk about "defining" facts, i.e., those which are most significant to subjects and most likely to be useful in identifying and grouping/indexing them. This is always a question of relevance to the subject matter: building, person, government agency, animal species, etc. In practice, the category inclusion standard is more stringent than the standard for merely including a fact in an article, but less stringent than facts that merit their own article, and categories are subdivided by whatever divisions editors consider useful, e.g., by nationality, location, year, century, whatever. CFD has managed quite well to police nonsensically trivial categories without requiring them to be "notable." We have multiple articles on notable Estonian people who are record producers; should we nevertheless delete Category:Estonian record producers because there are not multiple reliable sources discussing "Estonian record producers" as a group? Nonsense. If anything, the complaints about the CFD process at DRV and elsewhere have not been that too many categories are kept when they should be deleted, but that too many categories are deleted when they should be kept. postdlf (talk) 18:04, 9 March 2011 (UTC)

FYI the main talk is not here - its at WT:BLP#Include "ethnicity, gender," to match all other guidelines.Moxy (talk) 00:35, 9 March 2011 (UTC)

Thanks, Moxy. A reminder to all here, we're on the 6th day. Traditionally, these polls go for 7, unless there's no obvious consensus, when we go for an additional 7 days.
--William Allen Simpson (talk) 16:22, 12 March 2011 (UTC)


For referencing, should we use transparent urls for webcite, or the short id?Smallman12q (talk) 01:20, 9 March 2011 (UTC)

I found the smaller ones tend not to work as well.Jinnai 11:55, 10 March 2011 (UTC)
If used as |archiveurl= accompanying |url=, then the short one could suffice. If corrupted, the full url can still be used in a manual search query at Webcitation. However, if the full url has gone dead and has been removed and replaced by the archiveurl, then the short id is very vulnerable to subtle vandalism that might go undetected a long time. Hence I'd recommend staying with the transparent url. There's no real penalty to doing so.LeadSongDog come howl! 19:45, 10 March 2011 (UTC)
Should this be added to the WP:MOS? Are transparent urls mandatory for FAs?Smallman12q (talk) 01:11, 11 March 2011 (UTC)
It's not relevant to wp:MOS, which governs the rendered page, not the wikitext behind it. wp:FA? invokes wp:Citing sources and in turn wp:Citing sources/Further_considerations#Pre-emptive_archiving, ultimately leading to wp:Using WebCite. Nothing in that chain mandates a specific (or indeed any) way of preventing linkrot, and that is a deliberate and wise choice. Still, I would recommend using them, as discussed above. Particularly for large articles with extensive citation it can become difficult to keep track of their changes over time. LeadSongDog come howl! 21:40, 11 March 2011 (UTC)
If you are going to use the long form it should look like the following URL.
Even so you may end up seeing a failed archive. It is not a big problem but you should be aware of it. – Allen4names 08:13, 12 March 2011 (UTC)

Five RfCs to increase new user participation

A series of 5 RfCs were drafted early during the Wiki guides project. These RfCs are designed to generate new active contributors to help fulfill the Wikimedia Foundation's goal of increased participation. The need for new users is an important part of the future of Wikipedia as can be seen at the recent update from the Wikimedia Foundation. The five RfCs are listed below.

  1. Allow IP editors to create articles
  2. Change CSD to userspace drafts
  3. Minimize talk page templates
  4. Allow socializing
  5. Welcome new users

Everybody is encouraged to comment on them. Thanks. - Hydroxonium (talk) 15:05, 12 March 2011 (UTC)

Policy towards shared IPs

Is there currently any kind of policy/guideline/similar towards shared IP addresses? I ask because I noticed that I automatically placed two warnings on User talk: via STiki. There are already quite a few warnings there, but the IP has also made some good contributions, presumably when someone else has been sitting at the computer.

Yaris678 (talk) 17:19, 12 March 2011 (UTC)

The complexity is that it isn't just "the computer". For example, with dynamically assigned IP's by an ISP, a single IP might be potentially be used by thousands of different people/computers across an entire city. North8000 (talk) 23:43, 12 March 2011 (UTC)
Yeah, I can see that might make it more complicated, but going back to my question, is there currently any kind of policy/guideline/similar towards shared IP addresses? Yaris678 (talk) 15:09, 14 March 2011 (UTC)
Yeah, people that access the internet via shared IP addresses are not assumed to be vandals. See WP:AGF. There are some types of open proxies that are banned on sight (see WP:OP) but in general, people are allowed to make positive contributions to Wikipedia via a shared IP address and go unmolested when they do so. Most people wouldn't even know the status of the IP address they are using to access the internet anyways. Good edits are allowed, and when a person becomes a problem, the person is stopped in the manner which stops them without preventing good editors from editing, as best as we can. --Jayron32 05:55, 15 March 2011 (UTC)

NSFW images and serving the reader

I have been an avid user of Wikipedia for years and am a big fan of the project and a supporter of its goals. However, in my mind, the biggest issue with Wikipedia is one common to open-source projects with no profit motive: The content creators create what they want rather than what the "customer" wants. This is evident, for example, when people write articles on scientific topics that are incomprehensible to people not already familiar with the subject matter.

Another example of this, and one I've been reminded of today, is the attitude many Wikipedia people have toward content readers might not want to see, such as NSFW content.

Someone on the reference desk asked a question about the nudity taboo in society. Eager to answer the question, I typed "nudity taboo" into Google and got back a link to the Wikipedia "Nudity" page. Unsurprisingly (to me, as a regular Wikipedia user), the nudity article has a picture of a bunch of naked people on the top and more naked people throughout.

Now I am not offended by this. And no, I don't support "censorship" if by censorship you mean an outright ban on pictures of body parts in Wikipedia. However, I also live in the real world, in which people can get in trouble, whether at work or school or whatever, for having a computer screen with naked people on it. Also, I recognize that some people may be interested in the text of the nudity article without wanting to look at the pictures of naked people.

There ought to be a way for people who want to see the text, and possibly the SFW images, in an article on topics like nudity or pornography or whatever, to do so without having the NSFW images show up. Now I understand there is a way to mess with user preferences to have all images removed from Wikipedia browsing, but few readers are going to know how to do that, and people shouldn't have to remove all images from Wikipedia if they want to omit the images from a single article. Also, the user might not be aware that a given article would even have NSFW content before navigating to it.

To date, the prevailing opinion among Wikipedia editors has been that readers should not have a real choice when it comes to NSFW images or other content they might not want to see in an article they are otherwise interested in. There should be no warnings, no collapsable boxes, nothing to allow readers to make their own decisions about what they want to see. That to me, is an attitude along the lines of, "We're going to do what we want, no matter what you, the reader, might want, and if it gets you in trouble, screw you, we don't care, don't use Wikipedia at all then. We have a 'Disclaimers' link at the bottom of the page, so we're wiping our hands of this matter."

I think we need to establish somewhere that Wikipedia exists to serve its readers, and that as a corollary, readers should be able to choose for themselves whether to see content that many of them might not want to see. There are several ways this could be accomplished technically, such as providing a link at the top of the page to an image-free version of it, or by putting NSFW content in collapsable boxes that default to a closed state. Yes, I know there would be arguments about what content would be subject to such treatment, but the alternative of doing nothing is like sticking up a middle finger to the world. -- Mwalcoff (talk) 00:55, 13 March 2011 (UTC)

Comes down to the simple answer: What is acceptable for one user may not be acceptable to another user. We cannot set a line for anything like NSFW because someone will always be offended what's on the other side of that line.
That said, a recent change to WP:IUP asks that people don't add images that would fall in that style just to draw attention to the article, using common sense to know when there's a problem. --MASEM (t) 01:04, 13 March 2011 (UTC)
The ability to allow users to voluntarily censor our images is already being worked on (see last paragraph of 1st subsection). See also what prompted this work. --Cybercobra (talk) 01:08, 13 March 2011 (UTC)
All the images are really pretty tame (except for perhaps the couple in bed one...I'd probably take it out, myself), and are reletively small. Not I'm not going to dictate about what people should or should not be doing, but to me it seems that anyone who'd go to a "nudity" article and not expects pictures of naked people shouldn't be smart enough to comprehend the article in the first place. I can't really, either, imagine someone getting in trouble for those images alone -- that is, because they happened to be viewing small pictures of casual nudity....on Wikipedia, as opposed to getting in trouble for being at Wikipedia (or whatever else) in the first place. But maybe I'm way off. ♫ Melodia Chaconne ♫ (talk) 01:17, 13 March 2011 (UTC)
We had a sexual harrassment seminar at a former employer of mine (in North America), and the teacher put up on the overhead projector the definition of NSFW from, which I believe is where the acronym "NSFW" originiated. He said basically, if you don't want to get in trouble, don't have NSFW stuff around. It's not a company rule, but basically, some people can get offended when they see pictures of naked people, or off-color jokes, or whatever, in America. And that can lead to problems. Maybe our society shouldn't have that taboo, but the fact is, it does, and people can get in trouble if they have naked people on their computer screen. If I'm a high school social studies teacher or something, and I want to look up something about taboos in preparing a lesson plan, I should be able to go to the appropriate Wikipedia page to read the text without having to worry about getting fired. -- Mwalcoff (talk) 01:35, 13 March 2011 (UTC)
That would be something to take up with your school. Wikipedia is used in a variety of settings, and we don't censor based on what one group prefers. That said, it sounds like you're using the computers for non-work related purposes, so you shouldn't be on here anyway. ;) — The Hand That Feeds You:Bite 18:55, 14 March 2011 (UTC)
There is an ongoing discussion on adding content control features; see meta:2010 Wikimedia Study of Controversial Content: Part Two, especially the section User-Controlled Viewing Options. ---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 19:13, 14 March 2011 (UTC)

Inconsistency in article titles: People vs. the places named after them

It appears that Wikipedia naming conventions, and in particular WP:RUS, produce the following inconsistencies in article titles (there are likely several others):

In all cases, the place is named after the person, and the Russian spellings are the same. The different spellings in our article titles stem from the fact that the person has an established non-standard transliteration of the Russian name, but the place is too small to have many English-sources write about it (and in particular it doesn't appear in any major English dictionary), and hence default romanization must be used per WP:RUS.

So, my question is: Are others okay with this situation? Is this a problem that should be fixed? Or does it not really matter? Thanks, Mlm42 (talk) 01:35, 11 March 2011 (UTC)

ps - there is currently a move request because of this at Talk:Korolyov (city), if anyone has an opinion Mlm42 (talk) 01:35, 11 March 2011 (UTC)
Looking at Korolyov, this appears to suggest that WP:RUS is at odds with WP:COMMONNAME as the majority of english RS.refer to the town as Korolev 500+ books, whilst the only dictionary I can see mention it (The OED - and it appears it is a mention and not an entry for the city) as well as around 100 books use Korolyov. I would suggest that WP:RUS may need changed to prefer the rather than the true name. Stuart.Jamieson (talk) 06:02, 11 March 2011 (UTC)
Actually, WP:RUS is not at odds with WP:COMMONNAME at all. The applicable section of WP:COMMONNAME is WP:UE, which delegates the matters of romanization to WP:Romanization, which in turn establishes WP:RUS as the guideline that needs to be used when it comes to issues of romanization of Russian. The hits you are seeing in books indicate only the preference for another method of transliteration, not that the alternative spelling is a true conventional name in English. A vast majority of places in Russia does not have conventional names, so transliteration is used instead. The method of transliteration used to deal with place names in Russia is BGN/PCGN romanization of Russian, and that's what our WP:RUS guideline is based on. The practice is thus in full accordance with what WP:COMMONNAME tells us to do.
Regarding Mlm42's request, please consider the fact that the names of the people after whom the places are named are also romanized (and also per WP:RUS conventions). For each and every Russian name, at least half a dozen different transliterations can be observed in real world, none of which would be "wrong". This makes the very premise of the proposal flawed.—Ëzhiki (Igels Hérissonovich Ïzhakoff-Amursky) • (yo?); March 11, 2011; 20:22 (UTC)
WP:UE only delegates if there are too few sources - So WP:RUS should likewise delegate upwards to WP:Commonname to establish common name based on reliable English sources before focusing on the subset of sources that are dictionaries. The fact that 500 sources prefer one translation and 100 sources the other is not too few to identify which is more common - and clearly only WP:Rus and not WP:commonname has been followed here. I haven't checked other Romanization guidelines but if this lack of identification of common usage is systemic then it's something that needs to be addressed. Stuart.Jamieson (talk) 20:53, 11 March 2011 (UTC)
A bulk of 100 or even 500 unrefined hits qualifies as "too few sources" for establishing a "common name" in my book (WP:COMMONNAME itself draws the line at ~700-1000, with usual caveats on top), but even that is beyond the point. WP:UE delegates because it recognizes that when it comes to Anglicization, different languages would have different quirks, which are best addressed by language-specific guidelines, not on the overview level. WP:RUS takes into consideration the practices of romanization of Russian which target the Anglophones, and the general criteria of WP:COMMONNAME are addressed with WP:RUS's conventionality clauses, which take into consideration the issues specific to the problem at hand (something a generic guideline cannot possibly do). For toponyms, well-defined industry standards of romanization exist, and those standards are what WP:RUS is built on. It is all very well integrated and thought out, as a matter of fact. At any rate, it'd be nice if someone with more experience with romanization could offer insight on the merits of this guideline in general, and on Mlm42's original proposal in particular.—Ëzhiki (Igels Hérissonovich Ïzhakoff-Amursky) • (yo?); March 11, 2011; 22:05 (UTC)
I should point out that I didn't make a proposal. I was just asking for opinions - including opinions from people who aren't familiar with the romanization guidelines. Mlm42 (talk) 22:55, 11 March 2011 (UTC)
Those hits are refined, they had to be because the bias of the man versus the city would lead to an incorrect result. Unfortunately the connection between the two is so close that this refining has probably missed out a lot of hits that should have been included and equally included some hits about the man as well. Unrefined its around 6K hits for Korolyov and 78K hits for Korolev, Clearly something is amiss here where two items both of which should be the same - have different Anglicizations. Even when policy is clear that the names should be the same because they are both the most commonly used English names on the basis of reliable English sources. You claim that "the general criteria of WP:COMMONNAME are addressed with WP:RUS's conventionality clauses", but the problem is that those clauses look for commonality only for a subset of all reliable sources - specifically it identifies only dictionaries as the only reliable sources for this purpose. In reality for many places particularly of this size we need to consider a wider array of sources with Tour Guides and official documents being of higher reliability than simply dictionaries. I may not be an expert in Romanization but I do know that reducing your sample size will cause significant aliasing of the results; as seems to have happened in this case (and I would think the other examples given by Mlm42 as well) Stuart.Jamieson (talk) 23:13, 11 March 2011 (UTC)
Yes, the WP:RUS conventionality clause look only for a subset of all reliable sources, but that's by design. If googling up a name and picking the one with most hits (even after "refinement") would have been enough, we wouldn't be needing romanization guidelines at all (nor would be have WP:SET to caution the fans of this approach)! The purpose of a romanization guideline is to account for typical language- and area of knowledge-specific complications, do it with more general guidelines in mind, and to advise the best course of action. With Korolyov/Korolev the complications are numerous and specific only to transliteration of Russian, and WP:RUS takes care exactly of that. Only a person unfamiliar with the problems associated with the romanization of Russian would equal "most google hits" (regardless of how well-refined) to "common English usage". There is a dozen romanization systems of Russian (some with multiple variations), the romanization practices (and the choice of the system) vary from one field of knowledge to another, and there are endless complications caused by use/non-use of the letter yo (which in this case significantly skews the number of hits in favor of the "-ev" spelling) . A high-level guideline such as WP:COMMONNAME cannot possibly to account for all these (and languages other than Russian will all have quirks of their own), which is why the task of romanization is delegated to sub-guidelines, which are written and used by the people who are actually familiar with what's going on and why. I don't mean to bash Stuart, who was kind enough to volunteer his time to comment, but shouldn't familiarity with the problem be a must when seeking a solution?—Ëzhiki (Igels Hérissonovich Ïzhakoff-Amursky) • (yo?); March 14, 2011; 17:33 (UTC)
The Problem is that Article names need to represent the name that is most helpful to English Speakers to find the information they need on these places - not that which is most helpful to Russian speakers who know what form of Romanisation should occur in a situation like this. Specifically Article titles need to abide by the rule of recognizability and an important aspect of this is the use of names most frequently used by English-language reliable sources to refer to the subject - not the most accurate transliteration of Russian-language reliable sources. Google hits give a good indicator of the frequency of usage in English-language reliable sources much as you would like to deny that they do. It's also an important rule that they have consistency - which is essentially the argument that Mlm42 has made and you also disagree with. Stuart.Jamieson (talk) 20:06, 14 March 2011 (UTC)
Just for the sake of consistency, refined results for the other two towns show Tolyatti 444 books, Togliatti 875 books. Tchaikovsky 1,520 books, Chaykovsky 26 books. Stuart.Jamieson (talk) 20:35, 14 March 2011 (UTC)
And what may I ask makes you say that WP:RUS was developed with the Russian speakers in mind?! The guideline refers editors to the English dictionaries, and, when that fails, advises them to use the romanization system developed jointly by the agencies of two major English-speaking countries (United States Board on Geographic Names and Permanent Committee on Geographical Names for British Official Use), which are the prevailing standard in the English-speaking world, and on which WP:RUS is built. WP:RUS does not care about the Russian speakers one bit; just the way it should be. All it cares about is how the Anglophones solve this problem. Note also that it explicitly includes a clause saying that "selecting the most frequently used variant based on a search engine test is not acceptable". Why? Because search engine tests do not work for anything important in general, and they do a particularly lousy job when it comes to romanization of Russian. Our guidelines reflect exactly that. If you don't like the approach, if you don't think it works, if you can show that in real world the romanization is handled in a completely different way, by all means do submit an RfC, but please don't just hand-pick a random article and keep bashing it until it breaks. People's names, yes, those we need to research individually, because no established standard of dealing with them exists. With place names, a very well-established standard exists, and suggesting that we should scrap it and count random google hits instead is hardly a sensible proposal.—Ëzhiki (Igels Hérissonovich Ïzhakoff-Amursky) • (yo?); March 16, 2011; 14:39 (UTC)
P.S. Do you think this is "recognizable" enough to English-speakers? How about this? Shouldn't we write a letter to Britannica explaining the magic of google hits and how vastly it is superior to some silly industry standards they appear to be using?—Ëzhiki (Igels Hérissonovich Ïzhakoff-Amursky) • (yo?); March 16, 2011; 14:56 (UTC)
You mention that our Romanisation guideline matches that of the United States Board on Geographic Names and PCGN but even they favour Korolev over Korolyov page C7, [5]. So why is our Romanisation policy failing here? I'm not an expert in romanisation but our policy here is clearly ignoring a name that is both common and official for use in English Language sources.

Your Britanica example is a clear reason why we defer to a consensus of sources not a single source. Britanica is erratic in it's use of the names sometimes preferring one form [6] and other cases preferring the other (it does this for Sergei as well.) *You* and yes I emphasise the fact that you wrote this guideline and have been applying it without thought to the fact that it should be considered only as part of our wider Naming Policy and at that one that should only be referred to if English language sources are not available. Stuart.Jamieson (talk) 16:11, 16 March 2011 (UTC)

WP:DUCK used in a way that contradicts WP:SYNTH

It seems like people are using WP:DUCK en mass to justify article naming that contradicts what most the sources are saying and are in the process using info from multiple sources to come to come to their own conclusions in violation of WP:SYNTH. See: Talk:2011_Libyan_uprising#Civil_War.3F for what I mean. It is my understanding that WP:DUCK is supposed to be about user conduct just like WP:SPADE (though it can't be taken out of context as racist like spade can), yet the 'essay' is very ambiguous, and that ambiguity seems to leave it open for use as an excuse to do WP:OR in one's editing. Sir William Matthew Flinders Petrie, AKA TheArchaeologist Say Herro 15:06, 14 March 2011 (UTC)

DUCK is meant to be applied to the behind-the-scenes stuff with WP: dealing with users, dealing with questionable sources, etc. But you are absolutely right that DUCK should not be applied to extrapolating things in mainspace - even if the event for all purposes looks like a civil war but no reliable source has called it such, it is completely inappropriate for WPians to be making that leap of logic. --MASEM (t) 15:12, 14 March 2011 (UTC)
And yet they do. =p You quote them WP:SYNTH and WP:COMMONNAME ad nauseum, but many only seem to be paying attention to WP:DUCK. Like I said, I think that the Duck article really needs to make that clear and probably also say that it shouldn't be used in editing lest one violate WP:SYNTH or the rest of WP:OR. For the record, I think it's a civil war, but I want to obey the three main rules (the other ones, meh!) Sir William Matthew Flinders Petrie, AKA TheArchaeologist Say Herro 15:23, 14 March 2011 (UTC) Edit: Missed the last bit, some sources have called it that, but the lion's share still call it an uprising. Some people explain that by saying that is b/c the media is afraid to call it a civil war in case it harms oil prices, etc. (this discussion has been on for about eleven days back when no one was calling it a civil war in the media though and people were using DUCK) Sir William Matthew Flinders Petrie, AKA TheArchaeologist Say Herro 15:26, 14 March 2011 (UTC)
DUCK is only an essay, and not specifically about article naming. (In fact it's quite vague...) But SYNTH isn't about article naming, either; it's about content. Article naming policy is found at WP:TITLE. ...comments? ~BFizz 01:16, 15 March 2011 (UTC)
Yeah, I know, normally, but in this case the name is what's in contention, because it's a question of what the whole event counts, and it counts as content to some extent I would think. :p Besides, it's Synthesis by my understanding as people are using info they have gleaned from several sources, including Wiki (and in some cases citing Civil War, to come to the conclusion that this is a civil war rather than uprising/revolt/revolution, etc. So I think in some cases you could maybe apply WP:SYNTH to titles like this. I know that DUCK ain't about naming either, but people are misusing it and it appears to, for the moment at least, be an important essay that people are following, which needs to be made more obvious. We might know it, but others do not, and as a result, bad things happen. It needs to be crystal clear what it refers to, or just not reiterating a random old phrase. Sir William Matthew Flinders Petrie, AKA TheArchaeologist Say Herro 01:47, 15 March 2011 (UTC)
I have added a section to the essay, with some examples of when to use it and when not to do so. I hope you like my counter-example that proves why it shouldn't be used against verification policies. MBelgrano (talk) 12:02, 15 March 2011 (UTC)
Oh yes, much better. I actually made a new baby section to link it in the talk article. =p See: Talk:2011_Libyan_uprising#Please_see_the_new_WP:DUCK Sir William Matthew Flinders Petrie, AKA TheArchaeologist Say Herro 16:52, 15 March 2011 (UTC)

I'm writing an essay on this and related matters that can currently be found here I would appreciate any guidance that you may offer. HominidMachinae (talk) 01:00, 21 March 2011 (UTC)

Pending changes RFC

I know, everyone is sick of it. We're almost done. Phase three, the review/recommend phase is now up. It is a questionnaire you can fill out with any reply you want, without having to argue or read fifty thousand words before participating. We really want users who haven't yet participated to join in in this phase, along with everyone who participated in the first two phases. The more responses we get, the clearer consensus will (hopefully) be. It will only take a few minutes of your time so fill one out whenever you have a moment. Thanks! Beeblebrox (talk) 19:27, 20 March 2011 (UTC)

And where do we go to offer our input? Here? -- llywrch (talk) 23:42, 20 March 2011 (UTC)

"Wikipedia is not a manual, guidebook, textbook, or scientific journal"

I thought most encyclopedias were at least partially meant for the purpose of providing instructions. Why must we so stubbornly swear never to seek that purpose? (talk) 23:49, 15 March 2011 (UTC)

There are all kinds of reference books which call themselves "encyclopedias". I'm sure there's an "Encyclopedia of Home Repair" or something like that. But this particular reference work has decided that it is not a how-to guide for home repair, heart surgery, essay writing, or omelet making. However there is a companion work, Wikibooks, which exists to fill that niche.   Will Beback  talk  23:54, 15 March 2011 (UTC)
But the thing is, no everyone even knows about that, and more importantly, there isn't much harm done by giving instructions in the usual case. People have used this policy as a sole reason for removing material (after all it is a policy), which is like trying to destroy a piece of rock on the floor only because other rocks exist. I'm not saying we should make instructions, but that not making instructions should not be a policy, as policies are real objectives that must be followed. We should say it isn't defaultly beneficial to add instructions, but why imply that anything resembling instructions should be removed by having a policy for it? Yes, I know instructions sometimes take up space, but then we would be deleting it for another reason, and anyone who wants to remove it can still say "Removed to save space, as instructions aren't required," instead of "Removed because it's instructions, per policy: [WP:NOT]." Instructions can take up space just as rocks can get in the way. But instead of making "remove rocks" a fundamental international law or putting "Not a manual" in Wikipedia's policies, it could be simply stated that most rocks should be removed when they get in the way, and that it isn't defaultly beneficial to add instructions. (talk) 00:13, 17 March 2011 (UTC)
Because Wikipedia saves all versions of every page, "removing" information always has the effect of increasing the amount of space that the page takes on the disk. WhatamIdoing (talk) 00:46, 17 March 2011 (UTC)
We're not really qualified here to tell people how to do things. What if the instructions are wrong? I don't suppose we'd be liable (but maybe we would), but I would feel bad if someone used our instructions and it messed them up. Herostratus (talk) 00:52, 17 March 2011 (UTC)
"Wikipedia is not a textbook" means that much of the content found in textbooks is inappropriate for Wikipedia; and as such we usually do not set aside space for "exercises", "questions", "worked examples", or "Warning! Remember to always use safety glasses when doing these experiments!". The writing style is also somewhat different between encyclopedias and textbooks. Encyclopedias are impassionate, third-person, and aim at being a reference work, while textbooks tend to address the reader directly and place more emphasis on explaining and teaching. However, poses a very reasonable question, because in many cases textbooks and encyclopedia articles cover the same type of material, and in these cases I would argue that "what Wikipedia is", trumps "what Wikipedia is not". Rules of chess is an article someone once tried deleting for being "instruction manual", but the clear consensus was that its presence is appropriate because the rules are an essential component of the game, and our encyclopedia coverage would be incomplete without them. Sjakkalle (Check!) 17:11, 17 March 2011 (UTC)
Personally, I see this as one of Wikipedia's 'anti-kibble' rules - i.e., rules designed to keep the project from being swamped in endless piles of random trivia. there are billions upon billions of things and objects that someone might want to give use-instructions for. should we have pages on 'shoelace tying techniques', 'walrus hunting methods', 'operating a 1973 Sony 8-track tape player'...? There are certain things that are notable for other reasons that deserve instruction-type articles (e.g. Flint-knapping, which is notable for anthropological reasons), but other than that we should avoid falling into that tar-pit. --Ludwigs2 17:43, 17 March 2011 (UTC)
Whenever feasible, instructional content should be rewritten into encyclopedic format rather than just straight-up deleted. --Cybercobra (talk) 20:18, 17 March 2011 (UTC)
And what is "encyclopedic format"? This is an issue I've pondered in my essay Encyclopedias and Wikipedia. Although I doubt it's ready for prime time, I'd like some input whether I'm on to something or have been given some psychotropic drugs without my knowledge. -- llywrch (talk) 23:39, 20 March 2011 (UTC)
In my opinion "not a how-to" has more to do with copyvio and OR than anything, in addition to potential legal repercussions for the WMF (if instructions should happen to have a deleterious effect). Basically, if you are giving someone a list of steps to follow then either those steps must be taken from one source (and thus be copyvio) or you had to have put them together yourself from multiple sources (and thus they must be original research). In practicality I have never seen an article itself deleted per "not a how-to" that wasn't entirely OR, usually in the form of video game guides sneaking their way into wikipedia from various wikia sites. HominidMachinae (talk) 08:34, 20 March 2011 (UTC)
Just because something comes from a single source does not mean it is a copyright violation. What I have seen a few times is cooking recipes, which don't violate any of our content policies but are definitely outside our scope. Yoenit (talk) 13:31, 20 March 2011 (UTC)
A cooking recipe may be a howto, but saying how something is cooked is definitely within the remit of Wikipedia. Dmcq (talk) 19:00, 20 March 2011 (UTC)
WP:NOT is somewhat flawed, to the extent that simply because something would appear in one of the entities that WP is not, it does not follow that it should not appear in WP. And the policy does not make that clear. Nonetheless since we have alternative venues that cover most of those items, we have no reason for including many of them. For example the fact that an A-series engine is mounted with the head at the top may be encyclopedic, but that you need a 1/2 inch spanner, and preferably a modified one, to quickly remove it, is a level of detail not yet appropriate for Wikipedia. Rich Farmbrough, 21:22, 20 March 2011 (UTC).
And I find it absurd to use a rule to enforce a rule, which is exactly what NOTHOWTO is about. If we should not write instructions because it often makes articles too long, the rule should be "delete information that makes articles unnecessarily long," not "delete instructions." and if we should not write instructions because it often breaks copyrights, the rule should be "avoid copyright violations," not "avoid instructions." (talk) 04:46, 21 March 2011 (UTC)
That's fine, but the actual rule is Delete instructions because this is an encyclopedia, and encyclopedias don't provide step-by-step instructions on how to do something. As a quick proof, think about the paper-based encyclopedias you encountered in school. Did any of them include step-by-step instructions for baking cookies, fixing a broken window, splinting a broken arm, etc? Mine never did, and I'll bet that yours never did, either. Wikipedia is not one-stop shopping for information. It aims to provide solely encyclopedic information—which means that we routinely toss purely instructional material, recipes, dictionary definitions, persuasive essays, and many other kinds of perfectly good information. There's nothing wrong with the information itself; it just doesn't belong here. It might belong at one of the other WMF projects, like Wiktionary or WikiBooks, but it doesn't belong in Wikipedia because it is not encyclopedic information. WhatamIdoing (talk) 05:54, 21 March 2011 (UTC)
I'm new here. I never heard of Wikibooks, but just had a look and it's a lovely neighborhood. Could articles be moved to wikibooks instead of deleted if they're actual nice non-idiotic non-spammy "manual" type content? Jane Peppler (talk) 11:31, 21 March 2011 (UTC)
Hello, Jane, and welcome to the English Wikipedia. Yes, that is often the ideal solution. I've never done it myself, but there are people here who do a lot of that (particularly to Wiktionary). It looks like there's some information at m:Help:Transwiki. If I encountered something that needed to be moved to Wikibooks, I would probably add the Wikipedia template {{Copy to Wikibooks}} to the article to bring it to the attention of someone more experienced with the process. There are many such templates listed in Category:Transwiki templates. WhatamIdoing (talk) 23:52, 21 March 2011 (UTC)


Could this be reinstated? For my reasons why, see Wikipedia:Village_pump_(technical)/Archive_87#32K. 01:14, 22 March 2011 (UTC) Simply south......

Birthplace and infobox in a BLP

I hope this is the right place to ask about a situation I have encountered at Matt Bush (baseball). An IP editor removed Bush's birthplace from the main text, claiming 1) it was already in the infobox, and 2) it violated WP:OPENPARAGRAPH because his birthplace isn't relevant to his notability.

To my understanding, however, the last sentence of WP:OPENPARAGRAPH is critical here: "Birth and death places should be mentioned in the body if known, and in the lead if they are relevant to the person's notability." In the Matt Bush article, there isn't a "personal life" section to move the birthplace to, so it ought to remain in the lead rather than be removed entirely from the main text. (It clearly doesn't belong in the "baseball career" section.)

So my questions are twofold:

  1. Am I correct in my assumption that an infobox for a BLP should not contain information (like birthplace) that doesn't appear anywhere in the main article? Put another way, is the purpose of an infobox to summarize information from the main article or to add to it?
  2. What does Wikipedia policy/practice say should be done with Bush's birthplace?

Thanks in advance for any input. -Phoenixrod (talk) 06:07, 11 March 2011 (UTC)

As a general rule, whatever is in the infobox should be repeated outside it. The same is also true for a properly written introduction on a well-developed article. WhatamIdoing (talk) 21:13, 11 March 2011 (UTC)

A year of birth should appear in the lead of every encyclopedic biography, if known. I think that's a good rule of thumb. Carrite (talk) 23:47, 13 March 2011 (UTC)

Definitely on a year of birth, but this was a question of place of birth. -Phoenixrod (talk) 18:57, 16 March 2011 (UTC)
I would say that the birth place should be stated if known. The format that I've seen most commonly for incorporating it is including it along with the birth and death dates, i.e. (birthdate, birthplace – deathdate, deathplace).
These articles have examples of what I mean: Guillaume-François Berthier, Franz Zureich, Maria Bellonci. Sophus Bie (talk) 10:15, 20 March 2011 (UTC)

The above articles don't have infoboxes, so there is not choice as for where the birthplace should go. But most articles with infoboxes, (for example Tom Cruise, Stephen Hawking, Wayne Gretzky, Barack Obama, Tiger Woods, and many many more), typically only give date of birth in the intro, and leave birthplace to the infobox, and then mention the birthplace again under a section called "Early Life" or "Biography" or something else along those lines. (talk) 20:46, 21 March 2011 (UTC)

Also, under WP:MOSBIO, it specifically mentions that the birthplace and deathplace should be mentioned in the lede with the birth/death dates only if they are relevant to the person's notability (talk) 23:53, 21 March 2011 (UTC)

In the case of Lindsey Vonn, from which you just deleted the birthplace, her being born in St. Paul is related to her notability, due to having access to Buck Hill and other area ski slopes when she was very young, giving her a good start on her career. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 23:58, 21 March 2011 (UTC), you seem to be deleting the birthplace information from the lead of articles even when the birth information doesn't appear elsewhere in the main article text. I think it's fine to move it to a "personal life", "early life", or "biography" section, but it should stay somewhere in the main article. Articles like Tom Cruise, to use your example, have the birthplace under "Early life", whereas your deletion from Matt Bush (baseball) completely removed the birthplace from the article text. Please be careful; just because it appears in the infobox doesn't mean you should automatically remove it from the lead. -Phoenixrod (talk) 04:02, 23 March 2011 (UTC)

Hiding Template Unreferenced on Articles

Please answer Yes or No to Questions Q1 and Q2, and provide additional/supporting position i.e. Q1 Yes, Q1.b.2 (only references templates on stubs should be hidden). There has been ongoing discussion at Template talk:Unreferenced without resolution. Bringing to a larger audience to find consensus. Jeepday (talk) 01:32, 13 March 2011 (UTC)

  • Brief History, a bot (User:Erik9bot) was used in 2009 to identify article that were completely without references. The orginal intent being that the article would be reviewed in accord with the standards & goals of WP:URA. Through a series of occurrences (WP:AGF) the articles became tagged with {{unreferenced}} and a parameter Auto=Yes which hides the tag. The articles are unreferenced/uncited, barring extremely minor exceptions (1 in 1000), {{unreferenced}} or one in the family w/could be appropriately placed on the article by a person without any question. If {{unreferenced}} should ever be hidden is addressed in Q1, if articles with {{unreferenced}} which were identified and tagged by bots, should be made visible is addressed in Q2.
Q1 Is it appropriate to have a parameter which allows {{unreferenced}} to be hidden on an article?
Q1.a It should be removed because there is no time when hiding the template is appropriate (excepting any decision on the Erik9bot tags in question 2),
Q1.b There are occasions when {{unreferenced}} should be hidden.
Q1.b.1 Articles tagged by bots should have the tag hidden (a separate decision on bot article tagging would be required, saying what criteria if any apply)
Q1.b.2 Very short articles, or any article with a stub tag should have {{unreferenced}} hidden. (implies a different parameter then auto be used to identify)
Q1.b.3 Some other article criteria defines if {{unreferenced}} should be hidden
Q2 Should {{unreferenced}} be made visible on articles tagged by bots; specifically the 46,000 articles in Category:Articles automatically tagged as unreferenced?
Q2.a {{unreferenced}} should not automatically be made visible on these articles, if tags should not be hidden then it must be removed (bot assistance in removing implied), if they can be hidden a person must make the decision on each article to remove auto=yes and do so.
Q2.a.1 Person with AWB assistance, can remove
Q2.a.2 No assistance, old school only, open the article and edit it. (Note User:JeepdaySock has edited by this process on hundreds of articles recently)
Q2.b Use a bot to make {{unreferenced}} visible by removing the Auto=yes parameter from articles. If {{unreferenced}} should never be hidden, this may be part of general article bot maintenance (i.e. User:SmackBot).

Answer Q1

  • Q1 No Q1.a Hiding the template is counter to every reason we have it. Jeepday (talk) 01:32, 13 March 2011 (UTC)
  • Q1 no Q1.a - I understand the point being made about if a stub doesn't have a reference is it really a big deal and does it really need an Unreferenced or Citation needed tag. I think that these 2 items (Stub and Unreferenced article) are mutually exclusive. Calling an article a stub has nothing to do with whether it has references. It indicates the articles level of development and length. This would pretty much eliminate the need for most cleanup tags though such as Cleanup, Expand section, etc since its status as a stub would make these self evident. It does not IMO eliminate the very important need to include a reference, at least a general one, especially on living people, many of which currently fall into this group of articles. Adding an inline citation is especially easy for the one and 2 lines stubs and if an article does not have inline citations then it should be noted as such. Being a stub does not eliminate this requirement IMO. --Kumioko (talk) 01:44, 13 March 2011 (UTC)
  • Q1 No Q1.a This is really curious. The argument for banner templates has always been to alert editors on articles in need of improvement. I have never been a friend of these banners, but if this is the argument there is absolutely no grounds for hiding them. Keeping them listed in an (obscure) category, only, is definitely no option. The argument for bots is that they take off monotone tasks from humans. Thus the end result should not appear any different than when a human had tagged an article (other than an optional "tagged by bot" parameter). Nageh (talk) 09:24, 13 March 2011 (UTC)

Answer Q2

  • Q2 Yes Q2.b I would prefer they be removed by a bot, so I can go back to adding references to articles. Jeepday (talk) 01:32, 13 March 2011 (UTC)
  • Q2 Yes Q2.b - Via bot or via AWB is fine with me. --Kumioko (talk) 01:47, 13 March 2011 (UTC)
  • In the event AWB or a bot is used, I suggest articles marked as Stubs have the {{unreferenced}} removed. --Cybercobra (talk) 02:27, 13 March 2011 (UTC)
  • Q2 Yes Q2.b I second Cybercobra's suggestion. The templates should be made visible except for stubs where they should be removed (heck, a stub template already says that there is work to do). Nageh (talk) 09:24, 13 March 2011 (UTC)

Answer 3: "Do you still beat you wife?"

{{unreferenced}} says "This article does not cite any references or sources"

  • Opinion In my opinion the questions do not address the correct problem.{{unreferenced}} does not ask for "references" ie a list of general references in a section called ==References==. It asks for "citations". Some years ago the WP:CITE guideline was altered to include general references in the section that explained what citations were (as the edit history of WP:CITE shows something I thought was a mistake). More recently general references as a method of citing an article has been depreciated, and now it is generally agreed that in-line citations are what are required. This means whether an article has a general references section (==References==) or not is irrelevant. Given the current wording of WP:CITE the work of the bot in tagging articles is now out of date. So rather than this switch being turned on or off, all of the articles so tagged should have the tag removed. Perhaps a new automated process then needs to be run to identify all the stubs without in-line citations needs to be run, but that is a separate issue and is tricky because no only are footnoted citations acceptable as in line citations so are parenthetical citations (see WP:INCITE) and it can be difficult to tell automatically what is an in-line parenthetical citations and what is a parenthetical comment. -- PBS (talk) 09:08, 13 March 2011 (UTC)
    • None of the articles tagged with the hidden tag have (or had when I checked a few days ago) any footnotes including Harvard, SFN etc. When the tags were originally added none of them had any footnote, any url, any page or volume reference, any ISBN or ISSN number, etc. etc.. It would be the height of folly a moderate waste of effort to undo and then redo the tagging. Rich Farmbrough, 13:01, 13 March 2011 (UTC).
    • Short version. Parenthetical references were allowed for, and while it is hard to guarantee none were missed, no example has ever been given. Rich Farmbrough, 13:01, 13 March 2011 (UTC).
A citation is the written out description of the source. It is not a shorter way of writing WP:Inline citation. The citations to WP:General references are every bit as much citations as the citations placed inline. WhatamIdoing (talk) 03:20, 15 March 2011 (UTC)


Backstory: In 2009 User:Erik9bot added Category:Articles lacking sources (Erik9bot) to about 50,000 articles. Many of these were "micro stubs" such as [7] [8]. These articles are already marked as stubs, but Erik9 felt that they should also be categorized as unreferenced. However, concerns about having a bot tag 50,000 articles as unreferenced led to the compromise of having the bot just add a category. Since then, the Erik9bot category has been removed, and the articles are now tagged with the "unreferenced" template, with a parameter "auto" that hides the template but leaves the maintenance categories.

When the bot added the category originally, and since then when the category was replaced with a hidden instance of the "unreferenced" tag instead, the same questions have come up about whether it adds any value to the reader, and whether it is visually out of place to have a large "unreferenced" tag above an extremely short article that obviously has no references.

The deeper question is whether we want a bot to just go through and tag every unreferenced article as unreferenced. It seems to me that we should rely on human editors to add the tag manually to articles that are in particular need of maintenance. But I am sure some people would rather see every unreferenced article tagged as such, although I am not convinced that would actually help with the goal we all share of adding references to articles. For example Category:Articles lacking sources from October 2006 has thousands of articles in it, and that's 4.5 years ago. — Carl (CBM · talk) 01:52, 13 March 2011 (UTC)

Category:Articles lacking sources from November 2005 is empty, and every article tagged prior to October 2006, has been addressed. Jeepday (talk) 02:09, 13 March 2011 (UTC)
I'd say that's because banners were rarely used back then. Nowadays you'll find them on every other article. Nageh (talk) 09:31, 13 March 2011 (UTC)
In regards to the Microstub issue and I realize this is a little off topic I have long thought that if all we have is one line then we should group the related ones together or incorporate them into a bigger article. For example if a one line stub exists for a town in Utah then we should incorporate that into the county it falls into or even the state until such time we have enough info to make it a full article. I don't have a problem per say with the stub but it really doesn't add much value if it only has one line and no references. --Kumioko (talk) 02:13, 13 March 2011 (UTC)
This is rarely a suitable or viable option. If it is you may just as well take it to AfD or turn it into a redirect. For example, many BLP articles are extremely short, even on notable persons, yet they need to be stand-alone. Nageh (talk) 09:33, 13 March 2011 (UTC)
On the question being asked, I don't think a ref banner should ever be hidden. The entire point of having big ugly banners is to encourage editors to fix the problem so the big ugly banner can be removed.
However, underlying this is a more fundamental issue... I am concerned about the fact that despite our big ugly banners, we still have so many articles that are not only unreferenced, but have remained unreferenced for 4.5 years (more?)... The question is how to fix that problem. I know it would be hard to gain a consensus view on this, but my solution would be to set a time limit on how long we keep a completely unreferenced article (say three years). Go over the limit and the article gets automatically deleted... but it is deleted without prejudice, so that if someone comes along later and wants to write a new article on the topic (with sources) they can. Blueboar (talk) 18:10, 13 March 2011 (UTC)
Yes, there will be no consensus on this. The reason is that the articles staying untouched for years are those requiring specialist knowledge. I stumble across them from time to time and I never considered them of a quality that would justify deletion. The latest one was AAA protocol, where I added a quick reference so as to change the "unreferenced" banner by a no more pretty "references needed". ;) The concept of AAA is so fundamental in a communications infrastructure that we would really do no good in deleting such article. Nageh (talk) 18:18, 13 March 2011 (UTC) PS: The correct way is to go through AfD but this should better be done manually. Nageh (talk) 18:20, 13 March 2011 (UTC)

Couple of notes. IMHO we generally shouldn't have robots put on any top level tags. Second, references relate to content, not the article. It's possible for an article with no references to comply with the policies and guidelines. IMHO trying to invent a dumbed-down ham-handed article level variant just to that a robot can do it is not a good idea. North8000 (talk) 20:00, 13 March 2011 (UTC)

I don't agree with that but I don't think thats the topic at hand. I beleive and have interpretted the point of this to determine if 1) The unreferenced template should be visible on stub articles and 2) what to do with it once that decision is made. As I mentioned in my response above IMO the assessment of an article (in this case stubs) and identifying if the article needs references are mutually exclusive. Just because an articles length or level of development have defined it as a stub does not mean that it does, doesn't need or doesn't contain references although I agree it would eliminate the need for most other cleanup templates. Something worth mentioning here is that there are a lot (a couple thousand at least) of BLP's in the 40, 000 article list relating to this discussion that do not have any references and I do not believe that simply saying it is a stub adaquentely notifies the reader or editor of the article to that fact. So basically although I agree that most cleanup tags should not be on a stub; Unreferenced should be an exception IMO. --Kumioko (talk) 17:29, 14 March 2011 (UTC)
If stub articles should have templates put on them or not, is an entirely different conversation. It has been discussed several times, and there has never been consensus to exclude {{unreferenced}} from stubs. You would also need to define a stub that is excluded from the template. Does a one sentence article, or a two paragraph article with {{stub}} qualify as being excluded? What if it is a long list with 3 sentences that likely not to be expanded (and a stub tag). It was suggested at Template talk:Unreferenced that {{citation needed}} might be a better choice (particularly on very short stubs), though how we would transition is difficult to imagine. JeepdaySock (AKA, Jeepday) 10:55, 15 March 2011 (UTC)
It's completely related to this issue. The appearance of this template on short stubs, along with its redundancy for the reader, are why the "auto" parameter was used in the first place. However the use of the "auto" parameter did allow the maintenance categories to be used instead of an ad hoc Erik9Bot category. The idea proposed above, to get rid of the "auto" parameter but also remove the tags that Erik9bot placed on stubs, seems like a reasonable compromise to me. People would still be free to manually tag stubs that they feel are particularly problematical. — Carl (CBM · talk) 11:02, 15 March 2011 (UTC)
Sorry I mis-communicated - I was referring to unreferenced on stubs in general. I tend to agree with Carl's suggested compromise above, though I hesitate to define any article with a stub template as a stub. While not perfect can I suggest that -
  1. If it has a stub tag, and it is not listed at Wikipedia:WikiProject Stubsensor/20110215 we define it as a stub (for this discussion) and remove the {{unreferenced}} where placed through the Erik9bot process.
  2. Remove the auto parameter from the template, and ask smackbot to update to {{unreferenced}} from {{unreferenced stub}} and/or remove the auto parameter where it remains as part of normal article clean up. (we need to discuss the "type" parameter as well back at Template talk:Unreferenced)
JeepdaySock (AKA, Jeepday) 16:48, 15 March 2011 (UTC)
I made a list of the articles that are listed on the stubsensor pages and also in the 'Articles_automatically_tagged_as_unreferenced' category; there are 14 of them.
Bass_Highway_(Victoria) - Air_Guard_400 - Clarke_Quay_MRT_Station - Guy_&_Ralna - Jalan_Ampang - Lakeside_MRT_Station - Little_India_MRT_Station - M1,_Queensland - Newton_MRT_Station - Sannohe_District,_Aomori - Saskatchewan_Hawks - South_Vietnam_national_football_team - Tezuka_Award - TFF_Third_League
I'll work next on counting the number of articles in that category tagged as stubs. — Carl (CBM · talk) 11:22, 16 March 2011 (UTC)
I have addressed the 14 articles above, they were all Start Class, many of them had been rated as start by their projects but still had stub templates on them. JeepdaySock (AKA, Jeepday) 15:26, 16 March 2011 (UTC)

The bad news, if I counted right, is that there are 45,990 articles marked as stubs in the 'auto' parameter category. The median length of the wikicode for those is 1044 bytes. I'm not sure what I think about this yet, I'm just posting the information for now. If someone else wants to double-check the count, that would be fine with me. I'll put the queries I used below. — Carl (CBM · talk) 11:43, 16 March 2011 (UTC)
I completely disagree (which I guess also means there is no consensus for this change), as I stated before being marked as a stub does not correspond to having references. Its apples and potatoes (even apples and oranges are both fruit). Saying an article is a stub defines the articles length and level of development not if it does or does not have references. Saying an article has no references is a completely different statement entirely than "this article is short"! If all you are going to do is remove the entire tag then you are completely negating the point of this whole argument. Additionally, by the rules that you forcefully established you cannot remove it by bot because it doesn't render a change to the page! If you remove the auto parameter allowing the unreferenced tag to display thats ok because it renders a change to the page. So if you were to do this you would be in violation to the bot policy. --Kumioko (talk) 14:45, 16 March 2011 (UTC)
The "no change in the rendered page" rule is for AWB. Bots can, and do, make edits that don't show up in the rendered page. But they have to get bot approval first. AWB has stricter rules because it doesn't have a pre-approval process. — Carl (CBM · talk) 20:46, 16 March 2011 (UTC)
First thats not true about AWB it does have a pre-approval process and that is explained on the AWB page. Secondly you were adamant that making changes that did not render changes to the page was unnecessary, a waste of system resources and filled watchlists and you even stated that bots that did these types of changes were ordinarily not approved. Now your saying its actually a double standard because of AWB. Make up your mind. It sounds more like you just don't like AWB and want the pedia to rely on bonafide and certified programmers to do bot type tasks. Aside from that if thats the rule for AWB it needs to be the rule for bots as well otherwise its not a policy. Its a preference. --Kumioko (talk) 01:32, 17 March 2011 (UTC)
Kumioko, we are actually very close to consensus. That hiding {{unreferenced}} is not acceptable is a given at this point. That it is appropriate for the Erik9Bot tags to be visible on non-stub articles is a given also. There is divided community view of the erik9bot tags on stub articles, and we are now try to come to consensus on what a stub is. The 14 above that were listed as stubs, are not. That very short articles are stubs is also true. Carl has done some research on the articles in question, and is formulating a proposal to define a stub (specific to this discussion and the erik9bot tags only). I am hoping that he can make a proposal that we can all accept, his next step is not easy, so lets give him a while to work it out. Jeepday (talk) 23:19, 16 March 2011 (UTC)
  • Defining stubs (specific to this discussion and the erik9bot tags only), Carl the next move is yours, it is really hard to define a stub based only on the size of the content, often they have extensive tables and only a line or two of "article content". A good paragraph (or more) and good table is usually defined as at least "start class" on most projects. Though just one or the other is usually categorized as a stub. Not sure if you can do it, but if an article has say 500 or 600 characters in a row without " |- " in those characters, then it is probably a decent paragraph, if the size of the rest of the article implies a decent table, or other meaningful content, then it may not really be a stub. Often the major difference between a mid size "stub", "start class" and "C class" on project Assessment is the presence of a reference. Jeepday (talk) 23:45, 16 March 2011 (UTC)
    • I don't think we have to decide what a "stub" is, we just need a rule of thumb for the articles that Erik9 tagged, so that we can resolve those and then go back to manual tagging that everyone is fine with. I would suggest scanning those 46,000 articles with a script (which is not as hard as it sounds, using a database dump) and looking at what the size is if you remove templates, categories, and interwikis from the source code. Those sizes would approximate the amount of prose in the article, which we could use to make a rule of thumb. I don't know if Avicennasis can do something similar to that with the stubsensor code; I can certainly do it without too much difficulty if he can't. I don't know what the threshold will be, but maybe looking at the distribution of sizes will say something. — Carl (CBM · talk) 00:05, 17 March 2011 (UTC)
      • I still contend that an unreferenced article, particularly BLP's, should have the Unreferenced tag visible regardless of whether its a stub or not. An unreferenced article still lacks references regardless of whether its ten words long or ten pages. --Kumioko (talk) 01:32, 17 March 2011 (UTC)
        • I have personally looked at a lot of these article, while many of them are biographies I have not seen one that is about a living person. The BLP group has done a good job of finding and addressing those articles. JeepdaySock (AKA, Jeepday) 10:44, 17 March 2011 (UTC)
          • Perhaps, but Special:WhatLinksHere/Template:BLP_unsourced&limit=9000 shows we still have a bit over 9000 transclusions of {{BLP unsourced}}, mostly in articlespace. Note that the "next 9000" link is blue. LeadSongDog come howl! 16:29, 17 March 2011 (UTC)
            • I don't think we are talking about the BLP unsourced template. I contacted Avicennasis but his code doesn't do what I was looking for. I will work on it, and hopefully have data by sometime Saturday. — Carl (CBM · talk) 10:36, 18 March 2011 (UTC)
            • I sat down to work on this, and I found that I can't get a list of pages in the category from the API due to this bug not being fixed on the live servers at the moment. I can't get a list from the toolserver DB because it is having some other problem (haven't heard from the TS admins yet). I will try again later today. — Carl (CBM · talk) 13:36, 19 March 2011 (UTC)

Here's what I found. The median size of the articles with templates, categories, and interwikis removed is 598 bytes. The 25th percentile is 331 bytes. I'd suggest making a cutoff, removing the template from the ones under that, and removing the "auto" tag from ones over it. I think that would resolve the Erik9 articles and get everything back to the usual status quo. — Carl (CBM · talk) 00:12, 21 March 2011 (UTC)

Well I still don't agree that an article without references not have the unreferenced tag or something like it but that seems like a reasonable compromise. --Kumioko (talk) 00:21, 21 March 2011 (UTC)
Works for me as well. JeepdaySock (AKA, Jeepday) 10:42, 21 March 2011 (UTC)
That leaves the question of where to draw the cutoff. I would suggest putting it at articles under 350 bytes that have no section headers. Those will be very short in practice. I could go through and remove the template from those, leaving it on all the other Erik9 articles.
After that's done, is it worth actually removing the "auto" parameter from the other invocations, or just making it have no effect by editing the "unreferenced" template? I usually favor the latter, since it saves a lot of edits. — Carl (CBM · talk) 15:19, 21 March 2011 (UTC)
Your size suggestion for removing the template is fine, as is your removing the templates. As for the removing the "auto" parameter, it just seems like a housekeeping activity to me at this point. Would you be ok, with leaving the decision to Rich and what ever he thinks SmackBot should do? We can discuss it back at Template talk:Unreferenced. I think we have closure with concesus on the key topics, here. JeepdaySock (AKA, Jeepday) 10:49, 22 March 2011 (UTC)

Bans of WP in schools/colleges

Is there a document which provides guidelines about controlling the use of Wikipedia in schools and colleges, such as some recommended ways to limit use, without a total ban on using WP? I recently wrote an essay about the 2007-2008 ban which had spread across many U.S. schools or colleges:

Was there any similar ban, during 2007, on using the German Wikipedia, especially in Austria or Germany? Of course, banning access to all URL addresses of the form "" would block all the other-language wikipedias (including ""), as well. Thanks. -Wikid77 10:15, 18 March 2011 (UTC)

Well I've argued for built in support for user defined limitations in use but people seem to get in a huff about WP:NOTCENSORED and just don't want to go anywhere near that. The wikimedia foundation collaborates in producing a Wikipedia CD Selection for schools which you might be interested in. Dmcq (talk) 12:12, 18 March 2011 (UTC)
Here's a link to 2008/9 Wikipedia Selection for schools so you can peruse it. Dmcq (talk) 12:16, 18 March 2011 (UTC)
And it has nothing on Origami, what a downer :) It only has about five and a half thousand entries and that already fills a DVD. Dmcq (talk) 12:25, 18 March 2011 (UTC)
There's also an official release, Wikipedia:1.0, but that's so horribly broken that it's hard to see how it's any use to anyone. For example, including articles from WP:WikiProject Pornography pretty much guarantees that 99% of the potential users have now run away very fast. I have no idea what users they think it's meant for, and don't think they have any idea either. Adam Cuerden (talk) 23:53, 18 March 2011 (UTC)
In my university classes I encourage students to use Wikipedia to get some general idea on a topic. However, I do forbid them to cite Wikipedia, for much the same reason that Wikipedia does not consider Wikipedia articles as reliable sources - there is no way to establish how reliable a specific section on Wikipedia is. In my experience a lot of my colleagues take the same stance on this. Arnoutf (talk) 09:33, 20 March 2011 (UTC)
Do you allow them to cite other general encyclopedias though? That's what always bothers me when people talk about "zomg Wikipedia is so bad because teachers won't allow it as a source blah blah blah" when that's true of Britannica too. ♫ Melodia Chaconne ♫ (talk) 13:51, 20 March 2011 (UTC)
As far as I know, there will always be schools, governments, organizations, and possibly even religions, who will try to censor Wikipedia, or parts of Wikipedia, to people related to them. But NOTCENSORED is there for a reason, that the bulk of us users believes, that when someone says something to be heard, and someone wants to hear, there should be the right to communication. So it's not our right to change this, and it is them who must consider their benefits and losses from censorship. But whether or not Wikipedia is held as reliable to them, is a completely different matter. (talk) 04:58, 21 March 2011 (UTC)
Sure, but would you object to me setting my account to not automatically display potentially offensive images (however I define that) on my computer screen?
That's what Dmcq's first comment is about. There are people here who do not want me to be able to control what appears on my computer screen because they interpret "not censored" as meaning they have an absolute right to force me to view offensive images (unless I turn off 100% of images on 100% of pages). WhatamIdoing (talk) 05:59, 21 March 2011 (UTC)
As in past discussions, I assert that client-side solutions are more flexible and generally superiour to server side solutions for content filtering. Dcoetzee 06:16, 21 March 2011 (UTC)
I admire much of what Wikipedia does and enjoy contributing, but NOTCENSORED is just another way of saying NOSTANDARDS and is an excuse for licence. We certainly do have a right to change it and should do so, but it won't be easy because there are such diverse views. But we should set the bar somewhere and be clear why we've set it. --Bermicourt (talk) 07:29, 21 March 2011 (UTC)
It doesn't mean no standards and there are very clear standards. The material must be for the purposes of an encyclopaedia and no more. The article sex positions for instance illustrates what that means. That probably isn't what most schools want their children looking at but it certainly isn't an unbridled porno shoot either. Dmcq (talk) 09:21, 21 March 2011 (UTC)
@WhatamIdoing: Are there actually people here who don't want you to be able to control what appears on your computer screen, or are there just people who don't want to allow you and hundreds of others to place subjective categories or the like all over Wikipedia (and then endlessly war with people who have slightly different standards over whether category X really belongs on article Y or not) to assist you in your attempt at control? Anomie 15:51, 21 March 2011 (UTC)
They want Wikipedia to have nothing to do with it. They don't want to be contaminated by censorship is how I interpret it. It seems to be as visceral as that. Dmcq (talk) 16:04, 21 March 2011 (UTC)
It seems that there are.
As I understand it (and I pay little attention to this), there was a proposal a while ago that would deal with the 'endless war' aspect through a rating system, hoping to produce an answer from averages. Rather than "good" or "bad", users might be asked to rate the content of an image on scales that run, e.g., from "Appropriate for young children" to "Sexual content appropriate for adults", or from "Not violent" to "Extremely violent". WhatamIdoing (talk) 05:01, 22 March 2011 (UTC)
So then anyone with an extreme position and a following gets their followers to mass-vote on things with the most extreme option to skew the average? Including certain organized trolling groups, who would find it amusing to mass-vote hardcore porn as "Appropriate for children"? Anomie 11:13, 22 March 2011 (UTC)
I am a mentor in a public school so I'm aware of this ban. I actually think the ban is not because Wikipedia is suspect so much - I think it's because there is an overwhelming temptation for schoolkids to cut and paste from it and consider their homework finished. I see that in this content-saturated world people have, despite 1000s of warnings, lost sight of what plagiarism is. And schools do not seem to be teaching the difference between primary sources and secondary sources. In actual fact Wikipedia (along with most other online information fonts) is often a tertiary source, citing references to secondary sources. Jane Peppler (talk) 11:36, 21 March 2011 (UTC)

why policeman wear uniforms

Arydberg (talk · contribs · deleted contribs · logs · edit filter log · block user · block log)

I suggest that those in an administrative role, when threatening Wikipedians for conduct abuses, find some way to identify themselves that conveys their powers as well as their authority. Without this type of identification the user has no way of knowing if they are really being threatened or if someone who disagrees with them is bluffing to intimate them. Arydberg (talk) 12:30, 22 March 2011 (UTC)

Anyone is allowed to issue legitimate warnings. Most admins are categorized as admins on their user page, and there is also a List of Wikipedia administrators. But I have seen countless comments, from admins, informing complainants that legitimate warnings are just as valid from non-admins as they are from admins. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 12:36, 22 March 2011 (UTC)
I have power and authority? I thought I was just trusted with a few extra tools per Wikipedia:Administrators. Arydberg: If you are having issues with another editor, please resolve them by direct discuss; see WP:DRV for more help. If you need to determine if someone is an admin, then use Special:ListUsers. Strong attempt to resist channeling Cartman ---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 13:40, 22 March 2011 (UTC)
He's on a topic ban, and he's unhappy about that. It's been a month since he was warned on his talk page, but this is also his first posting since about then, when he griped here and was told this is the wrong venue. Which it still is. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 13:44, 22 March 2011 (UTC)
He? Or she? Not stated on user page & initial A is uninformative. Peter jackson (talk) 10:43, 23 March 2011 (UTC)
There are no girls on Wikipedia. See discussion above concerning ThunderClan. SmashTheState (talk) 14:09, 24 March 2011 (UTC)
What? No girls? I'm leaving at once. Peter S Strempel | Talk 16:36, 24 March 2011 (UTC)
Nice to know I'm non-existant. LadyofShalott-alt (talk) 18:36, 24 March 2011 (UTC)
You're a lady, not a girl. ;p Sir William Matthew Flinders Petrie Say Shalom! 19:10, 24 March 2011 (UTC)
"You didn't see me. I was never here." - James Earl Jones, in The Hunt for Red October (film).
I thought someone would use that particular argument. :) LadyofShalott 03:04, 25 March 2011 (UTC)

After an admin topic bans some1 and they complain about it, we can easily nullify all their complaints by changing topic to random Wikihumour. God I want to be an admin lol —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:23, 28 March 2011 (UTC)

Yeah, OK unsigned. As a matter of courtesy anyone who cautions you, puts a ban on you, or invokes some other kind of interdiction should do it with enough information to let you know what, where, by whom and how. That information should allow you to put your case in the right right place; should that not occur, that fact alone would be a weighty argument against any sanction. If someone left me an unsigned note to say they'd complained about me, I'd do nothing more than look up the user page and maybe respond, hopefully in a courteous manner. I've even been known to reconsider and apologise when the case put to me warranted it. But I'd wait to see if an admin came to knock on my door in nice shiny black boots before I'd assume the complaint was considered grave by Wikipedia (as opposed to a single editor). If an admin were on my case, I'd make no mistake that threatened sanctions would be exercised unless I could mount a rational defence.
In all of this I wouldn't care so much that I was being upbraided by an anonymous IP editors or a long-standing admin elder. What would concern me would be the rationality of the argument they brought to me. To put this in a metaphorical context, if the little old lady living next door to me upbraided me about my public behaviour, I would consider her as seriously as state security operatives in dark glasses with big guns, and I'd dismiss the complaint or make amends according to a rational assessment, not fear of retribution, respect for authority or cowardice.
I think the point was made by someone else above that anyone can reprimand anyone else here. My experience of this has been that admins tend to be pretty transparent about the process, because they will get their arses kicked for rash or petulant actions far more severely than, say, a brand new editor who just doesn't know the ropes yet.
Does this assist in addressing whatever complaint we are discussing here? Regards Peter S Strempel | Talk 00:20, 29 March 2011 (UTC)

Partial adminship

This is not a proposal, but I felt this was the best place to ask this question. Could someone point me in the direction of any previous debates on partial or multi-tier adminship. I'm pretty sure there have been some, but am not sure where to look. I'd like to get an understanding of why those proposals ultimately failed. Thanks in advance, —WFC— 00:03, 23 March 2011 (UTC)

WP:PEREN has all of this. Here is what you're looking for.AerobicFox (talk) 03:24, 23 March 2011 (UTC)
Thanks for the response. Although I was wondering if there was an archive of a detailed proposal slightly more recent than WP:Limited administrators? —WFC— 14:55, 23 March 2011 (UTC)
More recent? I'm not sure if there is. There is Wikipedia:Vandal fighters and User:Talrias/Adminship reform though if you're interested.AerobicFox (talk) 16:47, 23 March 2011 (UTC)

Conflict at naming guideline pages

We're having a conflict at the Wikipedia:Naming conventions (geographic names) page (geographic naming guideline), relating to parenthetical inclusion of alternate names in the first sentence. Wikipedia:Lead#Usage_in_first_sentence contains the sentences "In articles about places, people, literary and artistic works, scientific principles and concepts, and other subjects, the title can be followed in the first line by one or two alternative names in parentheses. The following are examples of names that may be included parenthetically, but this is not mandatory, and inclusion should reflect consensus. The second sentence was not in the NCGN guideline. I added it, it's since been removed and re-added another couple of times.

In my view, these guidelines are currently in conflict. Each could be cited by editors seeking to add or remove parenthetical alternate names, an issue that's been at AE lately. There's an ongoing discussion at NCGN about how to handle these, but it's a ways from resolution. Until then, what is the proper way to treat this discrepancy? Novickas (talk) 16:48, 23 March 2011 (UTC)

Can you point to the portion of WP:LEAD that the original wording of the guideline is in conflict with? Several editors have expressed the opinon that there is no conflict. Also, what I'm primarily objecting to is your changing of the guideline in midst of discussion without achieving consensus on the talk page. We're trying to work it out there first, you go and alter the wording before we're done. See also comments here [9] and here [10].
As an aside this "not mandatory" business is nothing but a recipe for trouble as it is likely to lead to all kinds of edit war as some editors try to remove "not mandatory" names while others edit war to keep them in. The wording should be explicit and specific about when to include and when not to include and who has the burden of obtaining consensus.Volunteer Marek (talk) 17:02, 23 March 2011 (UTC)
I'm not sure I understand the alleged problem.
Novickas, are you saying that because LEAD permits an article to begin with "Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (also known as Lou Gehrig's disease) is a form of motor neuron disease....", that the name of the page itself (you know, the part that turns up in the URL) should be Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig's disease) rather than plain Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis? WhatamIdoing (talk) 19:56, 24 March 2011 (UTC)
Firstly, this query is kind of moot now; since the majority of the editors at NGCN feel that consensus is not necessary for alt-name-inclusion, I adjusted WP:LEAD to remove places from the consensus clause, noting that it's treated differently there. That change has held up for a day or so, so maybe no need to pursue this further here.
In answer to your specific question; I don't know whether the parenthetical inclusion of Lou Gehrig's Disease in the first line of Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis - currently "(abbreviated ALS, also referred to as Lou Gehrig's disease)" has been contested. Sometimes the need for one or two alternate names in the lead is so obvious as to make discussion unnecessary, sometimes there are enough alternates to call for discussion and consensus. I suppose that's why the consensus clause is in there. Novickas (talk) 23:40, 24 March 2011 (UTC)
Yes, but was your question about what name(s) should be put in the first sentence or what name(s) should be put in the URL? Because NCGN tells you what ought to be in the URL (and the title for the page), but it has no business telling you what ought to go in the actual text of the article. WhatamIdoing (talk) 23:53, 28 March 2011 (UTC)

Do obscure sports figures have immunity from deletion?

As a newcomer I've spent quite a bit of time clicking "random article." I am amazed (unfavorably) by the gigantic number of articles about single players in obscure leagues, seemingly with nothing exceptional about them at all, that are occupying space in Wikipedia. If such a person played the guitar in an obscure band I suppose the entry would be deleted at the speed of light. Am I missing something or are these guys getting special exemptions? Just wondering. Jane Peppler (talk) 11:40, 21 March 2011 (UTC)

Hi Jane. All living persons must meet requirements as per the policy on biographies of living persons, and in particular the criteria for sports people. Hope this helps. --Kudpung (talk) 12:16, 21 March 2011 (UTC)
(edit conflict) They have different notability guidelines: Wikipedia:Notability (sports) vs Wikipedia:Notability (music). The main reason why you see so many obscure sportpersons is that they get a lot more coverage from (local) media and online databases than obscure musicians, which means they are more likely to meet the general notability guideline. Yoenit (talk) 12:19, 21 March 2011 (UTC)
I think that what Jane is trying to say is that if the media is such a whore for sports, then perhaps the notability criteria for musicians should be altered so the same relative level of accomplishment or prominence is approximated. A few weeks ago I was told that footballers' girlfriends have now inherited every bit as much notability as the footballers themselves, and they refute Wiki policies against inherited notability with tabloid coverage, reality shows and cellphone ads. In other words, if you've got a press agent, you've got a Wikipedia bio, whereas if you're actually moving and shaking the world, the line forms to the right. Abrazame (talk) 12:45, 21 March 2011 (UTC)
Wikipedia's inclusion guidelines are based on coverage in reliable sources. And yes, the media does cover sports very well, so most players in professional sports can and usually do have have sources to confer notability to the subject. A person playing guitar in an obscure band will not receive significant coverage, and therefore would not meet the inclusion standards on WP. There's no special exemption. Angryapathy (talk) 14:05, 21 March 2011 (UTC)
Okay, arguably music doesn't get its own newspaper section (though there are music-oriented publications, and arts sections in papers and magazines), but business does. Yet Wikipedia doesn't generally cover minor business personages that get significant coverage in the business section to the degree it covers minor sports figures. Only the very biggest of titans rates the article space of the minor sports figure. There's certainly no effort to upload the photos. For that matter, what about minor music or sports industry figures? Again, the very heads may have an article, if they're truly legendary, but beyond that, it's slim pickings. And minor characters in disposable fiction and television routinely get listified. Face it, it's not about sourcing, it's about obsession, and if I'm into Thundercats I get to yammer about every last kitty but if I'm into ska or '80s rock I'm going to be told that this is best handled in an article about the band (if that).
I refer to the 174,000 byte List of ThunderClan cats — which is a sublist of List of Warriors characters, which also links to List of Warriors characters outside Clans, List of RiverClan cats, List of WindClan cats, List of ShadowClan cats, List of SkyClan cats. Oh, and that List of Warriors characters is not to be confused with List of The Warriors characters, which is an entirely different thing. This has nothing to do with sources to confer notability. Then there's the 316,000 byte List of Spanish football transfers summer 2009. Just how much press can each of these have gotten? And wouldn't much of that be in Spanish, and therefore of greater interest to Spanish speakers (and therefore something we could just link to on the Spanish Wiki)? Certainly all the refs are to Spanish-language sources.
It's all about the franchise, apparently. And apparently lists don't fall under the same restrictions as articles. So as long as someone is signed to a major label (equal to a sports franchise), I'd say we could throw up a big huge list with a small bio about each signing by year, or about each release by week. How else would we know about the person but that it was published somewhere, and the press about the affiliation is how someone inherits notability, not merely whether they remain obscure, as of course some of those athletes sit on the bench all year, or play a few minutes but never score. Abrazame (talk) 17:27, 21 March 2011 (UTC)
Is there a particular case you are alluding to where a musician, or business executive, had their article deleted even though they were (in their sphere) of roughly equal importance to an athlete whose article remained? Because there's a big difference between deletion and the article not existing in the first place - in the latter case, it's generally not a reflection of any policy, it just means nobody has bothered to create it. You can blame that on the demographics of Wikipedia editors, I guess. (FWIW I would also like to see better business content in general.) Barnabypage (talk) 19:03, 21 March 2011 (UTC)
I seriously doubt that we could agree on what constitutes 'roughly equal importance'. For example, someone who played one season or less in some professional sports team has IMO 'roughly equal importance' to any newly promoted vice president of any randomly selected publicly traded company. I realize that others would say such a person is at least as important as the CEO of a Fortune 500 company. WhatamIdoing (talk) 23:57, 21 March 2011 (UTC)

I've noticed the same phenomenon as Jane Peppler: "random articles" keep landing on team players. The notability standards for athletes have been controversial in the past, and apparently remain so. While the standard idea is that notability is permanent, WP's notability standards are not. My view is that if we can't write a reasonably balanced stub about a person then we shouldn't have an article about them. For many athletes, all we can report on is a few details of their short times playing for a team. In those cases it seems more logical to merge them into an article about the team or the seasons they played. But I don't expect any logical solutions in this regard. People, including WP contributors, are too passionate about sports to be dispassionate encyclopedia editors on the topic.   Will Beback  talk  20:21, 21 March 2011 (UTC)

The idea promulgated in Wikipedia:Notability (sports) is that for most sports, participation in even one professional game/match/etc. makes a person "presumed notable". Once that presumption is established, the general guidelines for notability are ignored, despite many bytes expended to claim that subject-specific guidelines don't trump WP:GNG. See WP:WPISADIRECTORYIFTHECONSTITUENCYFORASUBJECTISBIGENOUGH, a little-known exception to WP:NOT. --RL0919 (talk)
The sub-notability guidelines are not meant to be permanent allowance for articles to avoid showing secondary, third-party sourcing. They are criteria that are implied that if the criteria is met, there are either likely existing sources that may be difficult to get or that sources will come about due to recent changes. By temporarily, we given them wide allowance - 2 years or so but there's no hard number. But clearly if there's no way to improve the article beyond stub-like information, then they should be merged to a larger list or deleted. Eventually we expect articles to become encyclopedic, and if all you can identify for a specific pro player is a few basic facts, that's not appropriate. --MASEM (t) 13:33, 22 March 2011 (UTC)
That might be the theory, but in practice there are lots of unsourced athlete stubs that are well over two years old, and good luck getting them merged into a list. By the way, I'm not trying to pick on athlete articles; that's just what the section was about already. Similar issues exist for other topics. For example, numerous articles exist for populated places that say nothing more than "Foo is a village in Bar", sourced to a geographical database. --RL0919 (talk) 14:05, 22 March 2011 (UTC)
We've had the same "problem" with such village/community articles - as long as they are officially recognized at a gov't level, it is presumed that there's sources about that settlement within the settlement itself. In this specific case, its been proposed several times that what the Foundation needs is a WikiAtlas to have place articles like that, but as we are a gazetteer, a listing of non-notable settlements in a region is completely appropriate. --MASEM (t) 14:10, 22 March 2011 (UTC)
But these are separate articles, not lists. If the model was that "presumed notable" athletes, places, etc. went into list articles until someone found actual sources to justify a separate article, then we wouldn't have thousands of these stubs sitting around. --RL0919 (talk) 14:23, 22 March 2011 (UTC)
Exactly. The probably is that we have some engrained notions that these articles "must" exist, but then we enforce stricter standards on other fields. Its an issue that's been talked about before, but very difficult to get by a few persistent viewpoints. Personally, I'm all for using redirects to list to keep terms search, allow articles to be expanded, but otherwise reduce the number of hits these some up on "random page" - this neither harms the work or the topics in question, while improving the outward coverage of WP. --MASEM (t) 16:06, 22 March 2011 (UTC)
In short, yes. Basically anyone who played in at least one professional game at any time in any major sport is eligible for an article. For sports players, unlike other articles, statistics are considered reliable sources. Mr.Z-man 22:20, 22 March 2011 (UTC)
But why is that? There's plenty of other fields where we could apply statistics and say "that's good enough for an article". If it is just statistics, tables make the most sense, until of course the player shows more notability beyond having just played the game. This is the problem that ATH and NSPORT has had, and misses the point of what notability is used for. --MASEM (t) 22:27, 22 March 2011 (UTC)
The current thinking is that making it to the majors is significant, even if your career is only as long as Moonlight Graham's was. Keep in mind it's the MAJOR leagues. There have been various baseball encyclopedias written, whose purpose was to try to cover every player that ever played. But only in the MAJOR leagues. The minor leagues are a different story. A number of career minor leaguers are notable, but only a small fraction. It's kinda like if the Beatles had never gotten out of that quarry and went on to become shoe salesmen or something. They wouldn't be notable. But most everyone who makes the charts is presumably notable. There are minimum standards. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 22:30, 22 March 2011 (UTC)
But again, such similar works like field-specific encyclopedias exist for other fields and yet we don't include all entries because they would still fail notability (that's a tertiary source, not secondary). Furthermore, such works bias towards first-world major sports, ignoring sports figures from major leagues from smaller countries, or from non-major sports such as tennis, golf, etc. Granted, I'm well aware that in terms of net volume of information there are a lot of sports-based secondary sources that can be used for athletes and thus why I would expect, compared to any other field, the number of people noted within sports to be much larger, but that doesn't mean every player that arrives on a pro team should be considered notable. Again, the sporting field receives unique attention in this area that fails to work anywhere else. --MASEM (t) 22:36, 22 March 2011 (UTC)
It's not every pro baseball team, it's MAJOR LEAGUE baseball. Often the sources will list only a player's major league data, no matter what he did in the minors, because the major league data is what's "notable". There's a sharp divide between the majors and the minors. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 23:06, 22 March 2011 (UTC)
Statistics are not "secondary coverage". We're looking for why they are important to their sport - or for another field if they just happened to be a baseball player but with no significant play. Why should we care about a third-string player that may have 3 or 4 games during a season, compared to starting pitchers and fielders which have a more significant impact on the team's performance and which generally can be documented in a secondary manner? --MASEM (t) 23:48, 22 March 2011 (UTC)
The other field that is comparable is war. There are sources that try to provide info on every russian ground weapon post 1918 say. series of books that cover every royal navy ship ever. Cars might be another area with simular coverage. Dito trains thanks to the train spotters.©Geni 23:12, 22 March 2011 (UTC)
Thing is, you can actually write a proper article on almost every commissioned warship because the sources that exist provide decent coverage, where as for sportsplayers all you get is some statistics. Yoenit (talk) 23:34, 22 March 2011 (UTC)
My point wasn't that every obscure musician should have his/her own page. My point was that it's trashy to have a gazillion stubs about baseball (etc) players who are just doing their job. But then I am part of the minority (female contributors) and find the amazing slant of Wikipedia towards sports, television shows, and video games irremediably peculiar. Jane Peppler (talk) 10:56, 23 March 2011 (UTC)

Just a quick general note. Having done lots of flipping through "random article", my gut feel every time has been that semi-obscure sports figures,teams, competitions etc. are vastly / disproportionately overrepresented in Wikipedia. I see items the are far more real-world notable disappear from Wikipedia. IMHO we should question rather than apply whatever rulebook caused this imbalance, whether that means being less exclusive on one side or more exclusive on the other. One idea it to add adding a few metrics to wp:notability that add weight for the enclyclopedic-ness of the content and interest to enclyclopedia type readers rather than those just being separate tests. North8000 (talk) 11:21, 23 March 2011 (UTC)

Part of the imbalance is related to the media bias towards sports - there are a LOT of sources dedicated to sports and athletes, likely moreso than any other specific area. It is not wrong to ignore that but at the same time, we need to recognize that much of that coverage is simply primary sourcing - recaps and statistics from games played - or ultimately "routine" reporting. The statement by ATH/NSPORT is that anyone that's in a pro league for their sport is immediately notable because there will be sourcing for that person. I don't disagree, but I do believe that the sourcing they are talking about is not secondary and thus means that these articles will remain indefinite stubs that cannot be expanded, and thus otherwise what the above problem comes to be. They should be held to the same level every other topic or biography article is at, and if just playing pro is their claim to fame, that's equivalent to WP:BLP1E, as well as against what notability is supposed to be doing, and thus should be merged to lists. --MASEM (t) 13:41, 23 March 2011 (UTC)
I agree. The whole notion of "routine coverage" seems to have been lost in the notability guideline for sports. The result is a huge bloat of non-encyclopedic articles that would be better handled as lists. (Not to mention that many of them are BLPs with few watchers, a libel bomb just waiting to go off.) --RL0919 (talk) 14:16, 23 March 2011 (UTC)
The entire premise of "If XXX happens to A, then XXX should happen to B" or "Why does this happen in situation A when it doesn't in situation B" isn't particularly helpful. If there is an individual article you want deleted, nominate it for deletion, and make the arguement against existing policies and guidelines to explain why it should. The fact that different results have been arrived at regarding different articles, or even that other deletable articles have not yet been deleted as of this second, is not very relevent. If you find an article on a non-notable athlete doesn't belong at Wikipedia, start the arguement "I know that they played in a single major league baseball game in 1916; however the sub-guidelines are not meant to trump the main WP:GNG, and there doesn't appear to be any actual reliable coverage that the sub-guideline indicates is presumed to exist. Since presumption isn't reality, and it appears that in this one case the actual coverage presumed to exist does NOT actually exist, the article should probably be deleted." That's the arguement I would put forth. --Jayron32 14:52, 23 March 2011 (UTC)
What happens when such articles are put forward for deletion is that, because of how ATH/NSPORT was or currently is worded, a majority will point out that it satisfies the SNG and therefore shouldn't be deleted, and thus makes it difficult for a closing admin to call for deletion in such cases. And I've tried to get the language in NSPORT changed to remove the presumption that "played at the majors == notable" but there's a large number of people interested in sports that outside opinions like this are ignored. It is an issue with this pseudo-walled garden that the various athletic wikiprojects have constructed. --MASEM (t) 15:07, 23 March 2011 (UTC)
I kind of wish all those stubs could be elminated or merged into lists in one fell swoop; the idea of anybody trying to get rid of even 1,000 of them when tens of thousands of them exist... sigh. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Jane Peppler (talkcontribs) 17:57, 23 March 2011 (UTC)
Yeah, it always sucks when consensus decides such athletes are notable, eh? At any rate, every time this discussion comes up, I always do a random article test and always find that the results aren't as presented. In my case today, it wasn't until the 36th random article that I encountered an athlete bio, and as luck would have it, it was a former first overall pick and rookie of the year in the NBA. In the previous 35, I encountered only one other general sport article, but 10 related to music or movies. I would accept that there is a bias towards entertainment and sports, but I think that also reflects the real world, where a great deal of coverage exists. Does there need to be more on business people, etc? Certainly, but that requires people dedicated to writing about them. Trying to axe other articles that you don't like is not the answer. Resolute 18:27, 23 March 2011 (UTC)
It is not the case that there need to be more articles on people from other fields, but rationalizing that the inclusion bar, vigorously defended by those interested in athletes, is far too low compared to other fields. As during the last rewrite of NSPORT, I tried to argue that their inclusion of any player that made a pro league was akin to saying that anyone that reached a certain level in their profession would be automatically considered notable - eg that there are secondary sources that talk about that player in depth more than "they played with X team from 19yy to 19yy" and playing stats - which makes zero sense for any other field (save, for perhaps, politicians at the national and international level). They continued to assert that there are always player assessments from their years in college and the like, but really, I'm not seeing that. I recognize that, if you look at the %age of people from sports that we'd consider notable compared to all athletes, and similar %ages from other professions, that sports will have a larger percentage, but it still does not justify having articles on every pro player if they can't be improved beyond a couple lines of text. --MASEM (t) 18:44, 23 March 2011 (UTC)
I think Masem's hitting on the key point here. WP:Notability (sports), as with all of the subject specific guidelines, presumes that having done X (here, played one or more games at the sport's highest level, which can be either college or professional), implies with near certainty that multiple, reliable sources must exist, and thus it should be possible to satisfy GNG even if we haven't done so yet. I can't think of any way to actually study the truthfulness of this statement, but perhaps instead we could argue that at some point in an article's life, if it has not progressed beyond a stub, it no longer gets the benefit of that presumption of "unfound but certainly existing sources". Or maybe we don't have to worry about it, because no harm is being done. I tried the totally non-scientific test Resolute did, and hit a clearly notable sports article on the third try (1970 Pittsburgh Steelers season), and an athlete of more questionable notability on the fifth try (Terry Lowe). All of the other articles (and all of those I found up to random article 12, save 1) were on musicians, albums, and songs. Personally, those always seem stranger to me than sports people--how is it that just because an album hit 79 out of 100 on a secondary music chart that it now deserves its own article? But I can't tell if there's really a problem here or if I personally just don't like it. Qwyrxian (talk) 01:45, 24 March 2011 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Professional and amateur athletes shouldn't be exempt from notability guidelines, which really boil down to how many references from respectable sources you can drum up. However, caveat emptor. Sports is like a religion for some people, and putting a delete notice on a fan-developed page of some gumby player might well land you in a vicious exchange similar to the one you'd encounter if you defaced a Catholic icon, or graffitied a Jewish temple commemoration plaque, or drew a satirical cartoon of the Prophet Mohammed. And most of the admins here won't help; the presumption is always in favour of keeping any old crap just in case (I think the euphemism is 'assume good faith' rather than recognising motivations like 'any place is a good dumping ground for my private obsessions' or 'if you don't like football there's something wrong with you'). So, the answer is, if there aren't credible references, and you think it's a junk post, slap a delete notice on the page and see what happens; at worst someone will remove the notice and insult you for not knowing that some obscure player stats are vital to the survival of the human race.

Regards Peter S Strempel | Talk 05:52, 24 March 2011 (UTC)

You're absolutely right that is near impossible to delete sports figures. Which is why the only way to change this is to get an RFC at a wide scale to address the issue so that the sports wikiprojects cannot simply override it on volume. Ultimately, the goal would be to remove the presumption that notability is merited simply by playing in a game at the pro level. Now of course the other side is that there are probably 100,000s of sports figure articles out there (I believe soccer has in the 10,000s so if you add it up...) I would not encourage a mass deletion of minor figures, nor any individual editor going around trying to AFD any non-notable ones at a mass scale. I would certainly grandfather such articles for a year or so to give the various projects time to create redirects and the like, and even after then, simple standard pruning one by one over time. We simply just need to assert that the qualification "playing a game at the pro level" is not always equating to "significant coverage in secondary sources". --MASEM (t) 13:31, 24 March 2011 (UTC)
Although I'm coming late this discussion, there are some points which need to considered here:
  1. No player at the top level of his sport will lack some kind of career history; it's just that the person who created the stub didn't want to do the spade work to uncover those facts. Baseball & Basketball have their minor leagues, American Football has the college leagues, & I'd be surprised if Soccer doesn't have some kind of system to keep its reserve players in practice. The people who run these teams know where they can pull talent from in a pinch for a game or two; when was the last time a coach turned to his assistant & told him, "We're a man down tonight; you've got to find someone with talent who wants to play for us tonight."
  2. One thing that's driving this is that it's far easier to write an article about a specific event, person, or thing than a more generalized article. It's easier to write an article on Joe Blow who was called up to the South Succotash Couch Potatoes for two games, than to explain how & why the South Succotash couch Potatoes needed to call him up, & why they sent him back after two games. General articles are, for all subjects, a bitch due to the demands of researching the subject & integrating the material into an acceptably coherent narrative.
  3. As an aside, I believe someone raised a similar issue to this a few years ago: what to do with Olympic athletes who appeared for only one Olympic season, never won any medals, & about whom nothing was ever heard of again. Should there be links to their names, in hope someone might be able to write an article, or should these entries simply be left as a name in a list? (I never learned what the consensus about this was.)
  4. Lastly, the problem about which Jane complains is only the tip of an ice burg; there will be many further articles which, like the second-tier athletes who found themselves in the top tier for a game or two, are likely never to become more than a stub. For example, every article about a species will have a link to the person who gets credit for publishing the first description of the species; not all of them were scientists, let alone notable individuals. We will be faced with the problem in other areas of having articles which will never have sufficient material to be more than a stub, let alone having any reasonable expectation of being of interest to anyone. I don't know what to do about this problem, except to point out the problem our notability guidelines has created. -- llywrch (talk) 00:00, 29 March 2011 (UTC)
On #1 - a career history is primary information. Great to fill out an article, but not sufficient for notability. Understandably, compared to most average wikipedia editors (or any person), our resumes are not republished by major newspapers and magazines but at the same time, just repeat these without comment does not provide the necessary transformation of information for secondary coverage. We want to know why this player was selected, or what specific accomplishments made him a star, etc. Points that most other ATH criteria address.
On #4 - we have to be realistic and realize that our treatment of species and settlements falls into the exact same problems that athletes have - primary coverage but no reason why they are different. The only factor I'd consider for settlements is that they are necessarily finite - a large number, but there are only so many that exist in the world, and thus why we may consider an allowance for them. Species are boundless and so are athletes. We should not be afraid of using lists, tables, and redirects to be complete in these areas without dedicating stubby articles to each individual topic until it is shown it can grow larger. Most other fields deal with this in a sensible way. --MASEM (t) 00:14, 29 March 2011 (UTC)
Either I didn't do a good job of explaining myself (which is likely, because my three-year-old insisted I stop typing & play with her) you missed my point about #4. I'm not talking about the species themselves, but with the discoverer whose name is added at the end of the binomial nomenclature as the authority. In many articles on species -- for example see Panthera tigris -- the authority for the species is linked to a biographical article. In the case of P. tigris, the authority is a notable person, but in many cases the authority will not be a notable person. While biological authorities are not as boundless as species, they are as numerous as athletes; & the problem we have now with athletes is the same problem we will have with scientific authorities. Solve one, & we solve the other. That is all I meant to say in that point. -- llywrch (talk) 04:06, 29 March 2011 (UTC)


the problem is that our general notability guideline as written has nothing to do directly with notability, they are using the details of sourcing as a surrogate. People are notable for what they do, and it has nothing much to do with article count--except that if we do not have a source or reliable information we cannot write an article. Newspaper or official web site sports statistics are reliable, though they are indeed primary sources. They speak direct to the notability, which in this case is how well the person played. The assumption in the beginning here was that we would not be able to find such information except for people who were of importance, but with the growth of the googles and especially the increase in available newspapers this is no longer true, We need to use measures that have some relationship to the actual field of endeavor.-- thus the subject notability guidelines. In one case they do rely of specific sourcing--reviews prove the notability of creative professionals, but that's because obtaining such reviews is in fact the standard in that field. (To be clear, what I advocating is what I think should be the position we ought to move to. I think retaining the gNG as the primary criterion is getting more an more artificial.We should rather have clear subject specific guidelines for everything possible. Then we can argue about the number of games that should count & the level of the league, depending on where we want to set the cutoff. We can, after all, set it wherever we want to) DGG ( talk ) 05:05, 29 March 2011 (UTC)
No, really, our notability guidelines are tied in well to the concept of the english work wikt:notable - it is an allowance for an article where topics have been shown to be noted by a broad segment of mankind. Of course, the determining when something is notable is nearly 100% subjective, so WP:N's job is to define objective measures, either by the GNG or by the SNGs, both that require sourced evidence be provided to show the notable facet of the topic. It is directly comparable to WP:V's implication of truthful information by providing evidence that the statements can be verified. The problem, of late, is that people want to take a purely mechanical approach to this, and treat WP:N as meaning "requires secondary sources or you're out". Understanding the levels of meaning between WP:N, the GNG, and the SNGs is very important to resolving issues with notability.
That said, I have considered the idea of putting the sub-notability guidelines that amount to inclusion allowances, but by far the problem will start becoming that every Wikiproject and subgroup will want to define what they want to include. Because we are still a new type of work, and still (and will continue to be) trying to figure out the balance between all the possible topics we cover, it is better to focus on a normalized inclusion measure - like the GNG - which treats all topics fairly, and only bringing in the SNGs when there is clarity in what criteria a topic can meet that will assure that it is considered notable by its field.
When put like that, that's where the issue of "played at the pro level" becomes clear, because even as a non-to-vaguely interested sports fan, I know that third-stringers and benchwarmers at the pro level - though they might accumulate stats and other sourcing - are just not notable just for being there. Most of the other criteria at ATH make sense - because that shows something that not every athlete can do - but the simple career goal is just too loose a criteria. We can apply the same argument to any of these other classes of articles which seem to gain defacto passing of the notability guidelines and are always included, regardless.
Now, of course, we could say that WP should be more inclusive - allowing for articles on every athlete, every game, and so one - but we really have to get rid of notability and use verifyability as the key inclusion criteria. I don't see that happening anytime soon; while some may see an encyclopedia like that as being the best answer for most readers, editors have shown over and over that WP:N is a smart guideline to have to prevent this. --MASEM (t) 05:22, 29 March 2011 (UTC)
My take on this...Wikipedia, by the nature of both the manner in which articles are developed through small contributions by many editors, the editor demographic, and the readily available sources, is more of an encyclopedia of current popular culture and interest as opposed to an encyclopedia such as Britannica. The difference becomes especially marked in the area of biographies of living persons. For example, I looked at the Joe Morello page when he passed recently. Joe Morello is without dispute one of the top ten jazz drummers of all time, and he was also a highly influential educator. However, his Wikipedia page is grossly underdeveloped, and the article has not yet received a rating of importance (He was 82 when he passed). Why? My thoughts are that putting together a good page for him requires 1. online and off-line hard copy research - more time than the norm that would be expended or anticipated for an average edit contribution 2. a group of people who recognize his significance and have the interest (the mid-twenties age bracket of the average Wikipedia editor puts his most popular period, the late 50s and 60s, out of the range of any current knowledge, and 3. a degree of dedication in searching out old articles in newspapers and magazines and then spending the time to paraphrase and check accuracy, etc. I am starting to build that article, but it is sad that it would take my looking at the article upon his death to spur action. I currently have the highest individual edit count for that article. It is only 20 edits at this point, and I only started editing after his death a couple of weeks ago. Is there a reason why obscure sports figures get coverage, as opposed to others of equal or greater notability in other fields of work? Given the current parameters, yes. Is there a need for some type of change? My strong opinion is yes! Doc2234 (talk) 10:15, 29 March 2011 (UTC)
Huh? You seem to be in the wrong discussion. Notability only determines whether something should have a separate article and is completely unrelated the article quality. Your argument seems to be the general "X is underdeveloped, but Y is not. More attention should somehow be given to X at the expense of Y", which we get every few weeks but never goes anywhere. The reason for this is simple: we are a volunteer project and can't force people to devote attention to areas they do not care about. Yoenit (talk) 10:44, 29 March 2011 (UTC)
Yes, the simple reason that you explained is causing Jane Peppler's concern, and that is a cause for the problem. My explanation dealt with my own current issue which may not talk exactly to the point of discussion, however, the three issues that I outlined are in my opinion elements that contribute to the problem. In my view, Wikipedia is losing an opportunity to be more comprehensive by not in some way organizing a special project to add (or more fully develop) content that is definitely of encyclopedic value/meets a certain degree of notablility, but not so popular with the editor base. Hopefully, there would be some volunteers who would have that interest and be able to devote some time. Doc2234 (talk) 13:51, 29 March 2011 (UTC)
The issues that you are concerned with are dealt with in two manners - the fact we have SNGs that provide for specific cases of notability when meeting the GNG may be difficult to show at an immediate time (due to sources being offline or difficult to access, for example), and that we don't expect articles to be perfect. If an article on a non-contemporary topic is not fully developed but provides a few sources to show it notable, no one is going to delete it even though it still can be improved. Yes, it would be nice to have more volunteers to improve it, but the concern of losing information because its not contemporary is not of issue here. --MASEM (t) 14:03, 29 March 2011 (UTC)
I fervently agree with Doc2234 that wikipedia is way skewed towards (1) things of interest to young people (and sports fanatics); (2) things which can automatically be sourced with no effort by just looking at some list of statistics online. Did I even see somewhere on Wikipedia a suggestion that an online reference is preferable to one which exists only on paper in a library? Which is like a bakery crushing up yesterday's baked goods to make the "stuffing" for today's. In fact, isn't it sort of like content farms? And the reason we are all so aggravated when we look something up and see the same single pathetic piece of information duplicated on site after site? When people think everything worth knowing must already be online, we skew towards the modern world. Have people forgotten that not everything important has already been typed onto a website? Wikipedia editors could be adding value by going outside of what is already on the web and bringing new (old) information on board. "Joe" on this year's basketball bench is not notable just because his statistics are easily available; Joe Morello (see above) is not non-notable because one would have to get up off one's butt and go to a library to research him. I know this is not exactly on-topic but it's a sore spot, since my first article Fanny Gordon (on a really famous and influential Polish composer from the 1930s) was challenged on notability and it made me grrrrrrrrrrr.Jane Peppler (talk) 10:34, 31 March 2011 (UTC)
I looked at the history of Fanny Gordon and it doesn't appear to have been challenged based on notability at all. Can you provide a link for that challenge? Yoenit (talk) 10:48, 31 March 2011 (UTC)
I agree that Wikipedia has gaps around items that require offline sourcing, especially subjects that were notable during the mid-20th century. Copyright plays a role here, because for subjects that were notable before 1923 often have public domain sources, and more recent subjects are within the personal memories of many editors. But this has relatively little to do with the question of minor sports figures, many of whom are not truly notable regardless of whether one looks at online sources or offline ones. No one here is suggesting deletion of articles about sports figures with substantial histories, even if the timing of their careers puts them in one of Wikipedia's chronological blind spots. But the guy who played one pro match probably isn't notable whether he did it in 1908, 1958 or 2008. --RL0919 (talk) 12:35, 31 March 2011 (UTC)
People talking about one pro match are talking about outdated criteria. Almost all sports now have much more stringent criteria in WP:NSPORTS than one pro match. The one pro match was from the old WP:ATHLETE and no longer exists. The criteria for most sports that have pro levels is one match in the highest pro level, the reason for this being is that anyone even someone who plays a single game at the highest level has almost without question had things written about him in either their minor pro years or their amateur years. You don't make it to the top level of a professional sport without having your earlier years documented in articles. Either people haven't realized the requirements changed a year ago, or they are misunderstanding that one match at the highest level is not the same thing as one professional match period. Someone who has played one pro match as a low level pro probably doesn't have notablity, but someone who has played one match at the top league will have been written about when they were in the minor league because in order to get called up to the top league you had to be one of the best in the minor league and in sports the minor leagues are covered extensively as well for most sports which means the best players in the minors would definitely have been written about. -DJSasso (talk) 13:22, 31 March 2011 (UTC)
It doesn't matter if its playing at the pro level or playing one game at the pro level - its fundamentally wrong. You may claim that players will be written up about their college, minor league, or amateur level performance before playing the pros but all I've seen when I spot check articles is primary data and statistics from these periods - nothing that infers notability. Playing one pro game does not necessarily change that. (I can argue that for many other professions, similar "criteria" could exist but of course we reject those elsewhere) Or lets put it another way: claiming one game at the pro level is sufficient for notability violates WP:BLP1E.
Note that we're not talking about getting rid of information about these players, however, but instead recognize that they don't deserve standalone articles. I have no problem culling all these players into appropriate lists (likely sorted alphabetically per league) so that the basic information is there, and searchable by redirects. But standalone articles for these players are contrary to every other field on WP. --MASEM (t) 13:56, 31 March 2011 (UTC)
I would support that. Articles such as Abdulrahman Akkari should be merged into something like List of Syrian soccer players. Yoenit (talk) 14:06, 31 March 2011 (UTC)
And for all the claims I see like this in the various debates people bring up, no one has ever been able to point to an article of a professional playing in the top level professional league who couldn't be sourced to more than just stats. Not once, other than very old players who are clearly going to require looking at old newspaper archives for 100 years ago. And I would note claiming one game at the top pro level violates WP:BLP1E is wrong as well. It's not the one game that made him notable, its the career that lead to the one game. The one game is just a red line cut off that makes it easy to see when RSes are likely to exist. Its not the game that made him notable its the career that culminated in it. -DJSasso (talk) 14:12, 31 March 2011 (UTC)
In that case, would you be so kind to provide said coverage for Abdulrahman Akkari? Yoenit (talk) 14:16, 31 March 2011 (UTC)
I don't follow soccer so I wouldn't know where to look. Something tells me that the Syrian Premier League isn't the top soccer league in the world either. I would also note the football guidelines are one of the outliers that for some reason hasn't been made as strict as the others. I would support strengthening the soccer part of NSPORTS to match say the WP:NHOCKEY section which as I mentioned require playing in a top league as opposed to just any pro league. That being said I will look to see if I can find anything about him. -DJSasso (talk) 14:23, 31 March 2011 (UTC)
When you say "played one pro game" as a sign of notability, that means you presume there are non-routine independent secondary sources that can be added about that player that already exist as soon as they step onto the field. Now, granted, I can see this being true for a good fraction of players, but not anywhere close to 100% as the claim being made here. Coverage of the player's career prior to the big leagues, from local and regional sources, routine game coverage, and the like are not sufficient to show notability.
What becomes more and more clear is that either the player is already notable before they get to the pro level, or their career at the pro level is what will lead them to become notable. The point of playing one pro game is a false measure of notability that wouldn't work anywhere else on WP. --MASEM (t) 14:29, 31 March 2011 (UTC)
Except there is nothing that says regional coverage is not sufficient to show notability, while I know you have argued it in the past, there is no guideline that says so. Not to mention, at least in North America, that there are national magazines and papers that cover only the minor leagues of specific sports. And yes that is exactly the point, most players who play a single game in the top pro league are notable before they get to the top pro league, this is why we use that as a cut off point. The whole point is to make the cut off line where that is almost a 100% chance of meeting GNG. But its not always going to be the case and it says that right on the guideline that meeting the guideline does not necessarily mean an article should be kept. -DJSasso (talk) 14:36, 31 March 2011 (UTC)
Regional coverage are generally discounted because it is not the same as "significant coverage"; they are fine as WP:V sources but not as notability sources because they are not broad enough (of course, that depends on exactly the region, the field, what the work normally covers, etc.) And the "played one pro game" is still a problem as because that aspect immediately is biased to sports in first world nations and that are very popular. As I mentioned above, I have no doubt that the amount of press, and as a result, the percentage of people that we would consider notable of the entire body of players for that nation/sport would be higher than for other less popular sports or from less-developed nations; that I can accept. But just because this type of press exists for these specific cases does not mean it applies to all cases, and creates a situation where other cases want to have weak inclusion criteria like that.
The other problem that happens is that while you do identify that the ATH guideline does say that meeting the guideline doesn't necessarily mean the article should be kept, but that is not what happens at AFD. Sports-interested editors will point to that clause and say "it passes, you can't delete it" and because of the pile-on nature when these types of deletions occur, the article will be kept. (this happens from other SNGs too, this is not a limited effect seen just at ATH articles). We need to be highly selective with criteria that are certain to be GNG notable with exceptional cases, not criteria that will likely meet the GNG. If you take out the "played one pro game" criteria from ATH, I'd agree with nearly all the rest assuredly give GNG sources in the long run, but cannot agree with as high confidence of someone playing at pro. --MASEM (t) 17:48, 31 March 2011 (UTC)
I don't agree that regional coverage is generally discounted for notability reasons. Local politicians are regularely deemed notable when they get mentions only in their local papers. Played one pro game isn't biased, because its not about saying someone is better than someone else, its just more likely that athletes in first world nations are more likely to be written about. As for how its treated in AFD well that brings up a whole different can of worms. Technically guidelines are supposed to be descriptive not prescriptive. So if people at Afd are routinely saying that doing x means someone is notable a majority of the time, then our notability guidelines are supposed to adapt to meet what people at Afd consider notable. (not that I think that is necessarily the way to go) -DJSasso (talk) 19:13, 31 March 2011 (UTC)
But that's how regional coverage is, so local politicians (note, acting at the local level, as opposed to a Senator or Congressman) that are only sourced to local sources shouldn't have articles either. But mind you, we're usually talking those that have achieved a high level like mayorship in a major metro city, or state representative; these would be the ATH equilvalents of winning awards, Hall of Fame inductions, and the like. Not every political representative of a major city listed, only the major ones.
On the AFD process, you missed my point that editors selectivity read what the guidelines say, and hence the problem. We also have to deal with the fact that athlete-related topics generally seem to have their own walled garden, that it is very difficult to get outside opinion to bring down the claims of many from within it. --MASEM (t) 00:01, 1 April 2011 (UTC)