Wikipedia:Village pump (policy)/Archive 89

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Why do articles on non-notable topics need deleting?

I'm interested to know why articles on non-notable topics are deleted. I mean, I get that not many people will read them, but if no one reads it is doesn't cause anyone a problem ( it's not like you have to scroll through an index of all the articles)and if someone reads it is clearly at least marginally notable. So basically what I want to know is: what HARM do non-notable articles do? please can someone explain. Alicianpig (talk) 10:59, 25 July 2011 (UTC)

I get the feeling you are misunderstanding what 'notable' means in the context of Wikipedia. It means that someone has taken the trouble to write something specifically about it in a reliable source. If an article cannot be supported with some sort of reasonable source it is just whatever the editor wrote. Wikipedia is not a blog for peoples ramblings and the more rubbish there is around like that them more cluttered and messy and filled with rubbish it becomes. People look up wikipedia and it is better they find nothing than that we waste their time on a load of garbage. The reputation of Wikipedia should not be sacrificed that way. Dmcq (talk) 11:12, 25 July 2011 (UTC)
I see where you're coming from. The area I would have a concern is biographical. I guess we wouldn't want Wikipedia to fill up with thousands of articles on people with little verifiable information. That could become a battleground for POV, vandalism or self-publicity and a host of other problems. It could add a huge policing and management burden! --Bermicourt (talk) 11:15, 25 July 2011 (UTC)
The problem with a policy of allowing articles about any topic is that it makes Wikipedia look like a catalogue over the obscure. Typically, articles like this will only sourced by the subjects' own websites or publications. Wikipedia's purpose is to be an encyclopedia, not a directory, and without notability guidelines at all we dilute that purpose, this will in turn reduce Wikipedia's credibility. Sjakkalle (Check!) 11:21, 25 July 2011 (UTC)
In the information age where technology allows someone to, in seconds, give you more "information" in seconds than you can read in a lifetime, we learn that real information is defined by narrowing. In this sense the vetting by the notability requirement increases the true information content of Wikipedia. North8000 (talk) 11:24, 25 July 2011 (UTC)

Bermicourt: I see what you mean. That makes sense. Thanks Alicianpig (talk) 11:27, 25 July 2011 (UTC)

Dmcq: I don't really see how it could be cluttered as you only find what you search for. someone looking up World War Two isn't going to find an article on Bob's favourite colour of fairy liquid. Surely however much rubbish there is you still find what you're looking for. Thanks Alicianpig (talk) 11:27, 25 July 2011 (UTC)

North8000: Surely it doesn't increase the amount of 'true information', rather it decreases the amount of information which most people may find useless and insignificant but which may be useful to a select group of people. Because you locate information by searching rather than by looking through a list, narrowing is not neccessary as it is easy to filter what you find by what you search. Thanks Alicianpig (talk) 12:35, 25 July 2011 (UTC)

Sjakkalle: wikipedia already has very little credibility. Alicianpig (talk) 12:38, 25 July 2011 (UTC)

An encyclopedia is a compendium of knowledge, not a vacuum cleaner that sucks in every scrap in its path. We as editors choose what is important to the sum of human knowledge and what is trivial. Tarc (talk) 12:48, 25 July 2011 (UTC)
You say that "wikipedia already has very little credibility", so how is adding an "article on Bob's favourite colour of fairy liquid" going to improve wikipedia's credibility? In my opinion adding all these trivial pieces of data will reduce the credibility of wikipedia and in answer to your original question, that is the harm that non-notable articles do. GB fan please review my editing 12:57, 25 July 2011 (UTC)

GB Fan: If an article is of a non-notable subject which no one will look at, who will see it and think wikipedia is non-notable? Someone who would not think it was notable will not know about it to look it up, and someone who looks it up must think it is at least notable enough to be on wikipedia. Alicianpig (talk) 14:30, 25 July 2011 (UTC)

What you are describing is already available elsewhere. It's called the entire internet, searchable by Google.  :-) Wikipedia is different.North8000 (talk) 14:52, 25 July 2011 (UTC)
I think the notability bar should be lowered, but not removed entirely. An article about your pet cat is obviously of no use to the general population. But, articles about household objects, no matter how obscure, might be of some value to somebody. StuRat (talk) 14:55, 25 July 2011 (UTC)
I think a lot of this discussion focuses on verifiability is missing the main reason (imo) for notability criteria. WP articles should improve over time through the efforts of a number of contributors. The notability criteria insure that there will, at least in theory, be a pool of editors who are knowledgeable enough about the subject to improve it, as opposed to a single person who may put his/her own point of view into it. WP has been used as a vehicle for people promoting themselves or their own work and verifiability alone does not suffice to prevent this. For people as subjects there are privacy concerns as well. Notability also helps verifiability by insuring that it is possible to verify the information without overly specialized knowledge. If a subject is so arcane that only a few specialists can understand what the references are saying then it's unlikely that anyone but the author will be able to verify the information, in other words having references does no good if the only editor who can read them is the person writing the article.--RDBury (talk) 14:57, 25 July 2011 (UTC)
I don't want my non-notable subject to be just on the internet, I want it to be in Wikipedia, which is much more prestigious because they don't allow articles on non-notable subjects. :-) North8000 (talk) 15:00, 25 July 2011 (UTC)
As this is a volunteer site, the culture is very important. You've heard of the broken window theory? Allowing articles on non-notable subjects will negatively affect the entire encyclopedia in the same way that a single damaged building negatively affects an entire neighborhood. It's easy to think that those articles aren't hurting anyone because they're "separate" from the real articles, but they will delegitimize our editing culture. We take verifiability, content, and layout seriously, and we hold each other to a higher standard than the bare minimum. If we stop doing that across the board, then there's nothing holding the ship together. Yes, some people will still care about those policies even if we allowed stray articles, but the culture of quality won't have the same energy or strength. Once you weaken that culture, you won't get it back. —Designate (talk) 16:23, 25 July 2011 (UTC)
I admit that I find good arguments on both sides of this. I agree that we shouldn't add everything to the pedia but all too aften I have seen very weak arguments get articles deleted due to a perceived lack of notability. The problem is that notability is subjective. For example, international football players (soccer for us Americans) are less than notable for me and I wouldn't bat an eye if they all suddently disappeared one night, others would certainly scream. Likewise I would scream if someone deleted all the Medal of Honor recipients, others couldn't care less and consider all or most of them Wikiclutter. My point is that we should be careful to discount an article as simply being non notible because we individually don't care about it. In some cases there are very good references and enough information to build a very good article, even though the context of the article may stretch the limits of notability. One article of dubious notability that comes to mind is Chief Mouser to the Cabinet Office. --Kumioko (talk) 16:46, 25 July 2011 (UTC)
Agree North8000 (talk) 17:03, 25 July 2011 (UTC)
Those cats satisfy the Wikipedia criteria for a notable topic quite easily. The criteria are pretty much non-subjective. It does sort of emphasise though how thoroughly unnotable non-notable topics are. Dmcq (talk) 17:55, 25 July 2011 (UTC)
Kumioko, have you read Wikipedia:Notability? —Designate (talk) 20:38, 25 July 2011 (UTC)
Yes Designate I am very familiar with those rules but I am also aware that several projects have set their own "notability" guidelines, we have other guidelines that conflict or supercede Wikipedia:Notability and that on occassion the criteria has been overlooked for several reasons. All I am trying to say is that notability is not a black and white rule and sometimes there is a grey area group of articles that might be allowable. --Kumioko (talk) 14:18, 27 July 2011 (UTC)

I understand that some things are not relevant, such as an article on your pet cat, but take for example the article on whinge wars. The type of subject isn't intrinsicly non notable, but that particular game is not. What few sources there are about it are written, and there is nothing unreliable about the article. However, in this instance the subject matter is not well known.

North8000: if you made a wikipedia article called (for example) Bob's favourite washing up liquid, then searched Bob's favourite washing up liquid, you would find the article. If you made a website with the same name then searched it on google, you wouldn't be able to find it.

Alicianpig (talk) 18:35, 25 July 2011 (UTC)

One of the reasons why I'm a big supporter of our notability guideline is because it helps prevent Wikipedia from being misused. Currently, we don't allow articles about non-notable subjects. That means that the subject has already received attention, which has led to analysis by sources that we consider to be reliable, and we are able to draw from that analysis to write an unbiased and verifiable article. If we discard or unduly relax the notability guideline, then articles on subjects such as "whinge wars" can be created for the sole purpose of bringing attention to the subject. In effect, Wikipedia would become a place to make something notable, rather than a place for notable subjects. This would no longer be an encyclopedia at that point. Also, I don't buy the defeatist attitude that Wikipedia has zero credibility, if that was the case then it wouldn't be one of the most popular sites on the web. Sensible people don't take everything at face value at every article (after all, we're not allowed to use Wikipedia itself as a reliable source) but the reliability of this site has been favorably compared to the Encyclopedia Britannica which is rather high praise. -- Atama 19:42, 25 July 2011 (UTC)
Alicianpig, "Bob's favourite washing up liquid" could have its own Facebook page. Those are free, unregulated, and appear moderately high on Google searches. And you can (generally) get away with copyrighted photos. And unlike on Wikipedia, the creator of the Facebook page has total control. If "Bob's favourite washing up liquid" got into some kind of legal scandal, the Facebook page could pretend it never happened. Really, it's a better deal for promoting some obscure thing. Wikipedia's brand requires a certain editorial seriousness that you'd never get if only fans and owners ever saw the page. —Designate (talk) 20:58, 25 July 2011 (UTC)
We do not have articles on non-notable subjects primarily because it is not possible to write a fair, balanced, and neutral article on such subjects. You cannot write a fair article if no (or very few) WP:Independent sources have ever been WP:Published. WhatamIdoing (talk) 21:26, 25 July 2011 (UTC

This seems to contradict the assuming good faith policy. The internet is not the only source of information. someone who is an expert on a particular subject could write a perfectly good article without using online information, and assuming the editor is trying to help the project, it is not neccessary to prove the information with internet references.

Also, someone said that if people could make non-notable articles it would ruin wikipedia's credibility. However, the articles on notable subjects would be just as good as before, so it would not decrease the credibility of those. Alicianpig (talk) 18:44, 26 July 2011 (UTC)

No one has said that the sources have to be accessible on the internet. The information does have to be verifiable with reliable sources though. Those sources can be hard copy books, journals, newspapers or other sources that are not available on the internet. GB fan please review my editing 18:53, 26 July 2011 (UTC)
I give you a list of restaurants which I say are worth trying out. The first four all have slow service, surly staff, the food is indifferent at best and the prices extortionate. Are you going to go to the fifth one on the list or decide to stay in and order pizza? GraemeLeggett (talk) 18:56, 26 July 2011 (UTC)

There is no 'pizza'. Wikipedia is the easiest way to access information. Alicianpig (talk) 19:29, 26 July 2011 (UTC)

There's always pizza. I can name a very good pizza delivery service, or perhaps you prefer to collect. GraemeLeggett (talk) 19:36, 26 July 2011 (UTC)
Because Wikipedia is still immensely popular. And unfortunately, many organizations take advantage of that purely for SEO reasons. Imagine if Wikipedia was not as popular as it is right now, or if Wikipedia did not gather remotely as much Googlejuice as it has - would it still be that used as a place for just any bit of information? Would it be any more viable than Wikinfo? –MuZemike 03:44, 27 July 2011 (UTC)

I think this mostly comes down to whether or not there is any sourcing independent of the topic, with which one can build an article. While it has little to do with the sources being online or off, for most editors, online sources tend to be much easier to find and cite these days (though one must still be mindful about their independence and depth). Nobody can write an article drawn from sources they've written themselves which have not been independently published/cited, whatever their credentials may be, that's beyond the bounds allowed by the original research policy and beyond the ken of an encyclopedia. Why? Because without independent sourcing, the reader has no way to check up, if need be, on what they've read. The bounds on WP:BLP, articles about living people, are much sterner, because such articles can have meaningful sway on their lives. As for reliability, Wikipedia is not reliable, no encyclopedia is thought of as reliable. Wikipedia is a handy tool for looking stuff up, either as a quick, messy take on a topic, or as a means to get an overview for learning much more. Wikipedia is built mostly from independent secondary sources which the reader can one way or another check out. Since most secondary sources do carry deep flaws, so does Wikipedia. Reader beware. Gwen Gale (talk) 20:11, 26 July 2011 (UTC)

GraemeLeggett: Wikipedia is free pizza with free delivery. However bad something is, no one cares as long as it's free and easy to get Alicianpig (talk) 07:23, 27 July 2011 (UTC)

To continue on with this analogy, you are looking for a free delivery service for free food, not just free pizza. You are advocating that any variety of food be available for free with free delivery from one place. When you start expanding past pizza to chinese, mexican, and other varieties of food, you can't do any of it to any acceptable level. I would have to disagree with you that no one cares how bad something is if it is free and easy to get. I would rather pay for good food than be given bad food. GB fan please review my editing 12:57, 27 July 2011 (UTC)

If a pizza takeaway (continuing on the pizza theme) started selling all sorts of food, yes the new food would probably be badly done by the dodgy new people you bought in to make it, but the pizza would be just as good as before as long as the same pizza guy kept making it, and people who thought the pizza was good would keep coming for that. Alicianpig (talk) 13:26, 27 July 2011 (UTC)

To use an analogy a different way, notability is like limiting the list to real, commercial pizza restaurants, as confirmed according to certain methods. So people who are hoping to get in the pizza business if they could just get somebody to call them at their house, or a burger joint just thinking of getting into the pizza business are not listed. So the narrowing process adds important information and value to the list. North8000 (talk) 13:49, 27 July 2011 (UTC)
All of the stuff about SEO and notability is all smoke and mirrors, I think. We've been inching towards being more and more inclusive over the years, but there is a limit. it seems to me that Gwen hits the real motivation for placing the line where it is currently at... when it feels like a topic is unreferencable (garage bands for example, barring some instant fame... which turns a garage band into a mainstream group anyway), then the article isn't likely to survive here. That's the embodiment of what notability is supposed to say, but it seems as though people continually feel the need to tack on extra stuff to the notability standard idea (just like there's a lot of extra "smoke and mirrors" justifications being presented here).
— V = IR (Talk • Contribs) 15:28, 27 July 2011 (UTC)
I'm puzzled and stunned that nobody has mentioned the most important issue: who the hell would patrol all these articles for NPOV, verifiability, COI, etc.? There are over 3.5 million articles and rising, and we know there are all sorts of hidden pus pockets, walled gardens and pseudo-secret sections that don't get cleaned up because nobody happens to stumble on them. Add another 5-10 million articles (conservative estimate) on neighborhood bars, garage bands, high school glee clubs, and village council members from small Lesothan hamlets, and who would be able to maintain any quality whatsoever? We can't have articles on everything and everybody on a planet of 7 billion people and rising! --Orange Mike | Talk 02:10, 31 July 2011 (UTC)
I guess the argument is that if no one can find those articles, it doesn't matter whether they follow NPOV etc. I think that's a fairly nihilist viewpoint about what Wikipedia's purpose is. —Designate (talk) 03:18, 1 August 2011 (UTC)
That's the implication. The argument is that you can have an article about everything, and most of them will be low quality, and that would be "okay". My issue with that line of thinking is that we'd basically be a mirror of Google... what would be the point of that? Why would people search Wikipedia to find unreliable, biased, poorly maintained information about "everything" when there's hundreds of search engines that already do that? Dzlife (talk) 14:01, 2 August 2011 (UTC)

But articles on mainstream subjects could still be just as good no matter how many rubbish ones there were Alicianpig (talk) 07:49, 3 August 2011 (UTC)

I know this is a very late addition to the discussion but it's also a matter of reputation and mission. There's a reason no one takes a facebook page as a serious source of information. Wikipedia's goal is to be the free encyclopedia that anyone can edit. If we cease to be free, cease to be an encyclopedia, or cease letting anyone edit, then Wikipedia is no longer Wikipedia, it has failed. Ensuring only proper topics of encyclopedic merit are included is a core part of what we are. HominidMachinae (talk) 02:52, 6 August 2011 (UTC)

Using talk pages as a sandbox

Out of interest, is there any policy against this? An editor is using article talkpages as a sandbox (which I have reverted) and he has been using his talk page as such for longer...GiantSnowman 14:08, 5 August 2011 (UTC)

  • Nothing wrong with using your talk page for a sandbox. Should only use the articles talk page if it is to share with the community, to improve the article. JeepdaySock (AKA, Jeepday) 16:29, 5 August 2011 (UTC)
If an editor is proposing small changes and wants to get input from other editors, it is generally not much of a problem. The talk pages can also be used to save potentially salvageable content that has been removed from the article. However, it is always better to use a proper sandbox to work on complex article issues or rewrites. Also whole articles should never be "sandbox" on the talk pages because it will disrupt discussions over improvements to the article. —Farix (t | c) 17:40, 5 August 2011 (UTC)
OK, thank you, everything should be fine then - as stated, I have removed his massive additions to the article talkpage for the reasons mentioned above, but won't bother him to remove stuff from his talk page or anything. Regards, GiantSnowman 17:45, 5 August 2011 (UTC)

Overlinking in templates

Does WP:OVERLINK apply to links brought into articles by the use of templates? Specifically, stub templates. Please see the recently revived long-running discussion which is presently at WT:WSS#Possible overlinking in bio stubs. --Redrose64 (talk) 15:07, 6 August 2011 (UTC)

What on this? 16:18, 6 August 2011 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by Alberto Lopez Viñals (talkcontribs)

Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Canada-related articles has been marked as a guideline

Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Canada-related articles (edit | talk | history | links | watch | logs) has recently been edited to mark it as a guideline. This is an automated notice of the change (more information). -- VeblenBot (talk) 02:00, 7 August 2011 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Manual of Style (Canada-related articles) no longer marked as a guideline

Wikipedia:Manual of Style (Canada-related articles) (edit | talk | history | links | watch | logs) has been edited so that it is no longer marked as a guideline. It was previously marked as a guideline. This is an automated notice of the change (more information). -- VeblenBot (talk) 02:00, 7 August 2011 (UTC)

Primary sources apparently ok in some articles but not in all

I'm told that technically using the actual law that establishes a city (village, town, whatever) as a city, etc is a primary source and thereby not allowed but yet using a book, film, etc for article information is an acceptable form of primary source. I dont wish to start the second round of the "plot/spoilers war" we had like two years ago. I'm not talking about whether or not plots are allowed, I'm talking about why is it ok for books, movies, etc to be acceptable primary sources in use on themselves in those cases. There are plenty of secondary sources that cover the plot, actors, and anything else. So I'm just curious is it simply a matter of those individuals who work on those articles are a strong lobby or am I missing a reasoning?Camelbinky (talk) 04:17, 30 July 2011 (UTC)

There should be no difference for using them, certainly not in restrictions on the town/city primary sources, as long as they are sufficiently verifyiable. They can't be used alone to demonstrate notability for the city/town (that requires secondary information), but once notability's established, there shouldn't be further issues, though I do see some worry about an overrelinace on primary source for the bulk of information. --MASEM (t) 04:26, 30 July 2011 (UTC)
Yea, I'm just looking to use the actual laws to establish the correct year of incorporation. Because for alot of smaller towns and villages and especially for former ones no longer existing there are not alot of secondary sources that are easy to come by (many of the small towns in New York do not have websites with handy history sections).Camelbinky (talk) 04:34, 30 July 2011 (UTC)
Primary sources, when reliably published, can be used to support basic, uncontroversial information (such as plot) to supplement secondary sources. They can't be the basis for an entire article. It's not which articles use them, it's how they're being used that matters. —Designate (talk) 05:19, 30 July 2011 (UTC)
Who is telling you that you can't use primary sources as you describe. I can only see one of two possibilities here: 1) the person telling you this is mistaken; primary sources have a use, and can be used in limited fashion so long as you don't stretch them farther than they can be used. 2) You are misreprenting exactly how you are using primary sources; i.e. you are using them to support text which they should not be used for. I have no idea what the case is here, but if the use you describe (something as simple as the official incorporation date of a municiaplity), then the actual act of incorporation should be significant; unless there is some concrete reason to doubt the reliability of that primary source, or there are extenuating circumstances. However, excepting something unusual, in the limited application of primary sources you describe, I can't see anything to object to (presuming that your diff-less explanation of events can be trusted). If you really want a definitive answer, however, you are going to have to provide some diffs, both to your uses of the sources, and to the comments of people who are objecting. --Jayron32 06:24, 30 July 2011 (UTC)
Previous possibly related discussions: [1][2][3] Siawase (talk) 19:01, 30 July 2011 (UTC)
None of them appear to be related the particular problem, the issue with vital records of people was proving the primary source is talking about the right subject, as Designate and Jayron32 explained if it is clear and obvious that the primary source is talking about the correct subject then it can be used for factual information. What you cant do is make any sort of interpretation of the facts. So to say the Bigtown Incorporation Act was signed in April 1892 is a fact and you can reference the primary source (the Act), to say that the act allowed x or y is interpretation and not allowed. Really need to see what you actual issue is. MilborneOne (talk) 20:10, 31 July 2011 (UTC)
The actual policy directly says, "primary sources that have been reliably published may be used in Wikipedia". The restrictions are on how you use primary sources. (For example, declaring that a birth certificate for John Smith is about the specific John Smith who grew up to be a famous actor, is not a permitted use.) WhatamIdoing (talk) 01:50, 1 August 2011 (UTC)
WP:PRIMARY is clear on this. Nothing wrong with primary sources in of themselves. But articles should be based on third-party sources, not primary sources. I think this is also implied in the WP:GNG and WP:V, but I'm not sure where else. Dzlife (talk) 13:55, 2 August 2011 (UTC)
Well, actually, it doesn't say that. There are preferences for third-party (or "independent") sources, and there are preferences for secondary sources, but these are separate preferences. WP:Secondary does not mean independent. A third-party source can be (and often is) a primary source, too. WhatamIdoing (talk) 23:50, 2 August 2011 (UTC)
This is a perennial problem where trying to solve one problem -- cranks & fans of fringe theories attempting to use Wikipedia as a podium to broadcast their wacky ideas -- only made things worse in other ways. Use of primary sources for articles is discouraged because in certain areas -- which include history, literature, philosophy, religion -- people will cite the primary sources exclusively in order to present novel or idiosyncratic theories. ("Of course my theory about Christianity is right: all you need to do is read these passages I've taken out of context & you'll be convinced.") However people misread the word "discouraged" as "not allowed", & insist that everyone only use secondary sources -- even if these sources simply paraphrase the primary source -- & we end up with contributions that paraphrase the paraphrase. This also does a disservice to our readers who came to the article reasonably expecting a pointer to the sources. (I have encountered other editors removing citations from contributions I've made because I made them to primary sources.) The best solution is to find a middle course between these two extremes, which is simple & follows common sense. Unfortunately, doing so means you can't mechanically obey a stated policy or guideline, no matter how it's worded; one must actually think about the problem & accept that different instances require different solutions.

But to respond to the original poster's question if all you are doing is, in effect, repeating what the source says & not offering your interpretation of what it says, then don't worry about it. Yes, primary sources are often wrong about details -- even the most reliable ones are incorrect about some of their facts -- but that's why we have WP:NPOV. The article states what the primary source says on one hand, & what corrections the recognized experts have made about the matter on the other. (And if the experts haven't made corrections, then one should reasonably assume the primary source is correct.) -- llywrch (talk) 07:15, 7 August 2011 (UTC)

Hyphen replacement

In view of ongoing hyphen replacement with endash in the words, beginning with "anti-" (which is performed by bots as well), I just noticed a deviation from WP:ENDASH. The prefix "anti" is not an individual, standalone word, as suggested by the guideline (as it's always succeeded by noun or adjective), and as such does not require a separating endash (apparently that's why one of the examples in WP:ENDASH, "a pro-establishment–anti-intellectual alliance", is written with hyphen, not endash. This is exactly the idea envisaged by WP:HYPHEN ("to link certain prefixes") Most likely the guideline's wording should be amended (because it's hardly, if ever, possible to substitute the prefix "anti" with the word "versus", as recommended by WP:ENDASH), with the existing moves being reversed. --Brandmeister t 13:08, 6 August 2011 (UTC)

Can you give an example of such a replacement?--Kotniski (talk) 13:18, 6 August 2011 (UTC)
Category:Anti–nuclear weapons activists, Category:Anti–Iraq War activists, Category:Anti–Vietnam War activists and subcategories, most of the moves are being performed by Cydebot I think. Brandmeister t 13:47, 6 August 2011 (UTC)
The examples you cite should contain en dashes per rule 3 of MOS:ENDASH ("Instead of a hyphen, when applying a prefix to a compound that includes a space"). Since "nuclear weapons", "Iraq War", and "Vietnam War" are open compounds, an en dash rather than a hyphen is used when adding a prefix (like anti-) to any of them. Deor (talk) 14:20, 6 August 2011 (UTC)
Yes, that's what I was about to say. The reason being, of course, that we try to make it clear that these are not, for example, war activists who are anti-Iraq.--Kotniski (talk) 14:23, 6 August 2011 (UTC)
I have no objection to the endashes here and understand the theory. But I beg to doubt that it's effective in making such a thing clear. If you're not specifically looking for the difference, or unless you've been trained to see it, the difference between a hyphen and an endash is essentially not noticeable.
In effect, readers are going to disambiguate these by pragmatics, because "war activists who are anti-Iraq" just doesn't make all that much sense, or maybe it even does but it's not the sort of thing people really say. That will be the same whether a dash or a hyphen is used. If the pragmatics is not thought to be reliable, then these need to be reworded, because an endash is not going to take care of it. --Trovatore (talk) 07:28, 7 August 2011 (UTC)
Slight digress, so "anti(hypen)aircraft warfare" is action against aircraft and "anti(endash)aircraft warfare" is (something) against using aircraft in war. What a trap hidden in a (very) slight difference in the length of a line. GraemeLeggett (talk) 09:04, 7 August 2011 (UTC)
The guideline states that a recast is preferable in these cases. So 'Activists against the Iraq War' should be the preferred. This may be a rule in Strunk and White, but I think it's more likely that people who notice the difference will try to put the hyphen back in because it's correct in most cases rather than get any disambiguation value from it.--RDBury (talk) 09:25, 7 August 2011 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Ireland-related articles has been marked as a guideline

Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Ireland-related articles (edit | talk | history | links | watch | logs) has recently been edited to mark it as a guideline. This is an automated notice of the change (more information). -- VeblenBot (talk) 02:00, 8 August 2011 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Manual of Style (Ireland-related articles) no longer marked as a guideline

Wikipedia:Manual of Style (Ireland-related articles) (edit | talk | history | links | watch | logs) has been edited so that it is no longer marked as a guideline. It was previously marked as a guideline. This is an automated notice of the change (more information). -- VeblenBot (talk) 02:00, 8 August 2011 (UTC)


This discussion has been closed. Please do not modify it.
The following discussion has been closed. Please do not modify it.

Stub articles are a drain on Wikipedia's resources. They should be deleted after six months if they are not accepted as a Good Article (GA). Allowing them to be here encourages lazy editing.--andreasegde (talk) 23:29, 8 August 2011 (UTC)

What resources, exactly, do they drain? Resolute 23:54, 8 August 2011 (UTC)
That's a laugh. GAs practically take six months. —Designate (talk) 23:55, 8 August 2011 (UTC)
How many guidelines or policies explicitely or implicitely state something along the way of "we are a work in progress your edits need not be perfect". This proposal not only would violate that but require the rewording of many guidelines if not policies because we cant very well have policies contradicting something like this if it ever actually got consensus. Heaven help us if it did. 4 of the 40 articles I've created or expanded from stubs would have to be deleted simply because of lack of energy to through such a process. That would make me sad.Camelbinky (talk) 00:22, 9 August 2011 (UTC)
This has about as much chance of happening as I have of becoming the next Pope, even though me becoming Pope is a better idea. Bretonbanquet (talk) 00:33, 9 August 2011 (UTC)

Ignore this guy. He's popped up several times on my watchlist today making inflammatory or otherwise less than useful statements. It's probably my fault for responding to him on his talk page that this wound up here. My bad I guess. Can we snow close this now? Sven Manguard Wha? 00:43, 9 August 2011 (UTC)

Protection of policy pages

I'd like to throw around the idea of fully protecting policy pages. Past discussion on this (see: Wikipedia:Village_pump_(policy)/Archive_58#Full_protect_important_policies, for example) seems to have revolved around the idea that "Wikipedia is not a bureaucracy", "Wikipedia is the encyclopedia that anyone can edit", and "too much fork for admins". My first thought is that pages in the Wikipedia namespace, and especially policy pages, are encyclopedic content. I mention this because it seems to me that the past opposition to this has relied on the idea that the encyclopedic content should be editable by anyone, which is an idea that I very much agree with. However, our policies (which aren't "rules", but are commonly agreed to community standards) are not the same as our content. I don't think that they should change much, and any changes should go through a minimum amount of procedural process in order to ensure that they meet expectations.

For the most part, this is already the way that policy pages work, in that any change to any policy page is almost reflexively reverted until and unless a significant number of participants force the change through or agree to it. Part of the problem though is that this leads to some rather unnecessarily emotional confrontations, which even leads to editors being blocked occasionally, or dragged through one or more of our dispute resolution processes. One reason why I think this happens so often is that we've chosen to leave our policy and guideline pages to appear as though they are the same as our article content, when clearly the reality is much different. We should do something in order to make that distinction real to would be editors. Using some sort of protection isn't going to solve all of our problems when it comes to dealing with policy pages, but it should help.

Alternatives to using Full protection include semi protection or some form of pending changes. I don't like the idea of using semi because it only affects IP's, which sends the wrong "political" message in my eyes. Using pending changes may be good to think about, but... I just think that it would be best for everyone if all editors were required to start a talk page discussion prior to any change. Administrators are, of course, able to edit though full protection, which could turn into a real problem (and I'm sure that it will be a significant drama filled issue at some point in the future, if something comes from this), but that's at least part of what arbcom is for. More importantly, it'll likely be clear as day what's going on if some admin in the middle of a dispute goes and edits through protection to change policy. We're remarkably good at catching and punishing people for things like that, now.
— V = IR (Talk • Contribs) 16:57, 2 August 2011 (UTC)

  • Oppose full protection: we shouldn't have to find an admin to fix grammar, update a link, or do other basic maintenance. Either semi-protection or pending changes would be okay with me. I checked about a third of them, and it appears that about half are already semi-protected. WhatamIdoing (talk) 20:47, 2 August 2011 (UTC)
    The idea that "we shouldn't have to find an admin to fix grammar" was the big issue mentioned in the past (or, at least, in the discussion that I linked to above), but... I don't completely buy it. First of all, all of the documents that this would affect are fairly mature now, so while I wouldn't say that they are free of grammatical, spelling, and other basic language problems (they certainly aren't), but that's one of the largest areas or contention with policy pages, so all of those edits that probably should be "uncontroversial" really are controversial (people tend to object that the meaning is being changed... which, sometimes it is, and sometimes it isn't). I'm not a huge fan of any of this really (I've opposed some form of this or another, in the past), but it seems to reflect the reality of what's going on, and like I said above I think that it'll lead to fewer disputes rather than more. I'd kinda prefer pending changes myself, but... I'm concerned with the baggage that system brings with it, at this point.
    — V = IR (Talk • Contribs) 21:46, 2 August 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose per "meh". --Jayron32 03:42, 3 August 2011 (UTC)
  • Certainly pages containing containing properly constituted "policy" should be protected, but as far as I know we have very few of those at the moment - we just have a set of pages which attempt, imperfectly and sometimes deliberately badly, to describe certain aspects of Wikipedia life, and which people have at one time or another found it pleasing or expedient to label with the "policy" banner. It's already hard enough to make even the tiniest improvement to some of these pages without having to go through reams of absurd discussion with people who treat them as some kind of holy scripture; I fear that having them protected would make it even worse.--Kotniski (talk) 05:02, 3 August 2011 (UTC)
    • What he said... --Jayron32 05:10, 3 August 2011 (UTC)
  • Support full protection Recent issues have arisen due to editors changing policy pages without consensus, full protection will make sure that consensus is reached. I do not believe that spelling errors and grammar is too big of an issue on policy pages, but if it is an edit request really isn't hard to make. Ryan Vesey Review me! 06:08, 3 August 2011 (UTC)
  • Support full protection on very specific pages, namely the 5 pillars page, and other pages that state the foundation of Wikipedia. Consensus can change slowly over time, but there are a few things that wouldn't. - Penwhale | dance in the air and follow his steps 06:23, 3 August 2011 (UTC)
    But what reason is there to suppose that the version you happen to protect reflects the established consensus? In fact, changes of substance on these pages get reverted pretty quickly anyway, but changes of presentation are being made all the time, and these (at least, those that don't get reverted) are generally improvements. --Kotniski (talk) 06:53, 3 August 2011 (UTC)
  • Perhaps; but only after some kind of full community discussion and ratification process, as was gone through recently with the new Arbitration Policy, to give the protected version some kind of real authority.--Kotniski (talk) 08:32, 3 August 2011 (UTC)
  • Except that WP:Five pillars isn't officially a policy. It's a summary of policies and WP:Principles, but has no different status from WP:TRIFECTA, or any of the other description of policies, or any new description of these policies that you might decide to write tomorrow. (Yes, I know there are a few editors who believe that even Trifecta is an official policy, and there is much to be said for Jimmy Wales' "British-style" approach, in which the "real policy" is the principles themselves rather than any specific written embodiment of them, but the majority of the community disagrees, and has refused to have 5P listed as a policy for several years now.)
    Most of the "real" foundational documents aren't kept on the English Wikipedia; they're over at the WMF site. Our foundational policies are WP:NPOV and WP:NOT, which was written several years before Neutrality (talk · contribs) started 5P as a simple summary for newbies. (I know: lots of people have gone about saying that 5P is foundational and original and terribly old and all the important policies derived from it, and everyone AGFs the description, but none of that's true: 5P was written years after NPOV, NOT, IAR, and WP:V were created.) WhatamIdoing (talk) 04:26, 4 August 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose Admins have no greater standing in editing policy than editors do, and I'm so far inclined towards keeping things the way they are. I do not agree with the suggestion that admin misconduct is being sanctioned as intended by the Community. And frankly, most of the problems are going to turn up on the guideline pages rather than the policy pages. I also don't think semi protection will send out the wrong political message because it logically follows that although it's a free encyclopedia that most people can edit, there are rules and its not the intention of this website to allow those users to edit the rules however they like; if they are under that wrong impression, it's better to correct that at the outset. The idea was to get them to edit articles. Ncmvocalist (talk) 15:55, 3 August 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose per Ncmvocalist though I'd also oppose pre-emptive semi protection. causa sui (talk) 21:12, 4 August 2011 (UTC)
  • You know, I was amused the other day when I hit the edit button on what was then Today's Featured Article and was greeted by Template:TFA-editnotice. I was going to suggest something in that spirit -- and it already exists. Perhaps it should be more prominent if people aren't seeing it. I'm more curious whether there's any truth (preferably with examples) to Ryan Vesey's claim that the shambolic nature of Wikipedia has led to problematic changes slipping through the net. John Slocum (talk) 08:16, 6 August 2011 (UTC)
  • Opppose, per Kotniski and Jayron32. The problem isn't that people can edit the policy pages. The problem is that some editors – particularly those with an unfortunate wikilawyering bent – believe erroneously that policy pages are holy scripture etched in stone, and must be followed to the letter. Actually etching them in stone by fully protecting the pages is unlikely to resolve this confusion. TenOfAllTrades(talk) 17:32, 6 August 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Without protection, any policy page can be changed by any idiot to state anything at any time -- & does. As a result, Wikipedia:Ignore all rules will always be a critical part of Wikipedia policy. In other words, providing a convincing explanation for doing something in a specific way is more important than being able to cite policy at a given moment. -- llywrch (talk) 06:06, 8 August 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose because in practice it just makes admins the arbiters of policy. Appreciate the spirit of it. But the occasional revert isn't so bad. Maybe a few policy pages are more likely to be vandalized than others. Do it case by case. Dzlife (talk) 15:46, 8 August 2011 (UTC)
  • Support semi, oppose full - I think we do need to keep our policy pages reasonably safe from vandalism, and keeping them semi-protected does this. I think that full protection is too much, though - I find that several of the reasons given against it are convincing (admins aren't the arbiters of policy, etching in stone, finding an admin to make small changes etc). עוד מישהו Od Mishehu 10:31, 10 August 2011 (UTC)

Essay, seeking feedback

I've been working on User:Tryptofish/Arguments to avoid in image deletion discussions. Feedback prior to moving it into the mainspace would be welcome (there, rather than here). Thanks! --Tryptofish (talk) 19:53, 5 August 2011 (UTC)

  • Comment - This isn't gonna improve the world, it's just going to add another set of snarky WP:WPISMS that established editors can spout at newbies as unintelligible acronyms. Stuff like: A file must satisfy all ten criteria listed at WP:NFCC, is factually incorrect, an image being in the public domain trumps all of that. It would be far better to have an essay called "How to tell if an image is in the public domain" and then to make sure that the upload form actually includes all valid public domain licenses among its pulldown menu. Stuff like


for example, which no newbie has access to, even if they apply.

So I would respectfully suggest that you burn the whole thing and start over from that angle. We don't need to make photo uploading any more difficult and convoluted than it already is... Carrite (talk) 15:38, 8 August 2011 (UTC)

I like it. It needs work, but there is certainly no need to burn the whole thing and start over from scratch. This page is not intended to educate users on whether photographs are in the public domain, and it doesn't make photo uploading any more difficult; it seeks to educate users on how to better navigate the image deletion process. It looks like you put a lot of work into this Trypto, and you're not too far from publishing. I'll try to leave some comments on the talk page. —SW— spill the beans 01:47, 9 August 2011 (UTC)
Thanks SW. Carrite, I'm going to go back and check whether the wording is misleading about the fact that only a non-free file has to satisfy the non-free criteria. Of course you are right that the criteria do not apply to public domain or any other free media. As for burning, well... The way I got into this was by way of my own experience with being on the receiving end of snarky (and worse) comments in the course of XfDs. I saw some of the originators of those comments end up at WP:ANI (not brought there by me, please understand)—and that, in turn, led other editors to start Wikipedia:Requests for comment/Non-free content enforcement, which is well worth a look. This essay grew out of discussion there. The intent is that the essay would, as does Wikipedia:Arguments to avoid in deletion discussions, serve as a resource for raising the quality of discourse. I think that things like WP:IDONTLIKEIT and WP:OTHERSTUFF actually decrease the amount of incivil talk, although I admit that Wikipedia's alphabet soup does lend itself, as you note, to being used BITEily. Bottom line: I think that XfD is already much snarkier than it needs to be, and whatever we might lose through some shortcuts, we will gain a lot more by educating users so that they will be less likely to talk past one another. (Now anyone who has a problem with non-free content policy... that's above my pay grade. Nothing in the essay, it should be noted, creates any new policy.) --Tryptofish (talk) 17:32, 9 August 2011 (UTC)
Nothing against you, I appreciate the effort. It's just that making the already disastrous photo uploading process in any way more intimidating or difficult for newcomers is exactly the opposite thing that we should be doing. We should be making that HORRIBLE upload page, simple, readable, and comprehensive. It is INEXCUSABLE that all valid public domain templates are not explained and made available. I was pissed off at some of the people manning the gates at New Files for over a year at their perverse glee at blowing up stuff that was copyright clear. I came to WP from another internet project that puts up copyright clear material, I've got a grasp of the law, and the lack of available templates followed inevitably with smug deletion notices drove me up a tree. Then they managed to disimprove the upload page further, taking away the "PD-1923" template!!! At that point, it was like, "fuck this, I'm going to figure out how to manually install the rights templates and use the pulldowns not at all." Honestly, the photo upload page and the inevitable deletionist smugathon which follows "improper" templating of rights is one of the single biggest barriers to improvement of the encyclopedia. Coming up with a confusing set of instructions of how not to argue about something (often wrongfully) brought up for deletion doesn't help in the least. What is needed is a more simple process that will HELP people get up copyright clear material; and which will deter attempts to upload non-clear material. Carrite (talk) 17:04, 10 August 2011 (UTC)
I appreciate that, thanks. And I understand where you are coming from, with respect to navigating the upload process. Doing things to make that work better is a good idea, a good thing to do. But that doesn't mean that we should refrain from trying to improve other things too. Obviously, a guide about image deletion discussions isn't going to accomplish anything to make image uploading easier. But there really are problems with image deletion discussions. They can be a minefield. In part, it is true that the essay will give experienced image deleters something they can point good faith newbies to. But without the essay, those good faith images will still get deleted anyway. The essay does nothing to make image deletion easier. But at least it can make what would have been a baffling and frustrating process into a comprehensible (and still frustrating, but maybe a little less so) process. And it adds something that we haven't had before: help for good faith new editors to articulate to the experienced deleters why the deletion arguments are wrong. I hope that it will actually level the playing field, at least to the extent of focusing discussion on the merits, instead of veering off into the personal. --Tryptofish (talk) 18:04, 10 August 2011 (UTC)

clarification requested on employees working in a politician's office, or public relations managers

Should such employees declare their potential COI right away, or if this is not voluntarily done, should notices be issued on the talk page? Some of these editors have been involved in an edit war over Tony Tan Keng Yam, which had to be protected. This especially came up when one of the users involved submitted an OTRS ticket to Commons to establish permission for one of the images, "taken from the subject's workplace", that is, the politician in question. elle vécut heureuse à jamais (be free) 16:02, 8 August 2011 (UTC)

Have you read the WP:Conflict of interest guideline? It says that declaring your connection to a subject is not mandatory, and it tells other editors to show respect the people who are being transparent about their connections. We do not want to punish people for being honest and transparent with the community.
Also, having a connection to the subject is not actually a conflict of interest as far as Wikipedia is concerned. There is only a wiki-COI if there is an actual conflict, that is, that what's best for the person and what's best for Wikipedia are different things. So to give a simple example, there can be no conflict of interest if someone corrects serious errors or obvious vandalism, because what's best for the person and what's best for Wikipedia are exactly the same thing. WhatamIdoing (talk) 17:33, 10 August 2011 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Chemistry/Nomenclature has been marked as a guideline

Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Chemistry/Nomenclature (edit | talk | history | links | watch | logs) has recently been edited to mark it as a guideline. This is an automated notice of the change (more information). -- VeblenBot (talk) 02:00, 10 August 2011 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Manual of Style (chemistry)/Nomenclature no longer marked as a guideline

Wikipedia:Manual of Style (chemistry)/Nomenclature (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, 10 August 2011 (UTC)

use of search statistics in deciding WP:PRIMARYTOPIC / WP:ASTONISH (Anne Hathaway, etc.)

According to search statistics, 16/17 people landing on Anne Hathaway mean to look for the actress, not the Bard's wife. By WP:ASTONISH, the actress' article should be moved over the disambig, and a hatnote placed on that page to also inform readers of the Shakespearean actress. However, people are also opposing, arguing that "Shakespeare's wife will be remembered long after the actress has been forgotten". Seriously? Does this sort of sentiment override WP:ASTONISH? Perhaps the wider community should comment on this discussion. elle vécut heureuse à jamais (be free) 17:24, 10 August 2011 (UTC)

If you can cite the search statistics, I would say you've already made your point. Comments to the contrary are just snobbery. CouplandForever (talk) 17:45, 10 August 2011 (UTC)
The WP:PRIMARYTOPIC guideline does include an exception for WP:RECENTISM. The guideline recommends seeking a consensus, which it does not appear you have as yet. But you could suggest WP:10YT. I suspect the actress will be notable for a lot longer than ten years. Regards, RJH (talk) 18:25, 10 August 2011 (UTC)
The search statistics are discussed at Talk:Anne Hathaway (actress). elle vécut heureuse à jamais (be free) 19:14, 10 August 2011 (UTC)
The current solution (A DAB page) seems like the best. It gives equal footing to a potentially confusing inbound result. Hasteur (talk) 18:44, 10 August 2011 (UTC)
Only 1/17 readers would potentially be confused, and that is easily resolved by a hat tip at the top of the page. elle vécut heureuse à jamais (be free) 19:14, 10 August 2011 (UTC)

Search statistics are not everything. I expect that most people searching Georgia want the US state, but there are good reasons not to make that the main topic. —Kusma (t·c) 19:20, 10 August 2011 (UTC) "There are no absolute rules for determining how likely a given topic is to be sought by readers entering a given term" – WP:PRIMARYTOPIC. --Cybercobra (talk) 04:49, 11 August 2011 (UTC)

RfBA and community input

I used to make comments about bots on wikipedia. I wish there were more good bots doing a lot of the tedious work out there, and the bigger wikipedia gets, the more they are needed for mundane tasks. However, I find the bot community to be unresponsive to input from community members. Case in point, the instructions on the WP:RfBA board state that "After a reasonable amount of time has passed for community input, an approvals group member may approve a trial for your bot and move the request to this section." What happened recently, though, is that a BRfA was posted, 4 minutes later a trial was approved,[4] and the BRfA for that bot was removed from the "Current requests for approval" section, where one would expect BRfA to be for some time ("a reasonable amount of time ... for community input"), to the bots in a trial section, where it is difficult to see there is a community discussion or find the discussion.

Notice that if you look at the trial section you do not see a discussion listed:

  • TTObot (tasks • contribs • actions log • block log • flag log • user rights) (Trial approved)

If you wish to comment on me, go for it here or on my IP talk page. If you wish to comment on the BAG instructions, etc., please do so here. -- (talk) 21:39, 10 August 2011 (UTC)

A couple or three questions: was the RfBA in question in any way controversial and of the sort you'd have liked to comment on? And for how long should a non-controversial RfBA be delayed for such comments? Put another way, is there actually a real problem here? Has harm been caused? --Tagishsimon (talk) 22:18, 10 August 2011 (UTC)

Edit warring and consensus

A hard thing that currently plagues the project is the fact that we have no clear way to deal with people edit warring to enforce consensus. I'm sure this is a kink in the BRD cycle.Jasper Deng (talk) 19:37, 5 August 2011 (UTC)

Could you just clarify what do you mean by "deal with". Do you mean to stop them or to allow them to edit war?--SabreBD (talk) 19:47, 5 August 2011 (UTC)
When a user is edit warring to support consensus, should that user be given an exemption? What kind of consensus should be cited?Jasper Deng (talk) 19:48, 5 August 2011 (UTC)
I think that there cannot be an exception to the WP:3RR, or edit wars would rapidly escalate. However, I have argued elsewhere that the 3RR is flawed as in most cases it is interpreted literally as three reverts, not three of the same edits, so where a single editor is supporting an existing consensus the rule means that non-consensual changes are left on the article in question when the reverts have been used up. It is normally an accepted part of any negotiation that the status-quo anti stands in the event of a disagreement. In other words it should the first change should clearly count as a "revert". That might help solve this problem without resulting in more and longer edit wars.--SabreBD (talk) 19:58, 5 August 2011 (UTC)
Yes, I often thought exactly that. It's surprising that the person who "begins" an edit war (if only 2 editors are involved) will in effect "win". DeCausa (talk) 20:07, 5 August 2011 (UTC)
How about this: We make the initial edit a "revert", and block both editors if both reach 3RR under that definition.Jasper Deng (talk) 20:44, 5 August 2011 (UTC)
I have long advocated for ignoring WP:3RR and just using WP:EDITWAR as the rationale for all of these blocks. In the something like 4 years I have been an admin, I have never even once tried to cite WP:3RR as a rationale for a block, and many people above have hit on its key weaknesses. The issue should only be is there enough evidence that you are going to return your preferred version of the article again. If that is the case, you get blocked. Period, end of story. The person who wins should always be the person who is willing to allow the version they DISAGREE with to be the publicly viewable version. If neither person involved in the war shows that willingess, block them both. --Jayron32 21:00, 5 August 2011 (UTC)
3RR works well with new or unregistered users, but doesn't work for experienced users, in my opinion.Jasper Deng (talk) 21:02, 5 August 2011 (UTC)
A example in the case of "recently" unfolding events causes many problems. Many editors come in just after the episode ends to the current season Hell's Kitchen (U.S.) and try to insert extra coloring, footnotes, and styling to the contestant progress section. After the previous season concluded we had a RFC to standardize the color scheme and what content would be in the section. While few people participated in the RfC, it went to 30 days and was closed with a definite consensus. In the past 4 weeks I've personally come up to the 3RR line on the current season the days after the show gets published because a random IP address or a newly minted user decides they want to add their own coloring to the section. Each time I revert their changes I point that the consensus established and remind them that they need to discuss a change before they decide to do it again. I've added a section on the talk page of the current season explaining the consensus and invite editors to join the conversation. Does it help? Hell no New random IPs and Editors drop in and re-institute their style and I'm stuck sitting on 3RR. Hasteur (talk) 21:30, 5 August 2011 (UTC)
There's WP:RFPP. If you can explain the details of the problem, link to the consensus, and show a chunk of the history page and/or diffs showing the problem, you do make a good case for semiprotection. If presented with the evidence that this is a problem, then I would protect it if I came across a case like that at WP:RFPP. --Jayron32 03:58, 6 August 2011 (UTC)
I would like to ask Jayron more about his modus operandi, but this is probably not the place. Semi-protection of course will only solve the problem with ips and unconfirmed accounts, useful though that might be in some cases, it doesn't help at all in others. The other issue is that resolution of the kind of issues we are talking about here tends to place the burden to start some lengthy and complex process on the editor who is trying to protect consensus. To be honest I usually don't want to spend my time doing that, particularly as my experience is that not all admins are as assiduous as Jayron in actually assessing evidence. In any report process Wikipedia admins have a tendency to take a "you must both be guilty" stance reminiscent of bad teachers of my youth, and why would anyone put themselves up for that? Getting back to policy changes, would a clarification of the 3RR, as suggested above (i.e. the first change counts) help in these sorts of cases and is there any mileage in trying to get that changed/clarified? On the positive side it means that at the end of a 24 hour period the version of the preceding consensus will stand, or a single editor changing it will have broken the 3RR with its consequences. This might be a good way of getting them to participate in discussion on the talkpage or to have to accept that a consensus still stands. On the downside, will experienced editors use this to avoid change, knowing that they will always get the version they want? They could, potentially stonewall indefinitely.--SabreBD (talk) 10:11, 6 August 2011 (UTC)
  • How do you define which editor of two is "edit warring to enforce consensus"? Per WP:AGF both are correct, if two can not agree get a bigger audience, if a bigger audience will not attend or participate, then neither is of the two editors are on firm "edit warring to enforce consensus". Jeepday (talk) 14:08, 6 August 2011 (UTC)
Was that directed to me or in general? I don't try to define it. The point of the suggestion on the 3RR is that it should mean that the status quo ante should (usually) stand until some agreement is reached. Also AGF doesn't mean that both sides are right, just that they are acting in a genuine attempt to improve, without defining consensus. The problem I see with having an exception to the 3RR on the grounds of consensus is that there is no objective measure. On the other hand when one editor is saying - "please take it to the talkpage" and the other is just reverting it should be obvious to a third party in most cases. I say in most cases because I have been in a situation where editors have posted on the talkpage and basically just said - "I am right, you are wrong" then reverted, in these cases they have to be followed quite closely.--SabreBD (talk) 14:24, 6 August 2011 (UTC)
3RR doesn't favor the status quo ante, which is usually called the "prior consensus version", even though the existence of a dispute strongly indicates that there is no longer a consensus for that prior version. 3RR favors majority rule: if there are two on your side, and one on mine, then you can each "safely" revert my changes twice, while I'll end up blocked for 3RR, but you won't. When you don't have a 2:1 advantage, then our policies honor whichever mature person is able to find the talk page first, even if that means voluntarily leaving the article at m:The Wrong Version in the meantime. WhatamIdoing (talk) 17:07, 6 August 2011 (UTC)
In what way do you think our policies honour that person?--Kotniski (talk) 17:30, 6 August 2011 (UTC)
"Not nearly enough." ;-)
The community's advice generally recommend discussion, and the person choosing discussion is the person best complying. Being willing to stop edit warring and discuss disputes improves the person's reputation—a matter of honor, not (necessarily) of improving the likelihood of winning (except to the extent that your reputation influences other editors' willingness to listen to your opinions). WhatamIdoing (talk) 20:39, 6 August 2011 (UTC)

(Undent)Jayron, you said above: "The person who wins should always be the person who is willing to allow the version they DISAGREE with to be the publicly viewable version." I need help understanding this. Suppose a person is willing to allow the version they DISAGREE with to be the publicly viewable version, so they stop reverting. Even if that person can and does prove at the article talk page that consensus supports their version, the other version is allowed to remain, the other side refuses to concede, no admin wants to get involved, and the publicly viewable version eventually becomes a de facto consensus version due to not being reverted. How exactly is that a "win" for the person willing to allow the version they DISAGREE with to be the publicly viewable version?Anythingyouwant (talk) 20:43, 6 August 2011 (UTC)

You have to be willing to leave the "wrong version" of the article visible while the consensus discussion takes place. After consensus determine which version is correct, you publish that version. The winner is the person who is willing to discuss instead of revert. They win by not being blocked. The loser is the person who refuses to discuss, and instead operates by forceing their version. They lose because they get blocked. If you want to win, you should be willing to win later. People who need to win right this second always lose. --Jayron32 04:48, 7 August 2011 (UTC)
  • I think what is actually being pointed out here is, what if talk page consensus for a version has already been achieved and other editors are still edit warring for another version. Are the people who are keeping the article at the consensus version per the talk page still liable for breaking 3RR, considering they are following an agreed upon talk page consensus already. SilverserenC 05:14, 7 August 2011 (UTC)
    • If you have an edit war, then you don't actually have a consensus. If by "consensus" you mean something less than an agreement that all parties voluntarily accept, such as when three editors agree on a version, but a fourth is determined to get his way despite everyone else's objections, then those three need to divide up the reversions to keep themselves on the bright side of 3RR while they are engaged in the sometimes lengthy process of locating an admin who understands that even slow-motion edit warring is harmful to the project, and is willing to block the recalcitrant edit warrior. WhatamIdoing (talk) 05:34, 7 August 2011 (UTC)
      • But it shouldn't be like that. Consensus should win out even if the people who reached that consensus are not available or willing to engage in edit-war-like tactics. If there is clear evidence (like a past discussion) that consensus is for a particular version, then someone who restores that version should be exempt from any sanction, and someone who edit wars against it should be very quickly sanctioned, regardless of any technical rule like 3RR (provided they've been made aware of the claim of consensus and still keep fighting it). Of course in most edit-war situations there isn't an explicit past consensus to be pointed to.--Kotniski (talk) 10:30, 7 August 2011 (UTC)
        • If there really is a consensus, then there should be plenty of people who are willing to share the reversion work. If only one person is willing to do it, then that suggests that any apparent agreement on the talk page is not as strongly supported as it looks. Also, 3RR exists because reverting is bad for the database. We don't want any avoidable reversions. We don't really want to exempt anyone from 3RR if we can help it. WhatamIdoing (talk) 17:25, 10 August 2011 (UTC)
              • Repeated "reversion work" is tedious, time-consuming, and often viewed by admins as disruptive "edit-warring" just as much as the opposite reverts by the minority editor; those are the main reasons why responsible editors often refuse to "share reversion work". The situation gets even more difficult if the longstanding consensus version of the article is not very popular but the alternatives have even less support.Anythingyouwant (talk) 00:14, 11 August 2011 (UTC)
3RR is good for newbies but not other edit wars. There's a lot of brinksmanship and long-term tactical maneuvering. For now, the best thing is to say "edit wars default to the version before the edit war began". In most cases, everyone else basically likes the page as it is now, but only two editors are paying attention. There are other cases where the page is totally unworkable and both editors need to compromise but that's a much deeper problem that can't be addressed just here. Dzlife (talk) 15:22, 8 August 2011 (UTC)
It's hard to define the beginning of an edit war especially for long-term wars.Jasper Deng (talk) 16:09, 8 August 2011 (UTC)

I think in order to prevent the initial editor (the one starting the war) from winning due to 3RR, let's put him/her under 2RR restrictions in situations like the following: User A edits, is reverted by User B. User A reverts and gets reverted by User B. User A reverts again and is reverted by User B. Now User A, under 3RR, could "win" by using his/her third revert to bring back his/her version.Jasper Deng (talk) 16:09, 8 August 2011 (UTC)

If I believed that most changes were bad, I might agree to that. But I don't. WhatamIdoing (talk) 17:25, 10 August 2011 (UTC)

The problem here is that the whole idea that we can decide edit wars (content disputes) by counting reverts (or by counting heads) is flawed. 3RR or any variants thereof should be seen as just a stopgap measure until we have a rational means of resolving such disputes that puts the quality of the encyclopedia first and editors' personal agendas last.--Kotniski (talk) 08:09, 12 August 2011 (UTC)

3RR also leads to editor biting at time. But in any case, I believe we must base policy reform on who is right and/or how relevant policies to the particular content dispute apply.Jasper Deng (talk) 03:09, 13 August 2011 (UTC)

Return of the magi

In what surely must be a triumph for Wikipedia, consensus has once more banished reality and rationality from the astrology pages, driving away all sincere editors, with a little help from administrators, delivering the whole shebang into the hands of the magi.

How did this come to pass? Gaming of the system? Gibber-jabber and endless circular arguments, underpinned by idiot interpretations of having to extend good faith and civility to deliberate and irrational gibberish merchants, driving away all but those with the agenda of legitimating astrology? Who can say, since administrator intervention played its own part in stripping away the encyclopaedic ethic, along with a few editors.

So, once more it's no longer true in the Wikiuniverse that astrology is a pseudoscience, or that it is concerned, at least in part, with commercially motivated practices aimed at parting fools from their money, based on claptrap and gullibility. No, no! It is merely the respectable study of mysterious cosmic causalities in human affairs.

And of course, with all rational critics of such bullshit banished, the consensus of three or four editors is all it takes to turn sense and science upside down to present the world with a Wikipedia exposition of astrology that sounds downright reputable.

No hint here that ‘Hermetic principles’ are derived from a mythical Hermes Trismegistus, carving arcane wisdom into a mythical Emerald Tablet (as you would). It’s all true, see! Is it just me or does this sound a bit like an unpublished Tolkien book?

A mere trifle, then, to abolish Sir Francis Bacon from the English Renaissance and to endlessly fork the astrology content into labyrinthine sub-pages to avoid even non-existent scrutiny.

And in the meantime one magus has even acquired his own personal Wikipedia vanity page, edited mainly by ... wait for it ... fellow magi. Maybe this will turn into a round-robin until all of them have personal Wikipedia pages. Robes and wizard hats in portrait photos optional. Then they could start quoting each others' authoritative, sage words on any number of topics.

Perfect. A case study of what rather shallow, mechanistic enforcement of WP guidelines has made of Wikipedia. All it would take to complete this picture of blithe profligacy is a reply to this post along the lines of ‘why doncha do summink ‘bout it’ or ‘you’re posting in the wrong place’, or maybe even a threat to ban me from posting about rationality at all.

Well, the answer is already out there: some editors have already put in as much effort as they’re willing to in representing rationality against self-appointed magicians and administrators willing to lend their authority to the nonsense being promoted in the astrology pages.

To any administrators watching, I'd say: This is YOUR mess. The superstitious nonsense in the astrology pages was put there on YOUR watch. The people who opposed the snake oil sales pitch where driven away by YOUR interpretations of Wikipedia guidelines. Now stand by what’s published to the world as received wisdom, or clean it up yourselves. It is, after all, a perfect illustration of what y’all have made of Wikipedia with your shallow, indolent lack of care about the responsibilities that ought to come with your white hats, spurs and six-guns.

To the more fundamentalist, literal-minded I'd say: at what point does it become irrational to back WP policy on consensus, neutrality and civility when they're used to abolish reality and rationality?

Right, I'm off to tea with the Red Queen, Baron Muenchhausen and Hermes Trismegistus to discuss what centuries we can delete from world history. Regards Peter S Strempel | Talk 23:55, 10 August 2011 (UTC)

I see discussion in the article of, for instance, scientific and theological criticism of astrology. There's not much in your long rant to get hold of, other than that you're feeling a little dissatisfied. (Probably just Mars transitioning to Venus, tee hee). If you'd care to ditch the non-specific whinging and point to diffs or discussions, mayb there is something that could be done. Whilst you're merely bellyaching, there's little that can be done for you. --Tagishsimon (talk) 00:04, 11 August 2011 (UTC)
Here's a diff that seems relevant - the astrology page as it was following Peterstrempel's major copy edit at the end of March this year (here) to be compared with how it currently stands as a result of the work he rants about (here).
This is still a work in progress; still being worked on fairly and collaboratively to ensure all points of criticism and modern exploitations are to be included (which Peterstrempel would know if he has been following the talk-discussions). The post above is so full of imaginations that it's not worth treating seriously. I have no idea what he means when he says: "with all rational critics of such bullshit banished" - the only topic-bannings I am aware of is one for a clearly disruptive editor. (Unless he is confused about the half a dozen editors simultaneously topic-banned in March - before his 'major copy edit' for supposedly favouring astrology). None of this makes sense so it's hard to tell exactly where the motive for this moan is coming form.-- Zac Δ talk! 16:11, 11 August 2011 (UTC)
I don't know about this particular article, but the complaint is not limited to just one incident or one subject matter. A major limitation of Wikipedia is when an article includes only information that editors choose to focus on and completely ignores everything else. On one hand, it's freedom of choice, but on the other hand, it's BS at its finest. If anyone is interested, I can provide examples of what I'm talking about. I guess overall, Wikipedia is a true reflection of society as a whole, because this also happens in real life. I'd like to sit in on a Foundation meeting sometime and watch them sitting around the table laughing at us. This is probably one giant social experiment and we are the willing rats in a maze. :) My advice to Peterstrempel is to read WP:CHILL and WP:DGAF USchick (talk) 19:29, 11 August 2011 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────USchick, your response was unexpected and refreshing. I had never seen the ‘don’t give a fuck’ advice before, and although I find Antandrus to be a little bit on the fatalistic side, it’s sage advice from someone who has taken far more beatings than I by a system characterised by another editor, Malleus Faturom, as run by children. In fact, I ‘d have to say that my beatings were largely self-inflicted because I give a damn about what we do here and what Wikipedia says to the world. My mistake. I see now that Wikipedia is a vast and anarchic playground for all sorts, some of whom aspire to no more than seeing their own gibber-jabber validated in a Wikipedia article.

Alas, I can’t just resign myself to what JP Sartre called the quietism of despair. Call it ego or smug pomposity, but I like to think that what I do and say here reflects at least some of my education and idealism about people and rationality. However, in keeping with your advice, my initial comment fell out of a thought process that already saw me recuse myself from the said article, and some others where Wikipedia guidelines were being applied almost as if in mockery of them: consensus being used to override rationality, and administrator interventions taking place like dictatorial fiat rather than sincere concern for verifiability, civility or encyclopaedic anything. The reply by Tagishsimon above is a case in point: requesting specifics and diffs says ‘I can’t be bothered reading the thing myself, nor do I want to make up my own mind about what it says, but I’m happy to adjudicate a dispute because all I have to do is apply guidelines mechanistically without regard to consequences for Wikipedia as a whole’.

This raises the question: should we all just flip the bird to guidelines as irrelevances and do whatever the hell we please here, so long as we can get away with it by gaming the system, allying ourselves with like-minded administrators, and putting the encyclopaedic endeavour a distant last to more immediate self-gratification or amusement? That seems to be the way we are being pointed by the gangs that have coalesced around the children with administrator rights Malleus Faturom referred to.

And yes, USchick, Wikipedia is exactly what we make of it, and therefore a perfect reflection of who we are as a group and as a culture. The best of it is very good, but you’ll have to excuse me for cringing at the worst of it, like gibber-jabber and the bone-headed pursuit of what Antony Beevor labelled ‘counterknowledge’ —

All this has coincided with what one might call the Wikipedia age. A populist notion has grown that anyone has the right to correct or change the truth according to their own beliefs. In a way, it is a democratic ideal taken to its most grotesque extreme, but in practice it is the opposite of democratic, because it allows the demagogue to exploit gullibility and ignorance.

— Antony Beevor, Real concerns, The Guardian, 25 July 2009.

This is eerily analogous to the use of consensus in Wikipedia to override rationality. What do we do when a consensus of editors says that two plus two equals five, or three? Do we just accept it silently? Back to a quietism of despair, eh? But that’s another debate.

My old man once told me that if he gained just one new idea or insight from a book he read, it had been worth the effort. Your post, USchick, certainly met that test, and I thank you for the reference. Stay well, Wikipedia probably needs more editors like you. Regards Peter S Strempel | Talk 21:59, 11 August 2011 (UTC)

Peter, I'm very happy to lift your spirits, and I hope you'll remember me kindly, especially if our next encounter is an edit war. :-) Seriously, if in real life you are a high performer and aspire to excellence, and it sounds like you do, then yes, Wikipedia can be a very challenging place, since it is mostly populated by people with an attitude of doing the least amount possible, just to get by, and at the same time trying to see what they can get away with. So save your effort for whatever it is that you excel in and focus on whatever it is in real life that you can control. And remember that as conscientious as you may be, you can't control everything including the weather, solar flares, and Wikipedia articles. Now if only I can remember to do that myself! :) See ya around. USchick (talk) 23:11, 11 August 2011 (UTC)

Citing Databases and Creating Templates for Doing It

I'm busy translating an article from the French Wikipedia for the English version.

The article has numerous citations to documents that the reader can find by clicking on links within the citation to French government databases available on the Web. One major one is Joconde, a database that is an index of all documents, works of art, etc. owned by the French Ministry of Culture. The French version of Wikipedia has a template for citing Joconde, and some other government databases on the Web: Template:Joconde

This template does not work in the English version of Wikipedia, so I'm assuming that a new English version of this template must be created by me and saved somehow to the English Wikipedia? But what is the policy under the English Wikipedia for citing databases? I've been searching for info and haven't found very much at all.

Please let me know where this type of issue is discussed... thank you!

OttawaAC (talk) 02:24, 13 August 2011 (UTC)

It would be discussed at the talk page of WP:RS. To me, Joconde sounds like an eminently reliable source. And yes, you would have to recreate the template on the EN.Wikipedia. --Tagishsimon (talk) 03:01, 13 August 2011 (UTC)
Preferably with any parameter names translated into English. --Cybercobra (talk) 06:11, 13 August 2011 (UTC)
Seems like it's just a special case of {{cite web}}. As long as it's from a reliable source it should be allowed. We have templates like {{pubmed}} and {{imdb}}, for example. The template shouldn't be hard to make. It may be appropriate to include some kind of "title" field along with the ID, though, to make the links easier to use. —Designate (talk) 06:19, 13 August 2011 (UTC)

An official policy on inclusion of the sexual preference of public figures (when appropriately sourced/cited)

There has been a consensus reached long ago by Wikipedia that if a person of note/public figure has established they are GLBTQ in such a fashion as to be reliably sourced or cited, it is encyclopedic and valid for inclusion in their article. The reasons for this have been debated back and forth so many times, it has become exhausting. There needs to be an absolute and stated policy on this issue put into Wikipedia somewhere so that it can be referenced and these arguments can be avoided from now on.

GLBTQ people are a minority, and unlike minorities based on race or gender, they are not a minority that can be identified by sight. Because of this, it is a simple fact that all people are by and large presumed to be heterosexual unless otherwise stated. One of the straw man arguments you often hear is 'We don't state in every heterosexual's article that they are straight." That's because we don't have to, because - again - it is presumed unless otherwise stated.

The contributions of GLBTQ individuals to the arts, history, politics etc... are valid, and establishing their sexual identity is encyclopedic because the contributions of GLBTQ people should be documented. Even in California they have passed a law so that schools music include curriculum about the contributions of GLBTQ individuals. If we don't state that a person is gay within their biographical information, we disassociate them from the documenting of the accomplishments of gay people.

The fact that the Luke Evans (actor) page has been locked down and all information to his sexual preference removed is insulting and borders on offensive. The citation from his interview in The Advocate magazine is more that sufficient. The ludicrousness of this is so outrageous that it has attracted attention in the gay press. The time is now for an official policy on sexual preference in biographies to be set: is it or isn't it worthy of inclusion in Wikipedia? CouplandForever (talk) 16:34, 10 August 2011 (UTC)

Evans' interview with Advocate is clearly a reliable source, and he discusses at length how being gay impacted his life. I don't see a valid reason for not including it in the article. It's a biography, not a C.V. postdlf (talk) 16:42, 10 August 2011 (UTC)
And if there is a clearer example of canvassing than this, I've not seen it... AndyTheGrump (talk) 16:43, 10 August 2011 (UTC)
Nonsense, and your presumption of bad faith is not appreciated. I couldn't care less about that specific article, other than my concern for the overall issue. It is simply the most recent in hundreds of articles that have spawned this ongoing argument, editing wars and lockdowns. Clearly an official policy on the matter is called for in order to prevent it in the future. CouplandForever (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 16:46, 10 August 2011 (UTC).
I could agree if there was an encyclopedic reason that we need to include someone's sexual preference, but I don't see that you've shown that. I saw the same sort of debate on including the religious beliefs of a person. If there's a reason it is relevant, then sure, include it, but if that isn't relevant at all to the article, then leave it out. -- Avanu (talk) 16:48, 10 August 2011 (UTC)
@ CouplandForever: it isn't a 'presumption of bad faith', it is a statement of fact - you are canvassing. You had just posted exactly the same text on the help desk. AndyTheGrump (talk) 16:50, 10 August 2011 (UTC)
I could agree if there was an encyclopedic reason that we need to include someone's sexual preference, but I don't see that you've shown that. I saw the same sort of debate on including the religious beliefs of a person. If there's a reason it is relevant, then sure, include it, but if that isn't relevant at all to the article, then leave it out. Wikipedia is not here for explicitly "documenting of the accomplishments of gay people" or Catholics or whoever in that sense, but to document human knowledge. If we follow your reasoning, it doesn't matter that a person had an outstanding career as a human being, but all that mattered was that they were homosexual. In a way, what you're say devalues the contribution of that person by just saying "they were gay", rather than saying "they were a talented actor, a wonderful cook, and a beloved father." Again, I'm not opposed to the inclusion of any information in an article, but unless we decide to document all sexual things, it doesn't seem to relate. -- Avanu (talk) 16:48, 10 August 2011 (UTC)
I posted it on Help Desk first, not understanding it should be posted here instead. After being informed of that, I posted it here. It is most certainly a presumption of bad faith; Assume Good Faith You couldn't possibly state that you could know for a fact what my intentions are. And all I see are straw man arguments left and right. To include the fact that someone is gay and indicate that is important and relevant is not to assert it is "all that mattered". Sexual preference is not a 'sexual thing'. It isn't a fetish. It isn't a sex act. It is an inherent part of someone's being. Above all else it is relevant biographical information. CouplandForever (talk) 17:04, 10 August 2011 (UTC)
You might make a better case for your argument if you didn't assert that being gay is "is an inherent part of someone's being" when applying it to a man who (a) is now reported to be in a relationship with a woman, and (b) has made it clear that he no longer wishes to discuss his sexuality in public: or does none of that relate to 'sexual preference' ? AndyTheGrump (talk) 17:09, 10 August 2011 (UTC)
(ec) If he had given an interview about how attending summer camp was an important part of his childhood, I don't think we'd be having this conversation. We don't limit biographies to just lists of notable accomplishments: they are about the subject, broadly. Here we have a subject who gave a full interview talking about being gay and coming out, and how that related not just to his personal and family life, but to his career. Simply repeating "it's not encyclopedic" isn't anywhere near a substantive argument. We don't just have a one-line statement "I'm gay," or third-party speculation, in which case you might have an argument (a better one, at least) for not including it in the article. And it isn't that being gay isn't "normal" or whatever, it's that it necessarily has an impact on someone's life. It's no less relevant to a subject than birthplace, where they went to high school (or even college) or any other "trivial" biographical details that are completely uncontroversial to include in an article yet typically don't relate to their notability in the way that a few here seem to be insisting upon for sexual identity. postdlf (talk) 17:12, 10 August 2011 (UTC)
Whether or not he is currently dating a woman or if he has chosen after the fact to no longer discuss his personal life does not negate the previously made public statements. Until he publicly states that he is no longer gay, the last published information from a reliable source has him saying that he is. CouplandForever (talk) 17:19, 10 August 2011 (UTC)
I think that's also off the mark; it's not a question of whether he "is" or "isn't" gay. He came out as gay in a 2002 interview, and that should be discussed in that context. Whether or not he still identifies as such (and whether he is in a relationship with a woman at present may or may not change that) is a separate matter. postdlf (talk) 17:24, 10 August 2011 (UTC)
My only concern is that in establishing a policy, we forget the fact that these decisions, by necessity, need to be made on a case-by-case basis. Like you say, I have seen these discussions come up over and over again, and the problem is there is no one-size-fits-all solution that makes sense. With contentious identity issues like gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, etc. the inclusion or non-inclusion can be equally contentious, so it isn't enough to say "if so-and-so says it, it must be included" or "unless (some random criteria) is true, it can never be included", because that's what a guideline or policy will do. When you enshrine some set of principles in writing, you immediately eliminate all possibility of flexibility in dealing with what is not a simple issue. The same arguement gets made both ways. Lets just invent a contentious identifier for a second. Lets pretend that blue eyed people have been a discriminated against category. Lets consider the opening sentence from two articles:
  • "John Doe is an academy award winning actor, and is blue eyed."
  • "Joe Bloggs is a serial killer, and is blue eyed."
With article one, you get two responses. One side says "Being blue-eyed isn't significant to his being an actor," while the other side says "If you remove the information, you are trying to eliminate the contributions of blue-eyed people from the arts. You are marginalizing them!"
With article two, you also get two responses. However, this time the role is reversed: The side that just argued, with the prior article, that removing information about his blue-eyedness amounts to marginalizing blue-eyed people, that SAME group of people will now begin arguing "You shouldn't include this information! It will only serve to perpetuate the stereotype that blue-eyed people are all criminals, and have nothing to give to society!"
See, if someone are a defender of blue-eyed rights, they end up speaking out both sides of their mouth: On the one hand, they demand that information about blue eyed people must be included in an article, because removing it means you are marginalizing that important trait. On the other hand, they demand that information about blue eyed be removed, because adding it perpetuates an untrue stereotype.
I am not bringing this point up because I want to minimize the importance of having these discussions, or that there isn't a correct way to put together an article on each person. Far from it. There is a correct way to put together an article on each person who has an article at Wikipedia. However, there is not the same correct way to put together that article. Different people will have different levels of information regarding identity issues in their own articles, and what works in an article about one person may not be appropriate in an article about another. Once you have enshrined a standard in writing, however, you end up treating everyone with those same set of standards, so you will always create more problems than you solve.
Lets take a slightly different contentious identifier: Someone as being Jewish. For some articles about some people, an indepth discussion of their Jewish heritage and status is very appropriate. Like say Maimonades or Elie Wiesel. Their Jewishness should take a prominent part of their article. For other articles, it may be appropriate to mention someone's Jewishness, but it shouldn't be given a place of prominence in an article: Perhaps a brief mention in a section titled "Personal life", but it shouldn't be part of the first sentence in the lead paragraph, or maybe not in the lead at all. Like, say Kevin Youkilis or Robert Kraft. And for some people, it wouldn't make any sense to mention being Jewish at all, like say when it isn't well sourced, or when their connection to Judaism is very tenuous (like information that their maternal great-great grandmother was a practicing Jew or something like that). You can replace any contentious identifier you want (black, transgendered, french, whatever) in this discussion.
This doesn't represent binary choices: it is a continuum of choices, and that continuum of choices cannot be enshrined in a policy or guideline, which by necessity, must present some sort of decision tree for including or not including the information. The choice of what information to include in an article, what level of detail to go into, what prominence to give it in the article, how to tie it in to the rest of the article, etc. etc. etc. is far to nuanced for any policy or guideline to be written which will say "In situation A, you do B. In situation C, you do D." People need to obey more broad editing principles, such as consensus building and providing proper balance and accurately representing mainstream scholarship and quality writing and doing no harm to living people and working well with others even when you disagree with them. Every one of these issues is already enshrined in Wikipedia policy.
I feel for you in this situation, CouplandForever. It is not an easy thing to be able to work through these issues, and to work with others in finding the proper balance in an article, especially when dealing with contentious identifiers like homosexuality. You are right: it is contentious, and at times Wikipedia editors do not behave in the best interest of the encyclopedia: they do have their own agendas to push, and aren't always interested in presenting the best possible article to the public to read. However, what I disagree with is the necessity to enshrine this singular issue with its own specific policy, which is unlikely to solve the problems you note with the one article that you are having problems with. Such a policy would only serve to make it harder (not easier) to make all articles at Wikipedia better, because it presents a one-size-fits-all solution to a problem which has far to many sizes for such a solution. Work within existing policies and guidelines is best here, because if they aren't working then it isn't the policies and guidelines that are the problem. It is proper enforcement thereof that is. Creating new policies will not fix THAT problem. --Jayron32 17:18, 10 August 2011 (UTC)
I certainly see the validity in many of your points, though I must again stress that I really truly was using the Luke Evans article as a prominent and recently notable example. Truth be told I had never even heard of him until today. The only thing I would disagree with is your 'blue eyed' example. The fact of the matter is that, at least in my understanding, something is either relevant or it isn't. If a prominent serial killer was identifiable as gay I would most certainly think that should be included in their entry. In fact, it usually is: Andrew Cunanan. In this way, I think policy would serve the purpose. Either it's relevant in all cases or it's relevant in none. I realize that's oversimplified, though, and you do make points as to why. The unending arguing is going to continue, though, unless some kind of guideline is established on this specific topic. CouplandForever (talk) 17:39, 10 August 2011 (UTC)
You've established that there is a problem: of that I have no doubt. However, you have not established that the problem is that there is an inadequacy in existing policy or guidelines. Per WP:CREEP, creating policies merely to create them is rarely a good idea. If the problem is not on of lack of guidance, but is one of lack of following the of existing guidance, we can create new policies until the cows come home; if the existing policies are not being followed by the people who are partaking in the debate in question, having an additional policy would do no good. What specific good would come from writing out another policy just so people can ignore it? We have lots of really good guidance on this issue, people just need to be reminded to follow it. --Jayron32 17:45, 10 August 2011 (UTC)
Other than pushing an agenda of better showing what homosexual people have done, what is the rationale for including such information in an article? I said the term 'sexual thing' above, because sexual preference can be all over the map. You can have standard categories, hetero, homo, bi, or others, and it could potentially become quite complicated. What do we do when we aren't sure of a person's sexual preference or have competing sources? You say that by leaving it blank it is the same as saying hetero, but honestly I don't see how sexual preference is relevant to most people's bios. Some people don't like to mention much of their private lives. Do you decide for them? Like I said, this isn't always as simple as it might seem at first. -- Avanu (talk) 17:49, 10 August 2011 (UTC)
What is your rationale for not including it, other than pushing the agenda that sexual orientation (since you seem to have issue with the term 'preference') doesn't matter? Just lots more straw man arguments going on here. If we don't have a reliable source then we obviously "aren't sure" of a person's orientation; thus we do not mention it in the article. If we have competing sources, we cite both of them - though frankly the only reliable source is going to be one where the individual himself has identified his sexual orientation, and as such it is very unlikely there will be conflicting sources (this Luke Evans situation being extraordinarily unusual.) Frankly, I don't understand how any person could NOT understand the relevance. To me that simply indicates a lack of understanding on what it means to be gay. CouplandForever (talk) 18:06, 10 August 2011 (UTC)
It doesn't "mean" anything. It is just a part of who a person is. Like having 10 fingers or 9. Or having brown hair or red. Maybe one day, we will understand what MLK meant by "I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character." The only thing any of this "means" is that we decide to have distinctions. Other than that, your actual achievements in life should be what we describe here on Wikipedia, not who you like to sleep with. -- Avanu (talk) 18:11, 10 August 2011 (UTC)
And your choice of wording has betrayed your lack of understanding. Sexual orientation is not about "who you like to sleep with." It is about which gender you are inherently attracted to, and thus fall in love with, build your life and relationship with, grow old with...just like a heterosexual relationship. The actual sex aspect of it is minimal; you would no more define a heterosexual relationship as all about sex. People who have 9 fingers or brown hair are not being slaughtered in countless countries (in acts sanctioned by their governments) because of that part of who they are. It is not the same. If you don't understand this basic truth, I don't understand how you can even try to have a voice in the discussion. CouplandForever (talk) 18:21, 10 August 2011 (UTC)
Au contraire, we would rather that it didn't mean anything, but wishing that and thinking that is NOT the same thing. No one has been fired from a job because they have red hair; no one is trying to pass laws which demand that red-haired people can't get maried or adopt children; as long as a gay person lives in a culture where that culture makes a REALLY BIG DEAL out of the fact that they are gay, we do a disservice to their biography at Wikipedia if we pretend as though it doesn't matter. It shouldn't matter, on that point I agree. But to say that it doesn't matter is an entirely different point. Wikipedia articles should reflect what is, not what we want to be. --Jayron32 18:22, 10 August 2011 (UTC)
Thank you. That was very well said. Chiming in here to (1) disagree that biographical articles are only about "achievements" (2) agree that a new policy isn't necessarily a good thing. (If we did come up with new rules, they almost certainly should only have guideline status, in any case.) When an article's subject has publicly identified his own sexual orientation, that is always going to be worth mentioning in the article, as long as it's reliably sourced. It may merit more or less prominence in a given article, but I'm having trouble imagining any subject for whom it should be excluded. Sometime in the future, if we get around to having a world where people truly are judged as individuals, maybe that will change. In the meantime, characteristics such as sexual orientation and race are key components of identity. Deliberately omitting a subject's sexual orientation from a biographical article makes about as much sense as leaving out their nationality or their age. @Avanu: in a world where powerful elements are hard at work to prevent King's dream from becoming reality, sleeping with the person of your choice, and being open about it, damn well is an achievement. Not so long ago, it was illegal. Lots of places, it still can get you killed. Rivertorch (talk) 19:23, 10 August 2011 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────I think there is a wider issue beyond gay/straight, which is where to draw the line between adding noteworthy information to an article and adding non-noteworthy information intending to push an agenda. Bio articles often include a 'Personal life' section with significant others, children etc. But not every bit of personal information that can found in the media should be put in an article. For example, it was once common to publish actress's measurements (just an example so don't quote me on it), but that information (usually) doesn't belong in an encyclopedia article. WP:IINFO covers this in a way but it seems to be limited to lists. If a 'List of people who are X' is unencyclopedic under this policy then it's also unencyclopedic to automatically add '(subject) is X' to every article where it applies. WP:IINFO seems a bit noncommittal on this and perhaps it should be rephrased to make it clear that its not just the form in which the information is listed which makes it unencyclopedic. We can't always know whether a specific edit is intended to push an agenda, but we can set criteria which say whether the information added is noteworthy and remove the issue of whether it's indented to push an agenda from consideration. To me, one condition is whether the information is coming from a source which is giving the information specifically about the subject rather than an indiscriminate list. For example, if the source is a book chapter on (subject) and there is a paragraph about the subject being X then the info is encyclopedic and should be in the article. But if the source is "The Directory of X" and lists 9,999 names besides the subject, most of which are not notable, then the information is not encyclopedic and should be removed from an article if added. In the Luke Evans case, I haven't read the interview but I'd say that if it includes more a couple sentences on whether he is gay then it's in the first category and belongs in the article. Conversely, if he happened to be straight and the interview went on for a paragraph or two about his "straight lifestyle" then it would be encyclopedic as well, but the media tends not to do that sort of thing (not counting The Daily Show).--RDBury (talk) 22:42, 10 August 2011 (UTC)

If the only source is a 'list of list of LGBT people' then obviously it shouldn't be included but if the subject himself has gone out of his way to make a statement about it, then I do think it's worthy of inclusion. Like it or not, a notable person coming out is still a big deal.
...."a notable person coming out is still a big deal". To whom? Moriori (talk) 08:37, 14 August 2011 (UTC)
Reliable sources do. Wikipedia is only supposed to reflect the information gathered from secondary (some primary and tertiary) sources. We are not meant to add our own opinion to articles or to use that opinion to determine what should be included. If information is given significant coverage in reliable sources, then we cover it in the subject's article. SilverserenC 09:49, 14 August 2011 (UTC)
I didn't really need to be told know how Wikipedia justifies inclusion of contentious info. I already know. What I wanted to know is who decides that "a notable person coming out is still a big deal". Perhaps we could also be told why the decision maker thinks it's a big deal. Is all. Moriori (talk) 20:42, 14 August 2011 (UTC)
Um, the world? Society? I don't think there's a specific answer to who believes that it's a big deal, since it's sort of a general thing. Sexuality, religion, and ethnicity are the big three subjects that, for whatever reason, society considers to be of utmost importance and the news will go on and on discussing the minutiae of a person in regards to these three things for months. So, it's important because society at large considers it important, therefore, so should Wikipedia (when the news focuses on it as a subject). SilverserenC 21:06, 14 August 2011 (UTC)

The problem with the Luke Evans argument which clogged up the BLPN (and that I was involved on) was that it was a editorial judgement issue that was being argued as a BLP one. That made it extremely difficult to find a resolution. I think we could do with just a sentence or two in the BLP reiterating that if there's a reliable source for the subject self-identifying then there's no BLP issue but that's inclusion is still down to the editors or something. That way, the discussion stays on the talk page and it remains a consensus issue, especially since what is and isn't encyclopedic can be quite subjective at times. AlbionBT (talk) 07:48, 14 August 2011 (UTC)

I'm seeing a lot of heavy soapboxing in this discussion. To campaign actively against the visibility of notable LGBT people contributes actively to a serious problem. Most gay people in the developed world cannot marry, and outside the developed world have few human rights, and this situation is perpetuated by ignorance and invisibility. Of course LGBT sexual orientation is notable - in many countries it can get you executed, or beaten to death by your family. If the subject's orientation is in the public domain because they decided to come out, and this can be reliably sourced, it should be mentioned. So to repeat what postdlf said "Evans' interview with Advocate is clearly a reliable source, and he discusses at length how being gay impacted his life. I don't see a valid reason for not including it in the article. It's a biography, not a C.V." If Luke Evans has subsequently announced that he no longer identifies as gay, that should be mentioned as well. Rubywine . talk 13:17, 14 August 2011 (UTC)
Kind of wrong. Sexual orientation is not inherently notable except inasmuch as it contributes to the subject's notability in other ways. Alan Turing's homosexuality, for example, is extremely notable due to how and why he died. Jodie Foster's, on the other hand, is essentially a non-event and should merit only passing mention at most, as the only notability her sexual orientation has is the years of rumour. Similarly, people like say George Takei or Chaz Bono have for one reason or another have made their sexuality part of their public image, and thus it becomes notable. I kind of also have to take issue with your interesting stance that there's a lot of soapboxing going on, followed rather quickly by your own soapboxing. Basically, as Jayron said above, this has to be taken on a case-by-case basis, and an official policy is thus probably a bad idea, unless said policy states that sexual orientation is only notable when it is part of (or the entirety of) the reason for the subject's notability in the first place. Otherwise it should be mentioned in passing only, if at all. (And lest you think I'm into whitewashing queer history, take a look at my userpage.) → ROUX  20:09, 14 August 2011 (UTC)

Scholastic history book is not trusted?

I wrote about Gunpowder Plot used Scholastic's The Slimy Stuarts. Someone delete it because this source doesn't trusted. Scholastic's Horrible Histories (The Slimy Stuarts is one of these) has been used in U.K's school education. I know the article has win several award in Wikipedia. And Lady Antonia Fraser win some prize about this article. But if there is another theory, must Wikipedia covering the theory, isn't it??? And had my English was bad (since I'm originally Japanese), before delete, you must read the book. Is it not the Wikipedia style? --K84 (talk) 02:33, 13 August 2011 (UTC)

K84 added a section called Doubt, the content of which is a suggestion that the King was behind the plot. It's an interesting assertion, and not one I have come across before. But, like whoever removed it from the article, I have reservations about accepting a childrens' history book as a reliable source. I think the way forwards might be to discuss the assertion on the talk page of the article, to see if anyone more familiar with the history has come across and can provide a reliable source for the assertion. --Tagishsimon (talk) 02:58, 13 August 2011 (UTC)
If the children's book author got the theory from a more academic source, then the better source should be used. If the children's book author invented it alone, it seems too fringe to be included in an article on such a well-documented subject. —Designate (talk) 03:02, 13 August 2011 (UTC)
See also this reference desk post. --Tagishsimon (talk) 03:11, 13 August 2011 (UTC)
The books are okey but they do tend to suffer from repeating common missconceptions.©Geni 03:26, 13 August 2011 (UTC)
Ummmm. I thought it theory must be familiar since appeared in even the children's books. And I don't think highly of Lady Antonia Fraser's whole work. I've got tons of fatal error in Henry VIII's wives and Marie Antoinette. But I couldn't find the source of The Slimy Stuarts. If I found out more of the theory, that time I'll try again. Thank you, all of you.--K84 (talk) 13:13, 13 August 2011 (UTC)
That title sounds a bit.... biased. :-> - Denimadept (talk) 02:03, 14 August 2011 (UTC)
In Japan, children's history books often written by the authority of the genre. Most of history books of adult are more uncertain. I thought same of English.--K84 (talk) 13:19, 14 August 2011 (UTC)

Edit summaries MANDATORY?

I have recently been told that failure to leave edit summaries is a violation of policy and is considered a "disruption". I suppose according to the literal wording of the policy WP:EDIT it could be taken that way. However, it has never been enforced as such and since policy must DESCRIBE how Wikipedia actually works and not PROSCRIBE how it MUST, I would say that the policy is out of wack with actual practice. I open this discussion up to see what views are on the idea of "is it mandatory to leave edit summaries" or is it "greatly encouraged to leave edit summaries in the spirit of good will". There's a slight but meaningful difference. One is blockable and actionable by admins the other not. This thread is about this general topic, not specific problems people personally have with me not leaving edit summaries. Not everything is about me. (Well... just not in this case)Camelbinky (talk) 01:07, 14 August 2011 (UTC)

No, it's not mandatory, just good etiquette. —Designate (talk) 01:11, 14 August 2011 (UTC)
Agreed, it's not mandatory. I'd be interested in hearing here from the person who told you it was. It's not even necessarily helpful, as people with naughty intent have been known to do one thing and say something quite else on the edit summary. Perhaps it's "mandatory" and it's required to be honest too? How is anyone going to validate that, I wonders. - Denimadept (talk) 01:47, 14 August 2011 (UTC)
Okay, found it. The way I see it, WP:EDIT#Be helpful: explain requests edit summaries to help understand an editor's intent. I don't see that as required. What I see is that the discussion this stems from got a bit acrimonious and someone else started picking nits, perhaps to save face. - Denimadept (talk) 02:00, 14 August 2011 (UTC)
OK, thanks but really I would have preferred this keep on topic and not "discussion this stems from" because I see that as commenting on the editor not on the discussion. Again- this isnt about me, this is about the policy. Not meaning to be rude, but I find it in bad taste to bring the very thing I asked not to be brought here.Camelbinky (talk) 02:53, 14 August 2011 (UTC)
Back to the topic then. I can't see the policy as being an outright assertion that edit summaries are compulsory, but it certainly implies that they are advisable - if you don't explain what you are doing, people are more likely to misinterpret your intent. I can think of few good justifications for not providing at least a minimal summary for anything that might be seen as contentious (apart from mine, which is simple cack-handedness - hitting 'enter' when I'm aiming for 'shift' or whatever... Doh! ) AndyTheGrump (talk) 03:25, 14 August 2011 (UTC)
The actual wording of the policy is " Try to use an appropriate edit summary." So, no, not mandatory. However, as has been mentioned they are always a good idea when reverting as failure to provide a reason for your revert can lead to edit warring, and nobody wants that. You can adjust your preferences so that you are prompted to leave one if you should forget. Beeblebrox (talk) 17:26, 14 August 2011 (UTC)

Links and/or converting units of measure

There is an ongoing discussion about which units of measure shouldn't generally be linked. Guidance already addresses overlinking of units (based on obscurity, or presence of a conversion) but doesn't define which units are the worst offenders for overlinking. People are now debating a table listing specific units. More opinions are needed. Lightmouse (talk) 20:17, 14 August 2011 (UTC)

Translation proposal

There is a proposal to re-write the WP:NONENG section of WP:Verifiability being discussed at Wikipedia talk:Verifiability#A_proposed_rewording_of_WP:NONENG_.232.

NONENG is the section that deals with the use of non-English sources to support article content. If someone challenges the non-English source, NONENG recommends that editors provide a quotation from the sources (if feasible; it's exactly what we do for sources that are written in English but aren't available free online), and it requests that editors provide a translation into English (again, if feasible).

NONENG says that professional translations/as published in a reliable source, are best, that translations by editors are second best, and machine translation, which does not work well for many languages, may be used as a last resort.

Some editors (all of whom appear to speak German, a language for which machine translation into English is particularly weak) would like to completely ban the use of machine translations for any purpose at all, unless "the Wikipedian speaks the source language and confirms the accuracy of the translation". If no Wikipedian who speaks the source language is available, then they would prefer that editors who do not speak the language of the source be given an unintelligible (to them) quotation with no translation at all, rather than a machine translation.

If you have opinions about this, please share your thoughts there. Thanks, WhatamIdoing (talk) 23:33, 14 August 2011 (UTC)

Notability of cemeteries

Are there any established guidelines or substantive AFDs dealing with the notability of cemeteries, preferably in the U.S.? (My main interest right now is Ohio.) There are several I'd like to start articles on that are old, some quite large, may have notable burials, and/or are in a major metropolitan area. But I am currently unable to find anything online beyond simple verification of their existence and location, except primary source (?) histories such as websites authored by the nonprofit orgs that manage a cemetery (which I think should be considered reliable, but falls short of WP:GNG). I'd also like to make/expand comprehensive lists for certain geographic regions that would at least provide a place to cover those for which a substantive standalone article would be difficult to justify, but I'm wary of starting this without feeling out the possible WP:NOTDIR objections. I think such lists would be a valuable part of the coverage of the geography, history, and culture of populated places, and a large part of my interest is noting historic cemeteries that no longer exist but had their burials moved and consolidated into larger cemeteries (a common practice in the U.S. at least as cities grew). Thanks for your comments. postdlf (talk) 19:24, 29 July 2011 (UTC)

If you don't think they meet WP:N, you can always add content to the article on the area in which the cemetery is located and create redirects to help users find that content. Individual elements of a larger article do not necessarily have to be independently notable. Content is still there and can still be found by searching the name, they just wouldn't have a stand-alone article. Beeblebrox (talk) 19:29, 29 July 2011 (UTC)
Right, that's partly why I want to develop the lists, but I wanted to see what the mood was on including a lot of cemeteries that I could verify but for which I couldn't demonstrate notability. postdlf (talk) 19:33, 29 July 2011 (UTC)
Beeblebrox said exactly what I was planning on based just on the title of this thread. I'd like to add that I encourage Postdlf to make cemetery lists for counties in New York's Capital District because the NYCD wikiproject would be a strong supporter if Post wants to start there (Albany Rural Cemetery and Oakwood Cemetery (Troy, New York) having their own articles for being NRHP sites and notable burials (Uncle Sam and a US president)). Lists dont have to have all their listings be notable, the policy/guidelines are clear that the lists are to be COMPLETE regardless of having redlinks or individual listings that are not notable (something that was once fought over at List of world trade centers). Cemeteries fall under the fact we are indeed a gazetteer as well as an encyclopedia.Camelbinky (talk) 20:07, 29 July 2011 (UTC)
That's the answer I was looking for--hopefully most others would agree with you that they would fall under the gazetteer function. I have an interesting story about my visit to Albany Rural Cemetery in 2005, but for now my focus is on my home state, so you'll just have to be satisfied with the pictures I uploaded for that article back then. Though maybe I'll stumble across a good list formatting that can be applied across the board. postdlf (talk) 14:30, 30 July 2011 (UTC)
I've commented on a number of recent AfDs where our Gazetteer function was used to justify lists of non-notable items, (in a non notable collection) - if this is simply a tabular listing then I would consider it still at risk of failing notdir and being nominated or deleted. If it were to follow the featured list criteria of being composed of engaging prose from the outset then I don't see an issue. Generally all the facts can be independently verified by local history societies who will have published works either on general local history or specifically local graveyards/cemeteries; however their works may be difficult to obtain (no barrier to WP:V) but generally can be obtained from the society itsself or nearby libraries and may assert notability of the subject. Stuart.Jamieson (talk) 09:42, 31 July 2011 (UTC)
What non-notable items failed gazetteer justification in recent AFDs? If you're thinking of the bus route lists, I think cemeteries are a little more substantial than bus routes, and at least a good handful in any given area are going to be notable enough for standalone articles, which can "anchor" a list and leave little argument against making them more comprehensive as long as each item is verifiable in some way, even if only to verify name and location. Also I think it's relevant that every biography, if complete, would state the location of the subject's burial location, but not what bus route they used.

Regarding your comment about local historical societies or libraries, probably so, but I'm asking more about how a cemetery list would be viewed for which that had not yet been demonstrated. We presume named populated places are notable, for example, or a bio that satisfies WP:POLITICIAN, even if GNG hasn't been demonstrated at the outset because we either assume that such sources do exist or will exist eventually, or that the subject is important enough for inclusion even if we can't get significant coverage but can verify the facts. In my own case, I'm currently living in a developing nation and so I'm stuck with just the books I personally own or what I can find on the web, which may be enough for verification but not GNG (yet). So I'd like to at least start on what I'm capable of doing now, and others (or myself, once I've returned to civilization) can develop it further.

I've started working in my sandbox on a list format, but haven't yet incorporated formatting for sourcing, and some of the cemeteries (this one, for example) I have been unable to find any print sources online discussing it, but in the meantime its existence can be verified as existing on maps even if nowhere else, and plaques at the location give some information about it (though lo and behold, it looks like we have Template:Cite sign, so maybe that's less of a problem than I think). Other cemeteries, as I noted, have histories on web sites run by the managing organization; I think the Roman Catholic Diocese of Columbus, for example, would be a reliable source for a history of a cemetery it maintains, but that would arguably be a primary source not independent of the subject. Notwithstanding those issues, I think those should be considered appropriate for list inclusion, whether justified by the value in making the lists as comprehensive as verifiably possible, the judgment that cemeteries are inherently notable, or the assumption that additional (secondary) sourcing can eventually be found for any cemetery. postdlf (talk) 17:47, 31 July 2011 (UTC)

Whilst AfD's on Bus routes are ones I have commented on, a search of AfD for claims NOTDIR shows that consensus has supported deletion of lists on non-notable wind-farms, banks, restaurants, hotels, and more where claims could be made that it fulfils our gazetteer function. So hence my word of caution. Having attempted to research the graveyard at my local church extensively I know that there are literally no secondary sources covering it (where the neighbouring churchyard with some notable lairs is well documented) so I would not expect all cemeteries to be inherently notable, or assume that secondary sourcing can be found for even the collected cemeteries of a town or city. I also agree with what WhatamIdoing says below; unless the cemetery is exceptional then even small notable facts may fit better into a parent article about the town/village or even church. Stuart.Jamieson (talk) 15:24, 7 August 2011 (UTC)
You could consider WP:ORG, since cemeteries are organizations as well as locations. In general, though, I'd support merging any WP:PERMASTUBs to a 'parent' location. Unless it has an exceptional history, I suspect that most people would rather read about the "Lake Wobegon Cemetery" as a section in Lake Wobegon instead of as a separate article anyway. WhatamIdoing (talk) 01:47, 1 August 2011 (UTC)
See Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Mottville Township Cemetery for an AfD in which a cemetery was deleted.  It is hard to guess what the closing admin was thinking, it would be worth asking on the closing admins talk page.  Unscintillating (talk) 22:29, 4 August 2011 (UTC)
  • Cemeteries should be treated like places, assigned per se notability so long as their existence is confirmable. Why? Proper biographies often end with reference to where a subject is buried, and that should be a link to a place. The deletion of cemeteries because three independently produced substantial sources on the subject can't be mustered, like Mottville Township Cemetery, is completely asinine. Carrite (talk) 16:49, 10 August 2011 (UTC)
    • My two cents is that cemeteries are not notable unless proven otherwise. There are a lot of cemeteries. People should just park the cemetery info in county articles, since this is where amateur geneologists look for such info. Speciate (talk) 06:21, 12 August 2011 (UTC)
  • Carrite, why should Permastubs be kept which read something similar to

    "El cementerio de las axilas" (English: The Armpit Cemetery) is a burial ground in El Armpitto, New Mexico.[1] The cemetery is notable as the resting place of Joe Schmoe who received the congressional medal of honour for his actions during the Aphid war of 1896, and died defending Grover Cleveland's presidential rose garden from attack.[2] Opened in 1813 the cemetery is still in use today, open 9am-5pm weekdays and by appointment on the weekend.[1]

The notability of the burial ground is not inherited from it's inhabitants and there's no reason that it's inhabitants biography can't link to an article on the settlement/place of worship that holds the cemetery (or the specific section that discusses the cemetery) instead of the creation of a stub that is unlikely to ever be expanded. Stuart.Jamieson (talk) 12:56, 16 August 2011 (UTC)

Additions to the Manual of Style or subpages

Generally, does one need a specific consensus from the community before adding anything to the Manual of Style or one of its subpages? Such as, "I want to add this to the MOS, any thoughts/objections?" --Rschen7754 00:29, 13 August 2011 (UTC)

  • ANSWER: Yes, you guessed it. The only changes typically allowed in WP:MOS pages, without prior consensus, would be for obvious typos, such as fixing a misspelled word within an MOS page. Hence, users need to pinpoint where an MOS-style issue should be discussed, so click Template:Style to view links to the sections (sub-divisions) of the overall MOS, and then propose a change in the related talk-page section. -Wikid77 (talk) 20:08, 16 August 2011 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Naming conventions (writing systems) has been marked as a guideline

Wikipedia:Naming conventions (writing systems) (edit | talk | history | links | watch | logs) has recently been edited to mark it as a guideline. This is an automated notice of the change (more information). -- VeblenBot (talk) 02:00, 17 August 2011 (UTC)

Wikibombing revisited

A couple of months ago an editor created an essay, Wikipedia:Wikibombing (SEO), to discuss the alleged use of search engine optimization techniques on Wikipedia to influence search engine rankings. I have carried out an experiment to see whether this is actually possible in practice and have posted the results at User:Prioryman/Use of SEO techniques on Wikipedia. I would appreciate any feedback from editors. Prioryman (talk) 18:13, 16 August 2011 (UTC)

Whorlton Castle ranks 6th when I search Google. [5] JeepdaySock (AKA, Jeepday) 10:29, 17 August 2011 (UTC)

Regarding WP:BLPSIGN

Recently, there was a deletion review regarding a massive deletion of uploaded image files, all of which are images of signatures of living people that fits our BLP policies.

That deletion review was upheld pending a RFC/VPP at my suggestion, therefore, I propose this question to the community: What should we do regarding signatures of living people? What should we do about WP:BLPSIGN? - Penwhale | dance in the air and follow his steps 12:42, 17 August 2011 (UTC)

  • What do you mean "what to do about it"? Its a proposed guideline/policy that seems to have never gotten off the ground. Wikipedia is filled with unenacted proposals. Since that page has never had the force of policy or guideline, I'm not sure we need to do anything. Perhaps one could start an RFC or centralized discussion over enacting it or closing it for good, but that page never became official and hasn't had a substantive change or discussion in a month. --Jayron32 12:51, 17 August 2011 (UTC)
  • The deletion review linked partially based arguments around this, and therefore this should get a closer look by the community. - Penwhale | dance in the air and follow his steps 14:46, 17 August 2011 (UTC)
  • In its present form BLPSIGN is far too wishy-washy anyway. The only firm guideline it gives is not to "reproduce from primary sources", but primary sources are not made equal: an author's printed signature on the sleeve of his latest bestseller is quite different from his written signature on the same given at a book signing. Someone basically needs to rewrite BLPSIGN to be be useful first and then it can be discussed: we can't really write it by committee in an RfC. Chris Cunningham (user:thumperward) - talk 15:20, 17 August 2011 (UTC)
    • It looks like the creators of BLPSIGN don't know what a primary source is. I suspect that they meant something like "do not reproduce signatures from court documents, legal contracts, and stuff like that". It is not actually possible for a person's signature to become a secondary source for the person's signature. Deciding whether something is a secondary source is not merely a matter of counting up links in a chain. An original signature, a photocopy of that signature, and a gold-embossed copy of that signature on the book cover are all primary sources for the appearance of the signature. WhatamIdoing (talk) 18:22, 17 August 2011 (UTC)
  • Signatures do not, in general seem like they belong in an encyclopedia. So what if some people collect them? I see the point of reproducing John Hancock's signature, because it is a notable one, much written about. But for living people it seems to invite forgery. Edison (talk) 15:32, 17 August 2011 (UTC)
    • Looking at the DRV, it looks like all of the sigs that were deleted were non-American, possibly from India (judging from the names)? I also see that quite a few articles (all American subjects from what I've seen) still have signatures in their infoboxes and are notable figures of the first order (such as Barack Obama or Beyonce). Just trying to figure out where things are at.

      There shouldn't be any concern or controversy regarding the signatures of living public officials (like Obama or Schwarzenegger): their signature on public documents is widely available and has/had the force of law. I can't fathom a reasonable argument for not having those (unless it's outside the U.S. and of unclear copyrightability), regardless of whether it's taken from a "primary source" like a signed act or executive order. Similarly, the signatures of artists are (often) displayed on their works or otherwise widely publicized as their identifying mark, basically like a brand logo, so there is no privacy concern there (this might apply to other kinds of celebrities or entertainers too, if they've used their signature in advertisements, album covers, etc). Beyond that, it should be a case-by-case determination as to whether it's actually relevant or informative to an article and/or an invasion of privacy. If your only source for a minor actor's signature is a divorce court filing, then we probably shouldn't include it. postdlf (talk) 15:49, 17 August 2011 (UTC)

  • A CFD has been opened at Wikipedia_talk:Signatures_of_living_persons#RfC_on_BLPSIGN_as_official_policy. I suggest that any discussion on the matter be directed to that location. --After Midnight 0001 14:22, 18 August 2011 (UTC)

Wikipedia:WikiProject College football/Naming conventions has been marked as a guideline

Wikipedia:WikiProject College football/Naming conventions (edit | talk | history | links | watch | logs) has recently been edited to mark it as a guideline. This is an automated notice of the change (more information). -- VeblenBot (talk) 02:00, 19 August 2011 (UTC)

Wikipedia:WikiProject College football/Naming Conventions no longer marked as a guideline

Wikipedia:WikiProject College football/Naming Conventions (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, 19 August 2011 (UTC)

Decapitalizing the second word it looks like. --Izno (talk) 02:28, 19 August 2011 (UTC)


There is a outside website called WikiSpot that is somehow directly wikilinked. For example Hiking trails in Santa Clara County leads to There are about 90 such pale blue but otherwise not EL-looking links hither and yon in Wikipedia, some in See Also sections instead of External Links sections. Why are these links allowed, and why are they allowed to look like internal Wikipedia links? Speciate (talk) 06:38, 12 August 2011 (UTC)

See Help:Interwiki linking for the feature, and meta:Interwiki map for the complete list of such sites. Per WP:SEEALSO they shouldn't be in See also sections. PrimeHunter (talk) 14:57, 12 August 2011 (UTC)
As you point out, their color is different from internal links; they do lack the external link icon though. --Cybercobra (talk) 06:10, 13 August 2011 (UTC)
IMO it's a bit slimy to camouflage external links as wiki-links to other articles. It doesn't seem like something that should be happening. Does anyone else feel like that?--Brianann MacAmhlaidh (talk) 07:28, 16 August 2011 (UTC)
  • Where we're talking about non-wikimedia sites, yup. --Tagishsimon (talk) 07:35, 16 August 2011 (UTC)
  • Delete all external links in the main body of an article - Simple solution, has a good deal of support. Also can anyone think of a reason why we shouldn't add Wikispot to the blocked links list? I can't. Sven Manguard Wha? 19:53, 20 August 2011 (UTC)

Suggested change to WP:ADMINACCT wording

(N.B. Crosspost with Wikipedia_talk:Administrators#Suggested_change_to_WP:ADMINACCT_wording - I'm not sure which is the more appropriate venue)

Currently, WP:ADMINACCT contains the following sentence:

"Subject only to the bounds of civility, avoiding personal attacks, and reasonable good faith, editors are free to question or to criticize administrator actions"

I think a reasonable reading of this sentence - with particular attention to the usage of the words "only" and "free" - would interpret the sentence as meaning that as long as an editor abides by WP:CIVIL, WP:NPA and WP:AGF, any criticism or questioning of admin actions that editor makes are protected by this policy. However, the consensus and ruling at Wikipedia:Miscellany_for_deletion/User:Surturz/AdminWatch seems to be that such questions/criticisms must be with a view to dispute resolution. In particular, WP:ADMINACCT does not protect an editor from WP:UP#POLEMIC in their user space. In terms of accountability, editors are not allowed to keep a permanent "account" (list) of admin actions in their userspace. Therefore I think this sentence should be changed to reflect this consensus. I suggest the following rewording (I have including the surrounding text for context, the bolded part is new):

"Administrators are accountable for their actions involving administrator tools, and unexplained administrator actions can demoralize other editors who lack such tools. Subject only to the bounds of civility, avoiding personal attacks, and reasonable good faith, editors are free to question or to criticize administrator actions. Subject to the bounds of civility, avoiding personal attacks, and reasonable good faith, editors are allowed to question or criticize administrator actions on appropriate pages as part of the dispute resolution process. Administrators are expected to respond promptly and civilly to queries about their Wikipedia-related conduct and administrator actions and to justify them when needed."

--Surturz (talk) 02:45, 18 August 2011 (UTC)

No, that version is too limiting. It sounds like you're claiming admins can't be questioned outside of the dispute resolution process. --SarekOfVulcan (talk) 02:56, 18 August 2011 (UTC)
Exactly! I think it is clear from the MfD above that any complaints/criticisms must be "constructive" ie. aimed at resolving the issue. If I find an admin action objectionable, am I allowed to do any of the following?
  1. Complain on a friend's talk page
  2. Canvass other editors by posting the complaint on their talkpages
  3. Make a permanent userspace page containing the complaint
I would say that consensus seems to be "no". --Surturz (talk) 03:06, 18 August 2011 (UTC)
Let me take a stab at this. Perhaps we need to say something like:
  • "Subject to the bounds of civility, avoiding personal attacks, and reasonable good faith, editors are allowed to question or criticize administrator actions either by directly confronting the administrator, or by raising the issue via the normal channels of the dispute resolution process or the administrator noticeboards."
Whether or not we need to include language which deals with disallowed stuff should also be considered, but that seems to cover the usual healthy ways that disputes are handled: If you disagree with what an administrator has done, first you talk to them directly, and if that is unsatisfactory, you use dispute resolution or the admin boards to seek outside opinion. Other behaviors you note (gathering up friends who have also been similarly "wronged", or keeping a list in your userspace of such "wrongs") aren't healthy ways of solving disputes. --Jayron32 03:27, 18 August 2011 (UTC)
A bit wordy, I think we should try to keep it short by expressing the principle, rather than attempting to mandate the process.
To me the central issue is whether WP:ADMINACCT either 1. Gives editors additional protections/freedoms when complaining about administrator actions, or 2. Simply establishes that admins and non-admins have equal rights when discussing admin actions. The current wording asserts the former, but I think the consensus is the latter. When non-admins complain about admin actions, they are bound by the same rules that govern other sorts of dispute. They have no additional protections. --Surturz (talk) 03:44, 18 August 2011 (UTC)
It is reasonable to infer that any proposal to limit criticism of administrators, beyond the guidelines that already exist, is sinister. With rights come responsibilities, and with privilege comes some degree of scrutiny. Placing anyone above scrutiny for their actions appears elitist and dangerous to me.
I'm fond of metaphors and analogy. I liken this issue to the one about flag-burning: it might be bad form to burn a national flag in a particular protest, but is a specific law required to prevent this, or do existing laws (safety hazards, causing an affray, public nuisance, etc) not already offer avenues to address egregious activities? In that vein, cannot hate postings be addressed individually if and as they arise, and under existing rules?
Every time any kind of restraint is placed on liberty for the sake of preventing some anticipated wrong-doing, other, completely unforeseen consequences inevitably arise to restrain liberty in unintended ways. As with the flag-burning issue, has there really been such a spate of egregiousness that new rules are necessary? Regards, Peter S Strempel | Talk 00:51, 19 August 2011 (UTC)
Actually, I am sort of with Peterstrempel on this one for the following reason: Administrators don't actually have any real "power" in the abstract sense that people pretend that they do. That pretense that they do only comes from people who spend time being upset about this illusory "power". Administrators are subject to the exact same rules as anyone else is; the concept that they shouldn't be does not exist except in the minds of people for whom it is to their advantage to pretend that it does. Insofar as no editor at Wikipedia should be subject to the sort of unhelpful, non-resolution-minded grudge-holding accumulation of lists of wrongs, or shouldn't be ganged up on by people who perceive them as opponents, or anything like that, administrators have those same rights. Administrators are not special, and don't need to be set aside as a special class that some how needs either more protection, or more scrutiny. --Jayron32 16:13, 19 August 2011 (UTC)
Agree with Jayron32 on all counts. --GRuban (talk) 03:18, 20 August 2011 (UTC)
"Please ignore my shotgun", eh? :-) In that case, we can simply delete the line, since admins and non-admins have the same rights to complain, as follows:

"Administrators are accountable for their actions involving administrator tools, and unexplained administrator actions can demoralize other editors who lack such tools. Subject only to the bounds of civility, avoiding personal attacks, and reasonable good faith, editors are free to question or to criticize administrator actions. Administrators are expected to respond promptly and civilly to queries about their Wikipedia-related conduct and administrator actions and to justify them when needed."

This way there is no implication of any additional freedom to criticise admins under this policy. The mechanism and manner of criticism is left to all the other policy pages. --Surturz (talk) 00:06, 21 August 2011 (UTC)
The line refers specifically to administrator actions. It seems relevant to note that use of technical tools can be questioned. Perhaps the way to phrase this is: As with other technical abilities (for example, rollback), specific administrator actions may be questioned by editors, bounded by the usual rules of civility, avoiding personal attacks, reasonable good faith and with an aim to resolving the issue. This last is vague enough to allow other valid options outside the "dispute resolution" process but specific enough to preclude the sort of pages the MFD argues against. I also added "specific" in front of administrator actions, which will allow people to write about perceived generalised problems in the admin ecosystem (a problem I mean to write about at some point) without fear. --Errant (chat!) 00:22, 21 August 2011 (UTC)

WKQX, which redirects, keeps getting deleted

I noticed WKQX was a red link in an article I was looking at, and discovered that someone had deleted it as a non-controversial administrative action. I recreated it only to find it deleted again, recreated it and then I found out I couldn't look up who deleted it to go to their talk page.

This is not a non-controversial delete; WKQX changed its call letters, resulting in a move that left behind a redirect, and all the information about WKQX remains in WWWN. The action left red links all over creation, although they needed to be updated anyway. I took care of that where I could find the links to update. Even when piped, radio station call letters might be used again and the link would go to the new station.Vchimpanzee · talk · contributions · 21:40, 19 August 2011 (UTC)

Actually, given that the WKQX calls now exist on a (currently silent, but yet still a licensed entity) FM frequency (95.9) in Watseka, Illinois, the WKQX call letters should point to that station's article. The fact that there has not been one written, to this point, isn't really a valid point to have WKQX redirect to the new calls. A hatnote at the top of the article about the current WKQX, when / if written, would be acceptable, but the deletion of the redirect is not - to use your recent edit summary - "the most ridiculous thing I have ever seen on this site". StrikerforceTalk Review me! 01:58, 20 August 2011 (UTC)
Strikerforce, you aren't creating a disambiguation page or helping to make something along the lines of what you suggest above, you're asking for SPEEDY DELETION. I call foul on your argument above, since you say there is a solution to this, but you're pushing for something else on the page itself, and also since you seem to put the importance of a silent station (which I doubt would meet GNG) above a transmitting station. Take your deletion request to a proper AfD discussion rather than making arguments that seem to want to have it both ways. -- Avanu (talk) 02:19, 20 August 2011 (UTC)
You may "call foul" all you like, but precedent - and probably policy, but I'm not inclined at the moment to go find it - supports deletion of the page because WKQX is a licensed radio station (even if silent, it is still licensed by the FCC) that is not the former OTA Q101 in Chicago. My statement above is that if someone were to create an article for the current WKQX, then it would be acceptable to have a hat note on that article stating, "For the former WKQX in Chicago, Illinois, see WWWN". Also, a licensed radio station is generally notable, regardless of current transmitting status. Honestly, I'd say that one would only need to look no further than the administrator who has agreed with each of my CSD nominations of that page and judge whether or not they know what they're doing, in their role as an administrator. I don't know about you, but I trust Fastily's judgement explicitly, on this and any other administrative action. StrikerforceTalk Review me! 02:38, 20 August 2011 (UTC)
Strikerforce, write the article first. Until then, deleting the redirect accomplishes nothing except breaking links. olderwiser 02:53, 20 August 2011 (UTC)
You linked me to an essay, not a policy. Find something that supports your restoration that is actually a policy, please. StrikerforceTalk Review me! 02:59, 20 August 2011 (UTC)
WP:Redirect, reason 1, seems good to me. See also Wikipedia:Redirects for discussion/Log/2011 August 20#WKQX. --Izno (talk) 03:12, 20 August 2011 (UTC)
Wikipedia:Notability (media) regarding radio stations says "Notability can be established by either a large audience, established broadcast history, or unique programming". They have no audience and no programming, unless you can find evidence of their broadcast history, which by my research so far ends with them being called WMLF. I found some evidence that WMLF broadcast in the 80's via Googling it, but WKQX at Watseka has zero broadcast history. -- Avanu (talk) 04:05, 20 August 2011 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────I have updated all links in article space (some were really hard to find) to WKQX. I restored one to the Watseka station that I had deleted because I could find no evidence it existed on Wikipedia. Would it be all right, until that station gets its own article, to mention in the WWWN article what happened to the call letters, with reliable sources backing up the facts?Vchimpanzee · talk · contributions · 16:43, 20 August 2011 (UTC)

Quotes *and* italicisation

There's a growing disease among some writers the symptoms of which are quoting and italicisation of passages. What is the point? Italics are, anyway, more difficult to read on a screen, and should be preserved for titles, names of vessels, emphasis of words and phrases – oh, the usual. I see this bizarre habit in blogs and other online content, when the quote marks should tell us it's a quote. Like, duh, to borrow from the vernacular. So I wonder if there are people out there who have more influence in deciding Wikipedia style who might look out for these weird typographical combinations and advise people that they're rather silly and shouldn't be used.

There is another point about quoting, too. If the style of the publication is for, say, doubles, no singles should be used except for nested quotations (i.e. quotes within quotes). Some writers think a single word or a phrase can make do with single quotes, and then use doubles for full sentences. Ain't so, and it's illogical and unnecessary, when spotting a quote of the style that is opposite to that of the publication (single in doubles or double in singles) can tell a reader immediately that he/she is reading a nested quote.

Again, I appeal to Wiki staff and editors and others of influence to try to steer contributors away from these nonsenses. I appreciate that, with so many contributors, some are going to choose a style that may not be that of the organization as a whole. But, even then, if they choose, say, single quotes (maybe they're made used to them by living in and reading books published in the UK, for instance) as the primary quote mark, they should stick to it (using doubles only for nested quotes). But I gather the style is for the American-preferred doubles (I, although British, prefer them too).

Andy (--Ajarmitage (talk) 06:34, 18 August 2011 (UTC))

Both of the problems you bring up are indeed against the MoS (WP:MOSQUOTE#Italics_and_quotations & WP:MOSQUOTE#Quotation_marks). But we are a volunteer project; there is no way to force compliance with the MoS. At best, there's ad hoc vigilante style correction and voluntary review (the Featured Article process). Education is good too though. --Cybercobra (talk) 07:53, 18 August 2011 (UTC) ('Single-quotation' annoys the heck out of me too.)
With the way you've stated the single quotes for single words rule it is illogical, but I'm not convinced you're stating it correctly. If the word is a quote then double quotes should be used, for example:
He said in a piercing whisper, "Carrots!"
But when talking about a word I think single quotes are usable to indicate that it's not a part of the text and it's not a quote, as in:
The word 'carrots' is usually spelled with two r's.
To me this looks better but I doubt it's something to argue about here. Does the issue really come up in articles often enough to warrant covering it the MOS? I also occasionally use single quotes in talk pages to enclose article names when a link has already been given, but I figure anything goes on talk pages as long as I get the message across.--RDBury (talk) 10:59, 18 August 2011 (UTC)
Blech, totally wrong (in mainspace). The MoS recommends italics in such circumstances. --Cybercobra (talk) 09:13, 21 August 2011 (UTC)

Requests for bureaucratship threshold RfC

An RfC to determine the threshold for successful Requests for bureaucratship is now at Wikipedia:Requests for comment/Requests for bureaucratship threshold. All of the community is invited to comment. Thanks. - Hydroxonium (TCV) 01:54, 22 August 2011 (UTC)

When are names for technical methods and systems proper names and when are they not?

As I understand Wikipedia title guidelines, only proper names should be capitalized. There are a number of article titles about technical methods and systems that are fully capitalized (but most are not). Almost all of these methods and systems are identified by an acronym which may lead to incorrect capitalization in this project. I have been trying to figure out when one of these names is a proper name and when it is a common name so I can fix those that are incorrectly capitalized. I understand that this is a sensitive issue since the proponents of these methods may consider capitalization as a sign of distinction and validation. Here are some example titles with both proper and common name capitalization:

Software development

Project management

I see no examples of proper name capitalization for medical procedures though many have acronyms.

What determines whether a name is a proper name in this context? From proper noun lead sentence:

"A proper noun or proper name is a noun representing a unique entity (such as London, Jupiter, John Hunter, or Toyota), as distinguished from a common noun, which represents a class of entities (or nonunique instance[s] of that class)—for example, city, planet, person or corporation)."

Is the uniqueness of these methods and techniques sufficient to make their names proper? Or does it require a legal brand name? Or ...? Jojalozzo 16:33, 14 August 2011 (UTC)

  • Very difficult question. There are so many technical issues around the theory of reference. For a real answer you need to ask a theoretical linguist or a philosopher but I sincerely doubt they would give you a straightforward answer. The Manual of Style doesn't go anywhere near this. In your shoes, I would go with "Wikipedia avoids unnecessary capitalization". Rubywine . talk 18:13, 14 August 2011 (UTC)
To answer the specific query of "what of these ones?", I'd say lower-case the lot of 'em. To answer the general case, I think I'd go with Rubywine's suggestion of MOSCAPS. --Izno (talk) 06:02, 15 August 2011 (UTC)
The easiest thing to do is to follow the sources. If they all treat it as a proper noun, then we should, too. WhatamIdoing (talk) 02:46, 15 August 2011 (UTC)
That makes some sense except many of these terms are capitalized because they are most often referred to by acronym not because they are proper names. Wikipedia style guidelines say we should not capitalize terms just because they have an acronym. So capitalization of these terms in sources does not indicate proper name status for terms that are referred to by acronym. Jojalozzo 02:56, 15 August 2011 (UTC)
(edit conflict) I disagree. Sources will capitalize for their own reasons, or even for no considered reason at all. Wikipedia has a fairly anti-capitalization guideline, which is in line with most printed works, but technical manuals are more prone to capitalize jargon that we wouldn't. What's more, many of these sources are technical websites that have no style manual at all or have an incentive to capitalize the terms because they are part of their name. None of the items listed is a proper noun. The name of a technique or method is not going to be capitalized unless there is some special reason to do so. All of the capitalized examples above seem to be so, as Jojalozzo said, only because they are acronyms. -Rrius (talk) 03:45, 15 August 2011 (UTC)
Note the word "all" in my statement: if every single source capitalizes a spelled-out term, then it's probably a proper noun. If you can find one source that doesn't capitalize the spelled-out term, then it's not a proper noun. (Capitalizing the abbreviation itself is irrelevant.) It's easier to identify such cases if you've got lots of third-party sources available (and if you can't find any third-party sources, then the only relevant capitalization is "AFD"). WhatamIdoing (talk) 20:03, 15 August 2011 (UTC)
I still disagree. The flaws that can apply to one can apply to all. What's more, the sources are likely to be largely trade publications and websites for companies that capitalize on the technique, so they are all likely to be flawed. In any event, the logic is faulty: the fact that a lot of publications, including the ones we happen to use here, capitalize something does not mean that it is a proper noun. Once again, a lot of people capitalize things they are used to seeing as acronyms and initialisms; that does not make them proper nouns and certainly doesn't mean they should be capitalized at Wikipedia. Our capitalization rule is not follow sources, but rather to follow the MOS. It may be "easier" to just ape what sources do, but it is better to put the effort into following MOS. In this case, that is to put each listed item in lowercase. -Rrius (talk) 20:48, 15 August 2011 (UTC)
Again: if all of the sources are "trade publications and websites for companies that capitalize on the technique", then the only capitalization that matters is AFD. If no sources are written by third-party, independent sources—if they are all written by people trying to make money off of it—then the subject is not WP:Notable and the page should be deleted. WhatamIdoing (talk) 18:04, 17 August 2011 (UTC)

I think there are a several reasons for capitalizing technical terms in source documents. Technical papers in engineering and computer science use capitalization for multiple purposes including

  1. focus attention on important concepts
  2. match terms with their acronyms
  3. confer unique identity to concepts, systems, methods, techniques and approaches

It's clear to me that the first two of these purposes are not covered by our capitalization guidelines. I think it's the third purpose that is giving us trouble since unique identity is one of the requirements for a proper name. I think the authors of these terms think their referents are unique entities but does that mean they are? Jojalozzo 03:34, 15 August 2011 (UTC)

According to Wikipedia:Manual of Style (capital letters)#Religions, deities, philosophies, doctrines and their adherents: "Doctrinal topics or canonical religious ideas that may be traditionally capitalized within a faith are given in lower case in Wikipedia, such as virgin birth (as a common noun), original sin or transubstantiation." Would this translate to other areas of the project? Jojalozzo 20:14, 15 August 2011 (UTC)

This can be assessed fairly easily. To make use of some of the examples you provided, consider RAD (Rapid Application Development). When written in a sentence, 'rapid application development' refers to the generic process per common English - development of applications in a rapid manner. This is not the same thing as 'Rapid Application Development', which refers to the name of a specific process and ruleset for that same purpose. This is what the definition of a proper noun implies, with 'Rapid Application Development' being a unique entity, and 'rapid application development' being a class that may refer to multiple non-unique instances.
'Agile software development' is correct because the name of the unique entity is 'Agile'. Software development isn't part of the proper name because the unique entity Agile isn't limited to software development and hasn't incorporated those words into its name. Extreme Programming is a proper noun for a unique entity. Adaptive Software Development is a proper noun for a unique entity. Dynamic Systems Development Method is a unique entity within the non-unique class of software development methods.
A general guide for determining if a name is a unique entity or a class is to prefix with 'a' or 'the'. If you're saying "a rapid application development process", you're dealing with a non-unique class and it's not a proper noun. If you're saying "the Rapid Application Development process", you're dealing with a unique entity, and it is a proper noun. TechnoSymbiosis (talk) 06:34, 17 August 2011 (UTC)
What is your opinion on Agile Modeling?
What is your analysis of the following sentence from Agile Unified Process: "The Agile Unified Process distinguishes between two types of iterations. A Development Release Iteration results in a deployment to the Quality Assurance and/or Demo area. A Production Release Iteration results in a deployment to the Production area. This is a significant refinement to the Rational Unified Process."?
We regularly use 'the' with common nouns, e.g. "the house on the corner", what is the basis for giving these technical terms special treatment? Jojalozzo 16:08, 17 August 2011 (UTC)
The guidance on 'the' vs 'a' was intended to be loose rather than strict, context obviously dictates differing uses. On Agile Modeling, there's not enough detail in the article to identify the topic as either a unique entity or a class. Agile Unified Process is a unique entity, the iterations don't belong to different processes. TechnoSymbiosis (talk) 23:37, 18 August 2011 (UTC)
  • Hence, the overall answer is, "Capital letters depend on the particular noun" such as "Extreme Programming" (XP) being the name of a unique entity. However, generalized terms are lower-case (such as "object-oriented programming"), plus note how hyphens are often omitted, as with "object oriented" as another issue to consider with capital letters. Now, to clarify the historical confusion with the world at large, in the past, philosophical movements were often capitalized (but no longer by contemporary writers); it was common to see "Existentialism" (now "existentialism") or "Utilitarianism" (today "utilitarianism") or "Socialism". In that manner, a philosophical concept was often capitalized, which is still done for Platonic ideas (or "Ideals"), as with: Truth, Kindness and Beauty. Formerly, every concept name was capitalized, such as "the Automobile in the history of Transportation" versus "the automobile in that garage". However, now it is rare to find in current philosophy books. For that reason, WP editors have suggested following the use of capital letters as found in several sources. Otherwise, use "lazy capitalization" in most Wikipedia articles, and that means writing, "the history of transportation" with all lower-case words, but capital letters for people, nations or corporations ("IBM" or "Apple"), etc. -Wikid77 (talk) 11:47, 17 August 2011 (UTC)
    Does this mean that once we have varieties of Extreme Programming or other currently unique entities and they become names for general classes of entities ("object-oriented programming" was once a unique entity), then we would stop capitalizing them? Jojalozzo 16:08, 17 August 2011 (UTC)
    I would lower-case extreme programming, because it appears in lower case in many reliable sources (not the ones where Riley is promoting it as their trademarks, but in independent ones). This is in line with WhatamIdoing's suggestion; it's not always capitalized in reliable sources so it's not a proper noun. I agree with that as a general guideline. When people make up a new name for their stuff, like "Dynamic Systems Development Method", they want it to be a proper name; but we need to look and see if that's how it is used. Dicklyon (talk) 17:06, 21 August 2011 (UTC)
    I would consider 'always' to be inappropriately strict. If you've got 99 reliable sources using capitalisation and one using all-lowercase, that's not good enough grounds to lowercase our use of the term. Intelligent review of reliable sources is necessary, but we should really avoid definitive statements like 'always'. I'd be more inclined to go with the majority of high quality reliable sources. TechnoSymbiosis (talk) 00:30, 25 August 2011 (UTC)
    Just want to point out that the capitalization to follow is that of secondary sources uninfluenced by the PR of the originator. And to a certain extent I regard following extensive capitalization as an indication that the article was essentially PR. That's another reason we should avoid it. DGG ( talk ) 19:41, 23 August 2011 (UTC)

New discussion on "When is something a proper noun?"

I've started a more general discussion on proper names at Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style (capital letters)#When is something a proper noun?. Please comment there if you have an opinion on how to address such thing by more general guidance. Dicklyon (talk) 00:17, 22 August 2011 (UTC)

Are articles about WMF Projects exempt from WP:N?

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section. A summary of the conclusions reached follows.
The consensus clearly demonstrates that individual WMF projects are not exempt from the notability guideline. There is also agreement that we can preserve the information about the individual projects, possibly by merging/redirecting them to List of Wikipedias. TNXMan 14:22, 24 August 2011 (UTC)

The background

Recently, there were two nominations to delete two articles on sister projects. One ended in Delete (Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Khowar Wikipedia), and the other ended in a WP:IAR Keep (Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Waray-Waray Wikipedia).
I overreacted on the latter deletion debate and lost my temper partly because I could not see any reasonable justification on why anyone would go around AfDing what is basically a part of this very same site. I assumed malicious wikilawyering and lashed out, which is not quite AGF and very uncivil, so apologies for that. Nonetheless, after a few hours of getting back to my usual work, I think I've gained back enough perspective to not truly care if the consensus is to delete all of them, even if I do favor keeping them strongly.
There are currently nothing about this in any of our policies, so I thought I should try and get a consensus from the community for one. Note that this is my first time doing anything like this, and I'd really prefer to simply write articles. But it's an important question.-- Obsidin Soul 08:47, 16 August 2011 (UTC)

The issue:

I'm sure everyone is already aware that the English Wikipedia is only one of the many Wikipedias and Wikimedia projects under the WMF. We have articles about them in here, in the same way that other Wikipedias have articles about us.
However, people may not be aware that a great deal of of those articles rely disproportionately on primary sources and trivial mentions and would thus fail WP:N. Surprising yes, but this includes even our own article on Wikimedia Commons.
Given how all WMF projects are interconnected and actually rely on each other, should we be treating other WMF projects like external sites and require that they pass WP:N? Other language Wikipedias are used in our interlanguage features, and we do not subject that to WP:EL, do we? There are various advertisements for WMF-related drives and we also do not subject that to WP:NOTSOAPBOX.
The smaller language Wikipedias are still growing, and I believe it is our responsibility to encourage their growth rather than leave them to fend for themselves by basically disowning them. The home page for Wikipedia ( makes it clear we are one project, despite usually having different users and different rules. Like us, they can not exactly advertise, and without exposure given willingly by other 'mainstream' Wikipedias, they would flounder and die, which leaves the entire project poorer. Like us, they're also volunteers and thus do not exactly have a POV to push, a COI, or any other interests that goes against our own.
We all share the same goal of free knowledge.
Many people also just see a rule, and do not ask why there was such a rule in the first place. WP:N in this instance is actually a guideline (not set in stone) and was actually formulated to "stop indiscriminate inclusion of topics". And I don't think that applies to fellow Wikipedias.
It is my opinion therefore, that articles of other language Wikipedias and other WMF projects should be exempted from WP:N, per common sense (which might seem weak, discuss). But, they should still follow all other policies on WP:NPOV, WP:V, etc.
Please keep the discussions below in a bulleted format (Oppose, Support, Neutral) followed by a brief rationale. Discussions should be in the Discussion subsection, please do not reply directly in the !Votes subsection. Thanks.-- Obsidin Soul 08:48, 16 August 2011 (UTC)


  • Exempt - I consider this part of our internal operations and feel that all projects under the WMF banner should be exempt. It is a benefit to our readers to know about our other projects. It is also a benefit to us to have exposure and encourage readers to volunteer for those other projects. We shouldn't be shooting ourselves in the foot over this, plus IAR and COMMON tell us we should do what's in the best interest of the project. I would expand that to mean all projects. - Hydroxonium (TCV) 03:26, 16 August 2011 (UTC)
  • Not Exempt - see comments in discussion. --User:Ceyockey (talk to me) 03:36, 16 August 2011 (UTC)
  • Not Exempt - It would very hypocritical of us to say that any WMF project article gets a free pass when many other articles are deleted on regular basis (not that the latter is wrong). This doesn't mean that project can't be listed on the article about the WMF with a redirect in place. --MASEM (t) 11:55, 16 August 2011 (UTC)
  • Not exempt. Wikimedia-internal navel gazing should be done in project space, which is also the only place where references to Wikipedia-internal pages can reasonably be used for verification, and where trivia such as statistics of page counts, article count milestones or number of contributors are normally of any interest. In article space, either there is substantial coverage of the project in reliable sources (so that it meets general notability guidelines), or we have nothing legitimate to say about it anyway. Fut.Perf. 12:10, 16 August 2011 (UTC)
  • Not exempt unfortunately. I consider myself a "weak inclusionist" and I'm sympathetic to obsidian's argument. However, I also believe that our deletion processes need to not only be fair but, as much as possible, "appear to be fair" to outsiders, new users, and even experienced editorsexopedians not familiar with our "rules" and the special internal definitions we give to terms such as "notability" and "consensus". (that's why I don't like to close "1 !vote" AFDs as "delete". I can't with a straight face call it a "consensus" when a newbie asks me about the deletion on my talk page) Therefore, if someone comes to my talk page and asks me why I deleted the popular "Billy Joe Jim Bob's cow tipping wiki" which has zillions of users and lots of buzz on blogs and forums, I couldn't honestly tell him it was because it failed the special definition we have for "notable" if I just closed the AFD on the obscure Pakled Wikipedia as "IAR keep". --Ron Ritzman (talk) 12:40, 16 August 2011 (UTC)
  • Nothing is exempt, but IAR. This is a "improve the encyclopedia" type of situation. Worst case you can mention the country's wikipedia in a section or statement about Wikipedias across the world, in a more notable article. Dzlife (talk) 13:43, 16 August 2011 (UTC)
  • Not exempt, but the material should not be deleted; it belongs on Wikimedia Meta-Wiki, linked from meta:Wikimedia projects. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 14:04, 16 August 2011 (UTC)
  • Not exempt—why, pray, would we want to retain material on non-notable topics? What value does it serve? Let's be clear about this: if there is any benefit to having articles about non-notable subjects, then it's time to review the notability policy. Basically, declaring the WMF exempt would lead to a whole lot of pretty justified WP:OSE arguments regarding other pages – not a situation we want to bring about. ╟─TreasuryTagWoolsack─╢ 14:13, 16 August 2011 (UTC)
  • Not exempt - but instead of Delete, I would !Vote to Merge. There is a difference between retaining information, and retaining an article. As with all topics, if a Wikimedia sister project is notable enough for a stand-alone article, there must exist reliable sources that are independent of Wikimedia that discuss it. If such sources do not exist, the sister project can not be considered notable enough for a stand-alone article. However, that does not negate appropriately listing or mentioning the sister project in a related article (such as the article on Wikimedia). It simply means that the sister project should not have its own article. Blueboar (talk) 14:48, 16 August 2011 (UTC)
  • Not exempt. You can judge a great deal about the editorial integrity of a media organisation by how it reports about itself. Many organisations do badly in this regard, either with an out-and-out bias, or at least a skewed sense of the relative importance of a matter close to that organisation's heart. When a former BBC journalist dies, the corporation affords that much more coverage than it would the death of a public figure of similar age and profile. When reporting on the recent phone-hacking scandal, newspapers associated with those implicated give much less coverage, those of their competitors much more. This doesn't just reflect badly on these organisations' coverage of those topics - it exposes the apparent flexibility of their editorial standards in general, an impression that taints the whole of the organisation's output. Wikipedia is in general very good about this than other organisations; the Wikipedia article (and related articles) contains much more critical analysis of the work that contains them than I've seen in any other media group's description of itself. We can't help but have a COI (heck, unless we outsourced the article) but we can recognise it and do our best to minimise its effect. We have standards, pretty high ones, and we have to stick to them, and then raise them. This proposal does the opposite - it proposes we lower standards for things we like. Our only purpose must be to write the best, fairest, free-est encyclopaedia we can. We're not here to evangelise open-source or open-content or free media. Lots of other projects, Wikimedia or not, also "share the same goal of free knowledge", but we don't set them a lower standard. IAR is irrelevant - it reads "If a rule prevents you from improving or maintaining Wikipedia, ignore it", not "If a rule prevents you from improving or or publicising Wikimedia or other free projects, ignore it." We benefit Wikipedia by raising standards, not lowering them. -- Finlay McWalterTalk 17:47, 16 August 2011 (UTC)
  • Not exempt. The content of such putative articles, subject to the policies and guidelines for content can be included in several Wikipedia-related articles which already exist. The idea that because it is using the WMF software and A-Z format, as opposed to WordPress or other content management system, therefore it has special merit is bias. If there's consensus that WP:N is passed, and a consensus to spinoff the content into a stand-alone article, then that's our normal process. patsw (talk) 23:37, 16 August 2011 (UTC)
  • Meta-Wiki is for people to document us internally. Wikipedia is not about Wikipedia. Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Waray-Waray Wikipedia is a truly terrible close which could only have been due to the "105,000 articles" data point: take a look at this (warning: not on your phone's browser, nor on dialup) to see what we're talking about here. A hundred thousand geostubs imported from other wikis. If I didn't think it would cause me to lose the will to live I'd take it to DRV. Anyway, yes, this is plainly a very very bad idea as a proposal: we already have enough problems with editors ignoring / distorting WP:N without writing exemptions from it. Chris Cunningham (user:thumperward) - talk 14:13, 17 August 2011 (UTC)
  • Not exempt The proper place for this type of articles is the Meta website. Wikipedia is not a project to document wikimedia projects, and an article on a WMF project should comply the same content policies and guidelines as any other article. --Enric Naval (talk) 16:15, 17 August 2011 (UTC)
  • Not exempt Any sort of "inherent notability" style argument is a pet peeve of mine. The only way to argue notability is by providing sources that discuss the subject. This is doubly-so with WMF articles, as keeping nonnotable articles on this topic may be seen as a COI (or at least a bias) on our part. ThemFromSpace 16:56, 17 August 2011 (UTC)
  • Not exempt, but if such articles are deleted, the substance should be maintained in Wikipedia space, because we editors use the information. In general, moreover, the correct answer will usually be merge to Wikimedia, which is notable. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 21:26, 17 August 2011 (UTC)
  • Not Exempt We must acknowledge our conflict of interest and act accordingly in order to preserve our neutrality. --Cybercobra (talk) 07:45, 18 August 2011 (UTC)
  • Not Exempt To exempt these articles would be not be a professional approach to building an encyclopedia. Also violates WP:NPOV.Curb Chain (talk) 17:07, 20 August 2011 (UTC)
  • Not Exempt Nothing is exempt, per se. We partially exempt certain topics, such as towns and high schools, because there is an extremely high likelihood that the sources exist for them, but in a local area. However, various language Wikipedias are not the same. In all likelihood, if sources are going to exist for them, they'll exist online. Thus, if we can't find them, then it is likely they don't exist. Not all language Wikipedias get coverage, it's mainly just the top 10 or so that do, sometimes one of the smaller ones for one reason or another, but we shouldn't have an exemption clause for Wikipedia-related topics, because that flies completely in the face of what we're trying to build here as an encyclopedia and all of our policy rules. SilverserenC 01:16, 21 August 2011 (UTC)
  • Not exempt. I would be willing to IAR such articles, but that would result in articles that could not possibly be sourced in the usual way. I would be happy with specific exemptions to our usual rules, stating that primary sources are fine so long as they are of a type that we as a community are in an excellent position to evaluate. But I doubt there would be consensus for this, and it could lead to problems. Maybe we need a Wikimedia project whose only purpose it is to document Wikimedia and its history. Hans Adler 11:45, 24 August 2011 (UTC)


Personally, I think calling anything "automatically notable, end of discussion" slings mud in the face of verifiability, implying that some "pseudo-information" out there that might establish notability, without making any effort towards actually trying to establish it. That does not make for substantive articles (i.e. something more than a pretty infobox, navbox, and "The XYZ Wikipedia is a Wikipedia written in the XYZ language."). That being said, I know that we presume various things (high schools come to mind) that are likely to be notable, mainly because nearly all of them do, at one point or another, get covered in some secondary source or another. –MuZemike 00:49, 16 August 2011 (UTC)

You seem to be under the impression that WP:N is the same as WP:V. They are not. Once notability is established (or deemed default), that does not imply verifiability is inconsequential. Per your example, articles on secondary schools and above still need to provide verifiable information despite being automatically notable.
Again, take a quick look at our articles on WMF projects. Even our article on English Wikipedia relies heavily on primary sources to describe internal procedures. While they satisfy WP:V, they do not establish WP:N.-- Obsidin Soul 01:42, 16 August 2011 (UTC)
I am not saying that they are equivalent, but I am saying that notability is dependent on verifiability. However, notability goes one step further to require a certain degree is independent coverage. That is one of the basic tenets of the general notability guideline (GNG), is that we require something more than just primary sourcing to establish an article. While I think it's reasonable to expect that we be consistent across the board about this, we also try to balance this more with our specific notability guidelines (SNGs). What it seems like here is a rather large gap between the GNG and what we would consider to likely be notable as a WMF project. –MuZemike 01:53, 16 August 2011 (UTC)
Of course, no one is disputing that. However, GNG is formulated specifically for WP:N, as are the SNG's. And I ask again, why was WP:N created in the first place? Articles on WMF projects can satisfy WP:V without necessarily establishing WP:N. WP:N is assuming non-notability as the default, necessary since the vast number of topics (particularly other websites, organizations, and the like) have other interests that might conflict with Wikipedia's.
However, WMF projects do not have a conflict of interest with the English Wikipedia. I liken it more to say, listing other volumes in a paper encyclopedia. They are part of us, as we are part of them.
The issue here is the class of articles this is being applied to. As sister projects of Wikipedia and by the very nature of Wikimedia projects themselves, should they be treated in the same way we treat external websites?
While I agree that "automatically notable, end of discussion" is questionable, so is requiring notability regardless of what the subject is.-- Obsidin Soul 02:10, 16 August 2011 (UTC)
Wikipedia (and by extension, Wikimedia as a whole) is not a reliable source, so if articles on the various projects are being sourced via themselves, they should be removed from mainspace. Navel gazing of this type would be fine in the Wikipedia namespace, IMNSHO. Resolute 03:32, 16 August 2011 (UTC)
Yes. For factual information on other subjects. Not on information about ourselves. To the contrary of what most people seem to believe, primary sources are perfectly acceptable in uncontroversial information. Referring to our policy pages, previous discussions, diffs, histories, etc. is not quite the same as referring to using another Wikipedia article as a reference for another Wikipedia article.
For example: we can't use IMDB's pages on actors for reliable information on them, but we can use IMDB's 'about us' page as a reference for uncontroversial information on an article on IMDB.
And how many readers do you know look for info in the Wikipedia namespace? If we hide our projects, how are we going to tell people about it in the first place and invite contributors? Hope some of them are courageous enough to venture into the convoluted bureaucratic nightmare that is our Wikipedia namespace?
Deflecting the question does not help. If you think this is navel-gazing, then please, 'clean up' our pages on Wikimedia projects by removing all information sourced to WMF sites. You'll find you won't have anything left but a single paragraph or a couple of sentences, none of them particularly shedding light on the subject.- Obsidin Soul 04:00, 16 August 2011 (UTC)

(ec) I think that articles in the main article space should abide by both WP:N and WP:V, regardless of the topic being WMF affiliated or not. There is no reason not to use the Wikipedia namespace for a comprehensive descriptive listing of other Wikipedias ... or all other WMF-affiliated projects, without regard to WP:N but with regard to WP:V. If providing information about the other wikipedias is the goal, then this will serve that purpose. "Forcing" WMF-topical articles into the main article space undermines the WP:N standard, unless there is a consensus agreement on the matter, articulated in something akin to WP:NSPORTS but rather WP:NWMF. Proposal of such a new Notability Policy should be done to cover this if people feel strongly that WMF-topical content should be encyclopedic by default. --User:Ceyockey (talk to me) 03:36, 16 August 2011 (UTC)

'Undermining the WP:N standard' begs the question of what is the WP:N standard? And why do we have it? And most importantly, what is it guarding against? Is it really hypocritical to exempt ourselves from it? Considering that we are user-driven, strictly non-promotional, if we can't even provide information about ourselves in our own sites, how else are we going to do it?
And no, hiding it in the Wikipedia namespace defeats the entire purpose. It would only be really available then for us. And how is that meeting our goals as a project? -- Obsidin Soul 04:00, 16 August 2011 (UTC)

@Finlay McWalter: I disagree with the assessment that Wikipedia is good in the way it reports itself. While the article on Wikipedia itself is quite impartial, the reality of the rest is very different, hence this proposal.

Articles on [major] Wikimedia projects do rely heavily on primary sources and as such do not actually prove notability. Some actually seem to rely on the impression of notability. For example, some language wikis on major European languages (random example: Danish Wikipedia) do not have sources that prove notability or do not have sources at all, yet they are not AfD'd as often as the more obscure (to westerners) Asian and African language Wikipedias. As mentioned before, our article on Wikimedia Commons, in its current state, also does not prove notability and seems to be an exception instead of WP:N (as it is credited in a huge amount of reliable sources as a source for their pictures, but is not actually discussed in depth). So if everyone is assuming I was only talking about small language Wikipedias, I assure you, I'm not. I wouldn't have brought this discussion up in the first place.

While I obviously want them to be excluded in light of the aims of the entire project and not just en.wp, I have to also sadly agree with most of the rationales. I agree with Fut.Perf. ☼'s argument that in most cases, there really is nothing to write about them. I would also happily support a merged article for all other-language Wikipedias that are deemed not notable for their own articles, drawing notability from Wikipedia itself instead. In that way, we still are making them visible to regular readers.

However, I also think hiding our sister projects in Wikipedia space or worse, making it the sole responsibility of metawiki, is both draconian and shortsighted, given that these projects are a part of Wikipedia. But, whatever. As long as there is a community decision on this, I'll be satisfied.

And in case anyone thinks otherwise, a disclaimer : I am not involved in any other Wikimedia projects other than en.wp and commons and have no personal stake in the matter.-- Obsidin Soul 19:42, 16 August 2011 (UTC)

I am a very big fan of this "SNG as a way of measuring probable GNG coverage" in the general case, but only where there adequate reason to believe that's the case. Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Waray-Waray Wikipedia is a very active counterargument to that, because people have been arguing that it's "probably notable" due to having a hundred thousand articles when they are seemingly all zero-content stubs (76 active users, less than have posted in my Facebook updates list this week, and only two admins says a great deal here). The case still needs to be made that any Wikipedia offshoot is probably notable, let alone anything else WMF is involved in. Chris Cunningham (user:thumperward) - talk 14:19, 17 August 2011 (UTC)
<sighs> I see giving that as an example was a mistake. Note that in the same discussion, I freely admitted it was not notable. The question is are you willing to assume the same thing for all the other Wikipedias who fail WP:WEB? And if you do (which would mean mass deletions of a lot of pages listed in the template given below by Fut. Perf.), what do you think its effects would be for Wikipedia as a whole (not en.wp but the Wikipedia itself)?-- Obsidin Soul 14:30, 17 August 2011 (UTC)
The effect would be negligible. We can redirect to a single page which names them and gives rough activity counts: if at some point reliable secondary sources do actually write about then they can be re-split to standalone articles. Chris Cunningham (user:thumperward) - talk 14:36, 17 August 2011 (UTC)
That, on the other hand, I can agree with. Anyone else disagree? Because then we can probably close this per WP:SNOW, and start removing any WMF Project-related pages which does not show notability in its sources to a single page listing them all. I hope an admin will be willing to help with that. -- Obsidin Soul 14:50, 17 August 2011 (UTC)
Just redirect them to List of wikipedias. --Enric Naval (talk) 16:33, 17 August 2011 (UTC)
Obsidian, the requirement is not that an article "show notability in its sources". The requirement is only that, somewhere out in the real world, sufficient material has been published by proper reliable sources even if no editor has ever typed a single bibliographic citation into the article.
But, yes, I'd merge and redirect all of the substubs. There's no reason why the List of Wikipedias couldn't include all of the information currently in those tiny articles. We can WP:PRESERVE all of the information without scattering it across dozens of pages. WhatamIdoing (talk) 18:14, 17 August 2011 (UTC)
Well... that's how I interpret notability. My impression is that's not a common stance, LOL. Anyway, so we're all in agreement that they should be in List of Wikipedias? Now how about large articles for which no sources proving notability are mentioned or found? A real problem here is that they might be in foreign languages.-- Obsidin Soul 03:19, 18 August 2011 (UTC)
If sources exist they will eventually be found and used to write an article. We don't need to have standalone articles on anything presumed to be notable in advance of finding reliable sources to actually add content to them. Chris Cunningham (user:thumperward) - talk 11:39, 18 August 2011 (UTC)
The comment by WhatamIdoing to Obsidian above reflects the defective wording of wp:N, a point we have discussed before. Although it allows such cases, I contend that it should not. There is nothing constructive about encouraging editors to create completely uncited articles. We'd be better to just have a minimal citation with no content, e.g. a stub which reads:

Title see ISBN 1234567890.

At least that way there would be something to work from. I contend that the present text at wp:FAILN should be strengthened. LeadSongDog come howl! 15:13, 18 August 2011 (UTC)
  • Maybe articles about wikis failing notability rules should be placed in namespace "Wikipedia:" or in Meta. It's also a problem just what to write in articles about minor wikis; it's one of obstacles to place these articles in main namespace. --Postoronniy-13 (talk) 02:46, 21 August 2011 (UTC)


Just for ease of reference:

Fut.Perf. 12:33, 16 August 2011 (UTC)

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

Discussion about Geotagging roads and related articles

There is a discussion currently under way at Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style (road junction lists) regarding the Geographical tagging of roads and various points in roads. If you are interested in this topic you may want take a moment to comment. --Kumioko (talk) 14:30, 22 August 2011 (UTC)

Discussion about policy-page cleanup / change

We could really do with some fresh eyes and fresh voices in a discussion aimed at improving clarity here and here; quite a few of us have gone stale and ratty, so extra brains, energy, fresh outlook, fresh input, creativity, good temper and such-like would really be most welcome! Pesky (talkstalk!) 04:33, 24 August 2011 (UTC)

I'll second that opinion, in spite of months of discussion, there is no philosophical explanation for the diverging points of view.  Unscintillating (talk) 12:43, 27 August 2011 (UTC)

Content dispute templates

An {{Accessibility dispute}} template I placed on an article is being removed by another editor because it's "ugly" and the article was "GA" (before the inaccessible content was added). Do we have a policy on the placement/ removal of such banners,and if so can someone point me to it, please? Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Andy's talk; Andy's edits 21:42, 26 August 2011 (UTC)

So far as I know—and I've looked extensively—there is no such page: not policy, not guideline, not even essay (although some are about other aspects of tagging, like WP:TAGBOMB). Some templates (like {{Global}} and {{POV}}) contain some instructions that help with handling disputes, but most don't.
IMO the excuse that he doesn't want an "ugly" template on an article because it's rated GA is incredibly weak. WhatamIdoing (talk) 22:23, 26 August 2011 (UTC)
The article in question is Ontario Highway 77. I think the template should not be there but the reasons given by the other editor are not valid. AFAIK there is no guideline about not adding tags because they are ugly. They are meant to attract attention in order that the problem will be addressed, so if people were prevented from adding them because of this then none could ever be added. Also, GA status should not be a shield against tagging; if the article has a serious issue then it should be pointed out and fixed, which is what tagging is meant to do. Presumably a GA article will have few such issues and they will not be found often, but that does not preclude the possibility. In this case however, the accessibility issue is with a template that was added to the article. A template is not part of the article proper and the problem in the article will disappear on its own if the problem in the template is addressed. So I think what the policy should be is that if a template causes an issue that can be tagged, then tag the template and not the article. In most cases it's impractical to tag all the articles in which a template has been placed, so this is largely common sense.--RDBury (talk) 06:05, 27 August 2011 (UTC)

Policies against possible child porn

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: A member of en:WP:FEMINISM contacted legal and found out they actually do have a policy on possible child pornography: [[8]].--Henriettapussycat (talk) 19:08, 29 August 2011 (UTC)

First let me tell you what I am not arguing: I am not arguing people censor pictures related to nudes of adults on WP and I'm not arguing censoring minors from viewing WP.

What I am arguing is that I believe that there should be some way to know that the people, or body parts, in the photos we are viewing are adults. I think there should be some sort of accountability to prevent child porn being uploaded to WP. As long as they are verifiable adults, I don't see a problem with these pics on WP. I've been starting to wonder is if WP has any policy for age requirements with sexually explicit photos? I know there is a policy for public/private pictures of individuals. If there is, could someone point me to it? If there isn't, why is one not set in place?

I was shown by someone else that Wikipedia is not required to check age and identity of "models" in their photos (at least in the US). But this doesn't wrap everything in a tidy package. I know why Wikipedia doesn't have to follow this rule: Wikipedia is not considered a porn site by the United States government. There is some entity, I'm not sure what division it is, that does keep track of the porn sites--they are required to keep rather detailed information about their models. Because Wikipedia is not considered a porn site by the country, then it goes through a loophole. But that doesn't mean that child porn is not uploaded to Wikipedia.

In any event, I think we need to figure out some sort of policy to hold people accountable for this sort of stuff. I'm not some crazy person trying to get rid of all nudes on WP. I just don't want child porn on Wikipedia, and the law in many countries is very specific on what they consider child porn.--Henriettapussycat (talk) 20:11, 27 August 2011 (UTC)

Hi Henrietta, I've decided to follow the suggestion from SlimVirgin and raise the issue at Commons. Please see below. Rubywine . talk 20:35, 27 August 2011 (UTC)
I've opened a discussion topic at Commons here, which I invite everyone to read and comment on.


That topic includes pointers to previous relevant discussions on Wikipedia. Please comment at Commons. Thanks.

Rubywine . talk 20:34, 27 August 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.

Branko Pintarič

User:ConcernedVancouverite yesterday was deleted this article about the Slovene actor and writer Branko Pintarič. ConcernedVancouverite continuously maintains the A7 rule, but Pintarič is famous person in Slovenia(!). In this case, should be deleted other articles about Slovene actors or writers. Doncsecztalk 13:53, 28 August 2011 (UTC)

See also: this discussion. Doncsecztalk 13:55, 28 August 2011 (UTC)
I have responded to a similar question on my talk page here: [9]. ConcernedVancouverite (talk) 14:38, 28 August 2011 (UTC)

The user restore the deletion-template, but the sources is available. Doncsecztalk 14:46, 28 August 2011 (UTC)

Considering the opposition to the previous speedy deletion, and the current speedy nomination, there is now an AfD discussion on this article here Wikipedia:Articles_for_deletion/Branko_Pintarič open for discussion. This does not appear to be a policy discussion, and more of a deletion discussion, and it may be most appropriate to focus the conversation at the AfD instead of here. ConcernedVancouverite (talk) 15:42, 28 August 2011 (UTC)

Wikipedia:WikiProject Contract bridge/Manual of Style/Appendix 1: Article creation and naming guidelines has been marked as a guideline

Wikipedia:WikiProject Contract bridge/Manual of Style/Appendix 1: Article creation and naming guidelines (edit | talk | history | links | watch | logs) has recently been edited to mark it as a guideline. This is an automated notice of the change (more information). -- VeblenBot (talk) 02:00, 30 August 2011 (UTC)

Infobox for spree killers

Several of the articles in spree-killer category have an infobox with a section titled killings that lists weapons, kill count, injured count, and so on. It makes me vaguely uneasy, because it seems like a list of "accomplishments." It feels like glorifying serial killers, reminding me a bit of a trading card in its format. I first noticed this at the Kip Kinkel page (where I started a discussion), but then discovered that it is a widespread template, e.g. George Banks and Jennifer San Marco. I don't see how it is notable that Kinkel's victims were murdered with a 9 mm Glock 19 pistol, sawn-off .22LR Ruger 10/22 rifle, and .22LR Ruger MK II pistol, or why such information should be featured. I do see how it could be considered insensitive. I propose the template be altered to make it less reminiscent of a trading card. Noloop (talk) 18:32, 27 August 2011 (UTC)

Hmm. Well, this isn't really a policy issue, but I would agree with this on its face. It seems sensationalist. Since this isn't a policy, you might want to consider launching an WP:RFC at Template talk:Infobox serial killer and mentioning it at Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Criminal Biography/Serial Killer task force. Of course, it's always possible you'll get more feedback here. :) --Moonriddengirl (talk) 17:28, 29 August 2011 (UTC)
Somebody opposing the idea would accuse me of "forum shopping" and I'd get blocked.Noloop (talk) 20:33, 29 August 2011 (UTC)
I agree that this infobox is in poor taste. Those articles just don't need an infobox to begin with. Zagalejo^^^ 21:20, 30 August 2011 (UTC)

Okiedokie, I started an RFC [10] Noloop (talk) 00:57, 31 August 2011 (UTC)

RfC on tendentious editing of policy at Wikipedia:Verifiability started

I have started an RfC on tendentious editing of policy Wikipedia:Verifiability with the view to impose community sanctions, this is the summary:

There is a lot of contention around WP:V, and the policy has been placed under protection because of edit warring. Since this is a core policy, such behavior is to be dealt with seriously by the community. The goal of this RfC is to get the policy placed under community sanctions as described below. These sanctions would apply to all editors in this topic area. The goal is to protect a core policy from tendentious editing, and to provide an environment that leads to positive improvement of the policy. This RfC is not intended to endorse the current version of the policy, and supporting this RfC cannot be considered as such, rather it addressed serious concerns with editor behavior in the talk pages and serious edit warring in the actual policy. It includes a general amnesty for involved editors, providing a clean slate from which better practices can emerge.

The RfC is here: Wikipedia_talk:Verifiability#RfC: Tendentious editing of policy Wikipedia:Verifiability

Please participate and comment.--Cerejota (talk) 23:17, 30 August 2011 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Dates and numbers has been marked as a guideline

Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Dates and numbers (edit | talk | history | links | watch | logs) has recently been edited to mark it as a guideline. This is an automated notice of the change (more information). -- VeblenBot (talk) 02:00, 31 August 2011 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Manual of Style (dates and numbers) no longer marked as a guideline

Wikipedia:Manual of Style (dates and numbers) (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, 31 August 2011 (UTC)

"Do not base articles entirely on primary sources."

This has been a point of contention in a few discussions. I want to determine if these disputes are local in nature and if there's a broader consensus at large.

Should editors be writing articles that are entirely based on primary sources?

It's not something that we're always good at. But we certainly have been striving for it. Just to put the challenge in perspective, the number of articles sourced entirely to primary sources is roughly in the same ballpark as the number of articles tagged with neutrality disputes. It's somewhat larger, but not nearly as big as the number of unsourced BLPs when that issue came to a head.

The current policy says we don't base articles entirely on primary sources. Does that policy describe a "best practice" and a "standard that all users should normally follow"? We should either establish a consensus for the policy or remove it. Shooterwalker (talk) 17:12, 28 August 2011 (UTC)

It's generally not a good idea, but a complete prohibition on it would also not be a good idea, nor would it have consensus support. First, it all depends on what kind of primary source we're talking about: some are reliable for certain purposes, some are not reliable for any purpose. Sometimes a primary source will be the only source initially available, and will remain the best source for a subject even after secondary sources have commented: this is the case with U.S. Supreme Court opinions, for example, all of which (as repeatedly determined by consensus) are notable and all of which eventually have secondary source coverage, and all of which remain the proper source to cite to for their own content even after secondary sources have manifested. I'm sure there are plenty of other notable government-related subjects where the only readily available sources are the agency's own website or other publications, and obviously government-published primary sources are going to be far less problematic on the whole when we are writing about the government, than Joe Schmoe's blog or Schmoe, Inc.'s press release when writing about Schmoe. postdlf (talk) 17:31, 28 August 2011 (UTC)
Agreed. -- Avanu (talk) 17:54, 28 August 2011 (UTC)
I'm not disputing that a government source may be more reliable for straightforward information, but we do really need secondary sources for notability. Allowing something like a Supreme court decision is a kind of bye only because it is pretty certain it will be noted as it actually is quite notable in the real world. I'd be quite happy leaving them out till they were commented on just to ensure there weren't arguments about the need to establish notability using secondary sources. I think this is on about the same level as verifiability compared to requiring a citation for every statement, that isn't required either and would be a bad idea if enforced - but if there is a reasonable dispute then you need a citation. If there is a reasonable dispute about notability rather than somebody sticking tags everywhere to cause disruption then we should just delete the article. Dmcq (talk) 18:01, 28 August 2011 (UTC)

WP:V has demanded that articles be based on third-party sources for years. There absolutely should be a complete prohibition on the practice of basing articles on primary sources. It's always frustrated me that we have a group of editors so eager to include details on fictional characters that they ignore all relevant policies on article creation and retention.—Kww(talk) 18:11, 28 August 2011 (UTC)

Is that what this is about? Fictional character articles? postdlf (talk) 18:20, 28 August 2011 (UTC)
Generally, this problem shows up in a few concentrated areas: fictional characters, television episodes, schools, and tiny flyspecks on maps.—Kww(talk) 18:23, 28 August 2011 (UTC)
It's also an issue for articles about web phenomena: articles about websites, online communities, youtube videos that people want to talk about... Shooterwalker (talk) 18:28, 28 August 2011 (UTC)
Primary sources are completely fine for several classes of articles. Take Journal of Optics, which is entirely based from the journal's website, for example. As long as the articles doesn't stray from objective descriptions, there's no real problem. I could also think of several species articles, and articles on many organizations as well. It doesn't give you a GA, and you would definitely need secondary sources to get there, but it does give you a decent stub-class or start-class article and there's nothing inherently wrong with that. Headbomb {talk / contribs / physics / books} 18:30, 28 August 2011 (UTC)
It starts off on the wrong foot, and immediately causes notability problems. An article needs to be predominately about the things that independent sources have stressed as important, with just enough filler from primary sources to make a summary of the commentary in independent sources intelligible.—Kww(talk) 18:49, 28 August 2011 (UTC)
Actually no, it's starts the article on a great foot. See WP:WikiProject Academic Journals/Writing guide. Headbomb {talk / contribs / physics / books} 19:29, 28 August 2011 (UTC)
Only for values of "great" that approach "terribly bad". That guideline approaches one of the worst I have seen, giving no guidance whatsoever as to what should dominate the article: its impact on the remainder of the world.—Kww(talk) 20:07, 28 August 2011 (UTC)
Sure, if by "terribly bad" you mean "great". It's a tried-and-true approach to writing journal articles, and it's been trialed by fire countless of times. Headbomb {talk / contribs / physics / books} 20:14, 28 August 2011 (UTC)
It does not lead to articles which discuss what an encyclopedia article should discuss, it leads to articles suitable for being contained in an index of journals. "Great" for the purpose of an index doesn't make it suitable for an encyclopedia.—Kww(talk) 20:21, 28 August 2011 (UTC)
Are you seriously proposing our journal articles should not cover the journal's scope, its publishers and affiliations, the publication's history (year of establishment and disestablishment, mergers, splits, renamings), its impact factor, give indexing information (crucial for WP:NJOURNAL), its editorial history, its various identifiers by which it is known (abbreviations, LCCNs/CODEN/ISSN/etc.), its related publications, and so on? Headbomb {talk / contribs / physics / books} 20:35, 28 August 2011 (UTC)
If that's all that's available, then the journal isn't worth documenting. The first step is to demonstrate that reliable sources are discussing the journal, and that a decent article can be made about it. The information you mentioned belongs in a "list of journals" article, not a standalone article.—Kww(talk) 21:37, 28 August 2011 (UTC)
"All that's available"? "Not worth documenting"? I guess you just live in a different universe than most of us... Headbomb {talk / contribs / physics / books} 00:07, 29 August 2011 (UTC)
That's part of where the problem starts for articles based on primary sources - "It's important to me/my field"-type arguments. These aren't "wrong" per se, but there needs to be good justification to include them among every other possible field WP can cover. Case in point: NSPORT's very weak allowances for inclusion ("played one pro game") causes much consternation over time for the inclusion of other professional people, and yet its difficult to get the various athletic projects to recognize this because these people, to them, are "important". If it truly is important in the field, you can find secondary sources in your field that support that claim. Effectively, what WP:N ends up being is knowing what are the "right" secondary sources to use for a given field to show notability, understanding the standard of that does change field to field. --MASEM (t) 00:14, 29 August 2011 (UTC)
(ec) Lists of fictional characters from notable media and lists of television episodes from notable TV shows are supported by more than just "a group of editors," as AFDs have repeatedly shown. They are problematic only to the extent their description of the primary works dips into interpretation. Schools have a reasonable compromise in mergers or redirections to school district articles, and there is a strong consensus for the notability of districts. "Tiny flyspecks on maps", if verifiable, are supported by everyone BUT "a group of editors," per our gazetteer function. It seems like this focus here on primary sources has less to do with problems specific to such sourcing, and rather is a way to collaterally attack prevailing article inclusion/notability standards in certain areas. postdlf (talk) 18:34, 28 August 2011 (UTC)
My objection to including such articles is based solely on the sourcing. What other ulterior motive would I have that would group schools, hamlets, fictional characters and television episodes? It's the dependence on primary sources that is the problem.—Kww(talk) 18:49, 28 August 2011 (UTC)
For better or for worse, most statements in Wikipdia policies and guidelines are a a statement of good practice, and a goal and something to be taken into account in discussions regarding actions to be taken. (e.g. in an AFD process based on wp:notability) The real question is "what happens if you have an article based only on primary sources? As with most Wikipedia policies and guidelines, it leaves itself open to abuse in that area, albiet with the safety net that most policies/core guidelines are enforced as per consensus decision. So my thought is is that it means all of the above, but when an article has (only) that problem, that a call for "let's fix it", not a license for an abuser / brown shirt squad to start deleting articles or beating up other editors solely on that basis North8000 (talk) 19:05, 28 August 2011 (UTC)
Deletion certainly isn't the first choice, but if no one can find secondary sources with enough information to become the foundation of an article, merging to a parent article that can be dominated by information derived from independent sources or deletion are the remaining choices. Repair if possible, delete if not is certainly a reasonable strategy. Keeping articles because people argue for keeping irreparably bad articles is not.—Kww(talk) 20:07, 28 August 2011 (UTC)

This is a very important aspect of our verifiability policy, and a fundamental aspect of article writing. Removing it would be a detriment to our goal of being a neutral, high-quality encyclopedia. While primary sources can (and should!) be used when appropriate, they cannot be the sole source of information on a topic. There are inherent notability problems with articles that are only based on primary sources. We only document notable topics, and topics are only notable through their reception in secondary sources (we have a few guidelines that allow for blanket notability for subjects that meet certain conditions, but even these mostly assume some sort of reception such as an award for a film or citations for professors). Removing this provision would allow for many poorly-sourced articles, promotional articles, and articles about fan-minutia. It would greatly lower the bar of quality for our articles. ThemFromSpace 19:23, 28 August 2011 (UTC)

A public school district article sourcing its geographic scope, number of schools, and history only to the district's website; a tiny community sourcing its population, location, and demographic breakdown only to government census data; a list of episodes from a notable dramatic TV series sourcing the writer, director, and cast only to the episodes' credits... An article of any of these example categories can and has easily survived AFD. None of these examples misuse primary sources, which are not only reliable for these uses but arguably the most authoritative. That something is sourced or even sourceable only to a primary source does not mean it is unverified or unverifiable, because not all primary sources are unreliable for all purposes. An absolute prohibitive rule wouldn't be useful here, just wildly overinclusive instead of being well targeted to actual problems. postdlf (talk) 20:10, 28 August 2011 (UTC)
But it does mean the subject matter is unimportant. If no one else has noticed the item in question, why should we?—Kww(talk) 20:13, 28 August 2011 (UTC)
As I said (but you disagreed), "It seems like this focus here on primary sources has less to do with problems specific to such sourcing, and rather is a way to collaterally attack prevailing article inclusion/notability standards in certain areas." Which is to say that the primary source beef is just a proxy for disagreements over what subjects are important enough to include. A longstanding consensus has determined that populated places, no matter how small; public school districts, as units of local government and taxation that provide an important public service; and lists of TV series episodes and characters, in furtherance of WP's coverage of notable TV series; are all proper subjects for inclusion even if those can (at present, or forevermore) be sourced only to primary sources. We make decisions in the opposite way as well, deciding as in WP:NOTNEWS that other subjects are not important despite secondary source coverage. So the underlying issue here is not primary versus secondary sourcing, nor is it verifiability. postdlf (talk) 21:42, 28 August 2011 (UTC)
I've always happily conceded (if a little reluctantly, knowing people who abuse good faith) that articles need not meet policy, only that they could realistically meet policy with a little bit of research and editing. Wouldn't all the "exceptions" that you listed be topics that would realistically meet policy with a little bit of research and editing? There are few populated places on the planet earth that would only exist in the primary records of their own government. Most TV shows that reach a decent audience and have sufficient narrative depth will get a pile of reviews each week that a new episode comes out. Aren't the examples you're using just proof that WP:IMPERFECT is a good policy, instead of showing that WP:PRIMARY isn't good policy? Shooterwalker (talk) 21:55, 28 August 2011 (UTC)
That would come under my previous argument that repair is always preferable. If it can be fixed, that's certainly better than deleting it. You would be surprised, however, at how many of these things have no third-party sources available at all (with the exception of plot summaries, which are a problem under WP:NOT#PLOT). That's one of the reason that AFDs frequently turn into brawls over source quality. I don't think there should be any exceptions to WP:V, and WP:V instructs us to base our articles on reliable third-party sources with a reputation for fact-checking and accuracy.—Kww(talk) 22:44, 28 August 2011 (UTC)
(ec)Possibly, but then it can still devolve into a pointless tug of war between those who just have a hope (however reasonable) that sources are or will be out there, and those who insist that this be demonstrated under the gun of an AFD deadline regardless of the subject. In many cases, I could assert as an article of faith that there are secondary sources about the 10 person village of Foo, Wisconsin somewhere, but this shouldn't be necessary if it is otherwise verifiable. I think WP:PRIMARY is a good goal, but it shouldn't be considered a prohibition, in and of itself without other considerations, against article creation or maintenance. Perhaps for certain categories of articles, such as companies or people that are subject to vanity self-promotion, but not for others for which primary sources are reliable and subjects that we already know we want coverage. postdlf (talk) 22:47, 28 August 2011 (UTC)
I don't disagree with you. There probably ARE sources about Foo, Wisconsin, and it doesn't always need to go to AFD if the sources aren't there yet. The tug of war can be annoying. But we do have to write down what we should do, or at least try to do. I'm left wondering what's better for the encyclopedia: that we have no standards, versus having high standards with the qualifier that Wikipedia is not perfect. The latter always seems like the better choice to me. The "tug of war" makes that obvious: we need to write down the standard, but keep WP:IMPERFECT as a safety valve. Right now, we have it written down: "do not base articles on primary sources." Do you honestly think we'd be better off if we didn't write that down at all? Shooterwalker (talk) 23:47, 28 August 2011 (UTC)
I've said it before and I'll say it again. All articles on Wikipedia need their notability established by reliable, third-party sources. No exceptions; schools, villages, etc... all need reliable secondary sources. All articles. ThemFromSpace 00:15, 29 August 2011 (UTC)
That's an absolutely wrong statement. Notability is a guideline, and likely always will be. It is a practice that assures that no one is going to send the article to AFD because it clearly is a topic that can be developed into a good article. However, articles are routinely kept without meeting WP:N (GNG or SNGs) because consensus agrees it is an appropriate article for WP. This, commonly, are those small towns and villages that are officially documented. (Furthermore, remember that per WP:V and WP:N, we need to be assured that sources exist to show notability, but they don't need to be in article - ultimately, yes, but not immediately on creation. ) --MASEM (t) 00:21, 29 August 2011 (UTC)
Yes, this is the current consensus, but my opinion is stricter than the current consensus. Nevertheless, I doubt anyone wouldn't prefer an article properly cited with secondarythird-party sources to the same one with only primaryfirst party sources. The question is to what extent we allow articles that cannot be sourced to secondarythird-party sources. I think with the strength of our editors, if secondary sourcesthird-party cannot be found for an article after a diligent search (and advertisement, such as an AfD), then we shouldn't have an article on it. ThemFromSpace 00:32, 29 August 2011 (UTC)Oops, I messed up on the secondary/third-party disctinction. I've refactored to get my point across accurately. ThemFromSpace 19:18, 29 August 2011 (UTC)
We often have articles for which no secondary sources exist yet. One example is Hurricane Irene (2011). Because this event just happened (is still happening?) every source that exists at the moment is a primary source. — Carl (CBM · talk) 00:35, 29 August 2011 (UTC)
The requirement in WP:V is for "independent third-party sources with a reputation for fact-checking and accuracy". This debate about "primary" vs. "secondary" is academic, and not really the key requirement. The New York Times may be writing first-hand, but it is independent of the hurricane, and has a reputation for fact-checking and accuracy.—Kww(talk) 01:05, 29 August 2011 (UTC)
An article published on Irene today (the day it landfell on NYC) or tomorrow from the NYT will most likely be a primary source, since all they are doing is reporting the basic facts of the hurricane and not providing any analysis. Articles on the effects of the hurricane published from tomorrow onward from the NYT will more likely be secondary. But this is why its difficult to discuss issues with moving targets. 2011 Virgina Earthquake is a better example where there's plenty of primary, third-party sources that discuss the immediate effects of the quake but little (some, but little) discussion on its long-term effects outside the weird social networking aspects. --MASEM (t) 01:23, 29 August 2011 (UTC)
My point is just that we do not delete these articles even though we know that no secondary sources exist for them. It will be some time before any historian can be begin to piece together secondary sources about the hurricane; any NYT stories tomorrow are still primary, just like newspaper stories the day after the US Civil War are primary sources about the war. — Carl (CBM · talk) 01:33, 29 August 2011 (UTC)
Masem, you know better. The requirement for using independent third-party sources is in WP:V, a policy, not just WP:N. It's been there in one form or another for four years. WP:V also makes no allowance whatsoever for missing sources: it states that we are to base articles on them. You can't base an article on something you can't demonstrate exists.—Kww(talk) 01:05, 29 August 2011 (UTC)
This discussion seems to have been started about primary sources, not about third-party sources. There is a world of difference between the two concepts. The post I responded to asked "The question is to what extent we allow articles that cannot be sourced to secondary sources.". I pointed out one relatively common case where we do routinely have articles that cannot have secondary sources: current events. — Carl (CBM · talk) 01:13, 29 August 2011 (UTC)
I fell into a standard trap of answering what I presumed was the real debate. In terms of article content, I'm not too concerned about the difference between a primary independent source and a secondary independent source. A New York Times article summarizing an earthquake's effects and one analyzing an earthquake's effects are both fine by me, although I tend to favor the analysis over the summary. Similarly, I don't care much about the difference between a primary dependent source and a secondary dependent source: an episode of "Lost" and an article by the creator of "Lost" are both unsuitable for basing an article about any feature or element of "Lost".—Kww(talk) 01:50, 29 August 2011 (UTC)
The point is "demonstrate to exist"; a recent issue at WP:V has been the lack of explicit need to have the sources in the article as long as the sources have been identified at somepoint (at the talk page, at an AFD, etc.) Yes, they should be cited in the article, but lack of these cites as long as the sources are known is not a reason for deletion. Same applies for WP:N. If there are no known third party sources for an article, then yes, deletion is appropriate. --MASEM (t) 01:23, 29 August 2011 (UTC)

There are two problems with the exclusive use of primary sources: (1) WP:N: we use secondary sources as one of tests to determine if a topic should have a stand-alone Wikipedia article. (2) WP:OR: when primary sources are exclusively used, it is the Wikipedia editor who becomes the author of the contextual information and interpretation of the facts (i.e. good, bad, expected, unlikely, etc.) patsw (talk) 12:54, 29 August 2011 (UTC)

So I think that there is agreement that articles should have secondary sources (which envelopes "not just primary sources"). The question is "what happens when they don't"? Currently such weighs heavily nominating and discussing AFD's where wp:notability is the basis. And its grounds for tagging and improving. So the question is should additional actions be enabled based on that? (e.g. categorical deletion of articles solely on that basis). IMHO the best answer is "no". North8000 (talk) 15:10, 29 August 2011 (UTC)

What a lot comes down to is what exists but is not in an article; deletions should be based on what could be added from what sourcing is out there, and not what is actually present. To that, it is impossible to prove a negative, specifically "There are no secondary sources for this topic". When we encounter an article with only primary sources, we should be asking ourselves "How reasonably assured are we that this hasn't been covered or will likely be covered by a secondary source?" before considering deletion. Given that, there are topics where we reasonably can be sure that if there aren't obvious secondary sources from a simple search, there's likely no secondary sources period, specifically fictional characters and television episodes, and in such cases we'd be certainly content to delete the article based on primary sources (or for the better answer, merging to a larger list). --MASEM (t) 15:42, 29 August 2011 (UTC)
Agree 100%. As an aside, I think that that is happening now at AFD discussions,, and the question is sources to meet wp:notability and potential deletions based on wp: notability. North8000 (talk) 16:06, 29 August 2011 (UTC)

The whole mess with "primary" versus "secondary" sources has long been one of my pet peeves, and IMO the entire section at WP:OR#Primary, secondary and tertiary sources should be moved out into an essay. When it comes down to it, we quite simply don't need to care whether a source is "primary", "secondary", or whatever.

  • For WP:N purposes, we need sources that are independent of the subject and (to at least some extent) that exist because someone thought the topic was worthy of being written about rather than just because someone made an exhaustive list of everything to do with some larger subject.
    • While a source that meets these criteria will likely be "secondary", a source that is "secondary" will not necessarily meet these criteria and focusing on secondariness just confuses the issue. And it leads to arguments over whether a source is primary vs secondary or third-party vs not third-party rather than whether it is really independent or not.
  • For WP:V purposes, we need sources that are reliable. Reliability by our measure just depends on who created, reviewed, and/or published it, and has nothing to do with whether the source is primary, secondary, or whatever.
    • An important but often ignored point with respect to WP:V and WP:RS is that some source may not be reliable to support a claim "X is Y", but may be completely reliable to support a claim "Z says X is Y" or "Some people say X is Y". And whether or not it is at all relevant to the article that Z or anyone else says so doesn't change that fact. But people like to argue reliability rather than relevance when wanting to remove something because the latter offers less opportunity to quote policies and guidelines.
  • For actual WP:OR purposes, we need to make sure that we don't add analysis, interpretation, synthesis, or evaluation to what is present in the source. But this applies regardless of the "type" of source! We may not add analysis, interpretation, synthesis, or evaluation to what is in a "secondary" source any more or any less than we may do so with a "primary" source.
    • The only useful point in the whole PSTS section is that a "secondary" source is more likely to already contain a needed level of analysis, interpretation, synthesis, or evaluation, and so the temptation to create OR is higher when using a "primary" source. But that doesn't need to be in a policy where people can endlessly misinterpret it.

IMO, WP:OR needs to be drastically overhauled to remove the cruft related to WP:N and WP:V and "primary-source paranoia" that it has accumulated. WP:V could use a bit too, especially the section WP:V#Verifiability and other principles. And WP:N could use some refocusing on the real criteria rather than secondariness in places. But I doubt any of that will ever actually happen, as too many have invested too much in pushing exactly that cruft in for ammunition in deletion discussions. Anomie 16:46, 29 August 2011 (UTC)

I agree I think were letting primary source paranoia distract us from the goal of writing an informative and reliable encylclopedia. Lets please remember that if we hold onto the primary source too tightly then we lose the ability of writing articles about a lot of the Supreme Court Cases, we lose the ability of using things like the documents available through the National Archives from Government sources because they are, by most accounts, primary sources. We lose the ability of using things like Geneological information available through that has been repeatedly discussed and has been determined to meet concensus. We will also lose the ability of writing about a lot of the places on the National register of Historic places because some of them have few secondary sources if any. We will additionally lose the ability of using Census data, Geolocation data and several other things including some of the Science and Medicine related topics. I agree that whenever possible (which is probably most of the time) we should be using secondary sources but there are going to be occassions where a secondary source just isn't available. --Kumioko (talk) 20:05, 29 August 2011 (UTC)
Again, no one is saying we can't use primary or first party sources in articles. The issue is, if we're trying to develop an encyclopedia, necessarily summarizing and not documenting human knowledge, we need to have some minimum standard for a topic to have its own article, otherwise relegating that information to a larger topic. If a topic is only discussed in primary sources, while that may provide much factual data, that doesn't making the topic encyclopedic; the lack of any source that performs the nature of a secondary sources to place the topic in context to a large field, then its difficult to basically make such articles data dumps of the primary works; great in some reference guides but not an encyclopedia. But, data dumps aren't a problem if they are part of a larger list or table. For example, its doubtful that every registered historic place has any other source beyond its listing as a historic place. But, the concept of historic places is certainly one discussed in secondaries, and thus completely reasonable to list out the finite collection of historic places. Or same with Supreme Court cases - many go unnoticed by the media as rarely having a major impact on citizens' lives, but certainly recorded and appropriate to include on lists of cases seen by the Court. In other words, a lot of this needs to get away from this phobia about using redirects and lists to collect topics that don't justify their own potential for an encyclopedic-quality article but still is appropriate knowledge to include. Lists are perfect for such summaries. --MASEM (t) 20:16, 29 August 2011 (UTC)
Yes. Every court case in the world is covered by primary sources. Should we summarize every court case in the world? Of course not. But Supreme Court cases are going to be talked about by reliable legal scholars across the country. Again, it's an instance where WP:PRIMARY is good policy, and most of the articles of potentially good quality can be saved under WP:IMPERFECT. Shooterwalker (talk) 23:29, 29 August 2011 (UTC)
WP:N covers the situation adequately, WP:PRIMARY is completely unnecessary for that purpose. Anomie 00:00, 30 August 2011 (UTC)
See thats why I felt compelled to point out both the scenarios of Supreme court cases and NRHP examples. We have independently determined that 'all articles in these 2 groups (as well as others) to be notable and thus they should have an article, not be on a list, but each to have its own article. So my point here is, aside from the impact to a few fictional characters and tv shows mentioned above, the assumption that an article isn't noteworthy if there are no secondary sources puts us on a slippery slope to lose valuable historical information beyond a few Simpsons episodes. The suggestion that these articles be eliminated because they are too heavily based on primary sources is at at the very least beyond what consensus has already determined. --Kumioko (talk) 00:18, 30 August 2011 (UTC)
Who is this "we" that has independently determined that all of these subjects are inherently notable? I'm not aware of any consensus in that regard. In fact, I think the general consensus is that nothing is inherently notable.—Kww(talk) 00:28, 30 August 2011 (UTC)
Er, where have they been determined to be notable per WP:N or the sub-notability guidelines, or even at WP:OUTCOMES? Even if Wikiprojects have claimed these notable, that metric will likely not fly in the larger organization of WP (otherwise, this gives projects free reign to assert things notable).
And this is the paranoia that I mentioned before. This information would not be lost but be summarized in a list, using redirects to make it a searchable term. Such lists have better chances of becoming featured content than stubby articles that are only based on primary sources. And should it be the case that the individual element can be expanded into a notable, full-fledged encyclopedic article, that can be easily done via simply undoing the redirect, retaining the past history of the article. Nothing is lost in this process. --MASEM (t) 00:29, 30 August 2011 (UTC)
I say "we" to identify the editors working on these articles on a daily basis who have deemed them notable just as military history has done, animation has done and countless others. If you want to change that consensus then that's a completely different argument. And I dare say that have a single line in a list does not represent the same information as an article. And for that matter doesn't give the reader the information they went there to get. Regardless, there is no consensus for this and the ramifications of this would reach far beyond the fictional characters it was brought up about. Frankly its a bad proposal with good intentions. --Kumioko (talk) 00:54, 30 August 2011 (UTC)
It's BEEN policy for the past couple of years. The ramifications have been exactly what they've been. WP:PRIMARY is good policy, with good intentions, tempered by WP:IMPERFECT, which is also good policy. We don't delete articles because of what they are. We delete them because of the problems that will never be fixed. Shooterwalker (talk) 01:30, 30 August 2011 (UTC)
Yes we are all familiar with the rules but judging by the responses (besides mine) from a lot of the other editors it doesn't appear that the extremist interpretation of the rules that's being presented here has consensus so there's little point in continuing to argue the point. You'll just have to submit the articles to AFD and see what the consensus is then. --Kumioko (talk) 01:58, 30 August 2011 (UTC)
Interpretation, shmenterpretation. I asked if the WP:PRIMARY policy should still be there. And there it is, still standing. Shooterwalker (talk) 02:34, 30 August 2011 (UTC)
This topic was raised to probe whether a policy that no article is to exist documented only by primary sources is supported by consensus. The unawareness of any such policy and subsequent disagreement about it suggests no clear consensus for it was built or consensus has changed. There's even less consensus about what to do with such an article: delete it, shrink its content to a list under another topic, or leave it alone for a while (how long?) until either third-party sources are added or it's deleted/shrink-listed. An argument for deletion says such articles are "irreparable", but I don't get why an article based today on primary sources is presumed incapable of being supported tomorrow on third-party sources? My concern is for articles about demography and culture in seldom-accessed parts of sub-Saharan Africa, India, South America which are being documented and written about by first-hand observers or secondary chroniclers online rather than in far more expensive and less readily updated books or periodicals? My variation on Kumioko's concerns is that such information (e.g. census data, road maps), when made available in the West, has so many English-literate witnesses and is so accessible that it rapidly appears in forms which pass Wikipedia's ever more stringent criteria for uptake, but is readily excluded when passed along in forms less compliant, leaving our readership ignorant of information about the world whose accuracy isn't seriously doubted (and can be easily removed if challenged) but which remains inadmissable in principle because it's not provided in our "paper published" or academic formats. FactStraight (talk) 03:07, 30 August 2011 (UTC)
To clear up: WP makes no distinction between print and online sources; they still all must be evaluated for reliability, with the only factor on online sources is that they are more likely to be self-published. But there's zero requirement that an article must be based on printed sources. --MASEM (t) 03:18, 30 August 2011 (UTC)
Fine, the issue is "publication" not "paper". I was told here that Verifiability means "Self-published expert sources may be considered reliable when produced by an established expert on the topic of the article whose work in the relevant field has previously been published by reliable third-party publications." Never mind that one's own website is rapidl replacing 3rd party publications as the friendliest, least costly medium available to which info intended for public consumption may be uploaded -- especially outside the West. So large swathes of content which nobody has questioned as inaccurate about Third World dynasties is to be summarily de-sourced & slated for deletion FactStraight (talk) 07:44, 30 August 2011 (UTC)
As you note, we don't prohibit self-published sites, but we need assurance that the person publishing the information is an expert in said field; if they don't provide credentials or the link, it will be hard to accept that source as usable on WP, as we cannot assure the reliability of the information, even if on the surface it appears completely true. There is probably an element of some culture bias - some editors inappropriate assume if its a non-English source that its not usable (this is never true), and there's going to be the issue of showing that the person behind the information is an expert in that part of the world. But that's issues to take up when these are challenged at AFD or the like, there's not much we can do in policy since they already say these type of sources can be appropriate. But one thing to keep in mind: WP is not indiscriminate, we not hear to document every bit of human knowledge. If there is a facet that only one person has taken on the effort to document, that usually means its not likely notable and appropriate for an encyclopedic article. --MASEM (t) 12:33, 30 August 2011 (UTC)

Subject dependent?

I accept that in some fields, History jumps to mind, primary sources could be a bad idea, and have likely been analysed in a secondary source. However, in science, primary sources published in high-profile journals (Nature and Science being the obvious examples) have likely undergone more scrutiny than a review paper (secondary source) published in a small/low impact journal. By this policy, basing articles upon a fringe-published review is encouraged, but writing about cutting-edge, high-profile discoveries, less so. I do see some merit in warning against excessive primary sources, but I think in the field of science particularly, primary sources are as valuable as secondary. As a further point, they contain the methods and technical details of how results were obtained, which underpin verifiability as part of the scientific method (albeit not verifiability for our purposes, lest we breach NOR) Jebus989 16:12, 30 August 2011 (UTC)

Again, no one is denying that primary sources meet WP:V standards, particularly, as noted, highly-regarded peer-reviewed journals like Science and Nature. However, like all other peer-reviewed works, any one can submit to them to get published; those two just set a much higher bar for the quality of the work that is accepted, the degree to which peer-review occurs, and ultimately printed. Unless it is part of a larger area of research that other researchers have done in other journals, just being published in Science or Nature is not sufficient for an article. --MASEM (t) 16:30, 30 August 2011 (UTC)
You realise, of course, that anyone can submit a review paper to get published? Jebus989 17:14, 30 August 2011 (UTC)
That's what I said - that's why straight up publication in Science and Nature is not sufficient to infer notability. But the quality of the peer review processes make such published papers excellent sources - whether primary or secondary themselves. --MASEM (t) 17:51, 30 August 2011 (UTC)
If a Nature article described a new animal species and it was so far the only source to do so, are you saying that an article about that newly described species would not survive AFD just because it was sourced only to a Nature article? postdlf (talk) 18:04, 30 August 2011 (UTC)
I see the issue as when to create an article. Obviously primary sources can be reliable (sometimes more reliable than secondary sources) and you can use them to verify certain facts. But if you can base articles on primary sources then you could essentially mirror the whole internet on Wikipedia. What's to stop me from making an article about this talk page, sourced to a few diffs as a primary source? The inverse of our requirement for third-party sources is that we don't base articles entirely on primary sources. Dzlife (talk) 17:32, 30 August 2011 (UTC)
This is why I propose a subject-dependent sub-policy/guideline, or to be clearer, something specific to scientific research papers. No research paper stands in isolation—try finding one without a bibliography—and furthermore most 'Introduction' sections serve as a mini-review to background material. The only argument I'm trying to make here is that a fundamental distinction between primary sources in scientific literature (bad) and secondary sources (good) isn't warranted Jebus989 18:30, 30 August 2011 (UTC)

A scientific article describing a new species is not a primary source, in regards to the species. The primary source in regards to the species would be the specimen itself. The same article is also a primary source in regards to the author of the article, and of the journal it is published in, etc. —Akrabbimtalk 18:38, 30 August 2011 (UTC)

It depends. A paper that simply documents the behavior of the species but attempts no analysis of that behavior will be primary; a paper that does include analysis about the species would be secondary. But again, this comes back to a point that if only one person or paper has documented the species, it is likely not a significant topic in the broader scene of overall knowledge to mankind. --MASEM (t) 21:25, 30 August 2011 (UTC)
In law, we often talk about the "correct" interpretation being that which most closely predicts what judges will do; otherwise we're just talking about how we want it to be. And I doubt any article on a animal species would be deleted at AFD (the closest thing we have to a judiciary in most cases) as long as it is verifiable to at least one source, even if only that one source. If we're going to talk about "significance," the amount of coverage or numbers of people writing about something is at best a proxy for its significance. Undoubtedly more people have written about Paris Hilton than most animal species. That's largely dictated by market forces, both in terms of audience demand in commercial markets, competition for funding for researchers, competition for researchers' time, etc. As long as we're talking about a subject that a consensus of editors thinks should be covered on Wikipedia, such as animal species, populated places, national legislators, asteroids, etc., it only matters whether we can write (or start, if you prefer) a verifiable, NPOV article. That is sometimes possible from a single source, regardless of whether we can characterize it as a primary source, secondary source, tertiary, quaternary, it doesn't matter as long as we think it is reliable for some purpose. I think it would be pretty stupid for us to say "sorry, we don't want an article on that subject until there are two reliable sources," or "we'll wait for someone else to summarize that census data first before we document that this village exists." Quibbling over these distinctions in the abstract is pretty pointless given that, as I said, the rules are at best a guideline or proxy for achieving a particular result, and the result for which there is a clear consensus is that WP should cover certain subjects and that certain sources, even if singular, even if "primary," are reliable and NPOV for covering them. postdlf (talk) 23:00, 30 August 2011 (UTC)
My point is this: a topic for which only primary sources exists (not the same as where it uses primary sources but other uncited non-primary sources exist), and/or which only can be summarized from existing sources (possibly only one) into a few sentences and has no chance of expansion without another source appearing, is either going to covered with the same amount of information in a stub article or a element in a larger list article for an indefinite period of time. The stub article will have no hope of becoming a featured content, while the list article does. And yet if those additional sources appear, we can still spin out the larger article on that specific topic with ease. The use of lists to gather these types of articles is inherently better in the long run for WP than the stub approach. --MASEM (t) 13:18, 31 August 2011 (UTC)

Limiting the number of accounts new (or non auto-confirmed) accounts can create

There was an interesting discussion at ANI regarding account creation. The basic question that came up is this: why are new accounts allowed to create more than one extra account? It's clear that we don't want to completely cut off the ability of new accounts to create accounts (in case someone with an inappropriate username wants to a new name compliant with policy). However, I cannot think of a good reason for new accounts to create more than one new account. Is it possible to limit new accounts to the creation of one new account? TNXMan 14:35, 1 September 2011 (UTC)

There is a discussion at Wikipedia:Village pump (proposals)#Remove ability for new users to create other accounts. PrimeHunter (talk) 14:38, 1 September 2011 (UTC)
Perfect, thanks. I've commented there. TNXMan 14:46, 1 September 2011 (UTC)

Pester users to registering an email address

Follow up from Wikipedia:Village pump (idea lab)/Archive 4#Pester users to registering an email address

A bot should notify active users who haven't registered an email address after 200 edits (possibly fewer). At this point the account starts to become valuable and a more likely target for attack. The email address provides a second factor for authentication and allow recovery of forgotten passwords. The Toolserver will generate a list of users that have (1) recently edited, (2) have user_email_authenticated NULL or 0, and (3) are above the edit threshold. Note: Registering an email is separate from the ability for other users to email you. — Dispenser 00:37, 2 September 2011 (UTC)

But wont registering an email address also create a new attack vector? My Wikipedia login is much more secure then my email login. By registering the email, anyone who penetrates my email also gets my Wikipedia account, as they can just hit the email me a password button. Monty845 00:51, 2 September 2011 (UTC)
I don't understand how a registered email address produces two-factor authentication. People can still log in using just their username and password, right? Jowa fan (talk) 05:11, 3 September 2011 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Verifiability/Draft has been marked as a policy

Wikipedia:Verifiability/Draft (edit | talk | history | links | watch | logs) has recently been edited to mark it as a policy. This is an automated notice of the change (more information). -- VeblenBot (talk) 02:00, 3 September 2011 (UTC)

Removed 'policy' tag. -- Avanu (talk) 02:34, 3 September 2011 (UTC)

Request for uninvolved editor to close an RfC

I would like an uninvolved editor to please close the RfC at Wikipedia talk:Verifiability#RfC: Tendentious editing of policy Wikipedia:Verifiability

It has the support of 2 editors, and the opposition of 16 editors, and it seems unlikely to gain consensus support. Thanks in advance. -- Avanu (talk) 03:17, 3 September 2011 (UTC)

Gazetteer function

I have seen in several discussions someone referring to "Wikipedia's gazetteer function". However, I haven't been able to find any policy or guideline discussing this. The only thing I see is at WP:Five pillars:

Wikipedia is an online encyclopedia. It incorporates elements of general and specialized encyclopedias, almanacs, and gazetteers.

However, WP:ENC never mentions the term, WP:Gazetteer is no help, there is no WP:Notability (places) or anything, and I don't see anything useful at WP:WPGEOG. I'm sure there are numerous discussions archived all over the place, but it would be good to see what has been written to reflect the consensus that has been reached. —Akrabbimtalk 17:23, 29 August 2011 (UTC)

Just for the record, there is Wikipedia:Notability (geography). The Mark of the Beast (talk) 19:09, 29 August 2011 (UTC)
There is not so much as policy or guideline that applies, while there have been several attempts to create one, none have obtained consensus. The status quo is that any placename with its name, location, and existence verifiable by a government source or equivalent gets a named article. It is a very low threshold, and thousands or tens of thousands of such articles have been created as stubs in good faith in accord with then-existing policy.
The reason for this is that bots have been approved which data mine government sources or equivalent and create them. Let human action delete one in Afd, the bots will simply recreate them. patsw (talk) 00:50, 30 August 2011 (UTC)
Those bots were created before notability was policyguideline, but the reason to keep the places as I understand it is that there is a presumption that any place name is going to have sources about it, likely generated by that place itself and the government records. Personally, I think that's a weak reason, and we can still serve the gazeteer function using tables and lists instead of stubby articles that likely won't expand. --MASEM (t) 00:55, 30 August 2011 (UTC)
More than whenever notability is policy or not or what does it say, consider why is there a policy about notability to begin with. The big idea is to prevent the use of wikipedia and its "anyone can edit" as a tool for free promotion of mr. nobodies, like garage bands. However, wikipedia is an encyclopedia about many topics, and in some topics promotion is not only unneeded, but even inaplicable. Populated places do not need any promotion, as neither do animal species or celestial bodies. Cambalachero (talk) 01:46, 30 August 2011 (UTC)
Yea, I just realized I implied it was policy. It's only a guideline. But still, the point stands: most place pages were created before WP:N was formalized. But just because towns or animal species aren't things that could be promoted doesn't nececessary mean they aren't subject to notability. More so, I do believe that as a gazetteer function, we should document these towns and the like, but "documenting" them does not require us to have a separate article on each. We can still be a gazetteer and meet notability by using lists and tables and redirects in an effective manner to group topics with zero apparent secondary coverage from stubs, without losing any information. --MASEM (t) 14:36, 30 August 2011 (UTC)

There are limitations to what can be done with the Wikipedia is an automated way. Conversion en masse of all placename articles which remained in their robotic stub form, without loss of information, into lists within new or existing articles is a bot on an order of complexity that one doesn't see in bots. At some point, one accepts the Wikipedia as it is. What could be done if one were King and Lawgiver of the Wikipedia on a blank page is necessarily different from collaboration in the Wikipedia as it is at this point. patsw (talk) 15:52, 30 August 2011 (UTC)

I disagree but not knowing the exact specifics of how the bots work, this is certainly a potential for my foot-in-mouth occurrence. That is, as I understand how the present stubs were created, the bots utilized the appropriate gov't and census databases, then created pages filling in the blanks for premade data fields. To create lists would not be the act of "merging" these but rerunning those bots through the databases to make the tables (each row now being filled in with the appropriate data fields) in fresh articles, at the same time adding {{anchors}} for redirect targets, and then finalizing by turning the associated page article into a redirect (no history lost); this last step could be held off until humans reviewed the generated tables to make sure nothing's glaringly wrong. There's possibly even a way to create a bot process to handle the map-making aspects. I would not expect the bot to merge the articles directly. --MASEM (t) 15:58, 30 August 2011 (UTC)
I'm not sure what articles in particular, if any, you have in mind for this combined list, but let's take a typical American community that has an article that is essentially just bot-mined U.S. census data: Minerva Park, Ohio, a village of fewer than 2,000 people wedged inside Columbus. We have type of populated place (village-class municipality), location (state and county), coordinates, area, division of area into land and water, population, number of households, number of families, population density, number of housing units, density of housing units, six categories of race/ethnicity, households with children... I'm not even halfway through and we're already at eighteen data points. As a practical matter tables are limited in the number of columns they can display because it would require too much horizontal scrolling, which would cause difficulty in printing and in display on mobile devices. Plus there are the maps of its location within the state and within the county, which would further inflate the size of a table entry. postdlf (talk) 18:02, 30 August 2011 (UTC)
There are millions of species out there (mostly in the insect branches); an article on every documented species would clearly overwhelm the current work. That doesn't mean we can't document them, but it makes sense to use tables and lists here; assuming an average of 100 species per list (say, by genus), suddenly millions of articles are now only 10,000s of articles, and still completely reasonable to have as search terms and the like. The small fraction of actual species that are well documented, of course, can be expanded into fully articles.
This general approach of putting what otherwise can only be sourced to primary works or lacks more than a few sentences into tables is, to me, much better than having stubby articles that become the center of WP:OTHERSTUFFEXISTS arguments (despite that being a bad argument). We aren't losing info, we aren't losing past contributions (as they become redirects), they can be expanded when more info is available, and in general serve the better purpose of making WP a summary, tertiary work. --MASEM (t) 23:25, 30 August 2011 (UTC)
You're still ducking the substance in order to repeat your preferred abstract rule. The fact that something is only sourced to a primary work does not mean it is short nor capable of being merged into a table, as I explained with the village/U.S. census example (on which it would have been nice to receive a comment). Nor does an article's shortness necessarily mean that it can or should be merged somewhere else, but that's another issue...

On animal species, if it is verifiably a separate species, then it means that someone has written a description of it: its range, type specimen(s), and what particular features differentiate it from other species in its genus. Whether that has been, to date, done in only one source should not preclude an article from being started on it, assuming that we can consider that source reliable for that purpose (i.e., it's published in a peer reviewed journal, written by a recognized specialist in the field, etc.).

So whether something can only be sourced to only one reliable source or only to primary sources is a separate question from whether it can, or should be, merged or redirected somewhere. If twenty reliable sources do nothing more than list the names of species in a single genus, then you have a good basis only for one article on that genus as a whole. But if there are twenty reliable sources that each describe a single different species, then you have a good basis for twenty species articles. postdlf (talk) 01:29, 31 August 2011 (UTC)

  • I don't have a problem with one set of rules for placenames (i.e. this section's topic) and another set of rules for species (not this section's topic). Also, each bot creating these articles was at some point approved by editors. If you have strong opinions about bot-created articles, there are places to discuss their approval before the articles are created (other than VPP, but you're welcome to comment here as well). patsw (talk) 14:59, 31 August 2011 (UTC)

Airports, among unpopulated places

I am curious about what you might think about the new article Fursatganj Airport Raebareli. My feeling is that this should not be a standalone article but a list entry in List of airports in India. I do agree that consensus is that a populated place which is verifiable in its existence is de facto notable regardless of its size. I don't think that this consensus covers major man-made works such as pieces of transportation infrastructure. Thanks for your input. --User:Ceyockey (talk to me) 03:41, 30 August 2011 (UTC)

Airports are typically registered with a international, national, or regional government and have a fixed location, making them a placename (see above). From the article I see the airport in question has an ICAO registration, so I have no problem with it being an article. patsw (talk) 15:52, 30 August 2011 (UTC)
The list entry would be a bare minimum. We should cover this airport somewhere. I'll bet that good sources exist too even if they aren't there yet. Dzlife (talk) 17:35, 30 August 2011 (UTC)
Apparently it's merely the airfield used by a local flying school, with no public traffic whatsoever. Fut.Perf. 18:24, 30 August 2011 (UTC)
The "gazeteer" function is not a part of policy or a requirement: our mandate is to be an encyclopedia. Five pillars is just a simple overview or summary written for newbies a few years ago (IMO, the best such summary created to date). It includes that sentence mostly to say that, yes, the English Wikipedia probably does contain more stuff than readers initially expect it to. WhatamIdoing (talk) 23:48, 3 September 2011 (UTC)
I don't believe that pillars, or any policy or guideline says any given class of article is mandated, so I wouldn't be looking there for guidance. The de jure aspect of the creation of gazetteer stub articles is that most (or nearly all) of them were generated by approved bots. patsw (talk) 17:17, 6 September 2011 (UTC)
...but importantly, back before WP:N was a formalized guideline. Yes, they were approved, but at a time where WP was less mature, and less critical of what it included. We have since matured, and now there's a completely fair question on the table whether we can handle the gazetteer function better than by having separate stubby articles for each location as opposed to more complete lists and tables that contain the same information. --MASEM (t) 17:23, 6 September 2011 (UTC)

Does this mean what I think? A Wikimarketing firm?

Is this user name actually a reference to a marketing firm on Wikipedia? And what is the policy for these? The Wedbush Securities page that I happened to see reads like a marketing handout anyway. Needs clean up - makes Wikipedia look bad. Stronger policies are needed? History2007 (talk) 08:09, 1 September 2011 (UTC)

I think the policies are ok, it can take an annoyingly long time for them to be enforced though. You could ask for a speedy delete of the article on the grounds of blatant advertizing and I'm sure there is at least one admin who would take it down, I doubt all would though. For the user, ignoring the name itself it seems to be a single purpose account created to push a point of view, and we certainly have policies on that.--RDBury (talk) 08:33, 1 September 2011 (UTC)
This links in with discussion on JW's talk page about paid editing and marketing firms. I've left a COI welcome on the talk page, though it's likely we'll never see edits from that account again... I haven't found any other registered usernames with Wikimktgx Jebus989 10:05, 1 September 2011 (UTC)
The subject appears wp: notable, so deletion looks unlikely. I think that what's needed is deletion of the massive amount of promotional/advertising stuff in the article. I might give it a start. North8000 (talk) 12:07, 1 September 2011 (UTC)
I did a little but it's still really bad. More editors there are needed. North8000 (talk) 12:19, 1 September 2011 (UTC)
The problem is this: They get paid to spend effort adding marketing items. We work for free. So in the end they may over run our efforts. But we control policy, so we need to use that in our favor, e.g. .......? In the long term, we can not beat them with effort alone. And the effort that goes into this could be put to better use if we have stronger defensive policies. History2007 (talk) 12:40, 1 September 2011 (UTC)
I would bring it up at the admin noticeboard, it may violate username policy. Just remember to notify User:Wikimktg3 if you do. —Akrabbimtalk 13:08, 1 September 2011 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── You just made my point Akrabbim. I have to spend effort on and on and on to deal with this? No, policy should be stronger so I do not have to do this at my salary level. Wikipedia effort is not unlimited. We need stronger policies so these things can be stopped with "minimal effort". There are probably 300 other pages like that. We will never catch up with the paid marketing people in the long run. History2007 (talk) 13:15, 1 September 2011 (UTC)

300? I would guess 10,000.--Fuhghettaboutit (talk) 13:21, 1 September 2011 (UTC)
So how about a "Shameless Marketing Noticeboard" so these can be handled with suitable policies. How about a single button somewhere so I can press that and the report gets filed? Or a bot that looks at all the advert tags and if more than 3 users endorse the tags, files the notice? etc. etc. etc. We need to make it easy for the unpaid people here to face the paid people. Wikipedia needs to stop being the "New Craigslist". History2007 (talk) 13:25, 1 September 2011 (UTC)
WP:COIN is a decent place to get help with this kind of stuff. — Satori Son 13:54, 1 September 2011 (UTC)
I'm not sure what sort of magic policy History2007 wants, that will preclude the need for some effort to enact it. We have policy and guidelines against spam, peacock terms, advertising, misleading usernames, etc. When we come across something that violates policy or guidelines, we have to make some effort to rectify the situation. The single magic button solition proposed above is a very blunt instrument; it does not sort out the wheat from the chaff in the article; it does not deal with the misleading username. It might file a notice, but that just moves the work to someone else. Further, the assertion that there are more of them (people misusig wikipedia for advertising) than us is not borne out, in my experience. You think, History2007, that things need to be made easier for us unpaid volunteers; and I certainly not against that as a statement of motherhood and apple pie. But I'd suggest that volunteers - primarily in this case you - need to relax a little, not get wound up, use the facilities open to us such as tagging and editing crap aticles, listing crap usernames, and if necessary filing reports at AN/I. And then take time to think through your suggestions for "improvement". By way of example, there's not much difference, in my mind, between a "shamless marketing noticeboard" and the category that an article is placed into is an advert tag is placed on it. If something really is wholly shameless, then we already have db-spam - much simpler than listing at a board. Finally, you need to back up some of your more extreme assertions. We are not, afaik, turning into craigslist. We are not losing a battle with paid editors. There is not a crisis that needs hasty and ill thought out "improvements". --Tagishsimon (talk) 13:41, 1 September 2011 (UTC)
As a start I would like to see "less acceptance" of advertising, and a willingness to discuss better policies against it, not just assuming that all is great. I do see the Craiglist problem as real. If I were a marketing person, I would use Wikipedia pretty effectively and could even set up a business. By the way, look at the talk page for Wiki-Watch. I will stop for now, and see what people say in a day or two. History2007 (talk) 13:47, 1 September 2011 (UTC)
If you really have a problem with someone else being paid to edit where you edit for free....well perhaps you should stop editing. Everyone has their own reasons for editing WP, but the common thread that unites every one of those is that it's optional. Noone has to edit, and if you're really bothered by the fact that "you have to deal with it at your salery level" then DON'T deal with it. Either you care enough to deal with it, or you don't care enough (be it because you're not getting paid, or whatever else) and just pass it by. There's ZERO obligation for ANYONE (outside of the few paid Wikimedia employees I guess) here. ♫ Melodia Chaconne ♫ (talk) 13:58, 1 September 2011 (UTC)
Did you say optional... Boy, that is a new one... Wikipedia is not optional. It is addictive. Where have you been? Look around you... History2007 (talk) 14:07, 1 September 2011 (UTC)
(edit conflict) :::Agree that something more is needed. For example, I did some deletions at that one which didn't take me much time. But the rest of the article is of a promotional tone with some encyclopedic factoids mixed in. What happens now? A volunteer spending many hours rewriting the article around the encyclopedic factoids? Having been through a bunch of these at AFD, I have a practical solution. If an article is overall promotional that should be grounds for deletion irrespective of notability (without prejudice against re-creation) or nuking it to a one sentence stub, both conditional on review/consensus at AFD or somewhere similar. North8000 (talk) 13:56, 1 September 2011 (UTC)
We already have this policy, North. We are permitted to mark an article for speedy deletion with {{db-spam}}, if it "would need to be fundamentally rewritten in order to become an encyclopedia article." —Akrabbimtalk 14:16, 1 September 2011 (UTC)
Thanks. But what if it is contested and it goes to AFD; is that grounds for deletion under AFD? North8000 (talk) 14:21, 1 September 2011 (UTC)
I don't think there are any rationales that are valid for speedy deletion, but not for AfD. If the tagging was legitimate, then the outcomes of the AfD would then be either deletion or a fundamental rewrite. —Akrabbimtalk 14:30, 1 September 2011 (UTC)
Thanks. I didn't know that. North8000 (talk) 14:31, 1 September 2011 (UTC)
WP:Delete the junk is a fairly popular essay pertaining to this; I favor it in some circumstances with irretrievably bad articles on subjects some people deem "inherently notable". An extreme example would be Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/List of villages in Panchkula district (I've been tempted on many occasions to simply take some of our other articles on Indian villages to AfD because they're completely useless in their current form). To the point above, I watch the new user log and actively work to counteract blatantly obvious corporate accounts. I have very little patience for spammers or people with a serious case of noble cause syndrome, and the hybrids of the two (see User:GenerationRescue Official for an example; being PDD-NOS myself, it was quite enjoyable reverting their spam) are the worst, because they tend to be the ones who do rapid-fire spamming. I do tend to take the Middle Way on content, but I think promotionalism is very dangerous to the encyclopedia, as it feeds upon itself and makes us that much less reliable. I'd be all for taking a harder stance on this issue. The Blade of the Northern Lights (話して下さい) 15:26, 1 September 2011 (UTC)
I think I've read maybe 200 AFD's in the last month an believe that there is no general consciousness or indication there that an article can be deleted for being mostly spam/sales material. I think that it's partly due to it not really being said anywhere. Even the above recommendations are asking people to follow an unstated assumption that the speedy deletion criteria can also apply to AFD. This criteria is missing from the list at articles for deletion. I might suggest it there. North8000 (talk) 16:39, 1 September 2011 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── I think Blade made a valid point above: promotionalism is not harmless. My real issue is that my own feeling about my level of reliance on Wikipedia diminishes as I see junk floating around. Less than 48 hours ago I had no idea who this Wadbush company was, then I saw a Google news item, and looked it up on Wikipedia because I use Wiki as one of my main source of info. I was surprised what a glowing marketing page that was and how different it was from the newspaper report. As I see unreliable info, I trust Wikipedia less. What would have happened if I looked them up before seeing that newspaper article? What about other companies, etc.

As trust in Wikipedia diminishes, so will the levels of financial donations and volunteer edits. I think Blade's point that:

  • "Low quality content has consequences beyond the page on which it appears"

should be emphasized. Promotionalism is not harmless. History2007 (talk) 21:12, 1 September 2011 (UTC)

I don't think anyone here disagrees with that; it's a statement of the obvious. The question is, are there any real shortcomings in our policies, guidelines, tags, categories and tools which we might address through this discussion. You've yet to come even close to convincing me that any need to be amended. --Tagishsimon (talk) 21:33, 1 September 2011 (UTC)
I am not a salesmen trying to convince you. I started this thread to see what ideas could get generated. So don't be closed minded even before ideas get generated. Sit back, let ideas appear, then comment afterwards instead of being negative even before discussions start. If current policies were adequate there would not be 10,000 marketing pages. So let us see who will come up with good ideas for improvement. Personally, I would like to see:
* A "Marketing noticeboard" and better clarifications, given that the discussion above suggests less than uniform understanding of Speedy deletes Afd etc.
* A "multi-tag policy" so multiple users (each with more than N edits) can tag a page as a marketing page, and a bot that then posts on the Marketing noticebard.
But those are just initial ideas. I would liek to hear what other ideas people may have. What I would like to see are policies that "send a message" to marketing people that Wikipedia is not defenseless. Once the noticeboard starts, it may lead to other ideas as it gets used. History2007 (talk) 22:09, 1 September 2011 (UTC)
Are there 10,000 marketing pages? Is there a lack of understanding of db-spam and AfD? Are policies inadequate? Does layering more policy on allegedly ill-understood existing policy assist the situation? I could go on. I'd like to see evidence of the problem, and an analysis of its causes, before seeing suggestions for remedy. Call me old fashioned if you will. --Tagishsimon (talk) 22:15, 1 September 2011 (UTC)
I had some additional conversation at Articles for Deletion. Specifically about where the topic appears notable, but the nearly whole article is spam. They pointed out that editors can quickly knock it back to a stub or mass delete the spam portions rather than delete the article. North8000 (talk) 23:06, 1 September 2011 (UTC)
Is there a way to find out which articles have an "advert tag" on them? Does it need a bot? History2007 (talk) 23:15, 1 September 2011 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── I agree that Wedbush article is a blatant advert. I've suggested a chop and rearranged for balance here. Moriori (talk) 23:36, 1 September 2011 (UTC)

There are a couple of ways. {{advert}} places the article in Category:All articles with a promotional tone, or one could pore over Pages that link to "Template:Advert". There are, to forestall part of your next post, 12,878 articles in the category. Out of 3,700,000, that would be. [This was unsigned]...

So roughly 10,000 or so as Fohgutabout it guessed above. So the next question is: how do we eventually pick the worst 2,000 and deal with those. If we allow users to "rate the level of hype" in the tag they place as a number 1-5 or allow multiple users to tag it, then we can pick the top 1,000 or 2,000 and deal with those first. But let me note that these are 10,000 that have been tagged. We have no idea how many need tags and have not been tagged yet. History2007 (talk) 01:13, 2 September 2011 (UTC)
On that note, there is a tool now that asks for a "rating" of the page based on objectivity etc. at teh bottom of the page. How about letting that tool have "one more button" that says rate this page as an advert. Then the software system is already there. History2007 (talk) 01:10, 2 September 2011 (UTC)
I just noticed 3D laptop that leads to one vendors "spec sheet". These need a Marketing Noticeboard. History2007 (talk) 14:12, 3 September 2011 (UTC)
I don't think I'm going to say anything really new here, but an attempt to distill the problem others have already noted on this. Here's the rub. We delete over a hundred article under db-g11 every day (I checked: we deleted 118 yesterday). That's the first "filter", but G11 does not apply to everything, is going to be missed sometimes even when applicable, and is not going to rope in articles that have started one way and later changed into advertising. So next, we have tagging these article as promotional in various ways. That gets us an index of sorts to follow since the template adds the page to a category. As noted there's Category:All articles with a promotional tone. You can also bet that a fair percentage of articles in Category:Wikipedia articles with possible conflicts of interest are going to be promotional. If you find an article that's not on this "list" in some way, you can add it in by tagging with advert and other tags yourself (if you're not going to do the full actions that would make it no longer an advert right then). Okay, so we have this list, this ability to find lots of these articles in one place; what needs to be done about it? Seeing if they meet G11; if not, possibly prodding, and/or removal of bad content possibly down to a stub, or rewriting, and so on. All of that facility exists right now. There's nothing stopping you or anyone from doing all this, and in fact, there are people who spend most of their time doing little else (or we would would have an order of magnitude more). The only limiting factor is motivation. It's all about having people actually do what needs to be done with these articles for which the facilities to address the issue already exist. What I'm getting at is that I agree with you that it sucks, and it damages us, but I don't know what facility a noticeboard provides that's not redundant to the status quo. We have all the "notice" we need. We just don't have enough volunteers to keep up with demand. What does the noticeboard bring to the table that's new?--Fuhghettaboutit (talk) 14:55, 3 September 2011 (UTC)
I think you had a good summary, but there is probably more that can be done. E.g.
  • How many people know about the Category All articles with a promotional tone? I did not know about it two days ago. So promoting the very existence of that category helps. I actualy think it needs to be a button that also scores the intensity of the tone, as in the ratinsg tool.
  • How do we find the most egregious spam? Again, having a score would help there. Then those will get the attention first. And I think the Marketing Hype Noticeboard will help with "specialization" in that it will attract editors who will get to know how to assess these things.
  • Question: Is the general consensus that there are just not enough editors to fight promotions, or is the consensus that all is fine and there is no need to do anything. How do we even know how bad the promo situation on Wikipedia is?
  • The Wikimedia foundations does various kinds of surveys. Is it worth talking them into doing a survey of the marketing problems by paying something to just one professional analyst to survey it, so we don't have to guess? I think that would be worthwhile.
So I think there is room for action yet. My concern still remains: the marketers may well overrun the volunteers unless policies get tougher. History2007 (talk) 19:06, 3 September 2011 (UTC)
Fuhghettaboutit, there one angle and opportunity which I think that you missed. Let's use an article on a topic that appears notable but is 95%-100% self promotion / sales / sales catalog material as an example. And where no volunteer is willing to spend many hours (re)writing a good article for them. There is no clarity what should happen with these. The 2/3 consensus is to quickly axe the bad stuff out of these or nuke it to a stub. I.E. content problems are not a basis for deleting an article where the topic is probably notable. 2/3 of the experts saying one thing and the other 1/3 conflicting with them (e.g. someone above said that speedy deletion criteria also apply to afd) on a policy talk pages is neither clarity nor communication. Combine this with the "talk first, don't make gigantic changes at once" which is ingrained into editors, and maybe not being confident on acting on their assessment alone, and you have a recipe for inaction. North8000 (talk) 19:34, 3 September 2011 (UTC)
I agree that currently there is a "recipe for inaction" that leads to a general feeling of apathy about these things. The "talk a lot at fist, don't make gigantic changes at once" mentality that you mentioned does exist and is in fact working against Wikipedia in this case. If we can institute a "rapid action policy" on marketing items, the action would be to
  • Get 3 editors to agree. That is all that is needed.
  • Wait 72 hours for responses, then act.
  • Reduce the article to one simple paragraph, leaving a copy of the present article in a subdirectory on the talk page
That will actually send a signal to marketing people that Wiki-editors are not just armchair philosophers talking about hype-reduction. History2007 (talk) 20:59, 3 September 2011 (UTC)
Actually when I was writing it I was thinking that a mechanism to facilitate 2-3 editors discussing large reductions / stubifying the article would be a good idea. That would avoid misfires by one person, and also help lower-key editors get to an action point. North8000 (talk) 21:14, 3 September 2011 (UTC)
I agree. If either 2 or 3 people can act rather quickly, that will bring in the silent crowd who just click away in disappointment. How about a "report spam button"? There is a "heart button" now, how about a spam button? History2007 (talk) 21:34, 3 September 2011 (UTC)

Discussions went further at wp:articles for deletion, and policy wording has been changed saying that speedy deletion criteria are also AFD deletion criteria. So, being a 100% advertisement is grounds for AFD nomination and deletion. North8000 (talk) 19:29, 6 September 2011 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Chemistry/Nomenclature no longer marked as a guideline

Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Chemistry/Nomenclature (edit | talk | history | links | watch | logs) has been edited so that it is no longer marked as a guideline. It was previously marked as a guideline. This is an automated notice of the change (more information). -- VeblenBot (talk) 02:00, 5 September 2011 (UTC)

Comment needed: What should we do about processes (such as XfD) created in violation of banning/blocking policy, but had at least a handful of other valid supporting views of nom?

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section. A summary of the conclusions reached follows.
I was asked by User:Cunard to close this discussion, and it seems to have reached a natural conclusion, given the lack of activity in the last few days. Unfortunately, however, I don't see a clear consensus here on what to do with processes initiated by blocked.banned users who are only discovered after others have participated. There is support for the idea that these processes should be speedy closed. However, others raise the point that, while the initiation of the process was invalid, the valid contributions by those who participated without realising the initiator was editing in contravention of a block or ban should not be discounted. I also note that the Arbitration Committee decided to continue with Wikipedia:Arbitration/Requests/Case/MickMacNee after it was discovered that the initiator was a sockpuppet of a banned user. To make such a decision is essentially choosing the proverbial rock over the hard place.

My recommendation in closing this discussion is that such situations be dealt with on a case-by-case basis, taking into account the level of disruption in the nomination, as well as the number and the value of the contributions by those participating after the initiation but before the initiator is discovered to be a sockpuppet. I think this situation is probably sufficiently rare that we can afford to determine the best course of action case by case. HJ Mitchell | Penny for your thoughts? 12:56, 7 September 2011 (UTC)

Over the last few months or so, there have been multiple XfDs nominated by sock-puppets of indef-blocked users. Some people's nominations fared better (in the terms of valid reasoning), but technically all would have been closed procedurally had they been discovered sooner. By the time that the confirmation from CU arrives, some of those nominations already had multiple other editors weighing in their opinions, and the closing admins decided to let the AfDs run their cases.

For example, Donald Schroeder JWH018 (talk · contribs · logs · block log) is a sock-puppet of Torkmann (talk · contribs · logs · block log) and was blocked when CU discovered it. However, DSJ made multiple AfDs prior to the block of that account. By the time the block was conducted, 7 AfDs were listed by DSJ, of which only 1 resulted in a Keep.

WP:Banning Policy has a section that stipulates Anyone is free to revert any edits made in defiance of a ban. This does not mean that obviously helpful edits (such as fixing typos or undoing vandalism) must be reverted just because they were made by a banned editor, but the presumption in ambiguous cases should be to revert. Several comments were recently raised here regarding Speedy Keep policy (and by extension Speedy Delete criteria) vs banning policy.

So I'm asking the community to comment on this issue: What should we do regarding processes that require a nomination, and it was later found out that the nominator shouldn't have been able to do so (either due to blocks/bans/topic bans), but not before multiple legitimate editors have voiced valid supporting views of the nomination? Should we Dismiss the nomination altogether due to its invalid nomination? Do we Let the Process run its course, then if needed, raise corresponding issues at appropriate boards (such as deletion review)? Or do we have other options?

A simple example: A sock-puppet of a blocked/banned user nominated a valid article for deletion at AfD. (Legitimate) editors put in their views, and 2 days into the 7-day period required for AfD, it is then discovered that the nominator was a sockpuppet (and subsequently blocked/banned). What should we do about the ongoing AfD? - Penwhale | dance in the air and follow his steps 16:22, 30 July 2011 (UTC)

  • I'll be the first to answer my own question: I would Let the process run if there's enough valid points made by other editors to support the nomination view. Even though the current wording in the banning policy regarding this situation would be to revert the nom, if enough points have been made by other editors, then even if the process were to be tossed out procedurally, it would be nominated legitimately soon after. Despite the fact that we have no deadline, I don't see a reason why it needs to be re-done. Yes, it would be procedurally more sound, but I guess I prefer to see the light in things, perhaps sometimes overboard. - Penwhale | dance in the air and follow his steps 16:29, 30 July 2011 (UTC)

My own personal preference (using my personal judgement and sometimes using IAR) is to close with leave to speedy renominate if it's a "low risk" article and let it run if it's a "high risk" article. See this thread for my definition of high risk/low risk. That way if another Claritas sock shows up and starts opening up a can of whupass on Transformers articles, I can put a quick stop to it. --Ron Ritzman (talk) 16:37, 30 July 2011 (UTC)

I see your point, of course. However, the issue that some people are raising at ANI (and I must have missed it above) is that they felt the nomination itself, whether done in good- or bad-faith, has already tainted people's views on it due to the existence of the XfD. In addition, if the editor in question is only blocked, whether indef or not, then the blocking policy actually doesn't cover the reversion of those nominations. As such, I raised the possibility of the editor in question being only blocked, not (topic-)banned. - Penwhale | dance in the air and follow his steps 16:49, 30 July 2011 (UTC)
  • Let the processes run unless there is an unequivocal reason for a speedy keep. AfD is supposed to be determined by the quality of argument with reference to policies. A well-reasoned nomination that garners consensus to delete is constructive to the project even if motivated by spite. If they should all turn out to be trivial then the nominator will be held to account for them. (No reason why if bad nominations can be made in good intent, good nominations can't be made with bad intent )GraemeLeggett (talk) 17:05, 30 July 2011 (UTC)
  • The previous comment and this discussion as a whole including the subject heading is confounded by discussing both blocked and banned editors at the same time.  Unscintillating (talk) 18:55, 30 July 2011 (UTC)
  • Analyzing Penwhale's contributions, I see that the confounding of blocking and banning policy is consistent with previous edits discounting WP:Banning policy.  Penwhale writes at Wikipedia:Administrators' noticeboard, here, "A community ban would just be a formality, in theory".  Here, Penwhale has closed an WP:AN discussion against unanimous support for banning.  Here he/she has restored the edit of a banned user.  Unscintillating (talk) 00:51, 31 July 2011 (UTC)
  • That AfD nom, I shall note, was upheld at DRV, and as a closed AfD, shouldn't have been touched. I ask both related to block and ban due to fine-tuning what we are dealing with. As for Indef block == community ban, the position has always been that indef blocks that aren't going to be overturned is de facto community ban. I tried to close that discussion, people didn't like it, we all moved on. I wouldn't say that I closed against unanimous support for banning; in my personal opinion, formality should only be used when absolutely necessary (and in this case, I did't see a necessity). - Penwhale | dance in the air and follow his steps 04:12, 31 July 2011 (UTC)
  • I agree that Unscintillating has no business messing around with long-closed AfD discussions, and your revert was correct. Reyk YO! 18:26, 31 July 2011 (UTC)

Let the process run. The closing administrator is free to ignore the contributions of the banned user, but it is unhelpful to remove or ignore the opinions of good-faith editors. Reyk YO! 18:30, 31 July 2011 (UTC)

  • If we can get in early the whole xFD could go the way of a G5 speedy delete, but of course it will depend on the reason for a block or a ban. If the ban is against making xFDs then the xFD should be speedy closed or deleted. Otherwise it should be clearly labelled as a sock creation and the supporting voters asked to reconsider their vote in the new knowlege. Given the socking there would also be a good chance of sock support appearing in such an xFD, so it would need much close scrutiny. Graeme Bartlett (talk) 22:28, 31 July 2011 (UTC)
  • I'd prefer that you use your best judgment. If it's a one-off, then I'd probably let it go. If the sock's whole reason for socking is to get pages deleted, then I'd kill the nominations. Allowing a sock to achieve his/her goals encourages the sock to keep abusing Wikipedia. WhatamIdoing (talk) 01:57, 1 August 2011 (UTC)
  • Well, as xFD's are not supposed to be !votes, the closing administrators would already have to judge arguments for/against Keep. I do agree with you that early on it should be labeled for transparency, but I feel that if the other editors can make valid views, then the process should run. (On that note, though, what if there were multiple editors that are supporting only due to "Per nom"?) - Penwhale | dance in the air and follow his steps 01:57, 1 August 2011 (UTC)
  • If a sock is making frivolous AfD noms then they won't get a lot of support from good faith voters and the discussion could be closed as a snow or speedy keep. If they make arguments good enough that others agree with them, then the discussion should run. Reyk YO! 03:45, 1 August 2011 (UTC)
  • And if the whole reason the person is banned is because of problems with AfD or a particular subject area? If I get topic-banned or site-banned because I keep trying to get ____ articles deleted, then is it okay with you if I keep trying to get them deleted, so long as some "good faith voters" agree with me before you realize that the nom is the 127th sock for a long-banned user?
    Because if all "I" want is to get these articles deleted, and socking results in at least some of those articles being deleted, then I'm definitely going to keep socking. After all, it costs me nothing to create the 128th account, and socking is an effective way of deleting the ____ articles. WhatamIdoing (talk) 23:54, 1 August 2011 (UTC)
  • It's not an ideal situation, because we are then forced to decide which of two choices is less disruptive. Letting a banned user get their way, which in this case would be the improvement of the encyclopedia through the removal of content which other editors agree is unsuitable, or telling those other editors "No, sorry, your opinions are invalid because you agreed with a banned user". Both possibilities will annoy somebody, but I think the first choice is the best. I'd also like to remind you of what the banning policy actually says: "If editors other than the banned editor have made good-faith contributions to [a] page or its talk page, it is courteous to inform them that the page was created by a banned editor, and then decide on a case-by-case basis what to do." In fact, the entire Edits_by_and_on_behalf_of_banned_editors section of the policy makes it clear that reverting is not mandatory, but should be tempered with common sense. Lastly, I think your example is a poor one because anyone banned for wanting articles on X deleted can only have been banned for it if they were making clearly frivolous or bad-faith nominations- not the kind of nomination random passers-by would agree with. Reyk YO! 20:53, 2 August 2011 (UTC)
  • Not the kind that many random passers-by would agree with—but definitely the kind of nomination that some editor might agree with. We see all sorts of nonsense in AFDs. If people didn't come up with poor reasons for deleting valid articles, then WP:ATA wouldn't list nearly fifty common examples of invalid reasons.
    This is why I think we need to go strictly case-by-case: This is not a one-size-fits-all situation, so we don't want a one-size-fits-all solution. We need best judgment, not mindlessness. WhatamIdoing (talk) 23:54, 2 August 2011 (UTC)
  • So I think your position is essentially is "use common sense, leaning towards closing it" and mine is "use common sense, leaning towards keeping it open". Seems we're pretty much in agreement then. Reyk YO! 06:01, 4 August 2011 (UTC)
  • Actually, I wouldn't lean towards closing it. I think "use common sense, full stop" is the right answer. WhatamIdoing (talk) 18:59, 4 August 2011 (UTC)
  • Depends. While the difference between a banned and a non-banned editor is that good edits from banned editors are not welcome (and so may be reverted on sight), once other editors have spent time reviewing the merits of their edits and have decided to agree to them, there is usually no need to pretend that an AfD has never happened. An exception would be multiple frivolous nominations or obvious trolling. (If a banned editor starts a new GNAA AfD, it should be speedily closed). —Kusma (t·c) 08:41, 1 August 2011 (UTC)
  • Let the discussion run its course, and mark the blocked/banned user's comments so that anyone (including the closing admin) viewing the discussion can see that the user was blocked/banned. Once any user has already esxpressed an opinion which supports the banned user, I think that we must give that other user the right to have his/her comments considered. Chances are that:
    1. If the user is a newcomer, then ignoring his/her comments because of the nominator would seem to me like a BITE issue
    2. If the user isn't a newcomer, then if we close the discussion, the user is likely to open a new one with similar reasoning - and since Wikipedia isn't a bureaucracy, we should just keep it open rather than having a new discussion created just because of the nominator.
    עוד מישהו Od Mishehu 09:08, 1 August 2011 (UTC)
  • Follow normal AfD procedure. If there are grounds for WP:Speedy keep, then that will be done, otherwise, the article will be assessed on its merits during the seven days of discussion and consensus followed. Notices regarding new users and sock accounts and banned users are normally added to the discussion anyway, so that would be taken into account. The nominator is only the person who initiated the discussion, and they have no control over the outcome which is in the hands of the community. SilkTork ✔Tea time 16:16, 1 August 2011 (UTC)
  • Let the discussion run, of course. The nominator is irrelevant in an AfD. What matters is whether the page should be kept or deleted, and that's based off the arguments—not usernames. /ƒETCHCOMMS/ 17:39, 1 August 2011 (UTC)
  • If it's a clearly disruptive AFD, I most certainly am either closing as a "speedy keep" or am outright deleting that AFD per WP:CSD#G5; a prime example of this is the Transformers-related AFD disruption caused by banned user Wiki brah (talk · contribs), Claritas (talk · contribs), and Editor XXV (talk · contribs). Moreover, the door swings both ways; if administrators have the prerogative to delete banned users' contributions in violation of their ban, then they should similarly have the prerogative to speedy close deletion discussions. Otherwise, the banning policy becomes useless. –MuZemike 02:25, 2 August 2011 (UTC)
  • I would actually favor closing the AfD as "speedy keep" and perhaps even deleting the AfD page per MuZemike's comment, even if the majority of good faith comments are in favor of deletion. Users who have been blocked or banned are not be able to contribute to Wikipedia in any form and that should includes initiating an AfD. To do anything less would be opening a back door in the banning policy and allow banned editors to game the system. If another editor in good standing wishes to restart the AfD, they should be able to open a new AfD. —Farix (t | c) 13:18, 2 August 2011 (UTC)
  • If other editors have weighed-in in good faith, then it would not be even the slightest bit proper to close the AfD on a technicality. People may hate to admit it here, but just because a banned editor does something, that doesn't make what they did automatically wrong. Process and rules should not impede common sense. Tarc (talk) 13:35, 2 August 2011 (UTC)
  • Wikipedia is WP:NOTBUREAUCRACY. If the process has been initiated and other good faith editors are participating in the discussion, shutting the discussion down is unnecessarily legalistic. I can understand deleting the banned user's changes to an article or even deleting their individual opinion. But deleting the opinions of other good faith editors? Sounds more harmful than anything. Dzlife (talk) 13:49, 2 August 2011 (UTC)
  • Let the process run - The fact that an AfD was created by a blocked/banned user doesn't make it any more likely to be kept or deleted, and won't change the outcome (particularly if the banned user's comments are struck or otherwise ignored by the closer). If the article deserved to be kept, it will be kept, and vice versa. —SW— confer 14:37, 2 August 2011 (UTC)
  • Close immediately - Deletion nominations started by banned or blocked users are violations of legality. All nominations made by previously banned or blocked users should be immediately closed without prejudice. Thing can be restarted if there is merit to the case. It is worth considering that some of these deletion efforts by the socks of banned editors are the product of editors who were banned for the very act of their agenda-driven deletions. Socking around bans should not be rewarded. Carrite (talk) 20:10, 2 August 2011 (UTC)
Closing the discussion immediately would essentially be equivalent to making an ad hominem vote. Note that one of the arguments to avoid in deletion discussions are arguments to the person. In fact, one of the examples listed for such an argument to avoid is "Keep, nominator is a banned user trying to destroy Wikipedia." Deletion discussions are about the article, not the nominator. Allowing a good faith AfD to run its course is in no way a "reward" for the nominator. —SW— converse 20:46, 2 August 2011 (UTC)
Question- Would you agree that any such rebooting of the AfD should automatically copy and paste over all the previous good-faith votes? After all it is quite annoying to have to repeat yourself in a second discussion, and people who participated in the first one might miss the second altogether. If so, do you think there's any real difference between starting a second discussion or merely letting the first one run with the nominator's statement struck through? Reyk YO! 20:59, 2 August 2011 (UTC)
I've personally got no problem with allowing a restart with all previous good-faith arguments restored. But there should be a requirement that somebody feels a challenge is important enough to restart. In general, most of these challenges are unimportant and may well fall away. There is nothing wrong with that. Carrite (talk) 01:32, 3 August 2011 (UTC)
In general, let the AFD run. A significant percentage of Wikipedia articles are hoaxes, copyright violations or vanispamcruftisements, and if submitted to XFD would be properly deleted. If articles are about notable subjects, they might emerge with editorial improvements or reliable sources with significant coverage identified. I have done that for probably thousands of articles submitted to AFD over the years. If I see the AFD, then read the article and note that it is unreferenced, or has dubious claims of notability, and then I spend significant time searching for references at Google News Archive, Google Books, Google Scholar, the research library at my local university, or specialized websites for music and musicians, and then I draft and post my !vote to delete the article because it fails WP:N, WP:ORG, WP:BIO, or some other appropriate guideline, or my recommendation to merge it to a suitable target article, I would be outraged to find that someone "speedily kept" it because the nominator was banned/blocked/had cooties. I am not someone who mindlessly says, "Sure, huh, huh, let's delete it because someone said delete it, huh, huh, yeah!" How insulting and demeaning it is to assume as much! IF a banned editor noms a bunch of articles, and ONLY IF you see them and act before some good-faith editor spends his precious time searching for and not finding references, would it be appropriate to close as a "Speedy Keep." There have been similar questions raised at the Reference Desk, where a banned editor may ask a question, which people spend considerable time finding references and answering, then someone says, "I'm blanking this thread because the original poster was banned user XX." Even a banned user might ask a question, the referenced answer to which is encyclopedic, informative, and useful to many readers. And considerable harm to the project may occur when the writing of good-faith editors is tossed on the rubbish pile because it caught cooties due to the banned user launching the thread. Edison (talk) 02:29, 3 August 2011 (UTC)
  • Allow Afd to conclude if it is a legitimate nomination (outside of being by a banned user). Obviously, if the nomination is not done in good faith, then speedy keep and delete the AfD. I agree that AfD is about articles, not users. jsfouche ☽☾Talk 03:26, 3 August 2011 (UTC)
  • It depends If the XfD is in any way related to the reason underlying the block/ban, and if closure will not cause further disruption, I believe it should be closed with no prejudice against any other user starting a fresh discussion immediately/whenever; additionally it might be appropriate to notify participants of this closure and reason for it. If the XfD is unrelated to the ban, it should continue. I'd like to think that common sense would cover any specific decision, and regular discussion/consensus; it's not that common an issue, and don't believe specific guidance is necessary or desirable. (WP:CREEP)  Chzz  ►  16:24, 6 August 2011 (UTC)
  • Let the AfD run Blocks and bans aren't punishments, they are supposed to prevent harm to Wikipedia. And pre-mature closing of the AfD doesn't serve that goal, it only serves the "punishment" goal.--Puchiko (Talk-email) 17:50, 6 August 2011 (UTC)
  • Let the AFD run per Puchiko. Bad-faith AFDs should be kept or speedy kept regardless of whether the nominator's allowed to edit, and good-faith AFDs should result either in keep or delete based on the arguments: in this situation, the rule gets in the way of our improving Wikipedia. Nyttend (talk) 00:14, 17 August 2011 (UTC)
  • Close Immediately. These policies don't operate in a vacuum. Banned users react and adapt to whatever the policy is. Allow something like this and you get more of it. Guy Macon (talk) 01:32, 25 August 2011 (UTC)
  • This really reveals one of the problems with banning/blocking policy. All Wikipedians are already only allowed to make good contributions. If you say that a banned/blocked user's contributions should be kept if they are good, you've effectively said that banning/blocking doesn't exist.

Or to put it another way: all users, banned or not, are forbidden from making bad contributions. What additional effect does a ban have except to limit the banned user's good contributions as well?

So we have to scrap such discussions and start again. Whether the AfD is good shouldn't matter. Ken Arromdee (talk) 16:52, 25 August 2011 (UTC)

What about other processes (RFC/U, RFARB, etc.)?

I'm wondering what happens when a sock of a banned user starts another process.

  • Sock starts a WP:RFARB on the admin that blocked him
  • Sock nominates somebody for adminship and starts an RfA
  • Sock starts an RFC on Pending Changes
  • Sock requests a checkuser on an enemy
  • Sock starts a WP:RFC/U on an enemy

Recently an RFARB was allowed to run after a sock started it. What should we do when sock starts a process like these and the process is underway before we find out it's a banned user? - Hydroxonium (TCV) 03:40, 3 August 2011 (UTC)

Seriously, most of these events are so rare that WP:UCS provides all of the guidance we need. Experienced users know when to spot a sock most of the time, and we don't need any extra policy guidance beyond "use sound judgement". 99% of the time, these things get reverted, deleted, or ignored with no further action; in the other 1% of the time a bona fide experienced user will often "take ownership" the situation if it has merit. I don't see any need to codify this sort of thing in law any more than it already is. We delete the contributions of banned users on sight, excepting in the few cases where WP:IAR may apply; such as when an AFD has bone fide delete comments that follow the nomination, or other occurances. --Jayron32 03:49, 3 August 2011 (UTC)
  • They should be closed. If someone else wants to start an AfD, they can link to closed one. Otherwise, it's "you're banned, except from starting AfDs." - Peregrine Fisher (talk) 04:01, 3 August 2011 (UTC)
  • ArbCom requests have ArbCom members (and clerks) to deal with (and technically they actually could email the committee instead if the need arises without resorting to socking);
  • CheckUser requests are also scrutinized by CheckUsers and their clerks (and WP:BOOMERANG could apply);
  • Valid RfA/RfC(/U) would/could be endorsed by other editors (as they, like AfDs, require community input for them to work)
I think I summarized okay here? - Penwhale | dance in the air and follow his steps 06:21, 3 August 2011 (UTC)
What some people can do, and what those people actually do, can be quite different though. Ncmvocalist (talk) 16:00, 3 August 2011 (UTC)
  • In a lot of ways, I think this also comes back to canvassing policy and the need to clarify the way it works in practice. Ncmvocalist (talk) 16:00, 3 August 2011 (UTC)
  • RfA: If the original nominator disappears (assuming the nominee accepted) I treat it like a self nomination (and don't hold the sock's nom against them). RfArb: ArbCom and it's clerks are pretty good at isolating problematic statements by disruptive users once it's gotten beyond a RfArb request. RFCs couldn't hurt to leave open as establishing consensus (even if it's in the opposite direction) is useful for enforcing the will of the community. CU is very highly watched and policed (in addition to having the Arb Oversight committee) that getting a checkuser on a enemy is not likely to shed any useful data. And finally, a RFC/U takes 2 endorsers of the statement of the dispute to get it to stick more than 48 hours. If there are 2 other users in good standing that have attempted to resolve the situation unsuccessfully then It's a good bet that there is a real problem that shouldn't be swept under the carpet because the person who filed the paperwork has been indeffed. Hasteur (talk) 16:12, 3 August 2011 (UTC)
  • Per Jayron32 and my comment in the above section, I think a) this is rare, b) current policy/guidelines are adequate, c) it needs case-by-case discussion/consensus and a pinch of common sense.  Chzz  ►  16:28, 6 August 2011 (UTC)
  • My thoughts: If the case was closed recently enough, the closing admin should be alerted and asked to review the case (or at least lodge it at Deletion reviews). If the case is still open, let it run its course, but it should be noted for the closer that the requester was a sock. Nightw 12:49, 12 August 2011 (UTC)

Related question

Should people go back to closed discussions like concluded AfDs to remove or strike through comments made by people later found to be socks of banned users?

  • Oppose- I think it's pointless, and potentially confusing for anyone reviewing the discussion later on. I don't think the banning policy calls for anything of the sort, and I think closed discussions should be left as they are. Reyk YO! 23:51, 4 August 2011 (UTC)
  • It depends on the timing of the discovery and whether the invalid comments had a material impact. I agree that striking WP:Articles for deletion/Warpath (Transformers) is unnecessary, since the nominator's status was discovered and noted at the AfD within several hours. Sockpuppetry wasn't discovered for WP:Sockpuppet investigations/Leanne/AfDs affected for over a month. Those AfDs were annotated on a case-by-case basis. Flatscan (talk) 04:35, 5 August 2011 (UTC)
Perhaps you should recuse your comment about Warpath (transformers)?  Are you aware that the closing admin of that DRV has never issued a related ruling regarding WP:Banning policy?  Unscintillating (talk) 02:05, 7 August 2011 (UTC)
  • The premise of the RfC question is unclear, since what WP:Banning policy says is, "Anyone is free to revert any edits made in defiance of a ban."  Unscintillating (talk) 02:05, 7 August 2011 (UTC)
  • The de facto practice is that the edits of banned editors at AfD are not physically reverted, but they are changed to strike-through font.  I'm not aware that the reason for doing this, as opposed to a simple revert, is documented, but there is a talk page rule in refactoring that calls for avoiding the changing of meaning when refactoring, and a simple revert (or blanking for the special case of the AfD nom) could change the sequence of ideas in the AfD discussion.  Unscintillating (talk) 02:05, 7 August 2011 (UTC)
  • There is a further point in this discussion, I am aware of some editors that have restored the edits of banned editors.  WP:Banning policy states, "editors are expected to respect the enforcement of policies by not undermining or sabotaging them".  Unscintillating (talk) 02:05, 7 August 2011 (UTC)
  • I'd say it's a good idea to let the process run its course so long as there is an adequate level of response from other editors. As an example, the recent ArbCom case for MickMackNee was kept open even after it came to light that the filing party was a sockpuppet of a banned user, probably because there were other users who had the same grievances with him as the sock did. Nightw 12:49, 12 August 2011 (UTC)

AfD nominations and de jure WP:Banning Policy

Many of the editors commenting above didn't discriminate between a blocked editor and a banned editor.  A key comment at ANI was that this is a case where there is a difference between de facto and de jure bans.  So the focus of this particular section has to do with the de jure ban, meaning the editor has actually been banned, not that his status is similar to being banned.

Wikipedia:BAN#Bans apply to all editing, good or bad states

The measure of a site ban is that even if the editor were to make good edits, permitting them to re-join the community poses enough risk of disruption, issues, or harm, that they may not edit at all, even if the edits seem good.[3]
  1. ^ a b Public Records of Armpit County
  2. ^ Joe Schmoe: "I jus' kills 'em.", Thomson, 1965, University of Armpit Publishing
  3. ^ Examples of use at Requests for Arbitration: - by Hersfold, by Newyorkbrad, by Vassyana (line 478+) (A ban is a ban. It's not uncommon for people to make "good" edits to create a soapbox for disputing their ban and/or thumbing their nose at the project. Let's not enable them).

At first glance, this would seem to end the discussion about AfD nominations and banned editors.

But before getting to that, it is worth asking, why would a detail this small require any further discussion?  After all, among the edits that a user makes, the number of AfD nominations would on average be almost non-existant.  Yet experience shows otherwise, so we have to reverse the question and ask, why do banned editors make an unusually high percentage of AfD nominations?

  1. Such nominations are especially disruptive, they take up potentially hours of time of perhaps dozens of editors, and at least one admin; whereas any single contribution to an Article may be quietly reverted and forgotten.
  2. Renominating an article that has previously been closed as "No consensus" is an almost guaranteed way to stir up the community.
  3. There is a group of deletionist-minded admins and editors that protect these AfD nominations.
  4. An undiscussed edit was made to a deletion guideline, an edit that is used to protect and encourage such nominations.

So in fact, banned editors have reason to love making a sock and making AfD nominations, and the record also shows that they like to make delete !votes at other AfD discussions.  Even if the nomination fails, they have succeeded in increasing the "burden of deletion".  If we can assume that Keep !votes take more time than Delete !votes, and that the result of an AfD discussion is partially a function of the work expended to prepare a posting, a failed AfD nomination has still biased all other AfD discussions toward deletion.

So back to the policy, Wikipedia:BAN#Bans apply to all editing, good or bad, why does this policy statement not end the question?

  1. Should this policy be strictly enforced?  Ron Ritzman advances the question by making the point that there is such a thing as a "high risk" AfD nomination, such as the biography of a living person.  He believes we should not apply strict banning policy criteria for such articles.
  2. Another problem is that AfD nominations cannot be reverted in the usual sense.  For technical reasons, when an edit is the first on a new page, the revert function doesn't work.  The closest alternative is the deletion of the page, but once even one other editor has posted, the page should not be deleted because the history of the good edit would be lost.
  3. Even though policies state that they are "a widely accepted standard that all editors should normally follow" not all editors and admins accept this standard.
  4. A last problem comes in the annoying editorial reality of what if on day 6 of an AfD discussion, it is discovered that the AfD was done by a banned editor, and someone reverts the nom.  We can be fairly sure the nominator did not work through the WP:BEFORE notes, and that the policy at WP:ATD (alternatives to deletion) was to the nominator likely to be a mere trifle.  Too many times we have heard that once an AfD discussion has begun, that the first delete vote "could have" done the nomination themselves.  That may or may not be true, that delete-vote editor may have enough integrity to refuse to start an AfD nomination without doing more work than was required by WP:BEFORE and WP:ATD.  There is probably a middle ground here that would need work at WP:Banning policy to work through proposals and soften the WP:Banning policy requirements.

Unscintillating (talk) 02:55, 5 August 2011 (UTC)

An AfD nomination is not an "obviously helpful edit" so per the cited policy should be reverted.  Common sense is to stop encouraging banned editors from making socks and AfD noms.  Unscintillating (talk) 04:44, 5 August 2011 (UTC)
The relevant bit is this: "If editors other than the banned editor have made good-faith contributions to the page or its talk page, it is courteous to inform them that the page was created by a banned editor, and then decide on a case-by-case basis what to do." Since policy describes community practice rather than dictating it, and AfD discussions started by a sock are in fact not automatically reverted, I think my reading of the policy is correct. Reyk YO! 07:06, 5 August 2011 (UTC)
To review a couple of recent posts, an exchange about [Wikipedia:Ban#Edits by and on behalf of banned editors] led to the point that "Common sense is to stop encouraging banned editors from making socks and AfD noms."  Instead of agreeing, some new unreferenced text is quoted, calling it a "relevant bit"(?)  In spite of the inference otherwise, there is no requirement at WP:Banning policy that admins or anyone else revert the AfD noms of banned editors.  The reference to "reading of the policy" has an unclear antecedent.  Recalling the text of the editors that prepared WP:Banning policy: 

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────  == Evasion and enforcement ==
Wikipedia's approach to enforcing bans balances a number of competing concerns:

  • Maximizing the quality of the encyclopedia
  • Avoiding inconvenience or aggravation to any victims of mistaken identity
  • Maximizing the number of editors who can edit Wikipedia
  • Avoiding conflict within the community over banned editors
  • Dissuading or preventing banned editors from editing Wikipedia or the relevant area of the ban

As a result, enforcement has a number of aspects. While all editors are expected to respect the enforcement of policies by not undermining or sabotaging them, no editor is personally obligated to help enforce any ban.

[end of quote] Unscintillating (talk) 21:54, 6 August 2011 (UTC)

  • My personal view is that AfD is like a discussion - sure, some people might be disallowed to start a conversation, but once it has been started and multiple people have chimed in (supporting the same view), then removing (striking out) comments no longer makes sense when looking at the whole conversation. Notating that the person in question shouldn't have been able to start the conversation after the conversation has concluded works, but striking out and/or removal of comments wouldn't help much.
  • Simply put: Notating the closed AfDs that they were initiated by block- or ban-evading editor is okay. Striking out the nom altogether, on the other hand, would make the AfD lose parts of its meaning and should be avoided. - Penwhale | dance in the air and follow his steps 09:09, 7 August 2011 (UTC)
@Penwhale, (1) Do you agree that banned editors make a notably high number of AfD nominations?  (2) Do you agree that the AfD process begun by AfD nominations takes a large amount of the time resource of Wikipedia editors?  (3) Do you agree that restoring the edits of banned users is "undermining or sabotage"?  Unscintillating (talk) 12:01, 7 August 2011 (UTC)
is ther any data on the number or duration of AfDs started by banned users? GraemeLeggett (talk) 12:47, 7 August 2011 (UTC)
Flatscan just posted Wikipedia:Sockpuppet investigations/Leanne/AfDs affected above, does this help?.  Unscintillating (talk) 13:57, 7 August 2011 (UTC)
To be blunt, no. That's a single case, and therefore unlikely to representative of the problem of banned users initiating or attempting to skew AfDs. What would be useful would be the number of banned users who intiated AfDs in a given period and the number of AfDs initiated by banned users. GraemeLeggett (talk) 14:43, 7 August 2011 (UTC)
So 140 examples is nothing?  Unscintillating (talk) 05:00, 8 August 2011 (UTC)
As to your metric, (1) by definition, no one has a list of banned editors currently making edits.  (2) Given the Leanne case, it takes as much as 5 1/2 years to discover sockfarms, which suggests that you might need to go back 5 1/2 years to begin collecting your metric, as newer data is incomplete.  (3) According to Wikipedia:List of banned users we do not have a complete list of known banned users even then.  (4) The measurement of evasion is inherently non-deterministic, because evasion skill levels vary, and techniques evolve with time, so it is possible or likely that we have banned editors that we will never detect.  You might check with the admins in the CU area.  Unscintillating (talk) 05:00, 8 August 2011 (UTC)
I went through the 1000 most-recent contributions of banned User:Anthem of joy.  I found in a space of five weeks 47 AfD or MfD noms, with 25% of the noms 2nd, 3rd, or 4th noms (recall that I above noted that 2nd and 3rd noms are an almost guaranteed way to stir up the community).  Then I also reviewed all of User:Donald Schroeder JWH018 contributions, finding ten AfD nominations in a month.  Do you agree that ten AfD nominations in a month is "notably high"?

  • User:Anthem of Joy
  • 2011-06-14T05:55:16 (diff | hist) N Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Chester Romans ‎ (Creating deletion discussion page for Chester Romans. (TW))
  • 2011-06-13T19:12:13 (diff | hist) N Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/PlayStation Wrestling ‎ (Creating deletion discussion page for PlayStation Wrestling. (TW))
  • 2011-06-13T17:38:30 (diff | hist) N Wikipedia:Miscellany for deletion/Wikipedia:WikiReaper ‎ (Creating deletion discussion page for Wikipedia:WikiReaper. (TW))
  • 2011-06-13T11:56:41 (diff | hist) N Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Pulp and Paper merit badge ‎ (Creating deletion discussion page for Pulp and Paper merit badge. (TW))
  • 2011-06-13T11:10:47 (diff | hist) N Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/List of Mobile Suit Gundam SEED vehicles and aircraft ‎ (Creating deletion discussion page for List of Mobile Suit Gundam SEED vehicles and aircraft. (TW))
  • 2011-06-13T11:00:40 (diff | hist) N Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Archangel class assault ship ‎ (Creating deletion discussion page for Archangel class assault ship. (TW))
  • 2011-06-12T10:42:33 (diff | hist) N Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/John Hron (2nd nomination) ‎ (Creating deletion discussion page for John Hron. (TW))
  • 2011-06-12T09:19:11 (diff | hist) N Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Sphere Builder ‎ (Creating deletion discussion page for Sphere Builder. (TW))
  • 2011-06-12T07:53:41 (diff | hist) N Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/List of cultural references to A Clockwork Orange (3rd nomination) ‎ (Creating deletion discussion page for List of cultural references to A Clockwork Orange. (TW))
  • 2011-06-12T07:32:42 (diff | hist) N Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Fenway Recordings ‎ (Creating deletion discussion page for Fenway Recordings. (TW))
  • 2011-06-12T07:22:47 (diff | hist) N Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Ankheg ‎ (Creating deletion discussion page for Ankheg. (TW))
  • 2011-06-11T20:01:55 (diff | hist) N Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/List of Mobile Suit Gundam SEED superweapons ‎ (Creating deletion discussion page for List of Mobile Suit Gundam SEED superweapons. (TW))
  • 2011-06-11T19:51:36 (diff | hist) N Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/List of Mobile Suit Gundam SEED human enhancements ‎ (Creating deletion discussion page for List of Mobile Suit Gundam SEED human enhancements. (TW))
  • 2011-06-11T11:09:25 (diff | hist) N Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Prime Minister of the United States (3rd nomination) ‎ (Creating deletion discussion page for Prime Minister of the United States. (TW))
  • 2011-06-10T15:21:34 (diff | hist) N Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Human (Star Trek) (2nd nomination) ‎ (Creating deletion discussion page for Human (Star Trek). (TW))
  • 2011-06-09T20:32:08 (diff | hist) N Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/10 zeptometres ‎ (Creating deletion discussion page for 10 zeptometres. (TW))
  • 2011-06-09T20:10:02 (diff | hist) N Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Chronology of Star Wars (3rd nomination) ‎ (Creating deletion discussion page for Chronology of Star Wars. (TW))
  • 2011-06-09T16:17:26 (diff | hist) N Wikipedia:Miscellany for deletion/User:Tlogmer/Captain Obvious ‎ (Creating deletion discussion page for User:Tlogmer/Captain Obvious. (TW))
  • 2011-06-06T16:47:01 (diff | hist) N Wikipedia:Miscellany for deletion/User:Bajeluk/Thesis ‎ (Creating deletion discussion page for User:Bajeluk/Thesis. (TW))
  • 2011-06-05T19:04:45 (diff | hist) N Wikipedia:Miscellany for deletion/User:VictoriaRILarsen ‎ (Creating deletion discussion page for User:VictoriaRILarsen. (TW))
  • 2011-06-05T14:27:36 (diff | hist) N Wikipedia:Miscellany for deletion/User:Davejenk1ns/Chapter 1 ‎ (Creating deletion discussion page for User:Davejenk1ns/Chapter 1. (TW))
  • 2011-06-05T10:31:11 (diff | hist) N Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Minerva class battleship (2nd nomination) ‎ (Creating deletion discussion page for Minerva class battleship. (TW))
  • 2011-06-04T14:35:52 (diff | hist) N Wikipedia:Miscellany for deletion/User:Parhamr/Undergratuate thesis ‎ (Creating deletion discussion page for User:Parhamr/Undergratuate thesis. (TW))
  • 2011-06-04T14:17:22 (diff | hist) N Wikipedia:Miscellany for deletion/User:Rachel27 ‎ (Creating deletion discussion page for User:Rachel27. (TW))
  • 2011-06-04T09:23:26 (diff | hist) N Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/List of Mobile Suit Gundam SEED factions ‎ (Creating deletion discussion page for List of Mobile Suit Gundam SEED factions. (TW))
  • 2011-06-03T19:05:37 (diff | hist) N Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/GAT-01 Strike Dagger ‎ (Creating deletion discussion page for GAT-01 Strike Dagger. (TW))
  • 2011-05-29T10:56:16 (diff | hist) N Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/TMF/A-803 LaGOWE ‎ (Creating deletion discussion page for TMF/A-803 LaGOWE. (TW))
  • 2011-05-29T10:24:57 (diff | hist) N Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Demosthenes (fictional character) ‎ (Creating deletion discussion page for Demosthenes (fictional character). (TW))
  • 2011-05-28T09:38:03 (diff | hist) Tom Nash ‎ (Proposing article for deletion per WP:PROD. (TW))
  • 2011-05-28T08:59:28 (diff | hist) List of people with the given name Mitra ‎ (Proposing article for deletion per WP:PROD. (TW))
  • 2011-05-27T19:19:25 (diff | hist) N Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/List of mad scientists (2nd nomination) ‎ (Creating deletion discussion page for List of mad scientists. (TW))
  • 2011-05-26T17:14:00 (diff | hist) N Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Armageddon (Marvel Comics) ‎ (Creating deletion discussion page for Armageddon (Marvel Comics). (TW))
  • 2011-05-26T17:02:52 (diff | hist) N Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/YMF-X000A Dreadnought Gundam (2nd nomination) ‎ (Creating deletion discussion page for YMF-X000A Dreadnought Gundam. (TW))
  • 2011-05-25T15:26:27 (diff | hist) N Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/MBF-P01 Gundam Astray Gold Frame ‎ (Creating deletion discussion page for MBF-P01 Gundam Astray Gold Frame. (TW))
  • 2011-05-24T20:04:17 (diff | hist) N Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/CAT1-X Hyperion Gundam series (2nd nomination) ‎ (Creating deletion discussion page for CAT1-X Hyperion Gundam series. (TW))
  • 2011-05-20T21:09:58 (diff | hist) N Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/List of people with the given name Darren ‎ (Creating deletion discussion page for List of people with the given name Darren. (TW))
  • 2011-05-19T15:51:26 (diff | hist) N Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/List of fictional centenarians ‎ (Creating deletion discussion page for List of fictional centenarians. (TW))
  • 2011-05-17T16:11:35 (diff | hist) N Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/List of nicknames of historical personages ‎ (Creating deletion discussion page for List of nicknames of historical personages. (TW))
  • 2011-05-15T14:06:53 (diff | hist) N Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/List of Mobile Suit Gundam SEED mobile weapons ‎ (Creating deletion discussion page for List of Mobile Suit Gundam SEED mobile weapons. (TW))
  • 2011-05-15T11:13:55 (diff | hist) N Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/List of fictional television shows (4th nomination) ‎ (Creating deletion discussion page for List of fictional television shows. (TW))
  • 2011-05-13T18:13:06 (diff | hist) N Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/The Dual Mirror Language of Leonardo Da Vinci ‎ (Creating deletion discussion page for The Dual Mirror Language of Leonardo Da Vinci. (TW))
  • 2011-05-13T06:16:15 (diff | hist) N Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/List of people with the given name Sarah or Sara ‎ (Creating deletion discussion page for List of people with the given name Sarah or Sara. (TW))
  • 2011-05-11T15:36:51 (diff | hist) N Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/List of miscellaneous General Hospital characters ‎ (Creating deletion discussion page for List of miscellaneous General Hospital characters. (TW))
  • 2011-05-11T06:13:57 (diff | hist) N Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/World Heavyweight Championship (Total Extrme Nonstop Wrestling ) ‎ (Creating deletion discussion page for World Heavyweight Championship (Total Extrme Nonstop Wrestling ). (TW))
  • 2011-05-10T16:17:49 (diff | hist) N Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/List of fictional characters named Sarah or Sara ‎ (Creating deletion discussion page for List of fictional characters named Sarah or Sara. (TW))
  • 2011-05-08T11:14:40 (diff | hist) N Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Early Earth Federation mobile suits in the Gundam universe ‎ (Creating deletion discussion page for Early Earth Federation mobile suits in the Gundam universe. (TW))
  • 2011-05-07T16:28:39 (diff | hist) N Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Hung's adjustment ‎ (Creating deletion discussion page for Hung's adjustment. (TW))
  • User:Donald Schroeder JWH018
  • 2010-09-16T21:43:12 (diff | hist) N Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Starscream (other incarnations) (Created page Fails WP:GNG. An unhealthy dose of original research as well. Lacking in credible sources.)
  • 2010-09-16T21:34:17 (diff | hist) N Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Razorclaw (Created page Contested Gobots prod. I'm taking this one all the way. Delete.)
  • 2010-09-16T21:16:59 (diff | hist) N Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Joyride (Transformers) ‎(Created page Another obscure, non-notable Gobots character. Is wikipedia run for the benefit of fifth graders? )
  • 2010-09-16T21:11:13 (diff | hist) N Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Groundshaker (Transformers) ‎(Created page Non notable Gobots article. Fails GNG and all wikipedian standards.)
  • 2010-09-16T21:07:04 (diff | hist) N Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Warpath (Transformers) ‎(Created page Original research, go-bots spamcruft, non notable, fails GNG, fails pretty much all civilised standards.)
  • 2010-09-14T14:55:40 (diff | hist) N Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Cliffjumper (Created page with Non notable fictional character, fails GNG, and no reliable secondary sources comment upon it.)
  • 2010-09-13T04:51:46 (diff | hist) N Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Race Car Patrol (Created page with Non notable Go-bots cruft. And you know what Randall Graves said about the Go-bots.)
  • 2010-09-10T01:41:43 (diff | hist) N Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Sonar (Transformers) (Created page Fanboycruft.)
  • 2010-09-09T18:40:36 (diff | hist) N Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Soft sell (Created page with Original synthesis, original research and whatnot.)
  • 2010-08-22T02:51:56 (diff | hist) N Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Modern didgeridoo designs (Created page with Completely superfluous page. What little is of value (very little I may add) can be safely transferred to the a...)
  • 2010-07-30T03:12:25 (diff | hist) N Wikipedia:Miscellany for deletion/Wikipedia:Wikipedia is amoral (Created page with Ostensibly an "essay" but blantant POV/agenda pushing, this page advances the cause of the project not, and shoul...)

Unscintillating (talk) 05:00, 8 August 2011 (UTC)

Again, these are just examples of single editors and are in no way necessarily representative of common behavior by banned editors. If there is a banned editor who continually starts inappropriate XfD's at a high rate, then that is a problem with that editor, not necessarily with the XfD process itself. Therefore, your solution to the problem should be to deal with that editor, rather than proposing a change to the XfD process which is in conflict with common sense, and which fixes a problem which hasn't been shown to actually exist. And no, 10 XfD's in a month is not notably high. Prolific new page patrollers routinely start dozens of XfD's in a month. For instance, I nominated 27 articles for deletion in December 2010. —SW— spill the beans 01:36, 9 August 2011 (UTC)
The community has already had to "deal with that editor", that is why they were banned, we don't want them back with socks making edits of any kind, especially disruptive AfD nominations that take an enormous amount of the time of other editors.  Pretending that the problem doesn't exist or that it will stop as long as we allow the AfD nominations to run, or that the AfD noms of banned sockpuppets are somehow like new page patrolling; I think serves to promote the work of banned editors at the expense of the time of the volunteers who contribute at AfD processes.  Unscintillating (talk) 15:35, 13 August 2011 (UTC)
  • Multiple editors have explained to you that we consider it to be too bureaucratic if the XfD would be restarted anyway by other legitimate editors. Aren't you arguing the same point over and over? - Penwhale | dance in the air and follow his steps 12:52, 17 August 2011 (UTC)
This subsection is not about blocked editors, but was created to focus on banned editors and WP:Banning policy; so you are talking about what to do about rotting apples that can still be fed to the pigs, in a discussion of rotten eggs emitting a bad odor.  Banning policy states that "all editors are expected to respect the enforcement of policies by not undermining or sabotaging them".  You have ignored the questions I asked you on August 7:
Not a single editor has said, "'undermining or sabotage' is ok when it is Penwhale doing the 'undermining or sabotage'...not even Reyk who has protected such an edit.  My advice to you is to cease and desist in advocating 'undermining or sabotage', show that you respect Wikipedia policies, and restore the encyclopedia where you have engaged in 'undermining or sabotage'.  Once you commit to supporting Wikipedia policies, I suspect that we, meaning all the editors at Wikipedia, could have a meaningful discussion about minimizing the bureaucratic impact of corrupt AfD nominations by banned editors.  Unscintillating (talk) 19:00, 20 August 2011 (UTC)


  • To answer your question (belatedly): (1) No, I don't think so; (2) varies from editor to editor, but probably not; (3) this depends on whether the removal had merits or not.
  • Like various editors have said in this discussion, use common sense while determining what should be reverted and what has merits. The banning policy doesn't say all edits by banned users are to be reverted on sight, and other editors have echoed that in this discussion. And now you're attacking me by calling me advocate of undermining and sabotaging? I have taken your words to the appropriate place for that, but I'm not going to let your attacks on me derail this discussion. - Penwhale | dance in the air and follow his steps 07:40, 23 August 2011 (UTC)
  • A process is just a process. A bad user can initiate a process. But the process belongs to everyone, and is out of the banned user's hands the moment they start it. The community is always right. If someone asks a question, and the community gives a clear answer, are we going to overturn the wishes of the community because we don't like who asked the question? This is exceedingly and painfully bureaucratic. Dzlife (talk) 14:19, 23 August 2011 (UTC)
    • The argument that it's out of the banned users hands as soon as started applies to articles too--once they're spotted & called to attention, anyone could edit them.
  • I think the general rule should be to let the process run. There are cases where it would be reasonable to stop them (think dozens of bad faith XfD at once), but those can be picked on a case by case basis on the grounds of their disruptiveness, not "just because" it was started by avoiding a block. — Coren (talk) 11:23, 25 August 2011 (UTC)
  • No, even a single XfD if carefully chosen for the purpose can be disruptive, more so than most of the individual articles we've been deleting on such grounds. That one or two inexperienced editors might support it is not reason to continue, because there are typically at an AfD one or two people who immediately write "per nom" regardless of the article or the reason. If closed, anyone can re-open, just as with a deleted article, anyone can rewrite. DGG ( talk ) 15:43, 28 August 2011 (UTC)

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

Title translations on old (French, German) books

It doesn't seem like I would get a reply over at Wikipedia talk:Naming conventions (books)#Title_translations_on_old_.28French.2C_German.29_books, so I'll ask here (sorry for the double post).

I have been running into an editor who thinks that titles of old German/French books should all be replaced by English titles. I explained that changing the title would effectively change the book, which is given as a reference in the article, to one that does not exist as such. Furthermore, WP:Naming conventions (books)#Title translations states that the title is translated for non-Latin names, normally, and for books that haven't been published in English yet: this obviously does not apply for old books/essays, which are unlikely to be published as English versions. I concluded that English translations may be added in parentheses to the original title as a courtesy to the reader, but is there an official policy or guideline on this? Also, the editor has given only machine-translated titles, which I contested because they are obviously inaccurate. I think that translations should be provided by native speakers or via the language reference desk, but the editor is of the opinion that his machine translations are better than nothing (accusing me of complaining rather than correcting the titles). What is the view on machine translations? Thanks, Nageh (talk) 12:50, 31 August 2011 (UTC)

I guess this is about User:Neutral current = User:Drift chambers? You seem to have run into one of those really eccentric editors. I wonder where they always come from...
It really goes without saying that you are right on this. Hans Adler 13:13, 31 August 2011 (UTC)

The title should be provided in the original language, if you're citing the edition in the original language (such as Marcel Proust's classic novel "A la recherche du temps perdu"). If you cite a translated title, that can differ, depending upon which translated edition is being cited. The first translation of Proust's novel into English was titled "Remembrance of Things Past". A better translation was released in recent years, under a new English title, "In Search of Lost Time". So, the title of the translation will refer to a specific work of translation.

I have provided my own English translation of works mentioned within the body of an article, such as titles of doctoral dissertations, that only exist in the original language and have not been translated or published in English. When I do this, I write out the full title of the work in the original language, followed by my own translation in brackets. I would never put my own translation of a publication's title as a cited reference; this is incorrect and misleading, as it implies that there is a complete official translated edition of the work in existence, when there is not.

OttawaAC (talk) 14:17, 31 August 2011 (UTC)

Just adding one more thing: Sometimes the title of a work is never translated, even when the main content of the work is itself translated. For example: Ecce Homo by Nietzsche; De Profundis by Oscar Wilde; Summa Theologica by Thomas Aquinas. They all use Latin titles for specific reasons, due to the author having a particular purpose (like quoting the Latin version of the Bible, even when the book was written in German, or the poem was written in English, etc. No matter what language those works are subsequently translated into, the translation retains the Latin title.

OttawaAC (talk) 18:14, 31 August 2011 (UTC)

Interesting. In other genres of art we often do translate the titles e.g. the opera Die Zauberflöte is usually called "The Magic Flute" in English. I wonder why? --Bermicourt (talk) 07:29, 1 September 2011 (UTC)

That's a good point I hadn't thought of; I suspect that it may be a result of informal convention, rather than an academic standard, because that practise isn't done consistently. Die Fleidermaus is usually Die Fleidermaus; Liszt's Liebestraum works are not given English titles, nor are Polonaises, etc. On the other hand, no one in the English-speaking world calls the Mona Lisa La Giaconda, although in French it's known as the Joconde... I'm going to check the Chicago Manual of Style and perhaps some other sources to see what the accepted academic formatting ought to be... OttawaAC (talk) 12:54, 1 September 2011 (UTC)

When reasonably possible, unless the work is known in English under a non-English title, we like to give both: If you actually cite a German version of the opera, then your bibliographic citation should read something like, "Mozart, WA. Die Zauberflaute [The Magic Flute]", along with whatever publisher and page numbers you use. If you are using {{Cite book}}, then use the |trans_title= parameter for the translation. WhatamIdoing (talk) 23:44, 3 September 2011 (UTC)
With respect to Die Fledermaus, could anyone see it getting romantic opera/operetta audiences if it were called The Bat? Conversely (but similarly too), Der Freischütz has a much more sinister sound than does The Marksman. La Wally, La Bohème, La Traviata are never performed under translated titles. Peridon (talk) 20:33, 9 September 2011 (UTC)

"Published Sources" - "Reliable Sources"

As a newbie, I brought heavy inquisition with regard to an initial entry being deleted because it wasn't "published" or from a "reliable source." As a newbie, I entered a 'chat' channel embedded in an admin's page, and after using the word 'pee' was banned and my problem still left unresolved and conversation left unfinished. Inquiries to his reasonings left unanswered. What kind of open forum tells people to post info about topics/individuals, makes some vague descriptions about what you 'can or cant' post,' and then bans you because you don't type the same monotomous 12 year old jibberish that you find on 'published' public blogs like yahoo or paris hilton... wiki has disappointed me... while i came here with the intent on disproving my colleagues that the site wasn't a total waste of time for random unsubstantiated information... it appreas all the rumors are true...

by the way, all i wanted to do was edit the 'personal section' of a biography to read that the individual was a good cook and always left his door open for people to listen to his music... and it was promptly delted for being "totally unsourced" -- this site is a joke... just a bunch of old men who couldn't make manager in their field in the real world, flexing their typing prowess here late at night with a box of twinkies next to their monitor... yes ive resulted to insults... seems like stupid random discussion is the only thing that gets "published" without scrutiny... — Preceding unsigned comment added by Goodkine (talkcontribs) 16:31, 2 September 2011 (UTC)

Let me get this straight, you added information to a biography of a living person without having a source and you're shocked and angry it was removed? Abyssal (talk) 17:17, 2 September 2011 (UTC)
Your proposed content is exactly "random unsubstantiated information". DMacks (talk) 17:25, 2 September 2011 (UTC)
  1. 1, the person is dead... typical 'assupmtion' from a fast typing/slow thinking user.... #2 my POINT is if you dig deep enough, you'll find a large percentage of the info is "random unsubstantiated information" - just because there's a brand attached to it, doesn't make it valid... or if 'lots of people' associate with that brand... there is a big hole in an 'encylopedia based' forum that doesn't allow for personal accounts... the only reason somrthing should be DELETED without even being ASKED or INVESTIGATED FIRST should be flooding, inflammatory language, or spam... everything else is subject to verification... and sorry, i don't run with the minnows and assume just because you have a socially established media outlet, that the words are etched in stone...

Wikipedia is an encyclopedia, not some place to insert your personal feelings about someone, as indicated by your edit here, nor does it serve as a memorial or obituary of someone. We strive to include unbiased, neutral, and verifiable information – that had none of that. If you cannot understand this, then you completely miss what the concept of an encyclopedia is.

Now if you excuse me, I'm going back do doing more productive stuff, such as enhancing my typing prowess and eating twinkies that are next to my monitor. –MuZemike 18:36, 2 September 2011 (UTC)

Of course, because once you make a rule about something, IT CAN NEVER CHANGE... there should NEVER... EVER... be any amendments or discussions, or ADVERSE opinions on how to improve or better a program... heaven forbid we make you stop and consider a ding dong every now and then instead of a twinkie... people who value HUMAN INTERACTION and TRUTH will understand the need for personal recounts in history and as many before have said 'getting it straight from the horses mouth' -- its quite sad that you are willing to accept cut and pastes as law versus the potential to hear from relatives, close friends, colleagues, etc of an individual versus some potential nut case(s) who collects random data from "published and reliable" sources and stamps it as GOLD simply because you were able to electronically provide a link to some corner of cyberspace... setting up recordable audio, photos, video, etc. of events/individuals would do this site some class... but if the pervasive attitude is OMG, DONT CHANGE WHAT WE HAVE, WE CANT HANDLE TRYING TO ADAPT TO SOMETHING NEW AND DIFFERENT... then you're better off continuing to websurf 10-12 hours a day...

I am going to assume that the last set of ... without a signature at the end of that string of babble was you falling off your soap box. So now that we have endured that. Do you think it would be possible if you could calm down just for a minute and ask us what it is that you think we should do? Are you asking for us to change the rule so that anyone can add any piece of information to any article regardless of validity? Cause that seems to be the indication your giving and its not going to happen. With that said, you are more than welcome to edit productively and in a civil manner without all the temper tantrums please. --Kumioko (talk) 19:02, 2 September 2011 (UTC)

kumioko, the last delete was me typing in a response without logging in first, so i logged backed in so that the comment wouldn't be anonymous... as far as explaining what it is 'i want' you're an adult, go back and read, its pretty clear.. i cant explain everything for you... if you cant understand that adding personal content would help if done the right way, you're just a megabyte jockey like the rest of them and are content to be spoonfed whatever people can cleverly link and creatively drum up and get 'published' — Preceding unsigned comment added by Goodkine (talkcontribs) 19:13, 2 September 2011 (UTC)

So basically, trash Wikipedia:Verifiability and turn Wikipedia into a perch-box in which anyone can add their own personal MuZings about anything they want. We get it. But then, the site should then no longer be called "Wikipedia", as it would then cease to be an encyclopedia. –MuZemike 19:31, 2 September 2011 (UTC)

im sorry, i coulda sworn this section was called "policy" -- i didn't mean to ask about new ideas to the existing policy... how silly of me... perhaps i should post in the JUST DO WHAT YOUR TOLD section...? why do you think today's generation loves reality tv? because kids are simpler, yes maybe not as educated, but simpler, and prefer to learn about relationships and how they relate to individuals versus the historical collection of a person's accomplishments... facebook figured it out... lots of video and audio there... check out their user numbers... am i saying turn wiki into facebook? no... i see thats the way you went though with your response trying to extreme side my argument... all im saying is that there is room to fit in some personal touches to the medium without compromising the integrity of the data... but since apparently that is impossible according to the almighty gods of wiki, then we are stuck simply reading dull, boring "reliable" and "published" sources of data from the INTERNET.. yes the internet, the world's foremost reliable data platform... there is a reason why people don't buy encylopedias anymore and why places like myspace and facebook are so successful... without change and open ears to new ideas, this medium will die a lonely death or at least until the old money runs out and someone young buys it and then realizes the potential for change without chastizing the occasional user(s) who has a thought differing from the norm... especially in a designated area that is SUPPOSE TO ENCOURAGE sharing of new ideas... — Preceding unsigned comment added by Goodkine (talkcontribs) 19:47, 2 September 2011 (UTC)

let me apologize as by reading the top a bit more, it seems this probably should've gone in the 'proposals' section instead of this existing policy area... all the text and links are sometimes a blur... you know, there are a lot of ways to go with my suggestion... you could do a 'wikipedia light' perhaps with a more liberal section that allowed video or audio related posts with less 'policy' and more personality... you could have a group of people verify personal information and then once verified, add to the page... but sorry oops... i dont want to suggest anything outside of the nerd norm thats been embedded here... — Preceding unsigned comment added by Goodkine (talkcontribs) 19:57, 2 September 2011 (UTC)

Maybe you'd get better responses if you didn't call everyone names, and stopped typing like a 10 year old. ♫ Melodia Chaconne ♫ (talk) 20:11, 2 September 2011 (UTC)
"There is room to fit in some personal touches to the medium without compromising the integrity of the data" (that is your exact claim, I'm not taking an extreme). The problem is that nobody has any reason to believe or trust your (by which I mean "anyone's") personal touches and opinions in an article or view them differently than the intentional bullshit that non-well-intentioned editors often try to add. The novel aspect of wikipedia, which is exactly what makes it different than the open forum for "sharing of new ideas" (my emphasis on your wording), is that any reader can trace anything here back to some other source rather than relying on trusting some other anonymous poster. Then the readers themselves can judge the reliability of that source to decide whether the content is believeable. You're right, this is the place to discuss policy and changes to policy. you're proposing changing the fundamental nature and several core policies and guidelines based on your opinion and then getting upset when others say that it does go against current policies and guidelines (you seem to thing it's just a small adjustment or shading) and that they think the current ones are working fine and are beneficial. If you can't separate your feelings from your reasoned ideas for change, you definitely won't get far trying to get the support you need from the large and diverse pool of editors and readers here.
There could certainly be some other place running a wiki or other system where people could collect annecdotes and record narratives. That itself would likely be outside the scope of the Wikimedia Foundation, and there already are probably some such sites on the internet (especialyl for certain genres, like collecting first-person accounts of historical events). However, that site still wouldn't pass WP:RS as that guideline presently stands and so content based on it would not meet the burden of WP:V policy as it currently stands, unless the people contributing content were themselves provedly reliable speakers (independently renowned experts) on that content. DMacks (talk) 20:10, 2 September 2011 (UTC)

Thank you, the last response was professional and detailed. And yes, my text, while it may have seemed immature, was merely reacting to the user's responses... i have since read a bit more, and understand more now the retaliations i received... and also found this very telling sentence right at the beginning of one of your core principles:

"The threshold for inclusion in Wikipedia is verifiability, not truth"

-- had i saw that, it would've stopped my rant a while back... youre right this isn't the place to find truth... and that i believe will continue to be the butt of anti-wiki humor and sentiments and the "core" of its possible demise in the future... i dont know how long people will buy into having "verified sources" versus having the "truth" -- my bad.. sorry for trying to shove a round peg in a square hole... dmacks, for real thank you... sorry for the uproar... — Preceding unsigned comment added by Goodkine (talkcontribs) 20:19, 2 September 2011 (UTC)

I forgot who was it that said "The truth lies in the eye of the beholder", but I consider that quote an accurate representation of that that key sentence in Wikipedia:Verifiability entails. Anyone can claim that something is true, and many times people tend to conflate "the truth" to what they want to hear. That is why that policy is so important to our encyclopedia. –MuZemike 22:39, 2 September 2011 (UTC)
You might find it useful to read WP:Verifiability, not truth. We hope that Wikipedia will be accurate or "true", but for anything—anything—to be included, it must be possible for someone else to verify it. There are no exceptions to this rule.
If you think about this, it will make sense: you doubtless know from experience that this person really was a good cook. But we have to take the cold-hearted stance of requiring verifiability to a WP:Published reliable source for absolutely everything, because the unfortunate fact is that not every editor is as honest as you. Some of them are extremely immature and would like nothing more than to add "was a really good cook" to the article about a person who was infamous among his friends for not even knowing how to boil water. WhatamIdoing (talk) 23:34, 3 September 2011 (UTC)

"The threshold for inclusion in Wikipedia is verifiability, not truth" <-- this really speaks volumes... i dont have to say anything else... — Preceding unsigned comment added by Goodkine (talkcontribs) 23:35, 4 September 2011 (UTC)

You need to read the whole sentence. The threshold for inclusion is verifiability. The threshold for inclusion is not truth. This is like saying that "To drive on the highway, you must use a motor vehicle, not a horse". If the material is not verifiable, then it must never be included—even if you personally know that the material is true. (If something is demonstrably not true, but is verifiable, then we have a whole host of other policies whose primary purpose is to exclude verifiable-but-false material.) WhatamIdoing (talk) 18:23, 9 September 2011 (UTC)