Wikipedia:Village pump (policy)/Archive 9

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Keep money awards out of Wikipedia[edit]

I would like to propose a policy that bans real money financial award constests and campaigns (such as Wikipedia:The Core Contest) to Wikipedians. It offends me greatly that money is being brought into the mix - AND that such a contest is being advertised on my watchlist! We have plenty of ways to thank users for their work here. We have 1000s of editors working hard, not for money, but for the hope to create something useful and dynamic.

Real money creates a very different incentive. Real money means a mega-millionaire could reward a particular POV. Keep real money incentives out of Wikipedia. Kingturtle (talk) 15:02, 26 November 2007 (UTC)

  • If you don't like it, you don't have to participate in it.--WaltCip (talk) 15:20, 26 November 2007 (UTC)
As a FYI, the same user has also opened up a discussion (thankfully with fewer capital letters) on the contest page at Wikipedia_talk:The_Core_Contest#This_contest_offends_me. Whether it be here or there it would probably be more beneficial to have the discussion in one place AgneCheese/Wine 15:25, 26 November 2007 (UTC)
Money rewards are fine, I just wish they did not advertise it at the top of every page. 1 != 2 16:18, 26 November 2007 (UTC)
Should probably try and keep this on the talk page for the contest, but it isn't at the top of every page. It is only on your watchlist, unless you click "Dismiss", then it isn't even there. You may be confusing it with the fundraising bar for Wikimedia, but thats entirely separate. - Rjd0060 (talk) 16:27, 26 November 2007 (UTC)
  • Comment: I don't think the existence of any contest is going to ever trump policies that govern article content such as WP:NPOV, WP:V, WP:NOR etc. The existence of these policies refutes KingTurtle's assertion that: Real money means a mega-millionaire could reward a particular POV. There is nothing stopping mega-millionaires from doing this without the existence of contests, but our policies that govern content are equipped to handle the possibility in my opinion. IvoShandor (talk) 17:19, 27 November 2007 (UTC)
  • I see nothing wrong with it. Any "mega-millionaire" can pay people to push any pov he likes, even now. Our defense against this isn't by existing somehow outside of the real world, our defense is policy combined with block buttons. There is no difference between paid pov-pushers and unpaid pov-pushers. Obviously, we shouldn't allow contests on Wikipedia that reward policy violations. Offering money for writing good articles within policy is a Good Thing. People are still free to write good articles without being paid. This is precisely analogous to the Free Software movement. Companies can pay programmers to develop Linux kernel patches. They cannot force Torvalds to accept them into the codebase. It's the same here. Microsoft can pay Seamus Heaney to submit brilliant prose in praise of their products if they like. They cannot prevent us from deleting it again if we judge it to violate npov policy. dab (��) 17:42, 27 November 2007 (UTC)
The most serious threat of POV-pushing is not someone with deep pockets. After all, even highly-motivated salaried employees take the occasional day off. It is the people with a Message (aka "The Truth") who are the most serious threat, & they often work for less money than Wikipedia pays its Admins. (Yes, I mean they'll pay money to further their Message.) -- llywrch (talk) 20:12, 27 November 2007 (UTC)
  • I agree with dab. In the world of Open Source Software, you often see companies sponsoring bounties (rewards) for programmers to add specific functionality to free software projects that, if added, would benefit everyone using the software. I see nothing wrong with that. In addition, if Wikipedia were to set up a committee to vet any award proposals first, then that would go a long way to keeping the special interests out. Besides, what could possibly be wrong with sponsoring an award for an article like Squamata? --Jwinius (talk) 18:18, 27 November 2007 (UTC)

If a title is screamed, you know it's a bad suggestion :) -- Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus | talk 18:02, 27 November 2007 (UTC)

Reliable sources guideline proposal[edit]

There has been discussion on Wikipedia talk:Reliable sources regarding what to do with the page. One group of editors wanted to redirect the page to WP:V#Sources. But sentiment has been expressed by some on the talk page that it's not a good idea to eliminate the guideline page. That would also leave Wikipedia:Reliable source examples and Wikipedia:Reliable sources/Noticeboard out there without a parent page. Reliable sources is such a critical concept for Wikipedia, that it is important to have a guideline page for it. Instead of redirecting the page or making it a disambiguation page, I propose revamping the WP:RS guideline page.

  • Some concerns regarding WP:RS include having "Duplicate descriptions" of what reliable sources are. That could be handled by transcluding the exact wording from WP:V#Reliable sources. No divergent wording.
  • The WP:RS guideline use to be more useful when it had some examples and guidance on specific types of sources (e.g. blogs, wikis, YouTube). There is a section on Wikipedia:Reliable source examples that has "Questions about the reliability of specific sources", which provide that very useful guidance. I suggest merging those questions (but not the rest of the examples page) back onto the guideline page. The rest of the examples page is poorly written and not that useful, and perhaps not needed anymore.
  • Include "aspects of reliability" (scholarship, extremist sources, self-published sources, claims of consensus) that is currently on the reliable sources guideline page.
  • Lastly, the guideline page can provide a link to Wikipedia:Reliable sources/Noticeboard where people can ask more questions. That page has fairly high volume of traffic.

To see how this suggestion could work, see User:Aude/Reliable_sources. Discussion is at Wikipedia_talk:Reliable_sources#Guideline_page_-_proposal. --Aude (talk) 16:05, 27 November 2007 (UTC)

Destroying consensus[edit]

There is a discussion started about addressing those who would take entrenched positions and act in ways to block consensus. Notices have also been posted on related behavioral policies and guidelines soliciting participation. Wikipedia talk:Disruptive editing#Blocking consensus. Input and opinions welcomed. Vassyana (talk) 21:10, 27 November 2007 (UTC)

TV/film articles and original research[edit]

On the Dancing With The Stars Season Five article, a couple of contributors have stated that reporting anything that occurs on the show's broadcast is considered "original research" unless it's been reported in the press, because we can't reference copyrighted online videos and can't cite a broadcast. In other words, a plot summary of a TV broadcast or film, or even a statement of fact - such as "Jennie Garth did a tango in episode three" - is considered original research unless you cite someone else's formal article (which, natch, cites the original broadcast or film). The trouble, IMO, is that this rule would reduce entertainment articles to irrelevance; you can't write about films and TV shows unless you can cite them directly. One contributor writes that he has no problem with this. Is that desired?3Tigers (talk) 03:37, 28 November 2007 (UTC)

For clarity, she is referring to this removal by me. I (talk) 03:58, 28 November 2007 (UTC)
Thanks for the added ref, I, although I'm also referring to overarching complaints about original research which have been at the top of the article for weeks before the story section was added. BTW, I'm a she. ;-) 3Tigers (talk) 04:02, 28 November 2007 (UTC)
Amended accordingly. The original research is just one of the few problems with that section. Mainly, it is not relevant to the article to have notes like that. I (talk) 04:03, 28 November 2007 (UTC)
A televised broadcast is a published source. So long as the editor merely describes the events in the broadcast and does not make any analytic, synthetic, interpretive, explanatory, or evaluative claims about the events without additional secondary source, it is not original research. --Farix (Talk) 12:03, 28 November 2007 (UTC)
That's what I thought. I did a university thesis citing live theater performances and TV broadcasts using standard academic footnoting; I was surprised to hear Wiki's policies were substantially different, and now I know they're not. I think the real complaint was the drama/twists section, which listed the major plot twists over the course of the show. Some contributors regarded it as not factual. We discussed this on the talk page when debating whether to add a section about what distinguishes this show from a regular dance competition; I pointed out that excessive gushing could be edited out later, but the entire section got deleted.3Tigers (talk) 14:44, 28 November 2007 (UTC)
Well, "drama and twists" for a reality TV show can be taken as highly OR, because what defines a significant drama or twist? Does the show come out and say it? -- if so, great, it can be added, but the bulk of the time, abd based on the edit pointed out above, pretty much all of that was OR. Furthermore, remember that WP is supposed to describe every plot detail; for most reality TV shows, going into the "drama" of an episode is generally not needed. --MASEM 14:49, 28 November 2007 (UTC)
Masem, I'm pretty sure you missed out a very important not in the above, just before the link.  —SMALLJIM  17:53, 28 November 2007 (UTC)
I definitely understand this; how much plot to reveal is the editorial bugaboo of TV/film articles. Of course, reality TV producers describe everything as a significant twist to try to generate interest ("Here's a dozen replays of Marie Osmond fainting!"), so that's a judgment call. The "no original research" thing struck me as being a little odd, which is why I queried.3Tigers (talk) 14:53, 28 November 2007 (UTC)
There should be no "Plot/Twist" sections in Dancing with the Stars (US season 5) without secondary sources. Suggestion that there are plots or twists to what is affectively a televised dance competition is original research because you are making an evaluative claim and would need secondary sources. In fact, no one should describe something as a "plot twist" without secondary sources as that would be an analytic, interpretive, and evaluative claim. --Farix (Talk) 16:38, 28 November 2007 (UTC)
Okay. The section was an attempt to gather together the various comments and plot observations that contributors had scattered all over the board, due to the fact that the "personal dramas" angle is what makes this a big TV reality show, different from regular dance competitions. Based on other Wiki TV series templates, if this material were to remain, I think it would be better to pull it together in an episode table with brief synopses. And this thread should probably go back to the discussion page from the original article.3Tigers (talk) 23:09, 28 November 2007 (UTC)

Pet names[edit]

  • On a number of pet related articles I've seen, (Cat for instance) I've noticed that many have images have captions with the names of the actual pets. Does WP have any policy about this or relating to this? I just think it's a bit unencyclopedic to have actual names of pets in their images. Jedibob5 (talk) 23:39, 23 November 2007 (UTC)
I've just looked through Cat and did not see any names in the captions. Anyways, while I don't think there are any policies of guidelines specifically prohibiting this, but it just makes sense to omit those from encyclopedic articles. - Rjd0060 (talk) 00:19, 24 November 2007 (UTC)
The only names I found were names of breeds and they belong there. Can you give an example of what you call a pet name in cat? PrimeHunter (talk) 00:23, 24 November 2007 (UTC)
Jedibob may be referring to some of the image names in Corvus cornixtalk 21:39, 27 November 2007 (UTC)
Sorry, it wasn't Cat I was talking about. I don't know why I put that. It was some sort of Cat-related article, though. Jedibob5 (talk) 21:11, 28 November 2007 (UTC)
It was Bicolor cat, that's right. Don't know why I put just "Cat." Jedibob5 (talk) 21:14, 28 November 2007 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Private correspondence[edit]

A new policy proposal is under way, spun off from Wikipedia:Requests for arbitration/Durova and Jehochman. It can be found at Wikipedia:Private correspondence/WP:PRIVATE. Thanks. • Lawrence Cohen 19:41, 29 November 2007 (UTC)

Capitalizing "The" in reference to Denominations/Organizations[edit]

I am writing to get others' opinions about capitalizing "The" when "The" is part of the title of an organization or religious denomination. Specifically, I am under the understanding that "The" is part of the official title of The United Methodist Church. What should be done about this? What can be done about this? Is this such a minor issue that it need not take up our time? I don't want to go willy-nilly changing things, but it seems important to me to use titles properly.

--Macdonde (talk) 21:17, 29 November 2007 (UTC)

See Wikipedia:Manual of style#Article titles: Unless part of a proper noun, a, an and the are normally avoided as the first word (Economy of the second empire, not The economy of the second empire). Examples: United States, United Kingdom but The Hague. EdJohnston (talk) 22:37, 29 November 2007 (UTC)

Wikipedians by contact information[edit]

I was surprised that there wasn't any categories that showed Wikipedians that could be contacted via means like IRC or AIM, so I decided to hunt down some userboxes and populate some. My thinking was that this is useful for collaboration. There are many times where I jump on #wikipedia to ask a quick silly question, like a naming convention, or to see if anyone remembered where a template was that could be used for format some external link. I've listed my own AIM screen name on my userpage and user talk page also as a method of collaboration. I created three categories at this point, Category:Wikipedians by contact information, Category:Wikipedians available through AIM, and Category:Wikipedians available through Jabber, using only templates that actually listed a contactable ID. I got to a template for MSN and saw that a similar category had been removed via CfD here, where it was deleted under the argument that Wikipedia wasn't a social networking site. While I agree with that general idea, I don't think this considered the categories as helping with collaboration in relation to Wikipedia. Before I continue I figured I should get more feedback about this (especially given only five editors were involved in the CfD). -- Ned Scott 06:13, 24 November 2007 (UTC)

The argument that we're not a social networking site is spurious if applied to categorizing information already here. I'm not entirely sure what purpose the category would have but offhand I see no reason why it's inappropriate to gather information people have chosen to include about themselves.Wikidemo (talk) 09:39, 24 November 2007 (UTC)
This is a good place to put a link to a discussion at CfD, encouraging other editors to go there. It's a bad place to have a discussion that really should occur at CFD, particularly since discussions there are archived (by the date started) while discussions here are not permanently archived at all. -- John Broughton (♫♫) 22:41, 24 November 2007 (UTC)

Per the above suggestion, please continue discussion on WT:CFD#Wikipedians by contact information. -- Ned Scott 03:09, 25 November 2007 (UTC)

Now listed at Wikipedia:Deletion review#:Category:Wikipedians by contact information. -- Ned Scott 20:06, 30 November 2007 (UTC)


When I search, the default namespaces for searching are Mainspace, MediaWiki Talk, and Template Talk. As a suggestion, it might make it more useful to search the Mainspace, Image, Portal, and Help spaces. Searching the Wikipedia or MediaWiki space will probably result in non-useful policies (for the casual reader I mean) and archives/subpages/votes. Searching Talk pages of any type really doesn't make sense to me, since why would someone looking for an encyclopedic topic or site policy be interested in a conversation? Is this an issue for here or Meta? Mbisanz (talk) 06:47, 30 November 2007 (UTC)

This is changable in your preferences, and Mediawiki talk, etc is not the default setting. Dragons flight (talk) 09:18, 30 November 2007 (UTC)
Thanks, I logged in under a less-frequently used account and realized that. Would it be useful to include the Help and Image namespaces by default? Seems like those might be frequent hits for users searching for things. Mbisanz 17:19, 30 November 2007 (UTC)

Veropedia Watchlist Advertising[edit]

There is an advertisment in our watchlists for a contest to improve certain articles. This seems to be the creation of Veropedia contributors who wish to improve the article on Wikipedia (and will pay people to do so) so they can have a Veropedia article on the subject. I have noting against the contest itself, but I am wondering why it is advertised in this way. Surely a message in the watchlist is for big events that could affect the whole community (such as ArbCom elections), not for advertising a project set up by a small group of editors. It'd be similar to advertising a WikiProject in a watchlist message. I'm assuming they have some sort of official permission, though, as this page doesn't seem able to be edited by ordinary users. I think allowing this space to be used for advertising a project sets a bad precedent. Lurker (said · done) 15:44, 24 November 2007 (UTC)

I don't think this is "advertising" at all. We're all here to improve the Encyclopedia, and this is simply an incentive. - Rjd0060 (talk) 15:49, 24 November 2007 (UTC)
There are some pretty popular user names dropped for this contest (Danny, Alison, and Walkerma), and off-linking this to veropedia. I'm all for contests, but perhaps we should move the "list" over to a project page here to be less adverty? (Full disclosure:I edited the watchlist message related to this, but only to adjust the formating, I don't have a strong opinion on to if it should be included). — xaosflux Talk 15:56, 24 November 2007 (UTC)
Rjd0060- Plenty of projects etc. are here to inprove the encyclopedia. What makes this so different that it is promoted in such a prominent place? Surely only something along the lines of the upcoming ArbCom election should be promoted here, not a project created by a small group of people. Next, thing, WikiProjects will be wanting to use this space for promotion. Lurker (said · done) 16:00, 24 November 2007 (UTC)
I've already "dismissed" the info, but weren't those names just to inform people as to who will be judging this little contest? - Rjd0060 (talk) 16:01, 24 November 2007 (UTC)

Veropedia is scarcely relevant. All that matters is that Wikipedia articles get improved, and that's a matter that concerns the whole of the Wikipedia community - I want them all to participate. Sure, if you want to move the list of eligible articles over to a project page here, though, go ahead. Moreschi If you've written a quality article... 16:14, 24 November 2007 (UTC)

  • I've moved the list across and changed the link. The new list is here. ELIMINATORJR 16:42, 24 November 2007 (UTC)

Worth mentioning there's related discussion at Wikipedia talk:The Core Contest -Halo (talk) 11:54, 25 November 2007 (UTC)

The problem here is not the location of the list, but the fact that this contest is advertised in a space generally used for official announcements, such as software changes or elections. This creates a false impression that this is some kind of official Wikimedia Foundation event. Lurker (said · done) 14:15, 25 November 2007 (UTC)
I agree, and have removed the advert. If some off-wiki company wants to have a contest, that's fine. Using the Wikimedia Foundation's equipment, bandwidth, and unique access to our users to subsidize the cost of advertising their contest is against the principles of the foundation. Gentgeen 04:53, 1 December 2007 (UTC)

Geographical question[edit]

Where in the world does one need to have an address to be eligible for the 100$ award? I remember a little contest at the Dilbert blog that needed quite some text to explain what the conditions of the contest were, including "being a US resident", "legally"(!) and "physically"(!!!) I know that Wikimedia coworkers are of course much smarter than Scott Adams when it comes down to overcoming all sorts of practical problems when running a business, but does it really make no difference at all where one lives when participating in this competition? Or can one be disqualified for all sorts of reasons post factum? --Francis Schonken (talk) 18:50, 24 November 2007 (UTC)

Payment can be made either by check or Paypal to the winners, so it does not really matter where they live. Danny (talk) 19:05, 24 November 2007 (UTC)
Scott Adams clearly had a lawyer help with his contest rules/disclaimer, so the question is, was his work excessive, is our work deficient, or is this contest sufficiently informal/different that it doesn't need legalese? --Golbez (talk) 23:44, 25 November 2007 (UTC)
The Veropedia crew see themselves as above the law. There is not much debate in here - people really shouldn't be ignoring this! There is debate on the Veropedia for-cash competition talk page, though it's mostly a few stickers against a number of Veropedians (including their boss Danny). People are effectively leaving Wikipedia to be become Veropedia editors to perfect and embalm our better grade articles - it's no small deal! The private for-profit company Veropedia use advertising, and they are demoting Wikipedia in promoting their 'final' 'perfected' versions (vetted, without independence, by them). Is it just me who doesn't like it? --Matt Lewis 04:13, 1 December 2007 (UTC)
Veropedia reminds me of Neopia after Viacom acquired it. -Jéské (Blah v^_^v) 05:06, 1 December 2007 (UTC)
The Veropedia crew see themselves as above the law. Please specify which laws, rules and regulations Veropedia is meant to have broken or violated. Veropedia's preserved good state versions of articles will soon begin to be reviewed by independent academics. It disappoints me to watch a handful of people go around, drumming up support for their opinions and issues with Veropedia. Nothing wrong with healthy debate but this is getting a little silly now. --Sagaciousuk (talk) 00:40, 2 December 2007 (UTC)

How do we measure due weight?[edit]

In the (extensive!) discussion at Wikipedia talk:Requests for mediation/Northern Ireland flag usage, one problem came up for me. Wikipedia:Neutral point of view#Undue weight says that "NPOV says that the article should fairly represent all significant viewpoints that have been published by a reliable source, and should do so in proportion to the prominence of each". So how do we actually measure the prominence of each viewpoint? It seems like any methodology to gauge prominence might be a violation of Wikipedia:No original research, would it not? Andrwsc 22:43, 30 November 2007 (UTC)

Prominence is generally measured by status in mainstream scholarship. Without commenting on the specifics of this article, the key here is "reliable" source. If Oxford University Press has published the source, I am more likely to trust what it says as "reliable", than I would "Joe's Blog". Also, in situations like this, it is helpful to go beyond footnoting. If you said "John Doe, in the journal "Nature", has said" yada yada yada others can see the transparency of the sources. If all of the sources are reliable, and there is a genuine open debate in the reliable literature with two opposing viewpoints, then report the debate. If a crackpot is self-publishing their own wacko ideas, and no one even takes these ideas seriously enough even to respond, then it probably doesn't even deserve mentioning. The question that needs to be asked is "Do reliable sources acknowledge the minority viewpoint, even to summarily refute it." If yes, then the viewpoint probably bears mentioning. If the academics aren't even acknowledging the viewpoint, then we shouldn't either. Again, I have not looked at the particular article in question, and I am only making general comments. --Jayron32|talk|contribs 06:05, 2 December 2007 (UTC)

Uncivil comments[edit]

If someone complains about an article, and I write in response that their "complaints appear to be baseless", is this uncivil of me?--Filll 04:09, 2 December 2007 (UTC)

  • Yes.--WaltCip 04:30, 2 December 2007 (UTC)

In what way?--Filll 05:22, 2 December 2007 (UTC)

That isn't the worst of all possible wordings, by any stretch of the imagination, but we can aim higher than not the worst. "I can't see why you raised this concern, can you explain further" is a response that invites continued discussion, and is thus more civil for a collaborative environment than "complaints appear to be baseless" which amounts to saying "go away". GRBerry 05:29, 2 December 2007 (UTC)

How to deal with users of questionable mental stability[edit]

This issue is an important question for Wikipedia policy. How should administrators and the average user deal with other users who are mentally ill? What qualifies as mental illness? Where should the line be drawn? In terms of this matter, my view may be seen as rather strict. I believe that the contributions of an editor do not factor in their judgment if they have shown to be irrational and abusive towards other users. This is similar to how I think abusive editors (even if they are not mentally ill) should be treated. Currently, the administration seems to take a very laissez-faire approach. This is causing a great deal of harm here at Wikipedia as a whole and to individual users. - Cyborg Ninja 06:35, 10 November 2007 (UTC)

It is difficult to address this problem with any kind of guideline or policy, because it is a difficult problem even for mental health professionals in face-to-face situations. It will probably have to be dealt with on a case-to-case basis. Wikipedia assumes rationality and good faith, but as an activity it is vulnerable to intrusion by the corrupt, the malicious, and the deranged. The barbarians are always at the gates, and it only takes a few to destroy a civilization or a Wikipedia. We also have to recognize that Wikipedia has become an arena for contests for power. The high ranking :of its articles in the search engines is also an incentive for invasion, at first by subtle and skilled efforts that can seem to be "civilized" in this context but which if not repelled will eventually destroy the project. Jon Roland 07:59, 10 November 2007 (UTC)
Wikipedia, in general, takes a very laissez-faire approach -- it's one of the fundamental precepts of our philosophy, in general, both a great strength and a source of many problems. For my part, I'd rather we avoided throwing around a bunch of unqualified, amateur guesses as to whether so-and-so has such-and-such illness, and just focused on the issue of a person's participation in the project. Are they contributing? Is their behavior disruptive or productive? Is there anything we as a community might do to help them become a better editor? What chance of improvement is there? Again, as I mentioned in your other thread, it's very difficult to have these sorts of conversations in a general sense, and I'm not sure how productive it might be. Problematic users can be reported to the appropriate admin noticeboards for discussion and possible administrative response, if need be; I'd also encourage you to make use of the dispute resolution process, whenever possible. – Luna Santin (talk) 08:26, 10 November 2007 (UTC)
Comment - Cyborg; While I can understand your concern at dealing with users who, as you say, are of "questionable mental stability", may I ask one small thing? If they don't give you any indication (by userbox, etc...) - what puts you in a position to be able to judge who is mentally stable or unstable? That's not meant as an argumentative statement, simply an idea for me to understand, say, do you have some experience of dealing with mentally unstable people by reason of work or something? No one on here has ever questioned my mental stability, but I suffer from Paranoia. If I hadn't said anything about that, would you have had some way of knowing that that was the case? Thor Malmjursson 13:44, 10 November 2007 (UTC)
There's a "This Wikipedian is off their meds" userbox? In all seriousness, having a bipolar userbox on a user page hardly qualifies as a legitimate means of diagnosis. Personally, I don't think we can make any special exceptions for disruptive editors because they're mentally ill, otherwise every malicious editor will try to use that as an excuse. Caknuck 15:37, 10 November 2007 (UTC)
Comment - Caknuck, I quite agree. We don't make any exceptions for anyone based on their state of mind, that is true. But as I have said, How do you know they are mentally ill in the first place??? Thor Malmjursson 15:34, 11 November 2007 (UTC)
Example?: I would like to offer Valery Fabrikant, a school shooting killer with chronic access to the Internet. When no access is available to him he asks his son to post on message boards, newsgroups and to update an 'official' web page. Perhaps even change his own WP page? Or worst change pages related to research of his victims (he claims said research is his and that was his motivation for the killings). This being said, current state of things shows that WP is pretty good at defending itself of abuses, and I offer Fabrikant only as a good example of 'questionable mental stability'.YegLi (talk) —Preceding comment was added at 20:45, 22 November 2007 (UTC)

I completely agree with Thor and Luna. There's just no way to tell for sure if someone does or does not have a mental illness, even if we had qualified professionals who were editors here. Also, even if there was a way to tell if an editor has a mental illness, they shouldn't be treated any differently unless their behavior is somehow disruptive to the community. GlassCobra 16:09, 10 November 2007 (UTC)

I'm only referring to users who are disruptive. Paranoia doesn't count as something that would be very disruptive, IMO. In no way am I suggesting I be the person to decide who is mentally ill or not; neither is there an easy way to do this. There are some users on this site who do show their true colors, even after much productivity. I suggest dealing with it privately and to be very gentle, and only in cases that are obvious. At the same time, I don't think it would work for administrators to do that. It seems like a line is being crossed if they do. I've seen mental illness in online friends of mine who have later come clean about it to me (one was extremely paranoid). I tried to help him on a personal basis, but as you probably expect, it didn't work. So what we should focus on is to not ignore any obvious policy violations. We cannot use "Oh he was just angry and got over it" or "He's ill, let him be" as an excuse. I know a lot of you just take the "report it to AN/I" approach, but I've seen administrators turn the other way even in the most extreme of cases because they don't want to hurt someone's feelings, or deal with it any further. The problem is, with many of these people, they'll get upset again and the same thing will happen again. We need to be stronger than this. Thank you all for the replies. Sorry that came off as a bit of a rambling — I don't have all the answers. - Cyborg Ninja 20:36, 10 November 2007 (UTC)
There are some editors who are clearly disturbed, and it's sometimes helpful to conceive of their bizarre or abusive editing as the product of some personal issues. But mental illness isn't a yes or no thing. We're all a little sick in the head at times. And schizophrenics, obsessive compulsives, neurotics, bipolars, and even sociopaths are human beings too and may have something to contribute here. It would be sad and unfair to say that you're disqualified from Wikipedia for having an organic brain disorder. Judge the edits, not the editor, and don't punish people for being honest about their mental state. We shouldn't deny the obvious - our bipolar colleagues can be a total pain at times. But they can also be wickedly smart and productive, and deserve a seat at the table like everyone else provided they can get along.Wikidemo 21:27, 10 November 2007 (UTC)
Some users do 'lose it' a bit very easily and appear unstable. We all know of those that when one of their articles is tagged even by a bot, say it's ruined their experience on Wikipedia. Or they go on massive WP:POINT campaigns, tagging numerous articles, solely because they feel one of theirs was tagged unfairly. It's not disparaging to those with mental health problems, most of whom can still contribute sanely to Wikipedia. But some people even if they haven't been diagnosed with any illness easily flip out, and go on a rampage. They may even say 'now I'm going to turn evil- ruhaha' or some such. Thhen go back to normal briefly and apologise slightly so they get away with it. Then a few days later something sets them off again. Hopefully they get blocked if they continue in such a pattern. As an individual editor, the best way to deal with them is probably to avoid much contact with them. As a community, to notice their history when they invite their latest block, and if the pattern has occurred several times, long-term block. 16:03, 11 November 2007 (UTC)
This is exactly what I'm talking about, and I'm glad that you noticed it too. "Unstable" is the keyword here. There are multiple editors who have this problem, and I think it's a part of their lifestyle, but I believe the laissez-faire approach at this site and others on the Web allows them to keep being disruptive. To add to your characterization, these editors take minor setbacks (tags, warnings, bots, etc) very personally and threaten other users for something that is quite minor. This, to me, shows that they are not trying to make Wikipedia a better place and that they are acting in poor faith. I'm sorry, but assuming good faith in evidence of obvious bad faith is absurd, and some administrators and many regular editors need to realize that and stop using that as an excuse. This is a serious problem on Wikipedia. I realize that some of these editors contribute plenty to Wikipedia, and therefore many people don't want to ban them, but if this is a pattern and if they are harming other users: it needs to stop. I try to be sensitive to unstable people like this both online and in real life. I have a grandmother who behaves like this, and the best my family can do is try to alleviate her stress to avoid setting her off. However, I recognize that she does have some ability to control herself and we do not accept every emotional outburst. We do love and forgive her, of course. But please realize, administrators, that if an unstable user has a pattern of this behavior and is harming other users, you absolutely should not accept it. I imagine that a lot of you are thinking "We don't," but I've seen this from other admins and users. The twisting of the WP:AGF policy is partly to blame. - Cyborg Ninja 19:55, 11 November 2007 (UTC)
I should add that I have one person in mind right now (though he is not the only one to act like this). A quick glance of his Contributions page shows me that he makes 300+ edits a day and frequently spends over half of the day, every minute, editing Wikipedia. Every day. Now, I think I spend a lot of time on Wikipedia, but that's mostly to read articles to expand my knowledge. But that person's amount of time here... can we really call that normal, or healthy? He does everything the user above cited as conduct that an unstable editor does here. I'm not suggesting that we warn someone just because they spend vast amounts of time here obviously, but I think it's something to think about. - Cyborg Ninja 20:23, 11 November 2007 (UTC)
I don't think we can be overly suspicious just due to 'spends too much time here.' What we are basically talking about is conduct that would lead to an RfC, but because the user spreads the conduct over different areas and his/her WP:POINT sprees target many different articles and people, it's hard to have an RfC that truly covers what they get upto, because RfCs have to be about 'the same dispute', so it's harder to raise the two people needed that have the boldness to stand up. If RfCs were allowed to address the user's behavior in general when they're having one of their 'episodes', then they would be a more accurate representation of the user. Because while it runs the risk of being seen as ganging up on someone, sometimes that kind of RfC would be useful/necessary. 21:31, 11 November 2007 (UTC)
Two RFCs have been done of one person I have considered as unstable. Even if a tagging spree spans over dozens of articles that are unrelated, a question comes into one's head: is it acceptable to do mass-tagging of articles that one has not spent more than 5 seconds with? I know we have bots that handle other operations, but most of what they do makes sense to me and is useful. Marking every article with a big citations tag at the top isn't really going to encourage people to improve the article. I mean, come on people, get real. Still, some admins think it's helpful. But on this issue; it's nowhere near the worst example and even I wouldn't consider anything more than an informal warning for it if I were an admin, unless they ignore the warning. As you hinted at, RfCs are dedicated to one episode or event. If a user's behavior over several months needed to be reviewed, where should it be done? - Cyborg Ninja 08:57, 12 November 2007 (UTC)
As an editor with a mental illness (although I don't think you would be able to guess that based on my contributions) I appreciate your concern, but I don't think that any special consideration should apply except for the application of the WP:CIVIL policy. If we just remember that this applies to comments made to all editors, even abusive ones, then there should be no problem. Phil Bridger (talk) 11:20, 18 November 2007 (UTC)
I think we need to distinguish two things; (1) Having a mental illness, which isn't necessarily the project's business; (2) behaving disruptively, which is the project's business, but which doesn't necessarily have anything to do with a mental illness. I'm not saying there's never a relationship between the two, but it does seem to me the project's proper business is the second only. I don't see how Wikipedia volunteers could be trained or equipped to understand when (1) does and does not affect (2). One reason for a gentler approach with established editors is the belief that ordinary people sometimes get overheated and affected by emotions in conflicts and similar situations, in other words, a belief that variation and "instability" is a characteristic of ordinary people and not the exclusive province of the mentally ill. It's very important to avoid stereotyping here, to avoid a discriminatory prejudice that having a psychological diagnosis implies an editor or admin is going to be disruptive. Best, --Shirahadasha (talk) 06:56, 21 November 2007 (UTC)

Since when are the vast majority of Wikipedia users qualified to diagnose anything over the internet? Oh right, we arn't.

Accusing or labeling another user of a mental illness can never be anything but a violation of WP:CIVIL. Jtrainor (talk) 17:43, 25 November 2007 (UTC)

I see this as an irrelevant issue. Wikipedia editors are volunteers and their treatment is not subject to terms of employment, including consideration for disabilities. Peers should therefore determine their treatment of any editor solely on the basis of their contributions and interaction with others. NIGEDO (talk) 06:24, 29 November 2007 (UTC)

New mental illness in established admins and editors[edit]

  • I'm starting this as a new section because I believe it is worthy of its own category. - Cyborg Ninja 09:12, 15 November 2007 (UTC)

The question seems loaded. Most abusive editors do not have any recognised mental illness. The interesting borderline case to consider here is: if there's a person who makes useful contributions, or even achieves adminship, while in a good mental state, and then their mental integrity degrades as a result of a illness-induced mood change, acquiring a new illness, or a change of medication, should they be de-adminned or banned, or should we wait for them to seek assistance and recover? If they do recover, do they have a means of requesting re-evaluation on this basis? Dcoetzee 14:10, 13 November 2007 (UTC)

Depending on their behavior, if they are an admin and they behave poorly, then they should have their privileges taken away. You can't put power into the hands of someone who isn't mentally healthy. Of course, the admin would have to come out as having mental illness or it would have to be clearly discernible from normal behavior. Most cases won't be so easy. As for editors, it's a bit more difficult. I would not want to upset the user and taking away their ability to edit could have a drastic effect on them. But, as I've stated above, if there is a pattern of this behavior, it cannot be tolerated. If they decide to come back and state that they are now healthy and be open about their past, then I would welcome them. - Cyborg Ninja 09:13, 15 November 2007 (UTC)
An example that may help here is how this issue is handled in the professional world. If you fire someone for mental illness or addiction, you are not generally permitted to cite the illness or addiction; only the way the mental illness or addiction affected job performance. For instance, a friend once fired an employee and was called before a hearing board, where he explained "I fired the employee because he was chronically late, picked fights, etc." Only after asked, "Do you have any explanation for his poor performance?" could my friend add, "Yes, he was using meth." Mental illness on this board should be treated in the same manner; it's the pattern of behavior that needs to be addressed.3Tigers (talk) 04:00, 28 November 2007 (UTC)

I see this as an irrelevant issue. Wikipedia editors are volunteers and their treatment is not subject to terms of employment, including consideration for disabilities. Peers should therefore determine their treatment of any editor solely on the basis of their contributions and interaction with others. NIGEDO (talk) 06:24, 29 November 2007 (UTC)

Please read the entirety of people's comments to this topic before commenting. Same goes for your other repetitive message at the end of the section above. - Cyborg Ninja 23:30, 2 December 2007 (UTC)

Transwiki to Wiktionary - when is it appropriate?[edit]

I have had a number of articles listed as candidates for transwiki to wiktionary (e.g. cattiness, tattling, face saving). I wonder, when is it appropriate to transwiki and when is it OK to leave here? I was thinking of articles such as yo which give a definition but also some background. Often when an article is transwiki'd, the background is removed. I am aware of the existence of Help:Transwiki but thought more detail might be in order. Sarsaparilla (talk) 18:31, 26 November 2007 (UTC)

In case you haven't found them yet, Use–mention distinction, Wikipedia:Stub and Encyclopedic dictionary provide some information. HTH  —SMALLJIM  15:42, 27 November 2007 (UTC)
So, is it okay to have articles about words as opposed to the subjects those words describe? And in articles about subjects, is it okay to have information about the origins/etc. of the word or phrase that describes that subject (information normally found in a dictionary)? Sarsaparilla 16:46, 2 December 2007 (UTC)

Freecycling is not fair[edit]

I am not sure where to complain about free cycle so I will put it here. My names is jennifer bryant and i am om the woodlands texas freecycle page. I offered a big screen tv, minor repair, then wanted, garage sale items, a hospital bed and a generator. The moderator, one Maurice, or Lo, or MCM (she has gone by all three ) put if I wanted garage sale items i must want them to resell. I said no, I would like to see if i could get some xmas items out of them, the hospital bed for my extremem bought of pleurisy and i wanted a generator. This "Lo," banned me because I did not agree with her take on my ad and then said my tv was probably not worth anything anyway. so this is freecycle? who determines who wants, who gives away and why they do it? is this some sort of criteria or does the lady have esp. someone has got to regulate these so called moderators who apparently act like they out and out own the free cycle sites. well i don not believe this to be the case and intend to go public with my very rude, adverse situation. what would you do? jennifer bryant phone number removed for privacy reasons Thanks and happy holidays. i will send you my nasty email from said moderator. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:10, 2 December 2007 (UTC)

I'm sorry to hear about this, but this does not come under the scope of Wikipedia. Also, it is not permitted to post private e-mails here without the consent of the sender. Tra (Talk) 15:52, 2 December 2007 (UTC)


I have been away for a short time, and I find that the {{speedy}} page appears to have changed; most nominations now come in as "other reason", with the standard reasons now elaborated on the second line. I obviously missed the policy discussion on this. Is there a sensible reason for this change, or it just my PC having a funny turn? --Anthony.bradbury"talk" 17:11, 2 December 2007 (UTC)

I am not sure what you mean... the speedy tags look mostly the same as ever. Most people using the standard reasons use templates like {{db-bio}} --W.marsh 22:18, 2 December 2007 (UTC)

What would happen if tomorrow, you were barred from directly citing peer-reviewed journals?[edit]

The controversy over at WP:NOR is continuing, and it is coming to somewhat of a head, with the anti-primary-source lobby threatening to end discussion by decree. The issues up for discussion have been summarized on the talk page for those who have not been following the discussion. Basically, the issues are as follows:

  1. Do Wikipedia editors have a right to cite peer-reviewed journals directly, or do we need to cite to them via the mediation of some possibly biased secondary source?
  2. Should NOR impose a "super-verifiability" requirement over and above WP:V that requires cited conclusions in peer-reviewed journals, books, novels, and interviews not only to be verifiable, but also to be corroborated and filtered through second-hand literature?
  3. Should editors be allowed to cite raw data from peer-reviewed journals, but not the conclusions by the original author?

Any comments for or against these proposals are welcome on the NOR talk page. COGDEN 00:09, 27 November 2007 (UTC)

This is a distortion of the actual issues under discussion, as there is no "anti-primary-source lobby". Primary sources can be used, but they must be used carefully to avoid editorial bias and interpretation. Secondary sources may be used in addition to primary sources to avoid this problem. There is nothing stopping anyone from attributing a scientific study or conclusion to the published author. The problem begins when an editor wishes to interpret a primary source, cherry picking primary source data to support a POV without secondary sources to support it. The questions you raise above aren't even relevant to the problem. —Viriditas | Talk 00:57, 27 November 2007 (UTC)
COGDEN seems to be suffering from an inability to grasp clear statements about the use of primary and secondary sources. The policy doesn't hold that primary (close to the subject being written about) sources are unacceptable, it holds that they should be treated with particular care to avoid going beyond the source and introducing synthesis or unsupported value judgements. Note that primary sources also includes self published sources which meet WP:RS in the context of an article about themselves, but which are generally unreliable. ... dave souza, talk 01:03, 27 November 2007 (UTC)
I am a bit confused here. Aren't peer reviewed journal articles, by definition, secondary sources. In my field of interest, history, they certainly are. Dsmdgold (talk) 14:28, 27 November 2007 (UTC)
In my field, astronomy, most contain some quality of secondary sources, but are primarily primary sources, apart from review papers. WilyD 14:39, 27 November 2007 (UTC)
Yes, for the purposes of WP the parts of peer-reviewed papers that draw conclusions, give arguments, interpret data, or otherwise act like secondary sources are considered secondary sources. The only part that would be a primary source is actual experimental data or field notes. There is significant confusion about this point, since the dispute at NOR is about primary sources, which most peer-reviewed publications are not. — Carl (CBM · talk) 14:41, 27 November 2007 (UTC)

Nahh, I had a personal enoucnter with this issue: I got in a nasty argument with an editor who thought that vitamins were a waste of time and money and didn't do anything, and were crank medicine. To support his argument, he provided links to all sorts of literature, some of it possibley peer-reiewed. I donno. It was POV pushing. However, the the problem, as I see it, is not his use of citations, but his POV pushing. Eliminating this kind of use of citations will not eliminate POV-pushing. Don't treat the symptoms (citation use) treat the disease (POV pushing). linas (talk) 14:50, 27 November 2007 (UTC)

The confusion over the difference between a primary source and a secondary source will not go away until we rename these terms as they are used here to something different from their use in the real world and then tighten up their definitions. I !vote for Wiki Type A sources and Wiki Type B sources (usage: "an eyewitness account is a WTA source"). This will have the additional benefit that editors could not assume that they know what the terms mean when they first come across them and therefore not bother looking them up - as doubtless happens now.  —SMALLJIM  16:16, 27 November 2007 (UTC)

You cannot eliminate the confusion because a primary source can sometimes be used as a secondary and the converse is true. The definition depends on two things: what type of source is being used and how it is being used. Furthermore, the definitions may be different depending on the field.—Viriditas | Talk 23:40, 28 November 2007 (UTC)
I don't believe our discussion of the properties sources need to have to establish certain Wikipedia-specific claims like notability and significance should tied to a classification systemt that purports to explain inherent attributes of sources. Rather, they are better described as attibutes of the WP:N and WP:SIGNIF concepts. It would be a bit like discussing the requirements for becoming a doctor or a soldier under the topic "people" rather than under the topics of medicine and law. It would be silly to try to classify people into a set of categories like primary, secondary, and tertiary people and then to say things like secondary people can be used as doctors but tertiary people are needed as lawyers. We'd quickly find the categories make no sense and have no general applicability; better to talk specifically about what the medicine profession needs nd what the lawyering profession needs rather than try to project these needs onto people themselves as if our needs were inherent properties of the outside world. What we're doing here is equally projection. Like job requirements, Wikipedia's policy requirements are properties of Wikipedia policy, not properties of external objects such as people or sources. We need to describe and classify our needs directly, describing our policies and what they require. Projecting our needs onto external objects and trying to present our needs as if they were properties of the outside world is simply silly. We found a ready-made classification system intended for a different purpose (primary, secondary, tertiary) and thought it could be bent a bit and applied to Wikipedia. It seems clear our needs are different from the ones this schema is based on. Better to describe things in a way that directly reflects our needs. Best, --Shirahadasha 17:57, 3 December 2007 (UTC)

What scientists call primary sources are called secondary sources on wikipedia. (Folks enjoy confusing people). --Kim Bruning 19:19, 3 December 2007 (UTC)

photographs of minors[edit]

I haven't been able to get an answer anywhere else, so I'll try here: Just because the person who took a photo claims to owns the rights and releases it for public domain does not necessarily mean that person really has the right to do so. Wikipedia acts in good faith in using those, but there may be legal issues with regard to the use of photos of minors. Just because you own the camera that takes a picture doesn't mean you have the legal right to post photos without the consent of the parent or guardian.

This comes up becomes the article on skinny dipping has four images of boys. This seems excessive regardless of the subject matter. Two of the images are paintings. Two of them, however, are photographs of minors with no information regarding authority to distribute photographs of those specific individuals, certainly not parental permission to distribute nude photos of minors. Wryspy 16:59, 3 December 2007 (UTC)

Commons has a good guideline, which applies to people of all ages. According that, the images of the boys are borderline (though the Indian one is more controversial because one of the boys is clearly identifiable.) In this case, pixellating the faces of the children might be an appropriate measure.
However, you should be aware that this has nothing to do with copyright, it is restricted by personality rights. The personality rights template should be used with every identifiable image of a living person, yet this is not the case (yet). Puchiko (Talk-email) 17:37, 3 December 2007 (UTC)