Wikipedia:Village pump (policy)/Archive 90

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Contents

Nomination of Wikipedia:Truth, not verifiability for deletion

A discussion is taking place as to whether the article Wikipedia:Truth, not verifiability is suitable for inclusion in Wikipedia according to Wikipedia's policies and guidelines or whether it should be deleted.

The article will be discussed at Wikipedia:Miscellany for deletion/Wikipedia:Truth, not verifiability until a consensus is reached, and anyone is welcome to contribute to the discussion. The nomination will explain the policies and guidelines which are of concern. The discussion focuses on good quality evidence, and our policies and guidelines.

Users may edit the article during the discussion, including to improve the article to address concerns raised in the discussion. However, do not remove the article-for-deletion template from the top of the article.

Just a point of clarification: This is a new essay, not the older WP:VNT page. WhatamIdoing (talk) 18:44, 9 September 2011 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Here to build an encyclopedia

Can we discuss the pros and cons of moving it up from essay to behavioral guideline? I think the pros outweigh the cons, in particular I see it as a needed equivalent in terms of behavior to what WP:ISNOT does for content. --Cerejota (talk) 23:11, 5 September 2011 (UTC)

  • Wikipedia:Here to build an encyclopedia seems much more general and open to broad interpretation then WP:NOT. A couple of concerns: "Treating editing as a battleground" section, while it is likely that an editor who does that will end up blocked or banned if their ways do not change, it may be more a reflection on their personality then whether they are attempting in good faith to build an encyclopedia. With "Little or no interest in working collaboratively", an editor can be a productive member of the community as a loner, so long as their lack of interaction with others does not cause disruption or an inability to resolve disputes. More generally, many things in Wikipedia:Here to build an encyclopedia seem to be covered more specifically under other policies or guidelines, but I worry that the lack of specificity in the proposed guideline will be used to expand the scope of existing editing guidelines without the community actually agreeing that expansion should occur. Behavior guidelines should be as specific as possible, lest they invite overly broad application. Would anything specific be against guidelines if this is supported that would not be now? Monty845 23:56, 5 September 2011 (UTC)
this is the kind of comments we need - do you think we need a behavorial ISNOT, even if this is not it, or that is CREEPy?--Cerejota (talk) 00:26, 7 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Opposed. It's written in the form of an essay and lacks the clarity to be a guideline. It reflects personal aspirations for editor behavior rather than actual guidance for editors. Also opposed on the basis it is WP:CREEP. patsw (talk) 17:46, 6 September 2011 (UTC)
I feel to see the WP:CREEP here. We lack a behavioral ISNOT equivalent, and ISNOT also covers the ground other policies do. ALso, this here is not a vote, rather a discussion of ideas around it, so the !vote style comment is weird - there is nothing formally proposed.--Cerejota (talk) 00:26, 7 September 2011 (UTC)
Of course it's CREEP: If it is informally proposed as guideline, what in it is (1) necessary to improve Wikipedia, and (2) not redundant to other guidelines. The other behavior guidelines are focused on solving specific and common problems, and HERETO lacks a focus. As I wrote above, this reflects aspirations and not actual guidance and lacks the clarity of a guideline. patsw (talk) 04:23, 7 September 2011 (UTC)
  • I like WP:HERETO very much (and draw on it in WP:COMPREHENSIVE), but its current tone is not quite suitable for a guideline, and non-contradiction and non-duplication of other guidelines/policy would need to be checked. --Cybercobra (talk) 03:09, 8 September 2011 (UTC)
It's a good essay but bad policy. Maybe there's room for some elements to end up at one of our behavioral policies or guidelines. Dzlife (talk) 15:39, 8 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Opposed. Making this more than an essay would promote even more focus on speculating about and basing accusations on editors' motivations rather than focusing on their edits. Moving away from what editors do to what they intend just pulls us into a snake pit, especially if that focus can occur at the beginning of every dispute. The editors who aren't here for the benefit of the encyclopedia always eventually either come around to our point of view or demonstrate their true colors through their edits. To do this would be both unnecessary and dangerous. Regards, TransporterMan (TALK) 20:01, 8 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Opposed - not a guideline in that it doesn't give direction as to what to do (or what not to do). It lacks purpose. It's not even a very good essay in my view - lacks referencing to the policies that drive wikipedia and how these non-constructive behaviours relate to them. GraemeLeggett (talk) 20:39, 8 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Opposed - it strays away from the guideline portion of what a guideline is...purpose, meaning and an overall 'we SHOULD do this'...instead, this page simple says 'we do this'. Not a guideline. I am not opposed, however, to have a page be content like this, to set a guideline onto what Wikipedia is and what we're here to do. JguyTalkDone 21:12, 9 September 2011 (UTC)

Brazilian National Math Olympiad for Public Schools

Hello,

I would know why the articles Sociedade Brasileira de Matemática Aplicada e Computacional and Olimpíada Brasileira de Matemática das Escolas Públicas were marked as Unambiguous advertising or promotion and were eliminated after. If these items are Unambiguous advertising or promotion, so all articles about mathematics in Brazil are also Unambiguous advertising or promotion too.

Andrevruas (talk) 14:58, 9 September 2011 (UTC)

I don't about the content of those articles but we certainly cover other national level mathematics competitions, see List of mathematics competitions.--RDBury (talk) 15:08, 9 September 2011 (UTC)
I believe that the user who deletes articles for abuse of administering power should suffer some kind of penalty - If it was an article about a company I even understand a possible mistake, but when that happens I come to think of abandoning Wikipedia, even more that I'm trying to edit in a language not my native language, do not know if that's what generates some prejudice. -- Andrevruas (talk) 15:26, 9 September 2011 (UTC)
See also pt:Olimpíada Brasileira de Matemática das Escolas Públicas.--RDBury (talk) 15:21, 9 September 2011 (UTC)
it was just this article that I started the translation into English, the article had nothing more than the translation of this article -- Andrevruas (talk) 15:27, 9 September 2011 (UTC)
Another see also pt:Sociedade Brasileira de Matemática Aplicada e Computacional--RDBury (talk) 15:49, 9 September 2011 (UTC)
It's not obvious that the topics are notable (they seem to be), but the pages are certainly not "Unambiguous advertising or promotion". CRGreathouse (t | c) 16:22, 9 September 2011 (UTC)
National-level academic competitions would be expected to have coverage in reliable secondary sources in their respective nations. This is a typical bite the newcomer pattern: Rather then finding sources or other content to improve WP:V directly, or explaining to the article creator why this sort of improvement to the article is necessary, just send it to speedy. See also WP:WORLDVIEW. patsw (talk) 18:16, 9 September 2011 (UTC)
It's probably our usual problem: Some people believe that all articles about businesses or events that can't be deleted within minutes of their creation as attack pages must be deleted within minutes of their creation as spam. Efforts to improve this have been thwarted by people worried about the spam event horizon.
The admin in question will tell you that, in his personal opinion, it seemed like an advertisement. The problem is that for some people, everything looks like an advertisement, especially if you've only gotten through the first sentence or two before saving the page. I expect that the same admin would have cheerfully deleted the first version for Harvard University on the same grounds. WhatamIdoing (talk) 18:52, 9 September 2011 (UTC)
I have restored the articles as they do not meet the G11 criterion, and deletion was obviously controversial. People can use AFD if they want to argue for deletion. Graeme Bartlett (talk) 03:07, 10 September 2011 (UTC)
many thanks to all, I'll see if I take courage to create other articles of national scientific societies and public Olympics too. May be that the user who deleted was also feeling lazy to check sources in Portuguese. I wonder what would must be going through the people who edit Wikipedia at the first time and receive message that every item is created is vandalism. Thanks to all :) -- Andrevruas (talk) 04:07, 10 September 2011 (UTC)

Chime in with thoughts on moving a proposed policy to failed?

Hi folks, I'm hoping to get a wider group to comment if WP:JUSTPLOT should be marked as a failed guideline. See link here. Thanks. Hobit (talk) 23:18, 9 September 2011 (UTC)

  • Have given my two cents there. Reyk YO! 00:15, 10 September 2011 (UTC)

Facebook pages for WikiProjects

I don't know if there is a policy about or against doing this but I was thinking about creating a Facebook page for WikiProject United States and its subprojects. Currently no pages exist for these and I think it would be a good way to generate interests in the projects. Does anyone know if this is allowed or if there is a policy about this? --Kumioko (talk) 01:11, 10 September 2011 (UTC)

Well, some users may complain that facebook pages would not add much to the area of working on articles, which is the point why wikiprojects exist. On the other hand, Wikipedia has no control over what happens outside of it: if you want to have a wikiproject here, for organizing the work in articles, and a facebook page in facebook, to have some fun or talk about non-wikipedia topics (even becoming friends, perhaps), I don't see why would anyone have a problem with that. As long as it is not used to attack others or do anything "evil", it should be fine Cambalachero (talk) 01:25, 10 September 2011 (UTC)
The policy is Wikipedia is not a blog, webspace provider, social network, or memorial site, and as I said, Facebook things should not be done within wikipedia (however, a discrete link "you can find some of us at facebook" is another thing). Wikipedia:No personal attacks#External links is an example of the inappropiate use. Have care with WP:OUTING as well: people use a nickname here, such as "Kumioko" or "Cambalachero", but they use real names in Facebook; and some users may not like their personal information being known around here (so, use wikipedia for what wikipedia is for, and use facebook for what facebook is for, link but don't mix) Cambalachero (talk) 01:44, 10 September 2011 (UTC)
Ok thanks. I'm not really even planning on anything as an organizing tool. More like advertising. I was thinking I would build a page with the logo and a description of its purpose. Links to some key things like Wikipedia itself, maybe some key articles like United States and some hot topics. That sort of thing. Maybe throw in a quote or too or a fact from an article. That kind of thing. I think there are a lot of people that use facebook who might get interested in the pedia or the project if they learn a little more about it. --Kumioko (talk) 02:01, 10 September 2011 (UTC)

Request for clarification on guidelines regarding the need for references

An issue has arisen at List of castles in England, in which the guidelines - or their perception by editors - may be contrary to the interests of the page, and I should welcome further opinion. I hope this is the correct place to ask.

The page in question lists items in two groups within each English county: those of lesser interest are simply listed by name, with a wikilink to the most relevant page and no reference; those of greater interest are listed in tables. Originally, I provided a reference - usually to the online listing at Pastscape - to each item in the tables which does not have its own wikipage, and not for each item which does have its own wikipage. The rationale is that the user can access the wikipage for more information and find references there. However, the prevailing view was that this is not acceptable. Adding the missing references has increased the size of the page by around 50k. There are now calls for the page to be split because it is too large.

The current page size is around 256k. The size on 15th June before addition of the extra references was around 150k: this version can be viewed here [1]. Reverting to that version, with some necessary adjustments, should reduce the size to 160-170k, but it remains the prevailing view that references cannot be removed.

As an alternative approach to reducing the size of the page it has been suggested that items be moved from the tables to the 'lesser interest' group. A consequence of doing this would be that the references are lost anyway, for all the items moved.

The current view amongst other editors is that removal of the extra 50k of references is not acceptable because contrary to guidelines. Is their view correct, should it prevail in this case? Paravane (talk) 22:11, 3 September 2011 (UTC)

Why not split the page into lists of castles by county? They are already separated by headers, so it isn't like you'd be breaking up a single sortable table, and the material above the lists by county is more than substantial enough to anchor List of castles in England as a list of lists. postdlf (talk) 23:12, 3 September 2011 (UTC)
Noting that I haven't bothered to read the discussion or look at the page, the following statements are generally true and might be applicable:
  • Policy requires only four types of information to be provided with an WP:Inline citation. They're summarized at WP:MINREF. It is entirely possible that nothing at all on this page is actually required to have an inline citation.
  • There is no rule that once a citation has been added, it may never be removed.
  • Many lists benefit from the judicious use of WP:General references to broad works, like a good book about dozens of castles rather than individual websites dedicated to each one.
  • Splitting according to perceived "interest" or "importance" might amount to an impermissible WP:POVFORK. Postdlf's suggestion is probably safer. WhatamIdoing (talk) 23:27, 3 September 2011 (UTC)
  • It's advice about references I was looking for, the future of the page is currently under discussion on the talk page [2]. The plan has been for individual county pages to be created in addition to, not instead of, the current page. Several already exist, they provide more complete coverage and more detailed information. Postdlf's suggestion would mean that you could no longer browse castles in England without working through around 49 pages. It would probably lead under future editors to a reversion to an earlier form of the list as just a list of names without pictures, where there's nothing to identify which sites are the most interesting, see here [3] or similarly List of castles in Wales. Paravane (talk) 11:54, 4 September 2011 (UTC)
  • The individual references in such a list are superfluous, particularly as many have their own articles that will be separately referenced. I agree that the only references should be to sources that themselves cover broader works on English castles. --Bermicourt (talk) 14:32, 4 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Thank you, I'd like to take this as a definitive ruling if there are no dissenting views. Paravane (talk) 16:38, 5 September 2011 (UTC)

Oh please no. This is terrible advice. The huge size is a big problem for this page but the advice on references is just wrong. Have any of you tried to maintain, improve, fix or make use of a long list that isn't reliably sourced for each and every entry? You can get away with general references for a short list (say a dozen entries) or a list with just one source. A list such as this contains the concentrated key facts for each entry. There's really nothing that couldn't be challenged. If you tell me that Compton Castle is a fortified manor house built in the 14–16th century, was used as a farm and is now restored and owned by the National Trust, then I want to be able to click on specific reference or references that tells me that and be able to look it up. If instead I was presented, at the end, with a list of six book on Castles of England, and expected to look up each or all of them to confirm this, I'd give up and assume the content of this list was worthless to me. Some vandal comes along in two months time, perhaps you've left WP or are away, and they change Compton Castle to say it was built in the 13th century, and is owned by English Heritage. Would anyone be able to fix that? Say some other castle is bought by the National Trust and so changes ownership. Five of your six books are out-of-date on this point so only the sixth is accurate. I could go on. Please, find a solution that allows you to indicate the source used for each entry.

The comment about relying on the wikilinks instead of references is so so so wrong. Do I really have to write "Wikipedia is not a reliable source" on the Village pump (policy)? That's even assuming the linked articles contain all the facts in this list or are themselves well sourced (which they don't and aren't). Articles (of which lists are a form) stand on their own and must satisfy WP:V by themselves. Colin°Talk 19:14, 6 September 2011 (UTC)

I guess that's a dissenting view! Thanks for taking the trouble to explain your reasoning. By extension, it could easily be ensured in every case that the linked article has the reference before this is deleted from the list page, but maintenance of the list would then entail maintenance of each of several hundred linked pages to ensure the references continue to be available. This is down to the model on which Wikipedia operates, insulating each page against whatever chaos or calamity might prevail elsewhere... Paravane (talk) 23:20, 6 September 2011 (UTC)
There are two major issues here that I can see. The first is that the size of the page is so large that it's a real struggle to load or edit it. Taking out some of the references would help ease the load. The other issue is one of convenience of verification. Colin's point that inline citations make this easier than a generic list at the end is correct and valid. I suggest a compromise; since the intention is to make additional lists based on counties as well as the giganteriffic main list, why not take the inline citations out of the main article but leave them in the smaller ones? Put conspicuous notices at the top and bottom of main list telling the reader that that's where they are. I think this would solve your space constraints as well as maintaining ease of verification. Reyk YO! 23:44, 6 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Some thoughts:
  1. The page is huge, and too slow to use
  2. You mainly use just 2 sources, and very few access dates. You use citation templates. If the sources and dates were given standard abbreviations: "PSά" say for Pastscape on a particular date, and the citation templates removed, so just the link & abbreviation is used, you would save a great deal. Unfortunately the search box, especially for Pastscape, doesn't so predictably take you to the right place that a link can be omitted. Or can one just sat "Pastscape 46578 + access date code"?
  3. Personally I hate "by county" (or US state, or French Departement) articles where they can be avoided. I'd rather see South and North of England, or other large chunks - we foolishly shy away from these divisions as "arbitary" etc, but they aren't and a split can easily be referenced. Johnbod (talk) 00:12, 7 September 2011 (UTC)
I don't know if Johnbod's idea will work in this case but the idea of using a code to indicate the specific page in one big online database is reasonable and would still satisfy WP:V (there's no requirement that citations use the footnote system or that footnotes each contain separate URLs). However, I suspect that manual inline citations would cut down the page size so much that it isn't worth inconveniencing the reader to save a few K. You'd be really surprised how bulky cite web is in its rendered HTML. And to respond to the idea of having the references in the per-county articles: no. Let's not go there. There's no precident for it on WP. Each article must independently satisfy WP:V. Colin°Talk 08:12, 7 September 2011 (UTC)
But the generic list at the end is already more than sufficient to satisfy WP:V. This is about convenience. And you need to have the references in the per-county articles anyway. As for precedent, I am not aware of any other case where the sheer number of inline citations made the article too large to load properly. If this has happened before, please link to it so I can see how the problem was solved then. Reyk YO! 20:20, 7 September 2011 (UTC)
Well it doesn't if you regard the list entry information as likely to be challenged. Many featured lists have hundreds of citations. The citations aren't causing the poor load times (the images do that by orders of magnitude) but citation templates are well known to make editing/saving a page time-consuming due to the server processing required. Something that is easy to fix as detailed above without having to worry about WP:V issues. Yes the citations are in the per-county articles and some of them may be in the per-castle article but regarding a wikilink as a substitute for a references is an appalling misunderstanding of policy and simply never done. Colin°Talk 21:27, 7 September 2011 (UTC)
Go back and read what I wrote again; I said nothing of the sort. I am not suggesting using wikilinks as a substitute for the references, since they're already there in the article. The generic reference list at the bottom is sufficient to satisfy WP:V, since all the inline citations are drawn from them. You are conflating "verifiability" with "conveniently verifiable in the form of freeze-dried prepackaged inline citations", and that's nice but it goes beyond what policy mandates. Reyk YO! 21:50, 7 September 2011 (UTC)
I have read what you wrote. Perhaps it does't say what you think it does. Your first suggestion was to remove the inline refs and leave some notice telling readers to go look for them in another list. I assumed by "the generic list at the end is already more than sufficient to satisfy WP:V" means dropping inline citations from this list. I really no have no idea what you mean by "The generic reference list at the bottom is sufficient to satisfy WP:V, since all the inline citations are drawn from them." Are we talking about inline citations in this list? If so, how is that different to the current situation and how is that not completely satisfying WP:V rather than some reduced supposed sufficient level? If we are not talking about some per-entry reference system, then I maintain that WP:V is not satisfied. Anything that is likely to be challenged needs an inline citation of some form. I don't care how the inline citation is done (a code would do, but would be unnecessarily inconvenient) but it is required. The inline citation isn't just a nice-to-have. It is policy. A general refences section doesn't indicate which sources were used for which facts so is a much weaker form of attribution, as well as being inconvenient. Colin°Talk 07:53, 8 September 2011 (UTC)
──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Hmmm... I'll take a shot at a suggestion which could cut the size down somewhat. A cite like
  • Liddiard (2003), p.48.
needs the full cite for Liddiard's book in order to be meaningful. By comparison, a cite like
looks like overkill. Given that, how about splitting the full cites into two subsections -- perhaps "Books" and "Online sources" -- and putting a full cite for Pastscape in there? That done, the shortened footnote cite supporting the Pendennis Castle info might be shortened to something like
which isn't much more cryptic than the harv ref for a page in Liddiard's book.
Something similar might be done with the British Listed Buildings cites. If something like this is done, it might make sense to rename the Bibliography section something else (e.g., Works or Sources -- see MOS:APPENDIX). Just a thought. Wtmitchell (talk) (earlier Boracay Bill) 08:37, 8 September 2011 (UTC)
I have implemented some of these suggestions. Removing around 460 {{cite web}} templates reduced the generated html from 1112kb to 877kb. With the use of codes (still with urls) in the References section and switch to using {{sort}}, the wiki text has been reduced from 256,255 to 212,384 bytes. It is certainly easier to edit now. Using the form 'Pastscape, idxxxxx' might shave off a few more kb. Eliminating the urls in favour of codes could save another 20-25kb, possibly reducing the text size to ~180k, but I don't know that it would improve the load time. Paravane (talk) 23:02, 8 September 2011 (UTC)
Have a read of WP:CITE. For online sources the guideline requires we give the publication date (if known.. lots of websites don't bother including the one you are citing in this case) or the accessed date. This gives readers the information about how up-to-date the source and hence information is. I know at the moment all the dates are similar cause you're working on it, but they will drift if people work on the list over the years, and will be very useful if someone wants to do an general update of the whole list in future. Adding "Accessed 09/09/2011" (or whatever it was when you accessed each of them) to the end of the refs isn't really a significant amount of text. So this requirement really rules out using a code for online sources but would be something to consider for a book (for which individual terse citations followed by a full citation at the end is quite common).
BTW: I see a 30% reduction in HTML size (964K to 679K) on IE8 and the ref section of the HTML has reduced by 75% from 406K to 95K! These figures are of course dwarfed by the images. Colin°Talk 08:16, 9 September 2011 (UTC)
If you've got hundreds of individual citations, then eliminating citation templates in favor of manual formatting will noticeably improve page-loading time. (See the discussions at Talk:Pain where an editor proved this.)
However, probably the simplest solution is to cite the fewest number of sources possible, and to keep those citations as generic as possible. Page numbers are nice, but they're not required, especially for books that have a decent index. WP:CITE has no business declaring that access dates are required, and it directly says that "Editors may choose any style they want", including a style that doesn't worry about access dates. WhatamIdoing (talk) 18:42, 9 September 2011 (UTC)
The problem is with online citations. There are around 460 of them, and every url is around 50-80 bytes. Replacing "Accessed 09/09/2011" (or similar) by a 2-character code - representing the access date - for each item reduces the text size by 17 x 460 = 7820 bytes, less ~120 bytes for the explanatory key, without losing any information. The access dates are still provided, all that is lost is convenience; but for most readers the "Accessed" date is an irrelevance, what matters is whether or not the link works. I would say that WP:CITE is satisfied because the information is provided; but I'm not a lawyer! Paravane (talk) 21:01, 9 September 2011 (UTC)
Stop worrying about bytes, its the kilobytes that matter. Really the dates won't be an issue. The templates made editing slow and painful, and the pictures are making readers wait for a long time. I have to disagree with WhatamIdoing, much as I hate to. Online sources change. The access date or publication date is just as vital as knowing the edition and publication date of a reference work used. Why should online sources have second-class citations? Yes, most readers aren't concerned with the references at all, but those that are will care to know if the sources are outdated. In 10 years time, don't you think it would be useful to know that this list is 10 years out of date, or has been kept up-to-date? If you are aiming this list at FL (which by your post there I assume) then you'll need to be the best Wikipedia can produce, not just the minimum. Colin°Talk 21:27, 9 September 2011 (UTC)
Plainly it is for the FL community to decide on the standards it wants to uphold. But I do not understand why you should say that readers will not know if the list is 10 years out of date - they only need to scroll up to the top of the References section to find out. In fact, because all the dates have 2-character codes explained in the key, the reader can see at a glance that the earliest access date is March 8, 2011: it would be less easy to spot this from scrolling through 460 dates. 7.5kb equates to ~3.5% of the total text size, just for the access dates to be shown in full instead of being abbreviated. Were you assuming I had deleted the dates altogether? Paravane (talk) 22:54, 9 September 2011 (UTC)
Sorry. That's what I get for editing while tired. I didn't realise you'd implemented the 2-character code rather than just proposing it. I was more responding to WhatamIdoing's comment that access dates are a citation variation that could be eliminated entirely. Your scheme is a bit unusual so be prepared for other editors to get it wrong when adding or editing (they may simply copy another entry without understanding what the code means). But it satisfies WP:V IMO so well done. The sections "Castles of which only earthworks, fragments or nothing remains include" don't appear to be sourced and there are quite a number of paragraphs in the lead without any inline source indicated, so I suspect there's a bit of work needed here if you wanted to aim for FL. Colin°Talk 10:12, 10 September 2011 (UTC)
Would it then be satisfactory to cite a single generic source for each of the sections "Castles of which only earthworks, fragments or nothing remains include"? All these castles are listed online at the Gatehouse or in a 2-volume printed work by Cathcart King. Referencing them individually would probably generate another 300+ references. Paravane (talk) 10:39, 10 September 2011 (UTC)
I'm not sure Gatehouse would be considered a reliable source at FL as it appears to be a self-published amateur website, even though the amateur is pretty dedicated. Sometimes these cites are ok: you have to be prepared to answer the question "What makes XXX a reliable source for YYY?" with some evidence that it is considered accurate/authoritative/etc. We'd really be aiming for the WP page to be drawn from the same reliable print sources and official online sources as he uses. I suspect the book will have an index, so citing the whole two volumes rather than a page per castle should be ok as anyone could then look up the castle to find it. A duplicate inline citation for each of those sections, to this one book, would be fine. Colin°Talk 13:26, 10 September 2011 (UTC)
Gatehouse is run by one of the leading amateur English historians, gives the academic sources for his articles, and is in good standing with the Castle Studies Group (the main UK academic group covering castles) - a published academic source would be better, but you'd probably have support from the Mil Hist Project for treating his work as authoritative for many claims. Hchc2009 (talk) 17:26, 10 September 2011 (UTC)
NB: There's a mention above that page numbers aren't required in references - I'd disagree; I think that WP:CITE says explicitly that a cite should "specify the page number or range of page numbers" unless the reference is deliberately to a volume as a whole.Hchc2009 (talk) 17:36, 10 September 2011 (UTC)
Colin, you need not worry about disagreeing with me: I don't mind rational disagreement, and you are always both polite and wonderfully rational. My point is not that access dates aren't useful (assuming that a proper publication date is unavailable); it's that no matter what WP:CITE might say, they aren't, strictly speaking, required. If including them is seriously disrupting a page, then they can (and perhaps should) be omitted. WhatamIdoing (talk) 22:57, 10 September 2011 (UTC)
Thanks for the clarification. Now that the refs are no longer using the cite web templates, editing and rendering time shouldn't be an issue for the references section. As far as readers are concerned, the HTML is 660K (of which the references are about 95K) but the images and other support files are 2,370K. Put it another way, the images are 25 times larger than the refs. Refs are not a download problem now and even if we doubled the size of them, we'd still not make any difference to the download speed. Colin°Talk 06:56, 11 September 2011 (UTC)
I think you'll find that the 2,370K is the size on disk, the download size being a good deal less. According to Windows Explorer the actual size for the images etc. - the amount of data to be downloaded - is now 1.28MB and the size on disk 1.94MB, after I have cut out ~30 images, the text size now ~197K. Paravane (talk) 21:00, 12 September 2011 (UTC)

Excepting Sysops & above from spam blacklist?

The other day I tried to add a bit ly link into an edit summary (since it was shorter than the full URL) to justify why I'd made an edit, but was denied by the spam blacklist, and so had to put the full URL there instead (see [4]). Could local Sysops and above be excepted from this rule on the proviso that they post such URLs for a legitimate purpose? It Is Me Here t / c 11:14, 10 September 2011 (UTC)

It wouldn't be a good idea. Blacklisted pages do not prevent saving only when you try to add them, but also when they ARE on the page and you simply try to save after doing some completely unrelated thing. For example, if you add a URL to a page, and that URL gets blacklisted afterwards. So, even if admins were allowed to bypass the blacklist, the next user needing to use the page would have to seek the problematic URL and remove it; all edits would be impossible until doing so (for someone unaware of how to do that, it would be just as if the page was admin-protected). And if this sounds disturbing in a talk page, consider if such a mess was done at a village pump or noticeboard. Cambalachero (talk) 11:34, 10 September 2011 (UTC)
Ah, never mind, then! It Is Me Here t / c 14:07, 10 September 2011 (UTC)
Actually, that was fixed in rev:34769 back in May 2008. But I still don't see any point to this. If a particular link should be generally allowed, we have MediaWiki:Spam-whitelist. And if it shouldn't be generally allowed, there's no good reason for admins to be adding it either. Anomie 14:30, 10 September 2011 (UTC)

Is policy obsolete? WMF to introduce Terms of Service

I would like anyone and everyone to look at meta:Terms of use and see what they think. They're a few days into a 30-day comment period. Wnt (talk) 21:26, 10 September 2011 (UTC)

Your section heading is rather hyperbolic. The updated terms are meant to compliment and assist the policies in place on the various projects, not replace them. Whether the new terms of use are adopted or not should have little impact on the functioning of Wikipedia. Dragons flight (talk) 21:33, 10 September 2011 (UTC)
That's right (see point 11.); apart from that, there is nothing new or revolutionary. Choyoołʼįįhí:Seb az86556 > haneʼ 21:39, 10 September 2011 (UTC)
Lol. I've only glanced at the proposed TOS, but yeah, that section title is hilarious and not the least bit neutral. Especially given section 11 of that TOS. Resolute 21:40, 10 September 2011 (UTC)
There are some new things there - agreeing to indemnify Wikimedia for legal costs, for example. Prohibitions on linking to a range of things so wide I don't even understand the limitations. WMF issuing policies directly (in addition to the TOS terms themselves). Legal action against editors for breaking the TOS rules. I think you should look again. Wnt (talk) 21:45, 10 September 2011 (UTC)
None of which has anything to do with policy being "obsolete". That said, the indemnification bit is pretty standard, and Wikimedia has always maintained the role of service provider rather than content contributor. Wikimedia's obligation is to act on take down requests once they become aware of problematic material. The TOS is consistent with this approach: Your edits are your responsibility, and so too are the consequences. As for the rest, pinning down loose statements and focusing them is a good thing, but for the most part, I view your complaints as hyperbole. There's nothing in that TOS that you wouldn't see in any other. Resolute 22:26, 10 September 2011 (UTC)
Maybe, but most TOSes are designed for corporations ruled in a top-down manner with no pretense that the community is in charge. Wnt (talk) 01:40, 11 September 2011 (UTC)
Don't bite the hand that feeds you. The money that keeps this site up comes from somewhere; while a bit of that are from donations, the funds still needs to be managed, and when there is money involved, legalities follow close behind. –MuZemike 09:27, 11 September 2011 (UTC)
"the hand that feeds you"?! Whose hands feeds who? WMF does not 'feed' me in any way. I, and you, and all editors, feed them. They would have no job if there were no editors. As to the topic subject, legal stuff, no comment. - Nabla (talk) 17:17, 11 September 2011 (UTC)
I was under the impression it all came from donations, and that the WMF was elected by the people here. Wnt (talk) 15:59, 11 September 2011 (UTC)
I just have to clarify that the Boards of Trustees are elected, but the Wikimedia Foundation employees and contractors are not. It is donor supported. --Maggie Dennis (WMF) (talk) 15:27, 12 September 2011 (UTC)
It seems that Wikimedia's priority is to cover it's arse, and editors are on their own if the topic is in any way controversial. So any external group with a axe to grind (e.g. to try to push a POV) can have their way if they have more resources that Wikipedians. --Philcha (talk) 22:31, 10 September 2011 (UTC)
Philcha, what's the alternative? A wikipedian gets sued for libel. The Foundation goes out of its way to defend him with resources. By doing so, the foundation completely undermines the idea that it's just a service provider and not actively involved in editorial matters, presumably risking the legal liability that stops the Foundation being sued out of existence every time a vandal writes that a celebrity is poorly endowed and in the closet? Ironholds (talk) 04:11, 12 September 2011 (UTC)
The existing Terms of Service can be found at http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Terms_of_use so "WMF to introduce Terms of Service" is false. It's only a proposed update, and I have updated the section heading to reflect this fact. WhatamIdoing (talk) 00:42, 12 September 2011 (UTC)
I put it back the way it was - the old document, while called "terms of use", was not about trying to set mandatory rules that editors could be sued for not following. Wnt (talk) 21:57, 12 September 2011 (UTC)

Overlinking in edit summaries - how about limiting editors to just a SINGLE link in an edit summary?

Withdrawn causa sui (talk) 23:31, 15 September 2011 (UTC)

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

I'm finding a raft of IPs are chronically making minor edits and then loading up the edit summary with a long list of their favorite wikilinks. For example, look at [this IP's list of contribs]. Note their behavior is continuing even [after a warning]. I can point to a number of other IPs that seem to favor the same collection of (overlinked) links in the edit summary.

Would it be hard to limit the edit summary to containing just a single link? That might be a more effective way to minimize the annoying behavior than taking multiple anons thru ANI, and its not obvious that there would be a major penalty for the rest of us NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 20:39, 12 September 2011 (UTC)

  • Oppose because it's very often valuable to use multiple links in edit-summaries, especially links to policy pages (eg. rvt per WP:NOR, WP:V etc.) and this proposal seems to be an overreaction to low-level disruptive behaviour. ╟─TreasuryTagChancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster─╢ 20:40, 12 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose There have been a couple of cases where I've had to use 4+ links in edit summaries...link to user, and three policies to help convey thoughts (WP:N, WP:V, WP:3RR). If anything, I think there are a few cases were I feel the edit summaries should allow for longer text...but it's just a summary. There is no forseeable penalty to having a wikilink in an edit summary versus just text from an HTML standpoint...Now if there were external links (inappropriate links, etc), then we might need to tread on water there. JguyTalkDone 20:47, 12 September 2011 (UTC)

MODIFIED PROPOSAL: To address two opposing comments above, how about limiting the edit summary to containing just a single link of any kind - be it wiki or external - except (i.e., not counting) those that are preceded by prefix WP: NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 21:11, 12 September 2011 (UTC)

  • Once again, Oppose...what about pages in the Special namespace? User namespace? This seems to be more trouble than it's worth. Sometimes editors need to link in the main and main_talk namespace. What is the harm in overlinking in the edit summary? I can't see one from a page load time standpoint... JguyTalkDone 21:51, 12 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose- as others have pointed out, multiple links in an edit summary have legitimate and useful purposes. If someone is using a usually productive feature disruptively, you deal with them; you don't prevent everyone else from using that feature. Reyk YO! 21:56, 12 September 2011 (UTC)
    Indeed. This is a technical solution to a social problem. Probably there is some javascript or css that you could write (have written) if you want this feature for yourself. –xenotalk 21:59, 12 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose. When I read this proposal I immediately thought: "This is absurd. I have only met one editor who behaves like that in several years with the project." Turns out the editor you linked to is precisely the one I was thinking of. (The editor is easily recognisable by the edits to climate change articles.) We don't need formal rules for slightly problematic behaviour that is so extremely rare. Hans Adler 22:05, 12 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Linking can be extremly useful and limiting it because one editor makes a hash of it is overkill. Agathoclea (talk) 22:17, 12 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose - Don't limit productive editors because of a single disruptive editor. GB fan 22:23, 12 September 2011 (UTC)
  • reluctant Oppose. I don't agree with Hans; it's the same editor, but he uses hundreds of IPs; when he skips more rapidly than usual, some of his absurd edits may not be caught unless someone aware of his tactics is watching that particular article. Furthermore, I wouldn't say that it's rare; you'll probably find that most IP edits on climate change articles, or articles that he thinks are related to climate change, are this editor.
    However, even the default "undo" text has two links, one to the user talk page, and one to Special:Contributions. More seriously, there are times when I find that linking to two articles in the summary makes sense. Perhaps a more complex form, that if more than one article- or article-talk-space link is used, there must be more unlinked text than linked text.
    Whatever the decision, if we agree on it, the edit filter people can probably implement it, although I don't know if the load would be too great. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 22:24, 12 September 2011 (UTC)
  • FWIW, I don't think there's a particular need to pile on further bolded positions. Remember that developers require strong affirmative consensus prior to implementing a change such as this. –xenotalk 22:25, 12 September 2011 (UTC)
  • No, this is a solution to something that's not really a problem. LadyofShalott 22:29, 12 September 2011 (UTC)

RESOLVED well that's clear, thanks for commenting.... Then again, if it isn't YOUR house getting regularly TP'd you might think TPing was a minor annoyance. I see this crap in my watchlist all the time.... its hard to find things in my watchlist due to clutter, and I end up taking time inspecting minor non-edits. But I'll pursue another idea. If anyone has followup suggestions to deal with the behavior (other than ignoring it) please write me at my talk page. Thanks NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 00:33, 13 September 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.

{{Flatlist}}

Should we be using {{flatlist}} in navboxes, or is using  • ,  · , • still okay?Smallman12q (talk) 23:03, 14 September 2011 (UTC)

The left alignment of {{flatlist}} looks utterly shit. If it where to center the text it might be a useful alternative, but as it stands now I would replace it in any navbox I find for aesthetic reasons. Yoenit (talk) 08:33, 15 September 2011 (UTC)

Request for Comment: Capitalization of common names of animal species

Essay Icon

For polîcies, we have a green check mark in the information window. For guidelines, we have a blue check mark. And for essays - we have what appears to be a pencil writing on paper. I don't think that this reflects the nature of essays and their relationships to other policies well. I think the representation of essays should be changed - I have no preference about which (different) image to use, so suggestions are welcome. Interchangeable|talk to me 20:25, 10 September 2011 (UTC)

Policies and guidelines have official standing. Essays are opinions relating to policies and guidelines. They are, as the icon suggests, a piece of writing. For the icon to be "wrong" (or less than optimal) you must have an idea of what consitutes a better representation, or be able to put into words the discrepancy between what you feel essays are and what the icon represents. GraemeLeggett (talk) 08:50, 11 September 2011 (UTC)
It still doesn't seem quite right to treat them merely as opinions - many essays are just as important as policies or guidelines (although they cannot be enforced). Essays are not just writing - they have a variety of purposes, and we should not treat them solely as opinions. Interchangeable|talk to me 16:04, 11 September 2011 (UTC)
...But that's exactly what they are: opinions. Granted, some are widely held opinions, but ultimately, that's all they are.--Fyre2387 (talkcontribs) 19:22, 11 September 2011 (UTC)
Sure, but some of our best policies and guidelines are "just opinions", too. For example, WP:POLICY is a collection of the community's opinions about how to write and maintain decent policies and guidelines. WP:MOS is a collection of the community's opinions about how to write a decent article. WP:IAR is the community's opinion about whether you should mindlessly follow written rules or use your best judgment.
Along those lines, some of you might like to read about WP:The differences between policies, guidelines, and essays. This "mere essay", which explains how blurry the lines are, grew out of long discussions and persistent demands for prescriptive rules for classifying pages (and, usually, a desire to have a gold-plated get-out-of-jail-free card with respect to some widely supported essay like WP:BRD or WP:Use common sense). WhatamIdoing (talk) 00:49, 12 September 2011 (UTC)
Okay, then - perhaps the essay symbol should be changed to a greyîsh check mark. It's unobtrusive and better reflects the opinions of some essays. Interchangeable|talk to me 14:39, 13 September 2011 (UTC)
We should not change the icon on essay pages per WP:BIKESHED. Inconsequential changes shouldn't be done because they are inconsequential; time spent discussing, debating, voting on, and implementing inconsequential changes is time not spent doing stuff that matters. --Jayron32 03:22, 16 September 2011 (UTC)
That îs only an essay and cannot be treated as a policy. (There may be some irony in that...) What about the Minor Edit Barnstar? Can we consider minor edits something that should not be done? Interchangeable|talk to me 18:37, 16 September 2011 (UTC)
Minor edits are not always inconsequential. Fixing a typo is a minor edit, but it can be very important to the reader, especially if the typo resulted in a different word, or made the word incomprehensible to an English language learner.
Changing the icon on an essay template, though, isn't really going to help anyone. WhatamIdoing (talk) 18:48, 16 September 2011 (UTC)
In my view, there are two types of essays, one if normal essays, for which current icon is fine; But the second type is essays that are referenced from other guidelines and/or policies; Which are more than an mere essay. AzaToth 18:43, 16 September 2011 (UTC)
What you are proposing is a bit revolutionary. What criteria would be used to distinguish the referenced essays from the opinions? And, regrettably, WP:DGAF may fall into the first category, and I certainly don't want such an Uncyclopedia-worthy essay to be distinguished from or "above" other essays. Also, my main point is to show that the essay icon does not accurately reflect the nature of essays in Wikipedia, and (now that I think about it) it's actually rather dull compared to policies' and guidelines' icons. Interchangeable|talk to me 22:59, 16 September 2011 (UTC)

Request for comment on Wikipedia:Arbitration Committee Elections December 2011

As customary to notify this noticeboard, I have started a request for comment for the 2011 Arbitration Committee Elections. The community is invited and encouraged to discuss the issues at hand in order to develop a rough consensus for the procedures and rules for the election in December. –MuZemike 00:36, 18 September 2011 (UTC)

a link to a page that redirects back to the original page?

On first line of 4th Dimension (software), there is a link to Laurent Ribardiere which redirects back to 4th Dimension (software). Should I leave it like that, change the link to the page itself, remove the link, or remove the link and make it bold? Coeur (talk) 08:14, 19 September 2011 (UTC)

remove the link, but don't make it bold (that is typically only done for alternative names). Yoenit (talk) 08:16, 19 September 2011 (UTC)
link removed :) Coeur (talk) 08:37, 19 September 2011 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Delegitimization as a tactic has been marked as a policy

Wikipedia:Delegitimization as a tactic (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, 20 September 2011 (UTC)

 Done Cambalachero (talk) 02:40, 20 September 2011 (UTC)

Acting without consensus

I've just noticed a bot called User:AnomieBOT/docs/FlagIconRemover which is starting to go from WikiProject to WikiProject deleting flagicons in infoboxes quoting WP:MOSFLAG and claiming it has the consensus of that project. However, WP:MOSFLAG itself is highly contentious and the discussion on the use of flags in infoboxes here reached an impasse with many votes for and against. The bot has automatically deleted flags from infoboxes in the relating to WP:WikiProject World Heritage Sites but I see no discussion or reference to a discussion at all on the talk page and a thread but no votes or consensus for mass deletion on the talk page of the actual template. Where there is discussion, the flag burners from WP:MOSFLAG are turning up on the project pages pushing for mass deletion, having failed to gain support on their own talk page. This appears to run contrary to Wikipedia's normal consensual approach. I propose 2 things:

  • The bot is deleted before it wreaks any more havoc. There is no broad consensus at WP:MOSFLAG for this approach.
  • WP:MOSFLAG is amended to better reflect the range of views on Wikipedia rather than being pro-flag burning as at present to avoid giving licence to those who do not have a clear majority of Wikipedia editors behind them. --Bermicourt (talk) 06:30, 13 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Having or not having a flag is the least of the problems with this dreadful template, which is totally inappropriate for most of the articles it is used on, as it gives all the wrong information. Johnbod (talk) 09:01, 13 September 2011 (UTC)
The bot only removes flags from within certain specific infoboxes, all of which have specific consensus for the bot to do this:
You would know this if you had bothered to read the very page you linked to. If you see the bot actually removing flags from anywhere else besides within one of those three templates (or any templates that might be added by consensus in the future), please let me know (preferably by posting here) as that would be a bug and needs immediate repair. Anomie 10:40, 13 September 2011 (UTC)
There is no consensus for mass deletion of flags from infoboxes at MOSFLAG which makes the existence of the bot a concern. There is also no consensus within at least one of the projects named - World Heritage Sites. The two threads on the template talk page, here and here, are not conclusive; there is only vague reference to them at the Project Talk Page and, oddly, not one of the participants is a member of the project, but at least 3 are opponents of flags at WP:MOSFLAG. --Bermicourt (talk) 11:56, 13 September 2011 (UTC)
Fortunately, the bot doesn't try to do any "mass deletion of flags from infoboxes" as you continue to claim. As for the other, in one thread I see 3 supports and zero opposes, and in the other I see one person opposing versus three supporting. I have no way to tell if any person is a "member" of a project. Anomie 12:45, 13 September 2011 (UTC)
And "membership" of the project is not in any way relevant. Some members of some projects appear to think they OWN the pages their project is interested in. They do not. The suggestion that wikipedians who venture opinions you do not favour are some form of outsider is fairly repugnant. --Tagishsimon (talk) 12:50, 13 September 2011 (UTC)
@Anomie. By "mass deletion" I mean the bot removes flag icons from all instances of a given infobox template, rather than editors doing this one article at a time.
@Tagishsimon. But it is odd that not a single member of a project commented on the use of the bot to wipe out flags from the associated infobox, but several of the anti-flag group turned up. Of course, project members don't "own" the project infoboxes, but neither do the flag-burners, especially as they haven't achieved anywhere near a consensus.
I'm only arguing for consensus and I feel this is being circumvented. --Bermicourt (talk) 17:25, 13 September 2011 (UTC)
If you have a discussion where several editors with a specific opinion show up and contribute to it, but more local project members don't care enough to argue against, then that is a form of consensus, right? —Akrabbimtalk 18:09, 13 September 2011 (UTC)
If a team of people with an agenda, abandon the main talk page on the issue and press ahead anyway by having a quick chat on obscure template talk pages, without clearly alerting those working on the project, calling it "consensus" and using a bot to achieve their aim, then moving to the next project, then that is a form of railroading. Not really in keeping with Wikipedia's ethos. I do hope that is not what is happening, but it rather looks like it. --Bermicourt (talk) 20:45, 13 September 2011 (UTC)
RE WHS: If a discussion which started on 26 January 2010 and extended to 27 July 2011 was a "quick chat", if the discussions on the infobox talk page wouldn't have been linked to multiple times from the WikiProject talk page and if a page watched by 40 editors is more "obscure" than one watched by less than 30 editors than you could have been right. --Elekhh (talk) 23:49, 13 September 2011 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Iff the bot is making articles compliant with the MOS, and iff there's been agreement with the respective wikiprojects, that's fine by me; asking for further "consensus" on another page seems to be needlessly obstructionary.. I think the burden of proof (so to speak) should be the other way round; if somebody opposes actions already in line with MOS and in line with the local community, it's up to them to bring a bigger stronger consensus if they want to stop the actions. Until then it's contempt for the existing consensus. bobrayner (talk) 02:56, 16 September 2011 (UTC)

But the MOS is discredited because it doesn't have consensus and in the case I scanned, there hasn't been agreement with the project. Instead, a few flag-burners have appeared on the template talk page, had a chat and then the bot has been let loose deleting infobox flags. That's avoiding the need for true consensus. --Bermicourt (talk) 05:54, 16 September 2011 (UTC)
You didn't get a consensus for your proposed change in June 2011. Is that what you mean by "discredited"? Has the burden of proof shifted since then? Incidentally, that proposal included wording about "flags ... deprecated by the relevant WikiProject following fair discussion", which is the basis of the bot action we're discussing here. Have the goalposts moved again? bobrayner (talk) 10:53, 16 September 2011 (UTC)
I shouldn't have to spell this out... the discussion showed there was no consensus for the existing MOSFLAG text: some wanted change - so clearly they aren't in favour of the existing text, some didn't. Even the most biassed reader can surely see the existing policy is not endorsed by anything that remotely approaches consensus! --Bermicourt (talk) 14:04, 16 September 2011 (UTC)
The fact that some people disagree with some detail in the MOS does not amount to "no consensus for the existing MOS". There are people who disagree with just about every single policy, from WP:IAR on down. Consensus does not require unanimity. Unless and until you actually get an agreement to change the guideline, then the community treats the existing guideline as the current consensus on that point. WhatamIdoing (talk) 18:52, 21 September 2011 (UTC)

Editors deleting things from Userspace drafts

I didn't know editors could even do this, but I've had two of them recently run Bots through my drafts, for no rational purpose I can determine except to waste their own time, and make my work more difficult to do. I want to know how this can be prevented? They're drafts, they aren't posted live yet, why are they changing them on me?

One of the editors, I'm finding his actions repeatedly disruptive. in the past month I've reversed two deletion decision by this person, they have years of editing experience and yet wanted to delete two posted articles that clearly met the notability criteria. Today I see he used a bot to delete the category tags from two draft articles in my Userspace. I've left a couple of messages on his Talk page, one over this, one in the past, he doesn't respond. What's the next recourse in dealing with him?

OttawaAC (talk) 22:59, 18 September 2011 (UTC)

  • You're not supposed to link to userspace from mainspace. Including all those categories inside your userspace draft has that effect, so it is quite correct to remove them. You only put the categories in when the article goes live. Reyk YO! 23:31, 18 September 2011 (UTC)
Thanks for the quick response.

I still need some clarification on the user docs though. The article for Help:Userspace draft doesn't mention the category problem at all. I see that Wikipedia:User_pages does mention it, but I need a clearer technical explanation; it states:

You can also force a portion of text to be ignored by adding after it, or by adding a colon before "Category", like this: Category:Bridges to force a category link to act like a plain wikilink.

What's the definition of "wikilink"? What's the distinction between that and a category link?

One other issue, one of the editors used a Bot that didn't touch the category links, but it went through doing something to templates within a French article that I had yet to translate to English. The French Wikipedia templates don't function in the English Wikipedia, so I don't understand what was happening there. During the translation process, I would have removed the templates anyway, but I wonder why the Bot would identify them and try cleaning them up if they aren't English templates. Are there cleanup Bots that go after {{}} in Userspace drafts??

OttawaAC (talk) 00:33, 19 September 2011 (UTC)

Plain wikilinks just link to the target category, they serve as a placeholder. Regular category links put that page into public categories, which means readers will find them. As for the bots, please link to the edits so we know what you're talking about. ▫ JohnnyMrNinja 00:37, 19 September 2011 (UTC)

User:OttawaAC/women_and_literary_salons The Bot was Plasticspork. It translated the French words in a Portal tag to the English versions, I think maybe that's all it did. The other one was HotCat in another article, Women in Tunisia. The user documentation is a little contradictory, the Wikipedia: User_pages says not to use templates (is that anything with {{}} in your markup?), but then Help:Userspace draft says: You can use the template {{userspace draft}} to tag a userspace draft if it is not automatically done for you.

Sorry to hijack the forum with technical help issues, if you want me to cut and paste this in another forum, let me know. I appreciate your help. OttawaAC (talk) 00:53, 19 September 2011 (UTC)

  • Well, it is kinda policy related as well as technical so there's no real problem. Glad to be able to help. Reyk YO! 08:09, 19 September 2011 (UTC)
Neither User:Alan Liefting nor User:Plasticspork are bots (bots always have Bot at the end of their name). I don't have a problem with their edit, but if you want to discuss it I suggest you bring it up with the user in question. Templates are indeed anything between {{}} (see Wikipedia:Transclusion for more information about what curly brackets do) and you are allowed to use them in userspace. I think you misread Wikipedia: User pages, as it only says you are not allowed to add categories. Yoenit (talk) 08:16, 19 September 2011 (UTC)
It's not true that bots always end in "bot". See Wikipedia:Bots/Status. Some bots start with "Bot", have it in the middle, and several don't even have "bot" at all.--v/r - TP 19:38, 20 September 2011 (UTC)

I never said those Users were Bots. The edit history appears to me to indicate that they used edit tools of some kind, which I thought were bots. I have to find out why/how Plastikspork edited a template, but Alan Liefting was using something called HotCat, if it isn't a bot, then I would guess it's a macro? Or something else? So many editing tool mysteries to be unravelled... The Wikipedia:User pages article has header/content conflicts, IMO. If you look at the index box at the top, you can see that header 6 is "What may I not have in my user pages?" Nested under that is 6.3 "Categories, templates and redirects"... For me it's precise in its ambiguity...I assume too much I guess. I'm off to read some more user documentation and figure out what goes on with the more advanced editing. OttawaAC (talk) 21:56, 19 September 2011 (UTC)

WP:HotCat is a gadget that makes adding and removing categories much easier. Anyone can turn it on and use it. Go to "My preferences", then "Gadgets". It's the fourth item under "Editing". The changes made by HotCat are exactly the same as what you would do by hand to change a category on a page. The only real difference is that HotCat gives a more detailed edit summary than most editors would bother with. WhatamIdoing (talk) 19:30, 21 September 2011 (UTC)

Deleting entries from disambiguation page - asserting?

The disambiguation page RTG two entries for Royal Thai Government and Regular tree grammar that another editor seems to think won't fit there because those articles do not assert that they are also known as "RTG". So is this how wikipedia policy should be interpretated? Because if one try to find out what "RTG" means and it's one of the deleted interpretations then wikipedia will be of no value in that case.Electron9 (talk) 21:24, 19 September 2011 (UTC)

Stop whining and go update Regular tree grammar with some of these sources to include the shortcut, then readd it to the dab. And for the Thai government use these. Now was that so hard? Yoenit (talk) 21:47, 19 September 2011 (UTC)
  • I support the notion that if the target article does not mention the term on the dab page, that dab entry should be dropped. It might not be a specific statement in policy, but it is in line with the whole encyclopedic concept of verifiability. This shouldn't be done blithely or without an edit note, though, as sometimes the target article supporting passage is removed by an editor who isn't aware of the utility of it, which leads back to Yoenit's pointing out that they should be supported by citations in the target article, again in keeping with policy. --User:Ceyockey (talk to me) 03:13, 20 September 2011 (UTC)
    On most dab pages, that's not unreasonable, but for abbreviations, I disagree. Including abbreviations in the articles may be inappropriate for many reasons, including the fact that when such abbreviations are mentioned at all, they are often used by editors throughout the article, which is often undesirable stylistically.
    Also, verifiability is about what is possible to verify, using your favorite web search engine as well as whole libraries, not about what is documented in the current version of an article. That RTG is a common abbreviation for both of these terms was verifiable even when the articles did not mention the abbreviations. WhatamIdoing (talk) 19:35, 21 September 2011 (UTC)
  • I agree with WhatamIdoing: the purpose of any page is to help the reader; on a dab page, that means that actual abbreviations should be listed (when we have an article on the subject). It may not be useful to state the obvious in an article ("RTG stands for Royal Thai Government"), but (assuming even one trivial source does use RTG in that manner), the entry should be on the dab. Johnuniq (talk) 01:20, 24 September 2011 (UTC)

Checks and Balances in the Articles for Deletion Nomination Process

see Wikipedia talk: Articles for deletion#Checks and Balances in the Articles for Deletion Nomination Process.

There needs to be better checks and balances in the process of how articles are currently nominated for deletion, to prevent notable topics from being deleted without actual qualification per Wikipedia article deletion guidelines. This is a significant problem, because it is very likely that notable topics are being injustly deleted. It's easy to nominate an article for deletion and then type five or six words and wait to see if an article will be deleted, whereas it takes more time to refute nominations. Perhaps there should be more sophisticated criterion to nominate articles for deletion. As it is now, anyone can nominate any article without providing a just rationale for doing so, and can instead simply base the nomination upon basic, generic and inspecific statements such as "doesn't pass general notability guidelines", while not specifically stating which parts of the guidelines they are supposedly referring to. If nobody comes along to correct an injust or baseless nomination, the article is then deleted based upon unqualified, general statements that don't actually correspond with the required source searching per WP:BEFORE prior to nominating an article for deletion. This definitely makes it very easy for people to censor Wikipedia, for whatever subjective reasons. Here's how it's done: an article is nominated for deletion and an AfD entry is created, a generic rationale is provided to misqualify the deletion without actually checking for reliable sources to establish topic notability. Afterward, if nobody comes along to correct the faulty nomination, the article is deleted. It's also easy for people to message one-another to delete articles, often per an "as per nom" rationale, while disregarding the actual notability of topics. If nobody comes along and provides an objective analysis to refute the deletion of an article in which the topic is actually notable, nominated per generic statements and without the required source searching prior to nomination, then the article disappears. Hopefully Wikipedia can introduce better checks and balances to prevent this type of easily accomplished, simple censorship. One idea is to include a requirement prior to article nomination for deletion in which the nominator has to state, or check-box on a template, that they've performed the required minimum search in Google Books and in the Google News Archive required by WP:BEFORE, and in Google Scholar for academic subjects, as suggested in WP:BEFORE. This would be a simple addition to the AfD nomination process that would add significant integrity to the process, and would also encourage users to follow the proper procedures.

Please place responses regarding this matter here on this Wikipedia:Village pump (policy) page below, rather than on my personal talk page. In this manner, other users can view and respond to responses. Thank you. Northamerica1000 (talk) 07:02, 22 September 2011 (UTC)

Considering that so far, Northamerica1000 has posted the same thing on three different pages, and each time asked to have the discussion on that specific page, I think it would be wiser to have this discussion in one location, and suggest that Wikipedia talk:Articles for deletion#Checks and Balances in the Articles for Deletion Nomination Process is the best place for this. Fram (talk) 07:14, 22 September 2011 (UTC)

Wikiproject Pornography and Minors: Proposals and Discussion

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.
It is painfully obvious that there is no consensus to institute this or a similar proposal, and the heat-to-light ratio is rising in the wrong direction. Both those in support of and opposition to this proposal raise salient points, which I will attempt to summarize briefly below.
Those who support point out some legal issues with allowing openly-admitted minors to edit articles explicitly about pornography, which is possibly illegal under Florida law, where the Foundation's servers are located. They also point out some extremely thorny potential public image issues with allowing minors to edit these articles: while we, as editors, are perfectly aware that our articles about porn are not themselves porn, American mass media is not as likely to make such a distinction. In addition, some raise moral and ethical issues with allowing minors to edit these articles, which are largely dismissed by those who oppose the proposal.
Those who oppose point out that a proposal like the one below would be largely unenforceable unless we force users to identify in order to join the WikiProject. Many raise the issue that it is not our job to stop children from accessing topic such as these, but rather the job of the children's parents. The legal issues raised by supporters are dismissed as being no worse than those we have in allowing all users, some of whom are potentially minors, to view articles about pornography.
A good portion of this discussion seems to be about meta-issues well beyond its own scope. Having another discussion in a few weeks, as suggested below, is unlikely to change the results. RFCs on other topics may be useful to understand the community's stances on these issues. lifebaka++ 03:43, 25 September 2011 (UTC)

RfC: Should underage editors be topic banned from articles in the WikiProject Pornography topic area?

Prompted by this in Jimbo's talk page Proposal for a permanent community topic ban of underage (under Florida law) editors from all editing and participation in the WikiProject Pornography topic area, narrowly construed to articles with the WikiProject banner in the talk page and the associated Portal and the WikiProject itself. If enough support for this is expressed in the RfC, then the ban will come into effect immediately, but a draft for a policy will be made for further community consideration - the idea is to have this become a permanent behavioral policy. There are some editors who feel all areas regarding human sexuality are inherently pornographic in the way we treat them, hence this topic ban is narrowly construed to evade such controversies. Furthermore, most of the articles in the WikiProject Pornography are uncontroversially not pornographic - lots of BLPs and BIOs etc - so the topic ban is not construed in terms of editing behavior/content but of topic area participation. I think this would strike a balance between our need to protect the project from needless controversy and our need to follow correct application of WP:NOTCENSORED.--Cerejota (talk) 19:34, 20 September 2011 (UTC)

  • Oppose, it's unenforceable anyway (since we do not require people to reveal their ages), and would lead to witch hunts, violations of privacy, etc... What happens if an underage editor runs AWB on a series of articles, and a they happen to edit a porn star's article which happens to be included in a category they though were not porn-related? Plus, pornography laws vary from country to country anyway. The onus is on the editor (or their parents) to make sure they comply with the law, not on the WMF. Headbomb {talk / contribs / physics / books} 19:40, 20 September 2011 (UTC)
  • (edit conflict) Oppose as an impossible to enforce idea. Wikipedia editors are anonymous, even their ages, and it makes no sense to have a rule which isn't possible to enforce in an equitable manner, or even at all. I appreciate the need to protect children who may legally need protecting; excepting that this rule doesn't do that. Such children may still view prurient material which is availible at Wikipedia, and much of the articles so noted aren't legally pornography anyways. An all around bad idea (a well intentioned bad idea, but a bad one nonetheless). --Jayron32 19:45, 20 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Utterly unenforceable and utterly unfair; the only way this could possibly work would be if you banned them from *reading* about the topic as well - which is impossible. Although the hand-wringing about censorship around the image filter is unjustified, the same concerns are perfectly valid here. I really wish people would stop using "it was at Jimbo's talkpage! Jimbo commented!" arguments; while hair loss and a rich diet have given him many of the properties of the garden gnome, he has yet to develop the ability to do magic - he is just an editor, like any other. Ironholds (talk) 19:47, 20 September 2011 (UTC)
Actually, Jimbo has not commented on this topic.--Cerejota (talk) 19:52, 20 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose as unenforceable. ╟─TreasuryTagassemblyman─╢ 19:47, 20 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Strong Oppose (edit conflict × 4) Basing this on the coverage of the Wikiproject Pornography just wont work. For instance Jacobson v. United States and February 2010 Australian Cyberattacks are tagged as being parts of the project, it would be insane to prohibit underage editors from them. What would and what would not fall within this topic ban? It is vague, people's views on what constitutes pornography vary widely, and as Headbomb mentioned the whole thing will be totally unenforceable. Last I checked we were actively discouraging young editors from revealing personal information, but without requiring that editors reveal their ages, this is totally unenforceable, and only punishes those who are transparent. This will accomplish no purpose but to allow the persecution of underage editors by those who believe that minors should be prohibited from all editing. Monty845 19:48, 20 September 2011 (UTC)
    Actually, that is precisely the issue: participation in the topic area. It is not insane, it is a sensible solution to a complex problem.--Cerejota (talk) 19:50, 20 September 2011 (UTC)
    Would your proposed ban extend to those two articles I linked, which the project has deemed to be within the project area? Monty845 19:52, 20 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose as technically unfeasible. We have no way of tracking age, no way of defining the offending content and no way to blocking users per page. Concerned parents and organizations need to use content-control software. Self identifying as age 13 on a user page does not mean it is true. ---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 19:51, 20 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose for the reasons already stated. Additionally, given the reality that young people take an interest in sex and sexuality and have access to the internet, WP would, IMO, be providing a disservice by pushing them away to play in waters that may be less healthy and less safe. --FormerIP (talk) 19:56, 20 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose as it solves no problem. It would not, for the reasons stated above, actually prevent minors participating in WikiProject Pornography. Nor would it prevent them from editing/viewing the numerous other sex-related pages on Wikipedia - and this in turn means that anyone wanting to smear the encyclopedia project by saying that it is exposing minors to inappropriate material (the original reason for this concern being raised) would very easily be able to find other ways to make that claim. I appreciate that it is a thought-out response to an awkward problem but sadly I don't think it's the solution. Barnabypage (talk) 20:14, 20 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose - Per reasons given above. Enforcement responsibility has to come from the environment of the young user. Mlpearc powwow 20:52, 20 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose as unenforceable, and per WP:NOTCENSORED. If a parental unit has a problem with their offspring units having access to the articles on Wikipedia, the parental unit should be standing next to the terminal, or better yet, controlling the terminal. While some Wikipedians are undoubtedly parents, they are not EVERYONE'S parents, and should not be asked to behave as if they were. --Alan the Roving Ambassador (User:N5iln) (talk) 21:04, 20 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose: if Wikipedia is uncensored educational material, then it should follow that everyone has the right to view it and edit it. If there's material that's fundamentally inappropriate for Wikipedia because it crosses the line from an educational purpose to a pornographic purpose then it should be addressed at the content level. Indeed some photos are really just there to tantalize. But we've had a hard time explaining which ones. Dzlife (talk) 21:07, 20 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Comment - The preamble of this proposal is misleading. As I pointed out in the ANI discussion, many of our articles about pornography also contain pornography in the form of explicit images. There is no reason why fluffer needs an image to illustrate what is contained in the text, but I am not willing to start what would certainly be a long, contentious, and probably futile discussion about removing David Shankbone's fluffer image. We do younger readers a disservice by confusing the study of pornography with the thing itself. Also, barring users from editing certain areas does not alter their ability to read those articles, nor does it amount to any form of censorship whatsoever. Delicious carbuncle (talk) 21:37, 20 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose - Technically unenforceable. What's to stop registered editors falling under this "ban" (which we would practically have no way of telling who's under the legal age and who's not) to simply logout and fall under an IP to edit and view these pages? there's simply no way to control it. JguyTalkDone 21:47, 20 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose: Unenforceable, and attempting to enforce it will cause more problems than it solves. Additionally, "all pages with the Wikiproject Pornography banner" is far too broad: it includes Jacobellis v. Ohio, Miller v. California, Miller test, and probably large portions of Category:Pornography law -- things that no reasonable person would object to a minor editing. --Carnildo (talk) 23:08, 20 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Comment — Wikipedia must operate under some legal jurisdiction. Wikipedia must abide by the laws of that jurisdiction and cannot ignore them. It is up to the Foundation to clarify the legality or lack thereof of activity on Wikipedia in the context of that jurisdiction. Opposition or support is a valid matter of stating opinion to be considered by the Foundation, but carries no weight related to actually changing or keeping current policy in this area if the outcome is in contradiction to the relevant jurisdiction's laws. Despite the ambiguity with respect to jurisdiction and the clearly stated "we are not responsible for breaking your laws" contained in Wikipedia:General disclaimer, we aren't free from legal constraints altogether. If the Foundation has already made decisions in this area, then those need to be reiterated here. If those legal constraints mean doing something people find distasteful or requires changes to the underlying software, that still needs to be done ... until movement to another jurisdiction is secured. --User:Ceyockey (talk to me) 00:17, 21 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose per Jayron32 and Ironholds. — Kudu ~I/O~ 00:56, 21 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Support If you're dumb enough to say you're 13 and say you want to edit porn-stuff, you should be be topic-banned. Choyoołʼįįhí:Seb az86556 > haneʼ 04:56, 21 September 2011 (UTC)
    • ^^The smartest support vote yet. Still Oppose though for the abundant reasons already given.AerobicFox (talk) 06:32, 21 September 2011 (UTC)
    • I wouldn't necessarily call it "dumb"; some people honestly don't like (or are even morally opposed to) lying about their age. Sophus Bie (talk) 13:23, 21 September 2011 (UTC)
      • I think you're missing (maybe intentionally) Seb az86556's point. If someone posts, "I am 13 years old & I want to join WikiProject Pornography" -- that person is either stupid or a troublemaker. (And in either case is begging to be blocked.) However, if someone is a member of WikiProject Pornography, there is no reason for her/him to tell anyone her/his age. If she/he appears to be a juvenile from her/his actions, no one needs to know that person's age to protect the Wiki from that person; demanding that knowledge would be, IMHO, using the rules to harass that person. -- llywrch (talk) 17:55, 21 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Weak Support - In response to overwhelming wave of opposes I'm supporting here mostly to play devils-advocate. The main oppose position seems to be the "unenforceability" of this proposal. I'd point out that most porn sites have a "welcome" screen/intro page that asks visitors whether they are 18 years of age before entering. Obviously that page is unenforceable as well, since minors are generally clever enough to realize that they simply have to click "Yes I'm over 18" to gain access to the untold bounties of smut and girl-on-girl action. However, despite the "are you 18?" intro page's unenforceability, porn sites still have them. Why? I'm guessing it's b/c the sites want to be seen to be making some kind of effort to prevent minors from viewing porn. Now, I'm not going to take some conservative position about protecting our youth from the evils of porno, but at the same time I might point out that in our political world it could be good for WP to be seen as taking some action to "protect our youth" even if that action is symbolic and unenforcable. NickCT (talk) 13:13, 21 September 2011 (UTC)
    I'm glad that someone was willing to take on the research necessary to find out what steps are necessary to access the majority of porn websites. --FormerIP (talk) 15:27, 21 September 2011 (UTC)
    Yeah I poured a lot of work into that. I think I really ought to get a barnstar or something. NickCT (talk) 16:13, 21 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose First, from a brief glance, the vast majority of articles in WikiProject Pornography are not particularly risque. A random glance at their 'work needed' queue shows Internet censorship, John Jesnor Lindsay, Orsi Kocsis, and Porn 2.0, none of which could really be considered taboo, unless we are protecting underage editors from the very mention that pornography exists. WikiProject Pornography is not a good metric with which to identify potentially titillating articles. As written, this proposition would put the burden on WikiProject Pornography to find and include these articles in thier project. (For example, List of sexual positions, which is not really in their scope.) This is not what a WikiProject is for. What I think this proposal really intends is to propose that underage users do not edit pages with arguably risque pictures, such as Bukkake (sex act). Of course, this is an entirely different thing, and is probably better covered by m:Talk:Image_filter_referendum/en.
Second, even if we could find a reliable way of identifying these potentially titillating articles, topic banning underage users from them is a terrible idea. This would force these users to check whether any and every article falls under this sanction before they continue with their copyediting or typo correction, vastly slowing down any WikiGnome's work, and providing them with a large amount of completely unnecessary aggravation. No user should feel coerced to lie about their age merely to get work done.
Lastly, while we all have the right to make sure that our own children do not write about sexual topics, I don't think that we should take it upon ourselves to do so for other people's children. We should not act in loco parentis when an editor has guardians who are perfectly capable of determining what they wish for their child, unless we are legally obligated to do so. I know that, for example, when I was small, my parents would have allowed me to work on an article about sexual penetration without pause, but instead would have preferred I stay away from an article about torture. Since it is proposed that we do this out of "our need to protect the project from needless controversy and our need to follow correct application of WP:NOTCENSORED", we should wait until the Foundation's legal team actually determines if there is any threat before we commit to any such censorship. Sophus Bie (talk) 13:16, 21 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Support Per NickCT and Seb. Almost all of our policies regarding who can edit what are not enforceable. If we don't know someone's COI we can't enforce that. If someone is topic banned and sockpuppeting we can't enforce that unless we know they are doing it. People edit anonymously here, and they can get around policies by doing so, using that fact of life as an argument not to institute a policy seems absurd to me.Griswaldo (talk) 13:22, 21 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Questions of this nature yield answers that vary by culture. On culturally variable questions Wikipedia should be agnostic. There are no absolutes relating to subject matter (pornography) and age (13 years of age). Bus stop (talk) 16:37, 21 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Support per NickCT. The US asks whether people have taken drugs before entering the country even though *gasp* you could clearly trivially lie on that form too. The reason you ask such questions is that you've made an effort and while people can lie they are responsible not you. Additionally if you find out they have taken drugs (in the US case) or that they are underage and you find out you can trivially deport or ban them respectively with little evidence/time required. -- Eraserhead1 <talk> 18:55, 21 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose Age and maturity are not the same. If underage editors can contribute to porn-related articles in a mature and reasonable manner we should let them edit. We can consider topic bans on a case-by-case basis for any obviously immature editors who are creating disruption. ThemFromSpace 20:50, 21 September 2011 (UTC)
    • It does in the eyes of mainstream society. -- Eraserhead1 <talk> 06:42, 22 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Support The phrase that comes to mind while reading the opposition votes is "Are you fucking kidding me?". I'm not sure in what world anyone thinks it's OK for us to let a publicly declared 13 year old be active in editing pornography articles, but it isn't earth. If they don't declare their age, then fine. Once we know they are a kid, we need to treat them like one, or be crucified by the rest of the world that will have serious problems with this. Gigs (talk) 22:13, 21 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose: What's next? Needing to identify to the Wikimedia Foundation? The coordinators of WikiProject Pornography? I just think that it would be impossible to enforce, and could be easily be bypassed. Also, WP:NOTCENSORED. Finally, it would be like blocking editing from all IPs. ~~Ebe123~~ (+) talk
    Contribs
    22:35, 21 September 2011 (UTC)
    • We ban pedophiles even though that's "unenforceable" as well. If they go around bragging about it, then we ban them. Same here. Gigs (talk) 22:39, 21 September 2011 (UTC)
      • And hopefully that ban will be overturned in the future. It's a black mark to the site that "anyone can edit". Ban for disruption and disruption only, not personal issues. ThemFromSpace 05:02, 22 September 2011 (UTC)
        • a) Have read a tabloid newspaper before. b) If so do you want Wikipedia to be shut down? -- Eraserhead1 <talk> 06:48, 22 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Wikipedia covers pornography in terms of encyclopaedic material about pornography and I know of no legal or moral impediment to minors being engaged in academic discussion or reference coverage of pornography. Currently, articles covering pornography-related topics are not age-controlled and may be (legally?) accessed by minors -- so, there is no reason that contribution to the same set of uncensored articles should be age-restricted. Most importantly, I am failing to see the existence of ravaging hordes of 1) multiple Florida-criteria minors who are 2) clamouring to join WikiProject Pornography/edit pornography-related articles and 3) whose participation would be illegal; is this not therefore a solution in search of a problem? --Tristessa (talk) 04:24, 22 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose – This proposal won't actually prevent minors from joining the WikiProject or editing articles relevant to the WikiProject; the "honor system" almost completely fails when it comes down to the Internet. If we require contributors to give out their age, that poses a violation of privacy. There is absolutely no method of enforcing such a proposal. mc10 (t/c) 06:21, 22 September 2011 (UTC)
    • Just like the Americans question on drugs which is essentially an "honour system" question to anyone without a criminal record for drugs offenses doesn't prevent people who have taken drugs from entering their country. Even so they clearly value asking it. -- Eraserhead1 <talk> 06:42, 22 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose - it's simply unenforceable unless users "out" themselves as under age. Per the first part of Tristessa de St Ange's comment I doubt that we have a legal issue, although I'd welcome some confirmation (from the foundation?) on that. --Deadly∀ssassin 09:53, 22 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Strongly !Support, conditional, only if we can find one 13 year old who can't get around your measures within a count of 10. Otherwise, maybe we can try to keep in mind that this is a worldwide project, and limiting it to people who think florida or the US is the universe just prompts> sudo copy wikipedia/*.* somebettercountry/server and there you go, other projects appear. Being a kid, this guy is just trying to upset you lot, and is demonstrating clear signs of genius judging by the results. Mentors are as we speak attempting to harness his superhero powers for good rather than evil. Who shall win the epic battle between those who wish to include the editing powers of all humanity pitted against those who wish to inspire a new generation of vandals and rebels. With a bit of luck, people will realize there are already rules in place for any actual editing he does. Wave a red flag with new rules and you'll attract bulls. Open the door and the rebels will refuse to come to the library and 'study' ewww. Penyulap talk 11:26, 22 September 2011 (UTC)
  • No. We don't publish pornography, we publish articles about pornography. We should, however, be cautious about what sites we link to, and what warnings we give to people regarding such sites. Some of the links on the WikiProject Pornography page take the reader directly to pornography. I would think that anyone looking at the WikiProject Pornography page or at articles dealing with pornographic topics would understand that links are likely to take one to pornography, so a caution might not be needed, however I feel a caution on links would be more appropriate than attempting any form of banning. SilkTork ✔Tea time 12:21, 22 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose per my comments below (which I thought counted as a vote here, until that vote was closed). Kids can view the articles just fine, without even logging in; why dissuade them from editing plain text for encyclopedic purposes? Also a Wikiproject to improve Wikipedia articles about pornographic subjects is very different from an interest in pornography. It is perfectly possible that a kid could have some cybernanny service blocking every salacious image from coming up on his computer, but still edit about legal cases, claims and theories of societal or personal harm, etc. It should be clear that no WikiProject is reserved only for supporters/believers/consumers of the topic or idea it is named after; otherwise they would tend to pull articles away from NPOV. Wnt (talk) 17:36, 22 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Support. While most of the content of our pornography articles is not pornographic, some of it is, and anyone editing in the area will be exposed to stuff that is much more inappropriate than anything one of our articles can legitimately contain. So, reading is OK, but editing is not. Also, if we allow children to edit porn articles we could easily become a dating site for pedophiles.
    It does not matter that young editors can easily get around this by keeping their age secret. This is one of those situations where "Don't ask, don't tell" actually makes sense. That children don't get to write pornography articles is an unwritten rule anyway, and it's trivial to police. If we notice that a child is active in the area, we tell them to stop. If we don't notice that an editor is a child, then there is no real problem. The child knows that they are breaking an unwritten rule (of society, if not of Wikipedia) and is breaking it anyway. Children do this all the time, and that's not a reason to abolish rules or not make them explicit. Hans Adler 18:37, 22 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Comment There is an awful lot of discussion above that seems focused on censorship and the idea of whether or not to ban children from content, which isn't being proposed in the first place. Hans makes an excellent practical point above, which is based on a larger view of what it means to participate in a WikiProject. It isn't just about being exposed to content, it's about being exposed to other people, and in this case about identifying in a certain way (as a child interested in pornography) and being exposed to certain other people (adults interested in pornography). I have been trying to broach this same subject below. I'm not saying that people who voted oppose will magically agree with me because the look at the problem from this angle, but it would be a good idea for everyone to consider the full scope of the issue here, especially those aspects which don't seem to have been discussed yet. Cheers.Griswaldo (talk) 18:50, 22 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Support per Gigs; nuff said. --JN466 20:13, 22 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Strong oppose few wikipedians who are minors broadcast their age. --Guerillero | My Talk 00:42, 23 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose under-18s may have legitimate reasons for reading articles about pornography, e.g. to understand the debate over whether it degrades and harms women, or to learn about figures who have achieved fame/notoriety both inside and outside pornography (e.g. Linda Lovelace, Traci Lords, Lars von Trier), or just to satisfy their curiosity. This may even lead to them contributing to these articles. And why specific to pornography? Under-21s are banned from many websites about alcohol. Also what about other age-related activities or things we might want to save children from: drugs, guns, tobacco, NC-17 movies, sexual practices, gambling, etc. Many of these have different legal limits, which would further complicate it. Is the point of Wikipedia to keep people in ignorance, or to inform? --Colapeninsula (talk) 09:21, 23 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Of course. Will we really host conversations between declared 13-year-olds and anonymous editors about pornography? Griswaldo is right. This says something about the demographic here. Somebody said it's unenforceable. Well, when they say "I'm 13" it's entirely enforceable. Sheesh. --Anthonyhcole (talk) 15:05, 23 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose Even if it was enforceable, the idea reeks of americanism, where even tits are illegal yet religion and war are common. I would rather children did not have access to the corrupting ideas of war, religion, rape, murder, gangs, and heroin, way before sexual freedom. Public awareness (talk) 23:59, 23 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Support bans on a case-by-case basis. Anthonyhcole nails it in this particular case: an already disruptive self-declared minor wants to talk about porn with the adults (or just rustle up a stink by adding his name to the Wikiproject, tee hee). You've got to be kidding. And when the hypothetical totally mature 9-year-old copyedits and expands case-law pages on censorship dealing with pornography as part of her wide interest in freedom of speech in Canada, we'll give her a barnstar. There's no need to expand our exciting policies; the grown-ups here are capable of dealing with the onslaught of minor pornography enthusiasts without explicit instruction. Danger (talk) 00:19, 24 September 2011 (UTC)
Your rational is supportive of oppose isn't it? If we have enough rules to get rid of bad editors already, than there is no problem, than you would be opposed to a ban on editors solely due to being under an arbitrary age limit, no? Public awareness (talk) 01:46, 24 September 2011 (UTC)
I'm sorry that my vote wasn't properly formatted. Danger (talk) 07:01, 24 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Absolutely silly idea (should we ban minors from editing WikiProject Beer too?!) that is completely against the spirit of this project. Jweiss11 (talk) 01:50, 24 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose, don't get me wrong, 13 year olds should not be editing our articles about pornography. With that said, this proposed rule would be utterly unenforceable, defining what articles are under the scope of the proposed new policy would be nigh on impossible (per User:Monty845 above), and it's easily gameable; just remove the WP:Pornography banner from the talk page and you're good to go! Lankiveil (speak to me) 02:34, 24 September 2011 (UTC).
  • Oppose Yes there is a problem, and I would be glad but surprised if someone could comes up with a sensible workable proposal. But banning an unidentifiable subset of our editors from editing an unidentified subset of our articles is a long way from being a workable proposal. I don't want to put one of our teenage vandalfighters in the position that they have to check whether a vandalised article was in the topic area before they click rollback. ϢereSpielChequers 05:42, 24 September 2011 (UTC)
    • As "Oppose" arguments go, this is the best one I've read in the discussion to date. --JN466 17:03, 24 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose Wikipedia is supposed to be educational and not porn. This would be a step forward in removing images and other content since it would be acknowledgement (even if unintended and false) from the community that it is not educational. And also, Cerejota, He has commented in the topic area plenty and clearly has a position. I do not trust Jimbo's judgement in discussions about the topic area since he is torn between protecting the project (regardless of the justified reasoning for such content) and staying inline with the project's principles. Cptnono (talk) 07:32, 24 September 2011 (UTC)

Alternate idea

We have a "clean" version in the form of the Wikipedia CD Selection. I've long wondered why there is no online version of that for us to direct schools or concerned parents to. Their only other choice is to block WP entirely if they are concerned about what their kids might see here. I sympathize with those who worry about kids seeing things they aren't ready for and/or the legal/public relations ramifications of the fact that we make no effort whatsoever to stop anyone from accessing such content, but we can't implement such controls on this project without fundamentally changing the very nature of the whole site. A separate site with stable versions of general interest articles seems like the perfect solution. Like the CDs, you would not be able to edit the content, it would be read only, so administrative needs are minimal. All we need is the server space, which Wikimedia has plenty of. Schools churches, and parents can rest assured that little Johnny is looking at articles that are actually educational and not about anal fisting, or even Pokemon for that matter, but the burden is on the parent or guardian, where it should be, to make sure they stick to the "clean" material. So, I guess I am proposing we try and convince the Foundation to dedicate some server space to this idea. Beeblebrox (talk) 20:01, 21 September 2011 (UTC)

http://g-rated.wikipedia.org ?--v/r - TP 00:05, 22 September 2011 (UTC)
Why the foundation? anyone who feels the need can run such a partial mirror, and can call it wiki-anything they please, except Wikipedia. DGG ( talk ) 04:03, 22 September 2011 (UTC)
An intermediary solution could be done using some sort of browser plugin and/or JavaScript in monobook.js without an "official" image filter or redacted version without any changes to Wikipedia content, policy, or to MediaWiki. On the flip side, there'd be nothing to stop a person that desired to remove these participatory controls, if they were willing to find out how. This latter, I believe, is not necessarily a bad thing. Even though I hate the idea of any sort of censorship of Wikipedia content, I might look at developing a pilot monobook.js thingy, perhaps. Or does one already exist? --Tristessa (talk) 04:45, 22 September 2011 (UTC)
  • As to "why the Foundation?" it's like this: of course anyone could do this, but nobody has. Some people are rightly concerned that very young children are able to access adult material here. As of right now their only options to prevent that are to A:monitor their child's every moment on the internet (not too likely) B:not allow their child to use the internet at all (maybe not such a bad idea but even less likely) C:block Wikipedia entirely with a web filter, thus depriving their child of all WP has to offer. By posting static versions of general education articles and leaving out all the pop culture and porn articles we can still provide a valuable educational resource, which is very much in keeping with the Foundations primary mission, without having to compromise our core values as a project or worry about a whole other site to babysit for vandalism or clueless editing. It would be cheap and relatively easy since the CD selection people have already done most of the legwork. Easy, cheap, and in keeping with Foundations goals. No reason not to do it. Beeblebrox (talk) 02:16, 23 September 2011 (UTC)

WikiProject Pornography

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.

I thank everyone for the input. I put forward this proposal as the 13 year old user who sparked this discussion is my mentee, and this idea was kicked around a bit at AN/I. I felt a stance from the community on the issue, one way or another, was needed. That stance is now clear and I don't see any particular need to leave this open, so I'm going to go ahead and withdraw the proposal. Thanks again, Swarm u / t 01:14, 21 September 2011 (UTC)


In this ANI discussion, a large amount of concern was raised about openly allowing a 13 year old to join WikiProject Pornography, namely that it would be a PR disaster if the press got wind of it. Therefore, how about this:

Users must be 18 years old to join WikiProject Pornography.

It would work simply by the honor system. It would not be enforceable unless a minor disclosed their age, but it would certainly act as a disclaimer. I am of a neutral opinion regarding this proposal. Swarm u / t 20:03, 20 September 2011 (UTC)

  • That seems not only unenforceable but silly. They can still edit, for gods sakes. Let the professional PR people worry about PR. Ironholds (talk) 20:10, 20 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose. In and of itself I think this would do no harm but nor would it do much good - any tabloid journalist wanting to create a panic over kids' ability to access explicit material on Wikipedia would easily be able to find other examples. To actually be useful this kind of measure would have to be applied over a much wider range of pages, and where would it end? (Not to mention the inevitable and interminable conflicts that would start over whether or not a particular page or project should be thus protected.) Barnabypage (talk) 20:14, 20 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose as retarded as the above proposal, and I will remove any notice that discourages any editor from productively editing any topic anywhere on Wikipedia. Headbomb {talk / contribs / physics / books} 20:15, 20 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose. The last time we decided to modify Wikipedia for PR reasons (Jimbo's reaction to the Fox News story) the results were disastrous. Even if we did institute some seemingly reasonable measure, like asking new underage members of Wikiproject Pornography to check with their parents about it first, it would be easily circumvented by just... not joining the Wikiproject and then editing the articles in that topic area anyway. If we try to ban them from editing these articles, not only would new technical measures would be required, but it would seriously hurt their ability to perform wikignome-type edits that affect many articles, like e.g. removing links to deleted articles. Ultimately destructive to the project and the editors involved. Dcoetzee 20:24, 20 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose. I understand that we sometimes see such Kafkaesque politics in America - for example, in "head shops" which sell fanciful water pipes for the smoking of tobacco and legal herbal substitutes, whose employees must nonetheless carefully avoid any careless mention of the use of them for cannabis. Nonetheless, there is no obligation for Wikipedia to become embroiled in such an insane game. This is a project made up of individual volunteer editors, and no editor has any duty to keep track of who says he is 13 and who says he is 21. Nor do we know the information is accurate. If we begin allowing ourselves to be forced to respond to such assertions as if they were accurate, does that mean that if an IP comes on and says that you are really a 16-year-old in his middle school, that we must ban you from these topics, because, who knows, maybe it's true? Finally, consider that WikiProject Pornography is about editing articles, i.e. viewing them in a text only mode. Anyone, logged in or logged out, can view our fine artworks. Banning the kids from writing educational text about pornography, while having no effect on their ability to view the images, seems like a particularly futile effort. Wnt (talk) 20:46, 20 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose and propose new policy page Wikipedia:Wikipedia is not your parent or legal guardian. If their lazy ass parents can't be bothered to know what they are doing it's not our fault, and obviously they would just lie to get around it anyway as we have no way of checking their age. Beeblebrox (talk) 20:49, 20 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose per my comments in the preceding section, especially the "unenforceable" part. --Alan the Roving Ambassador (User:N5iln) (talk) 21:06, 20 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Nothing to add to my comment on the related proposal above, except that this would just cause fewer Wikipedians to disclose their age, and lead to greater use of sock puppets. Dzlife (talk) 21:11, 20 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Support - I think that this is an obvious and commonsense approach to the issue. Delicious carbuncle (talk) 21:26, 20 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose: WikiProject Pornography includes a surprising number of articles on law (eg. Jacobellis v. Ohio, Miller test, Child Pornography Prevention Act of 1996) -- things that it is quite reasonable for an under-18 to edit. --Carnildo (talk) 23:12, 20 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Support Seems to me the only way it can be enforced is if the User self-reports that they are underage. If they do that, then yes, block them from the project. You can't, as an adult, knowingly let an underage child collaborate with you on sexually-oriented material, that's my impression anyway. Even if you aren't technically luring the minor, it's really inappropriate. That being said, it may not stop them from sockpuppeting, but adult Users and Admins should do what they can to block underage participation in the Pornography project. If there are policies about notifying any guardians or L.E. or somebody about what the kid is up to, they should also be followed if they exist.

OttawaAC (talk) 23:43, 20 September 2011 (UTC)

  • Are you giving a legal opinion? If so, are you a lawyer? If not, why make quasi-legal arguments? Ironholds (talk) 00:14, 21 September 2011 (UTC)
  • What's going to stop the user from lying about their age? →Στc. 00:05, 21 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Comment What if we just rename or merge the wikiproject into something less controversial? For example, WikiProject Magazines for the porn magazines, and WikiProject Film for porn films and actors, and we have filled most of the scope. Cambalachero (talk) 00:13, 21 September 2011 (UTC)
    That could allow us to avoid the problems "letting kids getting involved with porn" could cause for the site. Ian.thomson (talk) 00:18, 21 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose, mainly per Headbomb. — Kudu ~I/O~ 00:56, 21 September 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.
  • Support Requiring an affirmation of adulthood needs to be a minimum, common-sense requirement for participation in this project, to satisfy WP's ethical obligations and to preserve WP from civil suits and prosecution.  Kiefer.Wolfowitz 17:30, 23 September 2011 (UTC)

Nirvana fallacy

"Because the solution isn't perfect, we shouldn't bother." If we have a nominal age-limit, then we are not liable, even if noone ever observes it. Yes, plenty of kids will lie about their age, but when they do so, then they're no longer our responsibility. If they do state that they are underage, all it takes is a cranky parent to draw a media campaign on the site, if not actual legal problems. Ian.thomson (talk) 00:18, 21 September 2011 (UTC)

The problem is not that the solution isn't perfect, it's that the proposed solution is a steaming pile. The opposite of the nirvana fallacy is the belief that something must be done, without regard to the actual effects of that "something". --Carnildo (talk) 00:44, 21 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Question, for Ian and everyone else; the foundation has General Counsel and a dedicated communications department. Has anyone thought to swing this by them before making broad statements about PR impact and legal issues? Ironholds (talk) 02:02, 21 September 2011 (UTC)
    I agree and think the legal position outlined above is very questionable. If we are to change policy based on a legal opinion, it should be the opinion of foundation counsel. Monty845 02:06, 21 September 2011 (UTC)
  • This is not just a bad idea because it's unenforcable in practice; even if you could reliably determine the age of every user, it would still be a bad idea, for the reasons outlined above (makes wiki-gnome type edits affecting many articles, such as removing links to deleted pages, impossible; the additional potential "damage" to a child editing a pornography-related article as opposed to reading it is nonexistent). I would find any law (real or hypothetical) that criminalized editing such an article but not reading it to be deeply confusing and ill-motivated. It's worth noting that most web filters on the market today which block particular Wikipedia pages block both editing and viewing of the page, which I think would satisfy a parent who is concerned about their child accessing pornography-related content. If they complain, let us refer them to that solution. Dcoetzee 02:12, 21 September 2011 (UTC)
  • You have a nice house, though there are some rats in the basement you'd like to get rid of. Is burning the house down better or worse than doing nothing? I feel the proposed policy is akin to burning the house down. Does more harm than good. Puchiko (Talk-email) 19:30, 22 September 2011 (UTC)
    • Making it clear to children that they are not welcome to systematically edit porn pages amounts to closing down Wikipedia? Wow. Hans Adler 09:29, 23 September 2011 (UTC)
      • Reading my comment over, it doesn't look as clear as I meant it, my bad. What I meant is that doing nothing is not always worse than doing something, that's all. Puchiko (Talk-email) 13:37, 23 September 2011 (UTC)
Puchiko, you are still using the slippery-slope fallacy. Dcoetzee, please actually read up on the argument instead of giving a straw man: there are national laws which put anyone who gives children porn in trouble. If a kid doesn't state his/her real age, then it's not our responsibility but the parents'/schools'. If the kid does state his/her age, then it becomes our responsibility. Kids who do not state their age or who lie about their age aren't our problem, but those who do open us up to, at the very least, a negative media campaign which would get in the way of constructing an encyclopedia. Ian.thomson (talk) 14:38, 23 September 2011 (UTC)

Reformulate the Wikiproject

There is an alternative to end any potential problems: simply merge the wikiproject into others, less controversial ones. Porn magazines may fall within WikiProject Magazines, porn films or actors may fall within WikiProject Film, legislation about porn may fall within WikiProject Law, and so on. We may also rename it, if someone can think about another name for the topic that nobody could complain that a minor joins (as nobody would complain about Magazines, Films or Laws not being child-friendly) Cambalachero (talk) 01:27, 21 September 2011 (UTC)

Which entirely dodges the fact that pornography is a topic of its own well-worthy of a WikiProject. We don't suggest that WikiProject Cars be merged into WikiProject Magazine because car magazine exists. Headbomb {talk / contribs / physics / books} 01:44, 21 September 2011 (UTC)
There is no legal risk at all having a wikiproject about cars. The thread began because of potential legal risks in the misuse of the pornography wikiproject, getting rid of it and distributing the work at less controversial wikiprojects is a solution for that. And, unlike setting apart adults from children in this wiki enviorment where everyonr is just a nickname, it is not an idea doomed from its mere enunciation. It may be accepted or not, but it does work Cambalachero (talk) 02:07, 21 September 2011 (UTC)
Speculative legal risks that don't actually exist. Wikiproject Pornography covers a valuable topic area, and is a gathering point for editors interested in those topics; these editors would find following 10 different Wikiprojects and filtering out unrelated stuff to be a daunting burden. This is a bad idea. Dcoetzee 02:12, 21 September 2011 (UTC)

That's a pretty crafty move to try to evade adult responsibility for what happens if a child self-identifies as a child, while working with adults on a sex-related article. If a pornography-related article, say 'Fetish films', was moved to a non-Pornography project, it would still be an article about a sexually-oriented topic, and would remain inappropriate for children to collaborate on with adults. I wonder if people are stuck on the fact that the minor in the incident that prompted this discussion is 13 and past puberty? If a User self-identified as a 9-year-old girl, and wanted to edit articles on Beastiality just to find out what it was about, and participate in online discussions on it with you all... you'd be supportive of that, and oppose any attempts to discourage the tyke from joining in? Really? Seriously? OttawaAC (talk) 02:27, 21 September 2011 (UTC)

You propose, with this theoretical 9-year-old girl, that someone who does not already know what bestially is could constructively contribute to an article about it. I find this a bit unlikely. If a user is editing "just to find out what [the topic] was about," then their edits are unlikely to be constructive, and we already do not allow non-constructive edits. Furthermore, since talk pages are WP:NOTAFORUM, someone who doesn't know anything about the topic at hand and is just there to chat wouldn't be included in the discussion anyway. However, if this theoretical girl is capable of productively copyediting Zoophilia and the law, for example, then she should be allowed to do so. After all, any editor has already been exposed to an article just by visiting it, so we are not protecting them by not allowing them to edit. Furthermore, we should not forbid an editor from a topic merely because their contributions make us uncomfortable. While we all have the right to make sure that our own children do not write about sexual topics, I don't think that we should take it upon ourselves to do so for other people's children. Sophus Bie (talk) 13:46, 21 September 2011 (UTC)
Are you aware that articles on pornography-related topics regularly get images added that are either copyvio porn or exhibitionist crap? These links are removed quickly, and the images deleted. But an editor active in that area will often manage to see them before they are deleted.
And no, no self-identified child should be allowed to edit Zoophilia and the law, either. That would be an invitation to pedophiles to send personal emails commending the child for being so mature, and telling her about their pets and how they engage in interspecies sex. Which could easily lead to a meeting in real life. Waiting for something like this to happen would be totally irresponsible.
Unlikely though a self-identified child editing pornography articles is, it is no longer a theoretical question. It is totally ridiculous how many editors think they can ignore serious real life concerns when they get in the way of their fundamentalist pursuit of pure and absolute principles. Hans Adler 09:50, 23 September 2011 (UTC)

Enough of this waffle

Why are people wasting so much time on a non-issue? It should be blindingly-obvious that anyone who (a) self-identifies as a 13-year-old, and (b) states that they want to participate in Wikiproject pornography, is unlikely to be of net benefit to the project, regardless of legal or moral issues. Neither genuine 13-year-olds nor people who lie about their age are going to do anything other than cause problems. All we need to do is to put a notice on the project pages that participants are required to be adults, and that anyone who is under the age of 18 should not involve themselves in the topic. Yes, it is unenforceable unless someone self-identifies as under-age, but if they do, we should topic-ban them as acting in a way likely to harm the reputation of Wikipedia. We don't need to have a huge debate about censorship, or about the sexualisation of childhood - all we need do is act in the interests of the project - Which is to produce an encyclopedia, not to fight censorship, reform morals, or otherwise take on the establishment/forces of anarchy/illuminati plot to corrupt the youth of today. I think that too many people are losing sight of what Wikipedia is about here. AndyTheGrump (talk) 03:09, 21 September 2011 (UTC)

And *that* is what WP:IAR is about. Ian.thomson (talk) 03:27, 21 September 2011 (UTC)
Wikipedia is not about taking obviously untenable actions as a shallow PR ploy to avoid possible bad press. It is about building an encyclopedia, and banning editors from working on parts of it is directly harmful to its being built. As for a 13-year-old being unlikely to benefit such a project; I am doubtful that topics about sex render children incompetent from editing due to their mature nature; it isn't rocket science, you find sources, you wikify, you do gnomish tasks, a 13-year-old is perfectly capable to work in just about any wikiproject. Now that would be bad PR right there, "Wikipedia: an encyclopedia which even a 13-year-old can edit".AerobicFox (talk) 06:18, 21 September 2011 (UTC)
OK, then please explain what "building an encyclopedia" actually means to you. Does it include cataloging sex workers? Providing a glossary of bondage terms? Providing an illustrated how too manual for the sexually curious? Are these the kinds of things that an "encyclopedia" does? And how exactly does banning minors from editing pornographic content "harm" the building of an encyclopedia? On a practical level PR is of course extremely important if you want the encyclopedic content within the encyclopedia to reach an audience and to inform anybody. That doesn't mean that we should cowtow to every PR concern that comes along, but to ignore them on ideological grounds is hubris.Griswaldo (talk) 12:27, 21 September 2011 (UTC)
All of those things are indeed building an encyclopedia, as they are quite literally editing and improving articles on an encyclopedia. Blocking editors from editing articles and doing just as you described directly stops the encyclopedia from being built, where as inventing scenarios and defending oneself from unlikely and more importantly unreasonable PR concerns wastes the time of those who could be building an encyclopedia, and attempts to block editors from building certain parts of that encyclopedia. If you believe that there is anything actionable from a PR perspective to address, then you should try to prove it.AerobicFox (talk) 14:17, 21 September 2011 (UTC)
AerobicFox, we deem all kinds of content, and all kinds of ways of adding content, to be outside of the scope of the project. You seem to be implying that the simple act of adding information to this website is de facto something akin to "building an encyclopedia." An encyclopedia is a specific type of source. What other encyclopedias contain catelogues of sex workers or glossaries of bondage terms? I'm not arguing that we should not have these things here, btw, I'm pointing out that you can't just use the notion of "building an encyclopedia" as some kind of trump card that translates to "adding information to a website." If you want to use the term encyclopedia, with authority, then you need to have a good idea of what an encyclopedia is, and be able to defend certain types of content as encyclopedic. To enable communication such an idea should also be grounded in concrete examples or commonly held understandings or else we'll get nowhere. This is why I ask you what other "encyclopedias" include this types of content. If you're answer is that Wikipedia is not like other encyclopedias, then perhaps better say something like we're here to "build Wikipedia" instead. Cheers.Griswaldo (talk) 14:24, 21 September 2011 (UTC)
Adding content to Wikipedia is rather unambiguously building it. I can understand the argument that we need to defend it from PR so we can build it further in the future, but you are veering way off tangent by making esoteric arguments about how building articles in Wikipedia is not building an encyclopedia if the articles are about subjects traditionally not contained in encyclopedias which obviously are different in who they market to, the amount of info they can contain, etc.
My post directly references Andy who stated correctly that the purpose of Wikipedia "is to produce an encyclopedia", and as I pointed out, banning editors from editing directly hampers the further production of this encyclopedia, so without any justification for this(proof or reasoning concerning PR fears) there should be no editors banned. I don't know why you believe I need to "use the term encyclopedia, with authority," or why you believe "we deem all kinds of content, and all kinds of ways of adding content, to be outside of the scope of the project", but these seem remarkably off topic.AerobicFox (talk) 16:50, 21 September 2011 (UTC)

I don't think anyone has yet addressed the point made many times above that if we block self-identified minors from editing certain topics, the fact remains that they are still able to view it. No real PR/legal threats have actually been dealt with, because the argument can still be made that the wiki is knowingly allowing minor to access this content. Wikipedia:Content disclaimer is there for a reason, and this issue is not outside of its scope – I don't see how editing should be treated any different from any other use of the content. —Akrabbimtalk 13:04, 21 September 2011 (UTC)

Not being able to stop minors from accessing content is a far cry from knowingly allowing minors to contribute to the editing that same content. Porn sites can't actually prevent minors from viewing their content, but that does not prevent them from banning minors from said activity. Such bans are of course helpful in terms of PR. This is not a zero sum game. Things rarely are.Griswaldo (talk) 13:11, 21 September 2011 (UTC)
I don't think it is a far cry. All we're really talking about is whether minors should be allowed to put things like this in WP. Of course, there might be an issue about whether that type of article is useful and whether our notability criteria are tight enough, but that's nothing to do with the age of contributing editors. --FormerIP (talk) 13:28, 21 September 2011 (UTC)
It is not a far cry when you rationalize outcomes, especially in terms of how it would effect the viewing of porn on Wikipedia by minors. However, it is a far cry when you consider the message it sends about our own stance on minors engaging pornography on Wikipedia. Would you say that not being able to prevent editors with a COI from editing their entries is not a far cry from openly allowing those editors to edit their entries? Or not being able to prevent PR companies from editing the entries of their clients is not a far cry from banning them from doing so officially?Griswaldo (talk) 13:40, 21 September 2011 (UTC)
The difference is that those things have an obvious potential impact on content. --FormerIP (talk) 13:59, 21 September 2011 (UTC)
I think you are missing the point. If we are unable to prevent editors from editing with a COI, in real terms then why even have a policy? The point is that taking a stand against it, no matter how effective it is, is a far cry from saying that since we can't do anything about it why bother. Now, if you think that 13 year olds should be able to edit porn entries and/or that it does no damage to the encyclopedia to openly allow this then I guess we simply disagree on that, but that's not the same issue. BTW, I pose that scenario because it is implicit in your last post. Your post posits that the thing one is taking a stand against when opposing COI editing is of actual importance, which would be "different" from this scenario only if the thing one is taking a stand against when opposing the editing of porn by minors is not, or at least much less so.Griswaldo (talk) 14:16, 21 September 2011 (UTC)
The question of enforceability is really only one reason of various not to think that restricting minors on WP is a good idea. Yes, I do think that, relative to how problematic the whole thing is, the issue is not very important. Because we are not talking about providing pornography to minors. When you talk about "taking a stand", it just seems like language which is out-of-proportion to the issue at hand. Do I think preventing someone under 18 from typing a sentence like "Abigail Clayton was a pornographic actress during the 1970s and 1980s" is worth taking a stand over? No. --FormerIP (talk) 14:53, 21 September 2011 (UTC)
We are already beyond the "pornography to minors" issue. Wikipedia provides explicit encyclopedic content to whomever visits the page. The only question is whether a supposed minor should be allowed to click on the edit box and view the page in a text only mode to make improvements. No one agrees with you people when you say that you don't want minors to be able to look at the images - why on Earth would we agree with you when you say they shouldn't be able to edit the text? Wnt (talk) 14:59, 21 September 2011 (UTC)
So, Wnt you think that Wikipedia should contain pornographic "images" and that minors should be officially allowed to view them? Not being able to enforce who does or does not view the website in the end is one thing, but saying that minors should be able to view pornography on it is quite another. I didn't realize that anyone was taking that position. Having pornography on the website, having policies that in the end permit kids to edit pornography is 1) a huge distraction to building an encyclopedia and 2) a potential PR nightmare. I guess if you don't believe those things you don't. All I can say is that given current laws and current social morays in the English speaking world I'd bet the farm that you're wrong. I guess we'll see.Griswaldo (talk) 15:15, 21 September 2011 (UTC)
The status quo is indeed that Wikipedia pages are available to everyone. There's no attempt to determine who is under 18, no page that stops people and demands they assert they're over that age, nothing in the Terms of Service about it. No one has decided whether a 13-year-old would even theoretically be prohibited from viewing William-Adolphe Bouguereau or not. That's just not the way Wikipedia works. Wnt (talk) 15:32, 21 September 2011 (UTC)
I don't understand that anybody is waffling. People are disagreeing. The word waffle refers to being equivocal. Perhaps I overlooked it, but I don't see equivocality in any of the above posts. I see stark disagreement. Bus stop (talk) 15:29, 21 September 2011 (UTC)
Just to reiterate what a couple people have said above, the biggest problem, at least as it seems to me from reading these comments, is that it pretty much says that a 16 year old has to go through hoops using AWB or Twinkle or whatever on the chance they come across a porn-related article. That IS a detriment to 'building the encyclopedia'. And I completely agree with what others said -- blocking people from editing those articles isn't going to stop anyone from reading them. If someone is trying to be helpful and clean up all the misspellings of, say, "peeple" back to "people", should that not be welcomed with open arms instead of "omg a kid touched the bio of a porn star! The horror!". ♫ Melodia Chaconne ♫ (talk) 16:25, 21 September 2011 (UTC)
There seems to be a fundamental misunderstanding among some editors. Wikipedia covers pornography. But Wikipedia is not pornographic. Similarly, it covers murder, but does not murder anyone. There is no problem at all in minors being informed about pornography, just as society tries to educate them about cults, drugs, and stopping at the red light. "OMG THINK ABOUT TEH CHLDRUN!" is not a useful argument. --Stephan Schulz (talk) 16:33, 21 September 2011 (UTC)
Wikipedia should not be playing nanny. Different cultural traditions result in different practices concerning what children should be involved in or exposed to. Editing articles on Wikipedia relating to pornography need not be regarded as out of the realm of that suitable for any person of any age. Our mission in compiling a new encyclopedia should not be construed as embodying good parenting practices as well. Such considerations should be considered to fall outside of our area of competence and concern. We do not represent the wide variety of cultural backgrounds found in the groups that involve themselves in this project as editors and as readers. Bus stop (talk) 17:06, 21 September 2011 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────"Such considerations should be considered to fall outside of our area of competence..." is perhaps the most strikingly precise/apt line to take from this entire discussion. Should the Wikipedia allow minors to collaborate on porn-related articles? Of course not. Does the Wikipedia have the structure, the wherewithal, or the competence to enact and enforce such a prohibition? Of course not. This entire poll is pointless, as it is asking the project to consider doing something that it does not have the means to do. Might as well ask a quadruple amputee if he'd prefer playing tennis or soccer. Tarc (talk) 17:17, 21 September 2011 (UTC)

Your comparison is not apt. I think it would be impossible for the individual you describe to engage in those sports. But parenting varies widely. Cultural backgrounds vary widely. If all philosophies relating to thirteen-year-olds were the same we would have no disagreement. The disagreement is genuine because it reflects real possibilities that are only ruled out by strongly held philosophies of how best to raise children. Bus stop (talk) 17:33, 21 September 2011 (UTC)
Maybe if you reread it, you'll comprehend; the Wikipedia lacks the ability to address the problem posed. Simple. Tarc (talk) 18:37, 21 September 2011 (UTC)
For the very same reasons, anonymous editing, Wikipedia also lacks the ability to completely enforce COI and sock puppetry. So what's your point?Griswaldo (talk) 19:53, 21 September 2011 (UTC)
That comparison is, quite frankly, pretty retarded. When conflicts of interest and socking arise, we have forums in which to discuss the problems, and measures to take to punish transgressions. Neither venue will prevent COI and sockpuppetry...and if you expect them to then that is pretty naive...they exist to address it when evidence is presented. With minors and porn-editing, the Wikipedia lacks a pretty crucial first step; age verification of users. Hell, we don't verify a single thing about users, that's the whole ideal of "anyone can edit". This is why I said that the project is simply not equipped to deal with a "we shouldn't let kids edit porn pages" request. Tarc (talk) 20:08, 21 September 2011 (UTC)
Please refrain from using the word "retarded." I'm not a civility stickler and I've suffered your childish language before without complaining, but please be sensitive to the mentally disabled. Thanks. We don't verify a single thing about users, including whether or not they are John Doe, editing the entry John Doe, or whether or not they are actually Jane Doe editing as a sock-puppet named John Doe. We only investigate these issues if there are problems with John Doe's editing and significant evidence is presented that John Doe is breaking the rules. I don't see how that would be any different. If Johnny Doe is actually 15 but never announces that fact and edits porn entries then so what? If Johnny Doe says on his user page, "I'm 15 years old and I love porn" and edits porn entries then we do have a problem, and surprise surprise, we also have the evidence we need. Do you see it now? or do you need a diagramGriswaldo (talk) 20:16, 21 September 2011 (UTC)
Short of using profanity directed at a group or individual, I will use whatever word I see fit; political correctness does not impress me in the slightest. And see, this is why I find hilariously hypocritical about many users here. You complain about the perceived incivility of "retard", yet have no qualms about a snarky "do you need a diagram?" Is yours better because you phrased it cutely, while mine runs afoul of the PC Speech Police? Lulz-tastic. Anyways, back to the actual discussion, the problem is, you're turning admins into the Age Police without giving them any tools whatsoever to verify what you think they should be doing. Johny Doe says "I'm 15", gets banned from WikiProject Porn, then says "I was only kidding, I'm really 18, let me in." What to do now? Johnny either lied before, or is lying now. You're going to put it into an admin's hand to determine which? Tarc (talk) 20:25, 21 September 2011 (UTC)
I have edited in plenty of controversial topics and people manage to avoid being rude to each other, I also think it was used in more that just passing for effect. There is no reason to be uncivil here and it damages the project and drives away good editors by creating unneeded drama. I agree that the diagram comment is uncivil too. -- Eraserhead1 <talk> 20:35, 21 September 2011 (UTC)
Tarc, I actually don't care about your incivility to me. I thought I made that completely clear in my comment in fact. What bothers me is that particular word. Others, that are derogatory to various groups of people also bother me, but there is something particularly offensive about using language that is demeaning to the mentally disabled. That's all. Cheers.Griswaldo (talk) 20:40, 21 September 2011 (UTC)
(interject) Mental retardation is a real thing and that "R" word is something that people are trying to be too PC about. It isn't meant to be insulting to the handicapped...usually, it is aimed at regular folks acting stupid...like everyone on the highway with a damned cellphone stuck to their ear. Dane bramaged. It isn't defined as an insult in the dictionary.
⋙–Berean–Hunter—► 23:30, 21 September 2011 (UTC)
Isn't the fact of using something as an insult that isn't defined as an insult in the dictionary kinda the point? Isn't using anything as an insult on WP kinda unnecessary? --FormerIP (talk) 00:29, 22 September 2011 (UTC)
Quite.Griswaldo (talk) 01:08, 22 September 2011 (UTC)
The only thing I regret about dropping the word "retard" (though I will not hesitate to use it again wherever I please) into the conversation is that it gives editors with weak arguments a strawman on which to duck the actual topic. If you need reiteration; we have no means to verify the age of a Wikipedia editor, even if they claim to self-identify as a particular age. Therefore, there is nothing we can do to prevent a certain age group from editing in a particular topic area if we cannot actually verify the criteria by which you are suggesting we judge by. Tarc (talk) 01:16, 22 September 2011 (UTC)
It is not only impossible to enforce but it should not be enforced. It is in the nature of this project that anybody can and should be allowed to edit. It is our edits that matter—not who we are. Our identity doesn't matter. No "profiles" are more welcome here or less welcome here. That should include age profiles. Bus stop (talk) 01:25, 22 September 2011 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Nobody has been avoiding your argument, I just see us going in circles and really don't know what the point is anymore. But, here's one last shot ... consider the fact that one of the main potential problems with not making this kind of policy is PR, and PR cares only about appearances. Does that answer your question? If I tell the airport security guards that I have a bomb in my pocket, and then after being arrested, searched, detained and questioned I say, oh sorry I was just kidding, do you think they'll take me off their no fly list? (the answer is no) If we had an age restriction on editing porn related content, and on joining the wikiproject would you really want any editor who at one time claimed to be a minor editing the project? I wouldn't. It is also my personal feeling that discussions about children and issues like pornography on Wikipedia are not representative of the views of mainstream society because we have a much smaller number of parents here. I'm not going to sit here and say, if you had a child then you'd understand, but there is much more to this than simply whether or not a child gets read about or write about pornography. Parents, perhaps too much so in today's day and age, worry about all the perverts who lurk on the internet. The idea of their 12 year old joining a group of otherwise mostly grown individuals whose area of interest is pornography, and collaborating with them to edit encyclopedia entries on the subject is going to sound creepy to most parents. Whether or not there is anything real to fear in this activity on Wikipedia I assure you the fear I describe, in the population of parents, is very real. A PR nightmare, in that context, is very easy to imagine.Griswaldo (talk) 01:35, 22 September 2011 (UTC)

One of the beauties of Wikipedia is its ability to hone a cerebral edge. That is a result of our focus on the quality of edits. I think that there is an unwritten rule that quality material added to the encyclopedia trumps most other considerations. The age of the contributor would not be a major consideration in an environment in which the focus was on quality. Bus stop (talk) 01:42, 22 September 2011 (UTC)

One other thing I'm surprised no one has mentioned until now: if a 13-year-old is editting articles about sex (like porn & sexual practices), does that kid's parents know? (Maybe I just happen to be the first parent to read this thread.) If the parents have no problem with little Billy or Sally turning, say, snowballing into a Featured Article, what should we care? Well, as long as said kid didn't tell one & all that she/he is under age. And if that kid's parents only discover that fact by reading Wikipedia, said kid's first worry will not be about being banned from Wikipedia. If I found out my daughter was editting articles like that on Wikipedia (she's only 3 so I don't have to worry about that for a few years), I would have a serious talk about the matter. Not to discipline her, but to understand just why she has a precocious interest in the subject, & help her find accurate information about it. And I wouldn't leave it to my fellow Wikipedians, many of whom I know only as names, to handle the problem. -- llywrch (talk) 18:14, 21 September 2011 (UTC)

It is not that I necessarily am of the opinion that young people should be involving themselves in editing articles having to do with pornography on Wikipedia. But I think that it represents an overstepping of naturally applicable bounds when a group of editors presume to know what is best concerning the raising of children. These are electronic words displayed on a monitor and the visual component of most of the articles on pornography is considerably curtailed from what might be available at actual pornography sites. I think the harmful nature of Wikipedia's treatment of the sexual content available on the Internet is being overstated. Relative to the actual pornography that tends to be available online, I find the Wikipedia counterpart fairly tame by comparison. Bus stop (talk) 18:32, 21 September 2011 (UTC)
I see this entire section as irrelevant. Wikipedia articles about pornography are not pornography, they are about pornography. I'm sure there's lots of people who don't want children to even know anything about pornography but there's no laws saying anything like that. If we had some self censorship facilities families or schools could use if they felt that way then I'd be all for that, but for the straight legal or policy side if children want to edit the articles about pornography then there is nothing Wikipedia should be doing about censoring it. Dmcq (talk) 10:42, 22 September 2011 (UTC)
So we should only regulate who edits what based on a strict reading of Florida law? I don't think so. We make our own policies, and while they clearly need to comply with the law they are not limited to its scope. As to the distinction between being "about pornography" and not actual pornography it is not all that meaningful when we display images that are pornographic and written descriptions of sex acts that are explicit. No subject matter can be adequately written about, if it isn't well described and depicted. So I don't find this distinction helpful at all. I also wonder if you read my last response above. IMO, this issue is not really about what children are viewing on Wikipedia, but where they are working and with whom. Do you have children? Would you want them joining Wikiproject Pornography and collaborating with adult users who are interested in the subject? I doubt many parents would. I bet quite a few would be shocked to find out that their kids could easily do this, and would fear that this exposes their kids to predators, etc. Do I think that it does? Probably not, but then again I think the world has gone overboard in its fears about the safety of children in general. The point isn't what I believe though, it's what the public believes. This is a PR nightmare in the brewing. I really don't think we should knowingly allow minors to be exposed to online groups that are formed around an interest in pornography. Put on your parent shoes for one second here people. Cheers.Griswaldo (talk) 11:35, 22 September 2011 (UTC)
As I said if people wish to censor their children in addition to what is in the law I would support Wikipedia providing the means for them to do so. There's loads of things like this like Muslims not wanting to see depictions of Mohammed,, people against graphic violence wanting children not to see depictions of anatomy or all sorts of things like that. However Wikipedia is not censored and the articles are not pornography. Wikipedia does not provide private discussion forums between individuals so your business about adults and children on Wikipedia is a bit beside the point. Lots of people are shocked about lots of things on Wikipedia like how to make poisons or shape charges or Molotov cocktails or types of suicide. Please do not enquire of private information about other contributors. Dmcq (talk) 16:29, 22 September 2011 (UTC)
Did you read my post? I wasn't talking about the consumption of pornography at all, which is what the censorship issue you describe is about -- for instance not allowing children to view pages about pornography, with depictions of Muhammad, with graphic violence, etc. But that's not what I was talking about. I was talking about exposing children to online groups that are organized around an interest in pornography. This isn't about being shocked about a the existence of a type of content, this is about letting children collaborate with adults who are interested in pornography. My point is that this is something that parents to greater and lesser degrees of legitimacy do fear. Most people don't care if their kids discover pornography at some point. I know I don't since most children do and are just fine. I know I did when I was an adolescent boy, and I think I turned out just fine. But, again that's not the point. Would my parents have been outraged if at 13 years old I joined "the pornography club" and went to meetings where I collaborated with adults who were all interested in pornography on various projects? I think they would have called the police quite frankly. If you can understand that impetus you should be able to understand what I'm trying to explain. It's not about censoring images and text, it's about not allowing the participation of minors in a group focused on pornography. It's a PR nightmare waiting to happen. Are there any parents out there reading this?Griswaldo (talk) 17:36, 22 September 2011 (UTC)
I had no idea "being exposed" to Wikipedia:WikiProject Pornography was so dangerous; you make it sound like they are a group of middle-aged men going over to some creepy house to share porn. Apparently WikiProject Pornography, aka "the pornography club" in your post, has meetings where they discuss their interest in pornography.(I must have missed these somewhere) Now, when I was 15 I openly researched prostitution, its legality, different forms, and lifestyles, etc, for various school projects. Apparently a 13-year-old cannot for instance "collaborate" on articles like Zoosexuality and the law, Anti-pornography movement, Sexual objectification, etc because of the "PR nightmare" rapidly encroaching. Take one look at Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Pornography and tell me if there is anything there harmful to a child, because I all see are discussions like "Is XrentDVD a RS for the adult industry?", "Infobox adult biography", "Article alerts", and no editors discussing their interests in porn which would itself be a clear violation of WP:FORUM.AerobicFox (talk) 19:24, 22 September 2011 (UTC)
Thanks for caricaturing my argument and then responding to the caricature. As I've stated already I'm not entirely sure if there is any actual danger, I'm talking about perceived danger, the only kind that really maters if you're worried about public relations. You seem to have a very odd idea of what being "interested in pornography" means. If I am part of WikiProject X it is safe to say that I'm interested in X. Does it mean that I am addicted to X, or even that I like X? No I might actually hate it, but I'm clearly interested in it in some shape or form. Why else would I become a member of the project? You also make it sound like the proposal is to ban minors from researching pornography, from reading about it at Wikipedia, etc. When was that proposed? The proposal is to ban anyone declaring to be a minor from joining the project. Also, what does this proposal or anything I've said have to do with harmful content on the Wikiproject pages? Again, no one has proposed banning minors from viewing of the project pages. You should read Hans Adler's comment/vote above, because it relates to this. Most parents would consider the idea that mixing children with adults in a group organized around an interest in pornography (even if its as a "subject matter") is somehow a recipe that would attract pedophiles. I have no idea if it would actually do so, but again I can assure you that parents would worry about that.Griswaldo (talk) 19:56, 22 September 2011 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── I did no such thing as caricature your argument. I quite accurately pointed out some of your mistaken characterizations while explaining to you the image that your post would conjure up in people's minds. There are no such things as these "meetings", there are not even any real discussions going on at the project, it is almost entirely a notice board to direct editors to different articles talkpages related to pornography, and to list places that need to be looked into. The irony is you want to ban minors from joining a group which virtually serves as no more than a directory to other Wikipedia talkpages, but you are okay with them discussing pornography related articles on those article talkpages.AerobicFox (talk) 05:57, 23 September 2011 (UTC)

If I ever said that I was "okay with them discussing pornography related articles on those article talk pages," then please point out where so I can strike that comment. I have never thought that was a good idea so it so I'm shocked that you say that I have expressed it. If I never wrote any such thing, and you are mistaken then please do me the favor of striking your claim. Do you really think that anyone would worry about "discussions going on at the project," in the open in other words? Do you think that if a pedophile were lurking they would engage in open discussions with children on WikiProject pages? Do you think that anyone worried about such things worries about what goes on in the public WikiProject pages, which, once again no one is suggesting that minors should not be able to view. Viewing pages does not in any way publicly connect the self-identified minor with pornography, and therefore poses no problem. Joining a WikiGroup or discussing pornography on pornography related pages does. It baffles me how many times someone can make a point without it coming across. Cheers.Griswaldo (talk) 11:55, 23 September 2011 (UTC)
Yo, Griswaldo, I'm a parent, and I'm not about to be told how to raise my teenager or how to handle the way she uses the Internet (including Wikipedia) by Helen Lovejoy|anybody else whining, "But what about the cheeeeeelldrunnnnnn?!!!" in the tone of voice that implies the right to tell my family how to think and my wife and I how to parent. --Orange Mike | Talk 20:58, 23 September 2011 (UTC)
What exactly does this have to do with telling you how to parent your own child? I'm a bit lost here. You realize that people who support this measure, like myself, have decided not to tell individuals how to raise their children, but instead have opted to regulate our own community in a way that we feel protects its members. When you go to an amusement park and the ride operator says that in order for your child to get on she has to fasten the seat belt securely, you don't tell them to stop interfering with your parenting do you? On the other hand many who oppose the measure have suggested that instead of setting rules for our own community we blame the parents for the manner in which they are raising their children. So I really think you have this backwards. Cheers.Griswaldo (talk) 21:10, 23 September 2011 (UTC)

Just follow existing practice?

I have not read everything above, so please forgive me if this is mentioned somewhere: Couldn't this person be blocked/banned under Wikipedia:Requests for arbitration/Protecting children's privacy#Ban for disruption? There the ArbCom stated: "2) Users who seriously disrupt Wikipedia may be banned. In the context of this case, users who self-identify as children, project a sexually tinged persona, and disclose personal information such as links to sites devoted to social interaction are engaging in disruptive behavior and may be banned. Pass 5-0 at 17:41, 5 December 2006 (UTC)" (See also WP:CHILD, an essay which is partly based on that ArbCom decision and includes the language quoted above.) Based on discussions I have seen on AN/I, there are admins who have blocked self-identified minors for conduct that was far less "sexually tinged" than participation in a pornography Wikiproject. So regardless of whether any new rules should be adopted, admins are already empowered to deal with the situation of a self-identified 13-year-old editing articles pertaining to pornography. To me, the issue here isn't really protecting the editor (who, of course, may really be an adult and, regardless of age, could be reading the articles anyway without editing them, so banning them from a Wikiproject will not protect them from anything), the issue is protecting Wikipedia from disruption. Neutron (talk) 15:02, 21 September 2011 (UTC)

I don't see the disclosure of personal information here, nor should ArbCom be making policy, nor is it necessary here because the kid already made a plea bargain surrendering his rights. I think we have a pretty solid consensus to dismiss this concern outright, but if we didn't, then we'd have to consider that every time a kid edited an article about nitrogen triiodide or cannabis cultivation all the same things would come up. If we buy into the idea that kids aren't people (or at least, don't have the rights of people) then the cleanest surrender would be to declare that any statement made by an editor implying he is under 18 (21?) is tantamount to a WP:legal threat and should result in immediate ban, though I'd say that WP:CLEANSTART should apply. Wnt (talk) 15:14, 21 September 2011 (UTC)
I'll just deal with some of these points. That arbitration case did not only deal with disclosure of personal information. Based on my reading of the case pages, it started off that way, but the ArbCom made a more general statement dealing with the behavior of self-identified "children." They were not making policy, they were really describing existing practice, although I have seen admins cite the ArbCom decision to justify blocking someone. But that's not really a problem because on Wikipedia "policy" is supposed to be "descriptive, not prescriptive." (Some of it actually is kind of prescriptive, but not on this subject -- admins can block a self-described "child" who is aggressively flirting with other editors or editing articles about pornography, but they are not required to. Some do, some don't.) So the admins who block people and cite that ArbCom decision are just providing evidence that their action is supported by long-existing practice. In the end, I think you and I agree that there does not need to be a new set of rules about what "under-age" editors can edit and what they can't -- but in my case, I agree with that because I think the current system, in which admins can block someone whose editing in combination with their self-described minor status is causing disruption -- as happened in this case. Neutron (talk) 19:19, 21 September 2011 (UTC)
  • "users who self-identify as children, project a sexually tinged persona, and disclose personal information" - I think when they say kids projecting sexually tinged personas and throwing their identity around we can conclude quite easily that they're talking about nonces. Not kiddies, kiddie-fiddlers. Ironholds (talk) 09:28, 22 September 2011 (UTC)
(added later) A few of those terms don't cross the pond that well, but I assume that you are thinking what I'm thinking, that such a person is actually more likely to be 50 than 13. North8000 (talk) 21:17, 22 September 2011 (UTC)

I think that we should also ban automobiles because a 13 old might drive them, and such would be problematic. :-) North8000 (talk) 11:19, 22 September 2011 (UTC)

No, children should be allowed to study and drive automobiles. Just not to write about them. Ironholds (talk) 16:16, 22 September 2011 (UTC)

Improve the general disclaimer regarding WikiProjects

I think that this is the latest in a series of WikiProject-associated controversies - others being whether you can put a WikiProject LGBT tag on the talk page of an article about a BLP who isn't widely known as such, and the disclaimer I added during the FBI seal controversy (which, though moved, persists to this day, and yes, I know that it violates WP:NODISCLAIMERS) that WikiProject FBI is "open to all editors and is not approved, endorsed, nor authorized by the FBI in any way". I think that the recurrent problem we have here is that people confuse WikiProjects, which are about improving articles in some way related to various topics, as somehow representing or advocating these viewpoints. It may be time to think up a good line to add to the WP:general disclaimer. I propose:
"Wikipedia users may voluntarily band together to form WikiProjects to improve our coverage of some topics. The association of a user or an article with a WikiProject does not indicate any link with or opinion regarding the topic of the WikiProject, nor any endorsement or authorization by or association with any outside organization. WikiProject tags and user participation are merely internal notes to facilitate the upgrading of our encyclopedic coverage."

Any wording, of course, to be approved by WMF counsel before a change is actually made. Wnt (talk) 17:45, 22 September 2011 (UTC)

Because a number of people don't actually understand what the pro-age-limit side is saying

Looking over the page, I see the same arguments made over and over without any attention being paid to what the pro-age-limit folks are actually saying. I'm not going to name names, but a lot of editors should have actually bothered to read before joining the bandwagon and submitting oppose votes.

  • There are federal laws affecting the state of Florida (where the servers are located) against distributing porn to minors. If you don't believe, go and hand out porn mags at your nearest school. I dare you. Even if you don't end up in prison, you'll end up on the news. There is at least a media issue, if not a legal issue, which could adversely affect the encyclopedia.
  • There are no laws preventing kids from looking at, viewing, studying, or reading about about cars, alcohol, or firearms. Since America loves those things, there's no chance for a media backlash if we continue allowing minors to write about those. The comparison to cars, alcohol, or firearms is a red herring.
  • The courts probably won't distinguish between porn and articles about porn, and the media sure as hell won't. Moral panic is their rice and beans. Considering gay-marraige is still mostly illegal in America, and many states still have anti-sodomy laws, there is no reason to trust the courts with any issue tangentially related to sex. The distinction between porn and articles about porn is not going to help.
  • The kids who lie about their age or simply don't state it are a non-issue, they are not our responsibility. The kids who hide their age are the responsibility of their parents or schools. Anyone bringing them up as an argument are making an issue out of a non-issue. Quit using the Nirvana fallacy. Enforcability is only an issue for users who self-identify as minors and as members of the project.
  • We're not saying that kids cannot read or edit articles in the Wikiproject: just that they shouldn't reveal their age if they do so.
  • We're not saying that everyone should have to identify their age, submit their passports, or anything else like that. Quit overreacting and quit using straw man arguments.
  • The encyclopedia is not going to end because a few editors have to hide their age. To date, there has only been two admitted minors claiming to be a part of the project. Neither made edits to articles in the project and one was blocked (repeatedly) for unrelated disruption. Quit using the Slippery-slope fallacy and pay attention to the real world. No burden would be put on the project from some supposed lack of editors.

Some additional points: Who opposing this is actually a part of the Pornography Wikiproject? Who opposing this actually works with minors, either their own kids or as a caretaker or teacher? I'm seeing some honestly stupid comments about "well, the kids should be watched at all times" that no who knows anything about kids (or remembers being a kid) would actually make. Ian.thomson (talk) 14:49, 23 September 2011 (UTC)

Well said Ian. This is just so creepy. When a 13-year-old approaches a group of anonymous adults talking about porn, and wants to join in, responsible members of the group tell him to go away, because it's inappropriate and actually dangerous. --Anthonyhcole (talk) 15:39, 23 September 2011 (UTC)
Yes. Concise, and to the point. AndyTheGrump (talk) 15:45, 23 September 2011 (UTC)
Yes extremely clear and well put.Griswaldo (talk) 19:01, 23 September 2011 (UTC)
Are we just talking about a no minors in the project itself age-limit here, or are we talking about trying to stop minors from editing in the entire topic area age-limit? Just keeping them from officially listing themselves as a member of the project is largely symbolic and not that objectionable, trying to define the scope of a project area, and ban minors from it is extremely objectionable, and many of your counter points fail to address the reason why that is so problematic. So it is important that we are clear which we are talking about. Monty845 15:52, 23 September 2011 (UTC)
The topic wasn't set clearly in the beginning, but as far as I am concerned we are clearly not talking about a 17-year-old recent changes patroller reverting obvious vandalism to a Playboy-related page. We are talking about editors going out of their way to tell everybody that they are children and want to focus their activity here on porn-related pages. It shouldn't be hard to draw a line somewhere in between. It's not a big problem if this line is a bit fuzzy, so long as it isn't drawn too closely to either the first or the second case. Hans Adler 00:05, 24 September 2011 (UTC)

Because a number of people don't understand what the anti-age limit side is saying, let's be very clear: Wikipedia is not pornography.

  • We are an educational resource, equivalent to somewhere around 300 sets of bound encyclopedias at last count, and if you take them all and open them to the right pages you can get some explicit images.
  • We discuss pornography as part of our educational mandate.
  • If some news outlet wants to misrepresent that we can't stop them - I do believe that they were saying Wikipedia was full of child pornography at last sighting, but somehow the FBI never hauled away the servers. They didn't make a big story about this failing to happen, needless to say. But the point is, the public knows when they're hearing some hyped propaganda piece from media outlets too cowardly to actually go to the local vice cops in their communities and find out about the actual criminal gangs that are exploiting children as slave prostitutes.
  • If we are true to our own principles and remain an encyclopedia anyone can edit, we can weather any storm. But if we show fear to bullies we will be rightfully persecuted. They will say that our placing an age limit on editing articles about pornography proves that they are pornography, and so no child should be allowed to read them, so we have to set up some elaborate mechanism to keep them from reading them.
  • Bear in mind ("not naming any names") I think some of the major age limit proponents here are strong proponents of "image filter" options and of removing any image they don't like altogether, so I think they want that to happen.
  • When a parent allows a 13-year-old (or younger) his first adult library card, he is free to walk through the whole library and look at all the pictures, read all the books. Responsible librarians support that policy, because what better way is there for a kid to learn about such topics than in the safe and reasoned environment of an institution dedicated to knowledge? Wnt (talk) 15:53, 23 September 2011 (UTC)
Question for Ian.thomson: this is all pretty persuasive and I, for one, am swinging from the position of "a solution that's only partial is no solution" to "a partial solution is better than none". But what do you propose would be the actual mechanisms of detection and enforcement? For example, would we just wait until somebody happened to notice that a member of the porn project was a self-declared minor, and then step in? Or would some individual or group take on the responsibility of checking each member of the project? How far would they check (because you could self-declare as a minor on a Talk page somewhere, say, yet not have it on your own user page)? Just interested how this would work in practice. Barnabypage (talk) 15:58, 23 September 2011 (UTC)
Ah dear... let's make it simple: you make a legal threat, you're blocked. you state your age, you're topic banned from porn. Simple enough? Choyoołʼįįhí:Seb az86556 > haneʼ 16:39, 23 September 2011 (UTC)
As soon as you define porn. As far as I know, there is no pornography on Wikipedia, if it doesn't have encyclopedic value, it should be deleted. Monty845 16:46, 23 September 2011 (UTC)
I am smelling the mothballs of the continuum fallacy. Also, you are completely missing the point. This is not about children viewing pornography, this is about children expressing a strong interest in pornography -- an invitation to grooming. Hans Adler 00:15, 24 September 2011 (UTC)
(edit conflict)
Monty845: To be clearer, for practical reasons, I'm for just not allowing minors to join WP:Porn.
WNT: Again, while we both understand the difference between articles about porn, and porn per se, do you really trust a puritanical populace that supports anti-gay marraige and anti-sodomy laws to understand the difference? Part of the reason that the FBI didn't haul off the servers is that we do have policies in place to prevent child porn from getting on here, so when it does the problem is fixed. In reality, we do not allow anyone to edit, we do block anyone who causes or may cause trouble for the encyclopedia, and we do restrict which articles can be edited by just anyone. Image filters are a different issue, and I for one do not support them (though a text-only version of the site for browsing on my phone would be nice). A child has to get consent from his/her parent to get an adult library card, they do not have to get consent to come here.
Barnabypage: The case that sparked this was an editor who identified as both a member of the project and a minor on his user page. I acknowledge that a productive underage editor performing a quality edit in one of the project pages after having mentioned his/her age in a completely unrelated part of the encyclopedia would go against WP:HOUND. Right now, the project page lists less than about 50 members, and only about 15 or 20 are active. I would think that project members would have the project page on their watchlists, and would sometimes visit the userpages of other editors in the project, so rejecting future self-identified underage members shouldn't be much of a problem. If a user places the banner on their userpage but does not sign onto the project page, they are still placed in the category "WikiProject Pornography members."
I would say that any editor who places his name on the WP:Porn page or puts himself in the WP:Porn Members category while stating on his userpage, his talk page, or on the WP:Porn page or talk page that he is underage (either by giving his age, birthday, or simply stating he is underage) will be removed from WP:Porn and its member category and kindly asked not to do it again while he identifies as underage. If he insists on readding himself to either while still identifying as underage, we continue to revert while issuing uw-disruptive warnings until he stops or earns a block. If he ceases to identify as a minor and readds himself, we could pretend that the editor who removed him first didn't notice the readd and that the other editors weren't aware of his previous age statement, especially if he is otherwise an upstanding editor.
If a self-identified underage editor edits articles under the project's aegis but does not list himself as a member of the project, we could claim that they were not editing it as a member of the project but part of some other project (say, edits to Playboy could be claimed to be working on the magazine Wikiproject). We could also claim that the folks who saw the edit didn't see that he was underage, the folks who saw that he was underage didn't see the edit, and that the underage editor was not aware that the article was part of WP:Porn.
Ian.thomson (talk) 16:57, 23 September 2011 (UTC)
Ian.thomson, thanks for clarifying how you envisage it working. My concern is that if its aim is to arm ourselves against media accusations that we are enabling inappropriate involvement of minors with sexual content/discussion, the system has to be at least moderately robust. Agreed it can't be foolproof (without going to disproportionate lengths) but we need to be able to show that we have sincerely tried to address the issue; a token gesture is going to be seen through pretty easily. Barnabypage (talk) 14:32, 24 September 2011 (UTC)
If a parent allows a child full unmonitored access to the Internet, so that they don't know when the child is editing as part of this WikiProject, in practice that translates to consent to view all sorts of images here and elsewhere. Wnt (talk) 19:06, 23 September 2011 (UTC)
Again: the parent has to give consent for the child to get a library card. Without the explicit consent, no library card. To get here, the child just has to not listen to a refusal, or the parent just has to not refuse. Not a small difference. The absense of refusal is not the same as explicit and approving consent, and kids are great at dodging such issues with authority figures in their lives (it's part of growing up). Ian.thomson (talk) 19:12, 23 September 2011 (UTC)
I believe that a distinction has to be made between pornography and encyclopedia articles about pornography. Also I am not aware that legal representatives of Wikipedia have voiced an opinion about this. Some posts are sounding authoritative, and perhaps they are. But shouldn't we be most paying attention to what dedicated legal professionals representing Wikipedia have to say? Have any such individuals had any input into this discussion on this Talk page or elsewhere? Bus stop (talk) 20:21, 23 September 2011 (UTC)
I agree, a professional legal opinion would be a very valuable contribution to this debate. I have perhaps not read every word but I have tried to follow it since shortly after it began, and I don't think any such has been received. Barnabypage (talk) 20:42, 23 September 2011 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────The distinction between has been made ad nauseum, both sides acknowledge it, bringing it up again only gives the impression one hasn't been paying attention. It has been pointed out that the circus of public media, and even the courts, would not care about such a distinction. That was one of the points of the pro-age-limit summary given above. As for contacting the Wikipedia's legal team, why doesn't anyone who keeps saying that get their attention to this thread? If those opposed to the suggested measures are not afraid that the legal team won't support them, why don't they contact them? They seem to be the only ones asking for the legal team's views, and and they seem to be using that to filibuster and dodge the pro-age-limit side. Ian.thomson (talk) 21:09, 23 September 2011 (UTC)

Ian.thomson, I have asked User:MichaelSnow to take a look at the issue if he has time. He is a lawyer who sits on the Advisory Board of the Wikimedia Foundation. The invitation is on his Talk page. Barnabypage (talk) 21:28, 23 September 2011 (UTC)
(edit conflict)While the media may not care, the courts are another matter. What specific law do you think Wikipedia would be violating if the changes are not made? Without that as a starting point it is pointless to argue over what distinctions will and will not matter to a court. Say what you want about how the media will react, but it would be foolish to make a policy change on the basis of a law that we have gotten no legal opinion on and have not even identified. Monty845 21:37, 23 September 2011 (UTC)
I just don't care which specific laws we are violating when we knowingly make it easy for pedophiles to target obviously immature, unusually sex-obsessed children. Surely there are laws against that in most jurisdictions, but that's not the point. The point is that it's totally beyond the pale to allow this to go on. Hans Adler 00:19, 24 September 2011 (UTC)
Wikipedia may indeed make it easy for pedophiles to target unwary children whose parents have not taught them properly to avoid trickery. But they do so by convincing kids to meet, and perhaps first to chat online, swap personal images, etc. They do not do so by convincing kids to edit factual details about obscure publishers. I don't believe it. Wnt (talk) 01:25, 24 September 2011 (UTC)
I feel like it's straw man season right now and everyone is busy with the harvest. Wnt nobody, I mean N O B O D Y argued that. The declaration of age and the interest in pornography as a subject might attract pedophiles, and might make them initiate exactly what you do believe does happen. You put the cart before the horse.Griswaldo (talk) 01:40, 24 September 2011 (UTC)
If we are that worried about pedophiles targeting editors who declare themselves to be 13, the more logical thing to do would be to require the removal and oversighting of all disclosures of age for editors under 18 years old. Monty845 04:21, 24 September 2011 (UTC)
So far as I'm aware, there have been no proven or even alleged instances of underaged editors being recruited for sex by adult editors. I agree with Monty that the simplest way of addressing that potential problem would be to prevent anyone from identifying as underaged, making it very difficult for any predator to find them. Per COPPA, no one under 13 years of age should not be allowed to edit at all.   Will Beback  talk  23:31, 24 September 2011 (UTC)

Will anyone in the press take this up?

This whole episode is very telling, not to mention amusing.

It is blindingly obvious that someone who declares himself to be 13 years old should not be editing Wikipedia's porn articles. At least, it is blindingly obvious to any full-fledged adult. To teenagers and others of similarly adolescent mind, this might not be so obvious. But Wikipedia is in a world governed by the sort of people to whom it is indeed blindingly obvious.

The arguments on the other side are very weak. The rule is not "unenforceable." Well, if enforcement requires identifying all violators and applying the rule to them, then it's unenforceable. But if enforcement were limited to those who were widely known to be under age, or who had admitted to being under age, then the rule is plenty enforceable.

The adult world has had laws on the books that were "unenforceable" in this sort of way. Gee, I wonder why...

Anyway, I've asked the press to have a look at the proceedings: http://twitter.com/#!/lsanger/status/117299089439334400 --Larry Sanger (talk) 18:35, 23 September 2011 (UTC)

Pathetically misleading tweet, Sanger. Jweiss11 (talk) 01:57, 24 September 2011 (UTC)
I don't think implying that everyone who disagrees with you is not a "full-fledged adult" or they they have an "adolescent mind" is consistent with engaging in a good faith debate. Further, are you saying you are trying to attract press attention in the hopes that the controversy generated will help achieve the result you want? Monty845 18:46, 23 September 2011 (UTC)
Statistics show that a substantial portion of Wikipedians are adolescents. That's not an insult or in bad faith, it's a simple fact. It's also plain common sense to observe that certain patterns of thinking are associated with adolescents, and that that by the time they're full-fledged adults, they no longer engage in such patterns of thinking.
Of course I'm trying to attract press attention in the hopes that they will subtly pressure you into adopting some common sense measures. Why else? And is there something wrong with that? Would it, perhaps, be like snitching to the authorities...? --Larry Sanger (talk) 20:54, 23 September 2011 (UTC)
I'm sure the press greatly appreciate being misled in that way. --Demiurge1000 (talk) 18:47, 23 September 2011 (UTC)
I've said nothing misleading. --Larry Sanger (talk) 20:54, 23 September 2011 (UTC)
Don't tempt me, Larry. You're asking me to explain how you were misleading? Are you sure? --Demiurge1000 (talk) 02:20, 24 September 2011 (UTC)
I'll tempt you. Go ahead, I'm calling your bluff. I said, "a self-described 13 YO joined Wikiproject Pornography. Wikipedians support him." A clear majority of Wikipedians commenting on the issue, in two different referenda, have declared that they in principle support a person who admits that he is 13 year old and signs his name as a Wikiproject Pornography participant. What would be a misleading canard is to insist that it especially matters that the 13-year-old in question has been banned, or is somehow on the outs with Wikipedia for independent reasons. Of course that doesn't matter. We're talking about a general rule which any sane adult would support, but which in the Neverland (or would it be the island of the Lord of the Flies?) of Wikipedia is vociferously denounced. --Larry Sanger (talk) 20:49, 24 September 2011 (UTC)
Your claim was that Wikipedians support him specifically, and his membership of the WikiProject. Wikipedians don't support that, in fact one of the requirements of the agreement by which he was unblocked (which didn't last long) was that he renounce his membership of that WikiProject. Administrators have the ability to handle such incidents on a case by case basis, and that's how that case was handled. Couldn't be clearer than that. If you want to be honest with the press then you should tell them what the referenda actually discussed, not falsely claim that the concerns about the referenda proposals somehow implied support for that individual's desire to be part of that WikiProject. --Demiurge1000 (talk) 22:05, 24 September 2011 (UTC)
"Wikipedians support him" means, in that brief context, that they support his right qua 13-year-old to join Wikiproject Pornography. And indeed, they do support that right. It is irrelevant, and obviously a red herring, to insist that they banned him separately, for other reasons. Again, nothing of substance or relevance was incorrect in my tweet. --Larry Sanger (talk) 23:44, 24 September 2011 (UTC)
No, they precisely don't support his right. One of the conditions of his unblock was that he agreed to be removed from the WikiProject. No-one - not one person - argued against that condition being imposed. --Demiurge1000 (talk) 23:52, 24 September 2011 (UTC)
You're missing my point: no one who received my tweet is likely to care about the outcome of the particular case of the 13-year-old. Hence my little word "qua." And so my tweet is perfectly fact-stating. Over and out. --Larry Sanger (talk) 01:13, 25 September 2011 (UTC)
Your tweet was about that particular case. So you could've avoided making it misleading by either honestly representing Wikipedians' response to that particular case, or by not mixing up the two issues at all. --Demiurge1000 (talk) 01:21, 25 September 2011 (UTC)
Fortunately, I don't think you will get far with the press. Note that User:ChristianandJericho was facing a lot of other issues here, with many previous blocks, and eventually got blocked because of some involvement with User:113.161.74.88 (an IP registered from Hanoi that he said was his school) for some reason I don't understand. Odds are, you've been trolled - even if the story is correct as told, you have nothing to show the press except that some of us believe that kids should be allowed to write educational encyclopedia articles about topics with some relevance to pornography. Americans have long expected a strong tradition of defense of the freedom to read from their brick-and-mortar libraries, and we should settle for nothing less from the online equivalent. Wnt (talk) 19:56, 23 September 2011 (UTC)
You're probably right. The press gives Wikipedia a pass on a lot of crap, mainly because the public has come to find Wikipedia's various mini-scandals and silly controversies to be boring. But you can't say I didn't try.
The issue isn't just about this particular user. And the press is free to draw their own conclusions. I'm quite sure many of them--as most people would--would conclude that most Wikipedians writing on this page also support giving 12-year-olds the right to edit that "educational" classic, cock and ball torture (sexual practice).
Of course, stating publicly that underage kids are not allowed to edit porn articles (however identified) is perfectly consistent with the actual "strong tradition of defense of the freedom to read from their brick-and-mortar libraries."
Would I be violating any Wikipedia policies if I were to suggest that you people couldn't argue your way out of a paper bag? --Larry Sanger (talk) 20:54, 23 September 2011 (UTC)
Arguably. But you unarguably would come over as a surprisingly petty person. --Stephan Schulz (talk) 21:07, 23 September 2011 (UTC)
Yes, I suppose in this day and age, making sense and stating one's case clearly and forcefully is considered "petty." Rah for the people bold enough to be "petty" in this way! --Larry Sanger (talk) 20:51, 24 September 2011 (UTC)
So how's it going at Citizendium? Shooterwalker (talk) 00:42, 24 September 2011 (UTC)
Seriously, are the images at "cock and ball torture" any more explicit than the images which children in sixth or seventh grade are shown by order of law as part of sex education? They are bizarre - and they are educational. They just detail an odd corner the class probably doesn't have time to cover. Wnt (talk) 01:07, 24 September 2011 (UTC)
You must be kidding, but on the off chance: The answer is yes, they are significantly more explicit than images used, at least in those sex education classes that I'm familiar with. --Danger (talk) 01:43, 24 September 2011 (UTC)
Then you clearly never had the sex ed meeting in 7th grade, where they showed images of what a number of STDs looked like on both sexes' genitalia. I have yet to run across a sexual image on Wikipedia that is more graphic than those. The CBT article is considerably tame in comparison. SilverserenC 05:27, 24 September 2011 (UTC)
Give me a break. Context is everything. It's one thing to show disgusting pictures of sexual diseases to adolescents to scare them into avoiding dangerous practices. It's a very, very different thing to show them pictures of sexual fetishes that most people would regard as horrific--let alone welcome them to edit the articles on the same. --Larry Sanger (talk) 20:55, 24 September 2011 (UTC)
Note that you've just crossed the imaginary line between censorship of "indecent material" and political censorship. What is "wrong" with the "cock and ball torture" article is not that it shows genitalia - not that it is grotesque - not that it is educational - but only that when we cover the topic we don't take a suitable condemnatory POV against it. Very illuminating. Wnt (talk) 01:38, 25 September 2011 (UTC)

I don't know what the point was of notifying the press. Whatever decision is made will ultimately be made by the Wikimedia Foundation's legal advisors. The press doesn't understand the legal background on the issue any more than any of us (non-lawyers) do. Mind you, I do support blocking accounts of minors who attempt to edit sex-topic related articles, and it was stated repeatedy above that this is already done in an ad hoc way by the admins. OttawaAC (talk) 01:41, 24 September 2011 (UTC)

That is calling the press? A tweet? Really? // As to the defenders of pornography should be watched/edited by minors: most of you are simply having fun making provocations, grow up! WP can be utterly silly sometimes- Nabla (talk) 02:11, 24 September 2011 (UTC)

Imagine a world in which every single person on the planet is given free access to the sum of all human knowledge. That’s what we’re doing.[5] This is not mere provocation, but what Wikipedia is about. All human knowledge. We must not accept beliefs that some people aren't allowed to know about this and that and the other thing. Wnt (talk) 03:08, 24 September 2011 (UTC)
Except for, 13-year-olds aren't persons. You seem to forget that. Choyoołʼįįhí:Seb az86556 > haneʼ 05:57, 24 September 2011 (UTC)
Dammit Wnt, stop being all logical and join the moral panic already! Resolute 03:25, 24 September 2011 (UTC)
Sanger is a gadfly whose crowning achievement on the project is making Jimbo's Wikipedia article stick a "co-" in front of "owner". After the "OMG TEH PR0N ON COMMONZ!!!!" hand-waving last year, I doubt any legitimate press will give his tweet a second glance. Tarc (talk) 02:16, 24 September 2011 (UTC)
Oh, I guess I made a mistake. Sorry. Feel free to move on past the troll. --Demiurge1000 (talk) 02:24, 24 September 2011 (UTC)
Tarc, it is quite possible there would not be a Wikipedia without Larry Sanger. He really did evangelize it strongly in the initial stages. The attempted rewriting of history regarding him is shameful. One can respect that contribution yet still not be beholden to him, sort of the opposite of WP:JIMBOSAID. -- Seth Finkelstein (talk) 04:59, 24 September 2011 (UTC)
Actually, Seth, since it was my idea--in the sense that once I learned of the availability and operation of wiki software, I immediately weighed the idea of a "Nupedia wiki" in consequence, and I decided to go with it, made the proposal, made the first edits, made the first invites, and essentially led the project its first year--well, I don't think it would have happened. If Jimmy Wales, for instance, had independently had the idea, I really think it would have gone nowhere. In fact, not many people know this, but there was a Bomis wiki that started soon (like days or a week) after Wikipedia. It completely and utterly flopped. --Larry Sanger (talk) 01:20, 25 September 2011 (UTC)

As one member of the press said a while back, about a previous Wikipedia controversy, "Anyone who needs to use an album cover more than three decades old in order to make a Wikipedia sexual controversy is not trying very hard.". But, really, I don't think this one is going very far. It's basically "Nutpicking". Wikipedia has a strong demographic of young males, who often express certain views expressed by that demographic. This is not news. -- Seth Finkelstein (talk) 04:51, 24 September 2011 (UTC)

"As one member of the press" Can't tell if you're trying to be ironic, or self-promoting. Either way, after your and Sanger's attempts to create a media controversy have continually failed over the years despite several op-eds from you, and interviews and FBI reports from Sanger concerning Wikipedia's rampant pedophilia and child porn, I think we can rest relatively assured that the encroaching storm of bad media press isn't coming.AerobicFox (talk) 06:24, 24 September 2011 (UTC)
In your zeal to score in-group social points by attacking out-group members (a particularly bad aspect of Wikipedia discussions), you seem to have not read what I wrote in that comment, particularly my reasoning as to why this is "not news". That is, if you will do me the courtesy of considering what I actually said, you will note I am voicing the same sentiment as you in regards to the lack of bad media press. Also, obscure Wikipedia discussion pages are not exactly the best venue for self-promotion. Moreover, I've not been promoting Sanger's public-pressure campaign, though I do contend he holds his views sincerely. -- Seth Finkelstein (talk) 16:18, 24 September 2011 (UTC)
Perhaps in your own "zeal" you have failed to notice no part of my post proclaiming you to think this is news. As I have stated above you two over the years have tried to conjure up a media storm surrounding pedophilia on Wikipedia(was racism just not inflammatory enough?). Despite all of these attempts no media storm has come, so I think we can rest assured that it will not come. I don't see my post claiming you to have said otherwise in any measure, but would note that you consistently position yourself as an impartial "outsider" figure on Wikipedia, and view any disagreements with you as insular attacks indicative of systemic issues with the community, and not your own problematic arguments.AerobicFox (talk) 17:59, 24 September 2011 (UTC)
You have proven my point. Your accusation - "you two over the years have tried to conjure up a media storm surrounding pedophilia on Wikipedia" - is completely false. I have in fact been extremely kind to Wikipedia on this particular topic, even at some personal cost where it would have been better for me politically to have joined the condemnations. You are simply personally attacking a convenient target, and you are wrong to do so on many levels (wrong factually, and wrong morally). -- Seth Finkelstein (talk) 18:07, 24 September 2011 (UTC)
I have looked into it and found that you have indeed not been attacking Wikipedia on the pedophile front as I assumed from your participation in previous pedophile discussions and history of drumming up criticism of Wikipedia(wrong assumption, my bad). If you still feel bad from this assumption, my apologies. Larry Sanger and others who have tried this for the past few years have however proven it unlikely that there will be a "media storm".AerobicFox (talk) 21:46, 24 September 2011 (UTC)
Thank you for your correction/apology. -- Seth Finkelstein (talk) 02:16, 25 September 2011 (UTC)
This is whistling past the graveyard. After having to explain that boatloads of porn exists on Wikipedia & Wikimedia projects to education technologists--people who you'd think would know about it--on EDTECH, it became amply clear to me that most people in charge don't understand about Wikipedia's porn problem. It's been around long enough that it's now going to require a journalist with some courage and clout to make an issue of it, because he/she knows he/she will come under heavy fire and maybe have his/her progressive bona fides called into question. But once that happens, Wikipedia itself is going to come under really heavy fire. As long as those in the know about it are mainly restricted to Internet libertarian types, it's not "official knowledge" that those in authority will feel some responsibility to respond to. But that day is likely to come, and unexpectedly. --Larry Sanger (talk) 01:27, 25 September 2011 (UTC)
You're speaking of the infamous Imminent Death of the Internet (tm), which people have been predicting for at least the last 25 years or so. When the press finds out about alt.binaries, when the phone companies realize people can chat on IRC and enact the modem tax, when the FBI gets a list of everybody posting to the rec.pyrotechnics newsgroup, there will be this terrible reckoning. But the truth is that we're making a new culture every day, and we've held back a lot of things, even made some advances. There are enough people already trying to push for everything with the new technology to be cruel and restrictive - online, lending a book to a friend becomes a theft, singing Happy Birthday at a party becomes a felony, a kid making out with his girlfriend becomes a child pornographer. We need every rational voice we have to push things the other way. Wnt (talk) 02:00, 25 September 2011 (UTC)

Here's a small summary of the points illustrated by the "Oppose" side, including Wnt and Beeblebrox.

  • Sex-ed classes for 13-year-olds are very explicit already.
  • Wikipedia isn't your mom.
    • Thanks to Wnt for this example: Wikipedia is like a library. When a parent grants their child a full library card, they are allowed to see every text, every picture. If their parents are negligent (or, say, conscious of their kids' curiosity) in such a way that they'd allow their kids to edit porn-related articles, we're not the ones who should be stopping them. After all, explicit pictures are usually allowed to be displayed to children for "educational purposes". If a kid is well-versed in cock and balls torture, and their guardians encourage knowledge of the subject, I don't see why they couldn't contribute constructively.
  • Why should children be allowed to view explicit pictures, but not edit their associated text? I don't see how that can be any worse.

To summarize my personal view, this is all centered around censorship. We're just not the ones who are supposed to be worrying. — Kudu ~I/O~ 13:07, 24 September 2011 (UTC)

  • I'm sorry but I find this position, a very common one on the oppose side, to be completely hypocritical. On the one hand you say that "we're just not the ones who are supposed to be worrying," yet on the other hand you are all extremely worried about the freedoms afforded to 13 year old contributors vis-a-vis pornography topics. So which is it? Should we be worried about the well being of 13 year olds or not? If you are really not worried then why contribute to this discussion? Why argue that we are doing them harm by limiting what they can or cannot do on Wikipedia? I have no problem with you disagreeing with the support position, but be honest enough to understand that you are involving yourself equally in deciding what is or is not good for society's children.Griswaldo (talk) 13:32, 24 September 2011 (UTC)

I still think we should simply delete the porn wikiproject, and assign the tasks to other projects, as those for magazines and films. The wikiproject's very existence seems to be more problematic than it's worth Cambalachero (talk) 13:41, 24 September 2011 (UTC)

Perhaps the standards in WikiProject Pornography are below what they should be. I don't think age should rule anyone out of participating anywhere in Wikipedia. We should be presenting our material in a way befitting an encyclopedia. The real core question involves that which constitutes propriety in relationship to WikiProject Pornography. I am not saying there is impropriety to the WikiProject Pornography. I just don't know. But if underage participants are to be considered not welcome at WikiProject Pornography, then it follows that there are problems with WikiProject Pornography. Anyone should be able and welcome to participate at any part of this project. If articles about porn are actually tinged with porn itself then we are failing in upholding our own identity as an encyclopedia. We should not be presenting material in a way not fit to be in an encyclopedia. If we fail to uphold the standards of an encyclopedia, that is not a problem of the age of the participants. That is a problem of our oversight of our standards. Bus stop (talk) 03:49, 25 September 2011 (UTC)

Proposal to close the RfC as failed

I have supported the RfC, and I have been disgusted by some of the justifications for some of the oppose votes. However, it now appears to me that I didn't read the initial proposal properly and it simply got the details wrong. As the RfC proposal is clearly failing to gain a majority, to put it mildly, I suggest that we close it now and interrupt the discussion for a few weeks so that everybody can calm down. (Me included.) After that, we can start a more open-ended discussion on where to draw the line between "everyone can edit" and preventing children from openly engaging in dangerous behaviour. Hans Adler 08:33, 24 September 2011 (UTC)

It's quite possible that there's no need for a policy to be created. I don't know what the legal obligations/restrictions are that might apply beyond the current blocking practises. If a policy is needed, it would really be an FYI to adult users that they could have legal culpability for their own actions, if they "knowingly" communicate with minors to create/transmit material the law could interpret as obscene -- the definition of obscene is different as it applied to minors versus adults in the U.S. (I think possibly this could be the case-- I'm not a Florida lawyer) http://www.protectkids.com/dangers/porndefinitions.htm. It's pretty wild that some posters to this discussion seem to think they have a moral/ethical/principled stake in being able to directly contact other people's children, regardless of age, for the purposes of educating them about anything to do with sex. I'd rather have adolescents finding out information about sex from an encyclopedia than the Web at large, but I think some posters here are over-reaching in their hyperbole. I would like to know what the legal stance of the Wikimedia Foundation is on the matter, if only to clarify in my own mind where the line should be drawn. I would hope that articles about reproductive health wouldn't be in danger of falling under an obscenity definition that would bar minors from contributing/editing, but what do I know? Thus the need for a legal opinion.

OttawaAC (talk) 02:16, 25 September 2011 (UTC)

No. Discussion is still progressing. — Kudu ~I/O~ 13:01, 24 September 2011 (UTC)
Support: Near unanimous opposition. Drama level has risen. Someone is even threatening to make a media issue out of this for their personal gain. It's time to close this discussion for having turned completely sour. Shooterwalker (talk) 15:16, 24 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Support. I don't see sufficient support for this proposal to meet any kind of consensus, and I can't imagine the breeze blowing in the opposite direction anytime soon. While normally I would see no reason to close discussion early (I think broader discussion is a great thing), I'm concerned that Larry has demonstrated his intention to use this (perhaps invented) issue to discredit the pedia. I'd rather have a discussion about how to deal with the issues raised, and this narrow procedure has short-circuited that discussion, IMHO. BusterD (talk) 16:40, 24 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Support. There's no two ways about what the outcome of the RfC will be. It wouldn't stop a post RfC discussion continuing. --FormerIP (talk) 18:13, 24 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Support. Any RfC/proposal should be made after the legal framework is established so that there's context, and so that we don't have suggestions with overly-vague goals being tossed out to the forum where they'll be, predictably, pulled apart from at least three dozen different angles.

OttawaAC (talk) 20:42, 24 September 2011 (UTC)

  • Support too many "I had no idea the world wide web extends outside my home country" and no sign anyone read the proposal[citation needed] Penyulap talk 00:07, 25 September 2011 (UTC)

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

Notification of RFC on the proper scope of WP:BLPPROD

I have started an RFC at Wikipedia_talk:Proposed_deletion_of_biographies_of_living_people#Nominating_articles_with_unreliable_sources_for_BLPPROD asking if the BLPPROD policy should allow nomination of articles that contain only unreliable sources. Due to the ongoing failure of RFC bot to list this RFC on the appropriate pages, (Policy and Bio) I am posting a notice here to request additional comments. Monty845 14:28, 24 September 2011 (UTC)

Why I haven't donated to Wikipedia yet > notoriety standards / policies too strict

Moved from meta:Wikimedia Forum -- œ 04:19, 20 September 2011 (UTC)

[Skip to the bottom if you just want to see my suggestion.]

I love Wikipedia to death, but I can't get behind your site's unrealistic standards of what makes something notable, culturally relevant or factual. These rules prevent creating articles on many valid real world subjects. Just because information is obscure, does not appear in print on paper, or was not published by a corporate source, does not make it invalid or mean Wikipedia should ignore it.

I can understand that for credibility purposes, Wikipedia might want to fact check and require references. However, by being too strict about this, you are severely limiting the value of the site to accurately document the real world.

The requirements for citing a source need to be relaxed. One should not be limited to parroting some other source in order to contribute information to the Web site.

For example, a search for "Mark Prindle" turns up nothing. Although he is a well known music journalist who

  • has interviewed hundreds of noteworthy individuals (who themselves are documented in Wikipedia), and
  • whose name can be found in many many OTHER Wikipedia articles, and
  • who has been repeatedly featured on TV (Fox's "Red Eye"), and
  • has many visitors to his Web site & followers on Facebook, etc.

evidently he is just not famous enough for Wikipedia. Several people have tried to create an article on the subject of "Mark Prindle" and it has been repeatedly deleted. Wikipedia lets Paris Hilton have an entry. Wikipedia lets the Unabomber have an entry. Wikipedia even lets Sanjaya from American Idol (whose 15 minutes of fame are pretty thin compared to markprindle.com's 15-year presence with its thousands of record reviews) have a page. What's wrong with this picture?

Over the years, I have tried to enter articles on various bands, magazines, and noteworthy individuals, only to see the majority of them deleted because they weren't noticed by Time Magazine or the New York Times. As it stands, subjects like the 80s/90s central NJ music magazine The Splatter Effect, the Philadelphia avante garde indie band The Tibetan Bowlers, and music journalist Mark Prindle, are doomed to be forgotten if Wikipedia were to triumph as the de-facto document of the history of planet Earth.

So you have to be mainstream famous to be in Wikipedia? I just can't justify giving money to an organization that supports such elitism in the media.

The whole point of "wiki" is supposed to be collaboration, which implies that we are all participants and worthy of inclusion. One of the great benefits and potentials of the Internet is that it allows the public to circumvent traditional media channels and BE the media, so that no one all-powerful entity controls the flow of information.

As such, I would propose the following change: Rather, why not assign a "credibility score" to each article, so you can allow articles on obscure topics. That way, instead of deleting articles that could not be verified or do not pertain to a mainstream subject, readers can at least access the information, with a caveat that it is not necessarily "bona fide". For deletions, the only content you really need to restrict and delete would be slanderous or libelous information. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 76.97.224.10 (talkcontribs) 22:16, 16 September 2011

tl;dr version: "Waaah. my personal hobbyhorse doesn't have an entry on Wikipedia. Waaah." → ROUX  05:09, 20 September 2011 (UTC)
At first I thought Roux had written the post. I thought I must have gone crazy. :) — Kudu ~I/O~ 00:55, 21 September 2011 (UTC)

Your entire argument is based on an assumption that almost every Wikipedian would disagree with: "Just because information is obscure, does not appear in print on paper, or was not published by a corporate source, does not make it invalid or mean Wikipedia should ignore it." If nobody else has taken the time to write about something, why would Wikipedia document it? We aren't generating content here, we are accumulating, consolidating, and presenting information. —Akrabbimtalk 12:28, 20 September 2011 (UTC)

re:76.97.224.10 So who decides what information is true or not? If there are no sources available, then how will you source the article once you make it and how are other editors going to verify the information? Are you going to allow anyone to write material from their experience no matter how obscure the subject? WP:N, WP:V, and WP:OR are there for a reason. —  HELLKNOWZ  ▎TALK 12:55, 20 September 2011 (UTC)
A lot of people can't get passed the term "notability", and take it as a personal insult when a preferred topic isn't covered. Notability is still just about sources. On one hand, requiring good sources protects the encyclopedia from articles written entirely from personal observations and opinions. But on the other hand, it also protects the subject from being written entirely from personal observations and opinions. This is especially the case for biographies of living people. It sounds frustrating to be excluded from the encyclopedia. But imagine how much more frustrating it would be to have an article about a subject that's been written by someone with an axe to grind, and no one else knows enough about the subject to figure out it the article is fair. Shorter note: the policies are there for a reason, and requiring good sources is better for all the parties involved. Dzlife (talk) 14:00, 20 September 2011 (UTC)
Notability, subtly, is not just about sources, though first and foremost it does help to affirm that a topic can be written about in a manner to meet WP:V, WP:NOR, and other core policy. What notability does, by requiring secondary sources, assures that we can write a good article on a subject, one that doesn't just rattle off primary facts, but in facts helps to assert the context and importance of that topic. Without that aspect, we're just a large database, and no helpful then any other reference work. By having the in-depth sources and using those effectively, we can easily write a well-comprehensive article that provides more information for the reader to read further on. --MASEM (t) 14:25, 20 September 2011 (UTC)
I agree with the above - notability is actually tied into verifiability closely, to some extent. We aren't saying that the information is invalid - it's just unverifiable. See WP:NOR. — Kudu ~I/O~ 00:55, 21 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Notability is a term of art to describe our process to determine if a topic chosen by an editor should be its own standalone article in Wikipedia. It is nothing more, and nothing less than that. See WP:N for the details.
  • Information or Content (anon uses both terms) for Wikipedia is another matter. It can be obscure. It can be found in only non-print media. It can originate in a non-corporate source -- but it has to be found somewhere - that's what we call verifiability and the source has to regarded by a consensus here as reliable. So if you can't identify a place where this information can be found or answer a challenge that its source is bogus, then that's really your problem, isn't it? The Wikipedia didn't grow to its current size by having unrealistic standards. patsw (talk) 00:58, 21 September 2011 (UTC)
I'll bet that there are people who would make the opposite complaint: I love Wikipedia to death, but I can't get behind your site's incredibly inclusive standards. Really: would a serious reference work document every single actor who has appeared in any two movies, or practically any person ever paid for throwing a ball, no matter how unimportant? WhatamIdoing (talk) 19:37, 21 September 2011 (UTC)
here's the difference: those who would have narrow standards prevent anyone with wider interests from finding the material relevant to them, while those who would have broad standards restrict nobody--those not interested in the minor topics can simply not read them. Narrow standards are like puritanism: those who would behave differently should not be permitted to, whereas the socially liberal lets those with narrow standards behave in accordance with them. People will judge Wikipedia by how it covers those topics they are interested in. DGG ( talk ) 04:19, 22 September 2011 (UTC)
I was one of those people! I was aware of Wikipedia for several years before I started editing but I poo-pooed the project because I saw it as unprofessional and too much devoted to subjects that don't really matter. When I started editing (to cleanup spam from a charlatan) I took a look inside the project and saw many hard-working editors trying their best to increase its quality. I probably wouldn't have stayed if I didn't feel there was a real push to make Wikipedia a true, professional encyclopedia. I know a few people for whom the Wikipedia=dumping ground stereotype prevails. This (as well as our labyrinthine rules and guidelines) are what prohibits them from getting involved with the project. ThemFromSpace 04:58, 22 September 2011 (UTC)
The term "notability" is of course a misnomer. What we are really referring to is "noted". Until someone actually publishes on a topic it is not noted. Once they do, they demonstrate that it was in fact notable by dint of taking note of it. Our reluctance to fix this entrenched error continues to confuse our new users. LeadSongDog come howl! 02:10, 26 September 2011 (UTC)

Five free socks?

Because I have noticed stuff like this coming up on WP:AIV multiple times in the last few days, I have to ask: What is the purpose in allowing brand-spanking-new user accounts the ability to create 5 additional free sockpuppet accounts right away? Shouldn't a new account's ability to create multiple accounts be restricted in the same way as new accounts are restricted from editing semi-protected articles, allowing it only after a user has made 10 contributions? ~Amatulić (talk) 17:57, 21 September 2011 (UTC)

People who create new accounts may want to simultaneously create multiple accounts for the same reason anyone would: Doppleganger accounts to cover similar usernames to prevent impersonation, multiple accounts for use in different situations (one for use on public computers, one for use on home computers, etc.) Maybe the new account is a professor, and they are creating accounts for their students to use as a sponsored School project. I see no reason to assume that everytime a new account creates other new accounts, they are doing so for nefarious purposes. That they sometimes do is irrelevent, indeed it makes it quite easy to spot when an abusive user is creating a sockfarm, making it easy to take down when needed. --Jayron32 19:19, 21 September 2011 (UTC)

"Gene Wiki" partnership with an academic journal

The Gene Wiki is an initiative to improve Wikipedia articles related to human genes. See Wikipedia:Bots/Requests for approval/ProteinBoxBot for historical context. Although there are many editors who are far more active on these gene articles, my direct coworkers and I have focused on bot editing (through User:ProteinBoxBot) and evangelism for this effort among biologists.

Recently we have been talking with the editors of the academic journal Gene about ways to further develop these articles. A proposed partnership emerged that would go something like this:

  • My team would identify gene articles with the greatest "gap" between the Wikipedia article and what's known about that gene in the literature
  • My team would identify potential experts in this area by mining author lists in articles related to each gene
  • The journal would invite these authors to write a review article on that gene, which would then be peer-reviewed according to the typical standards of the journal
  • If the review article is accepted in Gene, my team would work with the authors to integrate that review article into the Wikipedia article (which most of the time would be a mere stub)
  • As the source of a substantial amount of text and figures, attribution to the primary article in Gene would be placed on the talk page and cited inline

On the obvious point of copyright, we have confirmed with the journal editors and with the lawyers at Elsevier (the publisher) that they would not consider this to be a copyright violation provided it is the authors who initiate the information reuse on their article. This use falls under the Authors' Rights when publishing in Gene.

Before we move too much further on this proposal, are their additional issues we need to address (or address more fully)? Are there additional parties that should be consulted? (I will post a note at WP:MCB, where much of the initial Gene Wiki work was discussed.) Comments appreciated. Cheers, AndrewGNF (talk) 22:31, 9 September 2011 (UTC)

It is encouraging to see efforts to get experts writing for Wikipedia. I have some concerns, however. I think the copyright issue should be run by some of our Wikipedia experts on copyright. There may be some issues that haven't been raised with Elsevier such as commercial reuse of Wikipedia's text and issues with images or diagrams. The Terms of Use on WP seem to require the source text to have a CC-BY-SA license, which this wouldn't as far as I can see.
My biggest concern is that Wikipedia articles are not review articles. There are a number of differences, which are grounded in policy. Bear in mind that my (lay) experience is with medical papers, not science papers, so some differences may apply.
  • Typically, reviews cite the primary literature; Wikipedia articles cite the secondary literature. WP:V, WP:MEDRS, WP:PSTS.
  • Reviews are written by experts in the field; Wikipedia articles cite the published works of experts in the field.
  • A review author may select which information she considers correct and which erroneous, which important and which irrelevant. This may be done with a scientific objective approach or subjectively drawing on their own expertise and bias. Wikipedia editors cannot do this and rely on the secondary sources to indicate the weight to give to various viewpoints or facts. WP:NPOV.
  • Reviews may, to a small degree, contain information not sourced to previously published works (for example, draw on unpublished personal communications, on yet-to-be-published work, or on the author's own experience); Wikipedia articles must not. WP:NOR.
  • The expert writing a review can (indeed is expected to) draw on his own experience and wisdom to generalise and extrapolate from the primary research. For example, they may cite research in rats or on a small number of patients, and report these findings as being relevant to humans or to a wider population. Wikipedia authors are very limited in what they can do with primary sources, and this would count as original research. WP:NOR.
  • A scientific paper may be authored at a level suitable for one's scientific peers. Wikipedia articles should aim for a wider audience. For very academic subjects, we consider "one level down" to be a reasonable step, but other subjects could well be aimed at the "general reader". WP:NOT PAPERS, WP:TECHNICAL.
  • A published paper has a fixed small set of authors and never changes once published. Wikipedia articles may be written by anyone and will change text and authorship over time. The authors would have to accept they don't own the article and allow other editors to change it, even in ways they disagree with. WP:OWN.
I'd certainly be keen to see the review made available free online. That would give us a reliable, accessible, published secondary source to use for a WP article. Colin°Talk 08:42, 11 September 2011 (UTC)
I would love to see such reviews on Wikipedia (even if it would take us time to make those reviews Wikipedia entry-like ones). What is needed from our side to proceed to the next step? NCurse work 09:44, 11 September 2011 (UTC)
While helpful in encouraging experts to "contribute" to wikipedia, There are many gene articles which are not warranted to have their own pages (ie not enough is known about them). The ones that are well known and have enough data, likely have plenty, and will continue to have plenty of reviews. Also, in the spirit of collaborative editing, will these pages be locked? If not will people cite the wiki page (if that is the point) or the gene article? If they are not locked, then will authors risk attachment to documents which are no longer under their control? Finally, how will your group choose the experts? Davebridges (talk) 13:39, 11 September 2011 (UTC)
Hi everyone, thanks for your insights. I will try to address some of the key issues raised to the best of my ability, but I'd also appreciate your thoughts and others' viewpoints. (If I've seemingly ignored or brushed off a comment above that you think is critical, please highlight it again! For brevity, I did my best to capture major themes...)
  • Copyright: Images is one thing I hadn't thought about in the context of the stricter requirements for inclusion in WP. Correct that the default Elsevier license is not CC-BY-SA, but perhaps I could convince them to grant specific permission for the articles destined for WP. In any case, I will start up another discussion at WT:C (and WP:MCQ) on this point specifically.
  • Differences between WP and review articles: In the area of biology, I actually don't see too many differences on the surface. By example, I usually use Reelin as the prototypical article we'd be trying to match for other genes. I like this article because it contains information for both a general audience and a scientific readership, and it contains numerous inline citations to the literature (both primary and secondary). Colin, do you (or others) see any big problems with that article with regards to WP policy?
  • WP:NOR: A quick note on WP:NOR specifically. Agreed, some review articles do include some NOR info, though I typically see it in anecdotal asides. We could include specific instructions to authors that this type of comment would not be permitted.
  • WP:OWN: Raised by both Colin and Davebridges, I also think this is an area that is primarily a point of author education. These articles would certainly not be locked. The "article of record" would be the GENE version. But once it is integrated into WP, it would be free to evolve as any other WP article. To make this distinction clear, I think we would add a statement like this to the talk page: "A substantial amount of content for this article was sourced from [GENE citation]. However, as with all other Wikipedia articles, this article is now maintained by the Wikipedia community independently from the authors of the GENE article". Or something like that...
  • Recruiting authors: Selecting which authors to invite would follow the same basic principles as any other invited review article by a journal. Basically the editorial staff would be responsible for identifying the experts in a field according to their academic credentials. It is also worth emphasizing that the final submission will be peer reviewed for quality (of both the content and presentation).
  • Next steps -- author instructions: I should have also mentioned that I will be officially involved with the journal as a member of the editorial board. So through me, we (the WP community) do have the ability to present specific instructions to invited authors. This I think is the next step (in addition to further discussion on any of the issues above and working out copyright issues with the journal publisher). While WP articles and review articles are not the same, there is significant overlap in what would be a good example of both. So we need to guide the authors toward writing something that hits that intersection. Personally, I think the key points to emphasize are WP:OWN and WP:TECHNICAL. Other thoughts on key points?
Many thanks for your thoughts everyone... Cheers, AndrewGNF (talk) 17:16, 12 September 2011 (UTC)

Licensing for anything other than text (e.g. illustrations) is important, because we cannot work around a lack of permission (for text, we can). — One point about writing for Wikipedia: the integration with other articles is much tighter than for typical review articles; authors should keep in mind that here, related articles are just one mouse click away. Also, common restrictions (space, color illustrations, movies) are necessary for typical review articles but make Wikipedia articles worse. You may want to encourage the authors to provide supplementary material to Wikipedia (most of our pictures have not passed peer review anyway). — I would not worry about the distinction between primary and secondary sources. If you commission review articles and have them peer reviewed, they are reliable secondary sources. Pasting them into a freshly created article is just quoting that source wholesale. I can't see that creating problems with policies, guidelines, or common sense. -- Also, locking vs. citing is a non-issue; they can always cite with a permanent link pointing to the precise version of the article that passed peer review. Rl (talk) 15:00, 13 September 2011 (UTC)

The comment about primary/secondary not being an issue is dead wrong. Reviewers are allowed and expected to interpret the primary sources. WP:NOR says we cannot. We never quote a source wholesale, as you put it. Pasting a copyright work into Wikipedia (and one that is written under different restrictions than WP operates under) creates huge problems with practically every policy and guideline, as I have detailed above. Colin°Talk 10:19, 14 September 2011 (UTC)
We really can't "work around a lack of permission" for text either. Stats and statistical data can't be copyrighted, but any complete sentences or copyrightable text can't be used without that text being released under a free license. – Quadell (talk) 20:43, 13 September 2011 (UTC)
Pretty much all of Wikipedia content is derived from non-free source text. It's not only stats, the information itself is not copyrighted. You can write an article that is just as good or better than the non-free sources it is based on (but it is hard work, and review articles released under a free license would be a tremendous help). Finding or creating a free, adequate (let alone better) substitute for non-free images is much harder. Rl (talk) 06:57, 14 September 2011 (UTC)
Thanks for your thoughts. Media copyright and licensing does sound like one of the more important issues to be sure we get right. I've posted a question at WP:MCQ ([6]). Cheers, AndrewGNF (talk) 16:33, 13 September 2011 (UTC)
If any article's copyright is held by Elsevier (GENE), and Elsevier is not willing to release that article under a free license, then we can't use that article on Wikipedia. – Quadell (talk) 20:45, 13 September 2011 (UTC)
Clarification: by "use", I meant "reproduce". We can certainly use the data in such an article, and list that article as a source. We just can't publish it. – Quadell (talk) 20:48, 13 September 2011 (UTC)

This all starts to fall apart when we get to the bit "my team would work the authors to integrate that review article into the Wikipedia article" - why would any Academic worth their salt want to waste their time doing this when they could be turning out papers? A wikipedia article is worthless in terms of cash or impact. I used to edit some article in my own area of expertise and gave up because it's simply too much hassle dealing with assholes and wikilawyers. Are you saying that you are compelling authors to do this or that you are making this part of their terms of acceptance in the journal? Truthfully, if I thought I was getting instructions off nobodies on wikipedia, I'd tell you to ram it up your hoop. --Cameron Scott (talk) 08:59, 14 September 2011 (UTC)

Re: worthless wikipedia articles: tenure? Also the journal RNA RNA Biology utilised a similar wikipedia program some time ago (link). Many academics use Wikipedia contributions as an example of public outreach Jebus989 10:54, 14 September 2011 (UTC)
Any experiences made by RNA would probably be valuable to the project proposed by AndrewGNF. Rl (talk) 13:14, 14 September 2011 (UTC)
For more information there's the wikinews and, more usefully, a blog post detailing criticisms and reactions. If Andrew is interested, I suggest he contact Ppgardne (talk · contribs) for more information. Bear in mind a key difference between the proposals, though, with RNA the Wikipedia article and journal article were two distinct entities. Note: Also I incorrectly named the journal RNA, I actually meant RNA Biology Jebus989 13:34, 14 September 2011 (UTC)
This comment is verging on trolling, and nothing to do with policy issues surrounding the venture. Let's ignore it and stick to the point of this noticeboard. Colin°Talk 11:10, 14 September 2011 (UTC)
It's not trolling - setting up a collaboration process isn't simply about the underlying mechanisms, it's about providing something for both parties and managing cultural expectations - at the moment, I'm unclear what is meant by "work the authors" - it certainly doesn't sound like the basis for a positive relationship to me. --Cameron Scott (talk) 11:16, 14 September 2011 (UTC)
You have a point. Such a project would likely need a community liaison to answer Wikipedia related questions and assist should any conflict with other editors arise. That said, I am sure AndrewGNF never meant to leave the review authors without some sort of support. Rl (talk) 13:14, 14 September 2011 (UTC)
Typo fixed to "work with the authors"... AndrewGNF (talk) 16:59, 14 September 2011 (UTC)
Hi Cameron, apologies if this key point wasn't clear in my original post. You are exactly right that many academics don't see the value of editing on Wikipedia because it's not tied to any traditional academic metric (for promotion, tenure, awards, etc.) This effort is meant to exactly address the lack of incentives by tying a Wikipedia article to a traditional journal article in GENE. Make sense? And regarding others' points about the RNA Biology partnership, yes we communicate with that team on a regular basis. Their effort wasn't the exact inspiration for this proposal (though it should have been -- could have gotten started years ago), but I'm sure we've subconsciously ingested many of their good ideas already including this one. Cheers, AndrewGNF (talk) 16:26, 14 September 2011 (UTC)
It would seem that there are several open-access journals that might be similarly engaged whether or not Gene turns out to be unworkable. I'm inclined to want a scheme which does not prefer specific journals, particularly if they might stand to gain a commercial advantage as a result. The very idea that human genes, usually identified with public or charitable funding, are being turned into private property in many jurisdictions seems to run against the spirit of WP's mission. The least we can do is try to ensure that we don't facilitate that process. Will Gene and others accept publication of these papers under a truly open license, such as the GFDL or CC-BY-SA? LeadSongDog come howl! 17:07, 14 September 2011 (UTC)
That is exactly the question that I'm pursuing with Elsevier right now. More soon. Yes, we've talked with open access journals as well, but in the majority of cases those journals operate under an "author pays" model. In short, the authors pay some sum of money to underwrite the publisher's costs, and then the final article is open access. But that becomes a financial burden for the authors who are invited to contribute and I think would be an impediment to participation. The hope was that a partnership with Elsevier would have been ideal since their subscription costs would pay for the production fees, and content could be contributed to Wikipedia under the authors' retained rights. But that's the current sticking point that we're trying to work through. In any case, all options are still on the table, so feel free to contribute any other ideas... (FWIW, Elsevier's open access options are shown here.) Cheers, AndrewGNF (talk) 17:47, 14 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Keep Gene article and Wikipedia article as separate entities: I think that the pitfalls outweigh the benefits of there being a direct relationship between the Wikipedia article and the Gene article. I think that a major outcome of the presented efforts will be the availability of material from Elsevier which can be used in the CC-by-SA context of Wikipedia authorship, which is a major benefit. Another advantage of this kind of collaboration is that it provides Wikipedia with a pre-digested knowledge pile in the form of the review article to use as material to construct / improve a Wikipedia article. One of the main barriers to creation of high quality Wikipedia articles is that there may not be a critical mass of authoritatively digested published material on a particular topic, meaning that the Wikipedia article becomes the defacto review target for information seekers. In this case, the authoritative digest would be the Gene review and the Wikipedia article would, in the cases envisioned, use this as starting material and build forward as more is learned about the topic as publication of research proceeds over ensuing years. Would citation in a Wikipedia article benefit authors? It might, as more eyes will see the Wikipedia article and it's citations than the Gene article and citations used therein; however, I would not extend the promise of personal or professional benefit to Wikipedia editors in this (or any other) context as that is too closely tied to conflict of interest issues. Better to have a publisher-centric association between Elsevier and Wikimedia Foundation than an author-centric one. --User:Ceyockey (talk to me) 04:13, 15 September 2011 (UTC)

Just want to 'plus one' Ceyockey's comment. You've hit on exactly the intention of this partnership (I'm involved with AndrewGNF in the process of setting it up). The best possible outcome is that these articles spur community interest and immediately start getting revised and improved. The review article for the journal and the Wikipedia are and will remain distinct - but that doesn't mean one cannot benefit the other substantially. Benjamin Good (talk) 19:38, 20 September 2011 (UTC)

I welcome Andrew's initiative, though I agree that it is challenging to start something like this with a journal that is not Open Access (the RNA Biology arrangement does not have this kind of problem, as it keeps the journal and Wikipedia articles separate).
The instructions for authors at Gene currently include the following: "Submission of an article implies that the work described has not been published previously (except in the form of an abstract or as part of a published lecture or academic thesis), that it is not under consideration for publication elsewhere, that its publication is approved by all authors and tacitly or explicitly by the responsible authorities where the work was carried out, and that, if accepted, it will not be published elsewhere including electronically in the same form, in English or in any other language, without the written consent of the copyright-holder."
I guess that any project of the kind discussed here would entail a modification to these instructions, along with corresponding modifications to the copyright transfer agreement. A simple option to achieve this - and one that has not been brought up here yet - would be to ask Elsevier whether they would agree if Gene were to allow this kind of manuscript to be deposited in a preprint repository under an open license (e.g. in Nature Precedings, under CC-BY). They normally consider preprints as "prior publications", thus precluding publications based on materials available from a preprint. -- Daniel Mietchen - WiR/OS (talk) 00:36, 26 September 2011 (UTC)
Daniel, if getting a special open-access section of Gene doesn't work out, the preprint archive is an interesting angle that we hadn't thought of before. Good idea, thanks! Cheers, AndrewGNF (talk) 21:30, 27 September 2011 (UTC)

Is RfC bounded to accept a majority vote?

Hi,

I need your advice.

We have a long standing discussion about issue 2 (Bolivian Declaration of War) in Talk:War of the Pacific.

Eight editors (MarshalN20, Cloudaoc, 165.91.173.221, Tagishsimon, Marco polo, 90.197.66.202, Alex Harvey and Keysanger) have been involved and seven out of them are against me (Keysanger), the only one on the other side. Four (165.91.173.221, Tagishsimon, Marco polo, 90.197.66.202) out of the seven have participated with only one contribution to the discussion that began on 18 July 2011 and never again. From the rest 2 (MarshalN20, Cloudaoc) are Peruvians patriots (see his answers to the issue #10 in the Talk page). Alex Harvey has until now mediate very good but, in my opinion, is trapped in the Argument to moderation fallacy.

We had agreed to initate a RfC about the case, but now, based in the 7:1 majority they MarshalN20, and Alex, want to coerce me to accept the vote in the RfC.

I answered with WP:RFC RfCs are not votes. Discussion controls the outcome; it is not a matter of counting up the number of votes., but they insists.

What do you think about? Is it right to blackmail me?.

--Best regards, Keysanger (what?) 08:39, 13 September 2011 (UTC)

In which Tagishsimon whinges about Keysanger's post giving a false impression that Tagishsimon was involved in coercion.
The following discussion has been closed. Please do not modify it.
I have not agreed to an RfC nor had any idea that one was in the offing. Nor have I sought to coerce you into anything. I commented on a question on the language reference desk. I would ask you NOT to mischaracterise my interactions with you on that desk. You do not win friends or influence people by bare-faced lying. Here is the language RD thread, should anyone be interested. --Tagishsimon (talk) 09:06, 13 September 2011 (UTC)
Sorry. In no case I want to injure you. I don't say it. They said it:
If you don't agree with them, I am happy and please say it them. I apologise for the trouble caused.
As you can see they judge very quickly and definitiv. --Best regards, Keysanger (what?) 09:33, 13 September 2011 (UTC)
FWIW, Alex Harvey completely mischaracterises my views in [10]. Oops. No he doesn't. My first suggestion was pretty much per his characterisation. Based solely on a dissection of the paragraph being discussed at the language desk, I was happy that war was essentially (!) declared on Feb 27th. But I see that there are about 1,000,000 words of argument on the article talk page and I do not for now propose to enter into that tar pit. --Tagishsimon (talk) 09:54, 13 September 2011 (UTC)

Which of these are you asking:

  1. It categorically the case that a majority in an RFC is binding on the article?
  2. For comments or feedback on this on your particular case
  3. Wanting to receive a general, non-contextual answer on #1 and then imply that it is an in-context answer for your particular dispute?

North8000 (talk) 11:01, 13 September 2011 (UTC)

Number 3. For the particular case, if you like use the talk page. --Best regards, Keysanger (what?) 09:49, 14 September 2011 (UTC)

While RfC's are not votes, per WP:CONSENSUS, "Consensus is not necessarily unanimity. Ideally, it arrives with an absence of objections, but if this proves impossible, a majority decision must be taken." If 7 people are telling you something, and what those seven people are saying is compliant with our policies, there has to come a point where the situation is resolved and the super-majority is considered consensus. If you are absolutely certain, despite being in such a tremendous numerical minority, that your position is correct, consider mediation; if you believe that other editors are somehow violating behavioral policies, consider arbitration. But, of course, be way of possible boomerangs before taking such a drastic step. Be especially careful if some of the super-majority comes from uninvolved editors. Qwyrxian (talk) 03:14, 16 September 2011 (UTC)
There can be a blatantly contradiction between consensus on the one hand and verificability, NOR, and NPOV on the other hand, specially if the article is interesting only for a smallish minority of WP editors, as in this case. What is your opinion, how good is Wikipedia finding the right article's position between consensus and verificability?. I fear that to a RfC will come 2 or 3 WP-editors plus some others IP-editors of dubious seriousness. Is there a criterion to decide the next step?. --Best regards, Keysanger (what?) 15:10, 17 September 2011 (UTC)
Follow dispute resolution. The next stay may be mediation, or taking the issue to the dispute resolution noticeboard. Note, though, that just because you think you're absolutely correct and following policy when 7 other editors are not, does not mean that you necessarily are. Qwyrxian (talk) 04:07, 18 September 2011 (UTC)
I read also WP:MEAT and I think Wikipedia rules allow to find the right way. Thank you. --Best regards, Keysanger (what?) 11:31, 20 September 2011 (UTC)
In terms of content disputes, if seven (reasonably experienced) editors say that Statement X complies with WP:V and NOR and NPOV, and one editor says it doesn't, then the consensus is that the statement does comply with the content policies. The consensus might be objectively wrong, but it is still the consensus.
Your choices from there are to learn WP:How to lose, or to learn how to win friends and influence people, so that they will voluntarily agree with you. I will say that neither of your realistic options are painless or effort-free, but the first is almost always the more productive choice. WhatamIdoing (talk) 18:59, 21 September 2011 (UTC)
That is the problem. Their consensus doesn't comply with WP:V and NOR and NPOV. My opponent Alex does agree that the best historians and the most of sources says "Z" but they write "1/2*Z". They say "Z" is a dreaded word and they call it "consensus". Of course there is a minority view under authors, but they are not neutral and a minority even within their countries. Since the theme doesn't attract editors and they want to use their majority (4 out of seven voters contributed only once in two months), I think I should go directly to the ArbComm because they don't comply with WP:V and WP:RFC. What is more important consensus or verificability?. Is that a case for ArbComm?. --Best regards, Keysanger (what?) 11:25, 22 September 2011 (UTC)
No, you don't seem to grasp the situation: If enough editors say that something complies with NPOV, then as far as the community is concerned, it does comply with the policy. The definition of compliance is that the community says it complies. There is no objective standard or higher authority. If editors say it complies, it does, even if that seems obviously illogical to you; if editors say it doesn't, then it doesn't, even if that seems impossibly stupid to you.
Think back to stories about absolute rulers in previous centuries: If the spoiled young king said that eating peas is icky, then, as far as the court was concerned, eating peas really was icky. The community takes the same approach: if (nearly) all the editors say that something complies with the policy, then it really does comply with the policy. (Note that I'm not saying this is a Good Thing, just that it's reality.) Because consensus defines compliance with the policies, then consensus ultimately trumps all policies (except the very, very few points that the WP:OFFICE enforces (when necessary) for legal reasons).
ArbCom would be a waste of your time: they refuse to make content rulings like this. The official path is an RFC, but I strongly and candidly believe that you're going to "lose" the RFC.
Sometimes it really is necessary to just let it go. On occasion, you can't win, so your choice is really only how to best cope with an unpleasant situation. WhatamIdoing (talk) 02:21, 24 September 2011 (UTC)
I looked for but I didn't find it. Can you tell me which policy says that consensus can be based in a minority view or original research or that it doesn't need to be verificable?. Thanks in advance. --Best regards, Keysanger (what?) 19:20, 24 September 2011 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── I am another editor involved in this content dispute - the one Keysanger labels his "opponent" although in reality the one who has attempted to informally mediate in the dispute. I became involved after a related issue was raised at NPOV/N. When I moved that Keysanger should drop this particular issue after a large consensus formed against his position he told me it was the "end of mediation" and that he no longer considers me a "mediator". Keysanger has got 95% of what he wanted out of this dispute but now forum shops for the last 5%. We agreed that we would still proceed with the RFC - his opponent agreed too - but Keysanger indicated that he would not be bound by the outcome. He said that 7:1 or 20:1 would make no difference - he would still be right on the policy and we would have to continue this dispute until finally we agreed to do what he believes is right. This is why he created this thread here at Village Pump - he is looking for people to confirm that there is absolutely no point at which he will need to accept that consensus is against him.

I would like some advice on what to do if Keysanger continues this - at what point is it appropriate to seek community sanctions against this disruptive editor? Alex Harvey (talk) 01:46, 26 September 2011 (UTC)

Nice to meet you here, Alex. Would you be so kind to answer here following questions:
  • Do you agree that your "consensus" is a minority view (7 to 21 sources)?
  • Do you agree that your "consensus" is not verificable (the three most important historians, and a lot more historians, assert the opposite of your "consensus")?
  • Do you agree that your "consensus" is heavily biased as it uses a Euphemism for that what historians call direct a Declaration of War?
--Best regards, Keysanger (what?) 21:08, 27 September 2011 (UTC)
I don't agree with any of those points but I won't be adding to the tens of thousands of words already spent on the matter. This thread is about whether or not you need to accept the outcome of an RFC. Alex Harvey (talk) 03:52, 28 September 2011 (UTC)

Pending changes post-mortem; what did we like, what did we hate, what needs more work?

Pending changes has not been used on articles for some time, and the trial that never ended is dead, so I'm hoping we can have a sensible discussion about the matter. Before anybody makes any proposals, I think it would be helpful, now the dust has settled, to answer a few questions, which I'll post in subsections so they can be discussed individually. Feel free to add your own subsections, but I'm hoping this can be more of a post-mortem than any sort of proposal. HJ Mitchell | Penny for your thoughts? 15:34, 14 September 2011 (UTC)

What worked well

While pending changes was in regular use, which parts of it (if any) were beneficial? What was good about it, what did we like, what (if anything) was better about it than 'traditional' protection methods?

  • I appreciated pending changes for what it was - 'pending changes'. I still believe that all BLPs should necessarily have 'pending changes' implemented. I work occasionally on the foundation's wikinews site and the pending changes concept works fantastically well there too. Wifione Message 15:50, 14 September 2011 (UTC)
    Concur that BLP articles should receive 'pending changes' protection as a default, even though this defies WP:BOLD. High-profile persons are favored targets of vandals, POV-pushers, and similar miscreants, and while forcing pending-changes protection on BLP articles would slow down legitimate edits, it would also have (IMO) a chilling effect on said miscreants, and with a bit of good fortune, get them to turn their attention elsewhere...like maybe to something actually productive, like backhoe wrestling. --Alan the Roving Ambassador (User:N5iln) (talk) 16:15, 14 September 2011 (UTC)
    Have you considered the workload from that? A quick Back-of-the-envelope calculation shows we have to approve around 5000 edits per day from IPs alone (and probably several thousand more from new editors) if we protect the 500.000 BLPs. Who is gonna do that? Not saying it can't be done, but this needs to be considered. Yoenit (talk) 09:17, 15 September 2011 (UTC)
    File this under the "technical limitations" section below, along with the old military adage of "you can have it fast, cheap or right...pick two." I think it would be highly beneficial to drop pending-changes protection onto BLP articles as a default, but implementing it won't be easy, and unless someone comes up with a technological solution that simplifies the job for patrollers, it won't be fast. But I think that's why we have these RfC sessions: not only do they give us a chance to make ourselves heard, they also allow for a bit of brainstorming. --Alan the Roving Ambassador (User:N5iln) (talk) 14:32, 15 September 2011 (UTC)
  • I liked the big cultural advantage I saw in this plan - which didn't really appear because of the limited deployment - and that is that by removing pressure from recent changes and new pages patrollers and killing the "siege mentality" that normally characterises these places, we can be nicer to newbies. Unlike switching off article creation, it doesn't have an immediate impact on the new users - but what it does do is destroy the idea of recent changes as a race. We have a lot less pressure, and the result is that we can afford to be nicer to people, because the pressure is to do things right, and not to do lots of things. Ironholds (talk) 14:19, 15 September 2011 (UTC)
    • I concur with this. The primary difference between pending changes and recent changes is that there actually is a pending changes queue. Recent change patrol requires there be enough Hugglers with enough redundancy and a bit of luck to check edits as they come in. Pending changes removes redundancy: after someone has approved the pending change, it's done. You can spend a bit longer thinking than if you are in the Huggle 'battlefield'. —Tom Morris (talk) 18:46, 25 September 2011 (UTC)
  • I think it was a very useful tool while it existed. There was loud opposition to the way it was implemented, but I think it was a useful tool. A blanket policy (ie. all BLPs) might be a little excessive (although in a sense it would makes requirements on reviewers much clearer because pending changes would become synonymous with one particular content policy, BLP). Personally, I think we'd be better off with PC being an extra tool in the toolbox, an alternative to semiprotection (a low bar; easy for a determined miscreant to get over) and full-protection (a high bar because almost all regular good-faith editors are shut out as well as the baddies) to be used when appropriate. PC would be perfect for an article with a history like John Craven. bobrayner (talk) 02:38, 16 September 2011 (UTC)
  • I though it is a much better way of protection when articles are being repeatedly vandalized. I think we should use it as the primary means of protection in such cases and that it should be time limited though the time could be quite long where the vandalism is obviously long term and persistent. I don't think we should specially use it for BLP articles except perhaps being more ready to apply it when vandalism is occurring. Together with using it much less often and just for vandalism I would also up the requirements of reviewers a bit to deter long term vandals setting up lots of usernames with reviewer rights. Overall I believe it is a very useful anti vandalism tool and better than just banning ips. Dmcq (talk) 13:10, 16 September 2011 (UTC)
  • I don't agree that it was a good solution to the BLP problem. (See my comment below.) That being said... I do appreciate that it was part of an overall movement to do something about badly sourced, even malicious BLPs. I would not recommend using flagged revisions for BLPs in the future. But perhaps we can use this cultural momentum to focus on better ways to avoid harmful BLPs. Dzlife (talk) 14:21, 19 September 2011 (UTC)
  • I suppose it is no big surprise that I like this tool a lot and look forward to the day when we can use it again. At first I shared some of the concerns others expressed about creating more "class division" on the project, but I didn't see that during the trial, and in fact it lowers the bar for getting an edit live on a protected article and gives users an admin-like right that is fairly easy to get. In short, the benefits outweighed the problems we had, and if we start using it again, the Foundation is willing to improve and refine the tool to better suit the specific needs of this project. If the day comes when we are ready to move beyond discussion and try it again, I already have a temporary policy draft and an draft RFC on it's use all ready to go if anyone wants to take them over. Beeblebrox (talk) 18:09, 20 September 2011 (UTC)
  • It gave us a good 'step-down' level of protection: you can edit this, but it will take a bit to show up. It is a good path to making many low-traffic but long-term semi-protected articles open to editing by unregistered users. I see it as increasing our commitment to 'anyone can edit'. I'd like to see a few improvements, such as any unrejected edit going live within <period of time greater than the average review time>. WhatamIdoing (talk) 19:11, 21 September 2011 (UTC)
  • The handful of articles that were at level 2 PC seemed to get more benefit than the level 1s. Having a protection level slightly short of full seems more beneficial than having a procedure bound protection level that is less than semi.—Kww(talk) 11:41, 23 September 2011 (UTC)
  • What I liked about it was the ability to leave some rarely-edited, rarely-viewed, but vandalism-targeted BLPs open to editing by all users. One particular BLP, probably gets about 20 edits a year over the last few years, most of them have been problematic in some way or another. When there's been vandalism, at times it has been left and persisted, in one case for over 18 months. But there have also been constructive IP edits. Indefinite semi-protection hurts the growth of the article, no protection leaves open holes to real BLP harm, edit filters don't help (too narrow an issue), and my watchlist has ten thousand BLPs on it and I'm sometimes out of the country. Pending changes, whatever its flaws, was a better solution for that article and articles like it than any other option I can name. --joe deckertalk to me 23:03, 26 September 2011 (UTC)
  • It gave editors time to stop and think rather than racing to undo something before too many people saw it. With PC you could do some research before reacting. Guy Macon (talk) 05:36, 27 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Applied sparingly on medical articles I found that it worked well. This would address some of the concerns the medical community have about joining Wikipedia and it would potentially increase editor numbers from academics (no concrete evidence but the lack of review of edits is one of the concerns my colleagues raise). We look bad every time someone see vandalism that has not been repaired. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 11:52, 27 September 2011 (UTC)

What did not work well

What policy or cultural aspects of pending changes would need to be changed if pending changes were ever to be used in the future? In terms of policy or Wikipedia culture, what did we hate, what were the drawbacks, what (if anything) was worse about it than 'traditional' protection methods?

Maybe this has been proven wrong, but it seemed like IPs fixing BLP problems was what pending changes prevented. - Peregrine Fisher (talk) 03:18, 15 September 2011 (UTC)
Toward the end of the trial many problems became apparent. What was originally mooted as a "quick check for vandalism" became a system where reviewers become responsible, perhaps even legally responsible, for the content of any edit they approve. In cases where the reviewer couldn't determine the validity of the edit, the default was shifting to reject rather than accept. A reviewer (namely me) could even be stripped of reviewer rights for philosophically opposing expansive interpretations of BLP (i.e. believing in WP:WELLKNOWN, part of BLP I might add). There was no policy for who gets or loses reviewer rights. A single admin could put an article under Pending Changes Level 2 so that no one but reviewers could approve changes, then ride herd over the reviewers deciding what they could accept or not, thus owning the article lock stock and barrel. Combined with procedural irregularities in the trial, the effect was not merely a technical inequality among editors, but a very strongly hierarchical system. In other words, the system revealed itself as a tool for censorship, by which I mean, the right of a small number of persons to decide what widely publicized, easily available content shall never go into Wikipedia because they don't like how it looks. I am convinced that it should not be accepted in any form. Wnt (talk) 15:40, 15 September 2011 (UTC)
As a side note, should pending changes get turned back on, I will happily reenable your reviewer rights.—Kww(talk) 11:37, 23 September 2011 (UTC)
Thanks. Still, we need an actual policy about when reviewer rights are granted and taken away, not just personal decisions. Wnt (talk) 14:07, 23 September 2011 (UTC)
when I do outreach, and try to get new active editors for Wikipedia, one of the points which appeals to people most is that when they fix something on Wikipedia, it becomes immediately visible to the world: there is nothing else an ordinary person can do that has such impact. Last week, when introducing Wikipedia to a class, I experienced once more the same reaction: we made a change together, and there it was--there was the sort of intake of breath that people do when they see something remarkable. The class ended, with them eager to start doing it themselves. Obviously, this has its dangers also--but most people who contribute contribute usefully. We know how to handle vandalism--there are multiple ways we do it, some obvious, some less so. What we do not yet really know how to do is increase participation, We need everything we can get. The WP that pending changes was modeled after was the deWP--the same WP that wants to reduce its size by half. instead of growing. And they have indeed found a technique that might do that. DGG ( talk ) 04:14, 18 September 2011 (UTC)
Pending changes had the worst of all worlds. The obstacles of a closed editing environment combined with the workload of maintaining an open editing environment, with a level of confusion to new editors worse than either open or closed. I would sooner consider semi-protection for a wider range of articles than continue with flagged revisions. I might even sooner consider endless vandalism to BLPs over semi-protection, if I didn't think it was slowly killing the morale of the few people who have a taste for clean-up activities. Pending changes was always a solution in search of a problem. A tool that no one asked for. Dzlife (talk) 14:17, 19 September 2011 (UTC)
On the cultural end, after a while, the utility of the tool was ignored and discussions were drowned in the complaints about bureaucratic issues, like who turned on the tool and who was allowed to add or remove articles from the list. The idiocy of power users arguing over whether there was a "consensus" (apparently defined in some cases as "written permission from me personally") to test it is one of the experiences that led to me writing WP:You don't own Wikipedia. This is a problem for just about every visible change: How dare the devs change the edit toolbar. How dare the Board propose an opt-in image filter for people who don't want to see pictures of Muhammed. How dare anybody make any change that I didn't propose. WhatamIdoing (talk) 19:06, 21 September 2011 (UTC)
The "trial" was divisive, and has left me frustrated with the community. We still have people saying that nothing was ever learned. This alleged "nothing" takes multiple pages filled with data to display, and proves, to give only one example, that pending changes prevented an average of one malicious edit per protected article from going live every two days. Over the course of the initial trial, that's more than 18,000 vandalistic, libelous, and copyvio edits prevented. But apparently along with WP:Nobody reads the directions, we need to accept that nobody in the community is willing to read the results, even after they've been assembled and published. WhatamIdoing (talk) 19:25, 21 September 2011 (UTC)
On the cultural side, I think the foremost thing would be to get a firm agreement on what a reviewer looks for. I found it extremely frustrating to see blatantly obvious sock edits approved by reviewers, simply because there wasn't a universal expectation that disapproving sock edits was a part of a reviewer's function. Similar arguments apply with Wnt's comment above about whether the reviewer is a vandalism filter or actually takes ownership and responsibility for the content. Without a common expectation of the reviewer's role there will be no end to controversy over reviews.—Kww(talk) 11:37, 23 September 2011 (UTC)
The failure to end the trial on the agreed date was (and mind you, I'm a supporter of pending changes) a community-ripping mistake of epic proportions. --joe deckertalk to me 23:09, 26 September 2011 (UTC)
  • What didn't work well - I would go farther and say what harmed Wikipedia - was a clear refusal by those who ran the "trial" to learn the lesson of the fiasco. We need a firm and clear published policy that promising to try something for a limited amount of time and then breaking that promise will never again be tolerated on Wikipedia. We didn't get that. That is the bare minimum required to start to regain the editor's trust, and because of the continued failure to create a policy that breaking such promises will never again be tolerated, there is zero reason for anyone to believe that any proposed "trial" will end when promised. Because nobody in authority has stepped up to the plate and announced that allowing a trial to continue without consensus will no longer be allowed, so we have to assume any vote for a "limited time trial" is actually a vote for a "trial" that never ends, and thus we have to oppose any proposal for a limited time trial. This could be fixed tomorrow with a published policy. Why hasn't it happened? Guy Macon (talk) 06:09, 27 September 2011 (UTC)
To me, PC is more bane than boon. All it takes is one bad apple, one POV warrior, one clueless reviewer, and PC defeats itself. Also, as others have noted, it creates a hierarchal structure, whether people like it or not, and it provides an air of elitism, discouraging new users (who this bites heavily) from registering even more. Not to mention the biggest supporters of PC didn't even come close to obeying the trial limits, and even now people are saying, "BLP by default! BLP by default!" nevermind the logistical nightmare it would cause.
Number of articles under PC is in and of itself irrelevant, number of articles under PC divided by the number of active reviewers is the main goat here, and when I did a simplified calculation based on BLPs/total reviewers (not active, total) the result worked out to there being ~65 articles per reviewer - which is nowhere near feasible with the amount of willing manpower we do have. I have my suspicions the actual number is likely higher if actives are the only ones calculated (~85-90 is my best SWAG). —Jeremy v^_^v Components:V S M 22:02, 30 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Applying PC to highly visible articles which got a lot of vandalism did not work well. Sole Soul (talk) 03:14, 1 October 2011 (UTC)

Technical limitations

What technical aspects would need to be addressed if pending changes were ever to be used in the future?

  • It should to be possible to add pending changes (but not a stable revision) to multiple pages at a time (dozens–thousands). Doing this would allow us to, for example, protect underwatched, little-edited biographies with extra potential for subtle vandalism and BLP infractions (see Wikipedia:Targeted flagging). NW (Talk) 20:59, 24 September 2011 (UTC)
  • A feature should be added so that a pending change can be set to time out and be auto-approved if nobody reviews it after a certain time. This will address the concerns of a backlog growing without bounds, yet still give us time to deal with edits to pages on our watchlist. Guy Macon (talk) 06:13, 27 September 2011 (UTC)

General comments

For miscellaneous comments or queries that do not fit into the above sections

  • It might save time and effort to go back to the previous discussions, where exactly these kinds of questions were asked before, and answered in a lot of detail, with a lot of community input (for example, the technical issues that were reported). What I would most like to see before any new proposal is contemplated is an addressing of the problems that were perceived by the community before. Any new proposal needs to have already fixed those things, if it is to have a ghost of a chance. --Tryptofish (talk) 17:51, 14 September 2011 (UTC)
    • We've had discussions about the technical issues, but I don't know of any real discussion on the benefits and drawbacks. Most of that seems to have been raised in the format of straw polls, which are essentially just votes with a rationale appended, but no real discussion. HJ Mitchell | Penny for your thoughts? 18:26, 14 September 2011 (UTC)
  • I never wanted pending changes or any other backdoor implementation of flagged revisions, and I was glad to see the trial end. I've never liked the idea at all. It creates another two-tier user right that differentiates between those who're allowed to edit this article right now and those who aren't; and it adds another layer of technical complexity for a new user to learn. Neither of these is a good thing at a time when the number of active users is declining. We need to find ways to make Wikipedia simpler and easier to edit.—S Marshall T/C 00:06, 15 September 2011 (UTC)
  • When reviewing there were times I felt I was being put in the position of a public censure. If I hit an edit that I knew would be rolled-back by some and retained by others (such as a subjective change that, while policy compliant, I personally disagreed with) I oftentimes passed on reviewing it rather than being put in an uncomfortable position. Watching over every edit and stamping their acceptance/denial like this felt creepy, bureaucratic, and strangely Kafkaesque. I'm not sure if other editors were comfortable with reviewing in this manner, but I was not. ThemFromSpace 01:16, 16 September 2011 (UTC)
    • I just wanted to highlight this comment from a reviewer. It's very important. Dzlife (talk) 14:26, 19 September 2011 (UTC)
    • I was also frustrated by the lack of clarity that led to this. Actually, we provided clarity, and I was frustrated by the unwillingness of certain people to accept the clear instructions: Reviewers were supposed to reject all patently obvious libel, copyvios, and vandalism, and approve everything else so that the edits could then go through the normal process of being accepted or reverted by all editors (not just those reviewing pending changes). There were a few changes that I approved and then immediately undid in the normal way, because they were not libel, vandalism, or copyvios, but I didn't think that they were improvements to the article. However, after a while, some reviewers apparently had trouble believing that the review process was really that limited, in the same way that some WP:NPPers have trouble believing that CSD is not the only way for an article to get deleted. WhatamIdoing (talk) 19:19, 21 September 2011 (UTC)
  • It became a bondongle, however it is used in other Wikimedia projects. The issue I think, is that we lost focus of the basic problem, which is how to fight vandalism while also lowering the threshold to entry for legitimate editors. While I do support anonymous editing and recognize this is a way to start (it is, almost to a person, how we all started), there is also the reality that other than obvious vandalic trolling, more subtle forms cannot be stopped in any systemic fashion. We are extremely vulnerable to these kinds of editing. I can understand opposing flagrev and reviewed changes, but what about a less intrusive method to provide watchfulness, like we do with new pages? If we lower the barriers to entry we have to also lower the barriers to patrolling, and this is very seldom discussed.--Cerejota (talk) 03:21, 19 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Writing as someone who was initially mildly favorable to the proposal, but came to oppose it, the entire exercise to get it adopted proved to be an example of how not to attempt to achieve changes on Wikipedia. It originally was sold as a solution to the BLP problem (whatever that is), & Jimmy Wales bet his reputation on getting it adopted. But at no time did anyone provide any solid facts to show whether this worked -- not even a quantifiable definition of what "worked" was. Instead, the entire process appeared to be simply an effort of will to get Pending changes accepted by the community. As a result, all discussion about Pending changes drifted into the worst of all possible situations: people were left to argue about it based on their opinions -- & everyone has one -- allowing some to pontificate over their usual talking points, others to find an excuse to continue personal feuds, & still others to simply stir up trouble. Had the whole process been tied to obtaining tangible & measurable data, the community could have come to a true consensus-based conclusion. Instead, I believe a lot of people were left disheartened by this debacle, & a lot of good people are reconsidering just how committed they should be to contributing to Wikipedia. -- llywrch (talk) 06:07, 19 September 2011 (UTC)
The trial was a failure, a monument to how not to do things. I think pretty much everyone agrees that at this point that the trial was a disaster and that somebody really messed up by not monitoring the data associated with the trial. What that data was and who was supposed to be collecting it is of course the massive grey area that screwed the whole thing up. Hopefully we can take that as a lesson learned about getting specificity for any future trial periods and move on with the conversation on the usefulness of this tool instead of rehashing the mistakes of the past. Beeblebrox (talk) 18:18, 20 September 2011 (UTC)
I hope you're not arguing with me, Beeblebrox, because I agree with everything you wrote. And applaud your attempt to conduct a post mortem on this matter so we all can learn from it. I'd like to say that if someone were to come along tomorrow & propose another test of pending changes but explain clearly how it was going to be tested & how we could determine its success/failure, I would be quick to support such a test. But I'd also like to say that I suspect certain people are not willing to learn from this, & they will plunge us into a similar failure over another proposed change at some point down the road. -- llywrch (talk) 19:33, 21 September 2011 (UTC)
Has anyone in authority stepped up to the plate and announced that promising to try something for a limited amount of time and then breaking that promise will never again be tolerated on Wikipedia? Is there now a published policy saying that? No? Then we have not learned from the fiasco. I know that Beeblebrox really believes that there is "a lesson learned about getting specificity for any future trial periods" but in reality the original promise was quite specific and the later overwhelming consensus to remove PC from all articles immediately could not possibly have been any clearer or more specific. It is simply untrue that not being specific was the problem, and abundantly clear that breaking a promise and refusing to follow consensus was the problem. --Guy Macon (talk) 15:54, 28 September 2011 (UTC)
Look at who was behind this idea from the beginning; think you can enforce policy against him? Until then, the best we can do is hang this failure around his neck, & force everyone try harder to create consensuses for major changes like this. -- llywrch (talk) 20:10, 30 September 2011 (UTC)
  • I think that if a comment about a BLP is encyclopaedic now, it will remain encyclopaedic in 2-5 minutes. A default time delay should apply to edits from all users, with reviewers/admins/crats able to prevent inappropriate material from making it to the page, without getting any preferential treatment for any edits they decide to make themselves. —WFC— 20:51, 20 September 2011 (UTC)
but this is precisely the problem that the trial demonstrated: for active BLP article, people make successive edits at shorter intervals than can be checked, and the system had no way of dealing with this. DGG ( talk ) 04:36, 22 September 2011 (UTC)
That was a failure of the system, although duplication and edit conflicts are not problems exclusive to pending changes.

There is a significant minority who will oppose any change to the status quo. But my reading of the situation is that a simple majority wants – and a large majority will accept – a system of harm reduction that guarantees equality of editing to everyone. Working on the basis of the source code updating immediately, but the visible version deliberately lagging regardless of who contributed, it might be possible to achieve this. —WFC— 18:45, 22 September 2011 (UTC)

  • I have a very negative expirience with this on de.wikipedia, where it's implemented for all articles (and I contribute very rarely, so I don't meet reviewer criteria). I made a very simple edit (adding an image to a BLP, the image was already in use on all different language versions) and it took 11 days to be sighted. I think that's just far too long. If you look at de:Special:Pages with unsighted revisions, you'll see there's a 39-day-old change (as of now) that's still not approved/denied. This demotivates new editors (why bother to continue contributing if your changes don't appear) and makes Wikipedia less useful as an up-to-date resource. Puchiko (Talk-email) 19:02, 22 September 2011 (UTC)

Extended comment on comparison to existing policy

For me, the great appeal of pending changes is that it simply enacts in code what we already do. Semi-protected and fully-protected edit requests already exist: if you aren't autoconfirmed and you want to edit a semi-protected article, you leave an edit request on the talk page with a little template flagging it, and an autoconfirmed user will hopefully come and sort it out (and if they don't, you then shout at them for not knowing anything about the topic in question, even though they are just a volunteer—yes, been there, sigh). Same with fully protected edit requests and administrators. Pending changes means the new user can actually edit the article directly, and it queues up the edit for approval rather than transporting them to this weird talk page where they have to enter funny characters (four tildes?). They get the feeling that they are actually editing the page rather than having to beg the admins or WikiGods or whoever to have mercy on their edit. It's a much more welcoming user experience for the user and for the admins and volunteers approving the changes. We already have reasons to require certain pages be uneditable and the changes on said pages to be placed in a queue for more experienced users to deal with. Pending changes can simply be an implementation of the existing policy of semi-protection but friendlier. Of course, it gives us another tool so that if we want to extend the policies around protection and semi-protection to a wider range of articles (BLPs perhaps?), we can do so. But I don't see why we couldn't, say, have a system where one has pending changes for all semi-protected articles by default and give the reviewer right pretty freely. It'd just replicate the current system of semi-protected edit requests but with a better user experience. The knock-on effect is you'd get more people editing semi-protected articles. Admins and experienced users may have to spend more time doing the equivalent of approving or rejecting semi-protected edit requests.

As for the legal liability argument? We already expose experienced users to whatever legal liabilities exist if they choose in good faith to enact a semi-protected edit request that turns out to be malicious. At least with pending changes, the user who adds the content has their account or IP listed in the history, albeit with "approved by Whoever" next to it. In the existing scenario, the only username that appears in the history is the person answering the semi-protected edit request.

With pending changes, many have rejected it because they see it as being a change in policy. It's not. It's a tool that give us the ability to enact policy (just as something like RevDel did). We might craft new policy to reflect pending changes, but if there isn't community consensus to do that, it seems very strange to me to not use the new tool to implement our existing policy around protected and semi-protected edit requests in a more user friendly way. —Tom Morris (talk) 19:01, 25 September 2011 (UTC)

Posthumous barnstars

I'm sorry to say that we have recently lost a Wikipedian. For those of you who don't already know, User:Bahamut0013 passed away. In the standard way of things, his user page has been protected. Well-wishers have left messages at his talk page, including two posthumous barnstars. I've been asked at my talk page about elegantly displaying those somewhere on his user page (there was only one at the time I was asked), and I wanted to check and see if there's any established protocol for that. The talk page of Wikipedia:Deceased Wikipedians/Guidelines suggests that it is not heavily watched.

In this particular case, the barnstars given are likely to have been very special to the recipient, particularly the WikiChevrons. I don't know of any other barnstar that must be bestowed by a WikiProject instead of individually. But I do worry that a general practice of opening pages for barnstars could lead to cluttering of the page at best, and it doesn't necessarily preserve the memory of the individual. This particular user has an awards page at User:bahamut0013/Wiki Stuff to which the material could be added since it isn't protected (should it be? or just the top page?).

Basically, I'm looking for an idea of how the community feels we should approach a few things:

  • Given full page protection recommended at Wikipedia:Deceased Wikipedians/Guidelines, should we protect user page subpages as well?
  • Should the user page(s) be edited to add anything other than the hatnote explaining the situation? If posthumous barnstars are permitted, should they always be permitted (so long as given in good faith, of course) or should the wellwishers at the talk page agree which and where?

Having had no involvement in the drafting of this guideline and given the delicate nature of these situations, I don't particularly feel like it would be appropriate for me to just be bold, not where people's feelings may be so heavily engaged. That said, again, I do suspect that bahamut0013 would have been very pleased with these particular barnstars. --Moonriddengirl (talk) 10:49, 20 September 2011 (UTC)

In this particular case I know that the widow is in contact with some users here. So she could be asked or alerted. I might be wrong but if I was her I would be happy to see such an award. Agathoclea (talk) 11:38, 20 September 2011 (UTC)
For the record, I'm the one who contacted MRG about this. I had the idea given that it the award I saw then was awarded posthumously and it was the first such awarding of that barnstar. I also think it would have been one that would have been featured by the user; if not on his user page, at least on a subpage.
I certainly think asking the widow (different account, same account being used?) would be a great idea in this case, but there will come a time another great Wikipedian will pass on and the family does not keep in touch. I think it would be great to ask the widow in this case, but in the future, what might be a good protocol for a similar situation with no family communication beyond the person's passing?
Regarding preserving the page, the barnstar could appear above the gray box with that message. Just a way of saying hey folks, this was an awesome Wikipedian, we're paying respect to this guy.
If the widow is using the same account, I will post the question on Bahamut13's talk page. CycloneGU (talk) 03:52, 22 September 2011 (UTC)

A new question also arises. We have a link to his obituary. Should we also take the time to include this? CycloneGU (talk) 03:57, 22 September 2011 (UTC)

As per Real Life, the closer you are to someone the more rights you are given by the community to deal with that persons arrangements, or in this case, account. Mention your intentions to take care of things to the editors he dealt with the most, to see if they want to help, or object, and then do what you feel is right. The wider community expects that you (collectively) as his friends will define what is the correct protocol. Good faith wishes from a persons closest friends either fall within WP:IAR or will help define new guidelines. People who object would be behaving inappropriately, and dealt with as such. Ask your heart. Penyulap talk 12:54, 22 September 2011 (UTC)
Personally, my heart says include the barnstar above the "passed away" notice, or perhaps create a one-time version (much like the modified one on his talk page that I threw up there) that includes the barnstar. However, I cannot edit the userpage, but merely sandbox part of it if I were to work on the elegant way of doing this task. As for the obit...that I'd want to ask family about before including it. CycloneGU (talk) 21:21, 22 September 2011 (UTC)
..and (have them) take into account if he kept his real life separate to wiki or not. Penyulap talk 23:16, 24 September 2011 (UTC)
The editing was mentioned in his obitatory. Agathoclea (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 06:07, 29 September 2011 (UTC).
Sorry, I think I put it there and forgot to update here. Done now. CycloneGU (talk) 03:06, 30 September 2011 (UTC) Correction: Yes, I noticed it mentioned his editing in his obit. I thought that was a nice touch. CycloneGU (talk) 03:08, 30 September 2011 (UTC) (I misread at first, my bad.)

Just going to follow up on this.

The result of some discussions at his main Wikiproject was that everyone (who posted at least) seemed to like the idea, and further discussion led to what is now on bahamut0013's user page. I think it's a fitting memorial for him and, in cases like this, might be a fitting way for Wikipedia to pay respects to someone who was important to the encyclopedia's mission. CycloneGU (talk) 03:05, 30 September 2011 (UTC)

Using navboxes where succession boxes would suffice

First thing, I would ask that you go to our Al Pacino article and scroll down to the bottom. Open up the "Awards for Al Pacino" box. Does anyone really need TWELVE navboxes cluttering his article? Navbox overproliferation is becoming a problem.

Next, please look at Ryan Miller. His article has a navbox for the Big Ten Athlete of the Year award, but it also has a succession box for the same award. That's redundant; there's no need to have both. The navbox provides more information, but the succession box is more succinct and avoids linking to articles that are of tangential (at best) relation to the subject of the article. Under normal circumstances, there's no reason for someone to want to jump directly from Ryan Miller to Jim Spivey without first viewing the Big Ten Athlete of the Year article, because the two have no real connection to each other. Their only commonality is that they attended the same university and won an award there.

However, there seems to be a contingent of editors, particularly within the editing area of interest of sports, that are unreasonably attached to these navboxes. They seem to treat them like a trophy box -- the more navboxes someone has, the more important or revered they are. There are an awful lot of notable sports awards, but we don't need a navbox for every single one! In fact, I would argue there are very few that we would need a navbox for. The average person reading an article about an award winner just isn't interested in reading about someone else who won the award in a different year -- and for those who are so interested, they likely would already be reading the award's article, which has the full list anyway.

So I would like to see some stronger guidance at Wikipedia:Categories, lists, and navigation templates to discourage the use of navboxes where the connections between the articles are tenuous and not particularly related to the subject's notability. Succession boxes could be put forward as a substitute option, but I also don't think we need dozens of those on every biographical article, either.

Thoughts?

-- Powers T 12:34, 21 September 2011 (UTC)

WP:NAVBOX (though just an essay) and WP:EMBED both already strongly suggest the use succession boxes for awards or championships. Some sports hockey being one they already do use succession boxes instead of navboxes for such things. But when the navboxes cross project lines like your Ryan Miller example then there is often a fight with people about them. The problem is people ignore the guidelines or just don't read them. For example Embed specifically mentions that only links that would be found in an ideal version of the subject the navbox is included on should be included in a navbox. In most cases for an award a player who played 20 years before the current winner would never be on the page of the current winner. And Navbox says "For a series of articles whose only shared characteristic is that they hold the same position or title, such as peerage or world champion sporting titles, consider using {{succession box}}."-DJSasso (talk) 12:40, 21 September 2011 (UTC)
This was one of my comments about the WP:SEOBOMB claim that editors were trying to do "search engine optimization" on articles. If this really can be done, and if it's a problem, then general, fair policies limiting the number of links spammed around in navboxes should be the top priority. (Though in actual practice, removing search engine mentions of pages to which some editors ideologically object is the primary if not the only objective) Wnt (talk) 14:52, 21 September 2011 (UTC)
Unless I'm missing something, WP:EMBED doesn't address Succession Boxes vs. Navboxes at all, other than a link to the WP:NAVBOX essay. I'd also say that I really don't think the motivation behind navboxes is WP:SEOBOMB (at least in the vast majority of cases). The suggestion that a navbox should be considered isn't particularly clear and I'd submit that even if it were it's time to consider the thinking on it again. Navboxes are now preferred in many arenas, from Emmy winners to World Cup Golden Boot winners to US Senators. Even if a suggestion was written some time ago, practice tells me that navboxes are becoming more preferred. Rikster2 (talk) 12:12, 22 September 2011 (UTC)
Well, that's the thing about WP:SEOBOMB - its originators seem to put a lot of importance on motivation. I don't. Yes, the motivation of fans trying to maintain a succession box may seem different, even weaker than the motivation of someone editing a political article, but the effect and the underlying intent ("making it easier for people to find the articles") is the same. I think if it's any problem at all we should have a neutral standard to go by. And regardless of motivation, this spam for various awards weighs down the Al Pacino article's HTML source: they make up 85.8k of 264k - 32% of the entire article size as downloaded. That's just too much. Wnt (talk) 01:21, 24 September 2011 (UTC)

Powers has a point about the footer of the Al Pacino article getting unwieldy with all those navboxes. But the idea of converting all those navboxes to succession boxes is a non-solution. If the navboxes are a trophy box, then the succession boxes are simply a shittier box. There are a number of advantages to navboxes over succession boxes:

  • dynamic over static content for more efficient maintenance; i.e. if the name of something changes or we realize a formatting change is needed, with navboxes we can make one change, but with sucession boxes we have to make many.
  • standardization of content: navboxes ensure with one swift element that things are consistent in many places.
  • reduced vertical clutter: when collapsed, navboxes take up less room than succession boxes.
  • enhanced context: take the Ryan Miller example above. The succession box for the Big Ten Athlete of the Year provides a link to Ron Dayne. But why is Miller more related to Dayne, who won the award one year before, than Charles Woodson, who won it three years previous? Succession boxes preference temporal adjacency over other connections, many of which are more meaningful.

Now if we want to talk about how important an award must be to warrant any sort of footer navigation element, that's a conversation worth having. Jweiss11 (talk) 14:54, 21 September 2011 (UTC)

Well I'm certainly not enamored with succession boxes, either. As I said, I wouldn't want to see them included for every award or honor. The award may be notable, but that doesn't mean navigation among the award winners is necessary or desirable. Powers T 15:22, 21 September 2011 (UTC)
LtPowers, but you seem to think succession boxes are preferable to navboxes. Why? Jweiss11 (talk) 16:24, 21 September 2011 (UTC)
They're more concise. While navboxes can be collapsed, when expanded they present just a sea of links to the reader, with very little context or indication of relative importance. Succession boxes focus on the award, providing a prominent link to the topic, along with predecessor and successor links for those who like to browse chronologically. I do think they're best suited to things like offices and positions to which people are hired or appointed, rather than to award winners and similar annual events. Powers T 17:03, 21 September 2011 (UTC)
IMO, readers who expand the navbox are the readers who are looking for some particular links. Readers who are not interested with these sea of links can easily collapse the navbox and continue to read the rest of the articles. No harm done by those sea of links if they are not shown for uninterested readers anyway. — MT (talk) 17:21, 21 September 2011 (UTC)
It's not a matter of lack of interest, it's a matter of utility. We're better off directing people to the full article for most purposes, because lists can provide more context than navboxes, and having too many infoboxes results in information overload. Powers T 18:17, 21 September 2011 (UTC)
I agree with Jweiss11's points and I want to reiterate his first and second point that a succession box is far more difficult to maintain rather than navbox. Here is an example, see the succession boxes in Larry Brown article before and after the errors and inconsistencies in the succession box are fixed (capitalization, dashes, links, wording, etc). Before, the succession boxes looks untidy with inconsistent titles and incorrect capitalization. There is also navigation problems, where only some of the succession boxes have the links to the related articles. It takes me hundreds of edits only to fix the succession boxes in NBA head coach articles. The edits which now became pointless since WP:NBA prefer navboxes rather than succession boxes. If the succession boxes are still preferred, I suppose it would take countless edits to fix college head coaches, players, teams, awards and so on. Then there are other topics outside sports that use succession boxes such as actors, directors, writers, politician and so on. The need for these countless and pointless edits are reduced by having a navbox replacing the succession box. By using a navbox, an incorrect capitalization on the title can be fixed by one edit rather than 12 edits in each of the head coaches articles. Imagine if this incorrect capitalization occurs in every succession box in every college basketball head coach articles from more than 300 Division I schools. — MT (talk) 15:40, 21 September 2011 (UTC)
Holy flurking schnit. 25 navboxes? No one needs 25 navboxes! Powers T 17:03, 21 September 2011 (UTC)
Well, if you converted them all into succession boxes, there will be 25 succession boxes and with non-collapsible feature, his article will be much longer with succession boxes. Then again, the discussion about the importance of those navboxes is a totally different topic. — MT (talk) 17:12, 21 September 2011 (UTC)
Also maintaining 25 navboxes is far more efficient than maintaining 25 succession boxes. — MT (talk) 17:15, 21 September 2011 (UTC)
Well, sure, they're not all suitable for succession boxes, either. Powers T 18:14, 21 September 2011 (UTC)
Well, guess what, that is another advantage of navboxes. They can be TfD'ed if the subject isn't sufficiently notable. VERY tough to do this with succession boxes. When WP:college basketball moved away from succession boxes you wouldn't believe how many crap succession boxes for insignificant achievements went away altogether. Things like "ACC free throw percentage leader" and "SEC tournament MVP" and "ACC single-season minutes record holder." Notability of achievements captured in nav/succession boxes is a different conversation altogether. Rikster2 (talk) 12:12, 22 September 2011 (UTC)
Not completely true, succession boxes can be collapsed and are collapsed on a number of pages where the subject has alot of them. All that is done is a collapsible box is put around the succession boxes and they are collapsed. So there is no difference from that standpoint. -DJSasso (talk) 12:43, 22 September 2011 (UTC)
Sure 25 navboxes or 25 succession boxes or a combination of both, collapsible or not, are ugly. However, I think the issue here is the difficulties in maintaining succession boxes. — MT (talk) 15:53, 22 September 2011 (UTC)
Not really all that difficult once they are on pages...all you ever have to change is the incumbent page and add it to a new one...two edits vs. one edit on a navbox. Not that big a difference in maintaining for such a huge gain in not having a sea of links at the bottom that flood out the truly important links. -DJSasso (talk) 16:42, 22 September 2011 (UTC)
I'm not talking about adding a new entry. Please re-read my posts above. Formats and links inconsistencies are the main problem. — MT (talk) 17:00, 22 September 2011 (UTC)
I know I saw your example above and I don't think that is an issue. The changes made little to no affect in the appearance. I wouldn't have known they were made if I wasn't looking for them. Frankly I think succession boxes are more likely to look consistent than infoboxes which come in wildly clashing colours and formats and are completely inconsistant. Any minor inconsistencies in succession boxes will be fixed over time and once fixed aren't likely to change again. Not to mention most times a person with AWB could make all those fixes in seconds. -DJSasso (talk) 17:31, 22 September 2011 (UTC)
That's easy to say if a lot of editors are willing to maintain these succession boxes, which is not the case in basketball, where those inconsistent succession boxes had been around for years. While on the same period of time the use and standardization of navboxes in basketball articles have improved greatly. However, I agree that overuse of colors is a problem. IMO apart from team-related navbox, every navbox should use standard/default colors. In WP:NBA, use of colored navbox has been decreased recently. — MT (talk) 15:59, 24 September 2011 (UTC)
A relevant link can be found somewhere within these navboxes. I think. Maybe? No-one will ever know because of the 500 irrelevant links adding nothing but static.
A bit misleading, no? This is what actually shows up at the bottom of Jeter's article. Users can drill down if they want as all templates are collapsed.
The nav box vs. succession box issue is really a case by case issue, which is better depends on what is being linked and how many links there are, and the decision which to use is better left to the people who are maintaining them. The larger issue is whether the use of boxes like this is getting out of control and I tend to agree. While these boxes are useful in most cases, there seems to be a trend to use them to replace categories. They may cause problems as well in that it can make the "What links here" function nearly useless since many articles are added to the list that have little or no relation to the article you are interested in. Like any other part of WP, these templates should be required to meet standards of notability. We do have a guideline Wikipedia:Categories, lists, and navigation templates#Navigation templates, but it appears these guidelines are not being followed well. One issue is that they tend to be treated as noise around the periphery of the article body and aren't given much editorial review. Another is that, like many things in WP, once they are created and in use it's difficult to remove them even when they run contrary to the guideline. In fact the way the guideline is phrased is rather wishy-washy and it's more like a list of best practices rather than anything that can be used in an XdD discussion.--RDBury (talk) 17:51, 21 September 2011 (UTC)
I support the expanded usage of navboxes. As a reader, I am often interested in winners of an award across eras and comparing their life stories. There are many instances where a reader is familar enough with an award and has no interest in reading additional prose about the award, and simply wants to see a the previous winners to find other articles of interest. Navboxes serve that purpose. I see no need to limit articles by an arbitrary decision that only the predecessor and successor would be notable to a reader. Succession boxes are often no less bulkier than navboxes, and they are not collapsible. I also agree with the benefits of maintenance with a navbox. I often find subjects still listed as an incumbent when they have long since been succeeded, not to mention inconsistencies in formatting and linking. A valid point is what is a rule of thumb for maximum number of navboxes, but that is a different discussion from valid uses of individual navboxes. It is also only a problem for extremely accomplished subjects like Pacino.—Bagumba (talk) 21:06, 21 September 2011 (UTC)
Navbox overproliferation is a problem, but replacing that with succession box overproliferation is not a solution. As navboxs can be collapsed, they consume less space than succession box, which can't be collapsed.—Chris!c/t 22:09, 21 September 2011 (UTC)
Not completely true, on pages with a large number of succession boxes they are usually put inside a collapsible box so they collapse just as much as navboxes do. -DJSasso (talk) 12:40, 22 September 2011 (UTC)
True, but I think the point was that an individual navbox which is default collapsed is also smaller than an individual succession box, which is not inherently collapsible. Many articles also make a group of navboxes further collapsible with the similar technique you described.—Bagumba (talk) 15:36, 22 September 2011 (UTC)

The argument that WP:HOCKEY makes against navboxes is that they link to useless links that are not mentioned in the article and thus not really relevant to the subject. If you look at Peyton Manning (37 navboxes), Michael Jordan (43 navboxes), Charles Woodson (27 navboxes), many of the navboxes link to players who are their peers for having achieved similar accomplishments. Charles Woodson is linked to Ryan Miller as a peer who won the Big Ten Athlete of the Year. Similarly, Michael Jordan is linked to Renaldo Nehemiah and Philip Rivers for having been the ACC Athlete of the Year. HOCKEY consistently opposes these types of templates saying that relationships through similar accomplishments don't help the reader. They come out against even intrasport award templates saying that even players in the same sport who won the same award are not necessarily usefully linked. They always attempt to cite policy and I don't agree. Templates for awards such as Hobey Baker Award, Vezina Trophy and Conn Smythe Trophy are useful to readers and would be beneficial to the project as template rather than navboxes.--TonyTheTiger (T/C/BIO/WP:CHICAGO/WP:FOUR) 17:51, 22 September 2011 (UTC)

The possibility that navboxes are being over used is something that I too have observed. I have been toying over some thoughts on this and have put them down in a navbox essay. Don't know if anyone has done this yet, but if not, feel free to add to this and see if it goes anywhere. Vegaswikian (talk) 06:44, 23 September 2011 (UTC)
Tony, I really don't see the benefit. The number of people who want to read about Scott Pellerin after reading about Ryan Miller is just too small to justify taking up screen real estate with the links. For those who do, following a link to Hobey Baker Award is a) just as quick and easy as clicking "[show]", b) provides context not available in the navbox (like the teams the winners played for), and c) is more in line with the basic paradigm of the site. As these navboxes proliferate, they begin to look more and more like decoration and less and less like useful navigation tools. Powers T 17:45, 23 September 2011 (UTC)
As one of the hockey project people with an extreme opposition to navbox poisoning that Tony laments, I will simply add an image to this discussion that I have used for a long time now: the navboxes on the Derek Jeter article as of two years ago. And if anything, the problem on that article has gotten worse. The abuse of navboxes reached epidemic proportions a long time ago, and personally, I am proud of our efforts to limit their proliferation within the hockey project. Resolute 03:32, 24 September 2011 (UTC)
Actually, I will add this: You are absolutely dead on the money, LtPowers. The other winners of an award, for instance, are of vanishingly small relevance to an individual's biography as compared to the award itself. So in Tony's example, the high value link is ACC Athlete of the Year. The names of other winners are low value links that serve only to clutter. Odds are high that the reader looking to move to another article will want the high value link. Except that it is buried inside of a collapsable table inside of another collapsable table! What is more efficient, and therefore better for the reader? Making them hunt and peck through dozens of irrelevant templates, or highlighting the high value links for easier dissemenation, such as at Jarome Iginla#Awards? Give me the latter any day. Resolute 03:43, 24 September 2011 (UTC)
"Navbox clutter" (or succession box clutter) can be solved via collapsing, heirarches or just being disciplined about what things to use them for. I added an actual picture of the bottom of Jeter's article below what was posted. If a user chooses, they can look at the categories of navboxes and open only what they have interest in. Chances are, if someone does this they are looking for something specific. Rikster2 (talk) 03:51, 24 September 2011 (UTC)
Collapsing only serves to sweep the clutter under the rug, it doesn't actually remove clutter. Rather, it introduces a big question: If these links are so important, why are they being buried? In this example, buried twice no less! The answer, of course, is that they aren't important. And as Wnt notes way at the top of this discussion, they really only serve to bloat the size of the HTML, and therefore load time, of an article. A list of awards/achievements serves the same purpose with much greater efficiency - both technically and for the reader. Resolute 04:11, 24 September 2011 (UTC)
Another point to consider is that if someone wins the same award multiple times but with other people winning it in-between, they can end up with multiple succboxes for the same award, whereas the same information can be conveyed by a single instance of a navbox. And FWIW, when I am "recreation browsing" Wikipedia, I quite often click on the other links in award navboxes, but I almost never click on the predecessor or successor links in succboxes. DH85868993 (talk) 04:21, 24 September 2011 (UTC)

Powers and Resolute, there are good arguments to be made that navboxes proliferation can, and has in some notable cases, gotten out of control, but neither of you, nor anyone else, has made a compelling argument why a given navbox should be replaced with a succession box. Jweiss11 (talk) 04:34, 24 September 2011 (UTC)

I agree. When I look at the Jeter example, I also see several navboxes that seem unnecessary. I'm not sure I personally see the value in navboxes for things like the "Sporting News All-Decade Team" or "Yankees captains" for example. However, that's a case for clearer and stricter guidelines for navbox subject notability, not to do away with them altogether. Rikster2 (talk) 12:45, 24 September 2011 (UTC)
Certainly many extant navboxes ought to be removed entirely, not replaced with succession boxes. But for truly notable "tenure"-type successions (where a person holds a position, rather than wins an annual award), the succession box format is more concise and avoids many of the problems inherent to navboxes, like link clutter and rendering time. Powers T 14:02, 24 September 2011 (UTC)
  • If an award/honour is notable enough, then it should be presented in a navbox; succession boxes should, IMO, disappear completely. GiantSnowman 12:49, 24 September 2011 (UTC)
    • So what about the guidance at WP:CLN that says "For very long chronological series, it is preferable to use succession boxes, which only show the elements of the series immediately preceding and succeeding the article"? And at WP:NAVBOX that says "For a series of articles whose only shared characteristic is that they hold the same position or title, such as peerage or world champion sporting titles, consider using {{succession box}}"? Excessive navboxes also clutter up Special:WhatLinksHere (and with it, Special:RelatedChanges) with barely relevant links. WP:CLN says one of the properties of a good navbox is that "The articles should refer to each other, to a reasonable extent." -- how many articles in, say, Template:Big Ten Conference Athlete of the Year navbox refer to each other? I'd bet two at most, but I wouldn't be surprised if the answer was zero. (Heck, most of them don't even mention the award, let alone other winners!) A succession box would mitigate those problems while still allowing important awards to be navigated. Powers T 14:02, 24 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Good reasons have been provided, I have none new to add. I think there are waaaay toooo many navboxes AND succession boxes. The benefit-cost ratio is quite low, in my opinion. Suppose we want to reduce navbox clutter, how? We must keep in mind that navboxes are useful once in a while (actually, probably most of the 10s in use in each article is useful by itself, they problem is having 10s... defying the whole purpose of helping). Why not set a (soft-)limit to how many of them? How about having a guideline stating that, e.g., "generally an article should have at most 2 navboxes or succession boxes, and never more than 3" (or 1, no more than 2; or 3, no more than 4, ...) - Nabla (talk) 19:02, 24 September 2011 (UTC)
My quick 2 pence, navboxes , successionboxes and infoboxes have become a canny bane to readers, a kind of editorial kudzu. Gwen Gale (talk) 19:09, 24 September 2011 (UTC)

Just look at Wikipedia:Templates for discussion/Log/2011 September 18#Template:Largest shopping centres in the United Kingdom... the pushback I'm getting is unbelievable. Everyone wants a navbox for their favorite topic and no one wants to admit there need to be inclusion criteria. Powers T 13:37, 25 September 2011 (UTC)

Look at the ridiculous size of this one, Template:University of Florida Athletic Hall of Fame. Powers T 13:55, 25 September 2011 (UTC)
Again, Powers, notability criteria for navboxes (or succession boxes for that matter) is not the same discussion as succession boxes should be used over navboxes (or vice versa). Rikster2 (talk) 14:19, 25 September 2011 (UTC)
Except that they are all related. That Florida HOF template is beyond idiotic. It is a great example of something that should be a list, but is worthless as a navbox. Seriously, what value is there in linking a football player to a basketball player to a boxer in that fashion? Those individuals have no non-trivial links to each other. Likewise, things like being a team captain are poor navigational templates, but would be useful as succession boxes. Ultimately, most of the navboxes mentioned in this discussion are just lazy efforts to fill the list at "what links here". The end result are articles with dozens of templates, and templates with dozens of marginally relevant links and best, and completely irrelevant ones at worst. Resolute 16:48, 25 September 2011 (UTC)
Well the conversation seems to have shifted, Rikster. Why can't we discuss inclusion criteria here? You've made your argument that succession boxes have significant problems, so now that I've largely accepted that, the discussion is now mainly about inclusion criteria. Powers T 17:03, 25 September 2011 (UTC)
Well this discussion is going nowhere and it is now shifted far from the initial discussion about succession box vs navbox. I'm still defending my opinion that in most cases navboxes is preferred than succession boxes but I do agree that the use of navbox is getting out of control such as those you mentioned above (Florida Hall of Fame and UK shopping centres). Overuse of color is also a problem. However, it would be extremely difficult to create site-wide consensus on the inclusion criteria. Having a project-wide consensus would be better, but even that is difficult and also consensus can change. I remember a few years ago WP:FOOTBALL has a consensus that only FIFA World Cup squads can have templates. Then they changed to allow continental championships templates. In the past, they also strictly forbid any youth squad templates (see this and this). But recently, when I found a youth templates and I asked the project about it, they seems to be okay with them now. This is a clear sign that navboxes are getting out of control. However, given that the same people from WP:FOOTBALL who used to vote delete on the older discussion have changed their minds and voted keep on the more recent discussion, I think it would be difficult to convince them back that use of navbox should be deprecated. It's gonna be a waste of time trying to convince every project that they're using navbox excessively. Time that could be better used for writing, referencing and copyediting articles. — MT (talk) 05:32, 27 September 2011 (UTC)

LtPowers, I think inclusion criteria for navboxes ought to be a separate discussion as it's going to very complex in its own right, especially if we attempt to build standards that extend outside of sports to the project at large. You bring up some interesting points about the WhatLinksHere and RelatedChanges features. I wonder if there would be a way to segment out direct wikilinks from those only transcluded for those functions.

The advice you quote from WP:NAVBOX is like ancient scripture, a relic from an earlier day of Wikipedia that only WP:Hockey seems to be holding onto. For a line of succession, navboxes can be extremely effective. Take Template:Michigan Wolverines football coach navbox. In one neat element that collapses down to a lesser height than a that of a succession box, you've got a snap shot of the entire succession of Michigan football coaches. Why restrict footer navigation to only n-1 and n+1 when you can open up the entire series and provide better context this efficiently? Looking at Fielding H. Yost, you see how these sorts of navboxes array in tandem. The branded color-coding of these navboxes helps a user to find the link he wants faster. If you replaced those six title navboxes with six succession boxes, you'd have fewer navigation options available in a format that is more difficult to parse quickly. Succession boxes also present a nightmare for imposing consistency (e.g. how are such titles phrased and where to do they wikilink) for these sort of titles. Categorized navboxes such as these provide a system for efficient standardization.

What you've still never answered in regard to your support for succession boxes is why a link from Ryan Miller to Ron Dayne is less trivial than one from Miller to Charles Woodson. Just because Dayne won the Big Ten Athlete of the Year award in year n-1 and Woodson in year n-3? Their relationship to Miller seems to be on equal footing to me. Jweiss11 (talk) 06:00, 27 September 2011 (UTC)

  • I could only read part of this thread before I started shaking my head in sadness. Not over the people arguing here, but at the fact instead of spending their resources studying how to improve articles (in the case most relevant here, at what point do too many infoboxes cause a problem?), they throw it at things like image filtering which will only cause dissent & conflict amongst us volunteers. There are an amazing number of things about writing an encyclopedia better (or any reference work) that we do not know; why not fund studies into those? Having some tangible facts about readability would help give conversations like this one some direction. -- llywrch (talk) 20:35, 30 September 2011 (UTC)

How is a former radio station logo fair use?

I asked how to update the fair use rationale when a radio station changed formats and the logo was moved elsewhere in the article? I was told if I can't do better explaining it than that, the logo doesn't belong in the article. There are hundreds of former radio station logos and I believe they belong there.Vchimpanzee · talk · contributions · 18:52, 29 September 2011 (UTC)

It's being used within the article to illustrate the history of WMAL logos. Thus the purpose I would enter into the image page is "Used on the WMAL-FM as one of a number of former logos, to illustrate changes to the logo over time, accompanying a narrative history of the radio station". There's nothing illegitimate about using the logo so far as you can provide a rationale. The rationale is as sound as most I've seen. I think, in short, it's all about being bold in the assertion you make in the FUR table. --Tagishsimon (talk) 19:02, 29 September 2011 (UTC)
Yes, some variation on "historical significance". – ukexpat (talk) 19:07, 29 September 2011 (UTC)
(edit conflict) You basically have to have the right answer for all 10 points at WP:NFCC; the hardest in the case of a logo is generally #8, and unfortunately that's the vaguest one. On the other hand, I note that particular logo consists entirely of individual words or slogans (hint hint). Anomie 19:11, 29 September 2011 (UTC)
I tried to enter the above text and it doesn't change anything. I still get a red message telling me "no purpose specified".Vchimpanzee · talk · contributions · 19:24, 29 September 2011 (UTC)
You were just filling out the template wrong. |Use= is for one of a few specific codes, if you want something else you specify |Use=Other and put the actual reason in |Purpose=. See this edit. Anomie 19:46, 29 September 2011 (UTC)
To get at what Anomie is hinting at - the logo consists of only fonts. Per the US threshold of originality, such works cannot be copyrighted due to the lack of creativity/originality. Thus, the logo can actually be marked as a "Free image" and would have no restriction on its use as a historical image or otherwise. It is highly suggested that you try to convert such logos to an SVG vector image if you can, recreating it as faithfully as possible - there are people/projects that can help you with that. --MASEM (t) 19:55, 29 September 2011 (UTC)
The colors and stylization don't push the logo above the threshold? —Akrabbimtalk 20:05, 29 September 2011 (UTC)
They do not, no. --MASEM (t) 20:15, 29 September 2011 (UTC)
Thanks for fixing it. I got distracted by other things. Meanwhile, on the copyright questions page these issues are not being discussed. I'm glad it has all been made clear.Vchimpanzee · talk · contributions · 20:19, 29 September 2011 (UTC)

Assuming, for the moment, the image was non-free; the purpose added to the rationale box of "Historical significance" is woefully inadequate. If it was adequate, then every piece of marketing ever produced for the station would qualify under NFCC for the article. This is clearly not the case. As is, the use of this image is purely decorative. It isn't mentioned in the prose of the article, it's not tied to any sources, and is an abject failure of WP:NFCC. I'll repeat what I've said before; slapping a FUR on an image doesn't make it qualify across all ten points of WP:NFCC, not by a long shot. --Hammersoft (talk) 20:42, 29 September 2011 (UTC)

You may find it purely decorative. I don't. Neither do I think it needs to be referred to from the prose of the article. It has its own caption; it is situated by text which describes the evolution of the radio station. It makes perfect sense in the context of the article in which it has been placed. Clearly its significance is a value judgement, and I'm relaxed that my judgement and yours do not meet. --Tagishsimon (talk) 21:00, 29 September 2011 (UTC)
  • The image being free, fine. The image being non-free, not fine. I seriously doubt this image would pass a non-free content review. Just because a non-free image is part of some station's past doesn't make it eligible for inclusion, even if it does have a caption and is located in an area of the article that is apropos. --Hammersoft (talk) 21:04, 29 September 2011 (UTC)
  • By the way, this sort of use has been argued about many, many times. The general outcome has been removal of historical logos unless there's sourced commentary about a particular historical logo. There's a number of threads. I found one (of many) in just a few minutes. You will note that the two articles raised as a concern in the beginning of that section (WGN-TV and KNBC) have just one image on them, and that in the infobox of each. --Hammersoft (talk) 21:44, 29 September 2011 (UTC)
I appreciate that that is your view, and that it is a view that may have been vindicated in reviews passim. That does not make it a right view, merely a well supported and possibly prevailing view. You'll forgive me if I continue to be happy swimming against the tide. --Tagishsimon (talk) 21:51, 29 September 2011 (UTC)
NFC is not something you can swim against the tide with; it is mandates by the Foundation to limit its use, though what those limits are are determined by consensus. Consensus has stated that non-free historical logos are generally inappropriate unless the logo has been discussed by sources. If they are free images, be our guest. --MASEM (t) 21:58, 29 September 2011 (UTC)
The Foundation lost every credibility they had regarding NFC when they used the Pokemon logo to display their image filter...[11] Fram (talk) 06:46, 30 September 2011 (UTC)
The Pokemon logo - consisting of only fonts - fails the threshold of originality, and therefore, is a free image. No harm there. --MASEM (t) 13:09, 30 September 2011 (UTC)

Article titles using two names to refer to a single subject

Hello all, I'd like to request some outside input at WT:VG regarding naming of articles, and the possible precedent implications of a recent article move. It boils down to whether the article title "Sega Genesis and Mega Drive" (both names referring to the same thing, article previously at just "Mega Drive") is OK or not, and specifically whether WP:AND allows this. The discussion is here. Thanks, Miremare 00:56, 1 October 2011 (UTC)

Pop Culture Trivia Policies

Trying to keep random trivia off Wikipedia is like holding back the Pacific with a soup spoon. I direct the attention of the Reader to the articles William M. Tweed and Cassandra where a self-proclaimed defender of fancruft and comic book trivia is now vigorously defending any removal of references to Green Lantern comic books and random science fiction novels in serious articles about historical figures. Multiply this dude by a hundred thousand and you have Wikipedia, the encyclopedia that apparently only angry nerds can edit. I'm not asking about what to do about this specific user, because he's a symptom, not the problem, and in any case, this noticeboard is about policy, not enforcement; what I'm asking is what, if anything, Wikipedia plans to do to stop the growing and apparently unstoppable addition of nerdcruft which is making Wikipedia look more like TVTropes than Brittanica. SmashTheState (talk) 09:10, 26 September 2011 (UTC)

I am the editor SmashTheState is referring to. I am not a "defender of fancruft and comic book trivia", I am someone interested in Wikipedia engaging with our vital and energetic popular culture, and doing so in a measured way, neither drowning in truly trivial tidbits, nor ignoring the huge part that popular culture plays in our lives. While SmashTheState removes popcult sections wholesale, on the articles I watch I delete those items that are not notable as an instance of the appearance of the subject and keep those they are. I copyedit, source them if necessary, and organize them in a way that shows chronology or relevance. I probably delete as many items as I leave, perhaps more. This strategy is, to my mind, infinitely more valuable to Wikipedia than wholesale deletions, which are in any case contrary to the recomendations in WP:POPCULT, a widely accepted essay. The trick is not to do away with popular culture and pretend it doesn't exist, but to insure that its appearance here is relevant. That's what I attempt to do. I will not pretend that my judgment about what stays and what goes is perfect, which is why I am always interested in talking with other editors about specific items, but I do not believe that the wholesale deletion of these sections are justified or beneficial, especially when they've been tended by careful editors. Beyond My Ken (talk) 02:59, 27 September 2011 (UTC)
The problem, of course, is that 'pop culture' means 'American pop culture' and is shockingly ignorant of the rest of the world. This is a systemic bias in Wikipedia, and on that basis alone all of these pop culture sections should be burned and the earth salted beneath them. → ROUX  03:25, 27 September 2011 (UTC)
Certainly there is a bias towards English-language popular culture -- we are, after all, English Wikipedia -- and within that a bias towards American-generated popular culture, which is not surprising since the U.S. is such a major creator and exporter of popcult. But the answer to those biases is not to throw out the baby with the bathwater, the answer is for there to be more coverage of non-American and non-English language popcult.

Popcult won't just go away, you know, and it has an ever-increasing influence and importance. Ignoring it is to leave out a vital part of the mediasphere. Beyond My Ken (talk) 03:40, 27 September 2011 (UTC)

"Ever-increasing influence and importance?" Popular culture is just today's folk culture. All of it is mass culture. I'm unsure, exactly how you're measuring a change in the importance of mass culture, which as far as I can tell has always been important. It has also always contained elements that are of little importance or value. Sorting the wheat from the chaff is necessary when dealing with mass culture because some information is trivial and some is not.Griswaldo (talk) 03:56, 27 September 2011 (UTC)
Of course, but one cannot sort the wheat from the chaff if SmashTheState has flushed all the wheat down the loo. Beyond My Ken (talk) 04:22, 27 September 2011 (UTC)
(edit conflict) Let me sum up the OP's stance as I see it: "I found some inadequacies in a few Wikipedia articles. Because these articles are substandard, the rest of Wikipedia is worthless". I'm not sure that your conclusions follow from your initial thesis. Wikipedia has plenty of great articles and plenty more good articles. Finding those which are lousy is to be expected. If you find an article which, when you read it, is not up to the proper standards, and you yourself don't take the time to fix it, you have no one to blame but yourself. Yes, there are articles which have problems. Get on it. The encyclopedia depends on YOU to fix them. --Jayron32 03:04, 27 September 2011 (UTC)
I read it more as "I found some inadequacies in a few Wikipedia articles. I attempted to fix them but was met with hostile resistance. This seems to happen wherever there is excessive pop culture crap and any attempt to do anything about it." Perhaps I read it that way because that has been my experience as well. Reyk YO! 04:02, 27 September 2011 (UTC)
I for one read it as yet another trolling attempt by SmashTheState (just check his user and talk pages, it's pretty obvious to see what his agenda is). ♫ Melodia Chaconne ♫ (talk) 04:13, 27 September 2011 (UTC)
I don't understand why a self-proclaimed Anarchist would be asking for stricter Wikipedia policies. Beyond My Ken (talk) 04:20, 27 September 2011 (UTC)
Then you can add anarchism to the long, long list of things you don't comprehend. SmashTheState (talk) 04:35, 27 September 2011 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── <=== (getting back on track) SmashTheState, what would you like to see happen? What kind of policy changes would help?
⋙–Berean–Hunter—► 04:49, 27 September 2011 (UTC)

What would I like to see happen? I'd like to see "trivia" and "in popular culture" sections removed entirely. That seems improbably unlikely, given the dominance of Wikipedia by Family Guy brahs, so my proposition is that there be some kind of switch -- set off by default -- which hides all the "trivia" and "in popular culture" sections. That way the nerds can have their ten billion comic book and Simpsons references, and the rest of humanity doesn't have it inflicted on them when they're looking for actual information. -- SmashTheState (talk) 05:16, 27 September 2011 (UTC)

An attempt at some sanity

The issue I see with a great deal of the popular culture sections is precisely that they turn into lists of tropes or trivial mentions. I'm looking at the two articles mentioned above, for instance, and I personally would pull out about a third of the examples from Cassandra, and retain maybe only two or three of the examples from Boss Tweed. Cassandra in particular is such an archetype that I'd be unwilling to admit any example that didn't have her as the central figure, and even then I would consider the MZB novel not worth mentioning (it's not one of her better-known works). I keep fedora under watch because pretty much any fellow who wears one is liable to be added, including every male movie star of the 1940s.

STS's level of reaction is excessive but my general experience is that most pop culture sections are largely fancruft trivia. Mangoe (talk) 04:51, 27 September 2011 (UTC)

I'm afraid your standards are ridiculously high. There are eight (!!) items in the popcult section of William M. Tweed, a very small number as these sections go, and every single one of them concerns the appearance of Tweed as a fictional character in a book, play, film, TV series or comic book. Not one is a passing mention of Tweed by another character, an unreferenced attempt to say that another character is "based on Tweed" or any of the other things that can go on if popcult sections aren't watched. That SmashTheState chose to delete the section in its entirety is more a reflection on him than it is of the lack of quality of the section. Beyond My Ken (talk) 05:05, 27 September 2011 (UTC)
The problem is that the people responsible for adding the cruft are... not excessively worldly or broad in their education. For example, the person who added a Green Lantern comic book to the Boss Tweed article probably had never heard of Boss Tweed or Tammany Hall except in the context of her or his comic book, and was muchly surprised to find Tweed was a real person. In this person's mind, Green Lantern figures prominently in the field of Boss Tweed, since she or he has no context for judging it. And since Wikipedia is the land of neckbearded man-children, there's a ready supply of people who see the world with the same nerd-coloured glasses, who will defend every addition of Family Guy trivia and comic book appearances. -- SmashTheState (talk) 05:06, 27 September 2011 (UTC)
And since Wikipedia is the land of neckbearded man-children' Yeah... we're through here. Beyond My Ken (talk) 05:14, 27 September 2011 (UTC)
Wow, that may be the most arrogant tirade I've every seen. Pretty well written too. It's nearly a parody of academic arrogance. The belittling of others, the claim of ability to read minds and motivations. It doesn't help to advance your argument one bit, but it is fun to read. Hobit (talk) 00:21, 28 September 2011 (UTC)
I'd consider that posting to be a Violent Torpedo of Truth. (Oops! Did I just create the need for Yet Another "X in Popular Culture" Section?) -- llywrch (talk) 21:27, 30 September 2011 (UTC)

A flexible solution

Do people want this stuff, apparently a lot seem to. Is it good encyclopedic quality, just some of it is. Is it helpful to researchers, well yes, better than google for other editors. How about incorporating it as part of the growing process for articles. Allowing it in ordinary articles, and having it weeded out into a sub by FA, leaving the notable stuff. If it is a tide or a plague, but it can be utilized, then do. Penyulap talk 06:48, 27 September 2011 (UTC)

Just split it

Any section, suitably tended by someone who cares about it, can grow beyond the point where it fits comfortably in an article. If you think it's too big then split a new article William M. Tweed in popular culture or whatever. (Though actually that section doesn't seem too big to me) There's no call to dump sourced data; it's of interest to someone, after all.

It is clear that there are deficiencies with many "pop culture"/"trivia" sections, but mostly this is due to lack of information. People observe that so-and-so pops up here and there and the other place, but there's no citation to where the author talks about how he chose to use this character, no mention of literary criticism about it, no discussion of what percentage of the American or other world population knows the name. The sections look bad because they are too small and too poorly developed, mere lists, not well organized encyclopedic entries. But occasional fanatic deletion of the information as unworthy of mention will only worsen that problem by preventing them from any aspiration of improvement. Wnt (talk) 12:54, 27 September 2011 (UTC)

Inclusion based on importance in other work

At the video games project we have a metric for when to include pop culture elements. That is, based on if an element of game A is referenced in a completely separate topic B:

  • If you cannot explain B without mentioning A, then it is a definite piece to include within "A in popular culture" (ideally, "Legacy") section/article. South Park's Make Love Not Warcraft and Guitar Queer-o are plots wholly based on World of Warcraft and Guitar Hero respectively, ergo, its completely in line to include.
  • If you may be able to explain B without A but may weaken the reader's understanding to some degree, discretion should be used. One segment of a Futurama episode alluded and named several video games but you could understand the episode without exactly knowing them all, so its editor's discretion whether to include or not.
  • If A is only shown in passing and never commented or discussed by B, then its likely not worth any mention in A. EG, one can see a character playing "Gears of War" in the fourth Die Hard movie, but there's no naming of the title. Hence, it's a trivial reference.

Much of this is on avoiding original research that such pop culture trivia sections can attract, particularly if it is subtle, never names the original work, or is based on parody rather than direct reference. The first two cases, where the original material is named, leaves no room for question as to original research, and thus we can rely on the primary source. But if it verves off from that... that needs to be avoided. Of course, having citations to the subtle ones do allow for their inclusion: eg, if there was a source that mentioned that Microsoft paid for the brief inclusion of Gears of War in the Die Hard movie, that would be something to include. --MASEM (t) 13:12, 27 September 2011 (UTC)

Every time a new movie is released someone sends it to the space station 1 2 3 4 Just send all your home movies to the station, then report it in the news. sigh. Some were shot on the space station, but what about some that get a mention, in order to prompt more info from other editors ? It gets to looking like regular content, like the same notability rules apply. It's all case by case. Just has to be left to the standard rules. or put it in a separate format like the external links and portals and so forth, at the bottom of the page, maybe. Click show for an index of pop culture links. Penyulap talk 18:25, 27 September 2011 (UTC)

We should have in mind that topic importance is not a two-way street. That topic A is important to understand topic B, does not neccesarily mean that topic B is really important for topic A. Consider for example All the Presidents' Heads, an episode of the Futurama animated series. The American Revolutionary War is an important topic in the plot, and so it is mentioned and explained as needed. But, on the other hand, this episode has absolutely no significance in the importance of the American Revolutionary War, which is fine in its 94 KB without a single mention to it. Cambalachero (talk) 22:01, 27 September 2011 (UTC)

But this is the specific problem which seems impossible to prevent or, when present, remove. Because of the systemic bias of the users of Wikipedia, Green Lantern really is more important and significant to them than Boss Tweed. So when Boss Tweed appears in a Green Lantern comic book, they feel they are totally justified in noting this important event in the Boss Tweed article, and are genuinely baffled that others don't see it this way. You'll note that I am repeatedly called a troll for not axiomatically seeing the vital importance of Green Lantern in the life of Boss Tweed and the machinations of Tammany Hall. The question is, given that the neckbeards outnumber everyone else on Wikipedia ten to one, is there anything at all which can be done about it? -- SmashTheState (talk) 23:03, 27 September 2011 (UTC)
Let me be more polite and helpful this time. If you can't hold a discussion without throwing insults around you probably won't get what you want. People just don't react well to folks who are constantly insulting and belittling, even insulting and belittling of others. You are making a few good points (though I largely disagree with you). Could you please reword the above and try again? Hobit (talk) 00:25, 28 September 2011 (UTC)
There's a good way to deal with them: challenge them to reference their green-lantern stuff with secondary sources; comic book issues are primary sources. Challenge them to do that, and no fancruft shall escape your sight. Cambalachero (talk) 00:27, 28 September 2011 (UTC)
Primary sources are completely acceptable for this - I can tell you that World of Warcraft was central to Make Love Not Warcraft by simple observation of the primary sources of each. These facts are back by secondary and third-party sources, but that's not required as long as as work A is a major factor in work B. --MASEM (t) 00:37, 28 September 2011 (UTC)
Respectfully, that isn't a good example. Both WoW and the episode are each pop culture subjects. Pop culture may easily belong in pop culture articles. In Cambalachero's example, there is one pop culture subject and one that isn't (American Revolutionary War)...Primary sources would never work there to include the Futurama episode. Ever. Green Lantern is a pop culture subject...Boss Tweed is not. If Boss Tweed is essential for the Green Lantern article, then include it...but it certainly isn't essential for Green Lantern to be mentioned in the Boss Tweed article. It would require secondary refs...and even then, it should be pulled out as a decision of better discretion. It's trivia.
⋙–Berean–Hunter—► 01:32, 28 September 2011 (UTC)
  • I think its pompous and fussy to assert that knowledge of references to William M. Tweed in popular culture are unimportant. If our editors are interested in pop culture - don't be so condescending - our readers are interested too. Our rules for the inclusion of any content shouldn't be twisted by cultural snobs - the alphabet soup of V, RS, BLP, OR, NPOV, etc. should be enough for any content and applied neutrally on the scholar-pop culture axis. The remedy for incomplete popular culture content should be to edit for clarity and citations and not deletion. patsw (talk) 02:30, 28 September 2011 (UTC)
Sure, so long as you remember that part of WP:NPOV is WP:DUE, which says that we give things undue importance in an article compared to their real world importance. So if Random Celebrity X is mentioned in one line of one song by some rock group, that probably isn't enough importance to be included in the article. Part of Wikipedia's value (compared to just running a Google search) is that we separate the wheat from the chafe. Qwyrxian (talk) 02:38, 28 September 2011 (UTC)
And more: articles must be written using secondary sources, not primary ones. Primary sources are allowed on special cases (such as the plot of a work of fiction), but that's it, special cases, not the norm. There's also that wikipedia is not an indiscrimnate collection of information, so the article of William Tweed is not meant to notice all the times when William Tweed was mentioned Cambalachero (talk) 02:45, 28 September 2011 (UTC)
(1) Primary does not mean bad and secondary does not mean good. The only time to engage WP:PRIMARY is when the editor introduces his or her WP:OR. Most inclusion in Wikipedia of content cited to a primary source is not a problem at all. Where does that must come from?
(2) Collecting content which makes popular culture references which conforms to our policies and guidelines certainly is not an indiscrimate collection as we already have thousands of articles which include such content. patsw (talk) 03:12, 28 September 2011 (UTC)
Who said primary means bad? Of course it doesn't mean bad. Original doesn't mean bad either; originality is good, other things being equal.
The question is not good or bad; it's whether it belongs in an encyclopedia. Primary source material has not been sufficiently filtered through the community of experts on a given topic to be appropriate for inclusion in most cases. I wouldn't go so far as to say it can be included only in enumerated special cases such as fictional plots, but reliance on it should be kept within strict bounds. --Trovatore (talk) 03:22, 28 September 2011 (UTC)
This community of experts phrase gets to the heart of my objections. We don't (or ought not) discriminate against editors and content based upon the their position on the scholar-pop culture axis. The alphabet soup of rules V, RS, BLP, OR, NPOV, etc. is the test for content, not whether it finds its origin among the community of experts. If you want to make the tone of Wikipedia more scholarly, create your own content. patsw (talk) 15:35, 28 September 2011 (UTC)
This is not against editors, but against certain types of edits. And yes, we do discriminate content, using lots of rationales (that is, using the word "discriminate" meaning "distinguish", and not "being for or against someone because of his race", which is a pointless concept here, closer to an appeal to emotion). Policies are not used in isolation, but in conjunction, and just because something is verifiable does not mean it should be included. All articles must be written with a real world perspective, specially those which are mentioned within a fictional work but are not fictional themselves. There are some borderline cases when we known more about a real world thing from a fictional account of it, such as the Trojan War, but this man in the green lantern comic book is not the case. There are cases of things relatively unknown by the big public that become known by a fictional account of them, but most of them are relative (it's not the same "there's little information about X, beyond the confirmation of it's existence" than "I have never heard of X"). And in any case, if the topic was indeed unknown by people and became known because of its fictional account, there should be secondary sources pointing that. Cambalachero (talk) 19:25, 28 September 2011 (UTC)
WP:Real world problems are fixed by editing not deletion. It's a style guideline. patsw (talk) 23:40, 28 September 2011 (UTC)
Edition as contrary to deletion applies only to article deletion, not about the removal of unwanted content from articles. Nobody is talking about deleting the Green Lantern article. A template related to that guideline is {{Plot}}, which precisely calls to "delete" (reduce the text used in the article) excesive fancruft.
But in short, the problem of your arguments is the use of loaded words as "discrimination" or "deletion". Nobody would support discrimination or deletion, and people may feel sympathy for a victim of such abuses, but that's not the case here. Nobody is being discriminated, and no article is being deleted. There is no "victim" here. Cambalachero (talk) 02:36, 29 September 2011 (UTC)

The problem isn't the topic of popular culture, but how we handle it

Trying to bring order to our "in popular culture" sections and articles isn't an act of arrogance or elitism, as some are hinting at above. The problem with these articles and sections isn't the topic of popular culture, but the content within them. Many of these articles and sections are exhaustive laundry lists of everytime a specific topic has been referenced "in popular culture". This is unencyclopedic, as Wikipedia isn't an indiscriminate collection of information, and this is why our "in popular culture" articles are so weak. Hiding these laundry lists or splitting them out isn't the answer, we must clean them up and clean out the most hopeless cases.

Great articles on a major topic's appearance in popular culture are possible, but they need to be well-sourced summaries and not exhaustive lists. We should encourage better writing in this field so these laundry lists stop popping up. The problem is that we have years of bad precedent behind us; new editors add the latest mentions from Family Guy not realising that this isn't helpful. Any sort of guidelines that we establish should help transition our coverage from the exhaustive lists that we have tolerated in the past to well-sourced prose summaries. ThemFromSpace 04:23, 28 September 2011 (UTC)

WP:OWN

"Related information"

Previous discussion: Wikipedia:Village pump (policy)/Archive 63#Headings for navboxes, Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Layout/Archive 8#Wikipedia: Related information.

An article I am involved with was affected by the addition of a heading (here) with a rationale linked to the essay Wikipedia:Related information. This would appear to be highly controversial, and still made as an essay without guideline status (for example, there is no mention in WP:LAYOUT). From my perspective, this heading must sink or swim: we cannot be left with a horrible mismatch, just as headings generally are coming into line. I therefore request that this is either promoted to guideline, or abandoned. My personal opinion is to not add such a heading, but it is the lack of a clear outcome that is more annoying. Grandiose (me, talk, contribs) 18:34, 2 October 2011 (UTC)

If someone could resolve the paradox that the External links section contains internal links without the extra heading, that would be great. Franamax (talk) 19:16, 2 October 2011 (UTC)
I respectfully suggest that the "either/or" (guideline or prohibited) procedure you suggest is contrary to the organic nature of Wikipedia. If you find the heading unhelpful in your article then you can revert the edit that introduced it. However, if I may be so bold, consistency alone should not be your guiding principle. Do you have some other objection? Butwhatdoiknow (talk) 19:25, 2 October 2011 (UTC)

Citation needed for some mathematics

At Talk:Happy number#Are citations needed for routine calculations? a question is raised about some mathematical calculations. How should his question be answered? (My feeling is that this is beyond a simple calculation and a citation is needed.) Bubba73 You talkin' to me? 01:27, 3 October 2011 (UTC)

I would consider a citation is needed in this case to show that it is something worth noticing and not altogether trivial trivia. It is like the Mathematical coincidences article where everything should be cited no matter how blindingly obvious or easy to verify. Dmcq (talk) 10:23, 3 October 2011 (UTC)
Relevant policy is WP:CALC. It sounds like the calculation in question isn't simple enough to be considered routine. --Cybercobra (talk) 06:57, 4 October 2011 (UTC)
Thanks, that is a good link. Bubba73 You talkin' to me? 13:52, 4 October 2011 (UTC)

Mentioning the recent events in Italy on the Main Page

We all know about the situation in Italy, the prosposed law would make it impossible to edit in the italian edition, as noone can be expected to voluntary work, that is endangered by high fines. The italian colleagues deserve support. They use a different language, but those, who want the spread to knowledege of mankind should not be seperated by those small boundaries. The fact, that the corrupted italian governement can not reach us with its courts does not mean, that it does not strike the basic ideas of the complete Wikipedia. The italian colleagues try to defend our basic values like the freedom of information. We should not only be solidaric with them, we should support their protest. The German Wikipedia has mentioned the protest on its main page. I do not know if it has been the major cause, but this issue is present in many blogs, forums and also all the major media. There is also a solidarity page at the german Wikipedia, where local users can sign to show their support. It would be great, if similar things could be done here. -Liberaler Humanist (talk) 19:54, 5 October 2011 (UTC)

Probably Talk:Main page is the best place to suggest this. -- Eraserhead1 <talk> 20:04, 5 October 2011 (UTC)
Discussion on talk:main-page was closed and is continued in Wikipedia:Village_pump_(miscellaneous)#Italian_Wikipedia. Over there I just posted an invitiation to take part in our solidarity address. Greetings -- Andreas Werle (talk) 20:20, 5 October 2011 (UTC)

What's the process for requesting an unblock?

Resolved: Complaints about administrative behaviour may be raised at WP:AN. –xenotalk 13:58, 6 October 2011 (UTC)

What's the process for requesting an unblock? Lightmouse (talk) 09:51, 6 October 2011 (UTC)

use {{unblock}}. Choyoołʼįįhí:Seb az86556 > haneʼ 11:07, 6 October 2011 (UTC)

Thanks. Are blocking admins supposed to give that information? Lightmouse (talk) 11:25, 6 October 2011 (UTC)

They should place a template:uw-block template on the blockees talk page. This will include instructions on what to do. Graeme Bartlett (talk) 11:35, 6 October 2011 (UTC)

That's what I thought. In this case, the admin failed to provide that template. When asked how to request unblocks, he said he didn't want to use the template and didn't say how to request unblock. It's taken me a day and half to find the information. That doesn't seem right to me. Should it really be this difficult to start the unblock process? Lightmouse (talk) 11:52, 6 October 2011 (UTC)

It shouldn't, you're right. Choyoołʼįįhí:Seb az86556 > haneʼ 12:05, 6 October 2011 (UTC)

Is there an organisation within Wikipedia where this should be reported and would be anything other than futile? Lightmouse (talk) 13:19, 6 October 2011 (UTC)

WP:AN/I - But who has been blocked? --Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 13:42, 6 October 2011 (UTC)

I guess that bot operators with a message like "Administrators: if this bot is malfunctioning or causing harm, please block it." on the bot's talk page are assumed to be familiar with the blocking and unblocking process, or at least would know that they can look at WP:BLOCK? A normal user who is blocked will presumably see the message at MediaWiki:Blockedtext; what does a blocked bot see? Should the bot approval process include a check that the operator is familiar with the blocking and unblocking processes? I see that the unblock request is at User:Lightbot; shouldn't it be at User talk:Lightbot? - David Biddulph (talk) 13:47, 6 October 2011 (UTC)
That would be my guess as well. KillerChihuahua?!?Advice 17:21, 6 October 2011 (UTC)
  • (edit conflict) Without even knowing the details, this strikes me as a fairly spurious complaint. Blocked users are shown MediaWiki:Blockedtext which provides ample guidance on requesting an unblock. –xenotalk 13:47, 6 October 2011 (UTC)

I didn't see MediaWiki:Blockedtext. I didn't know the unblock process. Should I not have asked? Lightmouse (talk) 16:56, 6 October 2011 (UTC)

You are an experienced user and I find it very hard to believe that it took you a "day and a half" to find the information. WP:BLOCK leads to WP:Blocking policy which links to Wikipedia:Appealing a block in the lead. –xenotalk 16:59, 6 October 2011 (UTC)
... and I'm surprised that with 7 previous blocks for the bot and 3 for yourself you still didn't know the process. - David Biddulph (talk) 17:07, 6 October 2011 (UTC)
Feel free to keep looking for my faults, I have many. I'd still like to know the answer. Lightmouse (talk) 17:10, 6 October 2011 (UTC)
A quick glance back here would have reminded you. - David Biddulph (talk) 17:29, 6 October 2011 (UTC)
I don't understand how this subthread relates to the original one. Lightmouse (talk) 18:13, 6 October 2011 (UTC)
As someone who has been blocked, both bot and editor, we're wondering how you missed the instructions all the other times about how to request an unblock. KillerChihuahua?!?Advice 18:42, 6 October 2011 (UTC)
I don't remember. I think I just clicked on the link I was given the other times. Lightmouse (talk) 21:43, 6 October 2011 (UTC)

I did look at WP:Blocking policy and several other pages but for some reason I couldn't find it. I also asked the blocking admin. You and Graeme have both referred to templates that I should have seen but didn't. It would have been a lot easier if I'd seen a template telling me how to get unblocked. Forgive me if asking these questions are unwelcome but I just want to know the answer. Lightmouse (talk) 17:08, 6 October 2011 (UTC)

You are saying you looked at Blocking policy and did not see the very obvious link to "Appealing a block" in the lead section? I'll be quite frank with you: I think you are just trying to make a point about the administrator and how they went about placing a block on your bot's account. If you have a complaint about admin behaviour, raise it at WP:AN - do not unnecessarily consume your fellow editors' time and attention by asking pointed, leading questions at the village pump. –xenotalk 17:13, 6 October 2011 (UTC)

I didn't see it. If I had, I wouldn't have asked. I have many failings, please forgive me. Lightmouse (talk) 18:09, 6 October 2011 (UTC)