Wikipedia:Village pump (policy)/Archive 94

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During my time editing I've seen the WP:NOTCENSORED policy thrown around several times, and as best I can remember it's almost always to push some sort of an agenda or circumvent some other policy. For instance, I've seen it used to insert pictures of nude people in articles that don't necessarily need pictures of nude people ([1]). While I agree with the policy itself, I think it's often abused or misunderstood, and I was wondering if anybody else has thoughts on this, or potential remedies. The policy curently states: "'being objectionable' is generally not sufficient grounds for removal or inclusion of content" but perhaps that's not strong enough... Perhaps that sentence could be expanded slightly, or maybe specific examples (such as the nudity one) could be added. Thoughts? ~Adjwilley (talk) 21:56, 26 February 2012 (UTC)

Inserting specific examples/cases into a disputed policy is a bad idea, because it leads to wiklawyering. A general corollary is needed instead, stating that NOTCENSORED is not, in and of itself, a reason for including anything, and that a discussions of controversial material need to focus on the value they add to the article when compared to other less controversial material or to not including any material at all. (Principle of least astonishment is not that corollary because it's poorly worded and poorly focused). Sven Manguard Wha? 22:18, 26 February 2012 (UTC)
Your first part is already there: "'being objectionable' is generally not sufficient grounds for removal or inclusion of content". Beyond that, what qualifies as "more" or "less" controversial is a point of view, and a very subjective one at that. Resolute 22:23, 26 February 2012 (UTC)
I think you're looking for WP:GRATUITOUS. It is actually linked from NOTCENSORED, or at least it was last time I checked. ASCIIn2Bme (talk) 00:01, 27 February 2012 (UTC)

What WP:NOTCENSORED is supposed to mean is that we don't remove pictures solely on the grounds that they have naked bits in them or might offend some group of readers in some other way, and similarly we don't (for example) replace words like "fuck" with "f---" in quotations, simply because people also find them offensive. On the other hand, why I more commonly see it used for is to insist that any and all information must go into an article, because a specific editor thinks it's really important, regardless of other policies like WP:UNDUE etc. Jayjg (talk) 00:45, 27 February 2012 (UTC)

Thank you for the responses. I have also seen NOTCENSORED used to fight policies like WP:UNDUE by editors with some factoid or agenda they want to promote. I'd never seen the WP:GRATUITOUS policy before, and that was very helpful. Thank you! ~Adjwilley (talk) 03:47, 27 February 2012 (UTC)
The basic test that any addition to an article need to pass is if it enhance the readers understanding of the article subject. When suggestions is made to replace a objectionable image, the replacement need to proved the same amount and quality of information, or the edit fails that basic test. When this happens, I tend to often hear the cry that the article scares away potential readers and thus we should accept a less informative image for the benefit of more readers. Thus for me, NOTCENSURED is the active choice not to accept sub-optimal information in favor of more potential readers. The question should thus not be "do we need a nude picture in the lead", but rather, it should be "does the nude picture in the lead provide more and better information than the alternative image". Belorn (talk) 21:26, 27 February 2012 (UTC)
Well, there's also the case of "do we need an image so badly that we'll accept one that's 'offensive'", where it seems that the answer is often "of course". Mangoe (talk) 21:56, 27 February 2012 (UTC)
If the image enhance the readers understanding of the article subject, then of course it should be added. Doing anything else would go against everything I described above. Looking at the pregnancy article example, the issue there is fairly simply. The nude image would be more informative if the lead was focusing on the outside physical changes of the female body. Since the lead is not focused around that, the nude image would only add undue/distracting information in the lead space. The more suited placed for it is thus in the relevant section further down in the article. The question of the "offensive" nature of nudity does not impact that decision, and that is in my view how it should be. Belorn (talk) 22:26, 27 February 2012 (UTC)
Lead images need a different type of care than anywhere else on a page. It is an unavoidable image that appears when you look up a page, so it has the most potential of "shock value" if it is anything more explicit than it needs to be. It is also an image that we are consciously putting forth as a visual association of the topic in question. Now, this doesn't mean that we have to change lead images on pages like "penis" because if you are searching or clicking a link to this page, you better have some idea what you're getting at (per our standard disclaimers). But with something like "Pregnancy" the question of a use of a nude image as the lead image is one that we should recognize is not appropriate since a clothed woman in her late term is clearly just as good a visual association and has no shock value. This doesn't mean that later the nude picture of a woman can't be used in the article, because it is educational to see unburdened the changes a woman's body goes through as a result. But it doesn't need to be "front and center" on the initial sight of the page about pregnancy nor as the visual association with the word.
Basically, the lead image is a unique case where NOTCENSORED needs to be curtailed to some extent simply due to its placement on the initial page load and its use for topic association. --MASEM (t) 23:03, 27 February 2012 (UTC)
There is no need to have an exception written in the policy for lead images. The lead is a stand alone concise overview of a subject. The choice of image need thus to enhance and support the overview itself. Images that provide over-specific description should not be used for the same reason that text with over-specific description should not be used in the lead. For a example of less controversial images, the article Sun, and Solar flare do not share lead images, even if technically, the images at Solar flare is images of the sun. Having a image of a solar flare in the sun article lead would only add undue/distracting information to the sun lead. It would be a over-specific information. Simply put, the current WP:LEAD already protect the reader from unnecessary shocking images in the lead section of an article. The thousand words the picture has need to follow the same guidelines as all the other words in the lead. Belorn (talk) 09:15, 28 February 2012 (UTC)
No it doesn't. The OP of this thread pointed to the discussion on pregnancy about whether to use a clothed or naked image of a woman for the lead image. That choice should be a no-brainer from the principle of least astonishment, yet it was still an issue there. Same thing happened at Suicide and Mohammad. Again, this is not censoring - the naked version of the picture can and probably should be used in the in article's body, but the lead needs professional and practical considerations about the reader's POV. --MASEM (t) 13:34, 28 February 2012 (UTC)
I think that the naked image provided is tasteful and quite attractive; the notion that such a photo is a bad thing to show editors is just silly. But actually I have to admit that Image:Pregnancy comparison.jpg is more educational. The clothed photo could link to maternity clothing, and if it gave some detail about the change of size involved for that particular woman, it might also surpass the naked image because of the cultural relevance. Maybe the most appropriate guideline here really is WP:COI, oddly enough - the point is, we should not be editing solely to advance a censorship or anti-censorship point of view, but to make the article as educational as possible. Unfortunately... we are highly unlikely to agree on what is educational. Wnt (talk) 19:59, 28 February 2012 (UTC)
Again, making it clear: these other images are perfectly fine in the body of the article and are good educational aids, and of course there's no complications with the standard disclaimers. That's not the issue. It's just in the lead, we should be just a bit more careful, understanding that editors will unavoidably be shown an image that they aren't expected front and center, even though they would be well aware that the same type of image may be available lower on the page. --MASEM (t) 20:15, 28 February 2012 (UTC)
I don't agree with this, but admittedly it is hard to exclude aesthetic choices entirely when deciding which image to place first, and when made, those will inevitably be made by editors according to individual prejudices/subjective reactions. Wnt (talk) 15:26, 29 February 2012 (UTC)
Except for the lead image we should be thinking about readers' expectations and the lowest common denominator -- within reason. Hypothetically (maybe? I think I've read this might be true) say we know that there is a very small religious order that considers even photos of pregnant woman (clothed or otherwise) an issue. Should we change the image or remove it altogether due to this one group? Likely not because there is a lot of value of having an image of a pregnant woman (clothed or otherwise) in the lead to connect the idea of pregnancy to an easily remembered visual element - one of the purposes we have lead images. We would be failing a majority of our audience without that. That's why I stress that the lead image shouldn't be based on editors' individual prejudices but being aware of the readership and making smart choices, recognizing that we may unavoidable "shock" a small fraction of the readership for an image that otherwise has great value to the rest. --MASEM (t) 13:53, 1 March 2012 (UTC)
While I'm all for NOTCENSORED, I do think in cases like this where we have two pictures that are pretty close in value that putting the one that the majority of people in the world would have no problem with over the one that many do is the best way to go. I've seen the debate about these two pics before and often wonder just what it is about the nude one that's so much better people think it's absolutely nessesary over the clothed one. Outside of perhaps the belly button protrusion, they both show perfectly well what a pregnant woman looks like. But getting back to the general point of the thread -- even though who can't know what will offend who, there's still /reasonable assumptions/ one can make about certain things. When little or no value is lost in putting the very obviously "safer" pic, it's silly to do otherwise. ♫ Melodia Chaconne ♫ (talk) 14:33, 1 March 2012 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────When I posted my initial question, part of what I had in mind was the nude picture case that I gave as an example, but I've also seen editors using NOTCENSORED to defend controversial information as well, sometimes pushing past what I consider to be more powerful arguments like NPOV or UNDUE. One thought I had recently was that in addition to GRATUITOUS, WP:Coatrack could be used to counter editors who are on some pro-nudism, "pro-this", or "anti-that" mission and are using NOTCENSORED to push the material they're advocating into articles where it doesn't really belong. ~Adjwilley (talk) 01:19, 2 March 2012 (UTC)

Wikipedia:File names has been marked as a guideline

Wikipedia:File names (edit | talk | history | links | watch | logs) has recently been edited to mark it as a guideline. This is an automated notice of the change (more information). -- VeblenBot (talk) 02:00, 1 March 2012 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Image file names no longer marked as a guideline

Wikipedia:Image file names (edit | talk | history | links | watch | logs) has been edited so that it is no longer marked as a guideline. It was previously marked as a guideline. This is an automated notice of the change (more information). -- VeblenBot (talk) 02:00, 1 March 2012 (UTC)

VeblenBot should probably take a break, slow down, chill out, and stop arguing with itself. ;-) AndyTheGrump (talk) 05:49, 1 March 2012 (UTC)
VeblenBot doesn't know how to handle page moves gracefully. WhatamIdoing (talk) 19:52, 2 March 2012 (UTC)

What is happening here?

I uploaded one image in 2006. Since then other people have edited it. Now when it is found to be orphaned and up for deletion, Skier Dude and Crisco 1492 notified me (here and here) and no one else. But, when I tagged it with a {{db-author}} notice it gets a procedural decline by The Blade of the Northern Lights because I am not the author anymore. I already posted to the involved editors (here and here) about the silliness of the incident.

In short, when I want it deleted the process points another way, but when someone else wants it deleted the process points at me. What are we achieving by this silly bureaucracy? If we don't address these funny and annoying glitches of the system, I'm pretty hopeful we shall achieve total dumbness in no time at all. May be we can start a humorous essay on the silliness of Wikipedia processes. Cheers. Aditya(talkcontribs) 05:24, 1 March 2012 (UTC)

This is what human potential looks like.
In all seriousness, I will delete it for you shortly. Killiondude (talk) 05:58, 1 March 2012 (UTC)
Lolz. Thanks. Aditya(talkcontribs) 10:25, 1 March 2012 (UTC)
I don't understand - why did you want to get File:Jayne_Mansfield_and_Tommy_Noonan_in_Promises_Promises.jpg nominated for deletion? It has a valid fair use at Promises! Promises!. I don't think it should be deleted, as it illustrates exactly the raison d'être of that article. Diego (talk) 13:13, 1 March 2012 (UTC)

Obscured sigs

What do we make of user sigs which use 'leet' or other obfuscation (for example changing ls to 1s or Os to 0s), making it difficult to search for the user's contributions on busy talk pages? Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 22:11, 24 February 2012 (UTC)

Use of leet in usernames is part of a user's personal expression. You can use copy-paste to put it in your Find box. Dcoetzee 03:20, 25 February 2012 (UTC)
WP:SIG nutshells "Please sign your posts on talk pages, using ~~~~. Keep the coding of your signature short, do not make the signature too large and ensure that the end result is easily readable by virtually everybody." It's nice to have a brief discussion about a simple guideline that everybody should be able to agree with. ;-) --Hjal (talk) 05:16, 25 February 2012 (UTC)
Quite, Do we think leet sigs comply with that? Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 11:51, 25 February 2012 (UTC)
We're here to build an encyclopedia, not express our personality; the latter should not stand in the way of the former. Copy & paste requires first finding an example of the sig... Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 11:51, 25 February 2012 (UTC)
I think the usability issues are minor. Many people consider the specific leet spelling of their name to be the actual name of their esablished online persona, distinguishing them from similarly named people. In the notable scifi work Snow Crash, there was a character named "Da5id" who was referred to as such consistently throughout the work and in critical analyses. He is not "David". That said, I really think sigs should match usernames, regardless of whether the usernames use leetspeak or not. Dcoetzee 22:48, 26 February 2012 (UTC)
As I indicated above, my concern is not leet per se, but obfuscation. Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 00:02, 28 February 2012 (UTC)
What about the other way around? ^_^ —  HELLKNOWZ  ▎TALK 12:13, 25 February 2012 (UTC)
Fixed. ^^ —  HELLKNOWZ  ▎TALK 10:06, 27 February 2012 (UTC)
People are allowed to make stupid and childish looking signatures. As long as they are more or less readable, I see no problem in them. As stated above: a personal expression. Night of the Big Wind talk 16:04, 25 February 2012 (UTC) hmmm, do I see a non-standard sig there?
Because people are allowed to be stupid and childish (if it is that) does not mean they should be encouraged or coddled to be. Alanscottwalker (talk) 22:39, 25 February 2012 (UTC)
I'm not talking about sigs which are unreadable (which is another issue) but those which are unfindable. Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 00:02, 28 February 2012 (UTC)
Then you'll have to give us an example. Everyone who signs with four ~ symbols has their page linked. I've seen one user who made a special signature, then purposefully left out the link to their userpage, and that was a couple years ago. So, I'm not seeing an ongoing trend that needs fixed. As long as you can click their name to go to their page, it's easy to find their contributions. — The Hand That Feeds You:Bite 15:31, 28 February 2012 (UTC)
If you have a name in your sig that isn't your user name, that causes confusion. It makes it harder to communicate with someone if you don't know what name to use to refer to them. Does Pigsonthewing want to be called Andy Mabbett or Pigsonthewing? How are we meant to know? --Colapeninsula (talk) 10:56, 29 February 2012 (UTC)
You could try 'asking him. — The Hand That Feeds You:Bite 18:57, 4 March 2012 (UTC)

Talk page

Wouldn't it be more convenient if we made our talk page and whatnot subpages?

[[File:Wink.jpg]] (talk)

P.S. You can sign with ~~~ now!!!!

Well that three tilde just means no date. And reading your sig I can't easily tell its from Walex03. Graeme Bartlett (talk) 11:02, 26 February 2012 (UTC)

I changed my sig. But anyway, can you talk to me about that? I'll be signing with ~~~~ if I'm putting down a date.

The #1 Awesome Guy ;) (talk) 22:28, 26 February 2012 (UTC)

If I understand your original query you are suggesting that your talk will be User:Walex03/talk. This would be difficult for the links on the user page and contributions that links to user talk:Walex03. This is actually a media wiki name space, and has options in search pages, so if you make talk a sub page you would remove it from the search and linking features, and many people would still post to your user talk page instead of your user .../talk page. Can you see any advantage to it? Graeme Bartlett (talk) 09:33, 27 February 2012 (UTC)

You're right. The original one's been going around for nine years or so. If we make such a sudden move as if what I proposed to the policy we would have to take down the entire thing and start from scratch. We'd have to send send large messages to well-established users, change sig coding, re-establish the automated pages sent out, it's just too much of a wreck.

Walex03 (talk) 20:51, 4 March 2012 (UTC)

Time for a policy on tagging?

It's been clear to me for some time that dispute tags (by which I mean {{POV}} and friends) are frequently misused as a means of protesting against a decision with which editors might disagree, or otherwise 'warning' the reader. Many, many times I've seen tags hastily applied with no explanation, making them entirely useless to anyone who might be able to help. Incredibly, I've recently seen editors arguing that the existence of any NPOV-related discussion on an article's talk page would justify a tag (which would, in effect, imply that many articles should be permanently tagged). I don't wish to imply that tags are necessarily bad — they can be used well and effectively — but better guidance seems badly needed. WP:DRIVEBY contains some good, and some bad, guidance, but it isn't policy. The documentation at {{POV}} contains some good, but sadly too brief, discussion.

I believe that we need a policy (or, perhaps more realistically, a guideline), documenting among other things:

  • When it is (and isn't) appropriate to use these tags
  • What their purpose is, and how long they are expected to be present
  • What information needs to be provided on the talk page, in order to help editors determine how to resolve the issues, and indeed whether they've been resolved
  • Some guidance about unresolvable issues (eg., those that are mere misunderstandings of policy rather than violations)

I had thought about drafting something, but I thought it best to get a feel for community feeling first. Thoughts? Jakew (talk) 18:54, 25 February 2012 (UTC)

I think it's a larger issue than that! Besides POV, I often find myself re-dating and/or removing Unreferenced (those that tag an article rarely bother to add a References section with {{reflist}}, which is a great way to annoy and confuse novice editors since most of them don't know how to cite inline, much less create the section for it), Merge (shocking how many merges never get... merge discussions), Notability & Disputed (same reason as Merge), and others with less frequency such as Cleanup or Copy Edit. My rule of thumb is that if the tag is more than a month old and the editor that added it didn't bother to write any guidance on the article's talk page as to why he tagged it, it goes unless it's obvious why it's there. Best, Markvs88 (talk) 23:27, 25 February 2012 (UTC)

UPDATE: there is a wikiproject starting up to clean up the merge tag backlog, which now stands at about 3 years. Feel free to join up! Perhaps after it is established this project can evolve to target the other tags as well... Best, Markvs88 (talk) 18:58, 27 February 2012 (UTC)

And what annoys me is seeing the big orphan tagging on top. I want to read the text of the article, not a bunch of warnings. It would help if those top tagging were less intrusive, some perhaps could just add to a hidden category. Though I feel that we are getting a lot of bureaucracy and too many pages of instructions and policies and guidelines. However it would be good to have helpful text on the topic for those that do want to read it. I don't imagine drive by taggers to want to put a huge effort into knowing how they should be used correctly though. A warrior over POV will still be a warrior even if they are told not to use a POV tag as a weapon. Graeme Bartlett (talk) 10:40, 26 February 2012 (UTC)
I have run into the exact same problems as both Jakew; using tags as weapons/scarlet letters/badges of shame, insisting they have to stay on the article effectively forever until they get their way. I've also run into the problem mentioned by Markvs88, people insisting they can stick a "merge" tag on an article but don't need to open a discussion about the merge: in this current discussion a user objects to having to do so, despite my explanations. Jayjg (talk) 17:45, 26 February 2012 (UTC)
Additionally, there is no need to put most of these cleanup tags on stubs at all because the fact that its a stub is enough to say that the article needs cleanup, expanded, copyedit, etc. Some such as Unreferenced and Disputed are ok though. With all that said, unless someone is willing to stand up and say that some of these arguments like not opening a proper merge discussion rather than just slapping a tag on it is not appropriate and has the support of the community there is little point in arguing it. It often seems that we have policies only when we choose and not when the editor that does it is an Admin, well liked, etc. If we can start evenly enforcing some of our policies things will work themselves out. --Kumioko (talk) 20:34, 26 February 2012 (UTC)
Cleanup is different from stub in my opinion. Stub means it needs material added, cleanup means that was is there needs work (copyedit, layout, etc.) However it is odd that a stub need cleanup because there is so little there that it is easy to cleanup, usually. RJFJR (talk) 17:51, 27 February 2012 (UTC)
I ran into this problem recently with an editor who was doing a lot of drive-by tagging. He then started to go back and delete chunks of text simply because they were unreferenced, even though in one case the article was already very well referenced and the remaining unreferenced sections were uncontroversial. I discovered that there is an essay on tagging at Wikipedia:Tagging pages for problems but was surprised to find that there was no official policy. Perhaps this could be used as a basis for a policy. I think it would be helpful to have some agreement, especially in terms of the length of time that tags should stay in place before actions such as merges can be done and when it is acceptable to remove unnecessary tags. It seems silly to me to add lots of tags and templates about a lack of references to stub and start articles. Dahliarose (talk) 18:00, 27 February 2012 (UTC)
As some food for thought, consider that the purpose of these tags in mainspace is to encourage our readers to become editors, and should absolutely not be a replacement for editor-to-editor communication of problems on a talk page. They should be carefully used to highlight overarching problems with articles that we can anticipate that an interested reader should be able to fix anonymously (if they so desire).
As such, we should not be placing these when only a small portion of an article is a problem (for example if the article is well sourced except one section, the {{Unreferenced section}} should be added at the right point rather than at the top via {{Unreferenced}}.
Thus, there are some of these that should never be on the main page but placed on a talk page for the article. For example, {{Citation style}} - consistent citation style is important, yes, but I don't expect the non-registered reader to know how to fix this immediately.
My opinion: I'd think all these tags would be better on the talk of the affected article, but I would like to see one unified header tag that has specific callouts for specific problems that we can expect inexperienced readers to possibly help to fix, with language to encourage them to fix it. Section-specific and line-specific (eg {{cn}}) tags are still fine when they are fine-pointing problems, but its better to advise the help for probably that don't require a lot of policy/guideline/mos understanding to fix, leaving that message to the actual editors on the talk page. --MASEM (t) 18:29, 27 February 2012 (UTC)
In my experience the vast majority of tags were placed correctly (even if the article has been improved since then and the tags remain), and only a small proportion of problem articles are tagged, so an article is far more likely to be flawed but untagged than good but tagged. We need more tagged articles, but also better tags, and this includes adding reasons and reducing the amount of screen taken up by them. Another helpful idea would be to promote tools like Twinkle which force you to enter reasons for certain tags - maybe if someone adds a lot of tags manually they could be pointed towards the automatic tools that make the procedure both easier and more reliable. --Colapeninsula (talk) 11:52, 29 February 2012 (UTC)
  • Comment Sigh, "drive by tagging" canard. Accusations of drive by tagging are so nonsensical. Let me paint a picture. I'm sitting on my million pound yacht, using my gold-plated iPad to read my favourite website, Wikipedia. I come across an article and boom, it has no lead! No lead, you say? Yes, no lead! That's bad! So I tap on the Twinkle 'Tag' option and add a no lead template. I have limited time: James Bond is rumoured to be on his way to kill me and I need to get a move on, get the yacht over to my secret hollowed-out volcano bunker with massive laser beams capable of destroying human civilization as we know it. Naughty me. I didn't provide an explanation for why this is a problem or leave a lovely talk page message explaining the issue, or go and serve a plate of fresh grapes to the creator of the page. Naughty naughty me. I'm a drive-by tagger! I exaggerate somewhat, but I guess when you compare me to the perpetrator of a drive-by shooting, that can tend to make me a little grumpy. The point is simple: some tags require explanations, some don't. Sometimes it is obvious what needs tagging. If someone does drive-by tag, politely revert it and ask them to provide an explanation on the talk page. Simple. Requiring everyone to provide lengthy reasoning in order to point out the bloody obvious, especially when they might be on a mobile device where editing or text input is hard is really utterly pointless. —Tom Morris (talk) 15:35, 29 February 2012 (UTC)
    • My feeling is that if it's truly obvious that the tag belongs, then nobody is ever likely to challenge your application of it, so that should leave plenty of time for your world domination project. The problems I've seen occur when it's not obvious that the tag belongs. In those instances, then I would say yes, we really need an explanation, and adding a tag without providing one does more harm than good. I'd therefore suggest not trying use a mobile device to do things that require communicating one's thoughts to other editors. Jakew (talk) 16:27, 1 March 2012 (UTC)
      • If the cause of the tag is truly obvious, then the tag serves absolutely no purpose, since anyone looking at the article can easily see the way in which it is deficient. Tags should only ever be used when there's something subtly wrong with an article. The rest of the banners and tags should be deleted on sight. Gigs (talk) 03:19, 2 March 2012 (UTC)
        • Many tags add articles to categories patrolled by article maintainers. For example, {{Unreferenced}} adds articles where it appears to Category:Articles lacking sources. Wtmitchell (talk) (earlier Boracay Bill) 05:52, 2 March 2012 (UTC)
          • They can still function this way when tagged on talk pages. Just a few extra steps to get from maintenance category to the article. --MASEM (t) 06:15, 2 March 2012 (UTC)
            • Are we drifting into WP:PEREN#Move maintenance tags to talk pages territory again? Anomie 17:09, 2 March 2012 (UTC)
              • There's a simple alternative: if a tag doesn't have a link to a corresponding talk page discussion, make it invisible. That way, it still adds the page to the relevant category. And since the rationale for making tags visible is that it might encourage new editors, it's a bit unfair on those new editors to expect them to fix subtle problems with no talk page explanation. It seems too simple, though: what's wrong with it? Jakew (talk) 17:17, 2 March 2012 (UTC)
              • I do recognize it as a PEREN, but at the same time, I don't think the tag system is perfect. We want readers to become editors, and placing tags on articles to entice that is a good thing. But then when put tags on articles that do require a bit of know-how of how WP works and the like (such as fixing citations with bare URLs, or dealing with long plots, etc.) while a reader possibly could help fix it, a reader-cum-editor could make it a lot worse too. If we considered only the tags that are "really easy" for readers to jump in and participate as the only ones that should be present on the page to start with, moving the other tags to the talk page, that might be one way to stem the issue. Of course, this requires editors to be aware of what are article page tags and what are talk page tags, and that's a whole other ball game. --MASEM (t) 18:21, 2 March 2012 (UTC)
  • Well-placed, well-selected tags warn readers about the quality of the article. I edit in the area of Martial Arts: there are hundreds of articles with only primary sources and/or fan sites as references. In 2010 the MA Project did a massive cleanup: we used the 'notability' tag and the Catscan tool to manage the process. Many articles were improved, many were prodded and many to AFD (Wikipedia:WikiProject Martial arts/Article Review). Some articles (Bujinkan comes to mind) have severe problems with the quality of their source but there is an army of supporters to defend the article (Talk:Bujinkan). I doubt if a guideline or policy about tagging can resovle/improve a POV war. jmcw (talk) 08:26, 2 March 2012 (UTC)
    Except that dispute-related tags aren't supposed to be used to "warn readers". See, e.g., the rules for Template:POV, which say "This template should not be used as a badge of shame. Do not use this template to "warn" readers about the article."
    I support the creation of a policy or guideline on this issue. I've thought about drafting one myself in the past, but haven't actually managed to do so. WhatamIdoing (talk) 19:44, 2 March 2012 (UTC)
Okay, there seems to be some support for a policy/guideline. I'm mostly interested in those related to disputes, by which I mean {{POV}}, {{Disputed}}, {{Systemic bias}} and (in some situations) {{Original research}}. My inclination is to draft something discussing these cases, with the hope that it can later be merged into a larger document that discusses other tags. I don't think I'm well placed to write about the other tags, however, as I'm not familiar with best practices regarding their use. Do others have any interest in working on that? Jakew (talk) 11:05, 5 March 2012 (UTC)
I'd suggest that you start in a user sandbox. If you want to drop a note on my user talk page with the page name, I'd be happy to help out. I think the tags you name are the most important ones, but I think I could add information about best practices for clean up tags and such. WhatamIdoing (talk) 19:20, 5 March 2012 (UTC)

Using tags as battle-standards on policy/guideline pages

Unfortunately, the use of "tags" such as "disputed" or "under discussion" has gotten out-of-hand lately on Pol/Guideline pages, due perhaps to infighting at some recent Arbcom cases, one of which is yet to finalize. These tags indicate distrust of a policy, when in fact as described above, the totality of the whole section is not at all deprecated, and the only dispute is to add/remove the "tag" itself, and edit war.

These "tags" should not stay "in perpetuity" that is counter-productive. How long and why are tags added? We do need a guideline, to come out of a discussion of this matter, as called for above. I would support these given ideas as such. I believe that we need a policy (or, perhaps more realistically, a guideline), documenting among other things:

  • When it is (and isn't) appropriate to use these tags
  • What their purpose is, and how long they are expected to be present
  • What information needs to be provided on the talk page, in order to help editors determine how to resolve the issues, and indeed whether they've been resolved
  • Some guidance about unresolvable issues (eg., those that are mere misunderstandings of policy rather than violations) PER Jakew (talk) 18:54, 25 February 2012 (UTC)
  1. Peace! NewbyG ( talk) 02:16, 2 March 2012 (UTC)

Guideline truly needed!

There is being an RFC over at Template talk:Cleanup on mandating the tag's reason parameter, which I invite you to look at. This discussion arose precisely out of the circumstance that templates are frequently slapped to an article – often by half-automated means – without giving an outsider editor any clue on why the tag has been added. Neither is an inline comment being attached nor is a rationale on the talk page being provided. One issue that makes this all considerably more difficult is that everyone has his own understanding on when a tag is warranted and when not. Trying to remove a tag that has just been carelessly added has a high chance of resulting in an edit war.

Example 1: Have a look at this version of the FBI article. Do you see anything that makes you think "this article really is in need of cleanup"? Yet, this is precisely what happened. I reverted the tag, and I was reverted by an uninvolved editor claiming my revert was just WP:POINTy (seemingly, in reference to the discussion at Template talk:Cleanup). That editor then rub it into my nose what needed cleanup by showing me this diff of changes he applied. Is a couple of pedantic MOS issues really what we want to point out when adding the {{cleanup}} template? I probably don't have to add that this would warrant the addition of the cleanup template on each and every non-featured article on Wikipedia, and even some of these – according to that editor. Obviously, we have different concepts of "cleanup".

Example 2: Looks look at an article that really is in desperate need of clean up, and at exactly the opposite behavior when it comes to removal of the cleanup template. I have added the cleanup template on this very weak article ages ago, providing a detailed explanation on the talk page of the article. Yet, said editor from above and another one jump in, make a few (ridiculously) minor style changes, and then remove the cleanup template. So we keep the template in the first example but remove it from the second???

Example 3: This editor, who has given up at some point in time, had the habit of continually and usually without discussion removing all unsourced information from an article and add {{refimprove}} and {{cleanup}} tags onto it. I do not want to debate whether his actions were justified. But I had a minor argument over his actions at the Authentication article, with my principal complaint being that he would only drive-by-tag articles without explaining what exactly needed cleanup. Because I could not convince him of removing the tag and as I do have some expertise in the area I settled the dispute by adding a detailed reason inline in the template. Yet, it should not be me adding a reason for tagging but the tagger!

In light of these examples (I can come up with more if you need) as well as of the recent template discussions (1, 2, 3) I think a guideline on tagging is absolutely crucial! There already is what may be used as a basis for such a guideline: WP:RESPTAG. Unfortunately, it is only an essay, and as such it is disregarded as a 35kb rant. Certainly, this essay will need rework if we want to bring it up to guideline status, but do we – do you want to? What are your thoughts on this?

Many thanks for your input! Nageh (talk) 20:10, 5 March 2012 (UTC)

I'm puzzled. Obviously, tagging behavior seems to be an important issue to lots of editors. Yet, I get absolutely no reply. Why is that? Nageh (talk) 19:35, 6 March 2012 (UTC)
I am surprised to find out that WP:Template messages/Cleanup contains quite some useful guidelines. Really, taggers need to be pointed to these guidelines, it already may help avoiding quite some anger and edit warring. Just words to myself. Nageh (talk) 20:51, 6 March 2012 (UTC)

Partly you got no reply because your post is a touch long and convoluted. And partly because you seem to be denouncing anyone who disagrees with you about tags as "carelessly added", and saying another editor "rub it into my nose (sic)". Your wording comes across as combative. — The Hand That Feeds You:Bite 23:36, 7 March 2012 (UTC)
Thanks for the reply. I brought up examples with the intention of pointing out specific problems rather than resorting to hand-waiving. Denouncing anyone was certainly not my intention, sorry when it came across like that. Thanks again, Nageh (talk) 00:46, 8 March 2012 (UTC)


This might seem almost obvious but looking at a discussion in [2] makes me ask: do any existing policies cover that article content should be directly related to the subject of the article or that comment on the degree of relevance? IRWolfie- (talk) 09:58, 4 March 2012 (UTC)

It's a gaping hole in WP:NPOV. I have been slowly developing an analysis and ideas at [Strategic Issues with core policies / WP:NPOV] Sincerely, North8000 (talk) 12:51, 4 March 2012 (UTC)

If the material isn't directly related to the subject of the page (NB: not the title of the page, but its subject, which is sometimes materially different), then including the material is WP:UNDUE. You might also like to read about WP:COATRACKs. WhatamIdoing (talk) 19:15, 5 March 2012 (UTC)

Addition to WP:NOT

I think that the following section should be added to the page WP:NOT: Wikipedia is not a question-answer website. I do not know exactly how this will be written., but I believe that this represents the general consensus and rules of Wikipedia. Wer900 (talk) 18:51, 4 March 2012 (UTC)

Already covered by WP:NOTBLOG. — The Hand That Feeds You:Bite 19:06, 4 March 2012 (UTC)
We also have the RefDesk for largely that purpose (as long as your question isn't homework). The Blade of the Northern Lights (話して下さい) 19:36, 4 March 2012 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Editing environment has been marked as a guideline

Wikipedia:Editing environment (edit | talk | history | links | watch | logs) has recently been edited to mark it as a guideline. This is an automated notice of the change (more information). -- VeblenBot (talk) 02:00, 5 March 2012 (UTC)

  • This categorization seems inappropriate to me for an essay that debuted on 3 March 2012, and whose talk page does not show much consensus, if any. Is it common for essays to be classed as "guidelines"? --Bejnar (talk) 00:23, 10 March 2012 (UTC)

What is the procedure for elevating the status of a guidance essay?

The guidance essay WP:Formal organization has a banner as a guidance essay. In contrast, the project page WP:About is not classified in this way, although IMO both are similar in providing simple descriptions of aspects of WP.

WP:Formal organization describes the WP officers and duties as described in WP documentation. As such it is not an essay in the sense of expressing commentary or assessment or viewpoint, but simply an outline of WP's self-stated structure.

Moreover, this material has undergone several review procedures as outlined on its Talk page, and reflects changes suggested by many editors.

The question is, can the essay designation of WP:Formal organization be removed to make it a simple summary page similar to WP:About? If not, what process might lead to that result? Brews ohare (talk) 18:48, 5 March 2012 (UTC)

The usual (although not, strictly speaking, absolutely required) process for identifying a page as a formal {{policy}} or {{guideline}} is at WP:PROPOSAL. Any page at all can be designated an {{essay}} by anyone at all (including any subtype of essay, e.g., a notability essay), since "essay" in Wikijargon means something like "any page that isn't an officially designated policy or guideline" rather than an essay in the literary sense of the word.
There's no defined process for identifying other types of pages, such as a procedure page or an informational page. There have been few disputes about such pages in the past, so defining a particular process has seemed unnecessary. WhatamIdoing (talk) 19:13, 5 March 2012 (UTC)
Thanks for that clarification. It seems improbable that WP:Formal organization could be considered to be a guideline or a policy, as it is about neither of those subjects.
The question then arises as to whether a For..see link can be attached to the article Wikipedia to refer readers to WP:Formal organization? Editor Blackburne has objected to this on the grounds that it is a link to a personal essay. It would appear that (i) there may or may not be a policy on this matter, and (ii) one might argue that a factual outline of WP documentation is hardly a "personal" essay, if such a category exists. How can this disagreement be resolved? Brews ohare (talk) 19:43, 5 March 2012 (UTC)
WP:SELF seems to suggest that including it under ==External links== might be preferable. WhatamIdoing (talk) 20:54, 5 March 2012 (UTC)
WhatamIdoing: It seems to me that a possible process is to classify WP:Formal organization as an Information page, which it is because it contains no opinion, assessment, or point-of-view, but consists only of what WP documentation says about WP hierarchy. To be classified this way apparently requires "communal consensus". How is that stamp of approval obtained, do you know? Brews ohare (talk) 18:03, 6 March 2012 (UTC)
Boldly, that is done by slapping the template on the page and hoping no one objects.
Collegially, it is done by starting a talk page discussion and seeing whether or not anyone objects. WhatamIdoing (talk) 19:35, 6 March 2012 (UTC)
WhatamIdoing: OK, I'll open a discussion like that here. Would you be so kind as to add your thoughts about this proposal there? Brews ohare (talk) 20:10, 6 March 2012 (UTC)

What is an arena's name?

Two people refuse to allow the article Asheville Civic Center to U.S. Cellular Center (Asheville, North Carolina) even though they seem to accept that the first sentence of the article is true:

Asheville Civic Center (officially renamed U.S. Cellular Center in November 2011) is a 7,654-seat multi-purpose arena, in Asheville, North Carolina.

If that statement is the truth, then what's the problem? They point me to all sorts of policy statements, but none of those answer the question. I admit I have seen only that the local paper uses the new name, but they do not refer to "Asheville Civic Center" except as a former name. And I haven't searched extensively to see that other papers use the term, though my own paper referred to Southern Conference men's basketball tournament games at "U.S. Cellular Arena". I need to call the paper (done) and get that corrected, though I'm not even sure that would help the case.

If what people call it has to change to move the article, I don't imagine too many people in Asheville have changed what they call it, but it doesn't make a whole lot of sense. I've given up my formal proposal but I just want to see some comments because right now the article looks strange to me.— Vchimpanzee · talk · contributions · 20:45, 5 March 2012 (UTC)

Jack Kent Cooke Stadium => FedEx FieldRavens Stadium and PSINet Stadium => M&T Bank Stadium. I think the article should be titled as the current name of the stadium, as decided by the stadium owner/operator, and any previous names shoud be redirects. LivitEh?/What? 13:54, 6 March 2012 (UTC)
Thank you. If you could just say that here.— Vchimpanzee · talk · contributions · 15:51, 6 March 2012 (UTC)
 Done LivitEh?/What? 16:04, 6 March 2012 (UTC)

WP:NOT Automobiles

Has there been any discussion about the notability of automobiles, racing cars, aircraft, and the like? NealeFamily (talk) 07:43, 6 March 2012 (UTC)

They have no official notability guidelines, but project specific guidelines may exist. For example: Wikipedia:WikiProject Aviation/Notability. Look at the respective wikiprojects for more information about that. Yoenit (talk) 23:10, 6 March 2012 (UTC)
Thanks - found Wikipedia:Notability (vehicles) which has what I was looking for. NealeFamily (talk) 22:32, 7 March 2012 (UTC)

Minor Edit War

Would someone like to comment on a minor edit war re: 2012 WGC-Cadillac Championship. I spent some time creating this page (the tournament starts on Thursday) and then 12 minutes after an edit someone puts a stupid box at the top of it, which I tried to remove. This resulted in a minor edit war. I'm threatened with not being allowed to edit wikipedia any more, which is a bit like being threatened with a 10 dollar bonus, i.e. pointless. Anyway the whole exercise has been sufficiently annoying to put me off editing anyway. My recollection is that wikipedia is keen to encourage occasional editors not drive them away.Nigej 09:23, 6 March 2012 (UTC)

Good luck. Day by day, moment by moment, Wikipedia is killing off its casual editors. If you're not an admin, you're nobody. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:42, 6 March 2012 (UTC)
Thanks for the encouragement even though I don't really know what an Admin is. P.S. I don't want to know what an Admin is.Nigej 09:54, 6 March 2012 (UTC)
Nigej, the "annoying little boxes" serve a very real purpose at Wikipedia. They put articles in categories that flag them for attention by people who improve the quality of articles through doing specific maintenance tasks. For example, I am a copy-editor, but I don't really like creating new articles from scratch. So when I feel like editing, I often look in Category:All articles needing copy edit, pick an article, and edit. Articles get added to that category automatically when someone adds the {{copyedit}} tag to the top of the article. These maintenance tags are a very important tool here, and removing them without addressing the problem is considered very bad form. Please don't take the addition of such tags personally—they do not reflect on the quality of the article, or of the article's contributors, they are just a call to action for Wikipedians who like to do very specific jobs. In the case of this article, you could have gotten surprise help from someone who likes to do research and find sources! LivitEh?/What? 14:11, 6 March 2012 (UTC)
You call these boxes "maintenance tags". Maintenance - "The work of keeping something in proper condition". The operative word here is KEEPING. Surely this implies that the real use of these boxes is for articles that were once ok but have fallen on hard times. Using them for a part written article is nothing to do with maintenance. The other point is consistency. Why include them in specific article when countless similar ones do not have the tags. I still think they are overused. Many articles have them in for years and everyone ignores them. What is the point? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Nigej (talkcontribs) 15:30, 6 March 2012 (UTC)
It looks like the problem has been solved by addressing the concern raised by the user.
I agree that these templates are often overused, but they can be helpful and aren't always ignored. I don't think that it's valuable to edit war over {{one source}} in a one-day-old article (especially since the removal of the template indicates that its primary author is aware of the concern). WhatamIdoing (talk) 19:40, 6 March 2012 (UTC)
In my experience, and for what it's worth (which isn't much), when the primary author of a one-day-old-article removes maintenance tags such as {{one source}}, {{unreferenced}}, or {{COI}}, it is an indication that the author is aware of the concern, but isn't particularly aware of the reason for the concern, the importance of the concern, or that they have any intention of actually solving the problem. I'm not saying that this is the case with this particular article/author, but an edit war such as this over maintenance tags is often a precursor to AfD. LivitEh?/What? 00:37, 7 March 2012 (UTC)
The reasons give here for these "maintenance tags" are decidedly tenuous, repeating the party line. Also they don't address the points I made. Also why can't I remove a box that has been added. What give him more rights that me? Why threaten to kick me out? Why didn't he say - obviously this editor feel strongly that the box shouldn't be there, I'll bow to his feelings and leave it out? Clicking on "one source" leads to some advice on when to use it:

A single source is not automatically a problem. Good judgment and common sense should be used.

Please consider improving the article or making a good faith attempt to find additional citations before adding this template.

It is considered good form to provide a rationale in your edit summary or on the talk page of the article. The more specifically you describe your concerns, the less likely other editors are to misunderstand.

If you believe problems exist beyond the sources themselves, address that issue with an appropriate template (see below), rather than simply questioning the sources.

None of this was done. He simply plonked a box at the top of the page. P.S. I've go no idea what COI or AfD mean. No. Don't tell me, I don't want to know.Nigej 10:42, 7 March 2012 (UTC)

Try typing 'coi' or 'afd' in the search field. jmcw (talk) 10:58, 7 March 2012 (UTC)
Consider the following fable: Fred is building a brick wall. It's morning coffee time and he goes off for a drink, leaving the wall partly built. When he returns a council official has stuck a notice on the wall: "This wall is in a terrible state, please improve it." Fred removes the notice and builds a bit more of the wall. Now it's lunch time and he goes home for some food but when he returns the council official has stuck the notice up again. Fred removes it again. Now it's afternoon coffee time and he goes off for his drink but when he returns the council official has stuck the notice up yet again. This time there also another notice saying "Do not remove this notice. Removing such notices 3 times is a grave offence. If you remove this notice again I'll ban you from building walls ever again." Despite this he removes the notice again. Fred is annoyed at the interfering official. Fred complains to the council but they reply that they have a policy of sticking these notices on poorly built walls, that the use of these notices was a important way of improving the quality of walls and the official was only doing his duty anyway. They also tell him that regulations A17b and B34q part 3 lay down the precise form of these and similar notices. Fred leaves aggrieved, not knowing or caring about these regulations. By the way, Fred was doing the work for nothing for the local old people's home. It's true that Fred's walls were not of the highest quality but he was a well-meaning person and was left thinking that a bit more common sense should be used when it came to sticking such notices up.Nigej 13:21, 7 March 2012 (UTC)
Now consider this fable retelling where Fred, understanding that he's building a wall in a public park, takes some time to ask about the official rules that regulate these public constructions. Fred is told that he has to communicate with other people in the park, since anyone can help him build the wall; and that he can use the public communications system to his benefit, by telling others that this is a new building, that he knows what he's doing and he's actively working on the wall. While going away for a rest, they told him he can change the notice so that others will respect his work while away under penalty of a house arrest (as long as Fred reciprocates). Now wouldn't you agree that there's a bit of common sense in a town that has been populated by well meaning citizens for some times? And what would you think of Fred if he was there dismissing whatever he is being told and saying that he doesn't care about the rules? Diego (talk) 14:04, 7 March 2012 (UTC)
(edit conflict)Or an alternative ending to your fable: When Fred returns from his drink he see the notice, gets angry and rips off the notice because he is offended that some official would judge his wall as being sub-standard. When he leaves for lunch the official adds the notice back, but before Fred returns from lunch, another wall-builder walks past Fred's construction site. He sees the wall, sees the notice, says to himself "I like to build walls and this chap looks like he could use some help." He picks up the stones and trowel and sets to work. When Fred returns from lunch he is amazed to find the wall in much better shape that it was before he left. Fred says "Hey, thanks," the other builder says "No problem, mate," and walks off.
Several times in this discussion you have said "don't tell me, I don't want to know." You've got to realize that this attitude is extremely counterproductive. Wikipedia is a community project, and in order to have any chance at having fun and success here you must be a member of the community. That means learning about and working within the norms of the community. Please stop taking this personally. The article is not yours, it is ours. Another editor saw a problem, but he/she was either unwilling or unqualified to solve it. That editor did something which is long-standing practice here by adding the maintenance tags. Other people (including myself) have offered to explain why this happens by pointing you to the relevant policies and you have said "I don't want to learn, just leave me alone." I'm really sorry, but it doesn't work that way. LivitEh?/What? 14:08, 7 March 2012 (UTC)
Later on Fred receives a number of replies to his complaints from trades-union officials telling him that building walls is only for fully training people and that, really, amateurs like Fred shouldn't be building such things in public places. Fred is of the belief that wall-building is likely to be a closed-shop at some time in the future anyway. In fact Fred has some sympathy with the trades-unionists views but somehow thought that years ago they thought differently. Fred decides that perhaps wall-building is not for him. He might repair a brick or two when he sees one dislodged but otherwise he'll stick to different activities.Nigej 14:20, 7 March 2012 (UTC)
Ok, enough with the metaphors. :-) You have faced what is a systemic problem nowadays at Wikipedia; we know that creating articles is difficult, much more than it was back at the early ages, and we know that this scares potential editors away. There are debates everywhere with ideas on how to solve the problem (some in this very page), but none seems to gain traction; we're hoping the new developments and studies requested from the Arbitrators committee will change this tendency; meanwhile, alghough there are established procedures to handle disagreements and misbehavior, you can never predict how they will develope; so we're on our own. Wikipedia is a huge place and we can only expect that in the little corner in which you participate, you will find reasonable people that behaves in a civiliced way; I'll only say that it's much easier if you play along, but that it often requires significant maturity to keep oneself in check. The era of settlers has finished, we are now on the late Wild West. I hope you'll find some pleasing activity to perform and don't abandon the project as a whole as an active editor. Diego (talk) 16:13, 7 March 2012 (UTC)
I agree. Thanks for the responses. Discussion closed.Nigej 16:22, 7 March 2012 (UTC)

How to handle name changes?

I'm intending to rename an article about a living person who has recently married and is now publicly going by her married name. However I'm unsure about changing all instances of the name, in both the article in question and other articles that refer to the person. The article in question is Alicia Gorey, but the issue could equally apply to other biographes. I raised the question at WT:Manual of Style/Biographies#How to handle name changes?, and have had some feedback, but it's still not clear to me what to do. Further input - at WT:Manual of Style/Biographies#How to handle name changes?, to keep the discussion in one place - would be appreciated. Thanks. Mitch Ames (talk) 12:59, 6 March 2012 (UTC)

The Ukraine > Ukraine

A proposal to formalise Wikipedia's naming convention for the country of Ukraine. From Name of Ukraine#"Ukraine" versus "The Ukraine":

In English, the country was formerly often referred to with the definite article, that is, the Ukraine (as in the Netherlands, the Gambia, the Bronx, the Congo, and the Sudan), and occasionally still is. However, usage without the article is now more frequent.[1] This approach has also become established in journalism and diplomacy since the country's independence (for example, within the style guides of The Economist,[2] The Guardian[3] and The Times[4]).

Wikipedia uses Ukraine in the country's article, and in most other articles. However there's a few The Ukraines floating around. I propose we standardise to Ukraine across Wikipedia - I have an WP:AWB set-up ready to comb through and make the corrections. LukeSurl t c 21:37, 7 March 2012 (UTC)

The Ukraine redirects properly to Ukraine, and should remain that way for when editors add the "The". I'm not sure that going through and fixing the redirects is necessary, particularly if they refer to "The Ukraine" when it was typically referred to as such. UltraExactZZ Said ~ Did 21:49, 7 March 2012 (UTC)
I see no purpose in enforcing such uniformity. Also some bots in the past have changed citations, specifically article and book titles, making them incorrect, and harder to verify. Accept the variance as one of life's little joys. --Bejnar (talk) 00:47, 10 March 2012 (UTC)

editing references

Oops, moved to WP:VPR#editing references, letter "P" mistake. -DePiep (talk) 10:46, 8 March 2012 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Romanization of Ukrainian no longer marked as a guideline

Wikipedia:Romanization of Ukrainian (edit | talk | history | links | watch | logs) has been edited so that it is no longer marked as a guideline. It was previously marked as a guideline. This is an automated notice of the change (more information). -- VeblenBot (talk) 02:00, 11 March 2012 (UTC)


The {{COI}} tag is nominated for deletion, see the discussion. CharlieEchoTango (contact) 08:35, 12 March 2012 (UTC)

Remove prognostication from WP:BLP1E, to conform with WP:1E and WP:CRYSTAL

The policy WP:BLP1E, Subjects notable only for one event in WP:Biographies of living persons seems to be at odds with WP:CRYSTAL, and less workable than the same policy covered over in WP:1E, in Wikipedia:Notability (people)#People notable for only one event. I can't envision how a group of editors is supposed to agree on what a living person will do in the future, or whether the reliable sources of the future will elevate someone to greater notability. WP:1E stays focused on the question of whether the person is notable or not, and whether the subject is better covered in an article about the event and not the person. It doesn't ask us to wonder what will happen next. If a single event is not notable, should we keep an article about the person because, we think the person will go on to greater things? If we know the person will not do anything else, such as if they're deceased, or we're certain they will remain out of the public eye, does that really resolve anything?

With subjects like Joe the Plumber or Tank Man, you can see how in the days after the initial event that made them famous, there was no way to guess whether the single event would gain importance in the future or be forgotten, and/or the person will become notable for more events. There are some deceased people, like Pierlucio Tinazzi or Edith Macefield, who, as it turned out, need only one event to secure their notability. Or consider Category:Recipients of the Medal of Honor for hundreds of examples of individuals who have articles for only one event. In any of these examples, what possible role could theories about the future be of any use? Many obscure individuals will some day become notable when future historians take notice of them and amplify their lives in writing -- but that only matters to us after that history is written, not before. We can't know who is "likely" to become famous. What facts are editors supposed to cite in order to reach consensus on whether someone is "is likely to remain, a low-profile individual" or not? How is an admin supposed to judge which prognosticator's argument is better?

WP:BLP1E is the odd one out here, and should be aligned with WP:1E and WP:CRYSTAL. --Dennis Bratland (talk) 23:04, 5 March 2012 (UTC)

BLP1E trumps those other policies. We're erring on the side of caution, that a person shouldn't have their name plastered on Wikipedia for a single event in their lives. We wait for reliable third-party sources to show that the one event has remained notable. And sometimes, it's more reasonable to have a page on the event instead of the person.
Also, you've got WP:CRYSTAL backwards. You're right, we can't know who is likely to become famous. So we don't put up a page on them until they meet WP:N. — The Hand That Feeds You:Bite 14:07, 6 March 2012 (UTC)
BLP1E doesn't say that. It places a high burden to delete, having to meet not one but two conditions. The first is reasonable: notable for more than one event. But even if the news coverage is in the context of only one event, then a second condition must be met in order to "avoid having an article." The second condition is "if that person otherwise remains, and is likely to remain, a low-profile individual." How do we decide that? Do you know of any cases where an editor cited an actual source to support the second condition? Or did they merely speculate?

Take a look at cases where BLP1E was cited. Do any of these hinge on the clause about future speculation? Or do we, in the end, often after multiple deletion nominations and deletion reviews, end up making the decision on the article's merits with no regard to speculation about the future?

Removing the future prediction clause would have the benefit of avoiding a vast amount of wooly thinking and idle guesses about what might happen. We currently have editors filling up deletion discussions debating one another about future events with no reference whatsoever to facts. What good is that? --Dennis Bratland (talk) 18:22, 6 March 2012 (UTC)

Is it widely believed that this 'likely to remain low profile' condition is an expression of caution in creating articles? That it leans deletionist, not inclusionist? If so, it's an example of the conjunction fallacy. If you want to avoid creating articles prematurely, and to make it easier to delete articles about people notable for one event, that's all the more reason to remove the likelihood of being low profile condition. Or else completely rewrite the thing to say what you think it says. --Dennis Bratland (talk) 20:50, 6 March 2012 (UTC)
BLP is designed to protect individuals, and BLP1E is an extension of that. We don't create an article then wait to see if the person gets more coverage. Until it can be shown that this person has remained notable for an extended period, we don't keep an article on them. The future clause was precisely because some articles were being made about people who were only known for one event, and then never were heard about again in secondary reliable sources.
The entire point is that we don't guess that the person will continue to be discussed in the media. The "wooly thinking and idle guesses about what might happen" is why BLP1E exists. If the person is in the spotlight for one event and then disappears from the public view, they should never have an article in the first place. We don't "guess" that they're going to still be notable a year from now because of a single event in their lives. — The Hand That Feeds You:Bite 14:11, 7 March 2012 (UTC)
I did try to resolve some of the ambiguities surrounding that line a little while ago - and met some resistance. Some editors believe that line is a caveat that means if an individual has coverage purely for one event but that coverage is high profile and extends for some time, this satisfies BLP1E. It was my understanding the line was actually intended to preclude those situations by requiring an individual to have reasonable coverage unrelated to the single event (the case in point at the time was Amanda Knox). In addition it is somewhat speculative, as Dennis says; I've noted several times a BLP1E discussion depending on editors speculation over whether the individual will become notable. If anything the confusion weakens the policy. I think the line needs changing to remove those ambiguities, my view was always that it should read something like this: In situations where a person receives coverage from reliable sources in the context of a single event and, outside that event, they remain a low-profile individual, we should generally avoid having an article on them This removes the future prospect of increased notability (the article can always be created at that point) and clarifies that. --Errant (chat!) 14:23, 7 March 2012 (UTC)
The Hand That Feeds You, I'm sorry if I'm not following you correctly, but it sounds like you're still not parsing the sentence correctly. I suggested a rewrite over at Wikipedia talk:Biographies of living persons#BLP1E so that we can at least start to agree about what the policy really says. --Dennis Bratland (talk) 16:35, 7 March 2012 (UTC)
I've parsed the sentence correctly. BLP1E was very contentious in the first place, so that wording was a compromise. This is a case of "letter of the law vs. intent of the law." The intent, as I stated earlier and Errant points out, is to prevent people being immortalize on Wikipedia for something that ends up being a non-notable event. I actually like Errant's rewrite rather well, and would support that change. Getting it changed may be a challenge, though. — The Hand That Feeds You:Bite 23:46, 7 March 2012 (UTC)
All I can do is repeat that the current policy does not error on the side of caution. It errors on the side of keeping the bio. If you know anyone who is an expert in law, or English grammar, or logic, you might want to try discussing with them the sentence, "If reliable sources cover the person only in the context of a single event, and if that person otherwise remains, and is likely to remain, a low-profile individual, we should generally avoid having an article on them." Maybe they can convince you. As far as what the intent was, it's like saying, "sure the sign says STOP, but the intent was YIELD. Trust me on that one." I'm saying if they really meant yield, they should have said yield in the first place. From where I sit, the words say stop and I have every right to presume they mean nothing more or less than what they say. --Dennis Bratland (talk) 00:36, 8 March 2012 (UTC)
Facepalm Facepalm
Wikipedia is not a legal document. In fact, treating it as such is discouraged. I'm trying to tell you that, yes, the wording is vague, but that was a compromise. And don't insult me by telling me to find an expert on English grammar, when you fail to use proper grammar yourself. It's "to err" not "to error." — The Hand That Feeds You:Bite 13:27, 10 March 2012 (UTC)
The problem with this attitude is that it reinforces an old-boy network, and tends to exclude outsiders and newcomers. Instead of democratically allowing anybody who is willing to take the time to carefully read policy to participate in important decisions, the application of policy must is limited to in-group who are privy to the esoteric meaning. We can't just read for ourselves; we must rely on the elders who were there at the time when it was written, and the elders' proteges, to tell us what it "really means". The accusation of Wikilawyering is a defense mechanism that reinforces a hierarchical status quo.

There needs to be an RfC to rewrite BLP1E into language that actually says what we are told it means. The wise elders who handed BLP1E down to us clearly were not all that wise, because they made a terrible blunder and gave us a howler of a policy that says exactly the opposite of what they wanted it to say. --Dennis Bratland (talk) 02:24, 11 March 2012 (UTC)

No. We all know that there are two kinds of editors: those who acknowledge that protecting people in an encyclopedia that anyone can edit is important, and those who want everything included. No tweaking of wording is ever going to change that. BLP1E is intended to stop the permanent recording as encyclopedic content of news-of-the-day ephemera; it has the added benefit of reducing trivia and gossip in the encyclopedia. Johnuniq (talk) 23:44, 11 March 2012 (UTC)
So the fact that it is important causes the flawed wording to not be flawed? Seems like since it's important you'd be motivated to make it correct and clear. --Dennis Bratland (talk) 00:04, 12 March 2012 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── You're not getting it. There's no ability to make a fiat change to a policy, especially one as contentious as BLP1E. The wording you have a problem with was a compromise at the time the policy was drafted. Since Wikipedia works on consensus, you need to take this to the talk page for BLP1E, where a discussion is already ongoing. Chastizing us, and making snide comments such as "old-boy network," "in group" and "elders" is not helpful. — The Hand That Feeds You:Bite 17:48, 13 March 2012 (UTC)


Hi. In regards to the template, {{Refimprove}}. I don't find this very useful on some articles because certain types of articles don't have existent sources for them. For example, Caps lock, has Refimprove, but there are obviously no viable sources that can be found for that because we know it's existent but there's nothing significant to cover on the subject. This is just a rough discussion on changing policies on how to reference and use reliable sources on subjects that we know are real but can't be verified through the existing mediums (i.e. references). (talk) 01:35, 8 March 2012 (UTC)

Every article is required to have sources, per WP:V. There has to be some history as to the need for a caps lock key. Mere existence isn't sufficient. --MASEM (t) 02:04, 8 March 2012 (UTC)
Hmm. I agree that there has to be verifiability and sufficient sources. However, there are good articles that are highly referenced only because there is a high frequency of sources available for the said subject, on the other hand, there are not-so-good articles that are unreferenced only because there is a low or no frequency of sources available for the said subject. (Or actually sources that are considered "reliable" by Wikipedia). No matter how hard you try to find it. Caps lock is just an example, hence, the words "for example". There are many more. (talk) 02:39, 8 March 2012 (UTC)
WP:OTHERSTUFFEXISTS is not a valid argument. Every article needs sources. Thus, when an article that clearly should have sources (like Caps Lock - someone had to invent the idea of including it on keyboards), the RefImprove tag is completely appropriate. Note that this is different from when a subject's notability is in question and no sources are provided, in which deletion is usually the approach taken; when there's assurance that a topic is presumed notable as would be Caps Locks, there's no need to delete, but a need to find sources. Even if they are hard to come by. --MASEM (t) 02:46, 8 March 2012 (UTC)
I have myself many times stumble onto this problem. Sometimes IAR/COMMON should be used where good faith exist and the article do not try to cover areas beyond what is commonly known. It is also good to remember that information that has been challenged or that is likely to be challenged should only exist if there is a viable source for it. If a article lacks sources, then one need to avoid over-reaching and large claims. Belorn (talk) 07:47, 8 March 2012 (UTC)
I don't think it is possible to prove that no references exist for an article. The references may be obscure, e.g. they could be journals of organization specially interested in a subject, or books published for and by collectors of odd items. These may not have the profile of say the New York Times, but we don't even know that the NYT hasn't published an article on something until we check, and checking could be a challenge (I'm no sure how to check that the NYT has never published an article on Caps Lock.) RJFJR (talk) 18:00, 8 March 2012 (UTC)

IMHO a tag asking for references on an article which has none is per se fine. Other things related to that or arising from that would need separate consideration. North8000 (talk) 18:33, 8 March 2012 (UTC)

It may be hard to find viable references, but I'd be surprised if you could not find any references for something basically undisputed. How hard did you try finding sources? Try this. Nageh (talk) 18:45, 8 March 2012 (UTC)

Or maybe this... —MistyMorn (talk) 10:01, 9 March 2012 (UTC)
If your suggestion is to not demand sources for things "we know are real" you rather not go that way. There will always be someone who disagrees and the only way to resolve such situation is to refer to a reliable source. Nageh (talk) 18:51, 8 March 2012 (UTC)
  • Comment: When I was a boy, I heard about a strange temple near the city center that housed all of the knowledge of the ancient ones. My uncle warned me against going there as not everything the ancients said was true. Indeed, he said, they even tried to trick you in how they described what they said: instead of "fable" or "tall tale", they called it "fiction". Then instead of "true story" they'd call it... NON-fiction! They also kept the information on paper because they didn't have electricity until thousands of years after they started recording the non-fiction. And the fiction too, come to think of it. The ancients were also stingy in revealing things, so they didn't put the collections of papers in order! They didn't group them by the writer, or even by color! Instead they would write or somehow adhere a number to the side, which you had to know how to find. My uncle said that some temples had computerized search capabilities, but that most of the time you had to look on yet MORE paper to find what you were looking for! Those sly ancients! When I was older, I discovered that many cities and towns had such temples, and some had several or even many of them! Some of the collections of papers were very thin, and seemed to be printed monthly, weekly, or even daily! Those were the thinnest of all and the paper easily ripped. Other places in the temple also had other ancient knowledge, mostly stored on strange MP3s... some were round and dark, with grooves on them, or silver and smaller. Still others were hard and had little wheels inside them! All in all, I recommend visiting these old temples. They're called "Lie brair ees". But if you borrow from the ancients in search of knowledge, be sure to return the artifact before the agreed upon time! Else they become angry and send you notices marked "PAST DUE" and "YOUR FINE IS". Note that these usually are delivered by the ancient's messenger, whom wear a blue livery and drives a slow, white vehicle marked "US MAIL". If you keep a weather eye, the messenger is easy to avoid but often leaves the notice at your abode. Best, Markvs88 (talk) 20:23, 8 March 2012 (UTC)
Given there are no citation needed templates, I'm at a loss as to what actually needs referencing. The article seems to meet WP:GNG so for now seems fine. -- Eraserhead1 <talk> 20:42, 8 March 2012 (UTC)
Er, everything. Each reasonably good article is supposed to be a literature review about some topic; you cannot do that without any literature. Just because no facts have been questioned doesn't mean the sources are not highly desirable. And there are enough statements, which really could use a source, even if no one suspects them to be sufficiently wrong to demand a "citation needed". For example, "Some manufacturers include an option in the controller software to deactivate the caps lock key." (which manufacturers?) or "Because the shift key mechanism on a mechanical typewriter requires more force to operate and is usually operated by the little finger on the left hand, [...]" (maybe there were some ways to use some other finger?). --Martynas Patasius (talk) 21:03, 8 March 2012 (UTC)
184, if you see that tag on an article and you think it unhelpful for that specific article, then you may remove it. That tag is not infrequently found on articles that obviously needed citations several years ago, and nobody's noticed the improvements since then. Anyone may add such tags, and anyone may remove such tags, according to whatever they believe is best for the article. (No one may WP:edit war over the tags.) WhatamIdoing (talk) 16:37, 14 March 2012 (UTC)


Is it a policy that Composers haven't infoboxes? If yes, why?-- (talk) 14:51, 8 March 2012 (UTC)

Policy? No. A lot of people from Wikiproject Composers feel, however, that composers are somehow special and that "they can't be dumbed down into a box", and so claim consensus that they shouldn't have them. Despite the argument usually being "some composers will have issues with their birth location!" or whatever else that could apply to ANY historical figure. ♫ Melodia Chaconne ♫ (talk) 14:59, 8 March 2012 (UTC)
Yes, but no composer has an infobox at all!-- (talk) 15:51, 8 March 2012 (UTC)
There was a long and hard fought battle over this some years back. A group of people from Wikipedia:WikiProject Composers got their way and presumably enforced it exhaustively. Others who think infoboxes are the norm and cannot grok whatever are the issues which make composers a special case, did not get their way. This is a weakness, or strength, of wikipedia, depending upon your point of view and/or which side of a specific argument you're on. Should you wish to challenge the status quo, then I'd point you at Wikipedia:WikiProject_Composers#Biographical_infoboxes, Wikipedia:WikiProject_Composers#Lead_section and then at Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Composers. And I'd wish you the very best of luck; I've seen the mangled remains of at least one person who came up against them :( --Tagishsimon (talk) 16:21, 8 March 2012 (UTC)
It's time this blatant breach of WP:LOCALCONSENSUS was dealt with once and for all. Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 16:41, 8 March 2012 (UTC)
Oh yes they do ;-) Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 16:41, 8 March 2012 (UTC)
I agree. —danhash (talk) 17:35, 8 March 2012 (UTC)
  • Does not matter what some small wikiproject thinks- we have made this clear to all - Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Infoboxes#Using infoboxes in articles = "The use of infoboxes is neither required nor prohibited for any article. Whether to include an infobox, which infobox to include, and which parts of the infobox to use, is determined through discussion and consensus among the editors at each individual article"...Moxy (talk) 17:09, 8 March 2012 (UTC)
So, Moxy you say that it's a coincidence that the only really big biographical articles without an infobox are those of composers?-- (talk) 17:31, 8 March 2012 (UTC)
I do believe there are a couple other areas that don't as well. And it's not a coincidence, rather that people who tend to edit composer articles tend to be part of WP:COMPOSERS, so it ends up meaning close to the same thing. ♫ Melodia Chaconne ♫ (talk) 17:40, 8 March 2012 (UTC)
(ec)Its was all done with intent by a Wikiproject and its members (See here). As you can see its telling our editors they must ask permission to edit a page before hand. This is simply not reasonable and has caused many many problems. It is against our core principle policies that all can edit. Not even policy pages have such restrictions. What this has lead to is the isolation of these articles.Moxy (talk) 17:44, 8 March 2012 (UTC)
One can either revisit the local consensus of the composers project because consensus can change or one can find a composer article for which there is a valid rationale for including an infobox for that article that trumps the local consensus and build from there. If you cannot find an article for which there is an obvious reason to include an infobox, then it would seem that the other option is to ignore what is merely a cosmetic difference between articles. (or i guess one could bitch about it, but that doesnt seem to be very productive) -- The Red Pen of Doom 18:22, 8 March 2012 (UTC)
Well put... but WProjects dont have authority over articles in that manner - they do not have ownership of format or content of articles that they believe may or may not be under there scope (See here). In fact this exact topic is covered here.Moxy (talk) 19:16, 8 March 2012 (UTC)
──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── I think the fact that it's a cosmetic difference is pretty important actually -- that is, the fact that one set of articles looks different for no good apparent reason (that is to say, someone coming across them wouldn't understand why this set alone has them, such as 188 here). It's especially silly when people like Alexander Borodin have them, because "well he was a famous chemist too", yet as one might expect the article focuses mainly on him as a composer. ♫ Melodia Chaconne ♫ (talk) 00:59, 9 March 2012 (UTC)
Melodia, that's EXACTLY what I meant when I started this topic.-- (talk) 13:40, 9 March 2012 (UTC)
As has been made very clear in prior discussions on this topic, it is not merely a cosmetic matter; infoboxes emit metadata which makes the contents of the infobox understandable to parsing tools, screen scrapers and systems like DBpedia. They are used thus by Google and Yahoo. Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 23:01, 13 March 2012 (UTC)
Just another plug for Wikipedia:WikiProject Council/Guide#Advice_pages. A group of editors calling themselves a "WikiProject" (and that's all a WikiProject is) doesn't get to dictate anything to the editors actually working on the specific article. The editors at the specific article may freely choose whether to include or to omit an infobox. WhatamIdoing (talk) 16:32, 14 March 2012 (UTC)

please check out this link and advise on what is happening

please check out this link and advise on what is happening (talk) 04:59, 9 March 2012 (UTC)

Not in the scope of this page. You may want the Project:Support desk at MediaWiki. – Allen4names 07:00, 9 March 2012 (UTC)
I fail to see how it is in the scope of the mediawiki support desk either. The problem is an copy of our article by an external website, which has been turned into an attackpage. To the IP adress above, There is nothing we can do, as that page is not part of wikipedia. Yoenit (talk) 09:15, 9 March 2012 (UTC)
Check the Edit and View history link on that page. They point to the Hungarian Wikipedia. – Allen4names 06:10, 10 March 2012 (UTC)
I noticed that as well, but I don't see how it is relevant. Yoenit (talk) 10:18, 11 March 2012 (UTC)
Either the site was hacked (and still is) or it is an attack site. In the latter case there is no use going to the support desk, but in the former case there may be some help to be had by going there. – Allen4names 16:17, 11 March 2012 (UTC)
What kind of help do you expect here, whether it's an attack site or a hacked site? It's not like Wikipedia's volunteers can force someone else to change the contents of their private website. WhatamIdoing (talk) 16:34, 14 March 2012 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Teahouse/Questions has been marked as a guideline

Wikipedia:Teahouse/Questions (edit | talk | history | links | watch | logs) has recently been edited to mark it as a guideline. This is an automated notice of the change (more information). -- VeblenBot (talk) 02:00, 12 March 2012 (UTC)

I've removed the category as an obvious error. Beeblebrox (talk) 18:52, 13 March 2012 (UTC)

Language of articles

I've just reverted a series or foreign language edits to Nederduitsch Hervormde Kerk. That's an English Wikipedia article (not a talk page). I know talk pages should (not must) be in English, but it seems blindingly obvious to me that English Wikipedia articles have to be in English. I can't find any policy that actually says articles have to be in the language of the Wikipedia. Please point me to the right policy if there is one. Thanks, Meters (talk) 19:26, 12 March 2012 (UTC)

If you need it, try pointing the user to WP:MOS, but it should be obvious as you say that should use English. --MASEM (t) 20:04, 12 March 2012 (UTC)
Not as explicit as you'd like, but maybe MOS:FOREIGN? "Foreign words should be used sparingly." Also see MOS:QUOTE "Quotations from foreign-language sources should appear in translation.") Of course, if the foreign language edits look useful, one might also tag them for translation per WP:TRANSLATION.--Arxiloxos (talk) 20:16, 12 March 2012 (UTC)
Thanks. It's definitely not a foreign quote or word. Someone added almost 150 lines of Afrikaans to a three-line English stub. I suspect the editor is in the process of translating an Afrikaans original... so a possible copyright issue too. I left comments on teh article and editor's talk page, so I doubt it will be an issue. I'm just amazed that if push comes to shove I can't point to a policy or even a canned warning that says not to use foreign language in an article. Meters (talk) 22:42, 12 March 2012 (UTC)
WP:MI, WP:PNT#Standard procedures, {{Not English}} and {{UE}} might help. But yes, an explicit current policy might be required. Mitch Ames (talk) 11:33, 13 March 2012 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Teahouse/Questions no longer marked as a guideline

Wikipedia:Teahouse/Questions (edit | talk | history | links | watch | logs) has been edited so that it is no longer marked as a guideline. It was previously marked as a guideline. This is an automated notice of the change (more information). -- VeblenBot (talk) 02:00, 14 March 2012 (UTC)

is there a place where disillusioned and tired editors can "hang out" - like the waste bucket of WP ?

Copied to this section of Village Pump's ""idea lab" for further discussion. See corresponding endnote, below.  – OhioStandard (talk) 18:36, 15 March 2012 (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.

When an editor is totally frustrated, where can he go ?

normally many editors will just leave the project.

can we create a waste bucket, sanatorium, wellness refuge for those editors ?

--POVbrigand (talk) 15:15, 1 March 2012 (UTC)

They usually just take a short break from editing. IRWolfie- (talk) 15:41, 1 March 2012 (UTC)
If you're feeling that way, the best answer is to blank your watchlist, at least of the troublespots, and go to "random article". As far as possible avoid talkpages, as such feelings usually result from too much time debating. Be a wp:wikignome for a while. It is very theraputic. LeadSongDog come howl! 16:28, 1 March 2012 (UTC)
The question was more a general one, not specifically concerning me. Actually, I am feeling GREAT, you know, I just survived a Arbcom case and more and more RS supportive of the minority view are appearing daily. Really, I can't complain. :-) btw, being a SPA, I don't need to use a watchlist. Thanks for the wikignome hint anyway. --POVbrigand (talk) 16:40, 1 March 2012 (UTC)
The discussion forum website Wikipedia Review might be of interest to you. Although it is not intended as a "sanatorium, wellness refuge", it does have many "disillusioned and tired editors" as well as those who are "totally frustrated". Obviously, many views will be expressed accordingly. -- Seth Finkelstein (talk) 12:21, 2 March 2012 (UTC)
  • If you're frustrated with something, try taking a break for a few days or use mediation of some form to settle a major content dispute. If you feel that someone is behaving in ways to you that violate Wikipedia policies and guidelines, you can report the editor to the admins. dci | TALK 05:02, 4 March 2012 (UTC)
Thanks for the advice. Don't worry about me, I am an SPA and the article I work on is in fairly good shape, so I'm not frustrated myself. Is there an essay or some other page where this "self-help" information can also be found ? I was thinking that Wikipedia should improve the offered help to "almost burned out" editors who would otherwise be lost to the project. Instead of standing by when good editors leave, I have several ideas how WP could "make good use" of valuable editors who are tired of fighting over some silly content. --POVbrigand (talk) 08:07, 4 March 2012 (UTC)
Endnote re removal of off-topic content and revision of discussion's previous closure

Procedural note:

No doubt put off by the apparent wikihounding this discussion evidenced out of the gate in its earlier version ( permalink ), another editor hatted/collapsed this discussion in a good faith attempt to deny recognition for trolling. This was a legitimate question or proposal, however, from an editor who has no blocks and only 15 reverted contributions in over 2,000 edits. I'd initially thought of simply reverting the hatting, per "If another editor objects to refactoring then the changes should be reverted." But I've instead chosen to copy the thread to a corresponding section on the Village Pump's "idea lab" page, where it's a better fit, for further discussion. I've also revised its hatting closure here, a bit, to restore its visibility, and, per WP:RTP, removed off-topic and acrimonious comments. In any case, the question and proposal merit real consideration since so-called "burnout" is a such a serious problem for both the encyclopedia and more so for those who experience it, as almost all contributors to contentious articles and topic areas periodically do, eventually.  – OhioStandard (talk) 18:36, 15 March 2012 (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.

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

Wikipedia:Naming conventions (sportspeople) (edit | talk | history | links | watch | logs) has recently been edited to mark it as a guideline. This is an automated notice of the change (more information). -- VeblenBot (talk) 02:00, 16 March 2012 (UTC)

Low level, sustained damage to content integrity

Is there some type of policy effort against low level, sustained damage to content integrity? As Wikipedia celebrates the fact that it is one of the "top websites", vendors, spammers and self-promoters seem to be celebrating the fact that there are no longer enough eyes to check on them as they add a very large number of low level, seemingly innocent edits that reduce content integrity. There are so many of them, and they seem to be getting away with a lot of it, making Wikipedia a new type of Craigslist. I revert what I can, but there are just too many of them, e.g. this fellow made a few partially harmless edits to establish his account, before zooming into the rental/leasing promo. The level of sustained low level damage can only go up in the next 2-3 years and something needs to be done in terms of policy. History2007 (talk) 22:23, 12 March 2012 (UTC)

Policy should reflect practice. If there are not enough editors to keep looking for content integrity, there's not much that a new policy can do. So what do you have in mind as a solution to the problem? Diego (talk) 12:39, 13 March 2012 (UTC)
One possibility would be to revive the flagged revisions (or similar control over IPs and new editors). The flagged revision discussion failed because of "sloppy programming" (I am sorry, but that was what it was) in the code written for it. So a better version or similar approach may work, and I think is really needed. History2007 (talk) 09:16, 14 March 2012 (UTC)
@ History2007 While I'd welcome flagged revisions being implemented here as it is on DE, we should be wary of overstating the case for it. "The level of sustained low level damage can only go up" is a very pessimistic projection, it assumes that somehow the vandals are going to start being more effective than the vandalfighters. There have been various similar predictions in the past, but with edit filters and various other anti vandal tools, for some years now we've been upping our game faster than the vandals have. What leads you to think that at some point in the future the vandals will start doing vandalism faster than we can reverse it?
Remember we've been speeding up vandalism reversion for years, we have increasingly sophisticated programs to spot vandalism, and some seriously clever people devising improved vandalhunting software. What makes you think that future generations of vandals will be so much more sophisticated than those of today? ϢereSpielChequers 17:11, 15 March 2012 (UTC)
The problem is the use of the image of "vandal" as a less than intelligent hooligan, or a 12 year old on a joy ride. With luck, some of those may be managed. The "sustained damage" I refer to is by paid advocates for companies etc. on the commercial front and researchers (or wannabe researchers or their friends) on the technical front. Look at Dynamic programming language, and ignore the fact that it is 70% incorrect - at least. Someone managed to get a link to just one person's work: Erik Meijer - so unrepresentative of the field. I do not know if he did that or his grandmother, but many technical articles are full of these totally non-representative portrayals of research. Who is going to manage these, given that the topic is too technical, and the average page watcher can not make a decision. Do I have time to manage them all? Not unless you get me a new Tardis. Many, many technical articles are all turning to pure junk. And I mean that: pure junk. Unless something is done, in another 3 years, a lot of Wikipedia technical content will be pretty hopeless. History2007 (talk) 10:22, 17 March 2012 (UTC)

Is there a way of getting a sample number of edits that include words like "rental", "sales", etc.? That might indicate how prevalent the problem is, at least, and whether or not it's getting worse over time. Per the User LarryEFast edit comments. There are other ways of sneaking in spam too, but I actually don't see them that often, so maybe there are certain topic areas that have worse problems with this than others. The sneakier the spamming method, oddly enough, the more obscure they wind up making their link, and the less likely they are to generate business for themselves...IMO... If you're thinking that this will get worse over the next couple of years once the visual editor comes out, I don't think that fear is necessarily going to become reality. If it becomes easier for anyone to edit, then it becomes easier for anyone to delete spam when they come across it. "Spam patrol" should be encouraged.OttawaAC (talk) 02:42, 16 March 2012 (UTC)

No, sorry. Cluebot already does a pretty reasonable job, but a "clever adversary" will find a way to rephrase and bypass it. History2007 (talk) 10:22, 17 March 2012 (UTC)

Dependent territories

[3][4] It's getting so frequent that dependencies are downplayed as mere provinces. Should there be a policy across the board to treat dependencies, particularly inhabited ones, as countries? Or is there already one such general policy? (talk) 08:57, 14 March 2012 (UTC)

Your first link is broken.
Aside from that point, dependencies are not independent countries. On different articles they may be handled differently (e.g. on geography articles about a certain region it may make sense to include them alongside the countries), but generally it's easier if they're included under the main country - do you really want the likes of British Indian Ocean Territory, Bailiwick of Guernsey, Cocos (Keeling) Islands, Saint Pierre and Miquelon, Wallis and Futuna, Sint Maarten, Akrotiri and Dhekelia cluttering up templates, lists, etc? The majority of dependencies are small and not important on a global scale. Hierarchies make navigation easier. --Colapeninsula (talk) 16:13, 14 March 2012 (UTC)
The link worked well on my computer. But I guess I've figured out what's making the trouble.
Dependencies like Hong Kong and Puerto Rico are having millions of people (much more populous than European microstates such as Iceland, Luxembourg or Malta, not to mention Pacific island states like Nauru or Tuvalu). Many others, such as Bermuda and Cayman Islands are well known as offshore centres. Greenland is known for its size. They aren't unimportant. Hierarchies aren't the practice on Wikipedia for dependencies. (talk) 20:21, 14 March 2012 (UTC)
Confusing that this complaint is about Hong Kong and Macau, which are not territories or dependencies, but fully part of the PRC, simply with higher levels of autonomy. --Golbez (talk) 16:30, 14 March 2012 (UTC)
They aren't fully part of the PRC. They are territories under PRC's sovereignty and their statuses are subject to international treaties. They are conventionally regarded as countries. (talk) 20:21, 14 March 2012 (UTC)
Golbez, I don't think the argument you presented stands up to scrutiny. Hong Kong and Macau each have their separate government, parliament, legal system and currency. One needs a separate visa to visit Hong Kong or Macau as the one needed to visit mainland China. There are even bilateral economic treaties between Hong Kong and PRC and between Macau and PRC. As one born in British Hong Kong and witnessed the peaceful handover, I find it insulting when people ask me questions about Hong Kong assuming the city became like any other part of PRC overnight. Hong Kong was a dependency of the UK before 1997, and would only make sense being classified the same but of the PRC after. This is a verifiable truth which I strife to uphold amidst the collective ignorance of many Wikipedians who don't understand the situation. Deryck C. 19:36, 17 March 2012 (UTC)
That said - cluttering lists up isn't usually a good thing to do. As Colapeninsula pointed out, when applied correctly, hierarchy makes navigation easier. Therefore I'm not keen on pushing one blanket rule about how to list Hong Kong and Macau over all lists either, because depending on context it may or may not be appropriate to list a dependency under its sovereign state. And with this discussion actually started by two diffs relating to a very narrow topic above, I guess I'm just over-reacting with this amount of text. Deryck C. 19:57, 17 March 2012 (UTC)
From what I know there are relatively very few occasions that it's more appropriate to list dependent territories under sovereign states. In most cases they appear as countries. It's just coincidental that the two diff links are both about transport. The same sort of vandalist attacks have in fact affected many different topics. (talk) 10:38, 18 March 2012 (UTC)

Don't feed the troll. SchmuckyTheCat (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 16:09, 16 March 2012 (UTC).

What if Jimbo goes nuts?

I seem to recall reading somewhere that there were plans in place in case this ever happened. I can't find comments about these plans now.— Vchimpanzee · talk · contributions · 19:27, 11 March 2012 (UTC)

Wikipedia:JIMBO#Contingencies. Tarc (talk) 19:33, 11 March 2012 (UTC)
If he goes nuts, a steward will lock his account and the WMF board will remove him as a board member by a majority vote under wmf:Bylaws#ARTICLE_V_-_OFFICERS_AND_DUTIES. MBisanz talk 19:36, 11 March 2012 (UTC)
Hair today
Gone tomorrow
And if all else fails, we can just shave his beard. (As everyone knows, that's the source of his powers.) —David Levy 19:41, 11 March 2012 (UTC)
Thank you. That's what I was looking for.— Vchimpanzee · talk · contributions · 19:49, 11 March 2012 (UTC)
By the way, this is why I asked the question. I'm working my way back through the old Signposts.— Vchimpanzee · talk · contributions · 18:08, 13 March 2012 (UTC)
If we all as a group try to guess his password, we're sure to overpower him eventually and seize control of his account. --Colapeninsula (talk) 16:02, 14 March 2012 (UTC)
Please don't do that; his password, if spoken aloud, summons Cthulhu. Sven Manguard Wha? 13:33, 19 March 2012 (UTC)

Long dead portal: to delete or not?

Wikipedia:Miscellany for deletion/Portal:SAARC ended in "keep", though the portal is dead since 2007. Wikipedia:Miscellany for deletion/Portal:Ceramic Art and Wikipedia:Miscellany for deletion/Portal:Rapid transit ended in "delete", though these portals were dead for a much shorter time. What is the policy, guideline or tradition here? Do we delete long dead portals, or do we not? Aditya(talkcontribs) 12:21, 13 March 2012 (UTC)

I don't understand, how can "not updated" ever by a rationale to delete a portal? That's like adding "no one reads it" as a valid rationale to delete articles. A portal is like a category, an index to find articles in a related topic. If the topic itself doesn't see many updates, a static portal may be an invaluable navigation tool, so why delete it at all? There may be some valid concerns for portals that consist only of "recent updates" content; but a directory that shows what are the primary articles in its topic is like a glorified navbox, but better; i.e. it's ageless. Diego (talk) 12:46, 13 March 2012 (UTC)
Dozens of portals get deleted because they are "dead". In fact, portals are hardly encyclopedia content, and they are useful only if they are active. It's not about "not updated", it's about being "inactive" and "dead". Most articles are perfectly able to reach stable versions, where there is almost nothing to update (unless it's a BLP). A portal is not like a category at all. And, even at that, we don't keep "empty", "useless" or "dead" categories. Check this out. Aditya(talkcontribs) 13:37, 13 March 2012 (UTC)
I see some remarkably stupid nominations in there though, such as the NBA or Cartoon Network. I can see where specialized ones like ceramic art or trucks would be seen as unnecessary, but when you have portals on large and notable topics such as SAARC, IMO it will be of interest/use to users even if not edited much itself. Tarc (talk) 14:11, 13 March 2012 (UTC)
"They are useful only if they are active". This is simply not true. Portals are useful in the same way that categories and lists are useful, because of the collection of links they provide for navigation; as long as the linked articles are still there, the portal provides this function even if it's not updated. Maybe it would make sense to delete stub-like articles that never provided any structure nor featured more than a couple of relevant articles (I don't know what was the state of "ceramic art" when deleted), but SAARC is definitely useful in its current form. What if Portal:Medicine was to never be updated again? Should it be deleted too, or maybe the sections "Medicine topics", "Categories", "WikiProjects", "Related portals", "Associated Wikimedia" provide some interesting targets for a reader? It may make sense to delete "empty", "useless" or "dead" portals, but "not updated" does not equal "dead". Diego (talk) 14:22, 13 March 2012 (UTC)
Interesting question I see there. What constitutes "dead"? What makes a portal inactive for six-months dead and a portal inactive for seven years not dead? How As for portals serving the same purpose as categories I really wonder how one can use a portal to navigate through similar articles. No answer needed, as that comparison with categories really in not the point here, neither are stupid nominations. We get many stupid article deletion proposals, but we still delete articles on many grounds. Aditya(talkcontribs) 12:21, 15 March 2012 (UTC)
I would call a portal where all its links point to articles "definitely not dead", and a portal where most links point to redlinked articles "definitely dead". Portals serve a role that categories don't, which is to find the most relevant articles in a topic. As I said they are the natural evolution of the navigation box; we don't delete nav boxes because nobody has updated them. Diego (talk) 12:35, 15 March 2012 (UTC)
Does that apply to Wikipedia:Miscellany for deletion/Portal:Ceramic Art and Wikipedia:Miscellany for deletion/Portal:Rapid transit? (Funny that we are trying to validate DEAD portals by comparing them to categories today, and navboxes tomorrow... next is what? Comparing them to lists and articles?) Aditya(talkcontribs) 04:28, 18 March 2012 (UTC)
As I said: I don't know, because I can't access to their deleted contents. Given that "The idea of a portal is to help readers and/or editors navigate their way through Wikipedia topic areas" and "the category system is to provide links to all Wikipedia articles in a hierarchy of categories which readers can browse" I say yes, we can compare them to categories. Given that "portals are subject to the five pillars of Wikipedia, and must comply with Wikipedia's core content policies" I say yes, we can compare them to articles and lists.
Wikipedia is WP:NOTPAPER so there's no policy-based reason to delete them for a lack of steady improvement, quite the contrary. On the other hand you have yet failed to provide a reason of why deleting an inactive (NOT dead) portal with well-developed content like Portal:SAARC would be an improvement to the encyclopedia. Diego (talk) 07:21, 18 March 2012 (UTC)
P.S. I've been reviewing the MfD for portals and they largely agree with what I say. "Badly developed" is a criterion used for deletion, but "not edited since X" is not a reason all by itself, and is only raised for portals in poor condition; portals are kept when they have good content. Diego (talk) 08:07, 18 March 2012 (UTC)
What Diego said in the P.S., if they're stable and complete, they should get kept. If they're incomplete, and no one can or will fix them, they don't need to be kept. Sven Manguard Wha? 13:32, 19 March 2012 (UTC)
Unfortunately, there are deletions after discussion about them being dead. It doesn't matter what I believe as long as Wikipedia community can decide on consistency of process. If I'm wrong, those two instances I found need to go to deletion review. Aditya(talkcontribs) 14:00, 19 March 2012 (UTC)

Proposal to rename tennis player articles to never use diacritics

You are invited to join the discussion at Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Tennis/Tennis names#RfC: Can a wikiproject require no-diacritics names, based on an organisation's rule or commonness in English press?. This has also been raised at Wikipedia talk:Naming conventions (people)#See Talk:Sasa Tuksar. — SMcCandlish   Talk⇒ ɖ∘¿¤þ   Contrib. 18:32, 19 March 2012 (UTC) — SMcCandlish   Talk⇒ ɖ∘¿¤þ   Contrib. 18:32, 19 March 2012 (UTC)

Secondary schools should meet WP:GNG or are they exempt?

Recently I started a discussion at Wikipedia:WikiProject Schools because I did not understand why articles on clearly non-notable schools are kept. Result was a animated discussion: Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Schools#Notability of secondary schools (part 2). In general the useful replies could be bundled in two general groups: a) something has to be done on the notability guidelines and b) Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Common outcomes served us wel.

In the most recent discussion a few attempts were made to get somewhere. NickCT came with Wikipedia:WikiProject Schools/Draft RfC, TerriersFan with User:TerriersFan/Notability of schools and I came up with User:Night of the Big Wind/Notability of schools. To no avail.

In effect, the current "policy" is to keep all articles about secondary schools/highschools as soon as they can proof that they exist. To prove notability is not necessary.

So my question for this RfC is: Should secondary schools/highschools meet the standards of Wikipedia:Notability#General notability guideline or are they exempt from that? Night of the Big Wind talk 01:18, 2 February 2012 (UTC)

My understanding of the current situation is that secondary schools are assumed to pass WP:GNG. If that's the case, then your RfC question doesn't help; the answer to it is "yes they should". It might be more fruitful for the RfC to question that assumption, or to require actual references to reliable sources? But even if it did the former, my unscientific understanding of the UK situation is that pretty much every secondary school would pass GNG since there is extensive press coverage of individual schools, not least as a result of OFSTED report and league tables. (For fun, I searched for news stories for a few schools I could bring to mind, up and down the country. None let me down in terms of GNG.) I don't know if the UK situation can be extended to other countries. As to the latter, I would be uninclined to see a secondary school article deleted merely for lack of sources. --Tagishsimon (talk) 01:40, 2 February 2012 (UTC)
Maybe on paper, but the current policy is to keep everything, regardless of notability. People make a real fuss about AfD for schools, even finding deletion-campaigns in it: Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Schools#AfD Campaign on schools. A very unhealthy situation. Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Common outcomes#Schools is used as policy, overriding WP:GNG. Especially the sentence Most independently accredited degree-awarding institutions and high schools are being kept except when zero independent sources can be found to prove that the institution actually exists. is often used in a deletion discussion. Night of the Big Wind talk 02:14, 2 February 2012 (UTC)
You're right, it is an unhealthy situation, but there is a campaign. There's a small group of editors who seem to nominate/!vote for deletion on as many articles as they can find from mid-December to the end of January there were over 200 school AfD's. 150-odd of which were nominated by the one user.
And it is because of these users that I actually support your moves here. I completely agree that there should be more concrete notability guidelines for schools. I think that schools have claims towards notability per WP:ORG, per this sentence:

When evaluating the notability of organizations or products, please consider whether they have had any significant or demonstrable effects on culture, society, entertainment, athletics, economies, history, literature, science, or education.

(emphasis added)
By definition, schools have educational value. But, further, schools, almost by default, have societal value and frequently have historical and athletic value.
At the moment, differing interpretations of what is and is not notable cause a great deal of stupid debate at AfD and leads to many schools being deleted that should probably be kept. For example, Middle Harbour PS was merged into it's locality despite achieving a consistently high rank in standardised testing, being (approximately?) a hundred years old, being one of the schools at which the primary school ethics program was piloted, and being the catalyst for a change in law regarding speed zones (none of this was enough). On the other hand, Kesser Torah (school) is A-OK because it's a K to 12 school (emphasis on the "to 12" bit), despite it's relatively low enrolment and no special claims towards notability (I'm told that it's a decent school, though, however second hand that is).
So a more concrete set of criteria would be good. Not sure which draft I like most at the moment, let me think about it for a bit longer. ˜danjel [ talk | contribs ] 10:04, 2 February 2012 (UTC)
While I take no position on the notability-of-every-high-school question, I believe that your reading of WP:ORG is a tad overbroad. There is an important distinction between having "significant or demonstrable effects" and "being a building where education (in some form) takes place". (Similarly, a given textbook might be notable, but the warehouse from which it was distributed, or the presses on which it was printed, probably would not be.) High schools – as a collective phenomenon, and as a way to deliver education – certainly are notable and have without question shaped society's creation, consumption, and interpretation of culture, athletics, economics, history, literature, and science. It's less clear that we should make an a priori assumption that any randomly-selected high school will have had some particular part in shaping that phenomenon and therefore be inherently notable (absent reliable sources corroborating that claim).
To draw a loose analogy, The Catcher in the Rye is a notable work of literature about which we certainly should have an article; on the other hand, we don't want or need a separate article about each of the 65 million copies in print—but we do have a fair bit of commentary about the particular copy Mark David Chapman was carrying when he shot John Lennon. Our articles about high schools need to strive to identify the factors that make each one unique and culturally-relevant. TenOfAllTrades(talk) 17:10, 2 February 2012 (UTC)
In my eyes this has always been a point of friction, both because Wikipedia:Run-of-the-mill and Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Common outcomes clash here and because (certainly in the early years of wikipedia, not sure about today) a disproportionate number of WP editors were/are young and their high school(s) loomed large and emotive in their minds. Stuartyeates (talk) 01:49, 2 February 2012 (UTC)
The past has suggested supporting these, but I strongly believe we can move on and require GNG notability to be met for schools. That means we need more than information from the school or its local community itself to have an article. Since we generally presume all towns and regions are notable as geographical features (as long as they are recognized by their respective governments, at minimum), information on a town's secondary schools can easily fit up into that one, barring the cases where GNG can actually be met. They can be searchable terms (leaving redirects behind and included in appropriate disamb. pages) but shouldn't have separate articles. --MASEM (t) 02:05, 2 February 2012 (UTC)
I have been involved in a fair number of worldwide school articles and school AfDs over the last few years. It is my experience that for almost all secondary schools in English-language-speaking countries reliable sources can easily be found to demonstrate notability. If such schools ever get nominated for deletion they are always kept. Articles that have been deleted in the past eventually get recreated. There is, therefore, an assumption that all secondary schools which can be verified are inherently notable. Problems do arise, however, for schools in countries where English is not the first language. The majority of such schools probably would be notable if we had editors who could read the articles in the native language but it is often difficult to find English-language sources. Consequently, we have literally thousands of articles about American high schools but only a handful of articles on secondary schools in China, a county which has a far larger population and in theory should also have thousands of notable schools. There is an argument that a certain leeway should be allowed to encourage creation of such articles to counter the systemic bias on Wikipedia. If an editor makes a valiant effort to create a school article and English is not their first language, I think we should be encouraging their efforts and not nominating their articles for deletion at the first opportunity. The unfortunate consequence of the prevailing view that all secondary schools are notable is that some editors now take the counter view that all primary/elementary schools are non-notable whereas this is not necessarily the case. In practice perhaps 90% or more of these schools are non-notable, but conversely 10% probably are. This view has resulted in the unfortunate mass deletion campaign over the Christmas holidays in which articles for some notable primary schools were deleted because editors did not have the time to vote, let alone investigate and source the articles, simply because of the timing and the sheer scale of the nominations. In England, for example, many historic schools which now serve as primary schools were once the only school in the locality. Children of all ages attended these schools until the then school leaving age so these schools were effectively the equivalent of the present-day secondary school. The current name is often not the same as the historic name which means care must be taken when looking for sources. However, the mass AfD nominators only ever seem to make cursory checks, if any, to see what sources are available and always fail to look for sources under alternate names. I would like to see a guideline in place which prevents a single editor from nominating more than a handful of articles per week. Nominators should also be asked to do more thorough searches before nomination, and especially where a school is over 100 years old. Dahliarose (talk) 10:49, 2 February 2012 (UTC)
It is a self fulfilling prophecy. Articles are kept because other articles are kept. And based on that, articles are kept...
It's not a self-fulfilling prophecy. It's simply a statement of fact. Secondary school articles are invariably kept at AfD because reliable sources are always found to prove their notability. The only exceptions are some schools in non-English-speaking countries where English-speaking editors can't access the sources in the appropriate language. Dahliarose (talk) 13:43, 2 February 2012 (UTC)
As admin mr. Kudpung wrote earlier: if you were to read everything I've ever posted on this topic over the years, including on my RfA, you will have noticed, as many have, that I don't personally mind which way consensus falls as a result of a correctly and neutrally proposed RfC, but that I will firmly uphold any existing conventions, precedents, and unwritten consensus that clearly exist until they are confirmed or changed. Note that WP:OUTCOMES, although an essay, neutrally documents historical facts and 'is intended to supplement Wikipedia:Deletion policy' Night of the Big Wind talk 11:31, 2 February 2012 (UTC)
Dahlia, I think that User:Night of the Big Wind/Notability of schools might be worth a look. It'd certainly create some guidance to prevent what you and I have seen at AfD today. ˜danjel [ talk | contribs ] 11:39, 2 February 2012 (UTC)
If we were serious about changing how this "inherent" notability of secondary schools was treated, requiring GNG instead of just saying the schools exist, I would imagine there would be a grandfathering process during 6 months - 1 year where all such articles would be "frozen" with respect to deletion, allowing time for sources to be added, and then after that period an organized process to redirect/merge those that weren't shown to be notable. As such, trying to do it piece-part as suggested that happened recent will likely lead to reversion since its not a consensus driven change. --MASEM (t) 13:33, 2 February 2012 (UTC)
That would just be wasting everyone's time. The sources invariably exist to prove notability. There must be a better way of improving and sourcing articles rather than going through AfD each time. Dahliarose (talk) 13:43, 2 February 2012 (UTC)
That's not true. Yes, there are sources for the schools, but spot checking a good number of schools shows that most of these are local papers or the like. The bulk of local papers are not independent when it comes to talking about the school, a necessary requirement for notability. --MASEM (t) 13:54, 2 February 2012 (UTC)
But local papers are independent sources. Schools have no control over what content is published in them. A newspaper or magazine by the school itself would, however, not be an independent source. Dahliarose (talk) 16:01, 2 February 2012 (UTC)
It is interesting to see that people have a great concern about deletions in a discussion about notability. Night of the Big Wind talk 14:04, 2 February 2012 (UTC)
Why? Deletion is the normal fate of the non-notable article. I seem to be missing your point. --Tagishsimon (talk) 14:14, 2 February 2012 (UTC)
In fact they acknowledge that there are loads of articles out there, that should not be there at all. Breaking the "common outcomes"-policy to keep everything, puts all those articles at risk to be challenged. (And even then, I assume that a big chunk of the nominated articles can be rescued and brought up to standard.) Night of the Big Wind talk 15:11, 2 February 2012 (UTC)
Your reading differs from mine. I still have the impression that they are notable in terms of GNG, but that in many cases they do not provide references to RS, a secondary problem. I do not believe that "common outcomes" is what forestalls deletion, so much as that deletion is forestalled by the recognition that they meet GNG, and this has led to "common outcomes" as a guide to prevent further waste of time. I don't think anyone disagrees about whether or not they should meet GNG to stay. But you seem unpursuaded that, on the whole, and evenin the absence of references to RS, that they do meet GNG. --Tagishsimon (talk) 16:08, 2 February 2012 (UTC)
It seems unlikely in the extreme that a random secondary school exists today in such a secretive town that there is nothing at all published about it in any RS. Perhaps a few such could exist somewhere in North Korea, but not as a general worldwide rule. Failure to cite sources does not equate to nonexistence of sources. That said, there might have been a few pre-Gutenberg schools for which there remains no extant source to cite. Schools almost all have budget battles, bussing issues, staff scandals, real estate, zoning impacts, traffic control effects, etc. Any of these things can show up on the public record, in the news, on concil minutes, and so forth. If someone looks hard enough, the sources are there to be used. The real question is how to motivate people to do that looking, but that in no way is a wp:N issue. LeadSongDog come howl! 16:40, 2 February 2012 (UTC)
"Schools almost all have budget battles, bussing issues, staff scandals, real estate, zoning impacts, traffic control effects, etc. Any of these things can show up on the public record, in the news, on concil minutes, and so forth." This is all information that would be of local impact, from local sources, and thus fails the independence aspect for WP:GNG (and possibly WP:V). Also, consider : is any of that information of encyclopedic value? If there is value, it is the impact on the town that the school is in, and thus, even a better drive to push that information into the town article (which I don't see going anywhere anytime soon). --MASEM (t) 16:52, 2 February 2012 (UTC)
  • I see no reason why a group of articles should be exempt from GNG. Some people see GNG as a ceiling, i.e. "anything that meets GNG is notable". I see GNG as a floor, i.e. "anything that doesn't meet GNG is non-notable", and in addition some things that pass GNG but fail specific guidelines like WP:POLITICIAN are also non-notable. I think that schools of any stripe should have significant non-trivial coverage. I take that to mean coverage above and beyond the following five types of coverage that fail to establish notability:
  1. Local coverage (Recall that before WWII, newspapers in small towns also mentioned when townsfolk had the flu or relatives from out-of-town over)
  2. Routine coverage (The San Gabriel Valley Newspaper Group has a "School of the Week" feature where they have a half-page blurb in each of their papers about an area school. Since the feature is several years old, every school has been coveraged. That doesn't make all of them notable.)
  3. Fleeting (a couple mentions of the school here and there, or a five-sentence writeup does not notability make)
  4. Human interest stories that aren't really about the school (if there's a story about an 8-year-old who beat cancer and happens to goes to Spiro T. Agnew Elementary School, that article is attesting to the notability of the 8-year-old, not the school).
  5. Random coverage (Many news stories pick a school, essentially at random, to illustrate some larger point about a district or state. They could've picked any number of schools to make the same point, therefore the article doesn't really establish the notability of the school they picked)

If, and only if, a school has coverage that isn't any of those five things should it be kept. In short, nothing should be exempt from WP:GNG. Not primary schools, not secondary schools, not anything. Purplebackpack89≈≈≈≈ 17:13, 2 February 2012 (UTC)

Merely being able to prove that a school exists via RS doesn't mean that every school deserves a stand-alone article. The choice is not simply keep/delete; information about schools not meeting the GNG for a separate article can be merged into existing articles on their respective localities. A related issue seems to be a recent rash of deletion requests which has brought the schools issue to a head; while deleting is always easier than fixing, it's often not the best course and in the case of many (but not all) school articles would be throwing the baby out with the bathwater. The trouble with mass AFD nominations is that there's no time to separate wheat from chaff (let alone figure out what to do with the wheat). Miniapolis (talk) 17:53, 2 February 2012 (UTC)

Again, I'll point out that if there's general agreement that secondary schools are immediately notable and need to meet the GNG, the steps to complete this would start with a 6-12 month grandfather blocking on any AFD of these schools giving editors time to find sources, followed by a rigorous evaluation to redirect/merge non-notable schools to the town article that they serve. This process would have to be broadly announced, likely given a workpage in WP space to explain what's happening and the like. None of these should hit AFD as the name of a school is a likely search term, and its always possible the school may become notable in the future. --MASEM (t) 18:25, 2 February 2012 (UTC)

This all points to the glaring problem of trying to apply a guideline written to limit "encyclopedic" entries to an article which exists to fulfill one of the other two-thirds of the WP mission (almanac and gazetteer). These are gazetteer articles, but the guideline still does not reflect that standards must be different for articles of this nature. A secondary school is like a navigable waterway in being notable enough by its existance without the additional burden of our definition in WP:N. It still, however, must meet WP:V - no sources, no article. Jim Miller See me | Touch me 18:55, 2 February 2012 (UTC)

A redirect/merge of the school name to its locality does not fail the gazetteer function. --MASEM (t) 19:00, 2 February 2012 (UTC)
I agree that a redirect could serve such a function, but this would result in an inconsistent and incoherent mix of results. There is no way to properly convey the information on every secondary school in New York City in the article on the city. And while schools in public school districts could be redirected to the article on the district, as is regularly done with primary and middle schools, private secondary schools would have no such redirect available. The end result would be that some schools would have articles, some would be redirects to localities, and some redirects to school districts. This seems to be more than an acceptable amount of difficulty for the reader. Jim Miller See me | Touch me 19:38, 2 February 2012 (UTC)
In the case of large metro areas with more than a handful of schools, I can see supporting the redirect to "Education in X", and further breakout if needed (see List of public elementary schools in New York City extending from Education in New York City). The same could be done for private/parochial schools if they are a sufficiently large number, though I'd suspect we need a specific metric for even inclusion in the list to avoid some person tutoring out of their home to be called out as a school. --MASEM (t) 20:22, 2 February 2012 (UTC)
And importantly, if all the reader is doing is using this work as a gazetteer to locate a school, this functionality still works. Redirects can take readers directly to a line on a table or a section of an article. --MASEM (t) 20:23, 2 February 2012 (UTC)

For what little it's worth, the original "policy" to blanket keep all secondary schools was based on VFD outcomes from about late 2003 to mid-2005 that were (much later) shown to have been tainted by the Radman1/GRider sockfarm. (talk) 14:37, 3 February 2012 (UTC)

  • The problem with redirecting to the locality/education district is that you would lose most if not all of the information in the article. The typical Secondary school is a large and busy institution, this proposal appears to be based on a misunderstanding of the concept of a local newspaper, in most places the local newspapers are independent of the school. ϢereSpielChequers 19:31, 3 February 2012 (UTC)
    • Local papers are not independent because their primary focus is that region of interest. This is why NSPORTS calls out against using local papers to try to demonstrate the notability of high school and amateur athletes, and why we require a strong reliable source than just a local restaurant guide for eateries or other businesses. They're ok as sources once notability is established, but not before then. As for losing information, most of the information that when I spot check through these schools is highly routine and news/timeline-like, and doesn't make for good encyclopedic information in an article by itself. As part of the larger coverage of education in that town or the like, sure, but not as a standalone article. That's why its'a "redirect/merge" suggestion, not just "redirect", some information can be brought over. --MASEM (t) 19:41, 3 February 2012 (UTC)
      • Their focus doesn't diminish their independence, or indeed their status as a reliable source. Independence is about whether the school has editorial influence on the paper, reliability about having adequate processes in place for fact checking. Notability is of course a very different subject, and at first glance you might think that NSPORTS doesn't follow the GNG. But, and this difference is crucial, NSPORTS is dealing with individual High School athletes as opposed to the actual school - the career of an individual High school athlete can be little more than a BLP1E. Schools are usually longer lived. As for the idea that much of the information in many school articles is routine and overly focussed on the present, yes that's true but also much isn't. More importantly such an approach verges on considering the article as is rather than the potential of the subject. The difficulty of identifying a secondary school that fails the GNG is that you'd need access to the local papers in that area. In theory there could be a secondary school that was ignored by the media throughout its life, but it isn't very likely. ϢereSpielChequers 00:58, 4 February 2012 (UTC)
        • Yes, it does actually. The more focused a source is on some field, such as a specific geographic location, the less likely they are independent of what exists within that field. Basically - it's tooting one's own horn even if the connection is not financial or personal. This is an idea spelled out at WP:ROUTINE and WP:DIVERSE. And every argument that you can apply to the local coverage of a school can typically apply to any business at the same local level. Yes, some businesses have shorter lifetimes than schools, some don't. And yet some will get the same type of coverage as a local school, but they would fail WP:ORG.
          • Again, I note I'm not talking about removal of information, as, at least with public schools, they are part of a government system. Searching for "Smalltown Elementary School" would still be a valid link, redirecting to the Education section of Smalltown, and where likely the most encyclopedic information can be put such as when it was built, what grades it serves, approximate student body size, etc. Some school may have more in-depth coverage and thus would require a longer discussion and a full article, but I doubt most really can when you work at it. --MASEM (t) 01:26, 4 February 2012 (UTC)
            • WP:ROUTINE is not related to the concept of independence, independence is a matter of editorial control and standards of journalism. It would be wrong to assume that journalistic standards are proportionate to circulation size. It is highly likely that most name checks of a school in Local Papers will be routine, but enough will not be routine that practically all conventionally sized secondary schools will be notable. WP:DIVERSE isn't about independence either; DIVERSE does have a requirement for national rather than local coverage, but that is a guideline for events not a policy, nor is it applicable to institutions. ϢereSpielChequers 10:59, 4 February 2012 (UTC)
              • It's absolutely applicable to institutions. The equivalent passage on WP:ORG currently has a shortcut at WP:CORPDEPTH; it's been on the page, essentially unchanged, since 11 September 2008. (talk) 11:13, 4 February 2012 (UTC)
              • You have to remember that we're writing a world-wide encyclopedia. If we cannot explain the importance of a topic outside of its local field, we're probably in too much detail and need to resummarize to a higher level. If a topic is only covered in depth via local sources, it has very little impact to the whole of mankind, and thus should be discussed in less detail in a border topic. Again, this is not dismissing local sources as WP:V sources, but only as a the sole indicators for notability. On the flip side, the logic being used to justify why local papers give schools notability would be sufficient to give most businesses, local landmarks, and numerous residents of any town with its own paper notability for WP, and that's just not going to happen (WP:IINFO for one). --MASEM (t) 12:38, 4 February 2012 (UTC)
                • There is no business or institution that has the societal impact on a community that a school has. On the physical level, there are many towns in Australia where the school is one of the oldest and most permanent structures (alongside some combination of a pub, railway station, police station, war memorial and another pub). On a sheer numbers level, there are no places where there are so many people (including children as people) attend full time for so long. On a social level, a change in staffing or pedagogy at a school reverberates through the community; principal retires, Aboriginal education becomes integrated across the curriculum, whatever. On an organisational level, schools are often sites where governments seek to base other community services, such as welfare programs, nurses or children's dental programs. These things tend to be reported in the local news media. If a school (or even a teacher) does something right (or wrong) for their classes across their career, the effects are felt for generations. I'm speaking mostly based on my teaching and educational consultancy experience here in Australia, but I imagine the same is true for everywhere else on the planet.
The local butcher? Not so much. The content of the news article (whether it be local or national) is what makes the difference here. ˜danjel [ talk | contribs ] 12:57, 4 February 2012 (UTC)
                  • Is any of this impact documented, however? You may be able to document the changes, but if you can't document that impact (secondary information), then you're placing undue weight on what the importance of these changes have. And there are other institutions that may be more important than schools: a local business that the town was founded around, or in some cases, churches may be more valuable to the community than the school. The point is: schools have no special weight within WP, and are not intrinsically notable simply because there happens to be very local coverage of them. --MASEM (t) 14:12, 4 February 2012 (UTC)
                    • What are you asking is documented here? That more people attend schools full time than they do at the local barber shop (sources can usually be found for this, even in the local paper)? Or that school buildings tend to be the oldest documented structures (this is often easy enough to source)? The impact of teachers (the effect of good/bad teachers is receiving wide coverage at the moment in the general news media, as well as more academic publications)? That schools tend to be sites where other services get built in (easy enough to find sources for this too for schools where these services get offered)? You're too quick to insist that local newsmedia be considered unreliable when they most often report these issues quite reasonably.
As for "more important", I'm not arguing that there might be other places that are "more important", even though I think that this is often rarely the case. I am arguing that this is what makes schools notable. ˜danjel [ talk | contribs ] 15:15, 4 February 2012 (UTC)
No, we're looking for more than just mere existence or mention as a factual event in a local news story. Why should anyone else in the world care about the school? That's why we need non-local sources that provide significant coverage of the school to make an encyclopedic article about it - otherwise its datum with no context, useful as part of a larger article but not enough for an article by itself. --MASEM (t) 15:40, 4 February 2012 (UTC)
  • The current thinking at WP:CORPDEPTH was introduced with minimal discussion and has been controversial since then. The Wikipedia:Run-of-the-mill page originally contained content which supported the "local sources don't count" idea, but it was removed due to opposition. WP:ITSLOCAL also remains in the heavily viewed WP:ATA essay, which argues against "local sources don't count", and this makes some sense since the WP:GNG, which gets a lot more scrutiny on its content than SNGs, says nothing about local sources being disallowed. Ultimately, the GNG states than an article should pass either the GNG or one or more SNGs, so if a school article passes the GNG, there is really no issue. This idea of local sources being bad opens a large can of worms. What is a "local source" and a "local area"? Where do you draw the line? One could argue that "most of the world doesn't care" about what goes into the national newspapers of a particular country, therefore we should demand international coverage of topic before covering it in an encyclopedia. Judging notability by depth of coverage and independence e.t.c. is far more objective. CT Cooper · talk 00:52, 5 February 2012 (UTC)
In considering WP:IINFO, we have to state, at some point, where coverage of a topic is so focused and localized enough that it no longer qualifies for a stand alone topic - otherwise, on the assumption that local papers are otherwise reliable sources, you run into the problem that numerous people, businesses, and the like are suddenly "notable" when, when thinking about the larger idea of WP being a summarizing work of human knowledge, is obviously just not going to work. The deciding point between what is strictly just local coverage, and the same for what is just strictly regional coverage, and how that applies to notability, is a discussion that likely has to be resolved at AFD or a similar consensus-based venue, because it is not a hard line. I do agree that summarizing that into "most of the world doesn't care" can be a loaded statement, but the way to look at it is that if you have a geographically-fixed object (the school), and its influence is only to those that live in its immediate location such that no one outside of that location has cared to write about it, it probably doesn't have a larger influence needed for a good encyclopedic article. Not all schools fall into this, but I'd say that at a worldwide level, the likelihood of a school having in-depth coverage from outside its immediate local area is very low. Ergo, it is improper to assume these schools should have stand-alone articles. Covered in the articles on the local area, yes, but not on their own. --MASEM (t) 14:45, 5 February 2012 (UTC)
The appropriateness of an article's existence should be judged by the ability to write a policy compliant article on it. If there are a large collection of local non-trivial independent sources on the topic, then an article might be appropriate, on the other hand if there are a small number of trivial sources on a topic from multiple countries, then such an article would not be appropriate. The idea of blanket excluding local sources is very arbitrary with little relation to article content, no matter how it is defined, as there is no reason why regional sources would be of interest to a worldwide audience, itself a vague idea, while local sources would not be. Excluding local sources would make sense if the aim was to cap the number of articles, but that is not part of the stated aims of notability guidelines, although I recognize some editors think it should be (e.g. to keep vandalism under control, a frequent complaint of school articles). CT Cooper · talk 15:08, 5 February 2012 (UTC)
We aren't capping the number of articles but we are avoiding indiscriminate information, that's a goal of notability. Taking the argument that several non-trivial local sources are appropriate for a school, it is very easy to make that same apply to people, groups, businesses, and the like all of a local nature. But we know as a work that would be far from appropriate for inclusion: WP:ORG, for example, requires wider coverage for this reason. It also further exaggerates an already weighted systematic bias on western cultures, where there are a lot of local papers that cover local events, compared to less better-off countries where the idea of local publication is non-existent. Now, note, I'm not saying its possible that consensus could decide that an article, solely resting on local sources but really well written local sources as to make a very strong encyclopedic article on a school that everyone agrees should be kept. But the challenge is : can that be done for every school in the world? Very very doubtful. --MASEM (t) 15:22, 5 February 2012 (UTC)


The mere application of notability guidelines, policies such as WP:NOT, and content guidance such as WP:WPSCH/AG#WNTI, mean that school articles are not indiscriminate collections of information, whether they be based on local sources or not. The rationale for excluding local sources remains far from clear. Arguing against local coverage to tackle systematic bias is not an argument I have heard previously, but while the systematic bias is an issue, dealing with it is not a goal of notability and is mainly caused by the English Wikipedia missing content from non-English speaking countries, not having too much content from the English speaking world. Trying to rebalance systematic bias by limiting content from the English speaking world, is in practice little different, to cap on articles. Ultimately, the issue about the lack of publications in certain places is not a bias, it is just a reality of the World as it is now, and one that will inevitably have knock on effects to an encyclopedia based on verifiability.

As for exemptions to the local sources requirement, almost everything has exemptions, but if a good article can be written based on local sources is undermines the case for a local sources rule significantly. I don't think anyone is arguing that all schools are notable; it has long been accepted that the vast majority of schools do not pass the WP:GNG, most of these being primary/elementary schools, which there are far more of than higher level institutions. If the GNG is applied properly then merging and re-directing to locality articles or school districts is the correct solution for most school articles (which can probably be extended to businesses and other such things as well), whether any rule against local sources is present or not. CT Cooper · talk 17:30, 5 February 2012 (UTC)

  • Let me put on my thinking cap and try and remember the old discussions. At one point we were spending a lot of time at AfD for schools. Generally secondary schools were getting kept and the others merged or deleted. The guidelines were discussed and many suggestions were made. What came out of those discussions was a general guide that secondary schools should be able to meet WP:GNG. So as a rule these should be kept. I don't believe that the intention back then was to override the GNG. The focus was to reduce the number of school articles at AfD. Vegaswikian (talk) 20:29, 3 February 2012 (UTC)
  • Schools, like other subjects, shouldn't be exempt from the WP:N/WP:ORG guidelines, but we aren't in a position to organize a witch hunt to rout out the nonnotable schools. If, after a dedicated search, a school doesn't meet the WP:N/WP:ORG guidelines, the article should be merged elsewhere or deleted. Most high schools meet our notability criteria, at least in high-coverage areas like the first world. Editors should be cautious about nominating these for deletion without doing a WP:BEFORE search. ThemFromSpace 02:06, 4 February 2012 (UTC)
  • All chools need to meet WP:ORG and WP:GNG. The "all high schools are so important that they're automatically kept" argument is wrong and outdated: there are many high schools that have only one or two students, are really minor extensions of much larger entities (tiny religious schools attached to churches or mosques or run out of the home of a minister), or that exist in places where high schools aren't written about in published sources (most rural schools in developing countries). But the fact is that ~99% of government-run high schools—and middle schools, a fact overlooked by many pro-high school editors—in Canada and the US will easily meet both ORG and GNG, so the practical difference is minimal.
    Anyone with a daily newspaper subscription should think it through: how many papers do you see in a week that contain zero information about your local schools? Has any public school in your area, regardless of the age of the students, ever built a single school building or passed a single tax without information about that change being amply and repeatedly discussed in your newspaper? No? Well, then those schools definitely meet the basic source requirements for notability, don't they? And not "because they're high schools, and we keep all high schools", but because they easily meet the GNG. WhatamIdoing (talk) 03:35, 4 February 2012 (UTC)
  • In general we should be keeping secondary schools. As others have noted, WP:N is almost always trivial to meet for schools in the English-speaking parts of the world. The problem that arises is that some people will call that coverage routine, or local, or whatever, even if there are literally 100s of articles. I personally suspect that what will happen is we'll end up with some schools deleted because "all they have is the coverage you'd expect of any high school" (with a cite to WP:ROUTINE) which is effectively making the argument that high schools aren't notable for the normal coverage you'd expect of them. And for non-English speaking places, we generally suspect that the coverage exists, we just can't find it. Perhaps we should have a contest. Someone go through and pick 10 "real" high schools in English speaking locations (say at least 100 students that have been around for at least 4 years) they think notability can't be established for. And others seek at least 2 sources (routine or otherwise) that provide more than trivial coverage of the school (including its bands, sports teams, clubs and the like). I'm having a hard time imagining that the majority of the "worst" wouldn't be sourceable... Hobit (talk) 14:23, 4 February 2012 (UTC)
    An important difference will be that school will not be kept because they exist, but because they are notable. We will see quite a few discussion about the definitions of "notable", "reliable sources" and "routine coverage" related to this topic, but at least the article should proof why a school is notable and/or special. Night of the Big Wind talk 15:18, 4 February 2012 (UTC)
    I think you misunderstand notability as it applies on Wikipedia. It is a term of art. In this case it can be thought of as "others have noticed". That is, we want sources that cover the topic, not that the topic is "special" in any way. I realize that others disagree with that notion, but I think WP:N speaks for itself. Hobit (talk) 01:26, 5 February 2012 (UTC)

Sorry. I don't really see the problem. Secondary schools are generally large important institutions, individually and collectively, sometimes going back a century or more. Given the amount of money, legal status, and social/cultural issues they embody it seems like a waste of time to not have default inclusion, except for the most decrepit article. Some will have larger articles than others depending on weight but still they seem like they generally belong in the sum of all human knowledge. (If we were talking about primary schools, I would probabely suggest a different default) Alanscottwalker (talk) 22:10, 4 February 2012 (UTC)

There would be hundreds of thousands of secondary schools in the world. Rather than having a time wasting debate over notability hundreds of thousands of times, in (almost?) all cases ending with a Keep decision, I have no problem in keeping them all, and instead putting that editor effort into improving the quality of them all. Far too many school articles are way below Wikipedia standard. (I suspect that's the real reason in many cases why deletion is sought.) Don't delete. Fix. HiLo48 (talk) 23:01, 4 February 2012 (UTC)
wrong question. The problem is not the secondary schools. It's the primary schools. Too many. The vast majority have nothing notable about them. Fmph (talk) 23:05, 4 February 2012 (UTC)
I agree with HiLo48. The present policy may be slightly rough-and-ready at the margins but it is workable and is not causing any problems. This whole debate is a waste of time, trying to find a solution when there is no problem to fix. I also share CT Cooper's alarm at MASEM's attempt to redefine the concept of "independence" to exclude purely local media. As CT says, where are you going to draw the line? Viewed from the United States, say, it may be easy to see the distinction between local, regional (state) and national, but what are you going to do about, say, Singapore (pop. 5 million) where the city is also the nation? Please tell me this idea is going nowhere. -- Alarics (talk) 09:07, 5 February 2012 (UTC)
There are problems at the moment. As I've stated elsewhere, there have been 215 (give or take) schools nominated for deletion from Dec. 17 to now. 150 odd of these were made by one user in the space of 3 weeks over the Xmas and New Years period. While 90% of these AfDs were legitimate, the remaining 10% were problematic, for example:
The delete !vote-ers and nominators in these are either voting on the basis of primary schools are not notable, period, or that there is nothing that can make a primary school notable (in fact, one of the editors involved in the campaign has said that primary schools are "inherently non-notable". This is a problem that needs solving.
Night of the Big Wind, despite the fact that he is coming across this situation from a completely different angle, is doing the right thing. ˜danjel [ talk | contribs ] 10:24, 5 February 2012 (UTC)
It is never wise for an editor or group of editors to push AFD to try to implement policy change, even if its a result of a common outcome that has no exact backing from any guideline or policy. That issue is addressed more by an RFC/U if they know they're fighting policy and trying to fix it that way (WP:POINT), and if they continue to do that, I do recommend that solution. --MASEM (t) 14:45, 5 February 2012 (UTC)
This RfC will not lead to a policy change. It will lead to the closing off of an undesired stray off the policy, commonly know as "Common Outcomes". Night of the Big Wind talk 13:09, 6 February 2012 (UTC)
It doesn't matter if it is explicitly policy or not, it's still extremely gamey and pointy to try to subvert a long-term community consensus in this manner. AFD is the worst place to start a battle. --MASEM (t) 13:28, 6 February 2012 (UTC)

This is a subject that has been annoying me for ages, and I start by thanking Night of the Big Wind for starting this. It's a hornet's nest, and I think you're a brave Wikipedian for poking at it with a big stick. I almost started this at WP:SCHOOL a while ago, but I chickened out. :)

So... if you consider a school an organization, which I don't think is a big stretch, then we can apply WP:CORPDEPTH which says (in part), "The source's audience must also be considered. Evidence of attention by international or national, or at least regional, media is a strong indication of notability. On the other hand, attention solely from local media, or media of limited interest and circulation, is not an indication of notability; at least one regional, national, or international source is necessary." (emphasis added.) What we have been doing for ages is short-circuiting the GNG and allowing a class of articles to exist under a special exemption. I say this stops now. If a school has coverage in reliable sources from outside its service area, then it's notable. If it's only covered in sources distributed in the same area as the school serves, then it's not notable. I'd really like to see the whole schools tree of articles refactored in the following way:

  • Add a paragraph or so in the article about the city/county/whatever (or, in fact all of the above) that describes the school board that serves the area.
  • Create school board articles with a list of each school governed by the board. Schools which do not meet the GNG can be covered in a paragraph in the school board article. Schools which do meet the GNG have their own articles and a hat in the school board article pointing to the article on the notable school.
  • Create redirects for all non-notable schools in the region pointing back to the school board article, anchored to the paragraph on the specific school.

There, done, easy-peasie, lemon-squeezie. LivitEh?/What? 19:19, 8 February 2012 (UTC)

Except that now we have these school board articles which have several problems: most would likely suffer the same CORPDEPTH problem of being only significant to local sources, and that the structure of a school board isn't replicated across the globe.
There's already a better article that every non-notable school article can be merged up into: the article about the community it serves. We already acknowledge any government recognized town or village as notable, so we can create sections on "Education" within those to discuss the schools (and school boards if they exist). When these are large as they would be for large cities, separate "Education in X" can be spun out. --MASEM (t) 19:23, 8 February 2012 (UTC)
You know, as soon as I hit 'save' I thought of the first problem you pointed out, I just hoped nobody else would be smart enough to think of it too. I hadn't thought of the second, but they're both valid points. My proposal sucks, but I agree 100% to merge them back in to the town/village/city/county/arrondissement/whatever. LivitEh?/What? 19:33, 8 February 2012 (UTC)
  • Western world Schools will easily meet GNG as schools get numerous independent reports carried out and it would be hard in the western world not to find sources written about a school to meet GNG. I also think they meet guidelines in WP:ORG. Therefore the guildline of common consensus was that all Secondary Schools are notable has been in place for sometime. It allows people to work on content rather than fighting AFDs that will ultimately fail as will be worked on. As I've previously pointed out to Night the problem isn't Western schools if you go with all Secondary schools must meet GNG because it would be very hard for them to fail when worked on my problem is schools outside the west they are no less notable than my local school but would be far more difficult to source enough to meet GNG. I have a big issue there we cant include some and not others. My other concern is the clear campaign being run against schools shown by the huge number of recent AFDS that needs addressed its far too many in number to allow people to assess and look to work on. There really needs to be a limit how many one editor can nominate at any one time. I think everyone agrees the majority of Primary schools are non notable unless they have extensive sources to prove notability so why are they being taken to AFD when there is a clear consensus in those AFds to redirect its a waist of everyones time.Edinburgh Wanderer 00:14, 9 February 2012 (UTC)
    Great! Then you will be able to write an article about the "Plantage Mavo" in Beverwijk, the Netherlands. It is one of my former secondary schools, but I consider the school not notable. If you can proof otherwise, you are welcome to do that! Night of the Big Wind talk 00:10, 10 February 2012 (UTC)
    • There is no consensus that primary schools are non-notable. There is currently a small band of editors who take this stance and are nominating primary schools for deletion purely because they are primary schools. While perhaps the majority of primary schools are non-notable there are some which are clearly notable that are located in historic buildings and which have served their local community for centuries. Some of these schools have got swept up in the school AfD campaign and have been inappropriately deleted or redirected. The people who would normally help to improve and source these articles haven't been able to do so because of the bad timing over the Christmas holidays and the sheer numbers involved. There have been about have been about 222 school related AfDs since 17th December and one user has been responsible for 157 of those AfDs. His editing history shows that he sometimes looks at the articles for just a few minutes before nominating them for AfD. I really think there should be a limit to the number of AfDs that a single user is allowed to make in any given period. The articles can of course be recreated but it doesn't help that one of the articles involved was being worked on by a new user who now unsurprisingly seems to have given up editing altogether. Dahliarose (talk) 21:33, 9 February 2012 (UTC)
      • More accurately, there is probably agreement that some primary and secondary schools are notable by the GNG, but the argument is that not all primary schools are necessary notable - particularly if the only coverage of the school is by local sources. We don't allow local sources to stand as sufficient GNG evidence for other topics, so it doesn't stand the same to allow schools to get away with it as well. --MASEM (t) 21:41, 9 February 2012 (UTC)
And how can you possibly tell from someone's contributions how long they have spent looking at an article before nominating it? Fmph (talk) 21:43, 9 February 2012 (UTC)
Have you seen his list of contributions? Every few minutes a tag or deletion nomination. Unless he reads all the articles and put them in line for tagging/nominating first, it is impossible to give the articles a good look in such a short time. He is efficient enough to standardize his nomination-reasons Face-smile.svg Night of the Big Wind talk 00:10, 10 February 2012 (UTC)
The focus of the RFC was are secondary schools notable so we should keep to that subject as much as possible as so far this isn't really going either way. However the consensus on primary schools is they are not automatically notable. Secondary schools are far more notable than primary schools mainly due to being far more coverage on them and and has been found in most of those AFDS there aren't good sources to make primary schools meet GNG and they don't pass previously held common consensus either. Anyone looking at a primary school should asses whether meets GNG and if not be bold and redirect there is no need for an AFD in those cases unless contested then they should go to AFD. In regards to sourcing we do allow local sources in some cases to go towards GNG depending on there nature and level of coverage plus inspectorate reports are clearly independent and reliable sourcing. It should be noted i am strongly against the mass nominating of AFDS by one user they aren't looking at them closely enough it also make it impossible for people to adequately asses them and have time to work on them. Also to address a point further up there are loads of projects who have clear consensus that things don't have to meet GNG the schools consensus was never laid out as such and that should of been formally done however the argument cant be everything on wiki has to meet GNG as that isn't the case it needs to be do Secondary schools have sufficient merit not to meet GNG. We also need to asses whether by using GNG as a standpoint on schools we are creating a situation where western schools pass but say Indian schools fail due to lacking substantial sources they are no less notable. Its time the RFC was brought back to the main issue so we can move forward one way or another. Edinburgh Wanderer 22:07, 9 February 2012 (UTC)
Because of the strange layout, I answer Livitup here
I do not agree with your opinion and your attempt to turn the RfC away. This RfC was set up to check if secondary schools (and in fact also primary schools and universities) had to satify WP:GNG or that the Common Outcomes, as used in relating for schools, was allowed to override WP:GNG. The consensus on that point is clear: the Common Outcomes are not allowed to override WP:GNG. So articles about schools just have to satisfy WP:GNG. Night of the Big Wind talk 00:10, 10 February 2012 (UTC)
I was also thinking today that, absent further substantive debate, it was time to do something before this withers away into another failed attempt at documenting consensus. I think there are two key arguments here:
  • Sources with local distribution are sufficient to prove notability. Since almost every school in the world is covered in at least local sources, schools are defacto notable.
  • Sources with local distribution are not sufficient to prove notability; notability must be proven by coverage in sources of wider distribution, or sources outside the "home area" of the subject of the article. Some schools have such notability, some schools do not, so each article should be judged on the sources within that article.
Once we settle this basic argument, we can move on to determining a guideline for the creation and deletion of school articles. So without further ado, I present a:

Straw poll to test consensus

Proposed: Schools must be shown to have attention from regional, national, or international sources to show notability. Sources with limited or local distribution are not indications of notability for schools.


  1. As straw poll author. LivitEh?/What? 22:32, 9 February 2012 (UTC)
  2. Weak support: The "schools are automatically notable" idea is just favoritism shown by people with an overt interest in schools or (more often) people who think their school is Important, and want to bend the rules to favor their local editing interest without any care for the broader effect of doing so. Schools, as organizations, architectural structures, subcultures, or any other categorization are not magically special. I understand DGG's point in the "oppose" section, and it makes sense as observation, but doesn't seem to me to override the issue that there are an unbelievable number of "civic pride" and "local vanity" articles on Wikipedia that should upmerge into broader school district, local government or even town pages. My support is weak because the wording "have attention from ... sources" is not particularly helpful, and this may be too specific – schools are a common example of the problem, but "local crap" is the real problem, not schools per se. That said, some variant of this could deal with that more broadly, by not focusing on schools exactly, but "local civic institutions", and even if it didn't, just slowing the profusion of "my skool's kool!" wannabe-articles would be a net positive. User:Night of the Big Wind's more detailed draft, mentioned at the #Suggestions sub-topic below looks like a good place to start, if schools in particular were to remain the focus. Even that looks to me like it could be broadened to include civic institutions more broadly, from city councils to high school football teams to whatever "local crap" people are generating pointless vanity articles about. — SMcCandlish   Talk⇒〈°⌊°〉 Contribs. 05:55, 10 February 2012 (UTC)
  3. Weak support - This idea needs a rewriting, but I understand and support the motivation. The idea that by simple virtue of being a high school, a high school meets notability requirements, is a bad idea. Most high schools will meet the GNG, but many won't, and we need to separate out out the chaff and be rid of it. Sven Manguard Wha? 15:04, 10 February 2012 (UTC)
  4. Support I can support this, although I would prefer more precise wording with regards to sources. I don't think this proposal requires all schools to provide evidence of notability from the get-go, but rather if no sources can be found after a diligent WP:BEFORE search, we should consider merging or deletion. Again its worthwhile to point out that I feel most high schools in the first world meet the WP:ORG/WP:N criteria, so this proposal would necessitate little action. ThemFromSpace 16:09, 10 February 2012 (UTC)
  5. Sort of support. I don't think most schools have enough notable information to warrant a separate article. While notable by themselves with broadish GNG interpretation, I don't think every school should necessarily be a separate page. Surely, several paragraphs of info can be placed in the parent articles. I guess what I'm saying is that WP:MERGE can be the best editorial decision even if the school itself is notable. —  HELLKNOWZ  ▎TALK 11:53, 18 February 2012 (UTC)
  6. yes --Guerillero | My Talk 04:24, 28 February 2012 (UTC)
  7. Support. Kaldari (talk) 05:00, 28 February 2012 (UTC)
  8. Support There's no reason to treat secondary schools differently from any other organisation. Nick-D (talk) 09:17, 28 February 2012 (UTC)
  9. Support. It is already policy that sources are required, otherwise Wikipedia should not have an article on it. This stands to reason since unless sources are known to exist, an article that complies with WP:V and WP:NOR cannot exist. The "inherent notability" argument, which is essentially the presumption that sources must exist but we haven't found them yet, is misguided: if and when suitable sources are identified, an article can and should be created. Jakew (talk) 10:34, 28 February 2012 (UTC)
  10. Support even though I fully expect this to be a snowball fail. Civic pride, boosterism, and coverage of routine operations in local publications are not an adequate basis for encyclopedic notability. Wikipedia is part gazetteer but, even though it is "not paper", it is inappropriate to devote a separate page for each gazetteer entry. DGG and CT Cooper make cogent points about raising the bar above GNG and RS; but the problem lies in the subjectivity of distinguishing "significant coverage" from trivial, routine, or self-interested coverage. This is difficult for our more youthful contributors, and some sort of benchmark would be helpful. (Disclosure: I am old enough for my children to have graduated. In hindsight, the granfalloon that was the center of my world for four years is completely unremarkable, and nothing of encyclopedic significance has been written about it.) ~ Ningauble (talk) 18:11, 28 February 2012 (UTC)
  11. Support definitely - I think school articles aren't particularly useful unless they are very well known (e.g. Eton college). -- Eraserhead1 <talk>
  12. Support per WP:INDISCRIMINATE and WP:NOTYELLOW. Mere location, number of students and activity are too generic for a standalone article. Brandmeister t 13:48, 4 March 2012 (UTC)
  13. Strong support. (edit conflict) The notability guideline is by its own definition a method of testing an article against our verifiability policy; that is, whether a subject is sourced enough to merit an article about it. Granting any exceptions whatsoever to the GNG, the basic test that all other notability guidelines refer back to, risks undermining that policy and cracking the first of our site's five pillars by allowing that category to become an indiscriminate collection of information. elektrikSHOOS (talk) 00:48, 8 March 2012 (UTC)
    Comment below. Diego (talk) 12:40, 8 March 2012 (UTC)
  14. Support. Brianga (talk) 17:19, 13 March 2012 (UTC)
  15. Schools should be subdued to the same set of rules as all other organizations. That is: they should be subject to Wikipedia:Notability (organizations and companies) as all the other educational institutions. — Dmitrij D. Czarkoff (talk) 14:21, 15 March 2012 (UTC)
  16. Support. A resounding YES. -- œ 03:20, 18 March 2012 (UTC)


  1. The distinction doesn't make sense as a formal rule, for there will be too many exceptions; in practice for schools as for other local institutions we relatively downgrade the importance of merely local news accounts, but it depends to a good deal what is said in them. I'm more likely to be found arguing against local sources as showing the notability of local institutions than the other way around, but it depends on the article. RS is a matter of interpretation and shades of grey, and most contested AfD discussions tend to involve the nuances of such interpretation. DGG ( talk ) 05:29, 10 February 2012 (UTC)
  2. Strong Oppose. Notability has always been about significant independent coverage. Schools where significant independent is met by local sources still meet GNG. The 'non-local' requirement is in the guidelines for wp:organizations, which is an alternate way to meet notability. This proposal would conflate guidelines, requiring schools to meet both instead of either one. This would be a deep change of the current community consensus that would affect all other organizations and even other subject-specific guidelines. While I can empathize with the motivation to avoid lots of half-backed articles about trivial items, fighting them through the local criteria is absolutely the wrong way to approach the situation. What should be questioned is the reliability and quality of sources available, not their geographic proximity; the existing WP:N, WP:V and WP:RS guidelines are good enough to avoid indiscriminate topic coverage (and have never required non-local sources to establish notability). It would make sense to require a stricter enforcement of GNG if in exchange all this nonsense about local and routine sources was dropped, or at least reduced to criteria to assess the quality of the sources found, not an absolute requirement. Diego (talk) 06:40, 10 February 2012 (UTC)
  3. Oppose Not only because the distinction between "regional" and "local" is unworkable but because Wikipedia is not a paper encyclopedia. If someone wants to write an article on some incurious secondary school, is the resulting article any less worthy for inclusion that
    What happened here? Where is the other half of the opinion and the signature? Sven Manguard Wha? 15:05, 10 February 2012 (UTC)
    This was inserted together with the paragraph below by User:Rannpháirtí anaithnid [5]. A rewrite that they forgot to delete? —  HELLKNOWZ  ▎TALK 11:57, 18 February 2012 (UTC)
  4. Oppose Wikipedia is not a paper encyclopedia. If someone wants to write an article on a some innocuous secondary school then is the resulting article any less worthy of inclusion than Teardrops on My Drum, Julius von Mohl or Doite? Those are the last three articles I got when I clicked Random article. No more than those articles, articles on secondary schools may not be notable to you, but they are notable to someone, they meet the general notablility guidelines, and just because they exist doesn't mean anyone ever has to read them. We are only collect the sum of human knowledge, we are not saying that any of it is interesting. --RA (talk) 14:09, 10 February 2012 (UTC)
    The logic you're using means that I should write an article on myself , since that's notable to me. (And I can find local sources for that). We can't be indiscriminate despite being paper (we are not the "sum" of human knowledge, we are a summary of human knowlege): at some point we have to recognize that detailed coverage fails our goal of summarizing information. --MASEM (t) 15:30, 10 February 2012 (UTC)
    That would almost certainly be excluded by trivial or routine coverage. Biographies can pass either WP:GNG or WP:BIO, and neither of them ban articles on individuals of local interest. In fact, WP:POLITICIAN opens the door to articles on local politicians. CT Cooper · talk 18:08, 10 February 2012 (UTC)
    (edit conflict) Notability is not a solipsistic notion of "notability". "Notability" is intrinsically about what other people believe is notable. To you and I, any topic may still be non-notable, but, if it is notable to others, unrelated to the topic of the article, that's notable enough for Wikipedia.
    So, "I think I am notable" doesn't cut it. What is required is for multiple, independent sources to write significantly on the topic. That is, "Other people think I am notable". Those other people may not be you or I, but it is they are someone. It doesn't matter if those people are "local", "regional", "national" or "international". All that matters is that the topic is notable to some group of people.
    By "sum of human knowledge" I was referring to the Jimbo quote: "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." Of course some summarising is needed ... so we summarise about a secondary school, we don't write about every door and hallway or list every past pupil. But we do summarise it. --RA (talk) 18:14, 10 February 2012 (UTC)
    This is why notability on WP is treated differently from the concept of "noted by others" or the standard English dictionary definition. It is meant as an objective metric by demonstrating that sources have found the topic to be of note, and not just the subjective argument "others find this notable". To that end that's why we also require significant coverage to assure that it is not isolated by a small group of people. When the coverage is just local, that's a problem towards our goal of summarizing human knowledge. --MASEM (t) 18:37, 10 February 2012 (UTC)
  5. Oppose - The accusation is frequently levied that schools are getting lax treatment with regard to the GNG. If that is true, then the solution is to properly enforce the GNG, and demand a decent level of coverage with trivial references and routine coverage excluded. This proposal will instead raise the bar above the level which is required for the GNG, by excluding "local sources" in a blanket and arbitrary fashion, with absolute no regard to the reasons notability requirements exist in the first place. Reasons given for justifying local sources exclusions among editors have been inconsistent and unclear - with arguments varying from personal dislike of articles on localities (with them being described as "crap" e.t.c.), trying to reduce the number of articles in general, and even trying to tackle systematic bias. There is no evidence that there has ever been a clear consensus for such a rule, with this being demonstrated right here, at WP:ITSLOCAL and WP:ROTM, and by reviewing the "discussion" that led to WP:CORPDEPTH. There remain many unanswered questions on how this actually works, with a lack of any clear definition of what "local" is and how to determine a "local source" in all possible media being the tip of the iceberg. Given these unanswered questions, I think supporting this is analogous to signing a blank cheque. CT Cooper · talk 17:43, 10 February 2012 (UTC)
  6. Oppose - The idea of limiting coverage to subjects that get more than local coverage is antithetical to my idea of what WP is. Even though it is not intended to include all human knowledge (I had Raisin Bran for breakfast, just in case you want to know), I believe that it should include what I would expect to find in, say, A History of Foo County, for all Foos in English-speaking nations and for any other Foos that any of our readers are interested in and that our editors are willing to work on. That means, for every city, county, and township in the U.S., coverage of the founders, the locally-noted institutions and personages, the local climate and development patterns, the local history, government, culture, education, sports, and so on. All of that is included in the suggested coverage for all settlements, and most of the sourcing wil be local. Once you start writing an article on a settlement and aim for GA quality, almost every major section will, eventually, require a sub-article, where almost all of the sources will be local. This policy would lead to endless warfare between the notability police and editors, with creative editors adding encyclopedic content to the project and deletionists taking it to AfD and proposing to merge and redirect it back to the locality. In reality, "merge and redirect" for schools and most similar institutions means "delete all of the content except their name and a self-referencing link to an empty redirect."--Hjal (talk) 18:16, 10 February 2012 (UTC)
  7. Strong Oppose. This poll is flawed. There is no need for altherantive guidelines for schools if the majority feel the current common outcomes is wrong then schools should meet the same set of guidelines as anything else. They must meet GNG the above proposal is wrong and would mean changing GNG you can't have lower or higher rules for schools than anything else. The original poll should be reinstated immediately. Should schools meet GNG or are they inherently notable. Edinburgh Wanderer 18:24, 10 February 2012 (UTC)
  8. Oppose - Wikipedia should cover all reasonably importent subjects, of course, but the reason there are notability guidelines is because nobody wants to read about some small grocery store or a kid's garage band. But schools are always a fairly major institution: in most countries they have to be inspected by the government, and they are generally very important to people that live near them or whose children attend them, unlike grocery stores. So deleting articles that are important to many people (and not just one owner of a grocery store) is unfair to those people. Liam987 16:17, 14 February 2012 (UTC)
  9. Oppose THis will not help our mission to create an encyclopedia. More articles on suitable topics is better. Graeme Bartlett (talk) 08:25, 18 February 2012 (UTC)
  10. Oppose Existing guidelines (GNG) are sufficient. Additionally, distinguishing "local" from "regional" is not plausible. (Is a New City school covered only in New York Times not notable? What about a Gillette, Wyoming school covered in the regional (but much less significant) newspaper Campbell County Observer?) --ThaddeusB (talk) 15:36, 18 February 2012 (UTC)
  11. Oppose It's a trivial bar for a high school to reach, given that the wide majority will have such coverage over its bands or teams in a town or regional newspaper. Throw in a few stellar students or faculty members and it's going to be a long slog to find a few schools which don't pass GNG. Best, Markvs88 (talk) 20:20, 18 February 2012 (UTC)
  12. Oppose - The current de facto consensus, that primary schools are presumed not notable unless they are made newsworthy by extraordinary circumstances and that secondary schools are presumed notable per se assuming their existence can be verified (a la populated villages, species of plants and animals, professional baseball players, etc.) works and saves a small crew of regular AfD participants from being swamped by a deluge of notability challenges, both from deletionists seeking to eliminate high school stubs and from inclusionists wanting to preserve pieces on ordinary elementary schools. It is a highly effective, very functional compromise between those favoring a narrow and those favoring a focused encyclopedia. Carrite (talk) 17:34, 19 February 2012 (UTC)
  13. Oppose - I agree with User:Carrite; per se notability solves the inevitable time suck of deletion attempts which almost always fail. It's also a recognition that sources out there are likely, but their access on the web from afar may not be, and solves the First World bias by saying that high schools in the US because most have web pages and nearly every town has a newspaper and many have tv stations, radio stations, all with web presences pass GNG, but those in the Democratic Republic of Congo or Ethiopia or Burma aren't. Carlossuarez46 (talk) 20:07, 23 February 2012 (UTC)
  14. Oppose Carrite has stated the situation exactly. Experience has shown that a diploma-granting secondary school or a degree-granting college will virtually ALWAYS be found to have significant coverage, and thus we "presume" they are notable to save everyone's time. Instead of nominating such schools for deletion, they should be improved by the addition of the sources that are virtually certain to exist, at least in Western countries (and as Carlossuarez points out, requiring lots of internet-accessible coverage for secondary schools could result in a de facto rule that high schools in developed countries have articles but high schools in developing countries do not). Primary and middle schools usually do NOT receive that kind of coverage, so they have to prove their notability via independent coverage in multiple reliable sources. What is so hard about that? --MelanieN (talk) 17:56, 25 February 2012 (UTC)
    To put it rude: You think is is ok to bluntly ignore WP:GNG and WP:V and don't ask for sources to proof notability is they are not provided, because it is too much work? Night of the Big Wind talk 19:51, 25 February 2012 (UTC)
  15. Oppose It is up to the author to proof notability and I don't care how (s)he does it, as long as it is convincing. Shooting down sources upfront is unfair.
  16. Oppose It is important to have neutral encyclopedic material about schools, and we at Wikipedia can provide it, even if the sources are only local. --99of9 (talk) 01:30, 28 February 2012 (UTC)
    Why is it important? Why stop at secondary schools? Why not primary schools? Local churches and businesses? --MASEM (t) 15:17, 28 February 2012 (UTC)
  17. Oppose. It is reasonable to include articles about secondary schools, regardless of whether or not the schools are notable. Schools are helpful to "build the web" of how different subjects are connected, especially in terms of notable individuals and which schools they attended. Biographies in most tertiary sources include information about someone's schooling, and Wikipedia is uniquely suited to have those schools be linkable. To only make notable schools linkable would result in uneven coverage -- better is to have all secondary schools covered. --Elonka 05:20, 28 February 2012 (UTC)
    We already have a better link point for this type of thing: we consider every town and village to be notable and linkable, and that's likely more important than just the school in describing the background of a notable person. Schools can be discussed in the context of the locality if otherwise not significantly notable. --MASEM (t) 15:17, 28 February 2012 (UTC)
  18. Oppose Secondary schools are inherently notable. Buffs (talk) 08:05, 28 February 2012 (UTC)
    No topic is inherently notable. --MASEM (t) 15:17, 28 February 2012 (UTC)
  19. Oppose These kinds of articles are always going to be out there and I'd rather see them standardized and improved rather than the current whack-a-mole, inconsistent AFD treatment. — MrDolomite • Talk 15:06, 28 February 2012 (UTC)
    That argument could be used for a wide number of pop culture topics (every episode of TV shows, etc.) The inconsistent AFD treatment is due to the fact that how schools are handled is not standardized, and thus trying to remedy that by appropriate change in policy. --MASEM (t) 15:17, 28 February 2012 (UTC)
  20. Oppose Per Carrite, Carlossuarez46 and MelanieN. Edison (talk) 16:40, 28 February 2012 (UTC)
  21. Oppose I think it is important to understand the important role of schools.Leutha (talk) 09:41, 29 February 2012 (UTC)
  22. Oppose The present situation has served us well and no good reason to change has been put forward. High schools are well covered by local media. Even if 'local' can be defined, why should such sources be excluded? TerriersFan (talk) 17:53, 5 March 2012 (UTC)

Should schools have to meet GNG

Proposal Are Secondary schools inherently notable or should they meet the full guidelines laid out at WP:GNG the above poll is flawed as if schools are not inherently notable schools should meet the main guidlines as everything else not lesser or higher standards. Edinburgh Wanderer 18:24, 10 February 2012 (UTC)


  1. strong support. --Guerillero | My Talk 04:25, 28 February 2012 (UTC)
  2. Support. Kaldari (talk) 04:58, 28 February 2012 (UTC)


  1. Oppose I have no idea what this run-on sentence even means. Buffs (talk) 08:07, 28 February 2012 (UTC)
  2. Oppose Because the violins of September wound my heart in a slow, monotonous langour. Best, Markvs88 (talk) 10:19, 28 February 2012 (UTC)
  3. Oppose The proposal is too vague. Edison (talk) 16:41, 28 February 2012 (UTC)
  4. Oppose Confused proposal. TerriersFan (talk) 17:55, 5 March 2012 (UTC)
  5. Oppose this poll as being completely unintelligible. elektrikSHOOS (talk) 00:56, 8 March 2012 (UTC)

Straw poll discussion

Trouts and pitchforks welcome. LivitEh?/What? 22:32, 9 February 2012 (UTC)

Again thats a side argument the GNG guidelines are already there as are the WP:ORG. A straw poll is needed but it should be the straight question do Secondary schools need to meet GNG or are the exempt the original question of the RFC.Edinburgh Wanderer 22:38, 9 February 2012 (UTC)
No, I think this is the right question to be asking. The justification in the above sections and past AFD is that any secondary school will have local source, ergo defacto notability by the GNG. It is not the case we allow secondary school articles never to have to show any type of notability. No topic is except from the GNG; the reason secondary schools are kept is the presumption of GNG -meeting. When framed in this manner the question is whether local sources satisfy the GNG for secondary schools. --MASEM (t) 22:41, 9 February 2012 (UTC)
Well thats not true at all there are plenty of things that are exempt from meeting GNG such as professional sports players. That poll is for another RFC not this one thats a RFC on GNG and what is needed to pass it not are schools notable.Edinburgh Wanderer 22:44, 9 February 2012 (UTC)
(edit conflict)Masem, you're echoing exactly what I am trying to get at. If we can first decide whether local notability is enough for schools to meet the GNG, then we can decide what to do. If the consensus here is that yes, local sources are enough, then we can probably wrap up this RFC and move on with our lives. But if we decide local coverage does not make a school notable, then we can discuss what to do with schools that only have local coverage. LivitEh?/What? 22:48, 9 February 2012 (UTC)
Edinburg, we're not talking about "lots of things". We're talking about schools. For years, secondary schools have been presumed notable based on coverage in sources of local or limited distribution. My straw poll just tries to determine if this is still consensus or not. LivitEh?/What? 22:50, 9 February 2012 (UTC)
No GNG is the same for everything it is no different whether for a person, school or football team therefore a debate on what is needed to pass as GNG for schools isn't appropriate its for another RFC altogether. You cant set a level of sources required for one thing and not another its taking this on another route and the end result will be this RFC getting nothing done. The original question needs answered first If you want to go on a sidetrack meaning the main issue does not get addressed then go ahead. The subject of what is required to meet GNG is a different story all together. It should also be pointed out the RFC isn't about all schools its about secondary ones which will be able to be sourced a lot better also WP:ORG does come into play at that level not just GNG. Edinburgh Wanderer 22:54, 9 February 2012 (UTC)
Livitup it was already as said above by Masem taken on another route when he said No topic is except from the GNG. Thats shows this is going to be about GNG not schools. There are so many things on wiki where consensus was laid down properly that things don't have to meet GNG. All I'm saying is you risk this being about GNG not schools.Edinburgh Wanderer 22:58, 9 February 2012 (UTC)
No, pro sports players aren't exempt from notability guidelines. They have to meet the criteria of the sub-notability guideline NSPORT, which is to establish criteria that - given time and resources to locate sources - GNG sourcing can eventually be obtained. While I personally disagree with some of the points, the arguments at NSPORT given for each rational make sense as to why there will likely be non-local coverage of each pro player, for example.
Note that there is no subnotability guideline for schools. It has always been listed in OUTCOME on the justification that local sources are likely to exist to satisfy notability. The question is now raised: are local sources sufficient? They are disallowed via WP:ORG (another sub-notability guideline) and NSPORT rejects them as notability measures, so is there a different consensus for schools? That's the question to be asked. --MASEM (t) 22:59, 9 February 2012 (UTC)
No they are exempt from GNG if they meet those guidelines as at WP:Footy loads of players aren't well sourced but it they play in a fully pro league they stay. You said nothing is exempt from GNG which is wrong.Edinburgh Wanderer 23:07, 9 February 2012 (UTC)
Go ahead but its a side argument that in no way need addressed there are no sub guidelines for schools as you say just common outcomes. Therefore they are either notable inherently or the must meet GNG. The original question is the best do they need to meet GNG or not. By going down local sourcing we aren't getting anywhere. What your saying is schools should have sub guidelines its no better than common outcomes. Edinburgh Wanderer 23:12, 9 February 2012 (UTC)
Remember, the GNG is not the overarching guideline for inclusion, it is WP:N itself, which says that notability is determined by either meeting the GNG or by a subject-specific notability guideline. As there is no sub-notability guideline for schools (unless you want them under WP:ORG) we have to look to see if they meet the GNG. The argument until recently is "yes secondary schools meet the GNG because they have coverage by, at minimum, local papers". The arguing in question is can local papers be used to justify the GNG. It has never been the case that the GNG has never been applied for schools, simply that the default answer has been presumed yes due to the local sourcing. --MASEM (t) 23:18, 9 February 2012 (UTC)
The issue, also, is that sourcing should be appropriate for a claim of notability. People voted delete at Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Middle Harbour Public School (2nd_nomination), despite coverage in national level news media on issues of (a) being the cause for a change to legislation in regards to speed zones near schools; (b) the principal being a go-to expect on school issues; and (b) being a highly ranked school as determined by standardised testing. Personally, I think that should be enough (and voted so), but the bar regarding what is and is not notable in terms of schools is set artificially high. ˜danjel [ talk | contribs ] 23:24, 9 February 2012 (UTC)
Its fair to say it hasn't been applied. It has always been the common outcome that Secondary schools are likely to meet GNG therefore should stay. Thats been the case at so many AFDs over the years. It means that schools are very rarely fully assessed. There isn't a need for another subguideline. Eithier the common outcome is correct and should be put down properly or must fully meet GNG. Then you go down the route of what a local source is. Also independent National reports are published for all Secondary schools in the UK anyway that are widely reported in the national press so either way that is an independent national reliable source.Edinburgh Wanderer 23:25, 9 February 2012 (UTC)
Annual school reports commisioned by the same government that pays for the schools? I don't think you can call those reports "independent sources". The old saying still works: Who pays the piper calls the tune. Night of the Big Wind talk 00:30, 10 February 2012 (UTC)
It's not just "local" coverage. We need "significant coverage in secondary sources". I am absolutely sure in most Western countries and probably some Eastern ones that there's an annual document accessing all schools - number of students, teachers, graduating, average grade, etc. That's not significant coverage - that's data points. Now, if a report praised the top 5-10 schools and described how they got there; or critiqued the bottom schools for certain aspects, that's secondary and a start for the GNG. To take Danjel's example of a school where an incident lead to a national/state law, we have the concept that singular events aren't sufficient to lead to notability, unless there's a much larger and long-term impact (eg Columbine).
To put this another way: prior to recent discussion, the approach to secondary schools is "OUTCOME says will meet GNG, ergo no need to delete/!keep vote at AFD". Now people are saying "Ok, how exactly does Smalltown High meet the GNG?", exposing that most of these are built on local sources. The question is begged: are local sources sufficient for schools (where no other area allows for them) or not, and thus adjusting some policy/guideline somewhere to reflect that consensus. --MASEM (t) 23:37, 9 February 2012 (UTC)
Its a common outcome and national reports are very likely when combined with other sources to meet the general notability guidelines. Im not saying schools shouldn't be subject to GNG I'm saying that going down the line of what is enough to meet GNG in a schools case isn't helpful its a sidetrack issue. The original question needs answered first should schools meet GNG. If the answer to that is yes then you could say what constitutes enough in a schools case to meet that but by not answering the original question its not going anywhere. Anyway if the consensus is we should go down that route first then fine but the risk is the original question will get missed. As is shown the longer the discussion goes on people drift away from it so if you don't answer the main question by the time you get to it you may no longer have a discussion its a risk but hey ill let everyone else pitch in.
We don't have gun massacres at schools in Australia, but this is a similar sort of thing. Speed zones near schools is a major political issue in Australia at the moment, with positions by both major parties (Liberal and ALP). There is substantial and continuing coverage on this issue, and the school where the issue started is of note. ˜danjel [ talk | contribs ] 00:01, 10 February 2012 (UTC)
Ok, there you go, that's an example of showing a school notable, which I'm satisfied with. But let's take the case of something like Emma E. Booker Elementary School - this is the school where President Bush was at when the 9/11 attacks started. Just because that happened to be where he was at on a historically critical moment doesn't create notability for the school - its a passing mention for all practical purposes.
To the preceeding question: every entry on OUTCOMES that suggests "keep" is one that has been justified (in the past) that sources will ultimately exist to meet the GNG. None of the entries in OUTCOME is a bypassing of GNG to allow an article. So it has always been about the GNG, not the non-existent free ride that schools got from the GNG. Whether local sources satisfy the GNG is the heart of this matter. --MASEM (t) 00:32, 10 February 2012 (UTC)

Nice attempt to declare all schools notable. But I don't buy that! In general the line was that all school-articles have to meet WP:GNG. Now you are trying to lower the requirements to a level that is almost zero. With help of several other, I have compiled a draft for a set of rules to check if a school is notable. The draft only tries to give an upper limit (on or above this level = notable) and a lower limit (on or under this level = not notable). The grey area in between is for discussion. Life is too creative in inventing exceptions, that I don't even try to write a manual on notable/not-notable. That won't work. You can find the draft here: User:Night of the Big Wind/Notability of schools. Night of the Big Wind talk 00:20, 10 February 2012 (UTC)

The question is flawed. I don't see why any additional guidelines should be needed for schools when WP:N already suffices. The key point in WP:N seems to me "We require "significant coverage" in reliable sources so that we can actually write a whole article, rather than half a paragraph or a definition of that topic. If only a few sentences could be written and supported by sources about the subject, that subject does not qualify for a separate page, but should instead be merged into an article about a larger article or relevant list." Virtually all secondary-level schools in English-speaking countries can easily meet WP:N. The problem with the current AfD campaign is that the editors are setting a higher bar for any school that has the word "middle", "primary" or "elementary" in its title, regardless of the history or importance of the school. This 300-year-old school for instance got redirected despite the fact that there are nationally available sources including a whole book written about the school and mentions in several other published books, though the delete/redirect voters weren't aware of this when they voted. I plan to recreate the article but it just wastes everyone's time and discourages new editors when certain types of articles are singled out for a witch hunt. Dahliarose (talk) 00:35, 10 February 2012 (UTC)
Lack of independent reliable sources killed off that article. Night of the Big Wind talk 03:09, 10 February 2012 (UTC)
That article got redirected because of block voting by people who hadn't read the article or checked for sources and were voting simply because the school had the word "middle" in its title despite the fact that it had only been a middle school for a short part of its history. The sources were found after they'd voted. Dahliarose (talk) 10:31, 10 February 2012 (UTC)
If you had sources available, why did you not add them? Night of the Big Wind talk 13:52, 10 February 2012 (UTC)
That is an extremely bad faith accusation to lay on those editors. You should strike it now. You have no idea in the world whether they read the article or checked for sources. Fmph (talk) 11:08, 10 February 2012 (UTC)
I can't prove or disprove that people haven't checked for sources but the voters in this case clearly hadn't understood the article properly and the votes were cast *before* additional content had been added to the article. The school has only recently been called a "middle" school so it is not surprising that sources couldn't be found if searches were restricted to the present name. There was no such thing as a middle school in 1725. The school leaving age was 14 right up until the beginning of the twentieth century in England. 11:28, 10 February 2012 (UTC)
I've now struck through the comment. It is, however, clear that nominators and voters should take more time to investigate sources rather than voting on gut instinct which does seem to be the case with a lot of these school articles (high school = keep primary/middle = delete). For any school article one should always omit words like "primary" and "middle" from searches as schools, especially old ones, often undergo frequent name changes. Dahliarose (talk) 12:57, 10 February 2012 (UTC)
Actually, at issue are secondary schools as well. Most that I spot check are only locally sourced, and suffer the same problems as elementary schools.
The question: Are local sources suitable for demonstrating notability of a topic? is the core of the matter here. If they are, then yes, likely all primary and secondary schools are notable. If not, then most are likely non-notable and should be merged to the town/community they serve.
Again, I would put a large cavaet on this discussion: if this consensus drives towards that local sources are not notable, hence making schools *not* inherently notable, I would strongly suggest a 6 -12 month moratorium on deletion of school articles , giving time for editors to find sources for notability. --MASEM (t) 00:47, 10 February 2012 (UTC)
I don't think it makes any difference whether the sources are local or not. All that matters is whether sufficient non-trivial sources can be found to produce an article of a reasonable length. National sources can be found for every single school in England, because every school is inspected either by OFSTED (state-run schools) or the Private Schools' Inspectorate (fee-paying schools). I don't think this should mean that every primary school in England is automatically notable simply because it is has a detailed OFSTED inspection every few years. The key points are that multiple reliable sources should be found and the article should be of a non-trivial nature. Dahliarose (talk) 01:14, 10 February 2012 (UTC)
It does make a significant difference. WP is not an indiscriminate collection of information. At some point, as the focus of a reliable source gets narrower and tighter, the relevance of the material within that source to goal of summarizing information as a tertiary sources becomes less and less. Eg: not only would all primary and secondary schools be notable, but all churches, most restaurants, many businesses, most student athletes, all streets and roads, would be notable by the same means. That's indiscriminate and would fail that part of our goals. We also have to worry about the systematic bias between nations with a large amount of free press and those without that for various reasons. By restricting local sources, we avoid that systematic bias and maintain a discrete summary of mankind's knowledge. This is why NSPORTS and ORG already put the foot down on local sources for evidence of notability. --MASEM (t) 01:21, 10 February 2012 (UTC)
Masem, if the problem is that routine coverage would create an indiscriminate amount of non-notable articles, the point that has to be clarified is routine, not local. Of course sources shown to provide significant and independent coverage can be used even if they happen to be geographically close to the subject. They are both within the spirit and the letter of GNG, which is having something relevant to say about the topic, and compatible with WP:NOTPAPER. Most churches, restaurants et. al. still wouldn't be covered because they don't get significant coverage beyond routine, but we should keep the small percentage that do get it (NOTPAPER again, and WP:SNOWFLAKE). Diego (talk) 06:55, 10 February 2012 (UTC)
No, it's not routine coverage, it's "local" coverage. Local coverage, broadly taken, often includes routine elements (a local paper has a weekly restaurant review column, for example), but not all local coverage is routine; not all routine cover is local. And routine coverage is not necessarily bad - eg: we pretty much assume every film that reaches a movie theater screen is notable because, by routine, it will be reviewed, establishing secondary sources, though often there's more coverage than that. The point is to understand that to fairly apply the idea of "WP is not an indiscriminate collection of information" is to restrict articles on topics that can only be covered in depth by local sources, whether that coverage is routine or not. As soon as something outside that local area takes notice, it's a different ballgame, but not until then. --MASEM (t) 07:09, 10 February 2012 (UTC)
If people want to restrict the use of local sources to prove notability then it's WP:N that needs changing. You can't make one rule for schools that other articles aren't required to follow. Schools need to meet WP:N. We need to get away from the divisive and unhelpful AfD debates where one camp argues that a school must be kept simply because it is a "high school" and another camp argues that a school should be deleted simply because it is a primary/elementary middle school. Dahliarose (talk) 10:31, 10 February 2012 (UTC)
If that is the case, I fail to see how significant coverage by several independent local sources that provides enough context for the topic (and thus are non-routine) can make that coverage "indiscriminate". You're discriminating from all the other items that don't have significant coverage by several independent local sources. Diego (talk) 13:21, 10 February 2012 (UTC)
It's because if you allow "significant coverage in local sources only" to be allowed to use to show notability for one class of articles, you have to extend that to all classes of articles, which suddenly is going to drastically expand WP without reasonable bounds and consideration for discriminate coverage (churches, businesses, etc.) --MASEM (t) 13:50, 10 February 2012 (UTC)
"Significant coverage in local sources" is already allowed for all classes of articles, it's called the General Notability Guideline. What you suggest is to restrict the GNG for schools so that an additional requirement (non-local sources) would be required for that class. Again, that indiscriminate coverage that you fear is not happening because not all churchers or businesses are covered by significant reliable sources, not even local. Those which are covered should definitely have an article because Wikipedia is not paper. Diego (talk) 14:20, 10 February 2012 (UTC)
"Significant coverage in secondary sources" and "local coverage only" are contradictory statements - barring some exceptional cases, you cannot have "significant coverage" if the secondary source coverage is only coming from local sources. The same type of coverage that some in this discussion have said assures schools are notable - despite coming from local sources - also exists for many other local entities. While WP is not paper we are still a tertiary source meant to summarize information, not outline every possible tidbit. That's why restricting the creation of articles on topics that have only local source coverage helps to assure that if we are including a specific school, business, or other factor, it has wider reaching notability beyond just the community it serves. --MASEM (t) 14:42, 10 February 2012 (UTC)
"Significant coverage in secondary sources and local coverage only are contradictory statements" - only in your mind. There's nothing that by their nature would make a local source necessarily not significant, and you have failed to make a convincing case why this would be so. If the goal is to avoid lots of cruft, I can empathize with that sentiment; but that's logically unrelated to the physical position of the sources with respect to the covered item. We are not "outlining every possible tidbit", only those which have been noted by reliable third parties. Why should "local" be synonym with "not reliable"? Diego (talk) 22:41, 10 February 2012 (UTC)
WP:N as currently written makes no discrimination between local and non-local sources. The GNG guideline does exclude routine and trivial coverage, as it should, though that doesn't mean local sources are banned entirely. However, I am doubtful that if the guideline is applied as currently written, that all primary schools would survive. Secondary schools usually have a lot more coverage, and do overwhelming have the sources available to pass the GNG as currently written. What would happen with a local sources exclusion is more debatable, with the vagueness of the proposal with defining what local is e.t.c. being the primary cause of this. I have seen at least one supporter of the local sources exclusion claim that a decent majority of secondary schools would survive such an exclusion. CT Cooper · talk 01:12, 10 February 2012 (UTC)
I don't think that the suggestion that all primary schools are notable (as much as I think it) is an appropriate compromise, so no one's really saying it seriously. But I strongly agree with you that the guidelines as they are not being applied appropriately. But rather than worrying about survivability, I worry that the bar is being set inappropriately high for primary schools (with local, regional, national and international sources not being enough, for example, in the AfD I linked to above). ˜danjel [ talk | contribs ] 01:36, 10 February 2012 (UTC)
"Significant coverage" suggests that local-only coverage fails notability; there is also the aspect that a local paper reporting on local events is a partially dependent source since they have a vested interest in coverage in the news in that local area. Notability is meant to be demonstrated by a breadth of sources. --MASEM (t) 18:40, 10 February 2012 (UTC)
"Significant coverage means that sources address the subject directly in detail, so no original research is needed to extract the content. Significant coverage is more than a trivial mention but it need not be the main topic of the source material." I don't see anything here which can reasonably be interpreted to mean local sources are banned. There is also more to local sources than local newspapers, and while some local sources may have be closely connected to a school, it is rather sweeping to suggest they all are. CT Cooper · talk 22:23, 10 February 2012 (UTC)
Just because it's not written down explicitly doesn't mean it's not taken that way. The idea of local sources not being sufficient for notability is a defacto standards for people, organizations, businesses, and the like, and schools cannot have special exemption from them. --MASEM (t) 22:40, 10 February 2012 (UTC)
The archives at Wikipedia talk:Notability (organizations and companies)] suggest otherwise. Once and again the warnings for local sources were as caveats to mind the possibility of non-significant or non-independent coverage, not to ban them outright; and that the notability for organizations and businesses guideline is not an additional requirement that articles should meet but an alternate way to reach notability. So not only schools don't have any special exemption but all organizations are treated the same way, and can find notability from local sources of enough quality. That is what Notability means, and that is the consensus that our wikipedian Founding Fathers left us. The interpretation that non-local sources are an absolute requirement has never reached community-wide consensus. Diego (talk) 23:20, 10 February 2012 (UTC)
  • The idea that any organization less significant than, say, a national or (major sub-national, e.g. US state, UK county) government should not have to meet the WP:GNG is pure favoritism by people especially interested in such organizations. Of course schools of all kinds should have to meet the GNG. We've long merged pointless "my school is so cool" wannabe-articles into broader articles on school districts. If you ask me (and this is an RfC, so you did!), school district articles in turn should almost always actually merge into articles on the city government more generally, which for most cities (and virtually all smaller-than-city settlements) should in turn probably merge into the article on the city, unless and until WP:SUMMARY criteria are met that strongly suggest splitting. There are innumerable "local vanity" articles. I.e., if New York City gets an article about its bus system, editors in Peoria and Albuquerque want one too, as a matter of civic pride. Wikipedia is not a place for hanging pennants. The vast majority of articles on schools below the collegiate/university level are not particularly useful, and can be done away with as separate articles as long as searches like "Franklin High School, Dallas" will still find their subsections in the city government article. — SMcCandlish   Talk⇒〈°⌊°〉 Contribs. 05:45, 10 February 2012 (UTC)
    • Well, that "favoritism" is as outrageous as having one school who does meet the GNG deleted because all the significant coverage is from local independent sources. If school articles shouldn't require less than meeting the GNG, they also shouldn't require more. Diego (talk) 13:28, 10 February 2012 (UTC)


The proposal needs a target policy (I suggest WP:ORG) and I'd really prefer for it to be more definite in order to provide a brighter line. ˜danjel [ talk | contribs ] 00:18, 10 February 2012 (UTC)

Something like this draft: User:Night of the Big Wind/Notability of schools? Night of the Big Wind talk 00:32, 10 February 2012 (UTC)
To avoid misunderstandings: this draft is not a set of rules hammered in stone, but a set of guidelines (unfortunately I have named them rules earlier) to help determine if a school is notable. Night of the Big Wind talk 13:57, 10 February 2012 (UTC)
Yes. :) ˜danjel [ talk | contribs ] 01:36, 10 February 2012 (UTC)
Something like that would work. — SMcCandlish   Talk⇒〈°⌊°〉 Contribs. 05:57, 10 February 2012 (UTC)
No, I can't see that guideline working. Fundamentally, any school is notable if it meets the GNG. So the various sections on "A school is not notable when ..." or "A school is only notable when ..." don't work, as the aim of the specialised notability guidelines is to show sufficient but not necessary criteria. Limiting it to necessary criteria is a problem. - Bilby (talk) 23:20, 12 February 2012 (UTC)
Further to the above, generally the aim of the GNG is not to indicate importance, but to indicate the possibility of something having sufficient coverage so that it is possible to write a verifiable NPOV article on the subject. The difficulty with the draft schools criteria is that it seems tied to importance (or at least significance). Thus many of the criteria could be passed without having sufficient coverage to create (as opposed to warrant) an article. The assumption in the past has been that secondary schools will meet the GNG by dint of being secondary schools, and therefore they will have sufficient coverage. If this is incorrect, replacing it with more refined assumptions that also fail to indicate meeting the GNG won't progress things. The bar needs to be set in a different location. :) - Bilby (talk) 23:47, 12 February 2012 (UTC)
Can you translate this in plain English, I do not understand what you mean by this. Night of the Big Wind talk 14:04, 13 February 2012 (UTC)
Your suggested guideline is going in the wrong direction. You can't spell out what isn't notable, because anything is potentially notable if it has sufficient non-trivial coverage in reliable sources. So the sections saying things like "No school is notable unless they satisfy one of the next conditions" are incorrect - schools can be notable, even if they fail to meet your criteria. Similarly, "Schools are not notable when ..." is also incorrect.
Secondly, much of the criteria you use is also going the wrong direction, looking at what makes a school important rather than what allows us to write about it. You are using things like the existence of historic school buildings or the enrollment numbers. Those sorts of things don't indicate the existence of reliable sources, so they don't really speak to notability (in the case of the buildings, for example, they only say that we can write an article on the building, not the school). - Bilby (talk) 14:18, 13 February 2012 (UTC)
Sub-notability and wikiprojects can set out guides to restrict notability-equals-standalone-article even if the subject meets the GNG, but they usually should have a good reason to do so, and usually with allowances for things that clearly are notable beyond all doubt. For example, at the video games wikiproject, we generally encourage remakes of older games on newer systems to be covered in the original article about the game, since the story and gameplay remain the same for the work, even if the remake gains additional reviews on publication; but if the remake has its own development history or the like, then a separate page is fine. --MASEM (t) 14:24, 13 February 2012 (UTC)
True enough. But in this case, the proposal is fundamentally about excluding schools, when I've always felt that the notability criteria are more about recognising under what circumstances we can assume things to be notable. Rather than spelling out threshold conditions from the outset, the aim should be to identify conditions under which we can safely assume notability first (noting that necessary conditions aren't really necessary in practice if it passes the GNG). Which raises the second problem, in that the conditions listed are not generally connected to notability, so much as significance. The two shouldn't necessarily be separate, but they tend to be. Focusing on significance isn't going to fix the current concern.
Personally, rather than more guidelines, I'd prefer just to see more use of the GNG. :) - Bilby (talk) 14:38, 13 February 2012 (UTC)
You have a point on the buildings and school numbers. As you can see, they have already a less important role then other criteria. But I think you have missed an essential part of the draft: Grey area: * This set of guidelines gives a number of conditions on which a school is always considered to be noteworthy or notable. It also gives a set of conditions under which a school is never notable. Given the huge differences in schools and the circumstances they are operating in, the set of conditions will not cover all possibilities. Therefore, the author of an article is always free to plea for the notability of his/her article and to try to convince the community that the school is notable. Night of the Big Wind talk 16:41, 13 February 2012 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Night, I commend your attempt at coming up with a set of criteria and guidelines for handling this question, but I think that setting arbitrary limits based on age of the school or its buildings, or the number of notable alumni or teachers, is just not a tenable solution. I'm specifically not criticizing your work, or the criteria or limits you set. I'm simply saying that there are no criteria or limits that will make sense as arbitrary barometers of notability. That said, there are several things in your draft that I agree with, for example being highly ranked, receiving awards or acknowledgement for quality of education, or being involved in a notable event. But all those things have one thing in common: they would, in all likelihood, result in the exact kind of non-trivial, non-regional coverage in independent sources that would make everyone go "yes, that school is notable." So, this might be a simple solution to a complex problem, but why can't we just call schools organizations, and make them subject to the criteria at WP:ORG? Can somebody tell me why Wikipedia:ORG#Primary_criteria isn't a perfect set of tests for school notability? LivitEh?/What? 21:57, 13 February 2012 (UTC)

The problem is that WP:ORG is very strangely considered when it comes to schools. While High Schools seem to be considered automagically (emphasis on the g) notable, primary schools have to pass an arbitrarily high bar to also be considered notable. This arises out of differing subjective interpretations of WP:ORG. For example, Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Middle Harbour Public School (2nd nomination) was deleted despite coverage in national level news media as being the site of the catalysing event for a politically important issue for Australia (school speed zones) and being one of the highest ranked primary schools in NSW (55th out of ~2000). This should easily pass WP:ORG#Primary_criteria because the depth of the coverage is substantially beyond the not trivial/incidental and is given in independent reliable sources. The audience is substantial, because of the real public interest in education (at least in Australia, every major newspaper has an education section, every major TV news has education reporters, etc.).
You keep coming back to your perception that the speed limit being changed near a school is a strong argument for the notability of the school, and I do not agree at all. Take it to DRV. Edison (talk) 16:48, 28 February 2012 (UTC)
In fact, it almost sounds like a non-person version of WP:ONEEVENT. ♫ Melodia Chaconne ♫ (talk) 17:07, 28 February 2012 (UTC)
NotBW's work provides a basis for a school to be considered notable. It's not exhaustive (he mentions this explicitly in regards to the "grey area", and is substantively based on WP:ORG itself. ˜danjel [ talk | contribs ] 00:22, 14 February 2012 (UTC)
To be honest, if a local organisation's main claim to notability is that it was just outside the top 50 organisations in that particular field in the state, then it would be very unlikely to pass WP:ORG. - Bilby (talk) 00:44, 14 February 2012 (UTC)
Danjel, nobody debates that the notability of schools has been automagically determined in the past. But there is nothing in WP:ORG that codifies this magic treatment; indeed, schools are specifically called out as one of the things that are defined in the "Primary Criteria." What I am trying to say is that if we take out all the past history and eliminate the automagical "high schools are notable, primary/secondary schools are not" nonsense, and actually evaluate school articles based on WP:ORG, then we will have slain the beast. If you take out all the "it's automagic" !votes in Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Middle Harbour Public School (2nd nomination), then what would be left is a very reasonable debate on if the sources for this particular organization support notability. I find nothing at all wrong with letting the majority of school articles stake their claim by references within the article, and the outliers going to AfD. The only thing we will be missing is a new CSD category for locally-notable schools! (I'm kidding) LivitEh?/What? 00:58, 14 February 2012 (UTC)
WP:ORG seems somewhat ambiguous and open to interpretation. I wonder how one would define a school’s ‘local area’. Would it be the town or village, the English county, the US state or the Canadian province? Schools by their very nature will receive most of their coverage from the local area. Many older schools have had entire books written about them, but they’re usually written by local historians or former pupils so would such books be disallowed as sources? Articles about schools often appear in local history society journals, and these articles can sometimes be quite substantial, but again would these sources be disallowed because they are local? In contrast, all English schools receive national attention on a regular basis from OFSTED who write very lengthy and very informative reports on the school. However, if I wanted to write an article about a school then it’s always the books and journals that are the most useful sources. WP:N seems to be far more applicable to schools. It’s the range, nature and quantity of sources that are available that is important not whether or not they are local. There are already articles on the vast majority of the 5,000 or so secondary schools in the UK and I’ve yet to find a UK secondary school that doesn’t have sufficient sources to write a reasonable article. In contrast there must be 20,000 or more articles on American high schools, quite a few of which would struggle to meet WP:ORG but I don’t think any rational person would suggest that we now go through all these articles and delete them. I think the problem is that editors are looking for a one-size-fits-all solution, but there is no easy fix. NightoftheBigWind is on the right track as editors with no familiarity with schools do want some easy-to-understand rule-of-thumb guidelines. I’ve found from my work on assessing school articles that the age of the school and the number of notable alumni are usually the best predictors of a school’s notability, and generally mean that sufficient sources exist though I would not like to see this set in stone. Schools are very similar to churches, which have often been the centre of their local community for hundreds of years. Are there any guidelines on churches? I would certainly like to see some sort of consensus develop so that we can move on from the current situation where non-notable high schools are routinely kept because they are “high schools” and, as has been happening in recent weeks, notable schools with long histories are deleted or redirected simply because they currently have the word "primary" in their name, even if they've only been a primary school for a short part of their total history. The other point to consider is that school articles are often the point of entry for new Wikipedia editors. I think we should be doing our best to encourage new editors. Dahliarose (talk) 01:57, 14 February 2012 (UTC)
It depends on interpretation, DahliaRose! I do not regard the Ofsted-reports (and similar in other countries) as independent sources. Those reports are ordered and payed for by the Government. Is it not more then likely, that they write what the Governments wants? Who pays the piper calls the tune! Night of the Big Wind talk 03:40, 14 February 2012 (UTC)
OFSTED reports are independent of the school. The teaching is of course judged by the whims of the existing government at the time so schools get penalised for not providing enough "cultural diversity" for example. The facts contained in the reports can be relied on, such as the numbers of pupils, number of languages spoken, number of children with special needs, awards granted, specialisms, etc. Dahliarose (talk) 09:29, 14 February 2012 (UTC)
.... none of which establishes notability ... Fmph (talk) 10:11, 14 February 2012 (UTC)
In my humble opinion, something like the OFSTED report is routine coverage, not indicative of notability. We are a) making the argument that not every school is notable, yet b) every school is covered in a OSFTED report, so logic says that if some schools are not notable, then the OSFTED reports can not indicate notability. Similarly, 9 out of 10 American high schools receive coverage in local newspapers for their athletics. Stuff like "Anytown Animals pound Othertown Otters in annual football matchup". Again, this is routine coverage, and again in my opinion not indicative of notability. My small town's annual 4th of July parade is not notable, but it gets coverage in our local newspaper every year. The Rose parade is notable, it gets nationwide coverage. I recognize that the GNG doesn't really make such a distinction, which is why WP:ORG seems to me to be a great subject-specific guideline to follow. I agree that it is a little vague, but this is a good thing in my opinion. I don't think we want to set bright-line, absolute requirements for school notability. I think that there should be some school articles that make it to AfD. We should not attempt to create a guideline that is so absolute that we never question it. I don't think we need to set a specific mile/km radius around the school that denotes "local coverage," the WP:ORG people have been doing OK with their guideline and common sense for quite a while. As another example, the local Pizza Hut franchise in my town burned to the ground several years back, which got covered in several articles in the county newspaper, but nobody would suggest that this particular Pizza Hut is notable.
Finally, I do think that if some guideline gets created as a result of this, that existing articles should be brought into compliance with the new guideline. I don't think anyone is advocating for deletion of school articles; the most common scenario I have seen mentioned is that we redirect them all back to the town/village/county/municipality/whatever that the school serves. I for one would be happy to work on that effort. LivitEh?/What? 14:46, 14 February 2012 (UTC)
I would support a guideline stating that schools should meet WP:GNG to get their own article. The argument then would be what constitutes significant coverage. OFSTED reports shouldn't count towards notability since every school gets them as a matter of course, and having one doesn't tell us that the school is considered noteworthy by independent sources (which after all is at the heart of notability). I don't want to rule out local sources as an indication of notability altogether, but it is true that a lot of local coverage is routine. So perhaps, like WP:ORG to some extent does now, we should require at least one regional or national source amongst those offering significant coverage. Whatever guidelines we come up with should be applied equally to primary and secondary schools (insert equivalent terms from other countries here if you want). Alzarian16 (talk) 00:57, 15 February 2012 (UTC)
Could we perhaps turn this discussion on its head? The difference between schools and other organisations is that they are a key part of their local community, and information about local schools is by its very nature encyclopaedic, unlike most local shops, companies restaurants, etc. English county histories, for example, will routinely include information about schools and churches in their chapters or sections on a town or village, even if they are only mentioned in a single sentence. Could we not, therefore, develop simple guidelines which are positive - ie telling people what they should do - rather than negative - telling people what they can't do. We could explain that schools should be mentioned in the appropriate locality article or, for US schools in the School District article if there is one. Large towns will often need a separate "Education in" page. Schools should only be expanded into a standalone article if sufficient sources exist to write a reasonable length article in compliance with WP:N. One of the biggest problems at the moment is the lack of a proper policy on what do with schools that don't merit a standalone article. Some get deleted, some get redirected and some get merged. It would be helpful to have an agreed consensus on what to do in such situations. I would personally favour a merge. If a school is at least mentioned in a locality article there is less chance of someone trying to create a new meaningless stub. Dahliarose (talk) 10:51, 15 February 2012 (UTC)
Simply having some particular high percentile ranking in an all-inclusive national listing and review of schools does not establish notability. We are not a Michelin guide to schools. "High quality" would apply to a school being an "Excellent school" in the US, perhaps equivalent to "top 5%", or to having a high rating in Ofsted. "Notable" is not a synonym for "excellent." If a school does a really good job, then it is likely to get significant coverage in newspapers and perhaps books. That school (in the US at least) is likely to be a well funded one in a rich community and to have a low percentage of minorities and low income students, and a low percentage of students with English as a second language. But conversely, if a school were horrible (controlled by gangs, teachers molesting the students, girls raped on the schoolgrounds after school events while a crowd watches, few students graduating, a physically unsafe facility) it would be just as likely to get national and international coverage. The two tails of the distribution of quality would be equally noted and notable. Regional and national coverage of only the very best and very worst high schools would by GNG only leave them with articles, and would fail the gazetteer function for the middle 90%, which all have lots of local coverage and some regional coverage, since they compete with each other (in the US) at the state level in athletics, and in academic and arts competitions. Thus I support a general assumption of notability for all legitimate high schools (if not home schools and tiny private high school operations). Edison (talk) 17:07, 28 February 2012 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── elektrik, the notability guideline is not about the verifiability policy, which is related to the Neutral Point of View pillar. An article that is 100% based on verified reliable sources can still be deleted if all references are primary. Notability is about the Encyclopedia pillar, which is defined by what Wikipedia is not. Neutral and verified content that is not noticed by others should be better included inside an overarching article on a topic where is relevant. This is the meaning of notability, a style guideline for where content is better placed. Diego (talk) 12:37, 8 March 2012 (UTC)

Reread the first paragraph of WP:N. Unless I'm grossly misreading it, I don't see a contradiction. In any case, it really just feels like we're arguing over the same point. elektrikSHOOS (talk) 00:02, 9 March 2012 (UTC)


If I read it correctly, the discussion can be summarized in the following points:

  • Most people support the fact that schools must meet WP: GNG
  • There is disagreement or local resources are sufficient to proof of notability
  • There is disagreement over the use of reports ordered and paid by the government
  • There is support, but certainly no consensus, for the guidelines developed by me. Some things, such as age of the school, buildings and pupil numbers are controversial.

Is this correct? Night of the Big Wind talk 17:03, 14 February 2012 (UTC)

I think your summary is correct. I don't want this discussion to die off, so let's keep the momentum going. In your opinion, which is the more productive exercise: forming consensus on your second and third points, or further development of your guidelines? My preference would be to settle 2 and 3 one way or the other and use points 1-3 as a framework to develop a guideline, rather than trying to create guidelines based on numerical thresholds. LivitEh?/What? 14:30, 16 February 2012 (UTC)
I think whatever is decided the fairest thing would be to allow a month or two as a grace period possibly longer to allow editors to work on getting them up to scratch. Given this will be a substantial change that would be only fair. I actually think age could be reason depending on the school building it be listed or have historic significance as well. I also feel local sources if significantly substantial should be allowed along with other work to go towards GNG. Whatever the decision it has to be made clear that people must fully assess the articles before nominating as appears not to have been fully done by everyone recently because on the scale we are taking that could be a lot. I also agree the schools should be redirected to a parent article although at a few Afds they were redirected to articles that didn't actually have an appropriate section. Edinburgh Wanderer 14:56, 16 February 2012 (UTC)
As I've recommended, if there is a change towards school articles from OUTCOME, then a 6 to 12 month grandfathering should be used - articles created before a set date (eg say, March 1) are exempt from deletion processes (save for cases of copyvio or blatently false info) to allow editors time to improve, after which they are "Free game". This needs to have a site wide notice if this going to occur as well, and possible get a bot to point to a central page to describe this result (should it be implemented). --MASEM (t) 15:02, 16 February 2012 (UTC)
Agreed, and for sure this can be fully advertised (WP:CENT, etc.). So now what's next? LivitEh?/What? 15:54, 16 February 2012 (UTC)
A change to the inclusion guideline for schools would really need an RfC. A discussion at the pump among a few folks really shouldn't be the basis to claim consensus for a change of this magnitude. I'll create the RfC if no one else will, but I think those of you favoring the change should be the one to write it rather than someone who prefers the status quo. Masem, you want to give it a shot? Hobit (talk) 13:56, 17 February 2012 (UTC)
The RFC approach is probably right. The question is whether this is just about schools, just about local sources, or a combination of both? My take on this discussion, in combination with a similar thread about restaurant reviews at WP:ORG, suggests that we can resolve this with an RFC on the clarification of the use of local sources for notability indicators, but that's my take. We could just focus an RFC on the draft notability guideline for schools that has been presented, with any discussion of local sources specific to that writing, which might be easier to manage. --MASEM (t) 14:03, 17 February 2012 (UTC)
I support this. If a consensus is found about local sources for schools, its implications will likely extend slowly to all guidelines that have something to say about local sources - so why don't ask about them from the beginning? Diego (talk) 14:12, 17 February 2012 (UTC)
As I see it, this RfC is just one step towards consensus about "when is a school notable". The use of local sources and Government-reports are two related, but seperate issues. Only when they are solved, we can look at my draft (if that is still necessary then). Night of the Big Wind talk 16:47, 17 February 2012 (UTC)
  • I somewhat disagree with this summary, but mostly with the premise that there is a problem. Could someone
    • provide examples where we are keeping real high schools in English-speaking countries that don't meet WP:N? If there are none, I'm not sure what problem we are fixing.
    • explain why local sources aren't acceptable for schools (or anything else for that matter). WP:N is the general bar, I'm not seeing a reason to narrow it, especially for a topic that has had such broad support for inclusion in the past.
I continue to believe that many of you misunderstand "notability" as it exists on Wikipidia. It means "has been noted" (thus WP:N requiring sources, not national sources or sources that say it's cool) not "something special". Hobit (talk) 13:53, 17 February 2012 (UTC)
The problem with "notability" is that it depends on significant attention, and thus not all notice is valid. Many people are interpreting "local coverage" as essentialy not significant in any case (I for one don't agree with that). In the talk page of the "Notability (organizations)" guideline I have expressed my opinion about local sources in this and this threads, I think you may find it interesting. Diego (talk) 14:17, 17 February 2012 (UTC)
Some the reasons to consider against the use of "notability conferred only through local sources" includes:
  • The fact that WP is not an indiscriminate collection of information, but a summary. We can't cover everything that is of interest to at least one person, but instead must look when that topic is of interest to a larger group of people, and ideally more geographically diverse. Where that cutoff is can be difficult to assert, but starting from the idea of local coverage does provide a clean albeit slightly fuzzy breakpoint for this. This is supported by the fact that we don't really question the existence of articles on every recognized town and village in the world, but anything more specific than that tends to require better evidence for inclusion. This also helps to deal with issues of "local" works with regional or national or international readerships (eg New York Times), because we can easily determine when the paper is covering something "locally" and when it is covering something for the broader readership.
  • Systematic bias - Western/developed countries are clearly going to have local coverage from nearly every town and village; the same is just not true in undeveloped/third world countries. To at least counter some of that bias, it makes sense to limit coverage from local sources where these sources are aplenty, as opposed to expecting the undeveloped areas to eventually gain such sources (which is not necessary practical, possible, or foreseeable in the future).
  • Reliability. I am not saying that all local sources are not reliable, but that as you move from national to regional to local sources, both the reliable and the ability to judge that reliability gets weaker. Again, important to stress: just being a local source doesn't make one reliable, it's just that it can be difficult to affirm.
  • Independence. No, most local sources have no direct connection to the content they serve. But these sources, as they get more local, become more self-serving, viewing news through their local viewpoint. This is not necessary bad, but does put into question about the work's independence
  • Routine verses significant coverage. Local coverage tends to be more primary to the work in question than secondary. News blotters, results of elections, local happenings. Perfectly fine to source with, but without any type of secondary sourcing that considers analysis or evaluation or the like, it becomes difficult to write an article to explain how the local topic is important to the rest of the world.
I believe that our guidance should be to avoid asserting notability based on local sources only, but emphasis that consensus can override this in an IAR manner. Say that an old building lands on a historic building register simply due to age, but that's the only non-local information there is on it, but a local source puts out a very detailed history of the building after this fact (say, part of the Underground Railroad). Strict by-the-rules against local sources would say non-notable, but if that local source is known to be reliable and an expert on the subject of this area, consensus may allow for it. --MASEM (t) 16:38, 17 February 2012 (UTC)
A discussion about what is regarded a "local source" could be useful. Night of the Big Wind talk 17:00, 17 February 2012 (UTC)After a second reading, I can only support Masems stand with regard to local souces. In fact, it falls straight into the grey area of my draft. Some local sources can be reliable, some articles in national newspapers can be unreliable. Night of the Big Wind talk 18:44, 17 February 2012 (UTC)
I was going to offer to draft a RfC, but I think that Masem's point-by-point analysis above is 100% right on target. I further support making the RfC be about local notability in general and not restricting the issue to schools. We could point out the long-standing guidance at WP:ORG that in that subtopic local notability is not sufficient notability to warrant article creation. Masem, if you want help drafting an RfC, start something in your userspace and I'll edit it with you. A copy/paste of your points above would be an excellent starting point. LivitEh?/What? 17:39, 17 February 2012 (UTC)
I clearly support further comment on the school issue however does no one else think the local sourcing is more relevant to a RFC on GNG than schools. The likelihood of changing two issues at once is unlikely in my mind and altering other guidelines with the local sourcing issue to me really could just bog down the primary issue meaning that really nothing gets achieved. I really think the should be done separately.Edinburgh Wanderer 18:27, 17 February 2012 (UTC)
    • I'm likely to be off-line for 8-48 hours, so I'll throw my quick 2 cents in. I think local sources are perfectly fine for most topics. I further think that the long-standing consensus that "high schools" are so commonly notable that they can be assumed to be notable (until proven otherwise) is unlikely to have changed. Further, I think the way we counter systematic bias is to be more inclusive, not less. If the sources exist in English, they likely exist (for "foreign" schools) in their own languages. Just figure out exactly what changes you want and develop an RfC. Hobit (talk) 18:40, 17 February 2012 (UTC)
    When this RfC is translated into policy, I think it will have the effect of assuming that school are not notable, unless proven otherwise. (You have to proof that a school satisfies WP:GNG). The current use is to assume that they are notable, unless you can not proof that it exists.
    To grandfather an article for a certain amount of time, seems the wrong way to me. I prefer a list of schools with notability problems, filled by everyone who desires so. The "project" will protect the articles against serial-nominators and the likes. Editors can claim an article to work on what prevents double work. Night of the Big Wind talk 18:56, 17 February 2012 (UTC)
    I'd just urge you to start the RfC and propose exactly what you are looking for. I don't think you have the numbers (in terms of total folks or their agreement) to claim you have consensus for a change at this time (I can't tell if you are claiming there should be an RfC or there has been an RfC...) OK, finally out of here... Hobit (talk) 19:28, 17 February 2012 (UTC)
    Agreed, let's get the ball rolling. WT:N is probably the best place to post the actual RFC. If Masem doesn't want to draft it, I will, but I'd give him first whack at it, since any attempt I make will be heavily plagiarized from his comments in this thread. LivitEh?/What? 19:37, 17 February 2012 (UTC)
    I am interested in draft an RFC but this gets complicated rather quickly. Points to consider:
    • It's not just a WP:N issue. It affects all the other subject-specific guides for notability, as well as our sourcing policies in general.
    • It ties in with the current discussion on WP:ORG regarding restaurant reviews...
    • ...and because of that, it also ties in WP:ROUTINE that is over on WP:NEVENT.
    • It also needs to be clear that we are starting on the basis of secondary schools - until now a common OUTCOME - but that the change will affect those articles if its agreed, and possibly others, and thus we also need a process to discuss how to deal with such articles that may suddenly may be no longer notable (the grandfathering aspects I have alluded to).
    This is a potentially significant change , though it more comes to the idea of consistency verses consensus rather than introducing something totally new. As such while I know what to ask in an RFC I can't write one immediately just yet as I still feel that we've got the full picture of what's desired yet. --MASEM (t) 21:30, 17 February 2012 (UTC)
  • I think we need to clarify first of all what exactly is meant by local sources. Local sources are effectively offline resources. I can only talk about my experience of working on articles on English schools. Schools, especially once they get to a certain age, will often be covered in books about the town or village where they are located. These books are usually not scanned and made available on Google Books, but will be freely available in the relevant local library and of course anyone with an interest in the subject, wherever they are in the world, can easily buy the book. Often when a school celebrates a particular milestone like a 50-year or 100-year anniversary then a book will be written by a local history society or perhaps volunteers from the Parent Teachers’ Association. While we shouldn’t rely on a single source, such a book would provide the basis for locating additional sources to cite. Schools can sometimes be very difficult to research online because the school name often changes over the years. Recent news stories are freely available online, and nineteenth-century local British newspapers are available online with a subscription. However, twentieth-century local papers are only available on microfilm in a local library or by visiting the British Library newspaper collection in North London. The problem, therefore, is not so much with the quality of the sources but the fact that they are not easily accessible online. Decisions about notability always seem to be based on the availability of internet sources, hence we have thousands of articles on trivial subjects which have multiple online sources. It is much more difficult to write articles about historical subjects, including schools, unless you have access to the offline resources. Take at look at three contrasting school articles which illustrate the problems quite well. The Hyde Park Junior School has now survived two AfDs. On the last occasion a local editor was able to access some books about the town to provide some additional information about the school, and has produced an interesting article. Compare this article with a typical American high school article such as Lockland High School which I selected at random. It has a fair few references but little in the way of interesting, noteworthy or encyclopaedic content. There must be thousands of similar such articles. On the other hand we have African schools such as the Arch-Bishop Okoth Ojolla Girls School which is potentially quite a noteworthy school but is supported by little in the way of reliable sources. Schools have always had to comply with WP:GNG. The problem has always been with how the guideline is applied. Some editors will insist that schools should have some notable (ie, out of the ordinary or “noteworthy”) aspects to merit an article, whereas other editors are happy to accept articles so long as they are properly sourced. The question of whether content is “run-of-the-mill” is always very subjective. The current way that the guidelines are interpreted seems to make it very difficult for articles like Hyde Park Junior School and African schools to exist while encouraging the creation of endless bog standard American high schools. Dahliarose (talk) 00:02, 18 February 2012 (UTC)
    • Local sources and being online sources are two completely separate matters. We should not be confusing these when it comes to notability (as notability is completely ignorant by design whether sources are online or not). --MASEM (t) 01:18, 18 February 2012 (UTC)
    To my opinion, the bar must be raised quite high to sift out the “run-of-the-mill”. I do not think that that will give significant problems, our African friends will be creative enough to come up with proper sources. Maybe they need some guidance for that, but as you said, there will be written sources available to them. I does not matter in what language they are. It is better to have a chat about the sources, then learn them that sourcing is not necessary.
    And to me, a “run-of-the-mill” school is a school that just do it teaching. Proper and thorough, without special highlights. Schools are supposed to teach, so that alone does not make them notable. They need to have something extra to make them notable. And that can be everything, positive or negative. Night of the Big Wind talk 01:34, 18 February 2012 (UTC)
Hobit is right in his comment above - you're confounding importance with notability, which has nothing to do with "being special". Notability is designed to outsource the call for importance to third parties, so that we can have an objective criterion by which collect information. To show a topic notable we just have to find it being noted in a significant way - we only have to decide on the level of coverage, never directly on which highlights the topic may have. Run-of-the-mill has always been a somewhat misguided essay in this sense, because it centers around the topic more than the sources. Diego (talk) 10:49, 18 February 2012 (UTC)
No, I am not confusing them. A notable, not-"run of the mill" school will show that "special" or "important" bit. Unless ypou can show me a school dat is notable, not-"run of the mill" and not special or important. Night of the Big Wind talk 16:58, 18 February 2012 (UTC)
I shouldn't have to show that thing to write an article, I should only have to show a school that somebody has written about. That's the whole point of notability, that we don't get to decide what is run of the mill, special nor important; we go by what others have found interesting, and we just decide whether to trust them. Diego (talk) 21:36, 18 February 2012 (UTC)
Point is that we most proof that a school is notable and that is more then proofing that a school exists. If you can only proof that a certain school exists, there is a big chance that somebody will nominate that article for deletion due to being run-of-the-mill. It may not be in the rules or guidelines, but it is working that way... Night of the Big Wind talk 23:31, 19 February 2012 (UTC)
We agree that notability is more than proof that a school exists. But it is less than being special or important; if you require that the school has something special you are placing a more strict requirement than the GNG. The point between "it exists" and "it's important" is what we call notability and it only requires that someone has noticed it, not that someone thinks the school is special. There's a reason why Run-of-the-mill is not a guideline - it can be successfully contested at AfD under strict notability criteria. Diego (talk) 13:28, 20 February 2012 (UTC)
LOL, this is becoming a discussing on the square millimeter. Isn't it that something extra, that something special or important, that makes a school stand out of the crowd and make it noteworthy? How can a school be noteworthy, if they do nothing to get the attention to be noted? (In fact, this discussion doesn't matter at all. Accidents get AfD-ed and get rescued till they are safe loud and clear. Or they get deleted/merged/redirected, when there are no extra sourced to back up the claim for notability. Just part of the process. Feel free to plea, and so.) Night of the Big Wind talk 14:09, 20 February 2012 (UTC)
    • Local sources and being online sources are two completely separate matters. We should not be confusing these when it comes to notability (as notability is completely ignorant by design whether sources are online or not). --MASEM (t) 01:18, 18 February 2012 (UTC)
      • But how do we judge notability if we cannot access the relevant offline sources? Do we simply permit stubs for certain types of article on the assumption that offline sources will exist? If not then we bias the whole of Wikipedia in favour of articles on topical subjects that are readily verifiable. Dahliarose (talk) 01:55, 18 February 2012 (UTC)
            • No, the author still has to give his/her sources. Online of offline makes no difference. In English, in Dutch or in a language I have never heard off, also makes no difference. The source has to be given. Sooner or later someone will have access to that source (while mastering the language) and check it. Unfortunately, we can only hope it is not a bogus source.Night of the Big Wind talk 00:20, 20 February 2012 (UTC)
        • Yes.
        • And I'm not trying to be terse here, but this is a long-running question and one that WP:V addresses. As long as someone (not anyone) can access the source, we assume good faith that the editor has stated what they added that's attributed to that source (including the aspect of notability). If its a problem that the source is inaccessable within reasonable limits, that's the only time we disallow such sources. --MASEM (t) 02:15, 18 February 2012 (UTC)
But this is the whole crux of the problem. We're not talking about verifying individual facts but establishing whether or not sufficient sources exist to write an article. Some editors will argue that an article should remain because sufficient offline sources will exist. Other editors will argue that the article should be deleted because the only sources that can be found online do not establish notability. Neither viewpoint can be proven without checking the offline sources. Take the school I cited earlier Lockland High School. As it stands, it probably doesn't pass WP:N as the few sources that have been found do not support a proper article. I would argue that such an article should stand because there must be numerous local and offline sources available for a school which has been established for over 60 years but it is impossible to prove one way or another. Dahliarose (talk) 15:28, 18 February 2012 (UTC)
Yes, that's an issue, but we cannot restrict local sources simply because they tend to be offline. In fact, putting any weight on favoring sources that are online over offline is completely against WP:V's policy. But remember, we're talking about people that have identified specific sources (and can provide basic fundamental citation information for anyone else to locate) that simply might be offline and take effort to locate, and those that simply claim there must be offline sources but never named it. We accept the former's claims on good faith, but the latter is not an argument with weight at AFD or other discussions. --MASEM (t) 15:43, 18 February 2012 (UTC)
The problem is that for articles about local subjects you can't identify the offline sources unless you live in the country in question. This results in recentism and systemic bias. We have thousands of articles about American high schools but only a handful of articles about African schools. I don't know how we get the balance right. Dahliarose (talk) 16:56, 18 February 2012 (UTC)
The first part - about being in the country that the works are published in - is something WP:V acknowledges and something we can't change. But we can change the systematic bias issue due to the fact that local sources are readily available in some parts of the world, and not at all in others. If we could reasonably expect that the rest of the world would ultimately have the same type of local coverage, then there's less a problem keeping articles based on local sources only. But this prospect is very unlikely to happen in our lifetimes due to a number of sociopolitical factors. Instead, we can counter the bias by stating that notability demonstrable only by local sources is not appropriate, which now puts all schools (and other topics) to have regional or better sourcing for notability. It's not perfectly even, but it certainly removes the bias and recentism issue. --MASEM (t) 17:02, 18 February 2012 (UTC)
This is again all gets back to the question of how you define local sources. Sources on schools in an African country are only likely to be available in that country. There might be significant coverage in the national newspapers in that country but unless you live in the country you are unable to access these sources. Dahliarose (talk) 17:08, 18 February 2012 (UTC)
The issue around local sources has nothing to do with access to local sources, it is the target coverage that local sources purportedly aim for and what makes them inappropriate as demonstration of notability. Per WP:V Verifiability in this context means that other people should be able to check that material in a Wikipedia article has been published by a reliable source. The principle of verifiability implies nothing about ease of access to sources: some online sources may require payment, while some print sources may be available only in university libraries. We cannot alter that. --MASEM (t) 17:44, 18 February 2012 (UTC)
I have never understood why "if the target coverage is local, that makes them inappropriate as demonstration of notability". Can you elaborate on what makes you think that way? I can understand that it might correlate to not being independent, or that sources aiming for exhaustive coverage may make them routine; but in that case the reasons for the inappropriate notability are those specific causes, not for being local. Diego (talk) 21:52, 18 February 2012 (UTC)
I also don't really understand this concern. For many topics a local source will be the most reliable source. As an example, if you want detailed accurate information about a tiny village, the best source would usually be the local history society who would probably have published a local journal for many years with numerous detailed articles. I don't see why a source like this shouldn't be preferred over a general book covering an entire county or country. National newspapers often get their facts wrong about local issues but local papers are more reliable for factual local content. Dahliarose (talk) 23:46, 18 February 2012 (UTC)
────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Again, I have to go back to the 5 points I had above.
We are a tertiary source, meant to summarize information. To that extent, we have to recognize there is a bound to detailed information that is only of interest to a smaller group of people compared to all mankind - there is some line that is drawn. Clearly, things only local to literally a few people should not be included, while topics that reach interested people in the millions are clearly worth including. We have to have a line somewhere between there. The local level is immediately that line or just below it, in that going more narrower than local sources means that we likely no longer have reliable, unbiased sourcing, while sourcing at the higher levels are generally going to be easy to judge for reliability and independence. But we could draw that line higher than local sources, due to the fact that not every local area has a local source, thus creating systematic bias towards more developed countries. This is what is done in ORG and in NSPORT to prevent everyday business and local, non-pro athletes that may frequently be reported at the local to be excluded (in so far we don't have a stand-alone article for them.)
Remember: this does not prevent the use of local sources as reliable sources for general verified information, as has Dahliarose states, they sometimes are more accurate than any broader source. But accuracy is not the same as notability. If no one else in the world has shown interest in that one topic detailed at the local level, then that makes those details extraneous for ourselves as s tertiary work. --MASEM (t) 00:31, 19 February 2012 (UTC)
Ah, here's the core tenet of disagreement. "Nothing human is alien to me"; Wikipedia is not supposed to leave topics outside because they are of interest to few people. We have drawn a line already and it says nothing about a number too small of people interested in a topic; but quite the contrary.
The essence of what can be included is the Neutral Point of View pillar; thus accuracy is more important than notability, since it's what guarantees neutrality. Unlike WP:NPOV, which is a pillar itself, Notability is about the "encyclopedia" pillar, but what's encyclopedic is defined in the negative. Thus WP:N is just an organization principle; it's used as a guideline on when an article will likely not meet the policies founded on the pillars (in the same way that WP:V and WP:OR are "just" guides to ensure WP:NPOV). The problem with the deletionism philosophy is that they want to establish Notability as the sixth pillar with a meaning of "importance", but this runs against the "all human knowledge" motto at the core of Wikipedia. Unless editors of your same opinion recognize that the current consensual guidelines are built around content quality and not importance, there's no chance to build a new consensus on local sources.
I think there's also a misunderstanding of what WP:INDISCRIMINATE means. As it's currently written in policy, it only warns against raw dumps of data. Anything meaningful has a place even if it's not important to the rest of the world, because being important to the world is not a requirement - obscure topics are fine; what's required is that enough context is provided to establish what the information means, what topics it relates to and where it's situated.
The five points you stated above are a good place to start building a guideline. But they should be seen as heuristics, to detect when sources are not providing enough quality to build a neutral and accurate article - not as the default position with which to exclude articles as you suggested at 16:38, 17 February. Diego (talk) 12:08, 19 February 2012 (UTC)

All sources should be judged on a case-by-case basis due to the huge differences in quality and availability of the local sources. The bottom line is WP:GNG. Availability of many sources raises the threshold of quality of the sources. Lack of sources does not lower them below WP:GNG. No sources, no article. Night of the Big Wind talk 00:06, 20 February 2012 (UTC)

I strongly disagree with the conclusion, which is in opposition to basic WP:Deletion policy. First, according to the Deletion Policy guideline, nothing has absolutely to meet WP:GNG--its merely the usual criterion. The guideline there states very specifically that it does not apply in all cases. Second, it's in opposition to consistent practice on hundreds of articles, as which is that secondary schools are almost always kept on AfD , generally with the explanation for those who insist on the GNG that they are presumed to meet the GNG. DGG ( talk ) 17:53, 22 February 2012 (UTC)
This discussion is revolving around some type of formalization of the acceptance of school articles for inclusion, so while OUTCOMES currently says that, this is anticipated to change. Whether the change is to create a NSCHOOLS subject-specific guideline, or whether to have schools be determined notable by the GNG, that's unclear yet. So we're looking at a "consensus can change" scenario. What exactly the change is is what this discussion is about, and how to approach a larger RFC to present to the community on these aspects. --MASEM (t) 18:06, 22 February 2012 (UTC)

Full Stop

Can we go back to the discussion about the notability of schools please? The discussion about what are "proper sources" is turning ugly and out of scope of this RfC (if not, I, as starter of this RfC, declare it out of scope).

Back to the summary. Let us talk about the the use of reports ordered and paid by the government. Are reports, ordered and paid by the government, independent enough to proof notability? Night of the Big Wind talk 00:06, 20 February 2012 (UTC)

There should be no doubt they are independent. They accurately display whether a school is up to standard or not. They aren't biased towards them its the government that look bad is schools are failing not Ofsted or similar organisations. As raised above do schools come under WP:ORG if they do which i feel they do then possibly. However i would say they dont meet it alone. Again though this is a different topic you need to establish whether schools need to meet GNG if they do then this conversation is valid if they don't then there really is no point to this. There is isn't enough of cosensus above to change from the staus quo at present mainly because its been muddied so much. Change and or firmer guidelines are needed but a firm consenus is required to overhaul it. I suggest once its clear what route were going down then look at other points.Edinburgh Wanderer 00:24, 20 February 2012 (UTC)
I severely doubt if the reports are independent. If someone places an order with you, you deliver what your client wants. And that is not necessary the best availble (or in this case: the full truth). Night of the Big Wind talk 01:32, 20 February 2012 (UTC)
They are totally independent the government does not tell them what to wright. They can fail schools if they wish which happens frequently to say they print what the client wants is wrong they are a totally independent organisation as stated below [[ombudsman] like you need to look into it further. But as I've said above do schools come under WP:ORG or not because that has a baring on my answer. However you need more than a ofsted report to fill out an article but it certainly contributes as its coverage of the school in reliable secondary sources. It may not be enough in total but it cant be excluded alltogether Edinburgh Wanderer 16:49, 20 February 2012 (UTC)
Night: you have to consider these reports (and similar reports in Australia, "Annual School Reports" and information published on to be a little bit more than reports ordered for and paid by the government. An ombudsman-like independent authority assesses schools against a particular predetermined standard. The reports are effectively statutory like the publication of census data or some such. ˜danjel [ talk | contribs ] 07:04, 20 February 2012 (UTC)
Wait a minute, is someone saying that Ofsted (etc.) reports are sources sufficient to pass WP:GNG? That's ludicrous. Notability is supposed to be a measure as to whether or not the rest of the world has taken notice of a subject. These are reports that are, as far as I know, either mandated or highly recommended by law. No one is taking notice of the school, other than the fact that it exists and therefore must be written about. That's like saying that the existence of a publicly available environmental impact report for a new building by Company X somehow indicates notability of that building (or company, for that matter). That's like saying that a legal decision imputes notability upon the person whom the court is passing judgment on. Note that I'm not disputing that Ofsted reports are in depth--I'm disputing that they are not run-of-the-mill. Danjel, your use of the word statutory, in fact, points to exactly why these reports do not in any way establish notability. The reports are definitely useful as reliable sources, they're just not in any way useful for establishing notability (if we decide that schools need to establish notability). Apologies if I've misunderstood--there's a lot to process here. Qwyrxian (talk) 08:12, 20 February 2012 (UTC)
I suppose you're right in regards to run of the mill Oftsed reports, but those aren't the ones I'm more interested in. Consistently good reports from Ofsted (or consistently good results in MySchool or whatever the local equivalent is) would strongly suggest that the school is doing something notably interesting in terms of its educational programs or that there is some other notable reason for its good results. Educational programs being the core business of schools, this would be something which would need to be investigated.
In any case, I'm mainly addressing the concern that Ofsted reports (and similar) are (or are not) WP:RS. ˜danjel [ talk | contribs ] 08:29, 20 February 2012 (UTC)
In regard to the consistently good reports, while you might wish to argue that they're necessary to justify an article, they aren't of any use in notability. The question is whether or not consistently good reports is an indicator of the existence of sufficient coverage in independent reliable sources to create the article. As they don't do that, they aren't an indicator that a school is notable.
This is my main concern with the proposed criteria. It isn't a school's importance that is the primary concern, but the extent and nature of the coverage of the school in reliable sources. Importance only comes into play if it is an indicator of the existence of such coverage, or if we wish to use it to exclude some schools that would otherwise pass the GNG. - Bilby (talk) 08:52, 20 February 2012 (UTC)
Government reports on schools are reliable sources which can be used to reference school articles. The point about government reports, however, is that they do not on their own provide sufficient material to write an encyclopaedic article about a school. Government reports are not concerned with topics like the history of a school or the notable alumni who attended a school. OFSTED reports for English schools are often quite lengthy and can be a good source for the numbers of pupils at the school and the recent awards won by the school, but there's little else in the reports that can be used to construct an article. In practice any school that's been around for 50 or 100 years will have had masses of stuff written about it other than routine government reports. Dahliarose (talk) 15:15, 20 February 2012 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────In my opinion, these reports are reliable, but they do not give any indication towards notability. Reports such as these are done on every school in a state/county/nation/district/whatever. This fact alone indicates that being the subject of such a report is not notabile, it is routine. This is the same argument that I have with local coverage—my argument is that every high school with an (American) football program is going to have articles written about that program in the local newspaper. This is routine coverage. The notable football programs are the ones that are written up in newspapers of larger circulation, or that cover a larger area.

And with all due respect to Night, the two discussions are linked... "proper" sources denote notability. If we want to limit our scope to schools, then we can do so—the precedent to state "some sources prove notability more than others" is already in WP:CORPDEPTH. Let's just Again, with all respect, I think that setting up guidelines with numerical thresholds of criteria is the wrong way to go... In my opinion, defining what sources establish notability, and then letting the evaluation of those sources be done by intelligent editors is the correct approach. Even WP:SCHOOL states that school articles should meet WP:ORG, and WP:ORG contains the warning about local sources. And it seems like only high schools are, by tradition, presumed notable without needing to meet the notability criteria of ORG. So if we could just get consensus that high schools also have to meet SCHOOL/ORG/GNG, then we'd be done here. LivitEh?/What? 16:57, 21 February 2012 (UTC)

I think you took the wrong turn, Livitup! The next section seeks an answer on the question: do we need guidelines at all. So discussing the contents of a personal draft is out of place here. Night of the Big Wind talk 21:20, 21 February 2012 (UTC)
I helped write the wording at WP:SCHOOLS, and while it does indicate that both guidelines can be applied to schools, the wording at WP:N is clear - an article has to pass the GNG or a SNG; one or the other, not both. There is nothing about local sources in the GNG, and given the outcome of the straw poll and previous discussions on the issue, at best, there is no consensus on the issue. The term "routine" isn't in the GNG either, though it is present on the WP:N page in relation to events or single topic coverage only. CT Cooper · talk 18:19, 21 February 2012 (UTC)


As most of you know, I have been fooling around to make draft for guidelines: User:Night of the Big Wind/Notability of schools. At the present state of the discussion I have an important question regarding to them: Do we need still Guidelines? If so, anybody interested in working on them in a kind of working group to make them ready for an official presentation? Night of the Big Wind talk 14:32, 21 February 2012 (UTC)

I'm not sure we are massively further forward from where we were when this started as there isnt a great deal of consnsus eithier way. Other than non notable scholls should be redirected to a partent article rather than deleted on every occasion. Im happy to help although dont have much time once I'm finished on the footy stuff but if others want to I will as much as I can.Edinburgh Wanderer 14:48, 21 February 2012 (UTC)
To my opinion, the big gain up until now is not so much seen in consensus. The disappearence of "we were used to do it this way", "Common Outcomes served us well" and "schools are automatically notable", all three without any questioning why, is the big gain. There is now discussion possible about what to do next. I agree, we have a long and difficult way to go, but instead of being in the trenches surrounded by minefield and barbed wire, we are now at the negotiating table. No matter what the results, that is a major progress! Night of the Big Wind talk 15:35, 21 February 2012 (UTC)
If anyone is interested in taking this forward then they might like to refer to all the previous failed school guidelines which are linked from this page: Wikipedia:Schools. There is also further guidance at Wikipedia:WikiProject Schools/Article guidelines which does have consensus, though I've just noticed that it does contain contradictory statements on whether non-notable schools should be merged or redirected. Dahliarose (talk) 15:50, 21 February 2012 (UTC)
  • Comment - Get in touch with me if you ever do launch these proposed guidelines for decision, I'd very much like to make the counter case that their adoption would make for a logistical catastrophe at AfD. An elementary school receives a "significant award" for the quality of its teaching and is in!?? What about if it got an ambiguously "significant" award in 1976 once? Can you not see how you are opening Pandora's box here? Common Outcomes have served us well, and I can explain how and why. Carrite (talk) 16:34, 21 February 2012 (UTC)
Can you explain why high schools are exempt from GNG and the notability guidelines of WP:ORG, which WP:SCHOOLS states school articles should meet? LivitEh?/What? 16:59, 21 February 2012 (UTC)
A logistical nightmare can be avoided when we start a list where "troubled articles" are identified for rescue. Something like this: User:Night of the Big Wind/Schools with notability problems. Night of the Big Wind talk 17:17, 21 February 2012 (UTC)

As I've been thinking about what an RFC might look like to publish to the wider community to get input on, I've realized that the larger question to ask first is: "Do we want WP to include coverage of all secondary schools?" - once we know the general answer to that, we can write the guidelines to meet that. This has to be answered in the light of at least four additional questions:

  • "What makes the inclusion of secondary schools more important that primary schools?"
  • "What makes the inclusion of secondary schools more important than commercial businesses, religious buildings, or government institutions?" * "What makes the inclusion of secondary schools more important than other educational facilities (religious, accredited or not, etc.)?"
  • "Can it be possible to make an encyclopedic-quality article on every secondary school?"

(Please don't answer these now, this is food for thought). Presumably, if there's wide consensus that the main question is answered affirmatively, we will have hopefully gotten enough answers in the other four questions to make other establishing "rules" for school inclusion and the use of local sources.

What makes this a more difficult issue than it seems is that if we do allow local sources for notability, then absolutely all schools - including primary - are notable, but then this means many local businesses, etc. are also notable. What I believe the issue needs to be centered around is a willingness to recognize appropriate depth of coverage for Wikipedia, and can we have generalized guidelines (eg restricting the use of local sources as notability indicators) or do we need to carve out specific exceptions that override other guidelines. I don't personally have a good feel on which way consensus is on this, and hence the right RFC to flesh it out.

I'm still working out the shape of this RFC to get the most bang for the buck. But I would point out that the guidelines suggested may be a fallout from this RFC (eg why I'm asking about importance). --MASEM (t) 17:57, 21 February 2012 (UTC)

The answer on your question "Do we want WP to include coverage of all secondary schools?" is simpel: No, we only want those schools covered in Wikipedia that satisfy WP:GNG. Night of the Big Wind talk 21:15, 21 February 2012 (UTC)
You did see the part that I said "don't answer this now", right? :) I think consensus thinks the answer is no, but I can't start there. Hence an RFC to get that ball rolling. --MASEM (t) 21:31, 21 February 2012 (UTC)
We don't want Wikipedia to cover all secondary schools by default because, with the best will in the world, not all secondary schools will ever be able meet WP:GNG. Any guideline would have to apply not just to a few countries but to all countries in the world. You'd end up with lots of single sentence stubs that would be prone to vandalism and would be a nightmare to maintain, especially if we don't have editors with sufficient knowledge of Chinese, Japanese, etc to check that the sources cited are valid. See this article as an example that's just come up at AfD: Arben Broci High School, Tirana. Given time it might be possible for any good editor to write a reasonably encyclopaedic well sourced article on this school but there aren't enough editors with the time and inclination to do this sort of work. A more pertinent question would be should every single secondary school be covered in the appropriate locality article if sufficient material is not available to produce a standalone article? Dahliarose (talk) 21:46, 21 February 2012 (UTC)
That's what you think, that's what I think, and that's probably what a few others thing. The point is that that doesn't necessarily reflect consensus. Hence the need for an RFC to establish that, because that's unclear. --MASEM (t) 22:52, 21 February 2012 (UTC)
I'm not au fait with all the procedures but if you think that an RFC would establish a consensus once and for all so that we have a foundation to work on then it would be worthwhile. I know there are many editors who trot out the line "all high schools are notable" but I think they really mean all American high schools not all secondary schools worldwide. Dahliarose (talk) 23:00, 21 February 2012 (UTC)
em thats a bit short sighted All American. What about all British or all Spanish or all German for that matter remember wiki is world wide not just in the the US.Edinburgh Wanderer 23:04, 21 February 2012 (UTC)
I've only ever seen people claim that all "high schools" are notable. High school is a term mostly used in the US, and it seems to be mostly US editors who make that claim. This is actually one of the problems with any RFC as you would have to get the terminology right. Secondary school is the more widely used term in Europe. I'm not even sure what the overall term is in Germany for their various types of schools. See: Education in Germany.
I live in Scotland part of the uk and I went to a High School Firrhill High School also Boroughmuir High School and many more. Edinburgh Wanderer 10:30, 22 February 2012 (UTC)
I believe the term was invented in Scotland, or at least according to our Wiki article on High school! The varying uses of the terminology in the UK is confusing to say the least! Dahliarose (talk) 11:17, 22 February 2012 (UTC)
To make it worse: "Technische Hogeschool Twente" is the former name of the University of Twente. Just as we had the "Technische Hoogeschool van Delft", now the Delft University of Technology. They, and several other, were promoted to universities to make room for more practical "hogescholen" (contrary to the more theoratical universities). I attended the "Hanzehogeschool Groningen" (in English: Hanze University of Applied Sciences, Groningen. So in my opinion, the use of the word "highschool" is dangerous and can lead to misunderstandings. Night of the Big Wind talk 14:30, 22 February 2012 (UTC)
That's very interesting. Perhaps "dangerous" is not the best choice of words but it is certainly confusing to say the least. You've also got the problem of former communist countries which have middle schools providing the final stage of secondary education. I try and use the phrase "institutions providing the final stage of secondary education" to avoid ambiguity. Another problem is that these schools aren't all equivalent in different countries. American high schools only cover the last four years of secondary education. Most European schools cover the last seven years of secondary education from age 11 to 18. In England we have some large sixth form colleges which are for students doing A levels (the last two years of education). There are private schools that might provide education from 3 to 18, but some are very small and I doubt sufficient sources would exist to write articles about all of them. I would imagine there are many schools in Africa that probably only educate children up to the age of about fourteen, but I see no reason why such a school should be considered less notable than a bog-standard four-year American high school simply because of the age of the children it educates. Phrasing an RFC to cover all these complexities is possibly quite challenging. Dahliarose (talk) 15:43, 22 February 2012 (UTC)
Aha, more trouble on the radar Face-smile.svg As far as I know, primary schools in the Netherlands and Ireland cater for the age bracket 4-12. Secondary schools cater for the age bracket 12-17/18. Night of the Big Wind talk 15:54, 22 February 2012 (UTC)

Back to ther original question, but now better worded: Do we need Guidelines to clarify WP:GNG? Night of the Big Wind talk 21:23, 21 February 2012 (UTC)

No GNG is pretty clear. Do we need proper school guidelines yes.Edinburgh Wanderer 22:40, 21 February 2012 (UTC)
Edinburgh, the PWP:Deletion Policy is in fact pretty clear that while the GNG is the usual guideline, it is not the only one. We can make whatever exceptions have consensus. Personally, I don't particularly care whether the default is to include all high schools or not--I am not a fan of local notability, What I do care about is reducing the burden on AfD. Back when we were debating notability of schools we had dozens of school AfDs a week, and great time and ingenuity was spent on them--all of which is really unnecessary, for it doesn't make a difference whether of not borderline high school are included. The usual critical issue was both the use of local sources, and whether the sources gave substantial coverage. That last point is normally interpreted however the participants in a given AfD choose, as an examination of any day;s AfDs will demonstrate. I ask those who wish to disturb one of the few balances we have, whether there are not much more important problems hereto be worked on, uch as the unreferenced articles, and the large amount on new and old promotional content? Compared to those, what difference does it make what we do with high schools?
Night, we need first of all a question of whether the GNG should in fact be applicable, because the standard outcome has been to ignore it. Then, if we decide it is applicable, the guidelines being talked about are actually the ones for LOCAL, and well affect a great many articles of various types. This is going to end as a very wide ranging discusssion, and I ask you, as I asked Edinborough, whether we shouldn't leave well enough alone and concentrate on promotionalism and other genuine problems. DGG ( talk ) 18:04, 22 February 2012 (UTC)
It is Edinburgh the capital city of Scotland. But yes I'm fully aware that there are other guideline that apply. I don't think GNG should be changed there isn't anything wrong with it. And we do need proper school guidelines yes even if its just the current common outcomes properly put down. There is not enough consensus for anything here its very mixed. I would much rather focus on content but as long as these issues come up they do need discussed.Edinburgh Wanderer 20:09, 22 February 2012 (UTC)
Did you read this discussion? It is pretty clear that most people think that articles on schools, regardless of level, should satisfy WP:GNG. The point is now how to determine notability. What can we use and what can't we use, guidelines on top of WP:GNG or guidelines just to explain and clarify WP:GNG and so on. Do you want a strawpoll or an offical vote on this, DGG? Night of the Big Wind talk 19:19, 22 February 2012 (UTC)
I don't thinks thats the case actually night. The consensus isn't totally clear above its fairly mixed and not enough to develop consensus. Yes that guidelines need to be properly laid out and determined but not exactly where the bar should be set. And if you want to change GNG you'll need to start a full RFC on that as you will need a lot more input than you have here as that is a far more wider reaching issue than schools.Edinburgh Wanderer 20:09, 22 February 2012 (UTC)
I think I don't understand you. This RfC is about the question Should secondary schools/highschools meet the standards of Wikipedia:Notability#General notability guideline or are they exempt from that? Unless I have read it hopelessly wrong, in general the answer is: "yes, they should meet the standards of WP:GNG."
A related question, but not directly part of it, is the question: "And how do we determine the notability of schools?" To put it mildly: we have not yet an answer on that. Night of the Big Wind talk 21:49, 22 February 2012 (UTC)
The question of inclusion of schools is very very closely tied with the concept of local sources; the questions can't be separated, or at least at first blush. I am narrowing the idea of a larger RFC that asks the question: "Should we have stand-alone articles on every secondary school?" that will have 6 possible answers:
  • "Yes, we should, irregardless of all other policy/guideline" (result: OUTCOMES remains unchanged)
  • "Yes, we should as they will meet the GNG with allowance for local sources" (result: some guidance on local sources at WP:N, possibly approve the SNG propsed for schools)
  • "Yes, we should by specialized notability criteria" (result: we seek to approve the school SNG that has been proposed here)
  • "No, unless they meet the GNG with allowance for local sources (result: some guidance on local sources at WP:N)
  • "No, unless they meet the GNG without allownance for local sources (result: some guideance on local sources at WP:N)
  • "No, unless they meet specific criteria" (result: approach the school SNG )
There may be other answers, but these are the 6 that I see as giving reasonably clear guidance as to what the next step is. That's why this is a complicated question. We could just ask if OUTCOMES for secondary schools hold true, but that doesn't get to the point of the matter about local sourcing and the like. --MASEM (t) 14:36, 23 February 2012 (UTC)
The first option is in fact nothing else then a friendly wording of "yes, and we don't gave a s**t that we override other policies. We are right anyway."
And there is a fourth no-option: "No, they just have to meet WP:GNG. It up to the author to proof the notability." Night of the Big Wind talk 16:03, 23 February 2012 (UTC)
The first one is an opinion that has been expressed and while it may seem a blatant insult to notability, it is a possible option to consider. That is, effectively what we have now.
And the fourth one is important to understand that it removes the immediate allowance for secondary schools just because they are secondary sources, and yes, requires GNG meeting. Again also a valid option from this discussion. --MASEM (t) 16:11, 23 February 2012 (UTC)

I think a notability guideline on schools would be long overdue. However, I also believe that most of the articles on schools should be merged to articles on the town or city, occasionally merging them to "education" articles for municipalities with a sizable population and multiple schools. People citing local sources together with WP:GNG in order to justify "keep ALL the articles" are misunderstanding and abusing the guideline, in my opinion. Applying that principal we would pretty much have to accept articles on every hometown hero and local politician the world over. Not. Going. To. Happen.--The Devil's Advocate (talk) 19:40, 6 March 2012 (UTC)

The next step

To me, this RfC looks ready to be closed. Not that we have a strict consensus on the full issue, but we have made a big progress. In my opinion, the RfC can be closed as an "in general opinion that all school-articles should meet WP:GNG". Not enough for a policy change right now, but good enough for further discussion. Essential is that we start need seperate RfCs on the use of locals sources and on the need and type of Guidelines (on top of WP:GNG, a help page related to schools & notability or something in between). The contents of the Guidelines is a separate discussion. Night of the Big Wind talk 16:03, 23 February 2012 (UTC)

Clearly this is not a valid conclusion of the discussion, but is your opinion only. A better summary is that secondary school articles are expected to pass GNG without actual proof, and are therefore kept. Graeme Bartlett (talk) 11:36, 24 February 2012 (UTC)
Interesting personal opinion. But with a discussion going on about the use of local sources, clearly not the truth. I am aware that we can't draw real conclusions and real decisions, but at least the car is moving again and not stuck anymore. Night of the Big Wind talk 13:44, 24 February 2012 (UTC)
Night, even though I think your proposal is likely good, your claim of a consensus isn't even slightly close to accurate. I don't even know if you have a majority. I see many of the same arguments against changing as before: sources are almost certainly available even if we can't immediately find them, thus deletions discussions are a waste of time, and the lesser used but also valid argument that school's play a critical role in the life of a community. I disagree with both of these arguments, but I don't think there's a consensus to reject them. Qwyrxian (talk) 14:09, 24 February 2012 (UTC)
Maybe I have worded it badly, but what I mean is that "my" RfC has run its course, that it can be closed, and that several other RfC can be started to discuss a few items in more detail, without clogging up this RfC. As far as I know, a RfC is for discussion and not a vote. I am aware of the two camps involved here, roughly described as: Camp 1, who thinks that the threshold for school-articles should be raised to WP:GNG, and Camp 2, who thinks that WP:GNG is just a nuisance and should be ignored for articles about school. I am also aware that camp 2 is increasinly active in this discussion, roughly from the point that it looked that something could be changed fundamentally. Night of the Big Wind talk 18:39, 24 February 2012 (UTC)
Night, I completely disagree with your conclusion and with your proposed closure. Graeme Bartlett's summary is correct; yours is not. If you look at the "straw poll" above, there is an almost 3-to-1 opinion (14 to 5) in favor of keeping the current system (secondary schools are presumed notable, primary schools have to prove their notability). There is no consensus to change this, and your well-meant efforts to write a new policy are not supported by the discussion here. And BTW your summary of the "Camp 2" position ("WP:GNG is just a nuisance and should be ignored for articles about school.") is a distortion or parody, not even close to what people are actually saying --MelanieN (talk) 18:11, 25 February 2012 (UTC)
Sorry, but that is a strawpoll about the use of sources, not about the question if school articles should meet WP:GNG. Night of the Big Wind talk 18:47, 25 February 2012 (UTC)
Melanie, I could have described it another way: Camp 2, who thinks that WP:GNG and WP:V can be ignored because it is safe to gamble that sources will exist for every school. You think something like this acceptable: User:Night of the Big Wind/Workpage11? Night of the Big Wind talk 20:08, 25 February 2012 (UTC)
Since you are continuing to frame the other side's opinion via distortion and parody, is it safe to say that you are not really interested in listening to or respecting their viewpoint? The actual opposing viewpoint is "WP:V applies to schools as it does to everything, i.e. the actual existence and grade level of a secondary school must be verified in some way; that is not in dispute. WP:GNG applies to schools as it does to everything, but for diploma-granting secondary schools and degree-granting colleges it can be assumed that WP:GNG will be met with appropriate research." Your strawpoll below is based on your distorted/parodied view of the issues, and should be ignored as not a real question in dispute. --MelanieN (talk) 20:20, 25 February 2012 (UTC)
Then why did you not show up earlier and take part in the discussions? it can be assumed is something else then it can be proofed. And personally I don't care what kind of sources you use (as long as they are convincing) but I want proof, not assumptions. Night of the Big Wind talk 22:34, 25 February 2012 (UTC)
Yes, your position is clear; it does not gain force by restating it over and over. You want proof of notability. However, that is not the current consensus for high schools, as demonstrated at hundreds of AfD discussions. A discussion here involving a few dozen editors is not going to change that. --MelanieN (talk) 23:22, 25 February 2012 (UTC)
If there was really consensus about it, it would not be the subject of endless discussions and RfC's, don't you think? Night of the Big Wind talk 01:08, 26 February 2012 (UTC)
It only takes one person to start, restart, and continue to flog "endless discussions and RfC's." You, for instance. --MelanieN (talk) 17:31, 26 February 2012 (UTC)
Why don't you be brave and come with a proposal for a RfC if you think I did it wrong. Night of the Big Wind talk 03:09, 27 February 2012 (UTC)
Put the brakes on your juggernaut. I disagree with the claim that there is a consensus that all high school articles have to actually present sources, right now, to satisfy GNG, as opposed to an assumption that such sources likely exist, due to the fact that these institutions routinely compete in academics, sports, and arts at regional and state levels (and at national levels in countries smaller than the US). Only a tiny minority of newspapers are searchable via Google News, and Google News has discontinued adding material to its Google News Archive. The inability to readily access free online sources does not mean that such sources do not exist in print media from reliable and independent sources. No newspaper from my medium sized present town or from the region where I grew up, is accessible in any Google search, but I know that there is frequent coverage of academics, arts, sports, changes of educational policies, and funding for the high schools, in regional as well as local papers. It defies belief that the same is not true for high schools in other locales. Edison (talk) 23:22, 28 February 2012 (UTC)
Hmmm, maybe you should read WP:N: If a topic has received significant coverage in reliable sources that are independent of the subject, it is presumed to satisfy the inclusion criteria for a stand-alone article or stand-alone list. That sounds to me like a request for sources... Night of the Big Wind talk 03:38, 1 March 2012 (UTC)

Strawpoll 2

Question: Should secondary schools/highschools meet the standards of Wikipedia:Notability#General notability guideline or are they exempt from that? Note: How to determine notability is not part of this poll. Night of the Big Wind talk 18:55, 25 February 2012 (UTC)

Support meet the standards of Wikipedia:Notability#General notability guideline:

  1. as author of this RfC and strawpoll Night of the Big Wind talk 19:55, 25 February 2012 (UTC)
  2. Definitely. -- Eraserhead1 <talk> 17:59, 28 February 2012 (UTC)
  3. Per my comments on the strawpoll above. Writing an exception to the GNG for anything is a violation of the core principles of this encyclopedia. elektrikSHOOS (talk) 23:59, 8 March 2012 (UTC)

Oppose meet the standards of Wikipedia:Notability#General notability guideline:

  1. They should meet specific categorical guidelines (perhaps by nation), as I think the discussion above keeps saying over and over again, but it seems to be be becoming a case of I did not hear that. If, in the particular case of an article, there is no specific categorical guideline in which the article fits, it would default to the General guideline (which is why it is called "General"), unless it is determined a new specific categorical guideline for that type of institution makes sense in the future - part of the problem is it appears that people are using different terms for the same thing or they are using the same term for different things.Alanscottwalker (talk) 22:16, 25 February 2012 (UTC)
  2. They should meet WP:NCORP as is already stated in this guideline. — Dmitrij D. Czarkoff (talk) 10:38, 16 March 2012 (UTC)

Choose not to respond to this strawpoll about an issue that is not in dispute

  1. See my comments immediately above this strawpoll. Nobody has claimed that secondary schools are "exempt" from notability guidelines. The existing policy consensus (correction in response to Masem below) is that it can be assumed that secondary schools and colleges DO meet notability guidelines, even if the evidence for notability has not been presented. As pointed out above, this is similar to existing guidelines about professional players of major sports. --MelanieN (talk) 20:28, 25 February 2012 (UTC)
    WP:NSPORTS documents how sports players can be shown notable outside of the GNG. With no equivalent for just schools themselves (OUTCOME is not a notability guideline), this means they fall under WP:ORG and for that purpose, some may not be notable due to the requirement on the type of sources. The point of this entire exercise is to figure out what consensus is (we have no idea what the reasoning is, only they are generally kept AFD) so that we can codify schools properly into guidelines. --MASEM (t) 20:34, 25 February 2012 (UTC)
    You are free not to vote in this strawpoll. Unfortunately for you, the question brought up here is the same as the original question from the RfC. So I think it is well in the scope of this RfC. Face-smile.svg Night of the Big Wind talk 22:39, 25 February 2012 (UTC)
  2. The question is incorrectly worded. The issue is not whether or not high schools need to meet the GNG, but, per MelanieN, whether or not they need to demonstrate that they meet the GNG. The secondary issue, if the second stance is the current view, is how they are to demonstrate that they meet the GNG, which is what Masem raises - do they demonstrate this by proving that they are a high school, or are more refined criteria required? - Bilby (talk) 22:57, 25 February 2012 (UTC)
    Exactly. The only issue in dispute at Wikipedia is whether/how notability is to be demonstrated for secondary schools, but Night of the Big Wind has specifically ruled out discussion of that point in this strawpoll - therefore it has no point. (I see he has now even taken to informing editors that they are "not free to vote" in this strawpoll!) (My apologies, I misread your comment. You said "free not to vote"; I misread it as "not free to vote." SelfTroutSlap!) --MelanieN (talk) 23:29, 25 February 2012 (UTC)
    Yes Melanie, it is up to you to vote or to abstain. You are free to make your own choice. Nothing mandatory. Night of the Big Wind talk 01:03, 26 February 2012 (UTC)
    Dear Melanie.
    You give me serious the idea that you did not read the whole discussion. As you can see above, there was already a big discussion about sourcing and what sources where usefull. You would make me very happy to come with a suggestion for a seperate RfC about sourcing and sources, so we can close this RfC. That prevents clogging up of the present one, that, to my opinion, has done its duty by bringing people on speaking terms and in serious discussion. So again, you would make me happy with a proposal. Night of the Big Wind talk 01:23, 26 February 2012 (UTC)
    sigh It is a bit confusing, Bilby. According to WP:GNG you need sources to proof notability. As is stated there: If a topic has received significant coverage in reliable sources that are independent of the subject, it is presumed to satisfy the inclusion criteria for a stand-alone article or stand-alone list.. So, in my opinion clean and clear: a notable subject has its notability proven by sources. Or do I see that wrong?
    What I try to move to a seperate RfC is the question How do we prove notability of schools. Reason: this RfC is becoming too long and too many sideroads had to be explored. Yes, we have made progress (mainly be getting the real issues at the table, in my opinion). And no, we have not reached any consensus for change. But it is clear that the present consensus has shaky foundations. The follow-up RfC should get that more clear, and I hope that Masem will initiate that one. Night of the Big Wind talk 03:33, 27 February 2012 (UTC)
    I would really rather secondary schools have to undergo stricter notability than other subjects. They create far more trouble in vandalism than they are worth - and unless you are an alumni they really aren't very interesting.
    Sure places like Eton college should have an article, but I think local secondary schools having one is much more dubious. -- Eraserhead1 <talk> 17:59, 28 February 2012 (UTC)
    A clear way of saying "I don't like it," when you demand a higher standard of notability for some class of articles, than for, say, hamlets, species, chemical compounds, anyone who served in a state legislature for one term, any building listed in some"national register" and anyone who played professionally in one game of any sport. Edison (talk) 23:12, 28 February 2012 (UTC)
    To be true, I would like so see higher thresholds for hamlets & villages (they should prove their notability, not only existence) and sport persons (to cut out the one day fly). But that is near impossible to achieve Face-smile.svg Night of the Big Wind talk 08:42, 29 February 2012 (UTC)
  3. Object to this straw poll as ill-formed, per MelanieN. Edison (talk) 23:14, 28 February 2012 (UTC)

Instead of bickering about this poll, are there any suggestions for the new RfC about how to prove notability? Night of the Big Wind talk 08:42, 29 February 2012 (UTC)

What we are all trying to say is: we don't need a new RfC. The consensus is already clear, as stated at Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Common outcomes#Education. You referred above to "endless discussions and RfC's", but you are the only one creating and promoting them. Just let it go. --MelanieN (talk) 15:42, 29 February 2012 (UTC)
That's the old consensus and has been challenged; remember that consensus can change. There is enough here to say that while it will still be likely that all secondary schools will be included with their own article (only based on those responding), we can set that outcome as being one based on all secondary schools meeting the GNG , with the inclusion of local sources in those cases to meet the GNG. This is a significant improvement on the "just because" reason that OUTCOMES currently states, and brings the reason why we include secondary schools in line with all other notability guidelines. But a wide-input RFC to assure that this is the case is still important to have. --MASEM (t) 16:03, 29 February 2012 (UTC)
No, what you are trying to say is that you don't want a new RfC because it could lead to changes. And if you had read the recent discussions here and on Wikiproject Schools, you could have seen that I am not the only one asking for change. That is a plain distortion from your side, Melanie. Night of the Big Wind talk 16:11, 29 February 2012 (UTC)

A different approach

Could it be a handy idea to start a "Taskforce Improve US Highschool Articles" to identify the articles that are completely unsourced or have only primary sources and list them for improvement? Night of the Big Wind talk 04:19, 1 March 2012 (UTC)

Now THAT sounds like a good idea. Rather than trying to delete them, let's identify and improve them. I would serve on such a task force. --MelanieN (talk) 16:31, 1 March 2012 (UTC) P.S. why limit it to U.S. high school articles?
I'm not half as bad as you think I am! But recent visit to few US Highschools, found on your website, revealed a disaster area. So it seems handy to start there where the situation is most urgent.
In fact, it is not a change of mind of me, only a change in approach. I did not fully understand the fears for mass nominations and potential massacres. Reason of that is that most secondary school articles I have seen, were European, Asian or African. Most problems with the Asian and African schools could be solved by explaining that sources could be in any language or script, not just English and Western script. But coming across those badly sourced articles, I suddenly realized that "you guys" are maybe not objecting against a change in the "Common Outcomes" or a tightening of the notability rules, but are scared shitless (sorry for the rude word) about the consequences of any change.
So, by starting the Taskforce before a change of rules is on the cards, I hope to prevent a massacre when agreement on a change on is reached (whenever that is, not now clearly). And secondly, by improving the articles I hope to reduce the fears.
Finally, I don't think I am the most suitable one to coordinate the taskforce. I think I stepped on a few toes here and there. The coordinator should be diplomatic enough to achieve agreement on the question what the desired level to reach is. And to get agreement on the question: how do we do that?
Of course, it is just a proposal to name it "Taskforce Improve US Highschool Articles". Another scope or more then one taskforce is also possible.
And to promote my work: User:Night of the Big Wind/Schools with notability problems can be an idea.
Night of the Big Wind talk 20:06, 2 March 2012 (UTC)
But recent visit to few US Highschools, found on your website, revealed a disaster area. Not sure what you are talking about. Found on my website? I don't have a website. Do you mean my userpage, or my talkpage, or what? I'm not aware of any "disaster area" high schools associated with me. I only have three high schools on my watchlist, and they are in decent shape. Or if you regard them as "disaster areas" you have an awfully broad definition of a disaster area; not every article here has to meet Good Article standards. In any case, my comment was intended to support your idea of a task force; don't know why you responded with a snarl. --MelanieN (talk) 05:27, 3 March 2012 (UTC)
Oops, my mistake. Please read your website as your talkpage.
And no, it is not ment to be a snarl, just an explanation how I came across it (links posted by DPL-bot) and that I came to a new insight and as a result of that, changed my approach towards the case. And I don't blame you for it, I just said that I found those articles through your talkpage. AGF please. Night of the Big Wind talk 11:13, 3 March 2012 (UTC)
Let me again stress a point: if we ultimately decide to change the existing approach for secondary schools, which is strictly said "they are rarely deleted" per OUTCOMES, to anything else (even if we say, notable by GNG due to likelihood of local sources), we should have a 6-12 month moratorium on any AFD for schools following that change. If this task force is formed, this would give them time to improve school articles due to the new changes; otherwise it will be a loose effort but the time will be there. Furthermore, in most cases, we would not be talking about deletion but rather merge and redirect for schools that don't meet the new requirements. The moratorium would likely extend to that, unless of course the working group does agree "hey, this school should be merged to the town article." Basically, the point is that if change the present approach to school articles, we don't want to have users that have a chip against these articles to immediately race off and get them deleted as soon a new guideline is in place. --MASEM (t) 21:10, 2 March 2012 (UTC)

Anyone intrested in coordinating the Taskforce? Night of the Big Wind talk 12:31, 5 March 2012 (UTC)

Does this mean that we have, in effect, given up the idea of changing the status-quo—that we accept high-school articles are notable, and we're just going to go start improving articles to include sourcing to prove that they are notable? So my community's two local high-schools, which have never received coverage outside the locally published and circulated newspaper, are notable? If so, I weep for the lost opportunity here. LivitEh?/What? 18:35, 5 March 2012 (UTC)
No, it does not. It is a two pronged approach: a road to follow is fixing the articles, the other road to follow is the discussion about changes in the notability rules and Common Outcomes.
As I have stated above, we should try to solve the problems arising out of a change even before we agree to any change. It looks like people are reluctant or even resist a change, due to the sheer consequences. By fixing the consequences beforehand, I hope to ease the fears for (en prevent the) mass nominations and massacres. Night of the Big Wind talk 21:32, 5 March 2012 (UTC)

The silence is deafening. So I have made a little start with it and picked up some needy articles for improvement. The state is chosen almost at random (the last one in the alphabetic list) but I think the list is a good example for the task on hand. Be bold, improve an article Face-smile.svg You can find the list here: User:Night of the Big Wind/Schools with notability problems. Night of the Big Wind talk 10:53, 10 March 2012 (UTC)


With the RfC expired, I think the following conclusions can be drawn:

  1. At present, there is no consensus for a chance in the notability guidelines
  2. However, there is enough discontent about the guidelines, to organize a follow-up discussion focusing on the sourcing of articles.
  3. Further research is needed on the clash between Wikipedia:Run-of-the-mill and Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Common outcomes to see which one prevails in relation to Wikipedia:Notability
  4. The benefits of this RfC:
    1. The discussion made clear the OFSTED-reports and other government-ordered inspection reports are valid sources, but unsuitable to prove notability.
    2. The discussion made clear that there is a major disagreement on the question "What is a suitable source?".
    3. The use of non-English and/or non-western script and/or off-line sources for non-western schools was again endorsed, assuming that every source, in whatever language or script, will be checked sooner or later.
    4. The proposed taskforce to improve high school articles was hailed as a good initiative but nobody has yet joined it

It was a difficult discussion with many areas explored, but although we failed to get any significant agreement, to my opinion we have made progress. At least in clarifying the points where people disagree. Night of the Big Wind talk 13:24, 15 March 2012 (UTC)

I think a three part questionaire designed for broad particpation can be formed from this.
Question 1 would be worded along the lines of "Should WP have an article on every secondary school regardless of notability, or should they be expected to meet notability guidelines? Please briefly explain why for your answer." This would set the stage if OUTCOMES simply stays as it is, or if we need create a new notability guide for school/modify ORG to include schools, or something else.
Question 2 would be based only on those that believe notability is necessary (Second part of the first question): "Assuming secondary schools must be shown notable to have stand-alone articles, can local and routine sources be used to show that notability? Please briefly explain your answer." HEre is where we would get specific language that would be part of a notability guideline on whether we can use local sources or not.
Question 3 would be based only on those that said no to allowing local sources on question 2: "Are there an special conditions that one can presume a school to be notable outside of meeting the GNG?" From this we would get any exacting conditions that would go into a notability guideline.
As a straw poll, that would quickly narrow down where consensus sits and figure out the final step (no change, or add/modify an notability guideline), with one last RFC get community approval on said changes. --MASEM (t) 14:10, 15 March 2012 (UTC)
And where do you suggest to perform the straw poll? Here or elsewhere? Night of the Big Wind talk 02:49, 21 March 2012 (UTC)

Link to noticeboard in article talk page

Quite often a matter is brought to a noticeboard and no notice is given on the talk page of the article the advice is being sought about. I know some people want a bit of advice without the usual crowd as it were jumping in and swamping things, but on the other hand notice boards sometimes turn into a recruiting ground for mobbing people in the article. A bit of input from editors on the article before people start doing silly things can be useful to stop such behaviour which can lead to good editors leaving Wikipedia.

We have an information note WP:Noticeboards but no policy that I know of on anything like this or even reasonable guidance. I think one should say at the top of noticeboards that the discussion should normally be linked to in the original article's talk page or whereever is most relevant but what do others think about this? Should WP:Noticeboards have something like this and be made a guideline? Dmcq (talk) 12:07, 11 March 2012 (UTC)

It's normally courteous, but there may be situations to do otherwise. If the debate is "heated" (abusive, irrational, full of sock-puppets) and someone seeks a cooler opinion elsewhere, then posting "we're discussing this over here as well" in the original debate is likely to encourage the abuse and vitriol to spread and cause further damage. If the debate is more civilised (e.g. people agree to solicit external opinion), then it would be sensible to post a link to the new discussion. But common-sense is usually better than adding to the already huge stack of guidelines. --Colapeninsula (talk) 16:00, 14 March 2012 (UTC)
Well that's why I said it would be a 'normally' rather than just plain should. I've no problems with people getting a bit of quiet advice and then going back to a page. The problem I see, and it is only in a few places, is where there is a debate at a noticeboard and people come to conclusions and then people from the noticeboard head off to the article, it's very hard for other editors at the article to change conclusions when they've already been discussed. Anyway I think I've got a change in now for the worst one for that, the others I've been on seem to be work quite well without it - and besides which editors going to them mostly seem to do this without being prompted. Dmcq (talk) 05:25, 18 March 2012 (UTC)
Seems I spoke too soon. There seems to be actual opposition to any openness or having something like 'please consider leaving a note this isn't mandatory' or any sort of notification to interested editors and they hardly ever do inform anyone on an article they target. Anyway we'll see. Dmcq (talk)
I see some objection to use of terms like 'mob'. But what I don't get is the difference between a noticeboard and a project talk page. Project talk pages are used in the same way as noticeboards, to inform editors about problems with articles. Dougweller (talk) 06:18, 21 March 2012 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Avoiding talk-page disruption has been marked as a guideline

Wikipedia:Avoiding talk-page disruption (edit | talk | history | links | watch | logs) has recently been edited to mark it as a guideline. This is an automated notice of the change (more information). -- VeblenBot (talk) 02:00, 19 March 2012 (UTC)

The category has been removed. This is a proposal written during the last week by Brews ohare (talk · contribs). Comments on it are being solicited in an RFC on its talk page. WhatamIdoing (talk) 00:36, 21 March 2012 (UTC)

Simplifying the service of knowledge

We live in a new paradigm of civilization: Twitter, Facebook or Orkut, e-mail. Information travels faster and ever so lean. Several authors point to this. Just remember when certain philosopher speaks of newspaper reports that do not last long. Minute by minute (actually less than that) they are replaced by others - sometimes the very opposite direction. So ... The complexity is gaining ground in the world media, the superimposition of information and, paradoxically, the simplification of this process is the lever. Say as much in less time, to a lesser compatimento, stick to a lesser ... For the time is still money. Anyway ... Wikipedia could be tuned to this process. Several issues could be placed on top of that. One is the systematic exclusion of pages created. Could set up a rating system clearer, more explicit, indicating those pages more reliable of the least reliable. However, this system of exclusion, in my opinion, goes against the evolution of Wikipedia. Another thing that has "fallen" were rigid paternalistic rules that govern the world. In this sense I see this "hierarchy", as was the bureaucracy for businesses, a delay of life. You write something with capital letters and a truly well meaning Wikipedian says capitalized words are like a cry in the Internet. This goes against the uniqueness of people, against their own individuality and mode of production. This authoritarian attitude is, however, own a civilized society, capitalist and interested in the standardization of the actions, thoughts and feelings, making them susceptible to manipulation. If you want to differentiate and say "this is good, this is bad", and just think is valid, provided that it is aware that this is an ideological imposition of what is good or bad, elitism and idealism, which I think which, unfortunately, to be necessary. After all I am in favor of idealization. The solution then, for me, is not to exclude, keep the most of all productions. On the other hand continues to tax, categorize, say what is good or bad, after all we are all entitled to it, and I think that Wikipedia too. However it should be repeitar differences. It is an encyclopaedia, not a democracy will mean ... But times have changed and I suppose that even the encyclopedias resist it. And you, what do you think about adapting to new times of Wikipedia? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Arthus Kauã Fendeler Höelz (talkcontribs) 16:34, 19 March 2012 (UTC)

Let me get this straight. Your proposal seems to wish to abolish much, if not all, of the restrictions in place on Wikipedia in order to keep up to the pace of a modern, rapidly-changing world. However, Wikipedia needs to stand as a bastion of quality and historical distance in order to present its contents in a neutral fashion. There has to be a professional code of conduct of some sort on Wikipedia in order to ensure that this remains an encylcopedia, not a blog of the world's daily ebbs and flows.

Furthermore, you propose nothing concrete which we must implement, rather you merely rail against what you perceive as a form of elitism on Wikipedia. I do agree that Wikipedia's coverage in some places can be spotty, but the reason for that is lack of shape which Wikipedia has in that the majority of its articles are scattered and unsourced stubs. We do not need to make Wikipedia a more amorphous blob than it already is. Wer900 (talk) 21:56, 19 March 2012 (UTC)

Tax? Capitalism? Elitism? Err, in Internet-ese, I think the term is lolwut?Tom Morris (talk) 17:31, 21 March 2012 (UTC)
for an encyclopedia, "quick" is a feature of vague importance. but "accuracy" and "thoroughness" are of great importance - and they seldom coincide with "quick". when organizations let quality take backseat to quantity or speed, bad things happen to them, particularly when you dont verify your sources. -- The Red Pen of Doom 00:41, 24 March 2012 (UTC)

Process for undoing copyright-related deletions

Sorry for bringing this up here; it's really not an issue for WT:DELPRO, WT:FFD, WT:PUF, WP:MCQ, or anything else that I can think of.

Another user whom I know has had several of his photos deleted at FFD and PUF because they depicted copyrighted historical markers in the US state of Indiana. I've recently been in contact with a representative from the state agency that owns the copyright, and it appears that they're soon to release almost all rights (requiring only attribution) to the markers — in large part because they want us to be able to use the markers under terms compatible with CC-by-sa-3.0. If they do this, how should I go about working for undeletion? WP:REFUND doesn't restore pages deleted for copyright reasons, and because the deletions were correct when they were performed, WP:DRV wouldn't be the right place to go. Nyttend (talk) 15:49, 23 March 2012 (UTC)

Uploading them again would seem to be the best means of going forwards. Is that possible? --Tagishsimon (talk) 16:01, 23 March 2012 (UTC)
If the state agency publicly announces the release (e.g. by posting it on their official state government website), you could just ask an administrator to undelete them; where at WP:REFUND does it say they won't undo a copyright-releated deletion once a copyright release is obtained? If the release isn't publicly announced, you'd have to go through the process detailed at Wikipedia:Volunteer Response Team, and they will undelete once they are satisfied the release is genuine. Anomie 16:48, 23 March 2012 (UTC)
Also, for that matter, point 3 under WP:DRV#Principal purpose – challenging deletion decisions would seem to apply here: release from the copyright holder could be considered "significant new information". Anomie 16:52, 23 March 2012 (UTC)
The note I got said that the agency's website would be updated, so I'll just be able to point to that; by the way, I'd overlooked the "significant new information" bit. Not sure that reuploading would be useful, since some of these images were uploaded years ago and deleted months ago. Incidentally, would it matter if I restore them myself once the agency's website is updated? I don't think that it would be controversial, but I just feel slightly odd undoing some discussed deletions by myself. Nyttend (talk) 16:58, 23 March 2012 (UTC)
Yes. IAR and restore them yourself. Clearly the basis for their deletion will have gone away. --Tagishsimon (talk) 17:18, 23 March 2012 (UTC)
Just to support this, I don't bat an eye at restoring content that was deleted only for copyright reasons when permission comes in. It doesn't happen all the time, but not that infrequently. :) --Moonriddengirl (talk) 19:29, 23 March 2012 (UTC)
If discussion is desired or if the user is unable or unwilling to restore on her/his own, I suggest DRV over REFUND. It's meant for evaluating deletions, and if undeletion is obviously correct and non-controversial, someone will speedy restore to shortcut WP:BURO. Flatscan (talk) 05:35, 24 March 2012 (UTC)

WP:CSD file criteria

How about adding an extra criteria to WP:CSD under the Files category for images that have such a low resolution that they would be unuseable in an article. Something like below 80px perhaps, or lower, and include freely licensed and non-free files here that have no useful purpose? Cloudbound (talk) 00:48, 24 March 2012 (UTC)

New CSD criteria are normally proposed at WT:CSD. Be sure to read the FAQ at the top of that page so you can be prepared to answer the long list of usual objections. WhatamIdoing (talk) 01:16, 24 March 2012 (UTC)


I'm hear to spread awareness of meta:Global_bans. Anyone wishing to critique or comment on the draft global policy may do so at meta:Talk:Global_bans. Help with translating the draft into other languages would and with spreading word to other projects also be appreciated. --Michaeldsuarez (talk) 02:30, 24 March 2012 (UTC)

Readership spikes - monitoring, etc

For various reasons, some more obvious than others and some more geographically specific than others, Wikipedia articles enjoy 'spikes' in readership. Take the example of Randy Baumgardner (see [6]) or Uganda (see [7]) or Lionel Messi (see [8]).

Are these statistics monitored or checked by the higher-ups in the Wikimedia world? Or by anyone here within the Wikipedia community? Is there anything we can take from the statistics by way of analysing social media behaviour or internet use that could be fed back into making Wikipedia better, broader, more responsive?

A general question, but an interesting one I hope ! doktorb wordsdeeds 16:38, 15 March 2012 (UTC)

In practice any event that causes a large number of people to view an article will attract at least a few editors.©Geni 11:44, 17 March 2012 (UTC)
User:West.andrew.g (a researcher at the University of Pennsylvania) used to monitor these systematically, or maybe still does. See this Signpost story (including the discovery of what was likely a DDOS attack that went unnoticed at the time it occurred).
The WikipediaTrends feed on Twitter was tracking page view surges, but it stopped updating recently because the underlying Toolserver tool is broken.
At Wikimania 2008, there was a talk about the topic ("World events according to Wikipedia statistics"). And recently there has been quite a bit of research about editing activity caused be breaking news in general (not specifically focusing on page view spikes), see for example here. Regards, HaeB (talk) 13:08, 18 March 2012 (UTC)
Uganda's spike is very likely because of Kony 2012. SilverserenC 23:33, 23 March 2012 (UTC)
I do believe these deserve further study, because their connection to breaking news is not always obvious. If we had access to referer information it would be easier. Dcoetzee 01:20, 27 March 2012 (UTC)

A clear process for determination of consensus

Sometimes, the determination as to whether consensus has been reached on a certain topic can be botched, either intentionally or unintentionally. Therefore, I believe that the time is ripe for a way to clearly determine consensus. More information can be found in my essay on the topic at Wikipedia:Consensus defined. Wer900 (talk) 18:46, 18 March 2012 (UTC)

Your proposal amounts to effectively a vote count as long as they make some token gesture at providing reasoning. IRWolfie- (talk) 19:14, 18 March 2012 (UTC)
There has to be a vigorous debate on a topic, and this requires a large spectrum of ideas. Plus, there has to be a large amount of participation for consensus. This is far from merely a votecount, as it requires an in-depth analysis. Admittedly, the large margin provision does have a votecount-style construction, but this is not an absolute percentage and merely a system for determining what level of support constitutes consensus. Furthermore, other criteria not at all dependent on the level of support such as those listed previously are also involved.

At worst, the system at least ensures that consensus is determined in a systematic, rather than arbitrary, way. Wer900 (talk) 22:41, 18 March 2012 (UTC)

Anyone who reads the pillar Wikipedia:Consensus is bound to scratch their head in wonder at the hand waving and magical thinking going on there. As long as the project is operated by an "Objectivist to the core", you're going to see magical thinking instead of an honest admission that Administrators are appointed judges who wield enormous power. You can put adjectives like "benevolent" in front of "dictator", but dictator is the operative word, and benevolence is in the eye of the beholder. It's fine to write reams of advice on how good Admins should make decisions, and I'd be the first to hope that Admins follow good advice and best practices, but in the end they get to do as the please. The saving grace is that their decisions can be appealed, though only to other Admins, who also get to do as they please.

Rather than try to obscure the facts about how decisions are made at Wikipedia with a lot of window dressing, it would be better to admit that it's a flawed system that has, so far, happened to have worked pretty well. The system is bound to break down if it ever faces serious stress or an organized effort to subvert it, and then it will be back to the drawing board. Until then, just blithely smile, try not to worry, and edit away. --Dennis Bratland (talk) 19:58, 18 March 2012 (UTC)

My goal is not gold-plating of a bad system, merely improving the system at its core so that consensus can be determined by a clear process, not by the hand-waving that you yourself pointed out. Other than that, I am in agreement with you - and therefore I propose this policy to make administrators accountable to something, however imperfect that system may be. Wer900 (talk) 22:45, 18 March 2012 (UTC)
First of all, there is some potential for, er, paradox... You write: "The first of these criteria should be to check if there has been a vigorous debate on the subject wherein a large range of points of view have been presented, ranging from absolute support to absolute negation, and where a large number of editors have participated in the debate and provided their opinion.". In such case, if everyone holds the same position, there is no consensus by this definition. But that is exactly what consensus (in its purest form) actually is. I'd say that something in your essay has to be revised...

A second point is that in most cases consensus does work. However, those cases are hard to see, because there is little debate, for everyone agrees. That, for example, happens when someone makes a good edit to an article and no one objects. I guess you have tried to create a process that would deal with "hard cases", but, well, there is a saying "hard cases make bad law"... You should consider "easy cases" as well... --Martynas Patasius (talk) 01:08, 19 March 2012 (UTC)

Okay, I will revise my essay to include a near-unanimity exception to the first criterion. Wer900 (talk) 01:18, 19 March 2012 (UTC)
Actually, I would recommend choosing a somewhat-representative sample ("training set") first... Look for cases when consensus was (or was not) found and write down the "correct" decision (what the consensus really was - in your opinion). Write detailed explanations. Then look for patterns. Then take a different sample and try to apply the "laws" you "extracted". Check if the result is reasonable. Then (especially if you won't try to keep the results secret) it will be much easier to write an essay. Hopefully, it will also help to persuade everyone that it is a good one... Or not (if they will disagree with those "correct" decisions)... Still, at least that is a honest way to do it... --Martynas Patasius (talk) 01:59, 19 March 2012 (UTC)
While I would love a better way to judge consensus, the more I do closes, the more convinced I become that you can not write a book on how to do this. Even a close today was unpredictable. But no matter how odd, it was likely correct. The problem with listing these is that it can create the impression that these are the correct solutions to all problems and that is a completely false assumption. Vegaswikian (talk) 02:05, 19 March 2012 (UTC)
I'm not making a statement directly about you, but there is no systematic way of determining consensus. The current way is not only unofficial, there is no document or set of documents that stipulates how it should be done. You state that this is a good thing, but it leads to a lack of transparency, premature or overdue closes of topics, and ultimately, an extremely conservative method of running the encyclopedia where there is no dynamism where there should be.

Also, the current process lacks any degree of transparency - an admin can just make the judgement call for no reason at all. Although I am not denying that my idea is imperfect, it is by far better than using magical thinking and handwaving to determine consensus out of the blue. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Wer900 (talkcontribs) 22:12, 19 March 2012 (UTC)

Sorry, but are you sure all those mentions of "magical thinking and handwaving" really help your case..? Calm down. Yes, it is almost certain that your proposal will not be implemented at this time. That happens. I guess that is close to something you meant by "an extremely conservative method of running the encyclopedia where there is no dynamism where there should be", isn't it? Well, yes, majority of "major" proposals are rejected (and I happen to think that this is a good thing, although you are free to disagree).
So, I am going to repeat my advise: make a "training set" and look for patterns. Yes, I doubt that it will result in anything significantly better than the current system, but who knows..? Or maybe the results of this "investigation" (and this discussion, and your essay) will inspire someone else to come up with a good idea? Or maybe you will think of some small improvement? Let's say, some "process" for closing AfD discussions - something like 1) check if the discussion is serious (if it is not First of April), 2) have a short look at the article, its history, talk page and AfD discussion, 3) check if no criteria for speedy deletion applies, 4) check if discussion wasn't unanimous, 5) make a list of policies, guidelines and essays that apply, 6) make a list of participants, 7) make a list of arguments, 8) check how those arguments were received by other participants, 9) have a look at the sources given (if any), etc... You know, small changes are more likely to be adopted... --Martynas Patasius (talk) 23:21, 19 March 2012 (UTC)
It is an illusion that consensus works works in most cases. Typically, those with the most motivation go on fighting until their opposition grows sick of the endless debate and wearily and wanders off to do something more productive with their time. Or sticks around but says they'll give in because they don't think it's worth it to stay deadlocked forever. So those left behind might agree with each other, but that's only because they've driven off or discouraged dissenters with an excruciating and interminable process. If only there were a correlation between correctness and endurance; then it would be an ideal system. --Dennis Bratland (talk) 22:45, 20 March 2012 (UTC)
Now that you mention it, I think that it is usually a failure on contentious cases. North8000 (talk) 00:10, 21 March 2012 (UTC)
Dennis, I don't think that your first sentence is correct. Perhaps you meant to say "most contentious cases", or something like that. "Most cases" includes the 99% of cases that nobody thinks twice about: e.g., you fix a spelling error, and everyone else silently agrees that it was a good thing. That's consensus in its simplest and purest form. WhatamIdoing (talk) 00:33, 21 March 2012 (UTC)
I am not trying to make this rule apply to those cases - there is already a precedent for when the process of consensus should or should not be used. My intent is only to make it apply where the handwaving process was previously, not in cases of silent consensus.

And I will make a training set, once I get the time. (talk) 03:54, 22 March 2012 (UTC) Whoops, I was not logged in... Wer900 talkessay on the definition of consensus 04:01, 22 March 2012 (UTC)

My point is that those cases do use "the process of consensus". That's the whole point behind the first major section of the Consensus policy. WhatamIdoing (talk) 01:10, 24 March 2012 (UTC)
When I mean "the process of consensus," I am describing any case where there would be cause for a discussion and a determination of consensus besides merely silent agreement. Something like AfD. Wer900 talkessay on the definition of consensus 04:25, 24 March 2012 (UTC)

Most of the time the current process works as a way to navigate the range of complexities and considerations that is inevitable in Wikipedia, and avoid the pitfalls and gamability of trying to use voting-based systems in our environment. But in some cases the consensuses process itself is game-able, particularly when the wrongdoers are wiki-saavy. Especially via. compounding it with other considerations. For example, one common maneuver is to claim that the opposite view requires a consensus to prevail, whereas going with the perpetrator's view does not. (status quo) Another weak spot is that it basically ends up with one person (the closer) making the decision, which is about the weakest of all possible systems. North8000 (talk) 12:13, 19 March 2012 (UTC)

I completely agree. Though my training set is not completely fleshed out yet, and all of the 10 cases I have examined show correlation between "ideal" and "actual" consensus, with the systematic consensus waiting, I am beginning to see some discrepancies in some of the ones I have not completely examined yet. I have only seen the uncontroversial cases in full, but I know there are controversial ones. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Wer900 (talkcontribs) 23:19, 28 March 2012 (UTC)
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