Wikipedia:Village pump (policy)/Archive C

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Plagiarism by any other name[edit]

A question and a comment:

Question: do we have a concise Wikipedia essay on what plagiarism is and isn't and is there a way to provide an internal link to it? If I deleted a plagiarized passage or entry and wanted to place a helpful note at a User's Talkpage like "please see Wikipedia policy here" or "for a definition of plagiarism, please click here" or some such. Can someone please advise?

Comment: plagiarism is rife in articles about entertainers; for some reason people think it's fine to copy from e.g. the IMDB. I think this is aided by well-meaning responses on the HelpDesk that say things like, "if you retype in your own words, it's fine". Well, no, I don't think it is; we were taught that paraphrasing is still plagiarism.

Quill 23:42, 19 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Paraphrasing sometimes violates copyright, but if a court could reasonably rule that the facts and ideas were duplicated but the selection and arrangement of those facts was not, then it's not plagiarism. The rule should not be to paraphrase but to summarize: talk about what they said in less words and give the source. The line between a copyright workaround and a new work is admittedly fuzzy sometimes, but I think as long as a source is given the two can be compared and our version updated if necessary. As for a project page on plagiarism, that's a great idea; I'm not aware of any such page, but there is plagiarism and Wikipedia: Cite your sources. Deco 00:02, 20 Nov 2004 (UTC)
Ah, yes, but I mean to speak to an ethical rather than a legal issue. Copyvio (legal) and plagiarism (ethical) are not always the same thing. Often go hand in hand, but not always the same.
I would volunteer to help with a plagiarism page.
Quill 00:19, 20 Nov 2004 (UTC)
Ethics are quite a matter of debate, though; I would argue any properly credited statements are ethical, as well as any widely-known ones. Keep in mind that the role of an encyclopedia is quite different from that of a typical paper — there is no implication that any of our text is our own original idea. Also, to establish ethical standards for Wikipedia articles in general would be setting a very flammable sort of policy that I'd be surprised to see adopted, never mind maintained. All that said, I do frown on copying large bodies of text from public domain (or not-so-public domain) sources without any credit, especially since the result is often an obvious contast with other articles. I've only seen this done once, though. Deco 00:41, 20 Nov 2004 (UTC)
We snag stuff from the 1911 Britannica all the time. And while there is no legal requirement to credit it, there is certainly an ethical requirement, IMO. -- Jmabel | Talk 00:50, Nov 20, 2004 (UTC)
At some point, hopefully when enough of the article has been rewritten, perhaps every single paragraph, and maybe the layout changed, we can remove such notices from the article itself (which can remain in the history, or perhaps the talk page. Actually, maybe they should always be just on the talk page). --Improv 04:38, 20 Nov 2004 (UTC)
I agree, and we do with the {{1911}} template. I should do a hunt sometime for EB pages without it (they're surprisingly easy to find with a few searches for archaic language). Re Improv, I think we should definitely keep the 1911 EB listed eternally as a reference, even if the tag is removed. Deco 06:36, 20 Nov 2004 (UTC)
Absolutely. No matter how far we have evolved the article, it remains a reference we used. Also, when people are using the {{1911}} tag, it should always be in the "References" section of the article, not just hanging there in the body of the text. -- Jmabel | Talk

Thanks for the responses, folks. Okay, that sorts things through WRT the 1911 EB, but how about the other stuff? Deco, I see it all the time because I spend a lot of time on actors and singers and the like. Pages lifted from IMDB, liner notes, websites--sometimes this is listed as a 'reference', sometimes not.

I'll have to do some more thinking about it; can't quite reconcile this "Keep in mind that the role of an encyclopedia is quite different from that of a typical paper — there is no implication that any of our text is our own original idea." with this "By submitting your work you promise you wrote it yourself, or copied it from public domain resources — this does not include most web pages."

I like your idea about a guideline page. Can something be done about this?

Quill 20:09, 20 Nov 2004 (UTC)

All this reminds me of the cliché - to copy two peoples work is plagiarism, to copy 4 peoples work is research!

Maxx 15:21, 27 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Wikipedia is rife with arguable plagiarism. I find article after article with no sources, but in some areas that I know well it is often very easy to determine the source by noting common errors between Wikipedia and a likely website. There are websites that seem authoritative but are in fact very inaccurate. When I see that article after article on related topics have erroneous details matching a single website and see other close resemblences between those articles and the articles on that website and note that most such articles are created by the same editor, it is obvious what has been happening and where the information has been lifted from. (I am not talking here about one single website or one single editor. This is obviously common practice.) And a normal method to get rid of supposed copyvio is to create a new paraphrased article in place of the copyvio article, still without indicating source. Jallan 16:26, 12 Dec 2004 (UTC)
Maybe info could be added to Wikipedia:Ethics and law, which is only links so far. Maurreen 17:19, 12 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Sandbox threat[edit]

Do we really need a threat as ... threatening as


in the sandbox, where people are encouraged to experiment, and likely make their first edit on WP? Wouldn't it be just as easy to have a script that replaces the {{sandbox}} template every 10 minutes or so, if it is removed? Just a consideration of not barking at the wrong people. dab 17:35, 16 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Totally agreed. This isn't just biting the newbies, it's chomping their heads off. No one will miss the template too much if it's missing for a few hours. I for one wouldn't ban an anon even for repeated removal of the template.Deco 00:19, 17 Nov 2004 (UTC)
Is it possible to create some sort of daemon that will just check the sandbox periodically and restore the notice? If I were programming wiki*, I might allow for registering certain pages as permanently having certain headers (or perhaps allow for a certain number of inviolate lines.) --jpgordon{gab} 01:36, 17 Nov 2004 (UTC)
That is a great suggestion IRude 09:01, 14 Dec 2004 (UTC)
Another way to do it that would prevent them from editing the header altogether is to protect the main sandbox page and place nothing but two templates on it, {{sandboxheader}} and {{sandbox}}. The first would contain the header message and a link (an external link I guess) to the edit URL for the sandbox template. The idea is similar to the process of the Main Page. Again, though, I think the sandbox header message probably isn't important enough to justify this. Deco 21:58, 17 Nov 2004 (UTC)
reactions to the notice [1]. :-D — Of course, anyone can replace the notice, so it is almost impossible to tell if the notice is 'official' or has been placed there by a random visitor. At the moment, there is an official-looking notice that the sandbox is colsed, but it was placed there by an anon editor. I am replacing the note with a simple 'please do not edit', since the threat, if it has any effect at all, only dares people to mess with the notice. I like the {{sandboxheader}} proposal, though. this could be the solution. dab 09:07, 18 Nov 2004 (UTC)
I have filed a Bugzilla report asking for a sandbox-cleaning enhancement. -Fennec (はさばくのきつね) 04:34, 10 Dec 2004 (UTC)
It may be a good time to point out that you can use the substitution template {{subst:sandboxpaste}} to paste in the HTML notice "***** Please do not edit this line. We like people to see the notice. Put any testing content below it. *****" plus the sandbox template also. It makes for easy and fast sandbox maintenance! Dysprosia 05:19, 15 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Automated posting on user talk pages[edit]

I started a discussion on Wikipedia_talk:Spam about the use of bots to mass-post on user talk pages. My hope is that it can result in a policy one way or the other. PRiis 01:21, 17 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Linking to death videos[edit]

An issue has arisen at Kenneth Bigley, the British hostage in Iraq who was beheaded, about whether it's appropriate to provide links to the video showing his death. I feel it's not appropriate (a) because I regard it as the worst kind of pornography, (b) because the killers wanted it to be shown widely and we shouldn't assist them, and (c) one of the websites hosting it apparently shows bestiality videos, so we'd be helping readers to find them too. Is there a Wikipedia policy that covers this, or has a consensus been reached about it? Slim 06:09, Dec 16, 2004 (UTC)

(a) Wikipedia isn't using this video as an example of pornography (who the hell gets their jollies from this kind of thing anyway?); we shouldn't remove a link simply because 0.01% of readers might find it titillating. (b) Why should Wikipedia take a side either way? (c) As unpleasant as bestiality might seem to you or I, I'm also pretty uncomfortable with the idea of Wikipedia boycotting links to one part of a site because some people disagree with the sexual practices depicted in another part. Why should Wikipedia policy take a moral stand against bestiality? — Matt Crypto 09:02, 16 Dec 2004 (UTC)
Matt--I generally agree with your points in principle, but a) I don't think Slim was using the term "pornography" to mean sexual content, but rather's third def "the depiction of acts in a sensational manner so as to arouse a quick intense emotional reaction <the pornography of violence>", and b) in this particular case, of the three links provided in the article, the first (the only one linked) gets 'account terminated due to TOS violations', the second gets a 'domain cannot be found' error, and the third (after much navigation) shows a three-minute video, starting with Bigley pleading for his life, then a LONG rant that English-only speakers can't understand, then the "beheading" happens off camera. What's the point? 3:11 of my life wasted, with nothing gained--didn't learn anything, didn't see anything of note, didn't hear anything informative. Wikipedia shouldn't censor or take sides, but we shouldn't provide links that indirectly take people to things of no value. Niteowlneils 18:32, 16 Dec 2004 (UTC)

External link policy[edit]

What is the policy for external links? For example, what if a linked site is purely vicious invective. I am thinking of the Counterpunch link on Tom Lantos. It seems perfectly reasonable to summarize those criticisms raised in this link which are legitimate in the body of the article along with a summary of what Congressman Lantos has accomplished, but I am uncomfortable with a stub which links to an article that is nothing more than a vicious attack.

In this particular case, I don't think a blind reference like this is much use to anyone. On the other hand, the Counterpunch article contains a lot of useful leads for further research on Lantos. I'd usually be inclined either to just put something like this on the talk page or to be overt in our article about the accusations in the Counterpunch article. Putting the link in the body of the article with no indication that it is an attack piece seems wrong to me. -- Jmabel | Talk 03:39, Dec 17, 2004 (UTC)

Medical ethics: mention a pathology's victims?[edit]

Should individuals known publicly to have suffered from a pathology be mentioned in the article? How?

At issue is whether Gayle Laverne Grinds should be referenced in the bedsore article. This issue potentially affects a large number of articles. Your comments at Talk:Bedsore would be most welcome. --Pontifex 22:02, Dec 13, 2004 (UTC)

In my opinion, it would be better to include the description (and link) of the medical problem to the article about the person unless they are particulary famous or notorious precedents on the treatment or something like that - Skysmith 09:37, 16 Dec 2004 (UTC)
Skysmith's approach sounds good to me. Note that "what links here" on the medical problem's page will locate the article about the person under that policy. Right now, only well-known people have articles, but if the Wikiverse is to fulfill its goals of encompassing all human knowledge, Wikinews will presumably someday incorporate the info from all published obituaries, which means the cause of death of a lot of private individuals will point into Wikipedia articles. Perhaps culturally accepted notions of privacy will evolve as more info gets collated like that, and the custom will stop working and we'll figure out something different then.


Does Wikipedia have a policy on accepting uploaded PDFs as media to be linked in articles? Rafti Institute has uploaded a quite a few, including some that are original research. --Whosyourjudas (talk) 21:23, 5 Dec 2004 (UTC)

I imagine that it is rarely appropriate, but might occasionally be. Can you provide an example of where this user has done this? -- Jmabel | Talk 22:10, Dec 6, 2004 (UTC)
For example: Image:Universal_Convective_Pulse_Theory_S.pdf and Image:Required Legal Forms And Aftercare Sheets.pdf. See those pages for wher they are linked in articles, and Rafti's contribs for more. At least one of the opriginal research, I believe, but for the rest I don't know. --Whosyourjudas (talk) 01:15, 8 Dec 2004 (UTC)
I would hope people would not upload PDFs/SWFs/etc. Perhaps we should make an official policy to this effect? --Improv 15:26, 8 Dec 2004 (UTC)
PDFs are appropriate and useful for WikiReaders (especially if we get any of them "done"), and other materials could be useful as source files to our pngs (svg, pdf, photoshop, etc). I therefore think we should reactivate some formats and keep others open. ✏ Sverdrup 20:12, 10 Dec 2004 (UTC)
I'd prefer alternatives where reasonable, but I can imagine that they'd sometimes be better than the alternatives. PDFs scale well, are supported on essentially all OSs, there are two main open source implementations (for those who prefer OSS), and there's a publicly-available spec describing the format. It's not a publicly-controlled standard, but it's certainly possible to do worse. Ideally it should be in "archival PDF" format, whenever that finally gets standardized; I believe that's a format that's intended for libraries etc. who need their material to last for centuries. Dwheeler 23:19, 2004 Dec 17 (UTC)

Undeleting selected revisions[edit]

crossposted to Wikipedia:Village pump (technical)
Sysops now have the ability to undelete selected revisions of a deleted article. Please see Wikipedia:Viewing and restoring deleted pages by sysops for explanation of this feature (what I've figured out by playing with it) and Wikipedia talk:Undeletion policy for some questions on its use. —Charles P. (Mirv) 13:18, 24 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Publishing contact details in articles[edit]

Does Wikipedia have a policy on whether/when it's acceptable to post somebody's contact details in an article?

I ask because an anon recently added to the William Schnoebelen article "You can contact him via e-mail at [address]." The address given does appear in two places on the web, but it's not clear that Schnoebelen intends it to be used as a general public contact address (his site offers a different contact address). Further, Schnoebelen is a very controversial figure; posting the guy's email address and encouraging people to contact him would seem to invite abusive behaviour, IMHO. Is there a standard policy on this sort of thing? --Calair 23:21, 22 Dec 2004 (UTC)

No firm policy, but a strong pattern of not doing this. If he has an official site, we should link to that. If it has contact info, then it's there at one remove. If he lacks an official site with contact info, then he probably doesn't want to publish his contact info. This gets down to a reasonable respect for this kind of privacy even for the notable and notorious. -- Jmabel | Talk 05:05, Dec 23, 2004 (UTC)

Adding donation appeals to pages[edit]

I've noticed that an anonymous user has added donation appeals to the Bobbie Jo Stinnett page and the Bobbie Jo Stinnett/Temp page. Is there an official policy on things like this? Should they be removed or just copyedited. Evil MonkeyTalk 20:08, Dec 21, 2004 (UTC)

Certainly that can be considered advertising. Fredrik | talk 20:15, 21 Dec 2004 (UTC)
I've removed it. -- Jmabel | Talk 20:17, Dec 21, 2004 (UTC)

Inappropriate capitalisation[edit]

Is it Wikipedia policy to capitalise headwords in the body of articles as a matter of course? For example, the names of animals often seem to have initial capitals in Wikipedia where they would not normally.

I have just removed an initial capital from the entry for "cyclist", which began:

A Cyclist is...

The capital "C" is completely unnecessary here.

I ask because I often refer to Wikipedia when contributing to Wiktionary, and it is irritating not to be able to know whether a capitalised word is actually a proper noun or really just a common noun.

In my opinion, capitals should only be used in Wikipedia where appropriate, that is, at the beginning of sentences and in proper nouns.

Thanks for any useful feedback.

Paul G 15:17, 21 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Correct. Animals are the exception, however; it has for some reason been decided that their names should have initial capitals. I disagree with this, but it's at least consistent within that set of articles. Fredrik | talk 16:03, 21 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Sound sample fair use for language article?[edit]

(Copied from Wikipedia talk:Fair use since this may be a better place to ask...) I've been working on fleshing out the article on the Samogitian language, and I would like to include a recorded example of the spoken language. I have some (copyrighted) folklore recordings of native speakers singing, telling stories, etc. If I take a short (~15 seconds) excerpt of one story and credit it appropriately, is this fair use? The key, I think, is that the content of the story is not important to the article. --Theodore Kloba 20:20, Dec 17, 2004 (UTC)

I think that should be very OK. Maurreen 03:58, 19 Dec 2004 (UTC)
I've included it in the article under Audio sample. What do you think of my method of crediting it? Is there a better way? When linking as [[Media:Example.ogg]], the link just plays the sample. The only way I could link to the file's credits was by linking as [[Image:Example.ogg]]. --Theodore Kloba 22:23, Dec 22, 2004 (UTC)
The latter is better, if you're that concerned. Placing image tags on an article is bad form. Peter O. (Talk, automation script) 06:56, Dec 24, 2004 (UTC)

Articles on first names[edit]

Do we want articles on common first names? Where should the disambiguation pages for first names go? Are hybrid disambiguation articles ok? Comments welcome at Wikipedia talk:Disambiguation. Rmhermen 21:26, Dec 15, 2004 (UTC)

I would like articles like that, describing how names in different languages are similar, and the origins of names. This is kind of a middle-ground between dictionary and encylopedia, but since it would have historical context, I'd say that puts it in encyclopedic territory. What do you mean about disambiguation for first names? --Golbez 22:31, Dec 15, 2004 (UTC)

I don't see why we are trying to make a special case out of first names. Looking at the example of William it is clearly an encyclopedia article. The confusion seems to be that people have used firstname articles as disambigs when in fact they really should be articles. Wikipedia is for the end user, not for the convience of editors. Stbalbach 04:10, 16 Dec 2004 (UTC)

William is not an encyclopedia article, it is just a very good dict. def. Much of its present content should be moved to Wiktionary, and the rest made more like John. - SimonP 05:44, Dec 16, 2004 (UTC)
  • William is not an encyclopedia article .. Based on what criteria? What if I wanted to jazz up the article to featured article status?
  • made more like John .. IMO the John article is confusing. Editors put info across 2 places, it is not clear where to put new info (as evidenced by the current article) -- it is neither a disambiguation page, or a real article.
I still don't see why we make special exceptions for names. Just use name(disambiguation) its very clear and follows the same procedure as everything else. Stbalbach 03:08, 17 Dec 2004 (UTC)

For older discussion on this, see VFD/Precedents#Are_all_first_names_valid_topics_for_articles --Key45 00:21, 21 Dec 2004 (UTC)

How to reference a foreign-language wikipedia article[edit]

Do we have any standard on how to reference a foreign-language wikipedia article? It seems that no matter what I do, people come through and edit it.

Originally, when indicating (for example) a Spanish-language Wikipedia article as a reference I would refer, for example, to:

...the [[:es:Rosario (Argentina)|corresponding article]] in the Spanish-language Wikipedia...

...which shows as:

...the corresponding article in the Spanish-language Wikipedia...

After being admonished that this constitutes an unacceptable self-reference (because the interwiki link would break when used elsewhere, I started using:

...the [ corresponding article] in the Spanish-language Wikipedia...

...which shows as:

...the [ corresponding article] in the Spanish-language Wikipedia...

Now someone is going through editing those back to how I had it in the first place. Is there a policy on this? If not, can we please establish one? -- Jmabel | Talk 20:55, Dec 14, 2004 (UTC)

I think the right choice is to use the http form and the description "article in the Spanish-language Wikipedia encyclopedia - to make it clear that this article may not be in a Wikipedia. I think the interlanguage links should only be used in discussion pages and automatic inter-language links. If this is not policy, it should be. JesseW 05:49, 25 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Proposed method of dealing with schools: name standard[edit]

Originally, I was of the mind that schools are not per se notable; that articles about schools should be included here if and only if the school met some sort of notability standard. I've changed my opinion on this for a couple of reasons. First of all, it's like pushing rope; every high school kid is going to want to (a) look up their own school, and (b) make an entry for it if it's not there. Secondly, the fact that every school kid is going to want to look up their own school (as will every alum) in some ways defines the usefulness of these entries: it's information people will naturally seek here, whether we like it or not.

With that in mind, I propose a naming standard for schools. There appear to be only a limited number of names for schools; any school named after an American president, for example, is not going to be unique. I suggest that school articles be always titled (for example) William Howard Taft High School (Woodland Hills, CA), to differentiate it from William Howard Taft High School (Dallas, TX) and so on; a disambiguation page of course would exist. We should make a point of renaming existing American school articles using this standard. --jpgordon∇∆∇∆ 19:28, 4 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Sounds good to me. If we only have one article on a school with a certain name, the renaming shouldn't be necessary, but a standardized way of dealing witht he shared names that do come would help matters. Factitious 05:55, Dec 5, 2004 (UTC)
How about schools in other countries? Is it not also true that people will want to make pages on their schools in other English-speaking countries? --Smoddy 12:07, 5 Dec 2004 (UTC)
Personally, I'd say we could put the city, province (if applicable), and country (for example: (Winnipeg, MB, Canada) or (London, England)). This standard could even be used for American schools, in the interest of fairness (making the above example William Howard Taft High School (Woodland Hills, CA, USA)) --HBK 16:41, Dec 5, 2004 (UTC)

It there are two schools with the same name, then the oldest one should be able to claim seniority and keep the page with links to disambiguation pages for the others if neccessary. I do not see why "Rugby School" should be put on a new page called "Rugby School (Rugby, Warwickshire, England, UK)" even if there is one in another country called Rugby School Philip Baird Shearer 18:02, 5 Dec 2004 (UTC)

  • I would say that in that case there is no question, but do see the recent controversy over Wesleyan University: this is by no means a universally accepted approach. -- Jmabel | Talk 19:49, Dec 5, 2004 (UTC)
The general rule for disambiguation is to have the shortest possible name that is unambiguous. We don't need descriptive information in title. Thus William Howard Taft High School (Woodland Hills) is better (unless of course there is another Taft H.S. in another Woodland Hills.) The disambiguation page can contain the state and other information. - SimonP 18:13, Dec 5, 2004 (UTC)
The American standard of two letters for the state after the town/city name is, to me and many other non-Americans, rather ugly. SimonP suggests the best method. violet/riga (t) 01:02, 6 Dec 2004 (UTC)
    • Aesthetic judgement noted. So what? Regardless, "Woodland Hills" by itself is insufficient information, since there are several of them; should editors creating an article be required to go check to make sure there are no other Taft High Schools in places called Woodland Hills? Or wouldn't it be simpler to have the standard be unambiguous from the outset? --jpgordon∇∆∇∆ 19:08, 16 Dec 2004 (UTC)
Pre-emptive disambiguation is in general discouraged and I would not support a proposal to require including disambiguating details by default. What would be helpful is to have guidelines for how to disambiguate schools when it is needed. I also very much dislike using two-letter postal codes as disambiguators (and I'm an American), as they are meaningless (or even confusing) to people unfamiliar with the system (e.g., someone recently commented elsewhere that they thought MN was Maine). First step would be to include the city or school district name. In the rare cases where there are two cities with the same name having schools with the same name (and that someone has created articles for them on Wikipedia and they survive VfD), then they can be further disambiguated by adding the state or province or country name as needed. So, William Howard Taft High School (Woodland Hills) is just fine until there is a need to further disambiguate, and in that case, I'd favor [[William Howard Taft High School (Woodland Hills, California). olderwiser 19:37, Dec 16, 2004 (UTC)
Using the full name for a state seems fine to me. In this case, ambiguities are almost certain, but disambiguating only when necessary isn't insane either. But let's face it, many school names will need disambiguation instantaneously. There are probably as many "Robert E. Lee High School"s as there are Southern towns, and various other famous people (Thomas Edison, Thomas Jefferson, etc.) probably have over 10,000 high schools named after each of them. Dwheeler 03:36, 2004 Dec 19 (UTC)

Discussion on video policy, please comment.[edit]

In response to some new developments, I'd like comment on a possible update to the currently-outdated meta:Video policy. Please comment on the discussion here, as this involves all Wikimedia projects. grendel|khan 13:10, 2005 Jan 3 (UTC)

Proposal:VfD early removal[edit]

a) If a page on VfD gets M keep votes, with the only opposition being the nominator, the discussion shall be archived and the page kept.

b) If a page on VfD gets N delete votes, not including the nominator, with no opposition, the discussion shall be archived and the page deleted.

c) If a page is nominated in obvious bad faith, the VfD subpage shall be deleted and the page kept.

d) The usual vote exclusions for sockpuppets apply.

Some feedback would be greatly appreciated on the VfD talk section. My preferred values of M and N would be 5 and 3, but I've left that open intentionally. Vacuum c 17:17, Jan 1, 2005 (UTC)

Generally concur, but with a minimum of H hours (I suggest H=24), so people can't just gang up and overwhelm the consensus process by voting fast. -- Jmabel | Talk 22:09, Jan 1, 2005 (UTC)
Copied comment to the VfD talk section. Vacuum c 01:41, Jan 2, 2005 (UTC)
On the subject of H hours, I suggest that a new policy include not putting a newly created page on VfD for an hour or two when it is first created. I know that if I'm spending a lot of time getting the wiki markup right in a new article, I like to save it (so I can continue on if my computer crashes, etc.) Morris 13:51, Jan 3, 2005 (UTC)
If you need to do that, create pages as a subpage of your userpage and move them into the main namespace when you're done. --fvw* 14:01, 2005 Jan 3 (UTC)
When I'm making significant edits to articles, I copy the section into a text editor, then write the wiki markup in there. When I have finished, I put it into the main article and preview the page. I save the text document as I go along. This also allows for spelling checks (though it is not infallible). Smoddy | Talk 14:45, 3 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Putting ebooks links in user pages[edit]

Can I put ebooks (possibly illegal) links in my wikipedia user pages? To know about the kind of links, see this page. (When you reply, please drop me a message in my talk page) - Sridhar 06:55, 1 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Please don't. -- Cyrius| 08:11, 1 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Policy decision on VfD[edit]

Policy regarding user space is being clarified at Wikipedia:Votes for deletion/User:Amgine/Maureen's RfC. The issue is whether or not it is appropriate for someone to keep a copy of an uncertified RfC in their user space when policy calls for the RfC to be deleted. Is this similar to copying a deleted article to BJAODN or is it circumventing Wikipedia policy? Your input is welcome. SWAdair | Talk 03:14, 30 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Thanks to you all for your input. Voting has closed. The result was Keep, by a vote 12 to 7. Vacuum c 17:09, Jan 2, 2005 (UTC)

Stub sorting policy[edit]

Policy over stub sorting is currently being decided at Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Stub sorting/Policy. Please help us form a consensus on the matter. Thanks! -- AllyUnion (talk) 02:10, 30 Dec 2004 (UTC)

blank pages[edit]

In the 9 or so months I've been here, I have gotten the strong sense that blank pages are undesirable--that any page in the article space should be an article, a disamb page, a redir, or else be deleted. However, when that opinion was challenged, I couldn't find anything it writing to that effect (of course, it doesn't help that realtime search is currently disabled). Am I wrong, or can someone point me to a policy/guideline page that supports that view? Help!?! Niteowlneils 17:31, 29 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Well, Wikipedia:Vandalism defines "childish vandalism" as including page blanking. It's common sense that blank articles shouldn't be lying around, because they break the red/blue link meanings. Nobody's ever felt the need to write up an explicit rule about it, and quite frankly they shouldn't. We've got too damn many rules already. -- Cyrius| 18:17, 29 Dec 2004 (UTC)
This is one of Wikipedia's older policies, but it does not seeem to have been written down. I did a quick write up at Wikipedia:Blank pages. - SimonP 18:52, Dec 29, 2004 (UTC)

Thanks, guys. FWIW, in the case in question, a Wikpedian created a redirect to an existing article, then decided the article didn't discuss the subject as described in the redirect's title adequately, and blanked the redir because "deletion is anti-wiki", so I reverted the blanking (in hindsight, if I had speedied it as 'blanked by author' probably nobody would have complained). Redirects for deletion I guess would be the most proper way to handle it if the redir really isn't called for. BTW, while hunting I did find Wikipedia:List of blank pages, but it hasn't been updated since May--are they being tracked somewhere else now, or can it be updated automatically, or would this possibly be a job for one of the query/collaborate whizzes (Topbanana, Nickj, et al)? Niteowlneils 20:54, 29 Dec 2004 (UTC)

"The" in aristos' names[edit]

There seems to be a policy to refer to eg The Lord Williams of Mostyn. I haven't checked to see if this is correct, but I do know it sounds ridiculous and no-one ever says this. Who makes these decisions? Is there a style guide? And how would one go about getting the style changed?

Check the Debretts website [2]. It is the "correct" formal style for a baron and Life Peer. Dabbler 13:18, 29 Dec 2004 (UTC)

"I haven't checked to see if this is correct" - what more can I say? (Needless to say, it is correct.) Proteus (Talk) 14:47, 29 Dec 2004 (UTC)

You say it's correct, I think it's a level of formality that isn't necessary for this encyclopaedia and I think it's liable to mislead people into thinking anyone ever says it. - Andrew Roberts

Btw, does anyone know what the DNB does?

In a similar vein, I've been in a discussion on Talk:British and Irish current events about the use of "Her Majesty". My experience on current events (and my own opinion) is that this honorific is considered POV, but others disagree and contend that it's part of her legal title. I haven't found chapter and verse in the manual of style on this issue. Would other Wikipedians like to offer their opinions? -- Avaragado 15:20, 30 Dec 2004 (UTC)
Prohibiting use of that title would be compulsory POV. Philip 17:38, 31 Dec 2004 (UTC)
That discussion surely does need more opinions, particularly from somewhere not under the sphere of influence of Britain. I, in particular, have no opinions. Peter O. (Talk, automation script) 03:25, Dec 31, 2004 (UTC)
Please contribute (on either side of the debate) at Talk:British and Irish current events. Thanks. -- Avaragado 17:41, 31 Dec 2004 (UTC)


When will Wikipedia enter the 21st century and allow Flash files to be imbedded into article pages like images? - 23:51, 28 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Can you give me an example where this would be useful. Also there may be GFDL issues with using it. Evil MonkeyTalk 23:56, Dec 28, 2004 (UTC)
Well done flash files would would add immeasurably to Wikipedia. Look at examples from the BBC etc [3], [4], [5], [6], [7] etc.
Also interesting is this news - [8] - from the BBC.
Specific articles that could benefit from the ability of flash files to explain complicated situation such as the recent Asian tsunami and the Second Congo War. 00:27, 29 Dec 2004 (UTC)
I did a quick search on the site but couldn't find anything. My guess would be to contact someone there who is involved in the development side of things. Evil MonkeyTalk 01:22, Dec 29, 2004 (UTC)

Would that mean that non-broadband users would have to wait for a long time or that the page would cause a "flash-block" (ie. "I refuse to load because you do not have Flash installed")? - Skysmith 09:09, 29 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Will this essentially require that users use a proprietary software package? I suspect many would object to it if it does, and as a practical matter it might. The SWF format (Flash 7) is available at but the license described there only permits creating the format, not displaying it, which raises concerns. I believe there was some partial open source software implementation of the SWF format, but I do not know how complete it is. -- Dwheeler 19:36, 2004 Dec 30 (UTC)

I am against this, link to a flash-enabled page, don't embed. Plus, if we must use a more interactive format, can an open one be used instead (SVG). ~ mlk 04:56, 1 Jan 2005 (UTC) ~
I'm strongly against the use of a proprietary format that requires the use of proprietary. That'd also exclude people using Linux PPC, text-based browsers, etc. BernardM
I'm also strongly against this. It seems counter productive for a free encylopedia to employ proprietary standards. Wikipedia, as a popular website, could be a great tool in promoting an SVG implementation over Flash, so when that's viable, sure. Hn 00:21, Jan 8, 2005 (UTC)

Removing copyvio notice question[edit]

The article on The Six Million Dollar Man contained a trivia item (which I did not contribute, I should note) which turned out to be a cut-and-paste of a trivia item from IMDb. Back in November someone placed a copyvio tag on the page. About 5 minutes later I spotted this and rewrote the trivia item on the temp page so that it was no longer a copyvio (I also made factual corrections since the original IMDb trivia item was erroneous anyway). It's my understanding the copyvio notice was to have been removed by an admin within a week, but it's been more than a month. Is there a penalty for going ahead and removing the copyvio notice and replacing the offending material so we can lose the ugly (and no longer necessary) copyvio notice in the middle of the article? Cheers 23skidoo 02:41, 27 Dec 2004 (UTC)

It was apparently either not listed on the copyright problems page or was lost. Its listing was restored on December 12. I'll take care of it right now. -- Cyrius| 03:57, 27 Dec 2004 (UTC)
Um, now that I read the "rewritten" section, I see that the first (of 2) sentences is still almost identical to the original copied material. Yuck. -- Cyrius| 04:00, 27 Dec 2004 (UTC)
I don't see how, as the stuff regarding Lee Majors was part of an original addition I put in there. The fact the crash shown is real is not a copyvio as it is a well-known piece of trivia regarding the show. I just checked the IMDb and the trivia items are no longer identical. I rewrote it top to bottom. The first few words of the sentence are similar, that's all.23skidoo 04:50, 27 Dec 2004 (UTC)
It was me who put the copyvio in the first place. The flag serves multiple purposes:
  • Keep a record that we are catching copyvios.
  • Let those who know it well to rewrite or do some research. Wikipedia is not just cut-and-paste or rephrase.
  • You may want to check other sections as well. The contributor could have posted multiple copyvio materials.
I then forget about it. -- Toytoy 05:01, Dec 28, 2004 (UTC)
Well, I went ahead and put it into the article about twelve hours ago (before i noticed this discussion). The diff looks pretty bad, but the version that was in the article at that point was already slightly rewritten from the IMDb text. It's not perfect, but the listing was hanging around on WP:CP and nobody really knew what to do with it; I decided to take the plunge. One sentence is arguably a derivative work, but is actually fairly different.
Cases like this, where only a section of a larger article is affected, are difficult. The article was never going to be deleted, so it didn't require an admin-only action, but 23skidoo seemed to be waiting for some sort of "official" decision. The lesson is: if you can solve any case on WP:CP without the help of an admin, be bold, fix it, and leave a note to let the world know what you've done. Any advice or sleuth work on the "hard cases" that hang around at the top of WP:CP is appreciated, even if we don't seem to act on it straight away.
Finally, I agree with Toytoy that doing some research is a good thing that we want to encourage. --rbrwr± 23:20, 3 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Commas in between [person name] and 'Jr'[edit]

Can't find anything on the naming convention pages whether there should be a comma between a last name and 'Jr.' in the article/page title, and current usage/precedent doesn't seem to help much, EG Joseph Pulitzer Jr. but Ed Begley, Jr.; William Usery Jr. but Martin Luther King, Jr. (I'm assuming constructions like Whitney Moore Jr. Young were caused by scripts that (I assume) created Wikipedia:List of encyclopedia topics/Biographies Y.)

Anyone know if there's a preferred standard that I'm not finding? Any similar policies/guidelines to extrapolate from? Other comments or suggestions? Niteowlneils 01:51, 27 Dec 2004 (UTC)

I don't know of any Wikipedia preference, but if you want to develop one, it might be good to ask at Wikipedia Talk:Manual of Style. Maurreen 07:50, 27 Dec 2004 (UTC)
Probably something for Wikipedia Talk:Manual of Style as Maurreen suggests, but since we're discussing it here I think there shouldn't be a comma, as it's not a title but a part of the name. A quick survey of a google search on the matter suggests leaving the comma out is probably best, but if someone has strong feelings for using the comma I think it's worth discussing. --fvw* 13:59, 2004 Dec 27 (UTC)
I would like to see a software enhancement that would allow a person's name to be normalized in a way that a reference would work without knowing exactly how it is punctuated. I find it most annoying to have to do a search every time I want to insert a reference to someone in another article. (But I have nothing against making a standard for this case.) Morris 13:30, Dec 27, 2004 (UTC)
The comma should go in, as it splits the person's name from his position in the family. Junior, (Jr) and Senior (Sr) are not part of a person's surname, which is why it is important Apwoolrich 14:06, 27 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Thanks for the replies. OK, I think we've established Wikipedia has not yet developed a standard. I lean toward including the comma, as, at least here in the US, in formal, written documents, it is pretty much always included. Is there a different standard in other English speaking countries? (I guess I have to break down and get Strunk & White, AP Style, and Chicago style manuals here, even tho' I already have copies of the first two back in my Seattle apt.) The exactness of Wikipedia search beyond just punctuation, while vexing, is probably part of a bigger discussion than this. Of the google hits, the ones that say not to use the comma seem to fall into two categories--those that say it's common, but nowadays not necessary, and medical and professorial style guides that deal with other suffixes after last names (EG MD, PhD). Niteowlneils 16:49, 27 Dec 2004 (UTC)

A visit to my local library shed some light on the problems with adopting a standard. At first, it went well--all three encyclopedias there used the comma in their "Martin Luther King, Jr." articles, and all eight books used the comma for "Martin Luther King, Jr." in their titles or subtitles. The MLA Style manual also agreed that the comma should be used, so I'm thinking 'this is easy--slam-dunk for commas'. However, Chicago said that while the comma was previously required, it was now 'optional', and Strunk & White said that while the comma was used traditionally, "logically" it was not necessary (something about it not being parenthetical, but restrictive). So I still lean towards commas, because without just looks wrong, compared to what I'm used to seeing, but I'm not sure that the case is clear enuf to justify moving all articles to that usage. Niteowlneils 00:16, 29 Dec 2004 (UTC)
According to etiquette, the comma is used. Junior is not part of the name, because a person has the option of changing it when the senior of that name dies Suffix (name) Quill 22:34, 31 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Categories and languages on the French Wikipedia[edit]

Hello. I've had this doubt for quite a while now, and this is the best way I could find to discuss about it. It does concern the French Wikipedia, I know, but since I'm not a member from that version, and since I do not speak French either, perhaps I could talk about this here.

On the few times I've been to the French Wikipedia, I noticed their policy on dealing with categories and languages on articles is to add their tags in the beginning of the page. While I'm not aware of everything about styles regarding this and different Wikipedias, I do think that's a very bad habit. Adding those tags to the beginning of each article adds a good share of unnecessary spaces there, which, in my opinion, makes those pages look strange. That's why I always move those tags to the bottom in the English Wikipedia, and it looks like that's the style we've addopted here.

I Once edited an article on the French Wikipedia, moving languages and categories tags to the bottom of the page, among with other small edits. Well, that was promptly reverted by someone else, easy like that. That member labeled what I did as "vandalism" (yes, I understood that). I don't keep rancor or anything, but I'd just like to know why that happens, and if it really should be that way. Why they have such a preference. Wouldn't it be better if they just did it like we do? I'm not asking for the whole stuff to be changed (also because that would be damn hard to do, manually), though I do think it would be better to keep those tags at the bottom.

Anyhow, I'd just like to hear your opinion.

Thank you.--Kaonashi 19:20, 26 Dec 2004 (UTC)

For my two penny's worth, I'd say what the French Wikipedia do is up to them. Whilst the difference may be a little annoying and confusing, it is not our place to dictate what they should do. The English Wikipedia, though it was the first, is in no way superior to any others. Perhaps it would be better for us if they put their tags at the bottom. Maybe it would be better for them if we put our tags at the top. I think we just have to have some leniency and allow for the differences - just like in real life (does Wikipedia count as real life?) Smoddy | Talk 20:16, 26 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Thanks for your comment. However, I never stated we're superior, or that our standards should be everybody else's standards. I just wanted to understand why they do that, or most importantly, why my action was seen as vandalism. I am allowing differences. That's exactly what I did when I accepted my edit being reverted. I guess it's just a point of view, after all. To me that drops the article's aesthetics way down, but that's just my opinion. I created this discussion here because perhaps I was missing something on this. It's all I wanted to know.--Kaonashi 20:31, 26 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Given the current functionality of the MediaWiki software (it still seems to be in 1.4), that seems nuts, as interwikis and cats add white space instead of being ignored. I assume some smarter handling these and other white space issues are in the pipeline somewhere, but I don't they're seen as a priority. (FWIW, from a bit of looking with Babelfish, they don't seem to have any placement preference documented for either interwikis or cats--the fr: equivalent to Wikipedia:How to edit a page (which recommends the bottom) is much shorter and doesn't say one way or the other. One interesting diff, is that they are sticking with the 'singular always' rules for cats, unlike en:) Niteowlneils 01:51, 27 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Hmm, yes. I sure hope that problem will be fixed in the next versions. It's just like the hidden text feature. It'll add a blank line instead of just making the text disappear, so to avoid that it's necessary to add the tags to the beginning or end of another block of text. Another problem is the way those boxes (usually made up from HTML tags in the article's own body, or sometimes via template) will add blank spaces to the beginning of an article that can't be removed (at least I can rarely manage to do so).

By the way, thanks for sharing what you found out about the French Wikipedia. I appreciate it.--Kaonashi 01:32, 28 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Being a French Wikipedian, I can answer this. Actually, the issue is rather controversial. Some people, probably including the one who reverted you, vehemently support having categories and interwikis at top. Others would prefer them at the bottom. As a result, no one wishes to clarify the matter for fear of igniting a giant edit war and everyone does as they like. Anyway, you shouldn't have been branded a vandal for this ! And you could have voiced your complaint on the Bistro, we don't bite english speakers ! _R_ 03:07, 2 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Aah, I see. Thanks for clearing that up. But yes, you're right. Not much to be done about this, except to wait until the developers can fix the interlinks and prevent them from converting into spaces. Also, thanks for the tip. I'll drop by sometime. =] --Kaonashi 20:47, 3 Jan 2005 (UTC)

New naming convention on government departments and so on.[edit]

Perhaps as dry as you could possibly get (I'm sure the taxonomic geeks might take issue with that ;)), but something I'm hoping to nail down a decent consensus on. Wikipedia:Naming conventions (government departments and ministers). Fire/ignore away. -- The Tom 04:34, 26 Dec 2004 (UTC)

User pages without users[edit]

What's policy on pages in the User: namespace that don't have a corresponding user? Are these speedyable, or painfully-slow-VfDable, or what?

The specific case I have in mind is User:Gabriel Kent, which seems to have been created shortly after Gabriel Kent went through VfD (discussion here). I rather suspect it's identical to the deleted page, though of course I can't be sure since I can't see it. While I don't think the resume's any more appropriate in userspace than WP proper (let alone in non-user userspace), I wouldn't bother to bring it up except that anons have been redirecting Gabriel Kent there. —Korath会話 00:59, 26 Dec 2004 (UTC)

I called it a CSD under the "recreation of deleted content" bit. As there was no user, it wasn't a user page. It was just in the user namespace. -- Cyrius| 01:59, 26 Dec 2004 (UTC)
Probably not the intent of the policy, but yes, it is a valid reading of the policy. It doesn't address the bigger issue though, I often see anons create pages in User: without the associated user (like this one). I wouldn't mind seeing them becoming speediable actually, it'll prevent crud buildup (usually these pages are written (badly) once and then forgotten about unlike real user pages) and avoid new users being confused by there already being a user page for their fresh account. --fvw* 18:01, 2004 Dec 26 (UTC)

Train station articles?[edit]

I was fixing up some of the articles on the "orphans" page. I happened to notice that there is this category [[Category:7-Flushing Train stations]] with 22 short articles, each for a station on one line of the New York City subway system. The first thing I notice is that many don't bother to mention that the stations are in New York City (I happen to know, as I live here), some of them don't actually mention that they are about train stations, although one might infer that from the mention of tracks. (The articles are all written from the point of view of a New York resident, who knows where Queens is, but just needs to know the exact layout of a subway station). Should they be fixed up (with some boilerplate, about "this is a station in New York City's Public Transit...) or should they all be listed on the VFD page as being beyond any appropriate level of detail, or nothing? Morris 05:36, Dec 24, 2004 (UTC)

Personally I feel that train stations are not particularly encyclopaedic subjects, but I accept that many either disagree or don't care, and I'm not that bothered. If you want to do so, fixing all the articles with a boilerplate of your own making would be a great service. Be bold! List them for deletion only if you are convinced they should go though, because there are lots of similar articles about other stations.Dr Zen 05:47, 24 Dec 2004 (UTC)
As lord protector of the 108 Washington Metro subway articles, I say that train stations, even subway stations, are useful articles. Maybe check out some of the articles linked off List of Washington Metro stations for some ideas. --Golbez 07:14, Dec 24, 2004 (UTC)
I actually share the philosophy of inclusionism (and would never imagine bothering articles which have a lord protector (:-)). I think that I will sometime try to improve the New York Subway articles to the (approximate) level of quality of the Washington articles. Morris 13:49, Dec 24, 2004 (UTC)
Heh. :) Well, some time ago someone left me a note on my talk page, alarmed that a train station article had been successfully VfD'd, so I look out for those now. And I simply liked being called lord protector, since those make up a full 1/8 of my watch list. :) My notion (and keep in mind, these were the first articles I made, so I was still a newbie here) was to kind of create a wiki train system, as you can see with the tables at the bottom of each article; get to Union Street, click on to the Amtrak link, follow Amtrak stations up to New York, then pop out there to read New York related articles. More suited for WikiTravel? Maybe. But I'm not screwing with anyone's namespace. :) --Golbez 19:06, Dec 24, 2004 (UTC)
That's a nice idea.Dr Zen 03:06, 26 Dec 2004 (UTC)
I haven't been there, but I don't think you can say too much of interest about a single train station. I vote that they be made sections in one big article about New York train stations, complete with a map and some random photos of interesting aspects of some of them. The aid of the context would result in a lot less content overall, which is good. Deco 04:51, 30 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Whoever deletes this image please explain[edit]

File:Beef noodle soup food stand.jpg

The picture is reverted but I still do not see any explaination. -- Toytoy 14:42, Dec 21, 2004 (UTC)

Whoever deletes this image please explain. I altered much about this image that I can easily claim fair use or derivated work. The useful information in this picture is ALL ADDED BY ME. The background is only A BACKGROUND. -- Toytoy 12:35, Dec 21, 2004 (UTC)

This picture was published in the Republic of China. According to the Article 65 of the Copyright Act of ROC, my alteration of it is very likely a justifiable case of fair use. And as the derivative work's creator, I can claim copyright of this brand new picture. The Article 65 ( ) reads:
Article 65
Fair use of a work shall not constitute infringement on economic rights in the work.
In determining whether the exploitation of a work complies with the provisions of Articles 44 through 63, or other conditions of fair use, all circumstances shall be taken into account, and in particular the following facts shall be noted as the basis for determination:
  1. The purposes and nature of the exploitation, including whether such exploitation is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes.
  2. The nature of the work.
  3. The amount and substantiality of the portion exploited in relation to the work as a whole.
  4. Effect of the exploitation on the work's current and potential market value.
Where the copyright owner organization and the exploiter organization have formed an agreement on the scope of the fair use of a work, it may be taken as reference in the determination referred to in the preceding paragraph.
In the course of forming an agreement referred to in the preceding paragraph, advice may be sought from the specialized agency in charge of copyright matters.
Revert my image. -- Toytoy 12:58, Dec 21, 2004 (UTC)
In fact, the four factors are exact replica of the 17 U.S.C. § 107 which reads:
Notwithstanding the provisions of sections 106 and 106A, the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright. In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use the factors to be considered shall include --
  1. the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;
  2. the nature of the copyrighted work;
  3. the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and
  4. the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.
The fact that a work is unpublished shall not itself bar a finding of fair use if such finding is made upon consideration of all the above factors.
In the making of this image, I was transforming an obscure and nearly meaningless low-resolution image into a meaningful and useful illustration of three different kinds of beef-related Chinese food items. I can easily stand in a court of law and win. -- Toytoy 13:20, Dec 21, 2004 (UTC)
It's a derived work, so the original copyright still applies. Original copyright statement is "Contents may be free reproduced outside Taiwan; please credit Travel in Taiwan." Geographical limitation of free distribution is not acceptable, and the fair use claim is weak. -- Cyrius| 16:42, 21 Dec 2004 (UTC)
I think "Free reproduced" means "freely reproduced". Peter O. (Talk, automation script) 02:38, Dec 28, 2004 (UTC)

Politically motivated entry(ies?) in Russian[edit]

I happened to stumble upon Russian entry on "Latvia" (

It is a short entry, providing with relatively little information and, unlike English version, contains only one additional link, that is "Latvian Legionaries of Waffen SS"

No doubt that even Germany between 1933 and 1945, if taken neutrally, had something else in addition to Hitler, nazies, ss, gestapo etc, worth mentioning would for examle be victims, devastation, war refugees etc, not even mentioning a usual eastern-european country of the year 2004, not fighting in World War II anymore.

The problem seems to be that there's political argument between modern Russian leadership, in particular Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Latvia over the history and interpretation of history of Latvia in 2 World War. This is why Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued its official opinion on those Latvian-related units which fought with the Germans against Soviet Union in form of waffen ss, which has similarity of attitude with the entry in question. (

I would like to draw attention to the estimates of international organizations such as Freedom House and Reporteurs sans frontiers who, in their annual estmates, in recent years gave Russian media very low index, putting it essentially close to the level of media of some of worst dictatorships, thus siting absence of media freedom. Together with the fact that official Kremlin and its security services have launched a controlled media campaign against Latvia, this implies that Russian sources-based information in Wikipedia's Russian page on Latvia, emphasizing "latvian waffen ss" could be politically motivated and one-sided. As now, it seems to be based on USSR sources and no mentioning of the opinion of western countries (or Latvia) is provided. For example, US Commission of Refugees issued an opinion in 1950s that baltic waffen ss members, who, in fact, fought against USSR in front combat units, cannot be considered "criminal" or nazies, therefore undermining any special meaning that the Russians attach to artifitial entry on "latvian waffen ss units". At least such an entry should have a note that the opinion given is not shared in Lavia.

I think, while it largely corresponds to the believes of most of population of modern Russia, as one-sided and propaganda-influenced information, it should not be part of Wikipedia.

Please communicate this to the persons responsible for management,

Best Regards

Raul Nugis


PS: I hope it is understood that as though now it is justified to consider Wikipedia to large extent as a product of information stored elsewhere, in future, it could be considered as actually souce of information in itself. That's why, if somebody puts his or her distorted or one-sided information in Wikipedia, later, provided this person is dishonest or disoriented, he or she can further facilitate his or her claims citing Wikipedia's entries and using Wikipedia's authority and trust of its users, which it will perhaps have.

The Russian Wikipedia runs largely separately from the English Wikipedia. Complaining to us isn't likely to have much effect. -- Cyrius| 16:39, 21 Dec 2004 (UTC)
It's also one of the few major ones not interwiki'd from Wikipedia:Village Pump. I'll call Drbug's attention to this. Drbug, could you please indicate here when you've seen this, and maybe start a Russian equivalent of the Village Pump, or just provide the interwiki link on Wikipedia:Village Pump if there already is one? -- Jmabel | Talk 20:12, Dec 21, 2004 (UTC)
Raul, the best approach is adding new articles about Latvia and editing the article about the Latvian Waffen-SS. I don't think there is a politics of the Latvian Wikipedia as such. The Russian Wikipedians certainly have different political views. If you can write Russian, please collaborate there and help getting their information unbiased. And of course, I invite you to contribute to the Estonian Wikipedia. Andres 21:28, 29 Dec 2004 (UTC)
And here, to the English one, as well. Here you have a very large audience, and the material here is authoritative for other wikipedias here. Andres 21:55, 29 Dec 2004 (UTC)
The general discussion of the Russian Wikipedia is ru:Википедия:Форум, but issues like this one should be discussed on the Talk page of a particular article. Note, however, that we do not take into consideration any requests of "removing emphasis" on particular parts of a country's history (regardless of whether the emphasis is politically, personally, religiously, or whatever motivated), as long as the information is true. We only remove articles that are obviously misleading. This policy insures freedom of speech, democracy and racial tolerance etc. on the pages of the Russian Wikipedia. I am sorry to tell that the only way to remove "one-sidedness" from an article is to add something (that the brainwashed Russians do not know) to make it two- or more-"sided". Ramir 08:22, 4 Jan 2005 (UTC).
The Russian Wikipedia is a developing entity, and it is developing fast, but today we still have too few participants interested in history and willing to provide input in the form of new articles. I agree that the article on Latvia is too short (even though I, for one, placed there info on the new Latvian government and one or two Latvian personalities and political parties) because it requires time and we do not have too many participants as yet. The way I see it, once Raul managed to read the materials, he must have some knowledge of Russian - so I do not understand why he prefers complaining to the English-speaking community instead of presenting his criticism (which may be really well-substantiated) in Russian - just like a small kid running to his big brother to protect him from big bullies in the yard. I assure you, we are not so bad as he tries to present us. The history of every nation has things some people would like to forget - but this is what we are here for, to have these things remembered, good and evil alike. It is high time we learned to discuss things like equal partners rather than go and look for some just and benign arbiter above us. If any person assumes he/she has the right to forbid anyone else to say whatever he/she thinks true, in what way is this person different from the Russian authorities and media he so justly criticizes?

No offence is meant, and I hope none is taken. My respects to all the English-speaking Wikipedia community - I do envy you for being that far ahead of us in both diversity and depth. Sincerely yours, Wulfson 06:19, 5 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Chronovisor - are such articles encyclopedic?[edit]

Browsing the Category:Time I stumbled upon this little article - Chronovisor. It made me think of what is the wikipedian standard on inclusion of articles on alleged phenomena/devices/etc.

It's clear that an article on a fictional object such as One Ring is warranted and generally non-controversial, unless it's really on some obscure item (the 5th Ring of Dwarves), when it becomes an example of fancruft.

Articles on real objects that are subject of unfounded claims such as Shroud of Turin are also warranted, especially when a large number of people have some beliefs (no matter how crazy) about these.

It's also clear that even articles on alleged (but not real) phenomena such as Bermuda Triangle are warranted when they have a large amount of influence on culture, society, even science.

But what about articles about trivial items such as this Chronovisor? Obviously, it could not work, almost surely it never even existed (although if it did, it would be very interesting evidence of idiocy of Catholic scientists) and it's not like it even has a strong following of conspiracy theorists.

What do you think? Paranoid 21:22, 18 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Someone might imaginably look up the term, so a debunking article seems in order. The present one is a bit understated in this respect. -- Jmabel | Talk 03:26, Dec 19, 2004 (UTC)
Assuming it isn't a complete hoax (the article, not the device), it is a NPOV article on something that some people might look up. What harm does it do to Wikipedia or to the 99.99% of Wikipedia visitors who will never see it? Philip 17:22, 31 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Abuse of speedy deletion[edit]

A lot of people feel the current Candidates for Speedy Deletion criteria are too narrow, and they are probably right that something should be done; Just ignoring policy and deleting non-CSD articles is not a solution however. I'd like to make a strong statement here that this is not acceptable. Please sign to indicate that you agree (or give a reason why we shouldn't stick to the speedy deletion rules I suppose). (The reason I want this is to be able to link this statement when people keep CSD-marking and SDing non-candidates defending it as 'standard practice').

Some random examples from the current deletion log, names removed because I don't want to single out any specific editors:

  • 02:04, 3 Dec 2004 ******** deleted Nicholas oliver (content was: 'Captain of Birmingham Eagles Ice Hockey team. Student at the University of birmingham. Born July 5th 1984 in Teaneck, New Jersey. Moved to England ...')
  • 02:04, 3 Dec 2004 ******** deleted Vfxartist (content was: '{{deletebecause|dubious neologism}}vfxartist - short for 'visual fx' artists do special effects for film and tv. tody they use software and computers...')
  • 01:57, 3 Dec 2004 ******** deleted Paul Paquette (fulfills Speedy Deletion criterion 4) (I'd removed a CSD notice from this article earlier and it was definately not a very short article at that time. It might have been blanked but a non-CSD article would still be available in the history which should have been restored)
  • 01:44, 3 Dec 2004 ******** deleted French Absolutism (joke/vanity obviously, plus possibly copyvio)

And the list goes on and on. None of these articles had already previously been deleted, so CSD criterion 5 didn't apply. --fvw* 02:57, 2004 Dec 3 (UTC)

04:51, 3 Dec 2004 Mikkalai deleted Paul Paquette (verifiable hoax by repeated hoaxer)
If the anon is in fact posting fake material, it's no abuse of speedy deletion. The article claimed he was an actor and musician, which are not supported by reputable guides to such people. The intentional posting of fraudulent material is vandalism and a candidate for speedy deletion. I defer to Mikkalai's judgment on whether this person is a repeat offender.

French Absolutism was an obvious joke. It was a personal letter from "Heroin Fred" trying to get himself a date. The other two deserve to go, but weren't CSDs. -- Cyrius| 05:03, 3 Dec 2004 (UTC)

The point isn't whether they should be deleted or not, the point is that they are not candidates for speedy deletion under the current policy. If you want to argue the policy needs changing, fine. But blatantly ignoring the policy isn't going to get us anywhere in the long run. --fvw* 05:23, 2004 Dec 3 (UTC)
Pure vandalism is a candidate for speedy deletion. The intentional posting of false material is a form of vandalism, and is quite frankly the single worst form of vandalism there is.
As for French Absolutism, it opened with:
You may ask why such a title has come into the Wikipedia Library. Well I say to you it because I need to promote myself.
I am single.
I am French.
And I am hot.
And with all these fine attributes I have yet to fine a woman who favors me.
That's either a newbie test or vandalism, take your pick. It's not worth wasting time over. -- Cyrius| 05:43, 3 Dec 2004 (UTC)
I think abuse is far too strong a word. It's just admins interpretting the speedy deletion criteria more liberally than you do. Admins who act like this are the only thing stopping vfd collapsing under its own weight, and as such I find it a bit difficult to be too harsh on them. So long as they don't delete articles that blatantly fall outside the criteria, they're actually doing wikipedia a service, not violating policy. Shane King 05:47, Dec 3, 2004 (UTC)
Agree with Shane King. Speedy deletion rules can be interpreted somewhat differently by different admins. From what I can see in the Deletion log copy above, i would have considered most of them borderline, and have no problem with them being deleted. -- Chris 73 Talk 06:19, Dec 3, 2004 (UTC)
Dittoed. Johnleemk | Talk 08:58, 12 Dec 2004 (UTC)
I agree with Fvw. I don't think admins "misinterpret" the criteria. I think they stretch them to fit their own opinions when they think they can get away with it. The speedy deletion cases are pretty clear. I entirely disagree with Shane. VfD is not "collapsing under its own weight". It would be in far better shape if deletionists stopped trolling it by listing schools and "fancruft" and worked to create consensus on the broader issues connected with those subjects. I think we should censure the admins who indulge in unilateralist behaviour and not encourage it. Admins should not be encouraged to work off their own initiative or to invent policy on the fly. Dr Zen 07:02, 21 Dec 2004 (UTC)
I agree that there's a problem. Like with greenhouse gas, part of the problem is that we have little idea how serious or otherwise the problem is. Some other aspects of the problem IMO are that the policy pages are a bit of a mess at present, and I'm not optimistic about the chances of improving them any time soon. So while I hope I'm not violating policy myself, I'm actually glad that some admins are, and I don't think I'm the only one. It's the lesser of two evils.
A more immediate problem I think is the lack of censure that some prominent admins (and Wikipedians generally) currently receive for downright rudeness. We cannot legislate good will or Wikilove, and IMO we cannot survive without it. So the legalistic solution of trying to fix the policy won't work for two reasons: Firstly it's not obvious how to do it, and secondly even if we do it won't help. The proposed solution of enforcing existing policy (and incidentally Wikilove is an existing policy, and one of the oldest) won't work either, for both of those reasons and for a third: It's often not obvious what existing policy is.
So my solution to all of these is to make an extra effort to promote goodwill, particularly among the admins, who should be expected to set an example both by respecting policy and by respecting their fellow Wikipedians. Andrewa 19:17, 30 Dec 2004 (UTC)

I agree that is is not acceptable for admins to ignore policy. Paul August 03:09, Dec 31, 2004 (UTC)

Is so much personal profile encyclopedic?[edit]

The article of Jay Chow contains a lot of personal profile, such as "his favorite..., his favorite...", etc. Can anyone tell me that whether these kind of articles should be cleanup? Thank you!Mickeymousechen 03:56, 8 Jan 2005 (UTC)mickeymousechen

I never put stuff like that in articles that I write/edit, but I don't think I would bother to remove it from an existing article, unless you think that it is incorrect. Of course some people say that my writing is a bit dry... (See Lewis B. Schwellenbach for an example biography that I recently substantially wrote) Morris 04:07, Jan 8, 2005 (UTC)
Nasty. Much of that can be removed because it's simply redundant. -- Cyrius| 05:44, 8 Jan 2005 (UTC)
Yeah, tag it for clean-up, or fix it yourself. Dan100 10:21, Jan 8, 2005 (UTC)
This is also possibly a copyvio: [9]. — Matt Crypto 12:23, 8 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Copyvio concerns aside, this kind of obsessive detail seems to be typical of fandom in China and Japan. Keep it because it tells us a lot about how his business is conducted. --Tony Sidaway|Talk 14:50, 8 Jan 2005 (UTC)

We don't need to turn a Wikipedia article into an example of a point merely to illustrate that point. If we want to convey this, I think it's much better to directly state something like "Like many celebrities in Japan and China, it is typical for Chow's fans to have a large interest in small details of his life, such as his food preferences or shoe size", rather than including a bullet point list of fancruft minutiae. — Matt Crypto 15:19, 8 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Are legal threats blockable offenses?[edit]

Wikipedia doesn't have a clear policy on the proper response to legal threats. According to Wikipedia:No legal threats, legal threats against Wikipedia by editors are a violation of policy, but there does not seem to be consensus to block or ban users who engage in this practice. Nevertheless, many admins do routinely block people for making legal threats. I don't believe these blocks are justified by policy. Whether or not you believe blocking should be allowed, the policy is currently inconclusive. Maybe someone could clarify this, or if necessary, we could have a vote about it. Cross-posted to WIKIEN-L. Rhobite 00:31, Jan 7, 2005 (UTC)

Seems like you are right, was not able to find anything in Wikipedia:Blocking_policy either. These blocks are not sanctioned by policy. Until the wikipedia community decides on this issue, admins should stop blocking people for making legal threats, since it is not a blockable offence. If people see a legal threat, delete and warn. Blocking someone is a serious thing to do, there should be CLEAR policy outlined in the blocking policy. --Nasrallah 00:59, 7 Jan 2005 (UTC)
The above statement is wrong. It would be more accurate to say that this is not a black-or-white issue. There is a fairly long history of blocking users for making legal threats, and the arbcom has ruled that making legal threats is a violation of wikiettiquite. On the other hand, blocking policy does not explicetely condone or oppose it. So it's a bit of a grey area. →Raul654 01:10, Jan 7, 2005 (UTC)
What admins are and are not allowed to do is set out by the wikipedia community, not "a fairly long history" of admins blocking without clear policy. You got it the wrong way round. Policy is not dictated by admins. Legal threat blocks are not sanctioned by policy. It is not in good faith for admins to continue blocking until clear policy has been agreed on by the wikipedia community. --Nasrallah 01:51, 7 Jan 2005 (UTC)
If you want to get technical (which you apparently do, based on the above posts), we are all using wikipedia web servers by the grace of the wikimedia foundation. I (and I assume the rest of us) have no legal right to force the wikimedia foundation to allow me to use its servers. If the foundation (through its agents) tells me that I was not allowed to make updates to its computers, that is their right. Morris 04:14, Jan 8, 2005 (UTC)
it is policy to block people for disruption. admins have some discretion to decide what is disruptive. if legal threats are disruptive (e.g. replacing entire articles), their authors may be blocked. If a legal threat is reasonable and polite (e.g. "please remove copyvio, or I will take action"), there is no reason for blocking. dab () 14:00, 10 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Wikipedia a beta tester?[edit]

Question: Why is the Wikipedia running beta software? The MediaWiki site says it "may not be stable. Recommended only for adventurous souls." I can't imaging my credit card company or even Yahoo! or Google running beta software which hasn't been thoroughly tested. —Mike 06:47, Jan 5, 2005 (UTC).

Software testing is expensive and time-consuming. Who would test the MediaWiki software if not us? I note that despite your inability to imagine it, Google does run beta software, for example Google Groups at Gdr 20:45, 2005 Jan 5 (UTC)
You do realize that MediaWiki is custom-written by our developers for us, right? Our problems seem to be more oriented around "release quality" software by others. -- Cyrius| 01:27, 6 Jan 2005 (UTC)

GFDL license is a pain, let's switch to CC[edit]

The GFDL license is an overly-restrictive license that isn't compatible with any other content licenses (that I know of). Unless the FSF reforms it significantly, I would really rather not publish anything under it personally. WikiTravel uses the much more lightweight and compatible by-sa Creative Commons license. Why does Wikipedia insist on using such a beast as the GFDL? I'm sure more than a few people are sick of having to dual (or tri-) license their writing in order to put it on Wikipedia and other websites. If we're not using a license that's compatible with any other websites, it kind of defeats the whole purpose of having "free" content, IMO. For more information see the following:

Can't be done in any practical sort of way. If you don't believe me, I suggest you start by contacting all the anonymous users with copyright claims to their work here to get them to relicense their work. It would be a massive copyright violation to change the license without their permission. -- Cyrius| 23:23, 4 Jan 2005 (UTC)
Alas, one of the risks of being an early adopter; Wikipedia is locked into the GFDL at this point despite its troublesome foibles. If we could change it to something else, then what would stop others from being able to relicence Wikipedia's content under non-free licences of their own choosing? I think the only possible "out" is if the FSF comes up with a new version of the GFDL that's cross-compatible with CC. Wikipedia's already partway there by having no invariant text. Bryan 00:00, 5 Jan 2005 (UTC)
I understand that the wiki media foundation people are talking to FSF legal people about just that -- a new version of GFDL that would be better serve wikipedia's needs. Morris 00:53, Jan 5, 2005 (UTC)
FSF is aware of this and is working on it. CC founder Lawrence Lessig is on the FSF board of directors, so it's not as if there's no contact between FSF and CC. I'd say that Prof. Lessig is one of the FSF legal people and so I think something will be worked out. 06:18, 10 Jan 2005 (UTC)
That would be great if the FSF could come up with a more compatible version of the GFDL. When I actually read the GFDL license I was rather amazed at how cumbersome it was. The Creative Commons licenses are so much more elegant. Kaldari 02:37, 5 Jan 2005 (UTC)
GFDL was really intended for software documentation, which faces somewhat different issues than something like Wikipedia. I'm not in any hurry to dual license. I'd rather see what GFDL 2.0 is like. 06:21, 10 Jan 2005 (UTC)
You can dual-license your own content under any license you like. I like to release a lot of my edits into the public domain. The GFDL isn't great, but it was there when Wikipedia started and it keeps everything under one integrated license. As others have noted, it's almost impossible to switch now — we would need signed consent from every contributor ever, or else we'd have to throw out all articles editing by editors who haven't consented. Deco 03:57, 5 Jan 2005 (UTC)

privacy policy[edit]

Moved to Wikipedia_talk:Privacy_policy.

Wikipedia biases[edit]

I am not clear where this belongs, so I am reposting it from the Proposals page:

I think Wikipedia needs a general disclaimer on all Palestine/Israel-related issues, like The majority of the editors on Israel-Palestine issues have a strong bias and all readers are requested to make independent conclusions, cross-check information themselves and best of all, avoid reading these pages for authoritative information very importantly, not take offense at the presentation of historical facts on these pages. This will stop the more conscientious editors from stressing over every moronic agenda-based edit that mutates Wikipedia every few moments and focus on articles they can actually make progress on. -- Simonides 01:24, 27 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Isn't this the policy for every Wikipedia page. Nobody around here claims that you should use Wikipedia for any primary research and only use it as a starting point. And you would probably need to add disclaimers to Abortion, MPAA, RIAA, SCO v Linux etc. Evil MonkeyTalk 01:42, Dec 27, 2004 (UTC)
This is a good idea, as almost every Israeli/Palestinian article seems to have a permanent NPOV warning. - SimonP 03:57, Dec 27, 2004 (UTC)
I don't have a constructive solution, so I think that this problem is part of the nature of the "wiki" system. I have found many of the articles in wikipedia very useful, but I am very unlikely to even read articles about Palestine/Israel issues for that reason. I think that the general disclaimer is a good idea, for the reasons given by Simonides. Morris 16:24, Dec 27, 2004 (UTC)
  • I disagree. I can't find the exact page, but somewhere in the FAQ for readers it's mentioned you should cross-reference everything you read in wikipedia. Singling one sort of article out to have such a disclaimer might inflame more people, putting it on every article discredits wikipedia. I see no use in such a disclaimer. It's more likely to cause problems at the editor end of the spectrum. Mgm|(talk) 15:30, Jan 1, 2005 (UTC)
  • As an ignorant outsider, I say this is a very bad idea. It violates Wikipedia: Avoid self-reference, it adds nothing not already expressed in the policy or by an NPOV warning, and worst of all, it makes broad generalizations about the editors of the articles. Imagine the impression on readers of our authority, especially if it were quoted elsewhere. Many articles have issues, but I hardly think it's fair to accuse "the majority" of the editors of having a bias in a public forum when not one of them would admit to it. Deco 06:22, 3 Jan 2005 (UTC)
    • (First apology in advance for bad English) I am a new regular editor on these issues. Yes I have POV too :). Problem resides in 'no original research'. If you make any statement which is a 'fact/conclusion' rather then an 'opinion' It is more likely then not, a subject of dispute. So these articles are mostly collection of views rather then conclusions. Some 'factual' articles are regular subject of deletion votes. Like 'Israeli violence against children'. And related articles which give supportive evidences. And on other site 'List of terrorist acts against Israel'. Although Policy clearly states that POV is not a reason for delete. Normally pro-Palestinian article gets more delete votes then pro-Israeli articles. (on other thought may be my POV again coming). I personally believe more serious need is about POV of titles. Like we should recommend use of words like claims, apparent etc in disputed titles. Take the example of list of terrorist incidences. The 'terrorist' is one of the words to avoid in wikipedia policy. Specially due to definitional problems. For example by most definitions, the civilian killing due to 'hate' does not qualify as 'terrorism'!. That's why u never see label of terrorist on nazis. There are many other issues there. But mostly if you hear from any active editor, you will get one side of the story. And if you try to listen to both. You will wish that their keyboards should crash :)

Zain 22:34, 6 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Censorship and wikipedia[edit]

NEW: See additional discussion below at Wikipedia:Village pump (policy)#Nudity (full frontal) pictures in an encyclopedia?

I understand that by introducing this topic yet again (not by me, but as a topic) that I am pouring salt on a few open sores, but I feel I must find a place to discuss it. Wikipedia has a problem in several articles concerning the inclusion of nude, obscene, or vulgar images. An example is Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse where there is actually a censored version of the article. However, at this location there is an attempt to delete the censored article. Shouldn't Wikipedia attempt to protect users who want to use its resources but have moral or ethical sensibilities to such material? For example, Nude celebrities on the internet actually contains links to pornographic websites. Is this really necessary? There are of course, many more examples (such as male circumcision, which carries no warning label). At the very least, I propose that pages with possibly offensive pictures contain warnings at the top, as a matter of Wikipedia policy. I am not advocating their complete censorship (although it might be best), but shouldn't we make our materials available to everyone? What about underage users (like myself, I'm 17) and the legal aspects of such actions. More importantly, what about school children? Sexuality is a common topic of research among teens, do we want them to come across obscene images as well as objective information? I'd like other user's opinions on this please.--naryathegreat 04:52, Dec 24, 2004 (UTC)

I agree with the concern expressed by naryathegreat. I would like to recommend wikipedia to the librarian in my son's school (he is in fifth grade, and found some of the articles on History of Greece very useful for his research on the origin of democracy) but I hesitate for exactly that reason. Morris 05:40, Dec 24, 2004 (UTC)
Might I direct you both to the discussion on clitoris (be warned that the page carries a graphic picture), which has continued for some time? Most editors are of the belief that any means of protecting those who might be offended or children from graphic images, including specific warnings, would be censorship, and they disapprove of it, but some are in favour of a more inclusive attitude. Narya, you'll note that the hardline editors believe that by visiting male circumcision you should expect to see a picture and consequently need not be warned.Dr Zen 05:45, 24 Dec 2004 (UTC)
I think hose editors are applying one principal in an absurdly inflexible way. A warning is not censorship. It's a complex world and we should all try to balance different objectives (such as protecting children, or simply those who are squeamish like me) in a proportionate way. Philip 17:32, 31 Dec 2004 (UTC)
This comes back to question of defining obscene and objectionable. Now I know that your questions are about pictures but lets look at articles for a moment. I note that you have written some articles about WWII. Now there are some people out there who would find it obscene to talk about a period of human history where people were slaughtered. Should we put a warning at the top of the Holocaust article? How about the Battle of the Somme? Evil MonkeyTalk 06:32, Dec 24, 2004 (UTC). PS A somewhat similar discussion happened over having an article about Japanese video games on the front page

You are just coming up with an excuse for irrational behavior. We all have about the same guidelines concerning what is "obscene". You can say that you don't want people to take it that far, but what you really mean is that you have no reasonable objection to the proposal. The articles on World War II don't have graphic pictures or links to pornographic websites either (at least, the ones I've been on).--User:naryathegreat(t) 21:39, Dec 24, 2004 (UTC)

You say - We all have about the same guidelines concerning what is "obscene". - we most certainly do not. In the US female nipples cannot be shown on TV commercials for shower gel, whilst in Europe and elsewhere not only is this allowed but so is the display of male genitalia in such commercials. Jooler

Jooler:Merely because half of Europe "does it" does not make it "correct" or acceptable. Why don't you question the greedy motivation of the advertisers and the TV companies, and the unashamed actors who "act" being nude for the camera, all of whom are only out to make big bucks and they don't care if they trash the human race and human dignity and self-respect in the process. Please get some perspective! IZAK 11:00, 6 Jan 2005 (UTC)

I don't share IZAK's view, but I have to say, Jooler, you could draw the appropriate conclusion from what you're noting, which is that standards vary. We ought not simply to apply our own standards. We should be aiming for inclusive and as far as possible all-embracing solutions. What would it hurt if the Frau was a link? So you have to do an extra click to see her boobs? Is that really censorship?Dr Zen 12:32, 6 Jan 2005 (UTC)
To Dr:Zen - You are trying to draw me into a discussion here about a specific issue that I haven't been following. I was merely commenting on the incorrect assertion by naryathegreat that "all have about the same guidelines concerning what is "obscene". Obscenity only exists in the mind of those who find themselves embarrassed when viewing certain images or possibly find their own arousal at viewing certain images distasteful. Ultimately they wish to impose their own view upon others and clearly that aim is against NPOV. What you find obscene is your POV and what I find obscene is my POV. If I find something obscene I stop looking at it. Everyone has that choice. Good god, go to google, turn safe image search ON and type in "nipple" and see what you get. If you are worried about what your children might see, the images found on Wikipedia are the least of your worries.Jooler 12:56, 6 Jan 2005 (UTC)
To IZAZ - I see, you obviously have extreme views that are reinforced by your religious beliefs. I learnt a long time ago that trying to argue against people who have "faith" is a complete waste of time as they ignore rational logical argument and rely on dogma. Jooler 12:56, 6 Jan 2005 (UTC)
To Jooler: To oppose labelling pictures as being "potentially offensive" is just as dogmatic and as POV as any religious person I have seen in the US. Now, I don't know if you have the hard line position of opposing the labelling of some pictures as "potentially offensive" the way many Wikipedia editors do. This is a dogmatic position; it is an objective fact that many people will be offended by certain pictures; to ignore objective facts in order to push an agenda is to do the same thing that religious people do. Samboy 21:20, 6 Jan 2005 (UTC)
To Samboy - You put up a straw man. Jooler 23:58, 6 Jan 2005 (UTC)
  • Several articles on WW2 do have graphic pictures, disturbing descriptions of things (when I was younger, and first heard about some of the things done in the Holocaust, I had nightmares for weeks), and other content that sensitive people might have issues with. I see no reason to single out something tittilating when other topics that might disturb are retained. It all should be kept. Note, however, that there is (or was?) a proposal to implement PICS-sensitivity (and/or other related automatic content-management) in Mediawiki, so if your browser supports that, you wouldn't see it but the rest of us who don't have it set would. This seems like a decent way to go. Please see here for more details. --Improv 22:48, 24 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Photos of graphic violence are just as deplorable as graphic nudity and both cannot be shown in a general encyclopedia like Wikipedia which is used by millions of children who don't need to see things that most people don't see on a regular basis. IZAK 11:00, 6 Jan 2005 (UTC)

First of all, I hope you stay around Wikipedia and share your thoughts with us. There are a lot of hard liners here who oppose even labelling "potentially offensive" images, and we need people like you to counteract their irrational position. They wish to push their very strong POV that no image is ever offensive to anyone, flying in the face of the objective fact that some images offend many people. Until we have a way of labelling offensive images, and a box some user may click to disable to loading of said offensive images (possibly separated by category), this battle will continue to rage on Wikiepdia. The only compromise is to label things that may be offensive in some manner. Samboy 21:34, 6 Jan 2005 (UTC)
  • We're publishing an encyclopedia, not a television program, not a school textbook and not a treatise on morality. If a photograph adds something to an article, it should be present. If not, it should not be. If it is present and may likely cause offence to some people then it should be well within expectations. So an article labelled "Carrot" should not contain pictures of disturbing things that are not connected with carrots, whereas someone reading an article labelled "Suicide bomber" could reasonably expect to find pictures of macerated people, given the subject matter. --Tony Sidaway|Talk 00:42, 25 Dec 2004 (UTC)
  • The articles on World War II don't have graphic pictures: Image:Mass Grave Bergen Belsen May 1945.jpg. Okay not exactly on World War II but my point is that everyone jumps up and down when we see pictures of the 'naughty bits' (something that we all have a see on and daily basis) but would you be willing to support a policy that only 18 year olds could see this picture. Evil MonkeyTalk 04:08, Dec 25, 2004 (UTC)

The article at Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse is already censored. The pictures have fuzzy bits over parts of the images that someone somewhere has deemed too shocking to show. I feel that the providing a separate "censored" version without the pictures can only have a political agenga. It it curious that of all the pages in Wikipedia this one should provide the incentive for someone to produce a separate page "to lessen the impact" of the article. The story of this article is the pictures. Without the pictures there would have been no story in the first place. There would just have been unsubstantiated rumous of abuse. To remove the pictures is an attempt to water down the article so that it can be forgotten about. Jooler 17:58, 30 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Agree. Should there be a censored page for the Holocaust, Atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki because we don't like what they say. How about The Bible where Ezekiel 23:19-20 reads:(19)Yet she increased her whorings, remembering the days of her youth, when she played the whore in the land of Egypt (20)and lusted after her paramours there, whose members were like those of donkeys, and whose emission was like that of stallions.
Is that something we want children to read. Maybe I should get a campaign to get the Bible banned because it promotes sexism, racism, and its obscene in parts. Evil MonkeyTalk 21:22, Dec 30, 2004 (UTC)

Evil: Logic and reality say that "words" and "photos" are NOT equal (maybe only "in the minds' of some beholders"). There are ways of saying things, and then again, there are ways of saying things. Wikipedia is NOT a trapdoor to all things negative. IZAK 11:00, 6 Jan 2005 (UTC)

I think, by default, nothing should be censored. However, it would be quite upsetting to me if a middle school library or a popular filtering software allowed no one to view an article I wrote simply because it contained images they deemed too sensitive. Because I can't change society, and because Wikipedia is not paper, we should take advantage of customizable settings to expose the encyclopedia to the largest possible audience. Although the default would be to include all such material some articles could have short warnings with a link to a discussion of the setting, how to set it, and how it works, for those who wish to use it. Deco 06:31, 3 Jan 2005 (UTC)

To censor is to be inherently biased. Who are we to declare what is or what is not obscene? Our responsibility as editors of an encyclopedia is to collect and present information in as clear and neutral a manner as possible. We are not here to protect sensitive people. Sometimes the truth hurts - yes, women have clitorises. Yes, people got abused in Abu Ghraib. Do we have photographs which illustrate these things clearly and with the intention to explain and not to shock? Yes. And those pictures make the article more informative, so yes, they belong. Not everything in the world is pretty. Not everything in the world is nice. But it is still our responsibility to present it. If we censor, we make the decision for our readers - do we not trust them to decide for themselves what they want to read? I, for one, am throughly and totally against censoring or adding warnings to anything. [[User:Premeditated Chaos|User:Premeditated Chaos/Sig]] 08:07, 3 Jan 2005 (UTC)

I agree with you that we shouldn't make the choice for our readers. However, warnings are one way of helping the reader to make an explicit choice. — Matt Crypto 12:05, 3 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Censorship is lying. I dont always tell my mother the whole truth, leaving out parts that I know would upset her, but thats basically the same as lying to her. Its an attempt to divert her from the truth. An encyclopedia should strive for truth. If you censor something, you help the people who are offended by it to avoid it, but you keep that information from anyone who wishes to use it. You would ultimately help more people to not censor the articles, but warnings of possibly objectional material would not effect the articles in any adverse way. Perhaps you could make warnings an option under user preferences. Inebriation station 2005-01-03 21:54 (UTC)

Censorship is not in the spirit of the NPOV policy of Wikipedia. It is bias in its most basic form. I completely disagree with the idea of censoring articles with dipictions and/or descriptions that are relevent to the articles they lie within. If they are not relevent, they should not be present. One precedent of proper discretion against use of a picture depicting a nude woman is on the Talk page for the Breast article. The picture that was removed was not relevant enough to the article (ie. it was considered pornographic and not informative). Summation: Censorship = Bad -ÅrУnT 06:43, 4 Jan 2005 (UTC)

I see no reason why warnings could not be placed at the top of pages that contain material that could offend some viewers. This does not censor the page, nor does it hamper its effectiveness in any way, but merely serves to give viewers a choice, similar to the way spoiler warnings are used. Does anybody here disagree with spoiler warnings? -ÅrУnT 06:43, 4 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Since when is using one's common sense and applying one's sense of decency "equal" to "censorship"? To refuse to allow Playboy or Penthouse into your home is NOT "censorship", it is rather an application of good ethics and superior morality, and shows that as responsible humans we are capable of knowing right from wrong by excluding moral poison and corruption from Wikipedia. Unless of course we want to invite Hugh Hefner and company (and those who admire him and his ilk) from setting up Wikipedia's policy of "new tastes" in photography of women etc? IZAK 11:00, 6 Jan 2005 (UTC)

You know, I raised this issue about 6 months ago in requesting whether a template should be created for a warning that an article contains adult content. What the discussion boiled down to was that the template should not be created, due to the fact that it might end up inviting more trouble that its worth. -- AllyUnion (talk) 11:38, 6 Jan 2005 (UTC)

The link to that discussion can be found here: Wikipedia:Village_pump_archive_2004-09-26 - Adult content warning template? -- AllyUnion (talk) 11:52, 6 Jan 2005 (UTC)

In terms of looking for a consensus, I think we should accept that any form of censorship besides self-censorship cannot achieve consensus. However, I think we should also recognize that expecting users to know which pages contain images that they don't want to see before they see them is not a reasonable approach to self-censorship. To this end, I think we could put the issue to rest if the MediaWiki software supported the following feature:

Each user may maintain a list of categories, such that images labeled with one of those categories appear in a linked rather than inline form on their display.

The category system we already have, and as applied to the image namespace, it allows us to transcend the debate over whether a picture would be found objectionable by a suitably large number of people, and just objectively place it in a category like Category: Diseased anatomy, Category: Explicit human death, Category: Nazi propoganda, or Category: Female nipple. The classification of what an image actually shows can be done at least somewhat objectively. Objectively determining which images should be displayed is in many cases hopeless. Shimmin 14:01, Jan 6, 2005 (UTC)

Spot on Shimmin. Imho this is the obvious solution to the problem. We provide a search facility to help people find material they are looking for and toolbox features to ease authorship of articles. Features of mediawiki software should be designed to help people use and write wikipedia. Some people will undeniably want not to see images of certain types. As they cannot be expected to know where these images are the above suggestion would allow users to make these choices with the minimum amount of hassle. Barnaby dawson 11:14, 10 Jan 2005 (UTC)

do we want them to come across obscene images? This debate should be dubbed "The morality of neutrality". Honestly, this isn't christian conservative America - it's Wikipedia. Almost everyone here has sucked on titties before - either as a baby and possibly later. It's nothing new to any of us, and as a neutral encyclopedia, well, I must revert to the infamous Joe Friday. We are here to report, "Just the Facts, Ma'am". Maybe we can exercise a teensy bit of discretion by not showing rolled heads at guillotine, but breasts and penis? come on! --Alterego 06:11, Jan 8, 2005 (UTC)

I agree that 'censoring' (adapting) a content aimed at a particular audience is helpful, sometimes not doing that would in fact be reproachworthy(?). For example, if I were to talk about torture to a five-year-old child, I would keep more to a description like 'people hurting other people', etc., rather than show pictures of tortured people or quote detailed documentary. However, while one has to talk differently to different audiences, the particularity of Wikipedia as a freely accessible on-line encyclopaedia seems to be that it is not aimed at a particular audience. So, which kind of 'adaptation' or 'censorship' should we adhere to? Some people with a certain cultural and/or religious background, eg, judge nudity a problem. However, not only is this not a globally held view, but there will be other people who are offended by other things. If we censor/make fuss about nudity, shouldn't we 'adapt' Wikipedia to their views as well? But then not only nipples and penises would have to go, but unveiled (wo)men, certain national flags, certain band links (I mean music), manyotherthings, would have to take leave as well. In other words, we could practically close the project down. Preceding every article by an 'If you are offended by ((content of article)) then you might not want to read ((article))' is pure nonsens.
I see that 'offensive' content is a problem, but I hold that restriction or 'shielding' in combination with NPOV principles can never be a way out. The only reasonable thing I could think of is to indicate the open, NPOV, non-censored/adapted/restricted character of Wikipedia right at the start page (in a way that doesn't scare people away, of course). (I hope you ken vork sru my English…)

User accounts[edit]

I may be mistaken, but I was under the impression that registered user accounts were intended for the use of one individual only, not for a "group." The reason I bring it up is because of the following account: User:Asexual same-sex marriage, on whose user page is the following message:

"We are group of people who are advocates of the asexual same-sex marriage, and we want the marriage between asexual same-sex partners to be recognized by society. Please help asexual same-sex couples to get all legal rights the normal couples (the gay or the different sex ones) have.
Our main problem is that our sanctioned platonic love bond is not recognized in most of the states. In the states where our marriage is recognized we are categorized as gay couples, which is not our case as long as we are against sexual relashionships in a same-sex married couple.

"""thank you."

Now, this smacks of advertising to me (never mind that the user(s) has been making non-NPOV edits to the Same-sex marriage article which reflect his/her/their stated mission.


Exploding Boy 21:26, Dec 7, 2004 (UTC)

I don't know of a specifc policy on this, but I agree with you. Since the "User" in question has been POV pushing, the best response is probably to go through dispute resolution providing as evidence the name and statement on the user page. If a User is registered as a group and isn't pushing a POV, then we'll have to deal with the issue directly. JesseW 07:48, 25 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Russian (usage) page[edit]

User:Mikkalai has created a Russian (usage) page, and is busy replacing links to the Russian (language) page with links to his Russian (usage) page, on the grounds that he wants to declutter links to the "Russian language" article. Is this in keeping with Wikipedia policy? Jayjg | (Talk) 19:03, 12 Jan 2005 (UTC)

I don't see the point. One usage is (for example) this sentence (from the Clockwork Orange article):
He tells his story in a teenage slang called "Nadsat", which mixes  Russian with English slang.
If I clicked on the word "Russian" in that sentence, I would expect to see an article about the Russian language, or maybe Russia, or maybe even slang in the Russian language, but not an article that says simply: This is a technical article for the sole purpose of linking to it from pages that say that someone speaks Russian language or that something is wtitten or translated into Russian, etc. The goal is to declutter links to the "Russian language" article. What possible use is that article?? (The italics above is the entire text of the article.) I'm not a policy lawyer, but this change clearly looks like a bad idea to me. Morris 19:35, Jan 12, 2005 (UTC)
I don't think wikipedia policy has much to say about it directly (apart from the fact that making big changes without discussion first is not a good idea), but I agree that the change isn't a good idea in most cases. --fvw* 19:49, 2005 Jan 12 (UTC)
I'm strongly against the idea; I haven't seen it done in any other cases. It seems to be a way for User:Mikkalai to differentiate what he thinks are "important" links to Russian (language) from what he thinks are "unimportant" ones. However, convenient this may be for him, it seems to be inconvenient for the readers of the articles in question, which I think should be our primary concern here. Jayjg | (Talk) 20:13, 12 Jan 2005 (UTC)

I see he has created a Russian (spelling) article for the same purpose. Jayjg | (Talk) 20:38, 12 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Not looked at it too much but it does seem wrong to me too. violet/riga (t) 20:57, 12 Jan 2005 (UTC)
I think I understand the reasoning, but it would accomplish the same thing if it was just a redirect to Russian language. Then, as far as the user who clicked is concerned, it goes to the language just like all other language links. But all the links would still be collected together under a single redirect's sub-heading in the Russian language's "what links here".
Maybe the scheme as-is would feel more useful if Russian (spelling) was a more complete, but brief, annotated guide with links to language, pronunciation, orthography, and transliteration articles. I'd also suggest a name that was either
Michael Z. 21:26, 2005 Jan 12 (UTC)

I've put it up for VfD here: Wikipedia:Votes_for_deletion/Russian_(usage)#.5B.5BRussian_.28usage.29.5D.5D Jayjg | (Talk) 22:00, 12 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Please also see Talk:Russian (spelling) for more comments on this.—Ëzhiki (erinaceus europeaus) 22:02, Jan 12, 2005 (UTC)

Offensive image at Lolicon[edit]

Because it was 2 against 1 on a little-known article, I thought this debate was concluded, but just yesterday someone posted on my talk page in support of me.

A while back, I thought the image at the Lolicon article was too offensive, and replaced it with a different one. Compare

An objection was immediately raised to my image; that it wasn't a fair representation of the sexual basis of lolicon. As the tentative statement at Wikipedia:Profanity says, accuracy should not be sacrificed in order to be less objectionable. So I dropped my case at that time.

However, the anonymous note on my talk page reminds me that unlike the stylized or medical images on other articles, the Lolicon picture is objectionably pornographic. The Profanity page also notes that you should not use pictures that are illegal for many Wikipedia readers to download, and I think this might fall into that category. Since there is still an even split on the issue-- 2 vs. 2-- I'd like the opinion of the Village Pump on which image to use.

Ashibaka tlk 06:54, 8 Jan 2005 (UTC)

However remote the possibility, being caught with this kind of image in your computer can cause lots of trouble in some countries. You just don't want your ex-spouse to present it in a child custody case. I don't like that manga image. I do appreciate the freedom of speech. However, I do believe this kind of image could get some people in serious trouble especially in the U.S. There were some cases where innocent people were accused to be pedophilias and it costed them jobs and families. -- Toytoy 07:54, Jan 8, 2005 (UTC)
Virtual child pornography is legal in the U.S. per the Supreme Court, Ashcroft, et al. v. Free Speech Coalition et al. [10] [11]. That said, I'm glad I hadn't heard of the article in question before now. Nutty. —Ben Brockert (42) 03:28, Jan 13, 2005 (UTC)
It is inappropriate for us to bow to paranoia in this way. People can clear their cache if they need to, and given what popups and banner ads place on one's computer nowadays anyhow, it's likely they'll need to know how to do that anyhow. If the image helps the article, it should be there. Very few other considerations belong. --Improv 09:00, 8 Jan 2005 (UTC)

The picture you chose doesn't look like lolicon to me because it is not sexualized in any way. I won't look at the other picture but I read the article without images. In my view, a genuine lolicon picture could be unsuitable for Wikipedia because it may be illegal under Florida law. People who really want to see lolicon online can use a search engine. --Tony Sidaway|Talk 14:44, 8 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Well, I don't see the eroticism in the original Hikari_Hayashibara_Manga.jpg image. (Yes, I admit to finding that fact reassuring). Just how is this image different from the Coppertone girl, also [12]? The Coppertone girl has been famous in the U. S. since 1959.
I am sure that there are those who get a charge out of the Coppertone girl. Doubtless some of its advertising effectiveness comes from the shock value of the its implied borderline sexuality, but it was never even slightly controversial. Not even in the Fifties. Not even in Florida. (It was created by a Floridian, for gosh sakes). That indicates to me that it is well within what the overwhelming majority of Americans find acceptable. (In contrast, Brooke Shields' "Nothing comes between me and my Jordaches" ads in the eighties were controversial). Dpbsmith (talk) 13:08, 9 Jan 2005 (UTC)
P. S. OK, Canadian readers, I've found that Coppertone sun products are indeed sold in Canada, by Schering Canada Inc. Do they use the Coppertone girl on the label and in their advertising there? Dpbsmith (talk) 13:21, 9 Jan 2005 (UTC)
Someone pointed out a significant difference between the Hikari_Hayashibara_Manga.jpg and the Coppertone girl, one which I had failed to notice in the manga image. The manga image is explicitly sexualized in a way the Coppertone girl is not. I withdraw my comment. Don't really know the right answer on this one. Dpbsmith (talk) 22:05, 9 Jan 2005 (UTC)
The original lolicon image is legal anywhere within the United States (including Florida) according to the US Supreme Court (see Ashcroft v. Free Speech Coalition). It may not be legal in Canada however. Kaldari 03:19, 11 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Just a note on the legality of these things: It is typical for H-manga (especially of this kind) even in Japan to have forenotes that essentially state that every girl featured in that publication, despite her appearance, is of a legal age of consent. This is enough in most countries (the US included) to clear a person of any sort of legal wrongdoing despite how young the girls may appear to be. So that really isn't an issue here. →Reene 03:49, Jan 11, 2005 (UTC)

Academic boosterism guideline useful?[edit]

For a while now I have been frustrated at the lack of restraint displayed by partisan editors in many of Wikipedia's college and university articles. So I've drafted a guideline on academic boosterism at User:Rbellin/Avoid academic boosterism. (It's purely a statement of voluntary principle, and anyway it's a special case of Wikipedia:Avoid peacock terms, so I don't think it needs to become anything more "official policy"-ish than a statement of principles for a segment of the WP community.) Feedback, discussion, and edits are welcome. Does this seem potentially useful enough to move into the Wikipedia namespace? -- Rbellin|Talk 20:17, 3 Jan 2005 (UTC)

I generally agree. I am a little concerned, though, about it being used as a hammer. At least one user in my experience tried to do his academic boosting by ripping material out of the articles on what he presumably saw as institutions competing with the one he was boosting. -- Jmabel | Talk 20:11, Jan 4, 2005 (UTC)
Any policy, applied unevenly, is dangerous. This proposed guideline, applied evenly, is an excellent one. Kudos to Rbellin for writing this up. --Improv 20:39, 4 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Thanks for the feedback. It seems as though at least a continued discussion would be useful, so I'm going to move the page into the Wikipedia namespace. Further comments welcome at Wikipedia talk:Avoid academic boosterism. -- Rbellin|Talk 01:09, 11 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Democracy on Wikipedia[edit]

I feel there is a problem with the democratic process on Wikipedia. If for example people from the Church of Scientology created several hundred accounts on Wikipedia (making legitimate edits so as not to be accused of sock puppetry), they could decide to vote down any proposal for the inclusion of content that might be seen as detrimental to the image of Scientology (to the point of deleting pages on VFD), and nobody could do anything to stop it. The whole process therefore seems fundamentally flawed. Right now a vote is going on at Wikipedia:Votes for deletion/Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse (censored) and there's nothing to stop members of the USMC (or whoever) ganging up on Wikipedia and voting for the retention of this page. Jooler 04:09, 31 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Are you claiming something like this is happening, or is it a hypothetical? Yes, it is possible to overwhelm an open consensus group. It is why, for example, on VfD we ignore votes by unregistered users and tend to discount votes by brand new users who have not made other contributions. I venture to say that if we had a vote and 10 experienced Wikipedians all voted to delete while 50 total newbies voted to keep (or vice versa), we'd either consider it a draw or go with the opinion of the experienced Wikipedians. I call this sound practice. Others call it a cabal. -- Jmabel | Talk 05:19, Dec 31, 2004 (UTC)
At least you're honest. Call a vote and ignore the outcome! You might just as well delete what you please and not bother with the vote.Dr Zen
Ha Ha Ha! just wanted to turn bold the answer of Dr_Zen. May I complete Dr_Zen's quote a little bit? "Call a vote in the name of consensus, but refuse to define or discuss what consensus is[13], and finnaly ignore the outcome! You might just as well delete what you please and not bother with the vote."Iasson 12:01, 13 Jan 2005 (UTC)
Well, it has already happened as regards individual editors, who (in one case) created a dozen sockpuppets, and was readying them so he could force his views on any article he wanted. It more luck than anything else that caught this. Jayjg | (Talk) 17:43, 2 Jan 2005 (UTC)
Another reason this is done is because often, very new users are less familiar with Wikipedia policies and that their contributions tend to show partiality to the subject in question. Experienced users tend to apply their personal standards of inclusion in casting their vote. Peter O. (Talk, automation script) 06:54, Dec 31, 2004 (UTC)
Well, these responses aren't really addressing the complaint, the idea that a group with certain interests could all become experienced users, solely for the purpose of pushing their weight around. My main argument against this is that anyone who has become a true Wikipedian has learned to weigh issues carefully and respect the viewpoints of others. If they haven't, it doesn't matter how many edits they might have, it will show in the scuffles they get into and the quality of what they write.
Another simpler argument is that if this were to happen, the people who decide the outcome of the vote would presumably be aware of it and take it into account, unless the contributors were very clever about hiding it, to the point of voting against their ideals sometimes. It could happen, just not easily. Deco 07:58, 31 Dec 2004 (UTC)
Jooler, I don't understand your complaint. Are you saying that some people join Wikipedia to push their POV around? Are you saying that VFD is any more sensitive to Wikipedia's weaknesses than any other part of the project? Are you saying there is a problem with Scientologists or Marines? What, exactly, is the real or perceived problem with Wikipedia:Votes for deletion/Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse (censored)? Do you have any thoughts on solutions? Maurreen 08:58, 31 Dec 2004 (UTC)
My examples are hypothetical, but entirely possible. It would not be hard for any organized group of people who share a particular political/religious/other agenga to decide to stage what would amount to a "virtual" coup d'etat and usurp the decision making process of Wikipedia. Indeed that may have already happened. A cynic might argue that the predominant point of view that can be read between the lines of nearly every article on Wikipedia is one based on the mores and the cultural norms of the United States, and that any attempt to express a view outside of these norms is liable to get shouted down; and this is simply because the technological superiority of the US allows many more people from that country cheap access to the Internet in numbers that overwhlem people from other nations. I suppose this is the "cabal" of which you speak. My point is that there is absolutely nothing to stop a narrowing of this "cabal" by an organised group, be they neo-nazis in the US or communist ideologues in China. Jooler 11:19, 31 Dec 2004 (UTC)

I agree with the possibility of the hypothetical scenario. I think that if wikipedia gets to the point of being considered an authoritative source (which could have already happened) it will be more likely. I am actually more worried about groups that are more subtle than the U.S. Marine. How about The Olin Foundation, or AIPAC. Morris 13:24, Dec 31, 2004 (UTC)

Yes, this is going to be a massive problem one day. There could come a time where the truth about a subject in many people's minds is "What it says in Wikipedia". I know about all the disclaimers about how you are supposed to use Wikipedia, but what proportion of Wikipedia users (as opposed to Wikiepedians) read them? Some people will automatically make appropriate critical assumptions anyway, but many won't. Wikipedia doesn't may the same type of claim to authoritativeness as some other reference materials do, but like it or not, it is on the way to becoming the most broadly influential work of reference ever. I have no solutions to suggest Philip 17:42, 31 Dec 2004 (UTC)

I have to agree with all who claim this to be a likely scenario. I also have to agree with Jooler on the point that anything going against the cultural norms of the USA gets shouted down, see for reference the history and talk of Christian terrorism. However, encyclopedias as a whole have a tendency to be biased none the less. I looked through a lexicon from the late '70s the other day, finding countless references to "bushmen" describing everyone not of a fair skin complexion. It also described communism as a great evil. Reaching my point here: Even if the article on communism in this lexicon was accurate and extensive, it included graphical models with "The Soviet system in theory" and another one labelled "How it really works". I live in Norway, for the record, where we had nowhere near as powerful anti-communism waves as in the US, and still very POV stuff like this snuck into the encyclopedias. My point is that no matter where you look you must be source critical. This goes not only for wikipedia, and this should apply equally much to; "serious" encyclopedias in print. --TVPR 18:03, 31 Dec 2004 (UTC)

The nice thing about GFDL is that if Wikipedia were really to be overwhelmed by a particular faction, there is nothing to stop a different group from forking, setting up a somewhat more restrictive set of rules as to who can edit, and taking the project from there. And then the world will presumably sort out which fork has more credibility. -- Jmabel | Talk 21:35, Dec 31, 2004 (UTC)

In the sense that the most popular will be more credible? - 22:00, 31 Dec 2004 (UTC)
Not necessarily. The National Enquirer is very popular and not at all credible. -- Jmabel | Talk 22:30, Dec 31, 2004 (UTC)
Clearly. Perhaps Wikipedia is the National Enquirer of the Encyclopaedia world. - 22:42, 31 Dec 2004 (UTC)
Or perhaps it is the Utne Reader. -- Jmabel | Talk 08:41, Jan 1, 2005 (UTC)

This scenario already exists. Several interest groups already do control articles by exactly this method. (I won't name names but I will say that in some cases those interest groups do not even realise that they are doing anything like this: they are just defending their interest.) Wikipedia was in fact designed to negate the effect, by insisting that decisions should be consensual, that is, include all views, but the drift from that to a community that votes on proposals, deletion, this, that and the other opens the door to the dedicated POV pushers. The interest group need only hold a poll on an article and it can then enforce the majority decision for the rest of the article's life. Or of course it can simply outrevert any opposition. The policy on reversion allows groups to tag-revert individuals, so minority voices can be shut down by interest groups without any difficulty.Dr Zen 12:22, 6 Jan 2005 (UTC)

  • Can you name these articles? It is hard to know what the discussion is about otherwise. I don't mean to be difficult, I just want to know what you're referring to, and I doubt that I can guess it successfully. Wile E. Heresiarch 02:58, 7 Jan 2005 (UTC)
    • I can. The majority of the articles in the Template:Creationism for a start. This might actually be what Dr Zen is reffering to as I've seen her around in these pages. In these pages we have just a few very motivated creationists systematically biasing pages on that topic. They revert changes, introduce POV statements, change the format of the page to favour their POV. Until recently I was doing my best to reason with these few and make sure the page was NPOV. But it really is a full time job and one requiring considerable diplomatic skills. Furthermore, certain individuals amongst these profess to believe in NPOV but show by their actions a total lack of respect for it. Barnaby dawson 13:29, 10 Jan 2005 (UTC)

The general point here is, it seems to me, that if you move away from genuine concensus decision-making to the rule of the majority, then you enable vote-rigging and the territorial rule over certain groups of articles by interest-groups who can simply vote-down any minority view that comes along, regardless of merit. These groupings can then find ways to use house rules like the 3RR to protect their turf by playing on the frustration of the dissenting voices. Personally, I have walked away from articles like Historicity of Jesus because I felt this going on by a group of users some of whom were acting in good faith in the way Dr Zen indicates above (others I feel fairly sure knew exactly what they were doing). Filiocht 11:40, Jan 10, 2005 (UTC)

agree with Filiocht. Votes are valid for layout decisions etc. Votes can never replace consensus and npov in questions of content (i.e. you cannot vote a minority position out of an article). Unfortunately, VfD does exactly that, sometimes, but more often to the inverse effect of voting irrelevant crap (GNAA) into WP. dab () 12:28, 10 Jan 2005 (UTC)
The whole VfD process is the clearest example of the failure of voting here. The drowning out of minority voices is more insidious and, IMHO, just as dangerous in the long run. Filiocht 14:17, Jan 10, 2005 (UTC)
I agree that VfD process is a failure, and this is because you have not defined yet what consensus is and how a delete decision should be taken. Consensus is just a number of people who agree in a subject, and this number has to be voted by a certified voters population. Do you want consensus to be 50%+1? Do you want it to be 75%? Do you want it to be 100%? Consensus has to be defined, consensus it is NOT the subjective opinion of the administrator cabal. There are many ways to define a certified voters population, including the advogato trust metric system, or the SASE envelop procedure that allows wikipedia owner to send back (using normal mail) a pair of keys to legitimate real persons that they can be used for secure and certified voting. But the admin cabal refuse to talk[14] about those solutions that could define a certified voters population. The admin cabal loves sock puppets, because sock puppets are the pretext they are using in order to do whatever they like. Iasson 13:15, 13 Jan 2005 (UTC)
Consensus is not achieved by defining the size of the majority that can dictate. The minority might be right, and even if they are not, there opinions may be strongly held.Consensus decision making welcomes dissent and then tries to accomodate all viewpoints. I'd suggest unanimity minus one as the best model for VfD, if pushed to it, because it limits the power of veto. The implication is also that you extend the time for debate to facilitate consensus building. The first thing to agree is a set of consensual guidelines for article retention. I'd then change the process name to votes for retention. Filiocht 13:57, Jan 13, 2005 (UTC)

Category pages versus list articles[edit]

Recently, the List of anime page was turned into a redirect to Category:Anime, and the red-links for the list page were put at the top of the category page. I restored the previous version of List of anime, and think that the list of anime articles which don't exist isn't something that belongs in a category page. I've poked around the Wikipedia category pages, but aside from a page saying why list pages can be useful even though there's categories, I can't find anything else. -- Khym Chanur 07:44, Jan 15, 2005 (UTC)

Current practice is to maintain both lists and categories, as both formats have their own advantages. Categories are far easier to keep up to date and complete, but they cannot be annotated or put in orders other than alphabetical. As to having lists of non-existent items on category pages I don't see what harm they do. - SimonP 19:04, Jan 15, 2005 (UTC)
Having a list of non-existant pages at the top of the category page, above the list of sub-categories and category members, makes it so that you have to scroll down a lot to find the real content of the page, and in my opinion just clutters the page up.
A technique used with some success on some of the writer categories is to add the red links to a to-do list on the category talk page (see category talk:fantasy writers for example). --Phil | Talk 10:09, Jan 17, 2005 (UTC)
One advantage list pages have over categories is 'Related changes', for shared watchlists. User:Anárion/sig 10:45, 17 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Marketscore proxies[edit]

We appear to be getting quite a bit of vandalism from marketscore proxies. It's technically an open proxy, so current policy says block it, but there have also been useful edits coming from these proxies (they're not quite in line with normal anonymous proxies in that users get suckered into using them without being aware of it). What should we do, block them with a pretty little "Why Marketscore is evil and how to get rid of it" template, or leave them open until they start getting abused on a large scale? --fvw* 23:08, 2005 Jan 14 (UTC)

Asking users to not edit through an open proxy seems reasonable to me. So I would be fine with blocking it, especially as it doesn't look like a very nice operation. Thue | talk 11:34, 17 Jan 2005 (UTC)
I once fell for the MarketScore proxy (and I consider myself quite savvy with regards the internet). It took an adware removal tool to rid myself of it, so the "Why MarketScore is evil and hwo to get rid of it" template shoudl include details of such a tool - I believe SpyBot S&D is open-source and AdAware also has a free option. Thryduulf 12:04, 17 Jan 2005 (UTC)
of course they should be blocked. they're just an invitation for anonymous vandalising. dab () 14:22, 17 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Counter-Strike Comparisons[edit]

I plan to collaborate with CannedLizard on doing high resolution Counter-Strike comparisons. Since we might be doing multiple large images I was wondering what the policy was on deciding where to upload images. When should one upload to Wikicommons, and when to upload to Wikipedia? - RoyBoy [] 20:14, 14 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Screenshots of computer games will almost always contain copyrighted elements belonging to the creators. They are thus ineligible to be placed on Commons as they cannot be made "free". -- Cyrius| 00:23, 15 Jan 2005 (UTC)
That would make sense. - RoyBoy [] 02:06, 15 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Disambig call[edit]

I've come across Mount_Ida... and it does not have a disambig page but it has it on the bottom. I've tried reading the Wiki page on disambiguation, I don't know why... maybe I'm tired or something, but it didn't help me comprehend when/why disambigs are put on the bottom rather than having a proper page made and a clear warning at the top of the main article for quick navigation. - RoyBoy [] 21:47, 17 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Disambiguation pages are made when several articles have the same name. Notes at the top of one such article referring to the others, are usually made when the article in question is the most often used.

In case of Mount Ida a disamb is in order, as I can't see how one of the mountains is more important than any of the others which would warrant their placement at the Mount Ida page with the disamb moving to Mount Ida (disambiguation). I'll see if I can fix it. Mgm|(talk) 22:22, Jan 17, 2005 (UTC)

External link policy[edit]

The current external link (semi?, quarter?) policy Wikipedia:External links is rather terse and doesn't decide much. A proposal for a new policy Wikipedia:External links/temp seems to be stalled. Discussion there seems to be centered on a heated side issue (dmoz).

This is a bit surprising to me, as from several discussions on talk pages, as well as from discussions seen on the mailing list, I very much feel that there is an implicit external link policy in action. Actually not unlike the explicit one on de.wikipedia.

This makes me wonder, whether it is an oversight or by design, that no written policy exists.

Pjacobi 21:08, 2005 Jan 17 (UTC)

User-activated censorship (a proposal)[edit]

OK. I know some people go mad if a woman does not cover her hair. I wonder if there can be a system to flag images based on its contents. If I cannot tolerate any picture of nudity, I set a personal preference to filter all images with a nudity flag.

The HTML code may need no modification but the server only sends out a blank image.

We need all kinds of flags to help people co-exist with their fears. A true veggie may not want to see the picture of a sausage. Personally, I hate to see a sausage that's too small to feed me. I want mine big. -- Toytoy 14:48, Jan 6, 2005 (UTC)

and an anarchist may object to being exposed to images of national flags. That way leads madness. If you don't want your children to see women, don't let them on the internet, or out-of-doors, for that matter. dab () 15:57, 6 Jan 2005 (UTC)
Why not allow children to view our encyclopedia? It won't cost us a lot. We can make something like google's SafeSearch or voluntary ratings, like the Toytoy proposal - so we'll say: 'click that button - and leave your child within our encyclopedia', so parents will be happy. This could greatly increase our audience. Every child likes to learn, most grown-ups don't. ilya 00:18, 7 Jan 2005 (UTC)
I wonder why we only think images might offend/damage children; think of all the texts we have about sex, violence, war, holocaust etc. The world is not only for children, and if you want to protect your kids, you should not let your kids surf to sites describling the world like wikipedia does. ✏ Sverdrup 16:34, 10 Jan 2005 (UTC)
I keep seeing this "Somebody might be offended by XXX, so we should not allow personal preferences at all" argument posted, and it's a slippery slope fallacy. The thing about offensive images is that they increase the value of Wikipedia for some people (The naked woman on the woman page only adds value for horny teenage males, however) but decrease the value of Wikipedia for other people. I think a lot of people plain simply do not understand that offensive images decrease the value of the wiki for some people; I do not think this is a logical reaction as much as it is an emotional reaction. I was offended when, in high school, my parents had to sign a permission slip for me to get sex education; I was also offended when, in high school, you had to get parental permission to have a school perform an anonymous survey about your sex life. I am offended by the fact that people, being denied sex education, are becoming pregnant at young ages because they don't know about birth control. I know that there is a lot of emotional backlash because of the excesses of the conservatives, but I don't think we should react to those excesses in a way that pulls conservatives out of the discussion. (I also think a lot of male-oriented sex discussion here pays too much attention to the physical aspect and not enough attention to the emotional aspects of sex, but that discussion is for another day). Samboy 15:27, 10 Jan 2005 (UTC)
Personally I feel that we should have warnings at the start of articles, similar to what is shown before some TV shows in here NZ. ie
This article contains depictions/descriptions of nudity/violence/whatever which may offend some people. Reader discretion is advised

Evil MonkeyTalk 00:00, Jan 7, 2005 (UTC)

Ah, but television series have a much lower level of neutrality. Why not also This article contains depictions of women with bare arms/legs, which may well be offensive to some people? Etc. The only NPOV thing to do is tag pretty much everything precisely and give people the option to block whatever part of the taxonomy they want to block. This would be a huge chore and lead to lots of disputes though. (Why was this discussion moved from Wikipedia:Graphic and potentially disturbing images by the way?) --fvw* 00:09, 2005 Jan 7 (UTC)
An excellent point. I can see that flagging images and articles that could possibly offend people would be utterly impossible to satisfy everyone own POV. Evil MonkeyTalk 00:56, Jan 7, 2005 (UTC)

The very act of tagging articles and photos as offensive will offend people. In addition, by tagging a specific item as possibly offensive you will be offending someone who finds that item as particularly non-offensive. Obviously there is a certain low level of filter that could be applied. George Carlin's seven dirty words for example, and we already filter much nudity. --Alterego 03:19, Jan 7, 2005 (UTC)

To use user-activated censorship, it is not necessary that anything be tagged as possibly offensive. Things should be tagged based on objective criteria. "Category: Female nipple", or "Category: Map showing independent North Cyprus" can be applied to an image obejctively. And it's something that need concern only the person who desires to censor themselves: those who gain no utility from such categorization need not participate in it. Shimmin 00:45, Jan 9, 2005 (UTC)
See my proposal on Wikipedia:Graphic and potentially disturbing images - essentially, that for controversial images the image should be replaced the alt text by default, plus a "click here to display the page with this image" (and user pref option to override the default and show all pictures immediately). Advantage of this: doesn't require any complex categorisation systems; doesn't declare images "offensive"; it;s just minimal user control over what they see when they first come to a page. (I for one could live without having to see the picture of the penises above right. It's not like we can't have the discussion without having those thrust in readers' faces.) Rd232 22:40, 9 Jan 2005 (UTC)
You want to mangle the default view? Please. Feel free to censor for yourself, but don't dare define others' work as not fit for the public eye. grendel|khan 09:47, 2005 Jan 10 (UTC)

Make it all or nothing. No user or group of users should have the right to decide what is and is not potentially offensive. So either move for an option to block all images on Wikipedia (which would be a great option for dialup users as well; perhaps with a "click to load image" placeholder on pages) or don't even bother implimenting anything at all. I realize this can be a touchy subject with some (I daresay even most) people, but don't let your (general "your") personal, religious, or cultural biases override your common sense. →Reene 10:09, Jan 10, 2005 (UTC)

I agree that this would be useful, but I also have pointed out that all web browsers known to me permit the user to decide whether or not to download and display images. I used to do this with NCSA Mosaic and Netscape when I had a slow (v32) modem, and have used the same feature more recently for various reasons on Firefox and Internet Explorer. So while it would be a nice-to-have feature on Wikipedia (and in my opinion the only form of server-side image barring that is fully compatible with NPOV) it isn't as if the user didn't already have the option to accept or decline images. --Tony Sidaway|Talk 10:58, 10 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Personally, I feel that as long as pictures fit an article there's no need to censor them to the public at large. And parents should be advised there is such a thing as filters to protect their kids from pretty much anything they want. If a user activated censor option could settle this entire discussion I'm all for it. However, most images will be found obscene by someone. I say, categorize a picture in one or more NPOV cats and use these so users can click an option in their preferences. Problem solved? Mgm|(talk) 22:06, Jan 17, 2005 (UTC)

Article structuring[edit]

I tried to find some good advice on structuring articles in wikipedia namespaces. All I found were some pages in the Style and How-to Directory, some pages in the Wikipedia:Manual of Style, and some links on template:FAPath. They mostly deal with the issue from a general stylistic and aesthetic viewpoint, and only touch on the underlying reasons for giving a logical and fairly standardized structure to encyclopedia articles.

I've therefore written up a draft guideline for writing articles in a "pyramid structure". Being mostly based on common sense, it is in part a description of what we already do, but its goal is also to explain why structuring articles in this way is good. It's at User:Zocky/Pyramid structure. Please feel free to improve and comment.

I'm not sure how to proceed. Proper structure should obviously be a FA requirement, and this should probably also be in the how-to series. But since structure is a fundamental editorial issue which heavily affects both quality and NPOV, it could also be a part of the Manual of Style. Zocky 14:07, 19 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Copying from other articles[edit]

Hello, This is my first post to Village pump.. Anyway is it alright to copy content from a Wikipedia article into another one. For example, I want to copy some content from an article into a country article and then delete some bits out, so it becomes like a summary to the article which I copied from. Is it alright? Squash 00:36, 18 Jan 2005 (UTC)

The Thai government closed the country’s border with Cambodia following the riots. The border was re-opened on 21 March 2003, following the Cambodian government’s payment of $6 million compensation for the destruction of the Thai embassy. The Cambodian government also agreed to compensate individual Thai businesses for the losses which they had suffered, to be negotiated separately.


The Thai government closed the country’s border with Cambodia following the riots. The border was re-opened on 21 March 2003, following the Cambodian government’s payment of $6 million compensation. The Cambodian government also agreed to compensate individual Thai businesses.

just an example... Squash 00:36, 18 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Just so long as you say where you got it from. -- Cyrius| 02:36, 18 Jan 2005 (UTC)
Yup, that sounds fine. Make sure not to duplicate too much though, it doesn't need to be redundant. Also, put the attribution in the edit summary or on the talk page; Putting it in the article itsself would disturb the flow. --fvw* 16:23, 2005 Jan 18 (UTC)

Controversial articles, vandal magnets, etc.[edit]

We had a discussion at the recent Seattle meetup about what might be done to set up policies for controversial articles and vandal magnets, policies that might be distinct from those applied to typical Wikipedia articles, but short of outright protection. I was wondering, is there already a page somewhere to discuss ideas like this, or should I start one, maybe at Wikipedia:controversial articles and vandal magnets? -- Jmabel | Talk 01:17, Jan 17, 2005 (UTC)

I remember seeing a list of articles that are often the victim of vandalism, but I can't seem to remember the link. Be assured it does exist at least the last time I checked. Mgm|(talk) 22:16, Jan 17, 2005 (UTC)
Were you thinking of Wikipedia:Most vandalized pages? -Aranel ("Sarah") 01:12, 19 Jan 2005 (UTC)
You can also get there via WP:MVP. -- ChrisO 13:33, 19 Jan 2005 (UTC)

New template request: "Unstable"/etc.[edit]

When articles are engaged in prolonged edit wars, readers may get very different versions of the same article, depending on when they click on it. The Christian Science article is a very good example of this.

I propose that a new template be created to prominently and specifically direct readers to a disputed article's History page, so that they can get a better idea of the disputed information by viewing the different versions.

The "Twoversions" template almost does this, but it refers to two separate versions instead of to one hotly disputed article.

Also, would it be possible to give only administrators the power to remove (and possibly place) this template on an article?

This policy/tech stuff is unknown territory for me, so forgive me if I'm asking a stupid and/or obvious question.

Thanks, dablaze 08:47, Jan 13, 2005 (UTC)

Good idea. But I have a better one: since all page protections over edit wars will end up protecting m:The Wrong Version, pages in a mess like this should be blanked (like copyvios). Perhaps with both versions then linked. That way neither side "wins" until discussion is over. User:Anárion/sig 08:55, 13 Jan 2005 (UTC)
Actually, in this case the contributors don't concern me; the readers do. If the content of an article is swinging back and forth between disputing contributors, then readers should be given a heads-up to check out the History and make up their own minds. Contributors can argue till kingdom come for all I care, as long as readers are given the chance to see more than just the most recent incarnation of a running dispute. And since I'd bet most readers don't know about the History page, this proposed template seems like a good way to do this. --dablaze 09:51, Jan 13, 2005 (UTC)
I see your point, but remember of course every reader is potentially a contributor. If an article is in edit war protection hell, that means that neither version of the article is the "right version", and therefore neither version should be presented as the protected, and therefore default variant. As long as the page is not stable, it is inherently POV to pick one of the two variants as the locked version. If it is not an edit war but a case of trolling by one ore more users, there is of course a "right version" to lock on, but in that case the article should not be blocked: the trolling users should, as this is not an edit war. For edit wars, by blanking the article until the dispute is settled, it seems to be the only way to avoid POV by the protecting sysop. This is especially important since some edit warriors have sysop friends, or are themselves sysops. My 2¢. (or $0,0264) User:Anárion/sig 10:05, 13 Jan 2005 (UTC)
I don't think I'm making myself understood very well. These points describe the kind of article I'm talking about:
  • It is one article.
  • It is not protected or blocked in any way.
  • It is not at the point where sysops are intervening or are being asked to intervene.
  • For all intents and purposes, it appears to be a normal article; however,
  • It is the subject of constant and diverging revisions; and,
  • These revisions may occur over weeks or even months, not necessarily hours or days.
  • It does not convey consistent information over time because of these constant, diverging revisions.
  • Readers encountering this article may not necessarily know, at the time they read the article, that it may convey inaccurate or biased information.
I know that any article on Wikipedia may be biased or inaccurate, but I am talking about a subgroup whose bias or inaccuracy is the result of concerted effort rather than random editing.
This is why I would like a template to put at the top of such articles (like the NPOV template) to alert readers that they may find valuable, albeit disputed, information in the History page.
I am basing this request on the fact of Wikipedia's increasing visibility in web searches. This will attract casual surfers who probably won't know the technical ins and outs of Wikipedia; moreover, they'll probably only look once at whichever article they surf to. This is why I think it is very important that for the short time the casual surfer is here, they have every reasonable chance to gain as complete a picture as possible about the subject they're reading about. And if that means that a disputed article gets a "Hey! There may be more to this than meets the eye. Check out the article history!" flag on the article, then why not do that? --dablaze 10:48, Jan 13, 2005 (UTC)
Now I understand. One problem with that: malicious editors may remove the template at any time, so there will be times when the article in flux will be untagged. User:Anárion/sig 10:39, 13 Jan 2005 (UTC)
(My, that's a lot of colons! :-)
Anyway, that's why I asked above if there was some way to limit removal of the template to administrators, and perhaps even initial placement. And if some sysop "ally" places or removes inappropriately, then the regular adjudication process, blah blah blah. Though if it's worded as neutrally as possible, it could reduce the probability that that would happen. Maybe. :-)
But still, I find it distressing that readers could end up with the wrong information when we could at least give them a fighting chance amid a longstanding editing dispute. And with that, I'm going to have some breakfast. --dablaze 10:48, Jan 13, 2005 (UTC)

This problem cannot be solved by a new template but can already be solved by existing measures. Articles subject to significant edit warring should normally be protected until the warring parties are able and willing to discuss their differences. There already exists a template for this purpose. If edit warring isn't a problem then there's no need for further action. Wikipedia readers already know better than to rely on the accuracy of Wikipedia articles; the content disclaimer linked to every page tells them they should not do this. --Tony Sidaway|Talk 12:01, 13 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Ah, yes, the disclaimer. That should do it. :-)
Really, it's my own fault for saying "edit war." I guess I should have used a different term to describe the kind of situation I'm talking about (please see the list of bullet points above). But in any case, I'm not talking about regular Wikipedia users, but casual readers (see what I wrote above about casual readers and Wikipedia results in search engines).
If I may be so bold, I'm noticing a kind of insularity here. I mean, there's a wider audience out there besides Wikipedians. And those are the people I'm concerned about. Wikipedia results come up in my normal web searches all the time, but I at least know the deal with Wikipedia. I'm not sure how many other people do.
And has anyone noticed that mainstream news sites are beginning to link to Wikipedia? Yahoo does it a lot, and I'm very sure that among the many who click on those links, there are at least one or two who are unfamiliar with the way Wikipedia works.
Anyway, that's the crux of my concerns: More and more casual readers may be coming to the site believing it's more authoritative than it really is. Are my concerns misplaced? --dablaze 13:04, Jan 13, 2005 (UTC)

I think the problem here is that you're misusing language. You said you were concerned that readers wouldn't be aware, in a specific case, that a Wikipedia article "may convey inaccurate or biased information."

But this is the case with every single article on Wikipedia.

There are no exceptions.

You poo-pooed my mention of the disclaimer, but it really is a very important part of Wikipedia. In particular, every single reader of Wikipedia is advised as follows: Wikipedia cannot guarantee, in any way whatsoever, the validity of the information found here. It may recently have been changed, vandalized or altered by someone whose opinion does not correspond with the state of knowledge in the particular area you are interested in learning about.

The Wikipedia:Peer review and Wikipedia:Featured articles processes are mentioned, but even then, the reader is told "articles that have been vetted by those processes may later have been inappropriately edited just before you view them."

People who either do not read this disclaimer (and there are many) or do not understand its sheer extent probably will be misled by what they read on Wikipedia. --Tony Sidaway|Talk 16:55, 13 Jan 2005 (UTC)

I believe that my specific concerns and supporting arguments are clearly set out above. If you would read all posts preceding yours in this section, I'd be very interested in hearing your thoughts. Cheers, dablaze 20:23, Jan 13, 2005 (UTC)

In my opinion there shouldn't be any unprotected articles that are undergoing edit wars. If an article is reverted more than three times then it should be protected. violet/riga (t) 20:49, 13 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Sigh. I follow what you're saying, Dablaze. Violet, he's not talking about active edit wars, with head-to-head POV pushers like Sollog or the anti-circumcision crew. He's talking about longstanding, slower battles where the single article sometimes drifts widely from NPOV, and may stay that way for a while before it's corrected. It's obvious some articles (creationism, Israel, etc.) are always going to have a hot NPOV dispute tag on them, but there are other topics (Scientology, pedophilia -- maybe there are better examples?) which are more subject to the "sneaky bias". While there's no substitute for active watchlisting and eternal vigilance, what he's asking is whether we should have a template for identifiably controversial but less-angry subjects, TO WARN READERS, simply saying something to the effect of

This article is often subject to edits slanted towards certain points of view. Although we make every effort to maintain a neutral point of view and present all perspectives within the article, you might find that previous revisions of this page carry additional information of use to you.

Does that clarify? Catherine\talk 03:12, 14 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Not really as I don't see why this isn't already covered by:

{{long npov}}

violet/riga (t) 10:05, 14 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Catherine, you're a mensch.

Violet, I don't think those templates are adequate. I've found in my own long-term editing disputes that the people entering their own counter-edits don't necessarily include inaccurate information, but instead include only the information that's both accurate and favorable to their point of view. So the question of whether something's NPOV is subject to debate.

Plus, the talk pages a tend to be chaotic, whereas previous versions and the version comparison tool on the History page speak for themselves. Besides, a POV notice at the top of the page might just set people off, whereas a pointer to the History page will put all contributors on notice that readers may be going back to see exactly what information is in dispute, and exactly who adds or deletes what.

I guess it's kind of a "meta" move, but one that could be valuable in the ever-changing world of Wiki, no?

--dablaze 05:36, Jan 15, 2005 (UTC)

I've just read this section and agree with Dablaze that a template like that would be useful. There is currently a slowish moving debate of the type that might benefit from this on the deluge (mythology) article. I sumbled accross the article via the random page link a couple of days ago, and made a minor improvment to the grammar. I was most surpised to see that my eidt has come and gone a couple of times since, as the article is partially reverted then reworded by the two debatees. Although not very different, both versions are both factually accurate but the different wording alters the importance of the Genesis theory markedly. A template like this would let a reader know of the differing view points (the nature of the difference means they cannot co-exist, at least in their current wordings). Thryduulf 11:57, 20 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Is there a way of displaying these templates without adding the pump to the categories? Filiocht 10:37, Jan 20, 2005 (UTC)

There is a note at the top of the category:articles needing to be wikified page that suggests there might be, I don't know if that works for templates though. Thryduulf 11:57, 20 Jan 2005 (UTC)

templates. where will it end?[edit]

We have 'spoiler' warnings. We have 'Unicode glyphs' warnings. We have 'graphic images' warnings. And now, we have Template:tetragrammaton too. Please tell me this was created by a troll?! Because, you know, if you are an orthodox jew, I would expect that you know about the tetragrammaton already. And if you're not, well, the template tells you nothing. Can we get rid of the more superfluous warnings please? There is no limit to the imagination of what other warnings people will include if we do not develop some reasonable policy on this. dab () 22:46, 22 Jan 2005 (UTC)

The "tetragrammaton" thing is perhaps the most blatant of these. And most of them are useless outside of a web browser. Peter O. (Talk) 01:51, Jan 23, 2005 (UTC)
For the record: OldakQuill was quite sincere, though likely overenthusiastic, after hearing about this phenomenon. I agree that this sets a bad precedent if it remains. As Jill St. Crux put it: "if you buy pork at a butcher shop, are they required to warn you in case you're going to a Jewish barbeque?" This is a what-if template and a highly specific one to boot. However, the information on the status of texts containing the tetragrammaton is not explicitly present in either Tetragrammaton or Names of God in Judaism, when it arguably should be. The template may seem silly, but I've been told it's factually accurate, and it's a fact I wager many of our readers will not be aware of. (And no, I don't think {{sofixit}} applies, as I refuse to work from ignorance. :-) JRM 02:18, 2005 Jan 23 (UTC)
Well i thought we can create template 'freely'. I even thought of making templates of smily faces. (images linked to other sites). It might be very intresting. We can put smily faces in talk page like many other forums. if there is no such restriction I am seriously considering making such templates and if it creates conflict i can create in userspace like Template:zain_engineer_Smiling :) Zain 02:49, 23 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Difference between NPOV and Objective POV[edit]

What is the difference between the NPOV and the Objective POV? What types of text does one enclude that the other doesn't? Does the NPOV not contain conclusions from the facts, while the Objective POV does? Does the NPOV state the popular point of view while the Objective POV doesn't if it isn't the POV of one of the sides? All of these are theories. - Lee S. Svoboda 17:49, 22 Jan 2005 (UTC)

congratulations, you have just discovered postmodernism. dab ()

Capitalizations for events[edit]

What is the policy for Events capitalization? Should it be 1996 Saguenay Flood or 1996 Saguenay flood? What about the recent 1998 Ice Storm? --Circeus 00:59, Jan 22, 2005 (UTC)

Standard style on Wikipedia is to only capitalize proper nouns. Also, 1998 Ice Storm is probably too ambiguous a page title. -- Cyrius| 02:20, 22 Jan 2005 (UTC)
That's the way canadian medias reference it. And I wonder what else it could reasonably refer too. If need be, a disambig or redirect will be set up, won't it? --Circeus 17:27, Jan 23, 2005 (UTC)


Is it appropriate to list principle translators into English on the pages of well-known foreign authors (either if, or if not these people have pages)? --Neo 19:46, 21 Jan 2005 (UTC)

How about just including an ISBN link to the translated edition, with a mention of the translator's name? Unless the translator is particularly notable. RickK 22:35, Jan 21, 2005 (UTC)

Can you think of terms defining notability in this context? The reason I ask is as I know of a couple of translators who have won prizes for translating the works of José Saramago, although these prizes are not widely known (and have no articles on wikipedia). Soes this make the translator notable outside the world of translated fiction? --Neo 00:21, 22 Jan 2005 (UTC)

How about creating an article on the prize, with a list of winners? And then if you have enough biographical info, you can create articles about the translators. RickK 21:49, Jan 22, 2005 (UTC)

== Administrator assistance required. ==

Administrator assistance is required on Wikipedia:Requests for comment/Swastika - this is regarding User:Swastika and not our article on Swastika. Jooler - this issue has been dealt with Jooler 10:37, 19 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Protecting Administrator User pages[edit]

I was interested to see RickK's user page is protected. I have asked him why this is and was interested in the opinions of others. Ollieplatt 07:51, 18 Jan 2005 (UTC)

The protection of my User page is none of Ollieplatt's business, unless he was attempting to vandalize it. My Talk page is available for discussion. RickK 07:55, Jan 18, 2005 (UTC)

I have asked some valid questions about this, which may have some simple answers., from RickK's user talk

Use of Administrator Powers[edit]

Hello. I have some questions relating to administrator powers and the interaction between those powers and user pages.

  1. Why is your user page protected?
  2. How long has it been protected?
  3. Is this privilege extended to others?
  4. Did you protect it yourself or ask someone else to?
  5. Is there some time limit on how long a user page can be protected?
  6. Is there a policy that governs user pages, I've noticed some people edit others and others protest that and defend their right to say what they want on their page, are there rules about this? If there is no policy, does it constitute vandalism to edit another's user page?

Thanks for your prompt response,

Ollieplatt 07:48, 18 Jan 2005 (UTC)

I would appreciate a response to the above, I don't propose to edit the page at all. I noticed it was protected and am entitled to ask, as above, why it is protected, whether it is a privilege only available to yourself, whether it is within Wikipedia guidelines for it to be protected, whether you protected it or procured its protection, what time limit if any exists on its protection. I would appreciate a response, and not a personal attack along the lines that I am planning to edit the page. I pledge not to do so under any circumstances and accordingly invite your response to the questions asked. Clearly it is a sensitive matter, and perhaps warrants wider discussion, although the reason I asked you directly was that there may have already been such a discussion prior to my arrival. If you could answer the questions or just point me to when it was discussed that would be splendiferous. :-)

Ollieplatt 07:57, 18 Jan 2005 (UTC)

I can't see a problem with a user page being protected. Mine gets vandalised occasionally. If it happens too often, I might protect mine too. Why are you so concerned Ollieplatt, since you don't intend to edit it? What business could it possibly be of yours?-gadfium 08:29, 18 Jan 2005 (UTC)

it may be reasonable to discuss if a clearer policy is desirable. We don't want more policies than we need, WP is complicated already. But if the community senses the need, it will of course be implemented. dab () 08:38, 18 Jan 2005 (UTC)
See also Wikipedia:Requests_for_page_protection#RickK. User:Anárion/sig 08:48, 18 Jan 2005 (UTC)

I have only one further comment to make on this discussion. My User page WILL NOT be unprotected. End of discussion. RickK 08:51, Jan 18, 2005 (UTC)

I was of course not implying that Ollie asked the question in good faith (it seems this user has yet to make his/her first good-faith edit). dab ()
RickK's user page was protected because it has been the victim of persistent vandalism because of his vandalhunting activity. Anyone with a user page that is subject to persistent vandalism (or any other good reason) can request protection. And unless there's a good reason to edit such a user page, I personally don't have a problem with it staying protected. You can still direct comments to their user talk page and request changes there. Mgm|(talk) 09:31, Jan 18, 2005 (UTC)
See also Wikipedia:Requests_for_arbitration/Libertas, where Ollieplatt is being accused of being a sockpuppet of Libertas, for people not aware if that. Thue | talk 15:57, 18 Jan 2005 (UTC)

A loosely related issue (what are User pages for, and whose are they?), we have users like User:Vergina, who create whole subtrees to their User pages. At some point, this turns WP into personal webspace. Obviously, subpages are the right place for WP-related writeups, and drafts, but at which point does it cross the line to the blogosphere, and to what point should pov forks into User: namespace be tolerated? dab () 09:05, 18 Jan 2005 (UTC)

For those unaware, petty harrassment is Ollieplatt's method of "getting back" at those who have blocked him (even justifiably). He did the same to me several days ago. [[User:Rdsmith4|User:Rdsmith4/sig]] 12:48, 18 Jan 2005 (UTC)
Right. He's been harrassing Rhobite for Rhobite's activities to protect Wikipedia from him. He votes Keep on obvious VfD candidates solely because Rhobite proposes them. He votes oppose for admin candidates solely because Rhobite votes support. And now, since I blocked him the other day, he's on a harrassment campaign against me. RickK 20:34, Jan 18, 2005 (UTC)

I dont see what business it is of anyone else what someone does with their userpage. Nobody else should be editing it anyway. G-Man 20:20, 23 Jan 2005 (UTC)


Cleanup of foreign language material dumped into the English-language Wikipedia[edit]

I see that someone has recently introduced {{cleanup-translation}}. As far as I can tell, the main effect of this will be to subvert the excellent process we have had working for about a year at Wikipedia:Pages needing translation into English. (Note, by the way, that this is, and should remain, a separate process from Wikipedia:Translation into English, which is a way to request translation of an article in a foreign-language Wikipedia.)

A tag like {{cleanup-translation}} might be useful to mark articles that need further language-related cleanup but are far enough along in this process that it is now clear that they will not be deleted (at least not for this reason: they can still be VfD'd like anything else). That is, for pages that are "mostly done" but could still use some attention from someone who approaches dual-native. -- Jmabel | Talk 19:53, Jan 26, 2005 (UTC)

I don't know who is active in managing cleanup, but I'd appreciate if someone who is would leave a note on Wikipedia talk:Pages needing translation into English so that we can reconcile the two processes. -- Jmabel | Talk 20:04, Jan 26, 2005 (UTC)

Why not list "cleanup-translation" on the tfd page? RickK 06:56, Jan 27, 2005 (UTC)

Date and number style[edit]

Wikipedia:Manual of Style (dates and numbers)/proposed revision 1) proposes "BC" and "AD" (in contrast with "BCE" and "CE") as standard for Wikipedia, 2) apparently encourages linking of years, and 3) encourages linking of units of measurement, among other changes. It also reverses the style of many of the dates used within the guide (such as "February 12" to "12 February"). See Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style (dates and numbers) for discussion. Maurreen 01:34, 24 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Reform of in the news[edit]

Since the appearance of Wikinews there is obvious need to reform Template:In the news. I asked a couple of people on IRC earlier if they thought linking to an article on from the latter to the former was acceptable, particularly given that wikinews is in a relative limbo regarding contributions. The general feeling was positive, and I linked two stories [15] [16] on ITN to their respective wikinews article (while not removing any content from the summary).

These stories were later removed by blankfaze for a reason that I think could be boiled down to "the wrong thing was bolded". This is an obvious sign that we need to review what is acceptable at in the news, especially given that the wikinews stories were more useful at describing the immediate event that lead to them being listed in the first place. --BesigedB (talk) 19:50, 23 Jan 2005 (UTC)

  • He's basically right. I removed the items because they did not comply with ITN guidelines (The entry must have a bolded link to an internal article UPDATED with the current event.). The items in question did not have a bolded link to an updated internal article, but rather to Wikinews stories. BLANKFAZE | (что??) 20:17, 23 Jan 2005 (UTC)
  • I really don't agree with having such links to wikinews. It's confusing to have links to an outside (kinda) source, especially with the colour of external links being virtually the same as internal links. Link to the wikinews stories from Current events using the current standard practise, but otherwise I'd much rather not see links on the front page going to other places. violet/riga (t) 21:21, 23 Jan 2005 (UTC)
    • I see no problem having an inline link to Wikinews, as long as it's not the bolded one. The colour is quite distinguishable (to me). BLANKFAZE | (что??) 21:27, 23 Jan 2005 (UTC)
      • I can hardly tell the difference, though I realise this LCD screen isn't the best. I don't like interwiki links in the middle of the text, be it to wiktionary or wikinews. While I agree that linking to the wikinews story would be very good I think that another way should be sought. violet/riga (t) 23:44, 23 Jan 2005 (UTC)
        • Maybe a Wikinews icon next to the item? And a short blurb at the top indicating what the icons mean? —Mike 01:44, Jan 24, 2005 (UTC)
  • Is there a Wikinews template similar to the Wikiquote template? Such as "There are Wikinews items about this article" etc? --Sketchee 18:43, Jan 24, 2005 (UTC)
    Yes, there is. And wouldn't you know it, it's {{wikinews}}. :-) See also Wikipedia:Template messages. JRM 19:15, 2005 Jan 24 (UTC)

I personally would just stick something at the end of the article, like a link saying "more", "news", "WN", or just an icon, or something like that. -- user:zanimum

  • Oh no. We shouldn't link to Wikinews in the stories (or at least not in bold words). The purpose of news on the main page is not to provide news, but to provide encyclopedia articles related to news. In some cases, it's hard to tell the difference, where on the whole it's not. Short answer: it defeats the purpose. A small link at the bottom of ITN is enough.✏ Sverdrup 23:09, 27 Jan 2005 (UTC)
    • I'm in complete agreement. ITN also helps to encourage people to keep the encyclopedia up to date. --mav 04:44, 28 Jan 2005 (UTC)