Wikipedia:Village pump (policy)/Archive L

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True and encyclopedic inclusion of insults and derogatory characterizations

Some Wikipedia policies such as neutral point of view and no personal attacks seem only to apply to editors and not to passing through insults, personal attacks, and derogatory characterizations made by political, media, and cultural figures against one another: For example when Ann Coulter called Bill Clinton a good rapist (not in the Wikipedia) or American Dad depicted Karl Rove as the Star Wars character Emperor Palpatine (in the Wikipedia).

Are there consistently applied principles to include or exclude insults and derogatory characterizations or is this a new area for policy? patsw 14:21, 5 August 2005 (UTC)

I suppose it depends a great deal on whether the insults are of historical interest–they became familiar quotations or memes, or they had major diplomatic, political, or other consequences–or if they were just namecalling by detractors.
Regardless, if insults are included, they should be limited in quantity and thoroughly cited and verified. A lot will depend on the judgement of article editors and be very case-specific. RfC may be helpful where there is a question about the appropriateness of a quotation. TenOfAllTrades(talk) 14:51, 5 August 2005 (UTC)
That criteria would exclude the Karl Rove depiction, wouldn't it? patsw 16:54, 5 August 2005 (UTC)
Well, it depends. American Dad is a comedy, and the Karl Rove depiction therein could perhaps be considered a good example of the style of the comedy. It wouldn't be appropriate in Karl Rove. Likewise, it might be appropriate to include [[Dan Savage]'s "Santorum (n)" coinage in the Dan Savage article as an example of Savage's wit or lack thereof; it's not appropriate in Rick Santorum. --jpgordon∇∆∇∆ 17:07, 5 August 2005 (UTC)
Are you saying that if there were a depiction of Hillary Clinton as a witch in a comedy television program, the principle you've just articulated would allow for its inclusion on her page? patsw 17:37, 5 August 2005 (UTC)
Reread what Jpgordon just said—he suggested that including the characterization in Hillary Clinton would not be appropriate; it might, however, be included in an article about the program which made the reference. (Note that its inclusion isn't necessarily desirable there either, it just might be appropriate.) Although it may be a bit overly optimistic to ask for some common sense and reason on articles related to politics, really its what should be applied. TenOfAllTrades(talk) 17:42, 5 August 2005 (UTC)

On the other hand, when an insult or attack becomes widely repeated, and is itself notable, or an issue in an actual verifiable controversy, it might be appropriate to mention it in the article about that controversy. Of courseit should be in a properly sourced quote. DES (talk) 17:56, 5 August 2005 (UTC)

Would you care to define "widely repeated, and is itself notable" and in a way that excludes Google Bombs or other contrived ways to demonstrate it? patsw 18:33, 5 August 2005 (UTC)
Google bombs aren't notable. The first few were, as a demonstration of concept, but nobody pays attention to them now (at least not more than the proverbial 15 minutes). They might count as "widely repeated", but I doubt anyone is going to take that as an indication of serious notability. It's also not verifiable unless an independent source reports on it—and then it depends on how notable that source is. I doubt you'd need special provisions to exclude this. Whether or not an attack was part of a notable controversy is more concrete (again, I doubt anyone would call a Google bomb or other means of automated publicity-boosting "controversial"). JRM · Talk 20:23, 5 August 2005 (UTC)
Well, for example if an attack-joke is made on a nationaly televised news/variety show, like The Tonight Show and then is headline materiel in the papers the next day, that would count. Or to take a slightly more local example, a few months ago, in New Jersey (where I happen to live) two radio talk hosts made despariging comments about the wife of the acting Governor, and suggested that her experience of post-partum depression was "whining" and that her support of various groups for other women with similar complaints was trivial and pointless. The Governor said publicly that he "wanted to punch them in the mouth" or words to that effect. This was reported in and editorialized about in several major NJ newspapers. This might be appropriate in an article about a) the "shock-jocks", b) the radio station on which they broadcast, c) the Governor, or d) the event itself. DES (talk) 20:54, 5 August 2005 (UTC)
In short, when an insult or an attack is the subject of commentary in major news media, or of widespread public comment, not of purely contrived wide mention like a google bomb, that is the sort of thing I mean.DES (talk) 20:54, 5 August 2005 (UTC)

Other famous insults:

  • Opposing politican to Disraeli: "You, Sir, will die either on the gallows or of a loathsome disease". Response: "That depends on whether I embrace your priciples or your mistress." Might be appropriate in an article on Disraeli or on his opponent.
  • Disraeli again: "Do you know the difference between a misfortune and a calamity?" "No what is the difference" "Oh it is a vast one. Now if Mr Gladstone, say, were to fall into the Thames, that would be a misfortume. but if someone were to pull him out..." Might be appropriate for Disraeli or for Gladstone.
  • Speaker of the US House of represenatives Reed, on a particular patronage appointment: "Never were abilities so far below mediocrity so well rewarded, no not when Caligula's horse was made Consul." (Quoted in The Proud Tower by Barbara Tuchman) might be appropriate in an article about Reed.
  • George Bernard Shaw to a first night audince at one of his plays, who did not approve the play enough: "You are Philistines who have invaded the sacred temple." Response by an unknown member of the audiance "Yes, and you are driving us forth with the jawbone of an ass." Might be appropraite (if documented) for the article on Shaw.


Perhaps that list gives some idea of at least one kind of case where an insult might be appropriate in an article. DES (talk) 20:54, 5 August 2005 (UTC)

The problem with this class of attacks, however, is that they don't have any lasting meaning, despite having staying power. A witticism one person launches to effectively put down someone else is always a joy to read, but how much does it contribute? If you can take out the name of the famous person and replace it with someone else and still end up with a good insult, did it really matter? Say, the Disraeli quote might be appropriate to illustrate Disraeli's disagreements with Gladstone (if notable), but there generally will be no shortage of famous people who famously disliked other people, or famous people who were famously disliked. The Reed quote, the Shaw exchange; these don't seem to be indicative of a larger theme, and their inclusion is probably not worth it, even if verifiable. JRM · Talk 22:38, 5 August 2005 (UTC)

Gladstone and Disraeli were life-long political rivals, and opposed each other for Prime Minister of the UK, an office that each defeated the other for. I would say that their longstanding and well-documented personal dislike for each other is notable and an appropriate part of any article about either, whether the particular quote is used or not. The Reed quote is notable because it illustrated his style of debate (the comment was made on the floor of the House) but more because it illustrates his strong opposition to patronage appointements, a priciple that arguably cost him the Presidency of the United States (Tuchman does so argue in the book I cited, and used the quote as part of the argument). (It also illustrates his willingness to offend potential political allies, which is also relevant.) The Shaw excahange is more debatable, but does help illustrate his character and his relationship with his audiences. But the above were only examples I thought of off the top of my head, and i would consider any more deeply and of course have a verifiable citation before actually using it in an article. DES (talk) 23:05, 5 August 2005 (UTC)

When people know what they're doing, they should by all means carry on. JRM · Talk 00:27, 6 August 2005 (UTC)
Something else as well to remark on the Gladstone/Disraeli example, the Wikipedia isn't full of people pushing POV's corresponding to the political positions of Gladstone or Disraeli while people push their POV in articles by inclusion of the insults, derogatory characterizations, parodies, satires, etc. of people active in politics, culture, and media today. Of course there's a Vaughn Meader article but there's no link in the John F. Kennedy article to the Meader article. How about this for a principle to apply consistently: "Insults and derogatory characterizations entered into the article of the target are a means of pushing a POV which can not be made neutral by negation: i.e. "Hillary Clinton is not a witch." or "George W. Bush is not Alfred E. Newman, Karl Rove is not Emperor Palpatine, and so on". patsw 02:43, 6 August 2005 (UTC)
I don't agree with your underlying premise that all instances of inserting such insults into an article about the target are done for purposes of POV pushing. Instead, I agree with the view that insults and the like should be included if they were themselves notable or, less often, if they help to illustrate some important point. The Bill Clinton article reports the fact that he was called "Slick Willy"; that's an insult/personal attack/clear POV, but it was used widely enough to be notable, so its inclusion is proper. The Hillary Clinton article wouldn't report the fact that one TV show compared her to a witch. The bit about Rove might well be notable, though, because even one mention on a popular sitcom is more than most presidential advisers get, and it could be considered as an illustration of Rove's prominence. There will always be borderline cases. A while back somebody added the "Shrub" nickname to the article on George W. Bush. That isn't just a one-shot use (it's somewhat common and was the title of a book about Bush), but it's not so common as "Slick Willy" was. I think people could reasonably differ about that one. The only general principle we could promulgate is that an accurate report of a POV-based insult is not to be automatically removed and is not to be automatically considered proper for inclusion. JamesMLane 03:30, 7 August 2005 (UTC)
So what exactly is the "important point" illustrated about Slick Willie? To use your example, any researcher looking at presidental nicknames is is going to find Slick Willie. Its identification would seem inevitable -- it's very hard to avoid (as well as Gipper for Reagan or Tricky Dick for Nixon). But how wide is wide, how notable is notable, and how common is common? If we leave it to the consensus of editors, one can assume that where the majority of editors of an article politically oppose the target, the consensus will find it easy to include, where the majority of editors politically support the target, the consensus will find it easy to exclude.
On the other hand Rove as Palpatine seems not an inevitable research finding but specifically selected and contrived so as to insert POV in the article that can not balanced by a factual statement that Rove is not Palpatine. Regarding your figleaf, if we are sincerely providing neutral encyclopedic material that Rove posesses prominence, there are many sources of evidence for this without insulting him, without pushing a POV. Oddly enough, with all the wide, common, and notable insults which have appeared regarding Hillary Clinton, a person with a much higher public profile than he, there are none in her article. Harry Reid's article only contains his insults of others, not others insulting him. This is another exhibit in the case that when it comes to currently active political figures, the Wikipedia isn't close to achieving neutrality. There's a double standard in the status quo: Insults of conservative political figures are included. Insults of liberal political figures are not included. This is the consistently applied principle I observe. patsw 02:57, 8 August 2005 (UTC)
I notice that about 20% of the Hillary Clinton article is on "controversies", so it's not like she gets off really easy. I would think that article should include some examples of the insults that have been launched against her (there have been so many, including a cover of Spy in its heyday depicting her as a dominatrix) and should probably also mention her uncommonly high level of strong negatives in public opinion polling: she's been a rather polarizing figure. As for Rove: I don't think the Palpatine thing contributes much to the article; I think it does belong in the article about the television show in question, but not in the article about Rove unless someone can show that it has passed into the broad political culture the way the designation "Bush's brain" has. -- Jmabel | Talk 03:58, August 8, 2005 (UTC)
Rove is too obscure a figure to have an even more obscure one-off insult included. Even with the Valerie Plame scandal, he is still mainly an inside the beltway figure. Even wide-spread name calling, which is so common in the political opposition backrooms, is not noteworthy, unless it captures the public imagination because of some informative kernel of truth. I imagine that slick willie stuck because of Clinton's teflon resiliance combined with his lawyerly spin of "is" and other issues. I lived through "tricky dick", used it, but am not quite sure why it stuck. I know it was used in conservative circles, because conservatives did not trust him, he seemed unpricipled and too close to the liberal Rockerfeller wing of the party. Conservatives supported him only grudingly. Having only used it in conservative circles starting in 68, I didn't notice when it entered the popular lexicon, so perhaps someone can explain it further.
On another related note, I think, wikipedia is far to tolerant of an insulting atmosphere and it starts with the mocking tone at the top, and is supported by a presumptive hubris culture among the admins. The mocking article The wrong version, is an insult to us all that take wikipedia seriously, and try to work within both the spirit and letter of its rules. We all know cases of admins violating and abusing the application of protection, and this article's mocking tone contributes to that attitude. I vote that it be deleted, and good riddance.--Silverback 04:52, August 8, 2005 (UTC)
Response to patsw: I noted two major categories of insults that should be included, those notable in themselves and those that illustrated an important point. I'd include "Slick Willy" on the basis of the first criterion; like "Tricky Dick", it was common enough to be notable. You're opposed to a subjective criterion of notability because you fear it will be applied inconsistently based on editors' political views. Well, that's certainly a problem, but it goes far beyond any policy about insults. In fact, I think it's the biggest weakness in NPOV. Reasonable people should be able to work out a suitably neutral presentation of most points, but they'll have much more difficulty when it comes to determining a topic's importance. This applies to whether a topic should be included in the article, how much space it should get, and whether it should be mentioned in the lead section. We face this kind of problem over and over. There's no way to eliminate subjectivity in this aspect of writing an encyclopedia.
As for Rove, the article selects a couple of points to illustrate his unusual prominence: one favorable (Barbara Walters naming him as the "Most Fascinating Person" of the year) and one at least nominally unfavorable (the Palpatine reference, although Rove might not be completely unhappy at being compared to a character "of immense power and immeasurable cunning", according to our article on Palpatine). It's precisely because of Hillary Clinton's higher profile that such items are less important for her article. It's not unusual for a prominent elected official to be material for comedy. It is unusual treatment for someone like Rove. What's unusual about Clinton isn't her prominence, but the point noted by Jmabel, namely the way opinion about her is so polarized, which would be an appropriate point for addition to her article. JamesMLane 12:36, 8 August 2005 (UTC)
Let's jump back a nod. As my first comment here I'm going to try and be as broad as possible, without using many specific examples. I think being broad at first would be good. My first question to all you editors is this: is there a difference between a nickname and an insult? There have been clear insults that have become so common to so many people that yes, the term/s have often become household idioms. But where is that line drawn? Where does something move from being an insult to being a nickname (whether a derogatory one or not)? Secondly, what constitutes "common, true and encyclopedic"? I hope I can consider myself fairly up-to-date with news and such, and many of the examples being used above, I've never really heard. Most likely, that's just me completely missing the ball. But really, what makes an insult common? Be aware that many editors might be hanging around a lot of like-minded people, so they assume some insult is commonly known, and in reality it's not really that well known at all. Also, if something is deemed to be common and encyclopedic and important enough to go in an article, there are many ways of wording something so that it is construed as an insult. In fact, there are many more ways to make in an insult than to make it a fact, but that doesn't mean it's not worthy of being in the article; it just means a little re-wording is needed. Next, what makes an insult worthy of inclusion? On this point I do have an opinion, and I apologize for using a specific example. Many books and encyclopedias include presidential nicknames. It's a very common practice. And in many instances, derogatory nicknames have become general nicknames. For instance, "Slick Willy" may have many different meanings, bad and good. It is the same as George Bush's "Dubya" nickname. In many instances, "Dubya" is referenced derogatorily, and in many others, well, his best friends call him that. Doors may swing both ways on nicknames. I suppose that would be up to the talk page to decide. On the other hand, insults are very different, because it's much harder to see an opposing side to it. When did insults become NOT inherently POV? Everyone in a high-ranking position is going to attract some kind of criticism. But there are two kinds of criticism: intelligent criticism and criticism that makes no point. In an encyclopedia, intelligent criticism is what belongs, because it is well-thought-out and makes an argument against the article in question. Criticism that makes no point (i.e. insults) has no place in an encyclopedia, since it's not helping the reader draw any kind of conclusion about the article. If anything, it promotes thinking one way about the article, making it inherently POV. It's not constructive to the reader at all, and anyway it makes the person offering the criticism-that-has-no-point look stupid, because all he can come up with to argue against the article is an insult, and not a real argument. And honestly, I hold wikipedia to a higher standard than that. I believe that wikipedia can offer good, honest, real criticism of each article without bending to the outside influences that are insulting the subjects of the articles. (Sorry for the other example) There's a large difference between calling someone "a good rapist" and "Emperor Palpatine" - and giving real arguments. Who knows, maybe I'm just too idealistic. Well, I tried being as broad as possible.Stanselmdoc 14:21, 8 August 2005 (UTC)
The criterion of notability is useless since it is unquantifiable and inherently subject to the favorability filter of the editors especially when it concerns current political figures. Since when has the criterion of unwritten intent applied to the editing of articles? I find it utterly implausible that the actual intent of Rove as Palpatine (or the impression that readers take away from this) is that Rove is more prominent than most White House Deputies Chief of State [1]. None of the subseqent editing of the article reflects that. An edit war commenced along the lines of varying the POV and wording of the insulting American Dad reference. The editing of the Rove article is consumed with the Plame investigation (for which there is new news and more than one side to the story) so this insult is being overlooked for the time being. If one thought that the current Hillary Clinton article didn't reflect her polarization (i.e. people hold strong strong opinions about her pro or con), then any number of factal and encylopedic sources could be cited without resorting to an insult. James, sometimes an insult is just an insult, and retrospection of a figleaf for its inclusion of a insult is not going to be practical. (To clarify my own position, Rove as Palpatine belongs on the American Dad page where it currently does not appear (assuming that original assertion is true which I have not verified nor wish to do so))
Stanselmdoc prompts me to add that nicknames, insults, etc. cannot be engaged in criticism for balance to achieve NPOV (i.e. arguments Rove resembles Palpatine vs. Rove does not resemble Palpatine). A rationalization for inclusion of insults is their verifiablity. That only argues to their placement in the insult author's article and not in the insult target's article. Another aspect of this I have not yet mentioned is insult as propaganda and explicitly forbidden by wikipolicy [2].
It far too convenient now to push POV insults and derogatory statements of opinion into articles of current political where the local editing cabal is hostile to the article's subject. They use third parties as a proxy hiding behind the fact that they are just passing through something they found or heard and did not personally author.patsw 17:13, 8 August 2005 (UTC)

New suggestion: Put the sample political insults cited in this discussion, and others as needed, in a separate page such as Political satire or a new page created for the purpose. Then link to the separate page as needed from the relevant articles on politicians. -- Sitearm | Talk 17:48, 2005 August 8 (UTC)

Sitearm's suggestion only moves the debate from the verbatim insult in the subject's article to the link to the verbatim insult in the subject's article. If X is insulted by Y - how is it encyclopedic and neutral to add the insult to X's page? Should it matter if the editing filter is favorable or unfavorable to subject of the article at the moment? These insults and derogatory characterizations are in large part transitory phenomenon and cheap to add especially when the criticism, if written out in text by the author without the shorthand of an insult, it would be more obviously POV. It is stealth mode POV pushing. patsw 19:41, 8 August 2005 (UTC)
Let me clarify that I have two inputs here. The first is not to lose the great jokes like Disraeli and Gladstone but to move them to where people can read them. I am serious about Political satire. The second is, regarding putting jokes about a politician in a serious article, I feel it's questionable unless there is evidence the joke hindered or helped the politician's career, which would make it relevant. The evidence would almost have to be historical, and cited by sources other than the article writer as having had such a major impact. As examples of jokes about politicians NOT to include in a serious article: those by Jay Leno and David Letterman. However, I would certainly put examples of Leno and Letterman in the article on Political Satire. And if there's a zinger a contributor likes about a politician, but the zinger is not demonstrable as having had a career impact, then Political Satire might still be a place to put it. But it would NOT be appropriate to link to the joke there from the serious article as a way of still getting it in. -- Sitearm | Talk 04:30, 2005 August 9 (UTC)
On the face of it, if your heavying drinking was so infamous, that you had replaced Dean Martin in all the late night drinking jokes, how could it not have an influence on your carreer? Perhaps Ted Kennedy's effectiveness in the senate was not effected, but his ability to speak to with credibility to anyone outside the liberal choir was. --Silverback 06:11, August 9, 2005 (UTC)
Ok, that's an example to work with. Are there published books, articles, surveys, news media, etc. asserting that "politician X lost an election, support, etc." "because of joke Y about X's drinking". If there are such published materials, that would be evidence that could be cited in a WikiPedia article. And the citations would be evidence the WikiPedian is not just quoting the joke to push an individual POV. -- Sitearm | Talk 17:56, 2005 August 9 (UTC)

Here is a link to a mixed bag of jokes about Ted Kennedy.[3] Some are really good, and the seem to capture his influence on popular culture. There is a popular culture section on the tricky dick page. Are these kinds of things notable?--Silverback 04:09, August 9, 2005 (UTC)

I think I just have one question about this Political satire thing. And it's just a question, because I'm still relatively new to wiki, so I haven't explored everywhere on the site. But can wiki be a forum for something like that? Or are there already articles that are just for people to write in whatever they feel fits? It seems to me that if you open an article for people to just add in examples of political satire, you're going to very quickly degenerate from satire into insults. There is a very distinct difference between satire (which can poke fun at political figures while being intelligent, witty, sarcastic, etc) and insults (which are more or less simply meant to be degrading to the subject and has no wit or intelligence). For instance, saying "Catholic Irish people are a huge problem. They're gross, dirty, and their numbers are increasing too quickly. They're a pain to deal with and they keep taking things from us, which is totally uncalled for. These Irish people are just despicable." isn't satire. However, Jonathan Swift's A Modest Proposal says relatively the same thing, and it's certainly satire. Maybe I'm comparing something too broadly and I apologize for that, but calling someone a name is hardly the same thing as intelligently joking about him or proving him wrong. And I believe if there was a forum for political satire that it would end up becoming just a soapbox for insults to be tossed around between people of different opinions. And even if you changed it to Political Insults or something, you still have a soapbox and a shouting match.Stanselmdoc 16:49, 9 August 2005 (UTC)
So did we come to any sort of conclusion? I'm surprised no one has edited this section for almost two whole days. Stanselmdoc 21:24, 11 August 2005 (UTC)
I concur with your surprise. The best indicator of whether a insult is going to remain in a given target's article is if the editors favor or don't favor the target of the insult.
  • Where they favor, oddly enough, the local interpretation of NPOV, relevance, etc. will to exclude the insult.
  • Where they oppose, oddly enough, the local interpretation of NPOV, relevance, etc. will be to include the insult. patsw 23:18, 11 August 2005 (UTC)

Proposed update of MediaWiki:Tagline (adding the disclaimer more prominently)

A change to the current Wikipedia tagline has been proposed for discussion and adoption here. Interested contributers please visit. Thank you for your help! -- Sitearm | Talk 20:04, 2005 August 7 (UTC)

Contributers supporting adding the disclaimer more prominently on Wikipedia pages please cite articles and sign here. Thank you for your help! -- Sitearm | Talk 13:44, 2005 August 8 (UTC)

The proposal has been updated:

  • Leave current top-left text as is ("From WikiPedia the free encyclopedia.")
  • Add new top-right text ("All articles are user-contributed in a collaborative effort.")
Interested contributors please comment here. Thank you for your help! -- Sitearm | Talk 19:04, 2005 August 11 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Blocking policy/Personal attacks

A new proposal has been written to allow admins to block people that make frequent personal attacks (but only if the admin is an uninvolved party). Please visit and give your comments. It is still in the discussion stage, so no voting please. Radiant_>|< 09:39, August 14, 2005 (UTC)


Wikipedia:Arbitration Committee Elections December 2005/Proposed modifications to rules

Just advising of the existance of this page. All discussions should go on that page, jguk 08:34, 14 August 2005 (UTC)

I rather like it. I was wondering if someone could give a quick summary of what happened last time. I've heard many horrible references to it, but as I stayed out of it, and it was a while ago, I've yet to see a good recounting for the ill-informed. Dmcdevit·t 09:09, August 14, 2005 (UTC)

Subnational entities

There are two very different naming proposals up at Wikipedia:Naming conventions (subnational entities) and I would enjoy comment from the community on them. Subnational entities are things like U.S. states, Irish counties, Ukrainian oblasts, Japanese prefectures, etc. The term can also apply to lower-level entities like U.S. counties, Japanese districts, etc., but the primary purpose of the standards as they are now is to find the best standard for naming the first-level divisions. Votes are now being taken, I suppose. Thank you! --Golbez 04:56, August 14, 2005 (UTC)

Adding author signature to articles

Is there a policy on contributors 'signing' articles that they submit? I would have thought that, once submitted, it belongs to the community. In the one case I have seen, the (presumed) author added their name and email address. --82.43.52.87 18:48, 13 August 2005 (UTC)

They shouldn't really be doing that. — Ilγαηερ (Tαlκ) 18:49, 13 August 2005 (UTC)
Articles are not signed. Can you point us to any articles you have seen? lots of issues | leave me a message 20:01, 13 August 2005 (UTC)
there used to be a practice of doing that on "early Wikipedia", but it was given up. You can just remove the signature with a kind comment. If they object, you can patiently explain that their work remains attributable to them via page history. dab () 20:56, 13 August 2005 (UTC)
Ranil_Wickremesinghe is the article in question. I haven't yet removed the signature. I have a reminder for tomorrow to check out responses to my question here and then edit it out if required. If someone else wants to then np! The (quite substantial) contribution is anonymous, so contacting the submitter is not assured and, out of politeness, I didn't want to summarily deprive him/her of their signature in Wikipedia without checking first and I don't really want to make a big issue out of someone's sincere effort to contribute. 82.43.52.87 23:32, 13 August 2005 (UTC)
I've taken it out but left "remove author attribution; if needed can be found checking edit history" in the edit summary; anyone glancing at the history to see who wrote it will be able to notice this. The information's recorded in the history, but not immediately presented to the casual reader, which is how it should be. Shimgray 23:47, 13 August 2005 (UTC)
If the signature includes the word "copyright", the © sign or something to the same or similar effect, then the GFDL probably does not permit the removal of the "copyright notice". Otherwise I think it should be fine. IANAL. — David Remahl 09:57, 14 August 2005 (UTC)
I thought you had to specifically state that a section was non-modifiable for it to fall under the GFDL catch. Such sections are possible under the GFDL, but frowned upon here. Physchim62 12:05, 14 August 2005 (UTC)

Information useful to tourists

I have been extolling the virtues of this Wikipedia to my son who has just returned from a railway trip round Eastern Europe and Turkey. He wanted to know if it would have helped him find current information useful to travelers (restaurants, hostels, days and time of entries to sites etc). I thought it would be useful for this but I find there is little of that sort of information available. His point was that all the guide books are very unreliable and out of date, so a collaborative venture like this would be perfect for keeping this sort of information up to date. Is there a policy which prevents such volatile information being listed here? --Johnpaddy 15:53, 13 August 2005 (UTC)

You might want to check out Wikitravel, although, to be honest, I haven't visited it lately, so I really don't know how up-to-date or extensive it is. Zoe 18:37, August 13, 2005 (UTC)

Wikipedia is not a directory nor a link collection. The Wikipedia article on a city is likely to be much smaller than the phone directory categories for "Museums", "Restaurants" and "Hotels". (SEWilco 16:51, 14 August 2005 (UTC))

About insults

An anonymous user had posted this in Talk:Omar Bakri Muhammad:

"Bakri was a parasite of the British State. Scrounging benefits whilst hating and inciting violence against the country whose hospitality he was abusing. He is no better than the parasite false prophet he claims to follow. There again, he wouldn't be the first to make false claims."

I find the sentence in Italics VERY HIGHLY irritating and offensing for the Islam religion (If he's talking about the prophet Muhammad).

I'm wondering, could we allow religious racist insult in Wikipedia? If it's on a talk page, is it okay? And if policies state that they are not allowed, should we delete these kind of statements or just strike it? And what about the user? Should he get blocked by considering it a kind of vandalism? And does it apply to registred users?

Please I need to see what Wikipedia policies state about this kind of behaviour. CG 15:26, August 13, 2005 (UTC)

this type of provocative anon diatribe may be safely removed, even from talkpages. If the user persists in using the talkpage as his soapbox, s/he may be temporarily blocked for disruption. dab () 15:38, 13 August 2005 (UTC)
On a talk page, this sort of opinion is perfectly acceptable. Knowing that people say that sort of thing, and who it is that is saying it, helps build a better neutral article. Pcb21| Pete 22:52, 13 August 2005 (UTC)
I agree that you should leave the comment alone. Don't be so quick to disallow freedom of speech to occur on a talk page. Also, don't assume that wikipedians aren't smart enough to see this kind of comment for what it is. Lastly, removing this kind of talk from a user's comment can work against you, because if you temper his or her language, others that visit in the future may not be tipped off about his or her true feelings and may not keep a close on their future edits. --Quasipalm 01:38, 14 August 2005 (UTC)

Categories, lists and series boxes... but not a policy in sight

The page Wikipedia:Categories, lists, and series boxes (aka WP:CLS) has a long history though I have never heard about it before today. As of this morning there was no tag to indicate that it has ever been accepted as a guideline by the community, and despite having two archives worth of talk pages, it seems to have spent more time in edit wars than actually having been discussed whether it has consensus. I have now stuck a {{proposed}} tag on it and would invite discussion.

My immediate motivation in doing so is that this page was cited as policy for deleting a navigational template at WP:TFD, since the page says:

"You should only use an article series box for an actual series — when it forms a complete linear series. ... They may be used for other small and verifiably complete sets."

Which seems to go against the common practice of having navigational templates to related topics even though there is not necessarily a natural, linear, and complete set defining those related topics. Also this particular specification seems to have been largely rejected in two previous discussions here and here, though no one has ever actually removed it.

Given that part of the page seems to be inconsistent with common practice, the rest of it probably needs a good hard look too. Wikipedia probably does need a page to discuss the various ways of organizing information, and by posting here I am hopeful that people to take a serious look at the page we have now and think about what rules really should apply for the usage of lists, categories and article series boxes. Of course some of this is also clearly redundant to Wikipedia:Categorization and Wikipedia:Lists, though the former does in fact link to WP:CLS. Dragons flight 01:24, August 13, 2005 (UTC)

Thank you for bringing this up! I'm working with categories and subcategories in computer and video game articles with some other interested contributors. There are a LOT of these articles. There is some risk of edit wars as to what articles go in what categories and what categories are subcategories of others BUT as long as an article is categorized it will automatically show up on a referring page SOMEWHERE (pauses for breath). Need to know how to assign and work with categories. Like lists, need to develop skills to collaborate. Will follow this discussion with interest. Thanks! -- Sitearm | Talk 21:24, 2005 August 13 (UTC)

Since the debate seems to be starting again, Imay point towards this: Wikipedia:Article series boxes policy (proposed) -- AlexR 22:56, 13 August 2005 (UTC)
  • Good point. This is entirely what Wikipedia:Standards is intended to deal with (e.g. get a centralized view on when to use what kinds of organization, including the list/series box/cat issue). Radiant_>|< 00:14, August 14, 2005 (UTC)

New idea

Take a look at Wikipedia: Sending letters, mainly the snail mail section, and tell me what you think. Feel free to copyedit - the writing seems a little stilted to me. Andre (talk) 20:39, August 12, 2005 (UTC)

For some reason nobody has taken a look. I really could use some feedback. Andre (talk) 04:11, August 14, 2005 (UTC)
Perhaps you can describe here what is at the other end of that link, so readers here have a better idea of whether they want to look over yonder. You have to help readers here. You also don't know if "nobody has taken a look", you only know how few comments have been made. (SEWilco 05:00, 14 August 2005 (UTC))

Use of the term prophet inherently POV?

User:Babajobu was upset by the many occurences of "the Prophet Muhammad, PBUH" found in various Islam-related articles written by devout Muslims. He believes, and I agree, that this usage is inherently POV. He has been removing these terms wherever he finds them. However, he also believes that ANY use of the term "prophet" in relation to a religious figure is inherently POV, implying that the "prophet" was truly divinely inspired. I disagree, and have been reversing some of his edits in Islam-related articles. I'm not a Muslim and I don't think that using the terms "the prophet" or "the prophet Muhammad" is inherently POV. I think of the word "prophet" as a descriptor, which implies nothing about the truth of the supposed prophecies.

Babajobou has agreed to suspend his prophet-removal campaign (which could conceivably affect thousands of religion-related articles) while the matter is discussed in a community forum. Is "prophet" an endorsement, or simply a useful descriptor, like "shaman" or "priest"? As an editor, I'd like to be able to use the term, just so that I can vary the words that I'm using. Otherwise the article starts to sound stilted.

I should perhaps add that removing the caps from "Prophet" doesn't necessarily make the term NPOV, at least in my opinion, and that keeping a disengaged tone in the article may require some careful copyediting. I just don't want a blanket prohibition on the use of the word "prophet" in Wikipedia. Zora 23:49, 5 August 2005 (UTC)

Zora, I'm with you -- blanket removal of the term "prophet" is probably overzealous. In Christianity and Judaism, at least, there are many warnings about "false prophets"; thus, for at least those religions, not everyone widely labelled as a "prophet" is actually speaking for God. Speaking for myself, I'm not Muslim and I don't believe that Muhammad spoke for God, but I don't object to using the term "prophet" to refer to him. The NY Times dictionary defines prophet as "one who tells the future, esp. if divinely inspired or claimed to be." There, the definition self-claiming; while most people worldwide do not believe Mohammad spoke for God, there's agreement that he claimed to speak for God. Careful copyediting sounds like a good idea, though; certainly we don't want the text that seems to claim that there's universal agreement that he DID speak for God. Dwheeler 00:11, August 6, 2005 (UTC)


Nor do I want a blanket prohibition on the term "prophet". However, I do think that in the monotheistic religions "prophet" is not simply a position like "deacon", or a title like "father": it is an assertion of that individual having been in receipt of divine revelation. This is quite different, in my opinion, from the colloquial use of the term to mean "truth-speaker". When Mormons describe Joseph Smith as "the Prophet" or even "a prophet" they are not saying that Joseph Smith told it like was, come hell or high water. They are saying that he was spoken to by God, or by God's angels. This has just as little place in an encyclopedia as references to Jesus "Christ". I do realize, though, that names like Joseph Smith and Muhammad could conceivably use for some specification and contextualization, so I think in the first instance in an article it is acceptable to refer to them as "The Mormon prophet Joseph Smith" and "The Islamic prophet Muhammad". All subsequent references should stick with just the name, IMO. Babajobu 00:05, 6 August 2005 (UTC)
Babajobu's idea of adding adjectives makes sense. Certainly there's universal agreement that "in the Islamic faith, Muhammad is considered a prophet" which is what "The Islamic prophet Muhammad" implies to me. But is that practical? Christians and Jews, at least, typically refer to prophets by name (not "The Prophet"), and while "Christ" is a title, many people are unaware of it, and "Jesus" by itself is commonly used. In Islamic works I believe it's conventional to say "The Prophet", since "Muhammad" is a really common Islamic name. Is "The Islamic prophet Muhammad" going to be too wordy? Interesting issue. Dwheeler 00:17, August 6, 2005 (UTC)
Incidentally, I also think the same pattern would hold nicely for the biblical prophets: in the inital reference stick in a lower case "prophet" with the qualifier "biblical": "The biblical prophet Joel", "the Islamic prophet Muhammad", "the Mormon prophet Joseph Smith". And in instances after that just refer to them as Amos or Joel or whatever. No more ambiguous assertions of "prophethood" to people who are claimed in religious texts to have been "prophets" in the sense of having had personal communication with the divine. Babajobu 00:22, 6 August 2005 (UTC)
Hmm, you're starting to convince me. It's at least clear and NPOV. Is it workable? Dwheeler 00:24, August 6, 2005 (UTC)
I think it is workable. I disagree that it presents stylistic problems. Most Wikipedia biographical entries are stuck with just the name and third person pronoun without having to rely on other "The Prophet"-ish terms.
Not so. I can describe people as actors, warriors, rulers, writers, couturiers, etc. Most people famous enough to merit a biographical notice are famous for SOMETHING. It just gets difficult when they're famous for prophesying <g>. Zora 02:04, 6 August 2005 (UTC)

On "false prophets" in Judaism and Christianity: I think this demonstrates the point nicely that in these faiths (Islam, too), being a prophet is not merely a matter of self-definition. if it were, there would be no such thing as a "false" prophet. They are regarded as "false" because their claims of having been in communication with God are rejected as fabricated and not real. The colloquial definition provided by the Times is different from the way the term is used in the monotheistic religions. All this makes the term at the very least ambiguous and open to multiple interpretations, which is reason enough for ditching it except in the first, qualified instance. Babajobu 00:29, 6 August 2005 (UTC)

Sorry, I don't think a religious definition trumps a dictionary definition. I don't think most users read "prophet" as an endorsement, either. I've been working on Islam-related articles for a long time, removing PBUHs, changing Prophet to prophet, removing instances of "prophet" when it seemed necessary, and no one heretofore has said that my articles are too pious. I think you've just become sensitized to the issue, B, and you're starting to see bias where there is none.

Reminds me of a friend of mine who was upset by her noisy upstairs neighbors. I was visiting her one day when she stopped and said, "Listen, would you? There they are, making noise again!" I couldn't hear anything. She was on such high alert for upstairs noise that she was starting to hear it even when an outsider couldn't.

Instead of a blanket policy of "no use of the word prophet without a modifier", I'd prefer to deal with articles one-by-one. There IS a problem, there ARE too many obscure Islam-related articles that have just been cut-n-pasted from religious websites, and there is a lot of editing to be done. It just calls for judgement, not black-and-white thinking. Zora 02:02, 6 August 2005 (UTC)


When the emphasis is on Muhammad's legacy as a prophet then the word prophet should be used. That is the reason why he is important in Islamic tradition. It is not bias it is a common term of reference and help differentiate between Muhammad and Muhammad. What Zora is saying makes sense... people don't react if the encyclopedia says "prophet" and assume that's a fact or POV... they are sensible enough to realize the multiple definitions of the word and its context. Of course there are some instances that must be fixed... but as a rule banning the term is no good. gren グレン 02:20, 6 August 2005 (UTC)

Again, I never suggested banning the term. In those instances in which Muhammad may be confused with Muhammad Naguib or any other Muhammad, I have no problem with specifying "The Islamic prophet Muhammad". But the point here is not that the religious def trumps one of the more colloquial dictionary defs, but that "The Prophet" or "the prophet" can very reasonably be interpreted as an assertion of a supernatural phenomenon, and I don't think an encyclopedia should be written in that way. Regardless, please, please no capitalizations of Prophet in any religious context. That pushes it substantially toward the supernatural interpretation, IMO. At the very least lowercase. Can we agree on that? Babajobu 09:13, 6 August 2005 (UTC)
Of course. I agreed with you on that before we started this go-round. I've been routinely de-capping or removing "Prophet" for many months. I have a feeling that a great many of the Muslim editors have been carefully trained, by schools or mosques, to speak "respectfully" of Muhammad, and it's very hard for them to drop old habits. Zora 12:17, 6 August 2005 (UTC)
If you want sometimes to rotate in the term "the prophet" in place of Muhammad for stylistic reasons, I suppose that's defensible. But do you really think that referring to "prophet Muhammad" time after time in the same article is appropriate? If you were writing an article about a historian, would you repeatedly refer to the "the historian Jones", "the historian Jones", the "historian Jones"? Of course not. Repeatedly referring to the person's profession has no stylistic or informative value, IMO. Incessantly referring to "the prophet Muhammad", even when uncapitalized, is done to emphasize his supernatural experiences. How is this for a rough guideline for how to handle the "prophets" of the various religions (again, just a rough guideline, not a rule or a diktat): in the first instance in an article refer to "the Islamic prophet Muhammad"; do the same in other instances in which ambiguity regarding specific "Muhammad" is a concern; later refer to him as "the prophet" if to do so would have stylistic advantages over Muhammad; otherwise, call him by his name. Same goes for Joel, Amos, Joseph Smith, whoever. Babajobu 19:18, 8 August 2005 (UTC)
That seems reasonable enough to me. First use, add name of group that recognizes the person as a prophet -- after that, prophet is OK as stylistic variation on name, but not as constant descriptor. Zora 21:43, 8 August 2005 (UTC)

We allow Saints, so we can surely allow Prophets. Gdr 10:43:07, 2005-08-12 (UTC)

Hmmm...not sure what to make of Saint. The fact that the Vatican conducts a sort of administrative investigation into an individual's life, and then chooses whether or not to bestow sainthood on that person, suggests to me that Saint is more like a title, rather than a simple assertion of divine experiences. However, then again, as in the case of prophet, there may be some ambiguity here. I think the same rough guideline discussed for "prophet" would also work for "saint". Babajobu 11:10, 12 August 2005 (UTC)

Yes, "Saint" is a title, like "Doctor". Note that it has a range of meanings; see saint. We don't restrict the use of "Saint" to someone who has been canonized by the Roman Catholic Church or glorified by the Eastern Orthodox Church, we use it for people commonly known by that title. By using the title, Wikipedia doesn't take a position on whether a saint is really in heaven or capable of miracles, we are just reflecting common usage. Gdr 15:22:06, 2005-08-12 (UTC)

There other similar terms that don't have people waiting in the wings to scream at you when you use them, so they aren't noticed as much. I'm thinking in particular of "Buddha". "Siddhartha Gautama was the Buddha" is a statement in the same general category as "Muhammad was the Prophet" or "Jesus was the Christ". Thus, "Jesus Christ" is a redirect to "Jesus", which is fine. But "Gautama Buddha" is the title of a page, and "Siddhartha Gautama" redirects there, rather than the other way around. And we have statements like "At the age of eighty, the Buddha ate his last meal ...." Clearly not NPOV. There is a discussion about this in Talk:Gautama Buddha, but it seems to have ended this spring with no changes being made. More generally, I'm wondering what other words have similar issues associated with them. Someone needs to make a list. — Nowhither 20:39, 14 August 2005 (UTC)

Neutral Wikipedia?

Dear all

I am writting about the issue of Macedonia, Republic of Macedonia, Macedonian Slavs (like Wikipedia calls the Macedonians) and the problem between Macedonia and Greece about the term Macedonia. I am aware that this issue is largely discussed here, at Wikipedia, and Wikipedia claims that it is trying to take a neutral side. But, that is not the case. Wikipedia is everything except neutral in this question. In the following lines I will explain you why.

From the text in Wikipedia most of the people will conclude that Macedonian nation appeared during the World War 2 and Tito was the one who 'invented' us. The family of my wife (she is Mexican) read this and asked me is it truth. That was actually the first time I read what Wikipedia says about my nation, which was a direct reason for my reaction. My grandfather is born in 1911th. Yesterday I had a talk with him. He took a part in the strugle for independence since 1925th and he took a part in the 2nd world war. He is alive and personal prove that Wikipedia is full of bullshit and lies about our origin. He spent half of his life proving and fighting for that. He was shot 3 times, all 3 from the Bulgarians who wanted to ocupy Macedonia in the Balkan wars and in the WW1 and WW2. Just a 1 min with him will show you how many lies you suport in Wikipedia.

I tried to edit some of the text few days ago, but everithing I wrote was deleted. And all I wrote were facts. Fact 1. Macedonians (or Macedonian Slavs, like ONLY Wikipedia, Greece and Cyprus calls us) is the only nation of many living in the area concentrated inside the borders of the geographical region of Macedonia. This is a pure fact, something that you can even find on the CIA web page. Can you give any fact to deny my fact? If you can not, why you erased it from Wikipedia? Fact 2. Republic of Macedonia has diplomatic relations with about 150 countries in the world. Wikipedia says that "at least 20" countries recognize Macedonia under the name Macedonia. Guess what? That number is more than 100. And this is an officially confirmed by our ministery for foreighn affairs. Fact 3. Wikipedia says that my country Contraversialy calls itself Republic of Macedonia. This is a pure example of taking a side in the problem. Why you don't say that Greece contraversialy deny us the use of the name Macedonia? If you intended to be neutral, just write that we have the naming problem with Greece, but do not call my name "contraversial"!!! Fact 4. While explaining about the antient Macedonia, its kings etc. you highly support the claim for their Greek origin. I can give you 1000s of facts that that is not truth and I beleive that some Greek guy can give you 1000s facts that those claims are truth. That was 2400 years ago and there is no chanse for us to know the real situation. We can only guess. But, when you give the Greek suported version, why you ignore the version suported by the newaged Macedonians? In this moment I can give you 10 names of internationally respected scientist supporting our theory. If you are neutral, why you ignore it? Fact 5. Wikipedia says that the Turkish Empire were calling us Bulgarians. Strange, because the Turks were recognizing the uniqueness of our nation since the moment they occupied the teritory of Macedonia. Actually, the Turkish history archives are the biggest prove of our existance, history and culture. Did anyone of you ever read anything from those archives? Even on the birth certificate of Khemal Ataturk says that he is born in Bitola, Macedonia. And his autobiography is full of memories of his childhood spend with the Macedonians. Fact 6. Wikipedia ignores the egsodus of the Macedonian people from Greece and says they were running because they were supporters of the comunists. 1/3 of the Macedonians have origin from this part of Macedonia. They were runned away from there by force and you can find many historical proves for that. Again, big part of my family has origin from there. As a matter of fact, my grand-grand father was married to a Greek woman, my grand-grand mother. But, no matter of that, his house was burned and he was forced to run away for his life and the life of his family. How dare you deny this? Do you know that even today my grand father is not allowed to visit Greece, because he was a kid when his family runned away from there? Fact 7. There are about 500 000 Macedonians that live outside Macedonia, mostly in Canada, Australia, USA, Sweden etc. At least 1/3 moved there before 1930s. If we were a product of Tito, how can you explain that even they feel of Macedonian nationality? I have a family in USA which moved there in 1927th. Their ancestors (my cousins) do not even know how to talk Macedonian well. But, they still feel Macedonian. One of them is even one of the financiers of the party of the Macedonians in Bulgaria, trying to help their strugle to keep their national identity. I repeat, first time he visited Macedonia was in 1995th, far after Tito. And his family moved in USA in 1927th, far before Tito. Fact 8. Wikipedia claims that the book of Macedonian songs by Dimitar Miladinov is actually Bulgarian. Have you maybe seen a original copy of the book, printed in Croatia? IT says clearly "Macedonian". Not to mention that the same author wrote one of the most important books in the Macedonian history "For the Macedonian issues", again printed in Croatia, where it clearly talks about the Macedonian nation and non-Bulgarian origin.

All this was simply erased from the database. I didn't erase anything when editing these pages, I support the other side and I do not want to hide their facts. But why Wikipedia wants to hide our facts, which show that we are not a product of Tito's ambitions for the Aegean Sea. In Tito's time, the Yugoslav army was far superior in the region. If he wanted the Aegean Sea, he would get it very easily.

Many things in Wikipedia are very offensive for the nowdays Macedonians. Wikipedia simply ignores us, gives us a new name and supports the theories of denial of our existance, culture and history.

I will try to give you an example that includes with Mexico. I beleive that you know that the Maya civilisation was invaded by the Spanish kingdom. Spanish were ruling Mexico for centuries and millions of Spanish people moved at Mexican teritory. Later, after the liberation war, Mexicans formed its own country. Fact 1. Mayas were living in Mexico (same as Antique Macedonians). Fact 2. Spanish invaded them and great number of Spanish people moved to Mexico (The Slavs moved on the theritory of Macedonia and there was no reported fights or movements of people away from the teritory where the Slavs settled). Fact 3. Nowdays, everyone of the Mexican is aware that they are partly Spanish, but they still have Mayan origin (Wikipedia says that the people living in Republic of Macedonia are Slavs. When there was no reported resetling of the Antique Macedonians, how is possible they not to mix with the Slavs? It is a fact that the nowdays Macedonians are not same as the Antique Macedonians, but they certanly have a significant part of their genes. Same as I beleive that Greece has a part of their Genes, but they are definitly not their direct ancestors). Fact 4. Mexican speak Spanish. Reason: The Spanish culture was superior in that time. (The Antique Macedonians accepted the Helenic culture, including a variation of the Greek language. Reason: the Helenic culture was superior in that time. Everyone who knows at least little history will know that Hellenic and Greek are not synonims. Greek is nation, Hellenic is religion/culture. USA and England both speak English, both are mostly cristians, but they are SEPARATE nations. Aren't they? Same happens to Germany and Austria, or Serbia and Croatia, or Canada and France, or Brazil and Portugal, or the rest of Latin America and Spain)

And here is a comment about the claims of the Bulgarians, that the Macedonians are actually Bulgarians. If that is truth, I am going to kill myself. Bulgarians through the history made the worst for my nation. During the strugle of the Macedonian people for independence from the Turkish empire, at the end of the 19th and begginbing of the 20th century, the Bulgarians were the ones who killed the most of our revolutionaries, including 4 members of my close family which were members of the Macedonian revolutionary organization (VMRO). Whis is not something that I was told by Tito. My grandfather (the same grandfather from above) was in fact a member of the same organization. He personaly knew many of the revolutioners that Bulgarians claim are theirs, including 2 of the leaders: Goce Delcev and Gorce Petrov. They were Macedonians and they all gave their lives for free and independent Macedonia and they had nothing to do with Bulgaria. There was a part of them who were Bulgarians inserted in the organizations, who were actually the killers of the real Macedonian revolutioners, because it was in Bulgarian interest to weaken the organization, so they could take the lead in the organization and later put Macedonia in the hands of the Bulgarians. Thanks god, they did not succeed. Wikipedia claims that VMRO was pro-Bulgarian and the revolutioners were Bulgarian fighters. You suposed to see the face of my 94 year old grandfather when I told him your claims. Neurtal Wikipedia? I do not think so.

At the end I have to ask for Wikipedia NOT TO TAKE A SIDE IN THIS. I am not asking to remove the Greek and Bulgarian side of the story. But, why you ignore our claims, which are suported by many non-Greek and non-Bulgarian scientists and very largely through the web. There are just about 2-2.5 million Macedonians around the world. We do not have enought influence and strenght as Greece has, which is much more powerful and richer country than Macedonia. The Macedonian-Greek question is too hard and too complicated to solve. History can be interpreted in 1000 ways, especially on a teritory like the Balcany, where there are so many nations on so little space. Fortunately, DNA testings are getting more and more reliable and soon it will be possible to be used to acuratelly show the origin of our nations. I hope that then the denyal of me, my history, culture and existance will finaly stop. It is very disapointing that Wikipedia takes a part in all that.

With all the respect, Igor Šterbinski Skopje, Macedonia is@on.net.mk


Good criticism like this is hard to come by! Can we sort this out? Kim Bruning 03:16, 3 August 2005 (UTC)

I concur. --Golbez 03:20, August 3, 2005 (UTC)
Yes, and I wonder if maybe someone with some experience in this could take a look at this? — Ilγαηερ (Tαlκ) 04:37, 3 August 2005 (UTC)

ALL the Macedonian history (the one that the Macedonians, the one that Wikipedia calls Macedonian Slavs) before the 6th century is given in Wikipedia as Greek history. I am talking mostly about the Antient Macedonia. I do not claim that Macedonians (Macedonian Slavs in Wikipedia) have the exclusive right to this history. But, Greece can not have that right eighter. It is a history that this region shares and both, we (Macedonians) and Greeks have a part of our origin from those people. In the same time ALL the Macedonian history after the 6th century is given in Wikipedia as Bulgarian history. I am talking about the Wikipedia claims that in the 9th century the Macedonian Slavs got Bulgarized or assimilated by Greece, that in the 10th century Macedonia become a center of Bulgaria (which is not truth, because there are 1000s of hard proves and writtings found in Ohrid denying the Bulgarian claims), the tzar Samoil kingdom (which was everything than Bulgarian, because he had several fights with them and won in all and you can find again 1000s of proves in his fortress in Ohrod), then the Macedonian Ohrid Archbishopry which was clearly Macedonian and everything else than Bulgarian, with dressings and crowns with a completely different stile than the Bulgarian ones. Later Wikipedia claims that after 1018th Byzantine Empire makes Macedonia a Bulgarian province, but it doesn't say the reason for it (the Bulgarians were fighting at his side, so this was his reward towards them, something that will happen in the WW2, when the biggest part of Macedonia will be given to Bulgaria by the Germans. 3 of 4 sons of Samoil were actually latter killed by pro-Bulgarians Another reason is the wish of Vasili II to make a revenge towars Samoil and his people, with denying them, something that Wikipedia does NOW). Then, Wikipedia claims that the Ottoman Empire was seeing us as Bulgarians, which is completely not truth. You have incredible written archives in Turkish museums for this, so you can make a search by your own. All the Macedonian uprisings were characterised as Macedonians. Even the after-capture execution of the leaders was taking place in Skopje, the biggest town in the teritory of Macedonia and not in Sofija, which was the Bulgarian biggest town. Wikipedia says that the following Macedonian history is Bulgarian: IMRO, Ilinden Uprising in Krusevo (where the only newspapers that write about it as Bulgarian uprising are the ones who didn't have their Journalists in the region and were using the Bulgarian sources, which in that time was already liberated, who wanted to show the uprising as their own. Why you don't read some Russian sources which have their journalists in Krusevo and Bitola at the time? Some of the grand sons and grand daughters of the revolutioners are still alive, so you might ask them what their grand-fathers were fighting for. The Krusevo Manifesto says that their goal is FREE and INDEPENDENT Macedonia. Why would their form their own Republic, if they wanted to be part of Bulgaria? All Wikipedia claims simply have no sence), Goce Delchev and the other revolutioners (NOTE: Goce Delchevs nephews which are still alive all spent half of their life proving Goce Delchev's belongding to the Macedonian nation. NOTE 2: Why would he fight for Macedonia's independence if he was Bulgarian? If he was Bulgarian, wouldn't he fight for unification of Macedonia and Bulgaria? Why was he betrayed by a Bulgarian, which resultet in his death in Banica 1903rd? You are corupting our biggest revolutioner, something that we keep as a saint). Wikipedia says that the "St Cyril and Methodius" high school in Solun, where Delchev studied was Bulgarian. How come, when no Bulgarians were living in Solun?... A prove for the Bulgarian, Serb and Greek ambitions to assimilate the Macedonians and take their teritory is the deals and fights they had in the both Balcan wars. They were all exterminating the Macedonians, burning their houses and grabbing their lands, but Wikipedia completely ignores all that. I (and many more) have a living family members who were witnesses of that time. Then, the WW2, when 2/3 of Macedonia was given to Bulgaria by the Germans. Why the hell 100000 Macedonians were fighting against the Bugarians? 25000 died in that war, again many members of my family. And Wikipedia says that we have Bulgarian origin. Why they didn't fight at the Bulgarian side if that was the case? Wikipedia later claims that our country (Republic of Macedonia) was given to us by Tito. What a lie!!! As I said 100000 Macedonians were fighting for freedom. If Tito made us be under the Serbs again, that wouldn't be freedom and 100000 heavily armed Macedonians would continue fighting for it. Even my 94 year old grand-father, who took a part in the WW2 fighting for the partizans, and who was looking at Tito as a saint agrees with this, that he wouldn't rest till he saw Macedonia free. Wikipedia even denies the exodus of 250 000 Macedonians from Greece, saying they were running away by their own. Who the hell will leave his house and land if he was not forced to? My other grand father's house was burned and he was shoot at in order to make him leave his hometown.

On some places Wikipedia says that this 'Bulgarian part' of the history might be Macedonian, but that is very well hidden so it even can hardly be noticed.

On the other hand, Wikipedia says that 'In 2000 several teenagers threw smoke bombs at the conference of pro-Bulgarian organisation 'Radko' in Skopje causing panic and confusion among the delegates'. Yes, that is completely truth. But in 1000s of years, you find one incident that we caused against the Bulgarians and you wrote it. What about centuries of incidents, murders, wars, assimilation made by the Bulgarians towards the Macedonians? What about the fact that Bulgaria and Greece do not allow the Macedonian parties in those countries to register and take a part in the ellections? This is something that was taken even to the European court. HOW CAN WIKIPEDIA IGNORE THIS??? BTW, Radko had just about 50 delegates and members. Most of them born in Bulgaria and moved latter in their life in Macedonia.

In this case, Wikipedia is only a tool in the Bulgarian and Greek propaganda of denying and stealing the Macedonian history, culture and existance. Just search the internet and you will see that this kind of 'history' can ONLY be found on pro-Bulgarian and pro-Greek web sites. I am a living prove of the existance of the Macedonian nation. And that is not because I was told so by Tito. Macedonians were Macedonians far far before Tito. That is a fact that NOONE can change. How dare you deny everything what I am? How dare you to deny 1000s of killed people, who gave their lives for FREE and INDEPENDENT Macedonia?

Senceirly, Igor Šterbinski Skopje, Macedonia



JUST SEARCH THE WEB, YOU CAN SEE HOW WRONG WIKIPEDIA IS!!! ONLY THE PRO-BULGARIAN AND PRO-GREEK SITES HAVE THE SAME CLAIMS AS WIKIPEDIA. MOST OF THEM ARE ONLY CLAIMS THAT ARE CONFIRMED BY FALSIFICATED LETTERS. The TURKISH WERE SUPERIOR AT THAT TIME AND ARE A NEUTRAL SIDE. AND FAR BIGGER PART OF THEM IDENTIFY THE MACEDONIANS AS SEPARATE NATION, MACEDONIANS. WIKIPEDIA IS NEUTRAL??? I DO NOT THINK SO!!!



Igor, I think you have many valid points, however, people will not listen if you get angry, at least your post above sounds angry to me. A lot of your problem is that many people are unaware of the issues on these pages. I don't follow politics that closely and I'm not aware of the issues and have never seen those pages. It seems there are a lot of issues. May be we should tackle them one at a time. You peeked my interest in the Y chromosome analysis. Do you have a sources that would bring people up to speed?
Your complaint of the 'at least 20' seems harsh. While the number is low the author clearly wrote the 'at least' because they were not clear about the exact number. Again if you have source material then your arguments will not be disputed by any rational person. You are fighting our (mine at least) ignorance of the politics in your home country. You have started to educate us, please be patient. David D. (Talk) 15:59, 3 August 2005 (UTC)
You are completely right. I was mad, I still am. I would just like to ask you if you can put yourself in my possition and possition of the other Macedonians.
I just visited the Bulgarian Wikipedia. I have to be honest that I didn't understand well, but I could notice many places where the word Macedonian is simply changed with Bulgarian.
Yes, there are some actual researches about the HLA genes of the Macedonians and Greeks. Just, I didn't gave you any link, because that research include Spanish, Portugeese... and between them Macedonian scientists. It is officially publicated and accepted research, but it is the first one in the field.
This technique is possible only in the last couple of years. It is expected many researches like this still to come, and the techniques are getting more and more advanced.
So, to keep the Wikipedia's neutrality, I wanted to wait till several researches like this appear. That is why I didn't talk about that research and I talked about the researches that are going to happen in future, which will be much more advanced, using newer techniques. Anyway, for those who are interested, here is a link of the research:
www.makedonika.org/processpaid.aspcontentid=ti.2001.pdf
Another links can be found with google:
http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&lr=&q=HLA+genes+macedonia&btnG=Search
BTW, I already noticed some possitive changes in Wikipedia. When I say possitive, I am talking for Wikipedia's neutrality, not for my point of view. They are few, but encouraging. Anyway, there are many more that should be worked on.
About the number of countries that recognized Macedonia under its constitutional name, I only got an oral information few days ago from our Ministery for External affairs (www.mnr.gov.mk). I asked for written information, but it will take longer. As soon as I get it, I will post it here.
Thanks I'll look at the links. David D. (Talk) 01:02, 7 August 2005 (UTC)
dear Macedonian friend,
David D. wrote "people will not listen if you get angry, at least your post above sounds angry to me." Wrong. I listen. I am a person.
It is very typical of Americans and other residents of wealthy nations, when confronted in the Internet with information they were not ready to accept, to refuse to respond to the information, but instead to respond to how it was said, who said it, what their motives were, or anything else other than the information itself.
I regret that people used Wikipedia to advance the rhetoric of genocide against you and other Macedonians. Unfortunately, Wikipedia is rife with such imperialistic mythology. A band of thugs who bases their Wikipedia reputation on plagiarizing their college text books makes it a routine to peruse the site and raise trouble for anyone who speaks with original knowledge on topics these collegiate thugs know nothing about. Wikipedia's philosophy, as cobbled together by the founders, is that it is okay to publish false information, because someday, somebody might come along and correct it. So what if they write you out of history for a while, Wikipedia advocates would say. It might get fixed later, and if it doesn't you're not that important anyway.
Wikipedia is as racist as are the people who created it. Trying to correct their racism by systematically correcting disinformation is a noble cause, but the problem is much deeper. These people don't care about facts, about history or about accuracy. They care about seeing their words appear on the Internet and seeing their scalp-cloth of trophies grow long with names of stories they contributed to or outright stole from copyrighted sources. No doubt the misinformation in Wikipedia you are attempting to correct was stolen from another source. You would do well to locate that source, then to expose Wikipedia for yet another flagrant violation of national and International copyright laws. 172.191.154.17 09:04, 5 August 2005 (UTC)
Anon User:172.191.154.17 has quote me above:
Quote
David D. wrote "people will not listen if you get angry, at least your post above sounds angry to me." Wrong. I listen. I am a person.
It is very typical of Americans and other residents of wealthy nations, when confronted in the Internet with information they were not ready to accept, to refuse to respond to the information, but instead to respond to how it was said, who said it, what their motives were, or anything else other than the information itself.
END Quote
It is not a case of if am I ready to accept the information. At the moment, I am ignorant of the information. Unless one is well informed on the topic, how can you tell the difference between hearsay and fact? An obvious route would be to present your case in a manner that Hoary describes below. Instead you rant and rave and wonder why everyone sits back and thinks you're another net loon. Calm and reasoned arguments will always prevail. If you have a strong argument then calm down and start teaching us. Shout all you want but it will never be effective. David D. (Talk) 23:21, 6 August 2005 (UTC)
Interesting opinion, but do you have a crystal ball? How do you know "calm and reasoned arguments will always prevail"? Is Wikipedia a faith-based project, resting on assumptions of the power of reason to prevail over human pride and prejudice? "Daycd" wirtes "Shout all you want but it will never be effective." Again, interesting POV, but he lacks authority to declare it as fact. The Macedonian writer well explains how human rights organizations (not to mention scholars) worldwide consider this document a host for misinformation that intrudes on the rights of people. Counter-aggression has often been effective in combatting racism. Obdalilada 18:15, 13 August 2005 (UTC)

I do not want Wikipedia to write my POV. All this what I wrote here up is to inform you that there is another POV that Wikipedia should not ignore. Just search the web about this issue. You will find 3 different POVs, Macedonian, Greek and Bulgarian.

The problem is that Wikipedia ignores completely the Macedonian POV and promotes the Bulgarian and Greek POV. Why is that?

I don't want Wikipedia to support Macedonian POV. No way. I just want Wikipedia to stop supporting the anti-Macedonian POVs (but to keep them as information) and to include the Macedonian POV (as information too). I repeat, as information, without taking sides in this issue.

Just to give you a hint of how serious is this. Bulgarian and Greek POVs are to ignore the Macedonian nation. I am here, I exist and I am Macedonian. And Wikipedia supports these POVS and says that I (as Macedonian, or Macedonian Slav like Wikipedia is treating us, no matter is offensive for us) am a artificial creation of Tito and I don't exist. How would you feel? Would you like to be in my position?


Thanks for the support. You won't beleive what all I could read here. Wikipedia is some kind of 'internet holocaust' against the Macedonians. We are completely ignored and presented as creation of Tito. Nonsence. For days I am trying to edit the bullshit that can be found here, very neutrally. I never erased anything, I just added that there is a Macedonian POV. The Wikipedia administrators simply erased it and kept only the Bulgarian and Greek nationalistic POV, which is domplete denying of all the Macedonian history till 1945th. We are even called Macedonian Slavs. It is truth, we are mostly Slavic. But they completely ignore any conection we have with the Antique Macedonians. And that is not all. All our history after the 6th century, fights for independence, culture and church was presented as a part of the Bulgarian history. I won't waste my time on edits here on Wikipedia that will latter be erased. I will transfer the battlefield somewhere else. Wikipedia publically claims its neutrality. But, obviously, it is ignoring 2,5 million people and stealing their history, culture and identity. So, this is a classic case of breaking the basic humman rights of the 2,5 million Macedonians around the globe. I am quite familiar with this because I am highly involved in politics and I am a member of 2 international human rights organizations, which are quite powerful. My political party (the biggest one in Macedonia with great conections in the world) will be glad to get Wikipedia in front of the International Human rights court. Let's see how will they feel when they become an issue in the world press for breaking human rights.

I have to fight againt assimilation of my nation. We constantly experience this for centuries and I am not planning to stand at the side and watch. If no one wants to hear me now, they would be forced to.

Again thank you for your support Best regards, I_sterbinski ... posted at 04:59, August 6, 2005 by 62.162.197.128

You make some interesting points, but you also say I won't waste my time on edits here on Wikipedia that will latter be erased. I will transfer the battlefield somewhere else. . . . My political party (the biggest one in Macedonia with great conections in the world) will be glad to get Wikipedia in front of the International Human rights court. Let's see how will they feel when they become an issue in the world press for breaking human rights. I'll pay you the respect of taking what you say seriously. If you're really not interested in editing Wikipedia, then don't edit Wikipedia. If you want to take legal action against Wikipedia, then do so.
But if this really is what you want to do, then why write it here? One possibility is that you're presenting this as a threat: "Let me edit as I want, or you'll be in trouble." But threats (intended or perceived) are never persuasive. (Moreover, talking of your great connections in the world makes you appear like an AM radio blowhard.)
So make your mind up. Either (a) edit, and avoid anything looking like a threat or rant, or (b) don't edit, and pursue justice (as you see it) via other channels. If you choose (a), I suggest that you start a new section on this page titled something like "Bias in Macedonia and related articles", and present your case as cogently and tersely as possible: no arm-waving, no threats, no ranting. I'd happily read it and consider what it said with an open mind. -- Hoary 05:24, August 6, 2005 (UTC)

OK, here is my answer. For the last few days I keep editing the Macedonia page, very, very neutrally. I even wrote some things that are deffinitly not in favor of me, as a Macedonian.

And, every single time my edit was erased and the old version of the text still stays. I asked anyone who wants to change my edit to contact me and discuss about it. NOONE did, but my edit was still erased. Let me repeat that this is going on for days.

I registered at Wikipedia with a hope that I will take a part of its editing. But, it looks like that I am wasting my time because all my edits that I worked for hours are simply erased. And, let me repeat again that I was not editing according to my POV. I was keeping it neutral 100%.

(If you would like to see my edit, check the Macedonia page on Wikipedia several times, so maybe you will reach it in the moment when my edits are on. You would recognise my edit because instead of the word "controversially", has the words "disputed by Greece" at the beggining of the text, next to Republic of Macedonia)

Another thing. I did not ment to threat anyone. If I wanted to do so, I would send that message directly to the administrators and the other people involved in Wikipedia since its beggining.

I just expressed my deep dissapointment from Wikipedia and my anger of its assimilation supports. As a Human rights worker and politician, I will do everything I can to present what Wikipedia is doing to the Macedonian nation (denying it and ignoring it, promoting lies and assimilation point of view).

Putting this so called 'threats' was ment to show at least to some people that assimilation of a specific ethnicity is very serious political and social issue and breaking of the basic human rights.

I do not have some tremendous conections around the world. But I know where to present this issue to make it as public as possible. And, as a human rights worker, I am very familiar with this issues and It is more than obvious that Wikipedia (as a information media) is breaking the basic human rights of more than 2.5 million people.

As a human rights worker is my obligation to react on this. Beeing a Macedonian just makes it more personal.

It is pitty that you are more concerned about what I write here than about the lies that Wikipedia is promoting. This is just one example. I already was informed that I am not the first one who is accusing Wikipedia for breaking Human rights in one of the Human rights organizations I am working in, on a completely different issue. So, Macedonia is not the only example of this weakness Wikipedia has. Too bad that noone of you involved here cares enought to try fix this weakness. Not just about the Macedonia issue. All issues that there are complaints about.

I sterbinski 03:19, 7 August 2005 (UTC)

My Macedonian friend, if I may call you that. You bring up a problem that is in the nature of Wiki. Taking everything you say at face value, someone who disagrees with you goes in and changes everything you write. But the person who is doing this is NOT the "administrator" of Wikipedia, just some individual who disagrees with you. As I see it, you have two options. You can try to get the person who changes what you have written and refuses to discuss it banned. Or you can just delete what he has written and change it back to what you have written, and see who gets tired first. 209.247.222.115 01:07, 14 August 2005 (UTC)

Actually, that is the least desireable way to settle a dispute - not to mention that more than three reverts in 24 hours will get everybody banned who tries. No, the best way to do this is to make a version of the article that is a neutral as possible, put in lots of sources, and put on the talk page a list with the things that got changed, explaining why they got changed. That way, it is not particularly difficult - if sometimes a bit slow - to get other people to help, simply because people can see that at least one side is trying to be as accurate and neutral as one person can be.
Now, I won't try to hide the fact that this sounds like an edit war in the making, simply because of the field this is about - namely, politics. Politics, along with religion and sex/gender related topics are hotspots, most unfortunately. But it is by no means impossible to get reasonable, accurate and neutral versions of articles through. It merely requires diligence and patience and the willingness to work with the way Wikipedia works, not against it. That includes rather sophisticated ways of conflict resolution which, if done properly - and that basically means "have your facts ready and try to remain reasonable calm" - work. (See Wikipedia:Resolving disputes) So, I very much regrett that we have a less than ideal article on this subject (although I myself know next to nothing about it, but then, this is all the more reason to regrett this) and I sincerely hope that User:I sterbinski - and other users, if we can found knowledgable ones - can work out the problems and give Wikipedia a good article about the matter. Even if that is most likely a stony path, it is sure worth it. -- AlexR 01:55, 14 August 2005 (UTC)

Infobox standardization

There has been a proposal to standardize the format of all infoboxes across Wikipedia. Discussion whether to adopt the standard, and, if so, what should go into the standard, will start to take place at Wikipedia Talk:Infobox standardisation -- hike395 06:14, August 13, 2005 (UTC)


Non-notable articles

I just want to voice my objection to the deletion of "non-notable" articles. What that means in the current VfD system is actually only the deletion of acticles about people, websites, and social phenomenon that are deemed non-notable. No one is marking entries for tiny villages in Lithuania as non-notable. No one complains that we have an article for nearly every broadcast tower in the United States. Why not include "non-notable" content? You can't say it won't be notable in the future. If the content is truly non-notable, then no one will search for it or link to it. However, if someone wants that information, then it is available. Perhaps the only criteria for "non-notable" should be that no one has accessed that page within a fixed amount of time. If no one looks at a page for a year, then it is truly non-notable.

Removing this criteria would greatly reduce the number of VfD processes. -- Reinyday, 12 August 2005

The importance of estabilishing notability varies from topic to topic, but generally, I think the reason why it's required is because non-notability invites a host of other problems that are grounds for deletion in their own right. For instance, there are good reasons why we have to establish notability for a band or a website before listing it on Wikipedia; doing otherwise would result in an influx of low-quality vanity pages that (due to the lack of knowledgeable editors) would never be more than an advertisment for their subject. Information in a non-notable article is often tough to verify; who can prove that a garage band exists, or that its members and accomplishments match what is claimed? Finally, and perhaps most importantly, many non-notable articles are inherently unencyclopedic; an article about a single thread on a forum, for instance, is plainly unencyclopedic. If Wikipedia contained a few thousand such articles, it would decrease its overall quality as a reference source even if they were rarely accessed on an individual basis. A village of any significent size, on the other hand, is automatically notable (even in Lithuania); information about it will be available from many places, so the article can definitely be raised to decent quality with enough work. Aquillion 23:16, 12 August 2005 (UTC)
I agree that this unofficial "policy" is unevenly applied: pretty much any physical object is deemed notable (e.g. staple, pin, fence, toaster, radiator grille) whereas people and bands get booted regularly. We've had pitched battles about schools recently (and did about broadcast towers, too; don't believe that no one's complained). I don't agree, however, that the solution is to allow everything in. The rules at WP are already biased towards inclusionism.
It is, however, an intriguing idea to use the number of pageviews as a consideration in the VfD process. Every page will have some, in part due to "Random article" views and in part due to web-bot activity. Is there an easy way to determine the number of pageviews a given article has had? —Wahoofive (talk) 23:35, 12 August 2005 (UTC)
Sure is. Grab a database dump and issue the query SELECT cur_counter FROM cur WHERE cur_title='Whatever'. Alternatively, just try the same query here. I think there's also a Mediawiki software option to make these counts visible on each page. However, I think these counts are periodically reset during software upgrades. Deco 00:14, 13 August 2005 (UTC)
As I recall the broadcast towers was a discusion a short time ago and were they were moved into a list. If these stub articles are showing up again, then a VfD listing these articles is likely needed again. Vegaswikian 23:57, 12 August 2005 (UTC)
In my experience saying "we keep X, so why don't we keep Y?" is a good way of getting X nominated for deletion. Pcb21| Pete 00:31, 13 August 2005 (UTC)
Conversely, saying "we're deleting X, but Y is far less important, delete!" is a good way of getting Y kept... Shimgray 13:42, 13 August 2005 (UTC)

I think the criteria for notability is frequency of mentions and articles about a topic in print, broadcast, cable, online, etc, OUTSIDE of WikiPedia. Notable means conspicuous, remarkable. The evidence for a topic's notability is frequent, observable, conspicuous mentions in human namespace. The number of hits on a topic within WikiPedia measures notability to the subset of humans who are WikiPedia readers, not necessarily to all humans. -- Sitearm | Talk 20:46, 2005 August 13 (UTC)

Learner English......

What is the Wikipedia policy on learner english? I am planning to get a group of (fairly high-level) students of English to write about their home city - the article in question is a stub... I intend for them to add to content already there, but not to take away what has already been written (unless it is erroneous). Is this fine - or am I going to incur wiki-wrath amoung more regular users?

Hm, we have some page around here about using Wikipedia as a classroom... can't think of where it would be though... simply put, as long as what they write is okay, then we have no problem. In the past, there have been some tasks given to middle-schoolers like "Write an article on Wikipedia", and we get suddenly flooded with "Mr Johnson is an awesome teacher :D" articles, and then there's the occasional backlash from the teacher when we deal with these articles. No one likes telling a kid they did something bad.
Lord knows we have enough problems from native speakers ;) but in your case, it looks like it could work out well. I'd be much happier with valid entries from a high-level student of English than any vandalism. In fact, you could keep a list of the articles on your user page so we could see what neat stuff is being added. Just remind them to keep it to fact. This is an encyclopedia, not a "Where I grew up" essayhaus. :) (I know it probably doesn't need to be said, but, again, the aforementioned school projects have jaded some of us. :))
Long story short: No, we won't mind in the least. New, good information is a treasure. Welcome aboard! --Golbez 19:34, August 9, 2005 (UTC)
Hm, we have some page around here about using Wikipedia as a classroom... can't think of where it would be though... Wikipedia:Schools' FAQ has all you could possibly want to know—and if it doesn't, tell us, so we can add it! JRM · Talk 22:30, 9 August 2005 (UTC)
(SEWilco 22:54, 9 August 2005 (UTC))

You might also consider looking into the Simple English Wikipedia at http://simple.wikipedia.org. Zoe 04:50, August 11, 2005 (UTC)

not at all! "fairly high level" students of English adding facts about their home cities that aren't already covered is exactly what we want! If the English is slightly off, who cares, we get perfectly appalling English from native kids. People will fix it. In the worst case, if their contributions are deemed unworthy, somebody will just remove them, no harm done (but if they add notable facts, nobody will. I'll welcome obscure facts in broken English gladly, especially if there is no easy way to obtain them otherwise). So, as far as I grasp the purpose and the workings of Wikipedia, let them loose, and people will thank you! dab () 18:25, 13 August 2005 (UTC)
I said "also", not "instead of".  :) Zoe 18:33, August 13, 2005 (UTC)

Drudge bias?

I have never seen such bias. Your explanation of the Drudge website is pathetically unintelligent and ignorant. I saw nothing but hardcore left opinions stated as if they were facts! You called the site "inaccurate or heavily biased". Which is it? "or"... It is neither and you obviously dont read it or understand that most of the time they show accurate stories 2 to 3 days ahead of "MAINSTREAM MEDIA". It is the best source of news because he tells it like it is no matter what party you are for! You guys are so extremely left, you fail to even see the possibility of wrong in your bias reporting of Drudge. I am an educator and will not allow my students on your site under my watch! EVER! IF I did though, it would be in a way that would explain how bias our media outlets have become! Sincerely (NOT), Educator

............added at 16:43, 9 August 2005 by 65.87.196.130 (contributions)
If you're an educator, I'm a flying monkey. What ignorance... You don't even know what Wikipedia is. Sheesh. --Quasipalm 18:54, 9 August 2005 (UTC)
IF you're an educator, then we now know why our kids can't compete anymore. This was entertaining, please grace us with your presence again. --Golbez 19:01, August 9, 2005 (UTC)
Here's hoping you don't teach English - "bias" is a noun, "biased" is the adjective. ~~ N (t/c) 22:19, 9 August 2005 (UTC)
I overviewed the article - no objections although we should expand on info about his fanbase even if his critics overwhelm commentary about the site.
You remind me of an obnoxious teacher I once had. She often took the time to relate personal stories including sharing an anecdote about becoming incensed when a fellow teacher spoke of using teaching as a platform to indoctrinate his students. This was laughable because she would all too frequently forget class to speak to us about wreckless labor unions and the Christian roots of this country, which we shouldn't forget. Sir/Ma'am, your kids do not like it when you pontificate about these subjects in class. Please look up your http://www.ratemyteacher.com reviews; you are the subject of ridicule. lots of issues | leave me a message 23:14, 9 August 2005 (UTC)

RESPONSE TO ORIGINAL COMMENTER: I think you have a valid concern. As a Wikipedia reader you have direct options: edit the article yourself to add citations of positive evaluations, edit the Talk page of the article yourself to express your concern to the other contributers, edit the article to add a "disputed neutral point of view" tag {{npov}}, or all three. WikiPedia stands by neutral point of view but it is enforced by reader/contributers like us. WikiPedia also stands by polite discussion. -- Sitearm | Talk 02:19, 2005 August 10 (UTC)

How can an educator prevent his students from visiting a website that their parents allow them to visit? I assume you're saying you wouldn't allow them on Wikipedia while in school under your so-called tutelage? In that case, if it were discovered that you were actually doing such a thing, we would probably contact the school district and ask them why their teachers were preventing access to one of the largest reference sites on the Internet. Zoe 20:22, August 12, 2005 (UTC)

In the United States, the Children's Internet Protection Act is enforced through witholding of federal funding unless school districts implement policies and filters that prevent Access by minors to inappropriate matter on the Internet. In practice this means prurient pictures and language but school boards may specify what "inappropriate" means locally. School district filters apply only to computers in district schools, of course, but I add these comments because this discussion triggers to me the question: Why might (US) school districts or their teachers prevent access to WikiPedia from school district computers? And the answer is: Because there are most certainly images and text in WP that would be construed as inappropriate for minors. But NOT because some articles have errors or are out of date. -- Sitearm | Talk 08:38, 2005 August 13 (UTC)

Definition Point of View

NPOV says "represent the majority (scientific) view as the majority view and the minority (sometimes pseudoscientific) view as the minority view". There is a really interesting edit war going on in the Creation Science article that revolves around whether the dictionary definition of "science" can be used as "fact". If it can, then "Creation Science" can be factually presented as "pseudoscience". This is basically a "definition point of view" because some editors wish to present the topic from the point of view of the standard dictionary definition.

The alternative is that the definition for science depends on the point of view, and therefore Creation Science views itself to meet the definition of "science", and mainstream science views Creation Science as pseudoscientific nonsense.

Could someone who knows NPOV policy please explain whether a dictionary definition can be used as fact or must be presented as a POV? Perhaps the NPOV policy page could contain a new subsection titled "Defintion Point of View" and explain the correct answer. FuelWagon 02:22, 9 August 2005 (UTC)

Anything in a dictionary relating to science is, by definition, a simplification. The foundation of modern science is the so-called scientific method, i.e. the process for making observations, recording data, and analysing data in a way that can be independently reproduced by other scientists whether using inductive or deductive reasoning. The intention in all this empiricism is to try to arrive at an objective truth as judged by those with an appropriate level of knowledge and understanding (the peer group). That is why the reference in the NPOV section refers to a majority. Not every hypothesis can be verified by everyone and, until there is a clear consensus, the hypothesis remains in a state of limbo as unproven. However, once a critical mass of opinion agrees on the answer to the hypothesis, that answer becomes the accepted theory unless and until a better theory comes along to replace it. The view of those who support a particular hypothesis is of no significance as against an established theory unless and until the hypotheses postulated can be reproduceably verified to the satisfaction of the peer group, at which point, the hypothesis becomes the established theory in substitution for the old theory. To justify an entry under a heading "Creation Science", there would have to be publication in journals of repute that have peer reviewing in place and that material would have to be empirically substantive. In default of approval by peers, there would be nothing that conforms to the requirements of the scientific method. -David91 16:49, 9 August 2005 (UTC)

I would remove the association of "majority" with "scientific". Many examples of falsifiable theories are held by a minority that are still considered scientific (e.g., Twistor theory). Scientific does not mean "true", it means "so far, it works pretty good". For points of view, say (with statistical backup) that one interpretation is held by more people than the other. -- Sitearm | Talk 17:31, 2005 August 9 (UTC)
P.S. The article on astrology does a nice job of acknowledging majority opinion as simply another element of presenting the topic in depth. -- Sitearm | Talk 17:43, 2005 August 9 (UTC)
Uhg, I'm dying here(well, not here, but here). So, in short, if creation science has one definition of "science" and mainstream science has a different definition of "science", the deal is that we cannot present the mainstream definition of science as fact, but as the mainstream definition? I need a yes/no answer here because I'm dealing with an editor who keeps pounding "the definition of science says this (url's to online dictionaries), and CS does not meet that definition, so we can say as a fact that CS is not science because it doesn't meet the definition". He refuses to report it as a point of view of mainstream science, saying that their point of view is simply their opinion of Creation Science. Really, I need a yes/no on this. FuelWagon 02:19, 11 August 2005 (UTC)
You said: if creation science has one definition of "science" and mainstream science has a different definition of "science", the deal is that we cannot present the mainstream definition of science as fact, but as the mainstream definition?. From a neutral point of view, yep. However, I looked at the article today and it has a quote from National Academy of Sciences that expresses a mainstream opinion of the topic quite clearly. Problem solved? -- Sitearm | Talk 16:21, 2005 August 11 (UTC)
I keep arguing to put the NAS quote in. Another editor keeps arguing that it should just say "CS is not scientific", using the reason "the definition of science is a fact". FuelWagon 17:29, 11 August 2005 (UTC)

There can be many different shades of meaning in the word "science" and it is only proper that dictionaries should reflect that range. But, as I indicated above, dictionaries are unhelpful in this context. The yes/no answer you seek is not easy to give, but here is my best shot. The point of the scientific method is to pose hypothetical questions and then seek data that will support answers, i.e. there will be a mass of factual information and, using either inductive or deductive reasoning, scientists will construct arguments that suggest that one answer is better than any other answer. So anyone can adduce facts. But that activity is only the first step in transforming fact into evidence into an argument that can answer a properly constructed hypothesis. So your despairing, "the deal is that we cannot present the mainstream definition of science as fact" is correct but irrelevant. Science is not about facts. That is not how the scientific method works. Hence, those who advocate what is termed "Creation Science" produce a mass of factual information in support of their ideas. As soon as those advocates postulate some testable hypotheses and begin utilising their facts to construct arguments that are considered convincing by the peer group currently constituting the scientific community, the sooner they can be admitted to the ranks of the scientists. As it is, so far as I am aware, no advocate of Creation Science has ever managed to do this. So it is not "science" nor is it "scientific" in the technical senses of those words. The consequence is that your first troublesome editor is correct but for the wrong reason. The second editor is simply wrong. The answer to the editorial challenge you face is to list the assertions of those who advocate Creation Science and then simply state that as soon as these assertions are converted into a theory, the first step towards converting mere speculation into potential science will have been taken. Until then, it is wholly unscientific. -David91 18:02, 11 August 2005 (UTC)

Well, I read this to mean "yes", i.e. if something doesn't meet the "technical" definition of science, then we can declare it as factually unscientific, without anyone's point of view saying it is unscientific. Am I reading you correctly? This leads me to a couple of questions for you. Who gets to write the "technical" definition? What if the topic of the article is arguing that the technical definition is wrong and they have a different definition? What if they are arguing that they meet the technical definition? Yes, I know what the "scientific method" is, but if CS says their methods are scientific and should be taught in science class, aren't they disputing the definition of what is scientific? Science is a human endeavor. And the means for acquiring knowlede have changed and improved over the years. And if their argument is they have a better definiton of science, a better way to acquire knowledge, shouldn't we report the current method adn the current definition of science as a point of view? Is the "technical" definition something static? FuelWagon 18:17, 11 August 2005 (UTC)

Words are there to be used and there is nothing inherently wrong in Creationists using the word science or scientific in relation to their intellectual endeavours. I am reluctant to be drawn directly into the debate that continues on the CS Talk page so I will keep this answer short. It seems to be neutral to report the fact that this topic is labelled "Creation Science" and to list what is asserted. But this topic has to be contextualised. For better or worse, there is a power hierarchy in the Foucaultian sense that controls access to the discourse that would be labelled "empirical science". Although there have been examples of abuses in denying access to those who have later been found correct, the system seems to work reasonably well. Hence, those who wish access must adopt the currently accepted conventions for defining savoir (in this case, the scientific method) and present their work for evaluation by the power brokers of the empirical science community. If the power brokers give the work their imprimatur, then it will be accepted into the discourse and be treated as empirical science. So, those who practise CS may set up their own peer reviewing mechanisms and create their own discourse. That is their right in a free society. The word "science" is entirely proper as a part of the label for this purpose. But, it is not empirical science because it has yet to gain the requisite imprimatur from those that control access to that discourse. Hence, it must equally be neutral to exclude any implication that CS is empirical science and so could be taught alongside other topics of empirical science such as biology. But I strongly advise you to stop trying to reduce the debate to simplistic definitions or to open questions of who might have better ways to acquire knowledge. Empiricism and the scientific method have history on their side, and the role of peer reviewing to control access to the discourse is a notorious fact. If CS wants to gain access to the empirical science club, they have to play by that club's rules. Unless and until they do, they cannot claim to be members (and that's a fact!) -David91 19:08, 11 August 2005 (UTC)

But I strongly advise you to stop trying to reduce the debate to simplistic definitions or to open questions of who might have better ways to acquire knowledge. Uhm, I don't believe CS. I don't think it is a science. I think a literal interpretation of Genesis is patent nonsense. And I'm trying to get an article to follow NPOV. You seem to have shifted to saying "CS is not empirical science" which really just retreats to a specific definition of science. I don't think CS claims to be empirical science, so at least that is no longer a definition dispute, but for the introduction, I'm trying to find the NPOV way to say CS doesn't fit the mainstream view of science. I want to quote NAS. Another editor simply wants to come out and say "CS is not science" and he defends it by citing definitions of "science" in different dictionaries and saying "they don't meet that definition so they're not science". It seems that CS is claiming they have an alternate definition for science, for figuring out what can be known. So, it seems to me that on that level, the different meanings of "science" must be presented as points of view, rather than using the approach that the webster's dictionary is the only definition and anything that disputes that definition is wrong. FuelWagon 19:20, 11 August 2005 (UTC)
You said: I don't believe CS. I don't think it is a science. I think a literal interpretation of Genesis is patent nonsense. And I'm trying to get an article to follow NPOV. and I'm trying to find the NPOV way to say CS doesn't fit the mainstream view of science. I want to quote NAS. The NAS quote is still there in the introduction, I checked. I think you're trying beyond what's needed. -- Sitearm | Talk 19:41, 2005 August 11 (UTC)
Well, I'll take down the "NPOV tag" that someone put on the article and see if it sticks. I have a feeling that people aren't adamant about editing the intro simply because the tag is there. FuelWagon 23:15, 11 August 2005 (UTC)
Not to say I told you so, but [4] [5] I told you so....  ;( FuelWagon 01:46, 13 August 2005 (UTC)

"I don't believe CS. I don't think it is a science." So, that is your POV. Frankly, I have no interest in this subject at all but, my three postings to date are entirely consistent and the fact that you think I have changed my approach is your POV at work. They can call their subject whatever they like, That is their right. They can establish their own discourse but it can only be in parallel to the formal discourse produced through peer review by the scientific establishment. To the best of my knowledge, there is no such thing as "mainstream science" and dictionary definitions are virtually worthless in this context. In the technical or empirical sense of the word, science is what the peer reviewers for the time being say it is. CS is therefore in a Catch 22-type situation. It is calling itself a science and it claims the right to be ranked alongside other sciences, but it declines to submit its work for peer review so that it can become one of those sciences and, by that omission, admits that it is not a science. -David91 20:26, 11 August 2005 (UTC)


Would you restate the issue you see with the article as it currently stands? Here is a snapshot of the version I just read: Revision as of 22:30, 2005 August 12. I'm really trying to understand. Thanks! -- Sitearm | Talk 03:37, 2005 August 13 (UTC)

Well, you point to my version. I had two versions above that were recent attempts to write the article from a scientific point of view [6] [7]. i.e. the sentences below are presented as a "view from nowhere", rather than saying that they're the view of "mainstream science" or something like that.
"Creation science can be considered a pseudoscience since many of its claims are in conflict with scientific evidence or the scientific method."
(I'd rather this say something like "mainstream scientists consider CS to be pseudoscience" rather than simply telling the reader that they may consider CS to be pseudoscience.)
"Since creation science tries to use what appears to be scientific argumentation to oppose the parts of science it finds incompatible with the creationist worldview, the endeavor can be considered a pseudoscience."
(The endeavor can be considered pseudoscience? How about "mainstream scientists consider it pseudoscience" or something similar, rather than telling the reader as fact that they may consider CS to be pseudoscience?)
Anyway, I'll be out for the next day or so, dealing with the real world. keep an eye on things for me. ;) FuelWagon 03:47, 13 August 2005 (UTC)

British or American English?

Is there a policy on what kind of English to use, and in what cases? That is, British or American English, for example. Maver1ck 06:43, 6 August 2005 (UTC)

Yes, there is. For uniquely American topics, use American English. For uniquely British topics, use British English. Otherwise, first come, first served, and stay consistent within articles. -- Cyrius| 06:51, 6 August 2005 (UTC)
See Wikipedia:Manual_of_Style, section "National varieties of English" (currently section 11). Dwheeler 09:53, August 6, 2005 (UTC)
The double letters in words such as travelling often trip me up when spell-checking a British English article. I had never heard of that until recently. I guess the answer is to switch to the British dictionary when spell-checking a British English article. American and British English spelling differences#Common suffixes Spalding 11:10, August 6, 2005 (UTC)
Out of interest, does anyone know why the U.S. spelling was changed (I assume by Webster)? It subverts one of the more useful conventions of English spelling (vowel-1 + single consonant + vowel-2: vowel-1 is long; vowel-1 + double consonant + vowel-2: vowel-1 is short — e.g., "sited" but "sitter"). There are few enough spelling guides to pronunciation in English — it seems odd to ditch one. --Mel Etitis (Μελ Ετητης) 13:03, 6 August 2005 (UTC)
Apart from long and short vowels, there is also the schwa, the unstressed vowel mostly written as an "e". The convention in English spelling is almost uniformely: vowel1+cons+vowel2 means vowel1 is either long or a schwa. Compare "traveling" with "happening", and "littering". The spelling "travelling" suggests that the syllable -vel- is stressed; compare the hypothetical pronounciation of a word spelled "happenning". So the Americans have it right, this time. (This also explained why e.g. "compelled" is spelled with double -ll- on both sides of the Atlantic.) Eugene van der Pijll 13:15, 6 August 2005 (UTC)
There are exceptions (as there are to most rules in most languages), but that doesn't show that the rule doesn't exist and isn't useful. The following comment fits with my momentary response when I see such formations. --Mel Etitis (Μελ Ετητης) 17:15, 7 August 2005 (UTC)
I always read traveling as "traveeling", assuming it was from the verb to travele, assuming it was another silly uncalled for neologism like transportation. Or not?  :) Dunc| 19:58, 6 August 2005 (UTC)
I think it long past tyme to open a uk:wikipedia and shove all the brits in there. For that matter, en: to am:wikipedia for the American language. There is no such language as "English" and has not been for at least 100 years -- or, to put it another way, two popular groups fight over ownership of the word (with the Indians and Australians yelling on the sidelines and occasionally wandering onto the field of battle) and nothing can resolve the conflict. Chinese share one written language and at least 8 major spoken language groups. I have never heard one yet insist that his language was the only "correct" one. — Xiongtalk* 19:11, 2005 August 7 (UTC)
So let people fight. The fight isn't significant enough to open up separate Wikipedias, and it generally hasn't been significant enough to open up separate whatevers, except dictionaries—and most of those have the good sense of not trying to be perfectly segregationalist. That said, I wish people who want forks the best of luck setting them up, as long as they make sure I don't have to enter my edits twice. JRM · Talk 21:42, 7 August 2005 (UTC)
That's an absurd proposal, Xiong. We speak different dialects of the same language. No reason to force everyone to do the same work twice. We have language policies and they work as long as people submit to them. - Omegatron 22:07, August 7, 2005 (UTC)
I think it's absurd to state that there is no such language as English. What on earth do you imagine we speak in England? I think the English language mirrors the Chinese situation, in that we have one spoken language and at least six written variations. I don't think anyone insists their spelling is the correct one beyond their own borders. Steve block talk 20:06, 8 August 2005 (UTC)
One spoken language!? {chortle} My closest buddy during my exile in the Middle Kingdom was British. We had nothing in common whatever, except that (a) we were not Chinese and (b) we lived in the same city in China. I'd hazard our speech was about 70% mutually comprehensible.
I find it easier to deal with British spelyns than British usage. History shows us that all spylen conventions are fraudulent; we heap our greatest honors on the heads of writers whose speeleengs would be quite intolerable in modern use. But then, we do not respect them for their choice of letters, but for their choice of words.
A language project for the Brits is not a fork. Don't worry, you won't have to translate your articles into British. The same kind of helpful folks who translate articles into German and Basque will convert your text into British, and you won't even have to look at it. Or, if you like, you can contribute there, and if anybody feels the need, we can translate your stuff into American.
If you read past the point where I questioned the existence of the "English" language, you'd see I noted that the term was a football, kicked about from end to end of the field and occasionally footied by those on the sidelines as well. Obviously, the British speak British; but I'm only to happy to give the Brits the contested word. Let's just agree that the English speak English; and Americans speak American. — Xiongtalk* 15:25, 2005 August 13 (UTC)

Problem users

Does anyone have any idea how many "problem users" ever end up as useful contributors? I'm not talking about people who have a strong POV and get into battles on certain pages but manage to contribute meaningfully elsewhere. I'm not talking about people who end up leaving Wikipedia in the midst of major battles. I'm talking about people who get into conflict from the start. I know a lot of people start off with angry exchanges - for example when their first article gets VfD'd. Most of these people are reasonable once they understand the system. I mean the people who show up with an axe to grind or a POV to push, or just show up to be disruptive. Can anyone cite any examples? Guettarda 23:23, 25 Jun 2005 (UTC)

There are people, particularly younger people, who will be disruptive for a while and just screw with the system before they mature a bit and start actually taking an interest in contributing (sometimes as a result of stumbling across a topic they actually have interest in). You seem to have excluded most scenarios that I've seen from your definition of "problem users" though. If your goal is to encourage a stronger policy for punishing these people, I think you have to consider how difficult it is in practice to distinguish the various classes of problem users you describe, at least in the short term. Deco 23:58, 25 Jun 2005 (UTC)
I was just thinking about the amount of effort that people put into disruptive users, and whether this was something that ever paid off. I was wondering if there was some way to distinguish the ones with potential from the ones that won't be worth the trouble. I was just thinking about the way we allow troublemakers to drive off good editors, about the point where bureaucracy takes over and overwhelms the fun of this amazing project... I have lots of patience for the users who believe in the project but get caught up in edit wars or who misinterpret the comments, or who have serious differences in how they interpret "the truth". But I don't have patience with people who spend their time aruing about how their "right" to edit here is infringed by our rules. I don't know where I am going with this... Guettarda 03:31, 26 Jun 2005 (UTC)
One thing Ive noticed was brought up when one user pretty told the "Request for Comment" page to go screw itself. I forget the exact case, but the user was causing all kinds of problems with reverts, edit wars, personal attacks, etc. It went from RFC and then to ArbComm. The user wrote something like "this isnt like its a real court or something" and blew off everything in the RFC and vandalized the ArbComm Page! When he was banned, he just started up a new account and now there are sockpuppet issues with this same person. Point being...there is no enforcement...nor can there really ever be. We dont have the Wikipedia Police who can come to your house, fines cannot be given, nor can legal action ever be taken (nor should it be, actually). Its actually part funny and part scary. Reminds me of SGA somewhat, we think we have the power but really don't. -Husnock 4 July 2005 01:01 (UTC)
There is the ban. Apoc2400 4 July 2005 21:56 (UTC)
Which, sadly, can be easily circumvented by started up another account. Roaming IP addresses are also a hindrence as someone can log on from several different locations and show up as different users. -Husnock 5 July 2005 09:01 (UTC)
Yeah, but a banned user can be reverted on sight - rather than a POV pusher who needs to be reasonably argued with - arguments over if someone is a sockpuppet are ugly, but banning does make it easier to stop someone(by making it legitimate to revert them on sight.) (BTW, what did you mean by SGA? - the disambig page has 11 meanings...) JesseW 19:58, 9 July 2005 (UTC)
Student government ? -- 67.182.157.6 21:06, 19 July 2005 (UTC)

There's similar case with User:202.7.190.130. He makes changes to monarch titles and these changes get invariably reverted (as they do not fit Wikipedia common style). He doesn't respond to questions on talk page. He may be well intentioned but at the end there's lot of lost time and no progress. There should be some way to deal with such borderline cases. Pavel Vozenilek 19:26, 20 July 2005 (UTC)

Please examine the case of User:DrZoidberg. He is not disruptive. However he spends a lot of time in the sandbox. His detractors say he wastes too much of wikipedias server resources for the sandbox. He was banned indefinitely for accidentaly breaking the sandbox. Young people need time to grow. Later they become responsible contributers.--Jondel 02:20, 29 July 2005 (UTC)


We have a case on one of the talk pages where one guy keeps using the f word, in every comment This is the third time I'm writing that i don't fucking care about your beliefs, thoughts, worldviews or else Is this acceptable behavior? --fathermaximos 22:37, August 2, 2005 (UTC)


Ever considered it is a problem system? The first thing most credible authors say about Wikipedia is "copyright problems". Somebody decided to make it their life's work to steal everything ever published, and hoped to get away with it by calling their massive hijacking of the publishing industry a charity. If it were really a charity, why is one man ruler for life? If this isn't wholesale theft, why not turn election of board of directors over to the community? Why not give the community the choice of electing a board president who will do something to stop the wholesale theft of copyrighted information. Maybe with true freedom, genuinely public-minded Wikipedia advocates would elect a president who would require that all Wikipedia articles attribute their sources, as Wikipedia attempts to require others to source material based on Wikipedia.

When people arrive here and see that intellectual property is being hijacked on a wholesale basis, of course they have no respect for the so-called community committing the theft. When anyone challenges the people who are creating this vast opus of unattributed, unsourced, stolen literature in plain terms anyone can understand, they are mobbed, called vandals, trolls, problem users and worse. Of course many of those less able to articulate exactly what is happening will sense that this is not a place worthy of respect and will treat it with all the contempt worthy of the rich-man's payload of loot they know it to be. WizUp 08:23, 5 August 2005 (UTC)

When anyone challenges the people who are creating this vast opus of unattributed, unsourced, stolen literature in plain terms anyone can understand, they are mobbed, called vandals, trolls, problem users and worse, you say. Please supply a good example. Thanks. -- Hoary 09:46, August 5, 2005 (UTC)

Visit the RFA page and take your pick. WizUp 10:07, 5 August 2005 (UTC) I did your homework for you then. Take the case of Keetoowah -- the first one I picked from the page at random. A Keetoowah reposting directly from the tribal web site, information that was deleted from Wikipedia by people who have admit no firsthand knowledge of the matters at all. Instead of responding to what Keetoowah writes, respondants complain that Keetoowah doesn't respect them. Debate ensues in talk pages related to the article about whether Keetoowah properly affords respect to the supposedly culturally specific idiom "my dear Keetoowah". Then on RFA, two "editors" somehow "certify" that Keetoowah is seen as a problem user worthy of administrative intervention. None of which has anything to do with the accuracy of content and which has everything to do with systematically determining who can participate and who cant. BTW, I have no specific interest in the topic of the articles Keetoowah edited, nor in the related cultural issues, beyond exposing a so-called encyclopedia that is little more than a plagiarized mass-production of the racist, ethnocentric views of people who can afford to spend their days in front of a networked computer. WizUp 10:29, 5 August 2005 (UTC)

(1) exposing a so-called encyclopedia that is little more than a plagiarized mass-production of the racist, ethnocentric views of people who can afford to spend their days in front of a networked computer: this is a most interesting activity/charge, but could it be pursued/discussed elsewhere? (2) Instead of responding to what Keetoowah writes, respondants complain that Keetoowah doesn't respect them. But what Keetoowah writes on the talk page I looked at (for the first time) just now is about (dis)respect. Meanwhile, here is a diff in the article about Ward Churchill (of whom I'd never heard till ten minutes ago) that Keetowah summarizes "Reverted the lies and BS of SlimVirgin. Don't change it again. This is the statement of the tribe. Don't make excuses for the fake Indian again." It's very odd, as the single, long web page given as a reference for both texts (the one presented by Keetowah, and the one he dismisses as lies and BS) includes both texts. Arguably one is better than the other, but, rudeness aside, to describe the use of one rather than the other as "lies and BS" seems utterly bizarre. On the face of it, this edit does indeed suggest a problem user. (It may be anomalous: I don't here presume to judge Keetowah.) -- Hoary 10:59, August 5, 2005 (UTC)

Lets cut straight to the name calling. I'm a problem user. And what's more, I'm not fooled by your lilly white politeness -- you are a rude fuck. And when I followed my own suggestion to pick a random case from RFA, i found a paid advocate writing articles, apparently on his advocacy groups payroll, supporting a FAKE INDIAN. A FAKE INDIAN --- here that you rude fucker -- HE WAS PAID POLITICAL ADVOCATE WRITING ARTICLES SUPPORTING A FAKE INDIAN BUT YOU WOULD RATHER WHINE ABOUT MY MANNERS THAN FACE THE TRUTH. I don't hear any complaints from you about paid advocates being problem users. WHY? becuase they don't threaten the poor fragile ego that drove you into this new vanity journalism.

And that was on my first pick. I followed the article to another thread and found more lies and misiinformation used to weave togther whatever accurate information had been plagiarized into the article. What does it matter how fucking rude I am to you asshole? Do you have a self esteem problem, worm? IS teh mission here to build an accurate, original encyclopedia or to teach the world your form of manners? Well, your manners don't cut the butter on the streets of Bahgdad. If your army can't act nice at other people's checkpoints, WHY THE FUCK DO YOU THINK ANYONE NEEDS TO ACT NICE TO YOU JUST TO WRITE A TRUE ACCURATE ENCYCLOPEDIA. HUH FUCK? I CAN'T HEAR YOU, WHINER. SPEAK UP. Can't you think logically while someone is ridiculing you or are you so self conscious you have to silence the ridicule before your mind can engage? Goody for you because sticks and stones can break your bones but my words can STOP YOUR HEART if you let me have this kind of power, and by god I'll take it if you're gonna give it up. Yeh, we're problem users and we'll use you up and spit you out if you can't focus on facts instead of on who said what and how they said it. Thieves don't deserve respect. WizUp

And your point is? (You're a bit longwinded, and while your plentiful use of "fuck" suggests a tantrum, it doesn't makes you any more coherent.) -- Hoary 13:49, August 5, 2005 (UTC)
The writer was coherent enough without inclusion of the term. As a bonus, plentiful use of the term fuck seems to have succeeded in exposing an interest in personality of writers at the expense of content in articles. Obdalilada 18:07, 13 August 2005 (UTC)

Wiki-Stalking precedent and guideline wording

Two recent dispute resolution rulings - one by the Arbcom and another by Jimbo Wales - have found that wiki-stalking for the purpose of harassment is a form of disruption and can result in severe banning penalties against editors who have engaged in it. User:The Recycling Troll was permanently banned by Wales for this type of stalking in March and User:Skyring was banned for 1 year for stalking by the Arbcom last week.[8] These decisions and growing consensus have given rise to a need to distinguish between these "bad" types of stalking, which are bannable offenses, and "good" types of following editors such as to remove a wave of vandalism from wikipedia.

According to the recent Arbcom decision's definition this distinction is as follows: wikistalking is "following a contributor around the wiki, editing the same articles as the target, with the intent of causing annoyance or distress to another contributor. This is distinct from following a contributor in order to clear repeated errors."[9] The Arbcom then found that an editor had engaged in the first type and applied a ban to him. These recent precedents and efforts to clarify this important distinction in wiki-stalking have given rise to extensive discussions on its article regarding the best way to present it, and how to incorporate it into the guidelines for wikipedia users. Editors with suggestions on how this should be approached are invited to contribute to its development on the article's talk page. Thanks! Rangerdude 23:32, 16 August 2005 (UTC)


Second Wikipedia Tagline

A second Wikipedia tagline at the top right of every page has been proposed at Wikipedia:Proposed update of MediaWiki:Tagline. Consensus is building to add "All articles are user-contributed." at top right of pages. Interested contributers please visit this page and comment. -- Sitearm | Talk 04:12, 2005 August 16 (UTC)

Wikiquette

Where do these fall?

  1. Telling someone "you don't know what you're talking about and shouldn't be editing". It's not quite a personal attack, but should it be discouraged?
  2. Watching someone else's edits. Is this being nosy? Stalking? Perfectly acceptable? - Omegatron 02:19, August 11, 2005 (UTC)
  1. Absolutely unacceptable. If they have a problem with someone's editing quality, there are other avenues for that than tantrums.
  2. This depends on the quality of the person's edits. There's nothing wrong per se with it, and it's a lot harder to "prevent" than #1. --Golbez 02:32, August 11, 2005 (UTC)
  1. The problem is more with their knowledge base than their "quality". Saying "you don't have the credentials to edit this article", in other words.
  2. Everything we do or say on here is visible to anyone who wants to see it. We all know this and edit anyway. "If you do not want your writing to be edited mercilessly and redistributed at will, do not submit it." If you do not want your writing to be seen by others, don't submit it, either? Is it impolite to watch what someone else does? What if all of the things they are editing are already on your watchlist? :-) - Omegatron 02:50, August 11, 2005 (UTC)

1) anyone can RFC you for anything. Better safe than sorry. I'd try "this is wrong", "This is factually wrong", or something that points to the content, not the editor. 2) I can't be bothered to follow someone around. The troublesome editors annoy me too much anyway. If they follow me around, there isn't much I'd do about that, but if they start mucking up articles I'm working on, I'd oppose any bad edits. FuelWagon 02:57, 11 August 2005 (UTC)

  1. I'm not the one saying it.  :-) I'm on the receiving end, along with some other editors. As far as I'm concerned, a monkey could edit, as long as it included good references.
  2. I've been accused of nosiness today and stalking once in the past. Just curious. I'd say anyone can view and comment on anything they want. If we all know that everything we do here is visible to all, what right to privacy should we expect? - Omegatron 03:14, August 11, 2005 (UTC)
(1) ask them to "avoid making it personal", which isn't as accusational as "no personal attacks" and see if it helps. If he's doing it to another user on the same page, see if the other user can try to chime in with the same sentiment. If the both of you fail that, then tell him his comments are landing as a personal attack against you, and ask him to observe NPA. Have another chime in to support you with a similar tone. if that fails, find an admin. if that fails, open an RFC. and if that fails, well, welcome to wikipedia, aint it grand. ;)
(2) following someone around, in and of itself, is not against any policy that I know of. Being uncivil is against policy. Assume good faith is a policy or guideline, I forget at themoment. If you're following someone around because you're assuming bad faith, then, well, you're breaking a guidline at least. If you just happen to be editing the same articles, it isn't against policy. But then, RFC's are like lawsuits. anyone can file an RFC against you for anything. And all it takes is two editors to "certify" it. FuelWagon 03:45, 11 August 2005 (UTC)
  1. I am an admin.  :-)
  2. The latest example was about a conversation on the talk page of an article that is on my watchlist.
But don't worry: "It is not my intention to engage in personal attacks on anyone unless they happen to start it." I guess I will try the wikiquette alert thingy. Doesn't ever seem to do anything, though. - Omegatron 03:57, August 11, 2005 (UTC)

Ohh, yes there is policies for this

  1. No, this isn't a breach of no personal attacks, it is however a breach against civility and good faith. And that is just as bad
  2. In almost all cases it is a breach of good faith.

Hows that for policies? gkhan 06:08, August 11, 2005 (UTC)

On 2) following people around, I'm currently watching a dispute where both sides are complaining about this sort of behaviour - and I've seen it several times before. Although this is frequently seen as bad faith and can lead to a lot of ill will, the problem is that there are also plenty of times when you should expressly follow an editors tracks and clean up after them. When I spot some vandalism, I will usually check that user's contribution history - quite often they will have vandalised several other less watched pages that will need reverting. Similarly if you spot someone adding spam links. In fact I may even add a userId to my notes to go back and check they haven't reinserted the same material after a couple of week.
There are also cases where a good user makes a series of well-intention, but misguided edits. Had one recently with a user adding a rather unnecessary navigation box template to a couple of dozen pages. I will usually discuss it with them first, and hope they will clean up after themselves, but nine times out of ten they don't. -- Solipsist 14:50, 12 August 2005 (UTC)
Re: 2) There currently are two dispute resolution precedents on the kind of "wiki-stalking" that is considered abusive. In one Jimbo Wales permanently blocked an editor who was harassing another by stalking. In the other the Arbcom blocked an editor for 1 year for doing the same thing. There is a distinction to be drawn on what is or isn't an acceptable form of following somebody around. According to the Arbcom decision wiki-stalking is "following a contributor around the wiki, editing the same articles as the target, with the intent of causing annoyance or distress to another contributor. This is distinct from following a contributor in order to clear repeated errors"[10]. IOW, it's okay to follow another editor around who is engaged in - say - a vandalism wave across several articles. But if somebody is following another editor to harass that editor - such as undoing legitimate edits or even modifying pages for no other reason than the fact that he's edited them - it can be considered disruptive. Basically its a good faith/bad faith thing and bad faith stalking is highly frowned upon. If the precedents show anything, the penalty for this latter type can be very stiff. Rangerdude 22:05, 16 August 2005 (UTC)

suggestions to change the RFC system

I've been pondering an idea for the dispute resolution system around RFC's, and I thought I'd propose it and see if there's merit enough to do something with it. Basically, the idea is to take the user RFC and remove it from any association from the process for arbitration. I'm still not exactly sure of the entire process, but my understanding is that when someone requests arbitration, the committee may request an RFC if they think it will help or if they want more information. So there seems to be some soft linkage between an RFC and arbitration. And I've seen RFC's used by editors as an attempt to punish people they disagree with.

Basically, the idea would be to change the RFC to be a way for editors working in good faith to resolve a dispute. It would have no punitive results. The results of an RFC would not be used in arbitration. The fact that an editor is part of the RFC would not be viewed negatively against them. And the RFC itself would be deleted after some point. The language of the RFC form itself would be changed to some less accusatory tone, and more to a "we're part of a dispute with this user" attitude. A user RFC would actually be a "request for comments" as the name implies. If the editors on both sides are acting in good faith, then an RFC would allow some outside observers to comment, and any side that sees some problem with their own behaviour, they can change it, and the dispute can be resolved. Even deleted after some period of time.

The current RFC system, with it's accusatory tone, its evidence of disputed behaviour, its certifying users, its response, and all its formalities could be used as some precursor to arbitration.

There's somethign about the current RFC process that feels too "open ended", in that you can submit just about anything in the 'evidence' pile, and the "dispute" can be some vague, nebulous disagreement that several editors have with one individual. There is something to this approach that has the flavor of "mob rule" rather than "rule of law". The formal dispute processes should be restricted to specific policy violations. This might change the current RFC system into an "incident report" that would focus on one edit, or a number of edits on the same article within a short period of time. There is subjective interpretation of what constitutes a "NPOV violation" or even a violation of "NPA", and the result would then be a number of editors who would vote aye/nay as to whether the specific incident qualifies as a violation.

There should also be some way to separate "witnesses" from "jurors". People involved with the incident can testify what they think. People not involved with the incident can vote. The definition of "involved" could be written into a script which checks the edit histories of the user accused of violating some policy and the person making a comment and finds out how much interaction they've had. It may not be possible to have a hard and fast separation between "witness" and "juror", but at the very least, some metric should be possible that would indicate how much involvment a commenter has with the parties involved.

If it might end up in arbitration, then some sense of a commenter's involvement seems warranted. If someone who has never worked on an article involving any of the editors involved, votes that the person violated policy, that would seem to be less biased than if someone who has a long history of working with the person accused of violating policy. Allies might vote "innocent" even if the specific incident was a violation. Enemies might vote "guilty" even if the specific incident was not a violation.

Also, there seems to be no "statute of limitations", which has its reasons for existence in any rule of law: witnesses start to forget what happened. witnesses go away, can't be found, drop out. It would seem that if someone hasn't filed a ticket for a specific incident within three months (insert time of choice), it should be chalked up to experience and the forgive and forget rule should be applied.

Anyway, there may be pieces of the dispute resolution system that already handle this and I'm just not aware of their existence. If so, please point me in the right direction and I will happily educate myself on how they work. FuelWagon 16:57, 8 August 2005 (UTC)

Too long? Wrong place? Don't care? Insane idea? No comment at all? FuelWagon 19:24, 10 August 2005 (UTC)
I agree with your observations about objectionable parts of the current system and agree that your suggestion of looking into changing it has merit. (Does that scare you? 8^) )--67.182.157.6 22:12, 10 August 2005 (UTC)
I don't know enough about the RFC process to judge whether this is a good idea. Superm401 | Talk 04:35, August 16, 2005 (UTC)

Expanding contingency links when Wikipedia goes out

If you weren't here when it happened, Wikipedia:Village pump (news)#It's official: we DOSed OpenFacts explains: During a ten-minute blackout of Wikipedia's servers, both the IRC channel and OpenFacts where overwhelmed by many frustrated Wikipedians.

While User:Xiong advocates a money-based solution (see discussion in the News section), there is probably a quick fix to this problem, and that is expanding our list of contingency pages.

Here are Wikipedia related pages that I have found useful when Wikipedia is down.

  • OpenFacts - Was DOSed, and apparently, the site seems to be down, at the time of this posting.
  • IRC Channel: overflooeded to #wikipedia-overflow. Suggest mirroring the topic on the overflow channel too.
  • #wikipedia channel stats - This was not DOSed as it's a little known page that scrapes the summaries off the main chat room (at the bottom). Very helpful.
  • Wikitech-l interface - Generally, this won't help until afterwards, but the reason for a blackout is generally described here.
  • Qwikly - a Wikipedia blog with various utilities, however, WikiPulse seems to be broken for the moment, so it was not helpful in the most recent crash. However, it has a plethora of useful links on the WikiPulse page.
  • More ideas: Streamlining the OpenFacts Wikipedia status page - OpenFacts appears to be running on an outdated version of MediaWiki. That means you can't edit by section, and also means that when there's something wrong, there'll be a lot of edit conflicts. In fact, a Wiki probably isn't the best way to handle OpenFact's process. There are three main things that comprise the page:
    • The status, up top
    • The links to other places
    • The user comment log
Each of these could be streamlined into a different program (the first, a user editable display message, but you edit it from say a drop-down-menu, and the third, a simple forum system). It's great and all that OpenFacts is a wiki, but the current interface is a bit confusing. Perhaps someone could program a custom solution for Wikipedia contingency reporting?

Nonetheless, expanding the links on the contingency page will not be a monumental technical task to do, so I'd like to get feedback from Wikipedian's who perhaps reject my recommendations or have their own favorite contingency site. — Ambush Commander(Talk) 14:38, August 15, 2005 (UTC)


stub hell

i frequently check wiki for less known musical artists, these articles are often still stubs. what bothers me is the many different stub categories people use, band, artist, mucisian, ... sometimes i can understand why something was chosen but still that many different categories isn't useful in my opinion. is anything done in this area or is it just accepted? and is there a list of stub categories availble? Boneyard 09:05, 15 August 2005 (UTC)

The entire list is at Wikipedia:WikiProject_Stub_sorting/Stub_types#Stub_messages_and_templates. The stub sorting is a project with the aim of letting people interested in expanding the stubs have easy access to them through the categories. Sjakkalle (Check!) 09:10, 15 August 2005 (UTC)

Template redirects

According to Wikipedia:Redirect, redirects are used to direct the user to the appropriate article when searching using the search box. But does that apply to templates? I'm wondering why do redirects to template exist? (eg: {{alternateuses}} redirects to {{otheruses}}). CG 20:37, August 12, 2005 (UTC)

Template redirects basically provide synonyms for a tempalte. Also, if two different tempaltes were preformign more or less the same function, one may be redirected to teh other so that there will be only one to maintain, but existing pages that use the template need not be converted. DES (talk) 22:16, 12 August 2005 (UTC)
But why don't templates redirects get deleted and Wikipedia get cleaned up? CG 04:46, August 13, 2005 (UTC)
  • Templates have only existed a short time so there has not been much time to accumulate clutter which has needed to be cleaned up.
  • Templates are deleted manually. Someone has to request a deletion through WP:TFD. And there is a problem in identifying when a redirected template is an orphan. (SEWilco 01:51, 15 August 2005 (UTC))

Meta-templates again

Several times in recent months, we've been through the issue of where to put templates related to internal Wikipedia projects (COTW, WikiProjects, etc.), as opposed to templates that give information to the reader (e.g., about disputed content). Most recently, we had a discussion at Wikipedia:Template locations, and it was generally agreed that most meta-templates belong on talk pages. However, my effort to standardize the treatment of these templates is being resisted by Fenice, a user who seems particularly attached to getting these templates directly on the articles. More input would be welcome, currently at Wikipedia talk:This week's improvement drive. --Michael Snow 20:47, 16 August 2005 (UTC)

Note that Michael's statement is a blatant lie: we have not been through these issue a few months ago. As his statement clearly states, this is obviously a personal attack on my person to chase me away from Wikipedia, and not about any policy issue. I strongly recommend others not to interfere with Michaels attempts at editwarring with me.--Fenice 20:56, 16 August 2005 (UTC)
I find your comment a lot more attacking and offensive than his. And you don't want us to interfere in the edit war? I'm very confused. --Golbez 20:58, August 16, 2005 (UTC)
There is no edit war, even though Fenice has started reverting my attempt to standardize the COTW templates on the talk pages. The only thing I reverted was his attempt to prematurely archive the discussion on the improvement drive talk page. --Michael Snow 21:11, 16 August 2005 (UTC)
I don't think it was generally agreed that most meta-templates belong on talk pages is a fair summary of the discussion and vote at Wikipedia:Template locations. Specifically, for {{Expansion}} the vote favored talk pages by 28 to 20, plus 2 "It depends", not exactly an overwhelming consensus. For {{featured}} the vote was 23 to 20 for talk pages. For {{Limitedgeographicscope}} the vote was 18 to 13 for putting it on the article page directly. For {{POV check}} the vote was 24 to 17 for putting it on the article page directly. For {{Listdev}} it was 21 to 5 for putting it on the article page directly. thus I don't theing the overall consensus is nearly as clear as the above comment implies. I would avoid attacks like "blatant lie" however, for most of the templates more people favored talk pages than did article pages, but not a clear consensus in several cases, IMO. DES (talk) 21:03, 16 August 2005 (UTC)
Let me clarify what I meant by my summary of the discussion, then. I wasn't claiming that all meta-templates are affected, and I realize that for some of those you mention the sentiment is not as strong. But I'm not currently arguing that we should force any of those onto talk pages, so that's not what this disagreement is about. The sentiment was quite strong, and I think this position is justified, with respect to templates that advertise the efforts of some project (COTW, WikiProjects, or the Article improvement drive at issue here), and convey no information related to the topic of the article. --Michael Snow 21:11, 16 August 2005 (UTC)
There I would agree, there was a pretty strong consensus that the project-specific templates discussed should only be used on the talk page. There was a majority, but not nearly as strong a consensus, that this should aplly to all project temnplates -- some, including I, said that this should be considered case by case asn that smaller and less obtrusive project templates might go on article pages in some hypothetical cases. DES (talk) 03:09, 17 August 2005 (UTC)
  • I was under the impression that the word "meta-template" referred to a template incorporated within another (q.v. WP:AUM). Anyway. I think that since this is a very simple issue of preference of the location, a simple majority would suffice to dictate where the template goes. I would urge interested parties to take established majorities from WP:TL, make the obvious inference from there (e.g. if {{cleanup}} goes some place, then so does {{cleanup-importance}} etc), and standardize. Edit warring is bad, and if you were in the minority you just have to accept that.
  • It would be easiest if all article-page templates had a different color from talk-page templates. For the latter, I believe the Coffee Roll is the accepted standard.
  • If necessary, take the issue to WP:CENT and make a simple guideline, such as "any template that calls for direct editing of the article in question, e.g. NPOV, cleanup, wikify, merge etc, goes on the article page; any template that indicates hierarchy or other metadata, e.g. was-deleted, FAC, part-of-this-wikiproject, goes on the talk page." Radiant_>|< 12:46, August 19, 2005 (UTC)


British Parliamentary Candidates

There is a discussion in Wikipedia:Votes for deletion/Log/2005 August 16 about the validity (or otherwise) of entries for Prospective Parliamentary Candidates. Is is fairly clear that party members are trying to keep the votes in the positive side, but the important factor here is that not one of the candidates is either an elected official nor known nation wide. They are, in some notable cases, twice failed candidates. It would cause a very worrying precedent if all prospective candidates were allowed separate entries on Wiki - it would mean every single candidate for every single election in every single nation on earth could be allowed space here based on this example.

I urge those in charge to consider seriously the impact of having PPCs on Wiki. Unless those people are fallen leaders or the like, they should not be here. dok 15:59, 16 August 2005 (UTC)

At a quick glance one of them is known nationwide (at least, a little more than the average sitting MP is) - Jody Dunn, the one you've noted as twice failed. Hmm. I've nothing against deleting the rest, but I'd argue she tips across the border into notability. Shimgray 16:35, 16 August 2005 (UTC)
I'd also like to note that there's no reason that including these people would lead to the inclusion of all candidates from all elections. We can still, for example, delete people who run for dogcatcher (or for that matter people who win election to that post). We can put the line wherever. Meelar (talk) 21:34, August 19, 2005 (UTC)

Proposed updates to the Wikipedia tagline

Because of the recent heavy discussion about adding a second Wikipedia tagline, additional proposed updates to the main tagline are being documented here. All interested contributers please participate and comment in this important discussion. -- Sitearm | Talk 05:10, 2005 August 18 (UTC)


List of victims

On the Helios Airways Flight 522 page, someone has posted a passenger list, listing name, age, city, occupation and nationality of each of the victims. I don't think a list like this belongs in an encyclopedic article, others disagree, see also Talk:Helios Airways Flight 522. What is the Wikipedia policy on things like this? JoanneB 15:26, 16 August 2005 (UTC)

Wikipedia:What Wikipedia is not#Wikipedia_is_not_an_indiscriminate_collection_of_information may help. Susvolans (pigs can fly) 15:41, 16 August 2005 (UTC)
  • I will respectfully disagree that that policy on memorials applies to this kind of article. Does each dead person on a doomed airplane flight need their own article? No. But a list of victims of a notable disaster with minor additional info is probably OK. SchmuckyTheCat 15:59, 16 August 2005 (UTC)
  • I would go further and suggest that a list of victims also isn't appropriate for a Wikipedia article. This debate has come up before; particularly with respect to the September 11, 2001 attacks. Looking at some of our other articles on air disasters, the compromise usually adopted is to include an external link to a list of victims. There may also be a place on Wikisource for lists of victims, though I'm not certain what has been decided on that site.
The above comment is mine; I forgot to sign. Oops! TenOfAllTrades(talk) 21:50, 16 August 2005 (UTC)
This further proves that the Wikidata project would really be helpful.
See: Proposals for new projects:Wikidata and A complete description of Wikidata.
There are a ton of things that are helpful and informative and would go great in the wikimedia realm, but unfortunatley don't really fit into Wikipedia or any of the other projects. (Wikispecies could also be merged into Wikidata, along with all of that weather data on Commons.) I sure hope this project moves forward!

Links to corporations selling products?

At the bottom of the Thin client page (just to use one example) there's several links to companies that are selling specific products. I've removed a few others, and I think RI did too.

Should Wikipedia allow links to companies who are selling a specific category of project from the external links page, or should this be cleaned up at every opportunity? How do links to commercial companies factor into the impartiality discussion? --Karlkatzke 21:50, 15 August 2005 (UTC)

I figure, unless it's a specific article (i.e. iPod, or an A380) then it shouldn't have a shopping list at the end. And those articles should only contain links to the companies that make those specific products (because we all want to purchase our own superjumbo jet). --Golbez 22:00, August 15, 2005 (UTC)
I think any & all links should be allowed, as long as they are in line with the purpose of an encyclopedic entry. I see this purpose as giving people information about the topic covered by the article. I don't particularly care who provides the information, or what they think they get out of it. So if some company that sells (say) thin clients has a page about what thin clients are, their history, etc., then I say go ahead and link to it. But links to catalog pages, "BUY NOW!", etc., or links to the main website of a company that sells thin clients, are not in line with the purpose of Wikipedia.
I would admit one exception: articles that are about a particular company/organization/person, should have a link to the c/o/p's website, if one exists.
So in the specific case you are talking about, it looks like "cleaned up at every opportunity" is the answer. And warning, possibly banning, folks that repeatedly post such links.
Nowhither 22:18, 15 August 2005 (UTC)
What about travel companies that offer articles that contain some information about, let's say a hotel, and exist to make money by you reserving a room through them or a partner? I try to remove those, but sometimes its hard to tell if it's just information or a for profit grab from wiki, if you don't follow the other links. Vegaswikian 22:36, 15 August 2005 (UTC)
Again, I don't think it matters what the company hopes to get out of the page; it matters what information it provides. The fundamental question is: Is linking to this page going to be helpful to users of the page, in line with the purposes of Wikipedia? If they give you a link to rent a room, well fine, as long as they give you information about the hotel that would be beneficial to users of an encyclopedia and in line with its purposes. Of course, such pages are rare. Don't be surprised if you rate 99% of corporate links as needing deletion. — Nowhither 08:23, 17 August 2005 (UTC)

Wikipedia disclaimer

I was very surprised to learn recently that wikipedia was NOT an encyclopedia like those we are all used to using. Most people will not check for your disclaimers before looking for information, and they presume that what they find are well-researched facts. I only discovered this myself when I came across some information listed for a topic that was clearly opinion and was, in fact, gossip. You are therefore responsible for contributing to the spread of gossip and false data. Despite your disclaimer, you ARE presenting yourself as an ecyclopedia website, knowing that people will be deceived.

The very least that you can do is to have a heading on EACH page that appears, which says, "Wikipedia Makes No Guarantee of Validity." It would also be more correct of you, and certainly more ethical, if you called yourself, "Wikipedia, the user-created encyclopedia."

Linda Estabrook User talk:66.159.201.20 11:54, 2005 July 15

RESPONSE: Linda, would you cite the article that contains opinion and needs clean-up? We are collecting examples to support a proposal to make a disclaimer more evident at Wikipedia:Proposed_update_of_MediaWiki:Tagline Thank you for your help! -- Sitearm | Talk 13:22, 2005 August 8 (UTC)

"Real" encyclopedias disclaim accuracy, too. The three leading competing online encyclopedias have disclaimers and provide no warranty as to their accuracy - Britannica, Encarta and Bartleby. Sometimes the staff of those encyclopedias forget about the disclaimers. - Wikipedia:Replies to common objections
We really should make it a teeny bit more obvious, though, for newcomers. Add a "written by users like you!" at the top of the page or something. I am all about Eventualism and the convergence of the wiki towards Absolute Truth, but we aren't at Eventually yet, and vandalism and hearsay mean newcomers should check references and article history before believing everything. We are, most of the time, a much better source than half the crap floating around the internet, but some of our articles are far below the quality of a "real" encyclopedia (that wouldn't have any information on that subject at all).
That said, you should always check references for important things, even for stuff that's in paper encyclopedias, as they have errors, too. - Omegatron 17:10, July 15, 2005 (UTC)
You'd be surprised how many errors are present in the common text books too. David D. 21:57, 15 July 2005 (UTC)

A newcomer's response. While objecting to the escalation from, "I found one item of gossip" to "you are deceiving the world", I have been surprised by the ubiquity of wiki hits on Google. Since so many more people will now be accessing wiki material, perhaps Estabrook is correct in advocating a little navel gazing. Megatron's defence that wiki is a better class of crap than that served up by other internet sources is hardly reassuring and we should all recognise that most users will never trouble themselves to check the references against the possibility of vandalism. So perhaps the answer is that there should be a roving commission to survey material and, when it finds articles that are sound, it should lock them. If a future editor believes any of the locked articles to require revision, let that be argued before editorial access is allowed. In this way, there is a slow accretion of core material that can justify the label of encyclopedia. Peripheral and evanescent material can be allowed to come and go as fashions change, with or without warning notices. -David91 18:01, 15 July 2005 (UTC)

Good luck. People come up with proposals like this all the time, and probably a lot of people like them, but it will take a lot of work to get any kind of consensus to change something so fundamental to the idea of wiki. Much more realistic is to at least acknowledge in an obvious place that the pedia is user-written, and that only some of those users are experts. - Omegatron 21:39, July 15, 2005 (UTC)
I came across many incorrect statements in the biology related pages. This was brought to my attention by students using it as source material. I agree there needs to be a stronger disclaimer on these pages. Some of the mistakes are subtle but some 'facts' are just wrong. Given how many online reference sources are harvesting wikipedia information it is scary to think how much misinformation may be out there on the internet. I do not think this means wikipedia is bad. It has huge potential and corrections will eventually get the quality up to scratch. But given the fact that there is wheat and chaff on these pages a disclaimer is warranted. David D. 18:41, 15 July 2005 (UTC)
Please, when you come across these, either correct them or at least make a note on the relevant talk page. -- Jmabel | Talk 05:55, July 16, 2005 (UTC)
See? When we read the Wikipedia we don't assume that everything is correct. We are both reading to learn and reading to edit, constantly on the lookout for things that might be wrong or vandalism or need cleanup. We approach all content with healthy skepticism. If we don't approach the Wikipedia as a completely authoritative source of information, we need to make sure newcomers don't approach it that way and then blame us for deceiving them and never come back.
See MediaWiki_talk:Tagline#From_Wikipedia.2C_the_free.2C_user-written_encyclopedia. - Omegatron 17:38, July 16, 2005 (UTC)

But, on two occasions, when I attempted to change pages (in my opinion for the better) I was met with hostility and abuse. I rapidly withdrew. Those pages remain unacceptable (in my opinion). So, please, let us not assume that placing warning messages as headers will resolve inherent behavioural and content problems. -David91 07:11, 17 July 2005 (UTC)

Then there would seem to be controversy regarding the article. Could you specifically tell us which pages these were (perhaps also linking to your edits in the history). I'll look into this. — Ambush Commander(Talk) 19:31, July 17, 2005 (UTC)

I am not touting for a campaign of "Be nice to the old guy." Everywhere, I see reports of edit wars, sometimes over really meaningful issues such as what to call English counties or disputes over puncutation which get blown out of proportion by those with a non-consensual approach to life. "Looking into my editing history" is not going to add significantly to a pattern of behaviour that is well-documented and clearly inhibiting the growth of encyclopedic standards. The reason why I have not become involved in comparable disputes is that, at the first sign of abuse, I walk away. A plague on the causes of all those who will not iterate through reasonable debate towards some generally accepted point of view. -David91 05:47, 18 July 2005 (UTC)

I believe that Wikipedia should include some type of disclaimer on every article page. I really like Wikipedia and try to contribute when I can. However, as a person involved in research, I would not advocate using Wikipedia per se as a reference; but, I would certainly recommend starting with Wikipedia in performing research. Wikipedia is a wonderful resource with many advantages over traditional reference works. Wikipedia is also very up-front about how it is created and its limitations. Unfortunately, most people will not realize the difference between Wikipedia and a traditional encyclopedia. Of course, no matter what you do, there will always be a few people who don't read the disclaimer. That said, I think it would be good to include a disclaimer anyway so that the majority of readers will get the idea. --Wyatts 18:19, 21 July 2005 (UTC)

Besides Wikipedia having an (existing) overall disclaimer, each contributer (including me) should have a disclaimer on her contribution to an article, and each article should have a disclaimer acknowledging where information may have other interpretations (e.g., scientific principles, evaluations of an artist's work quality and "themes", etc.). My son reads Wikipedia a LOT to study science and math and this led me to get an account. Fortunately he knows you can't believe everything you read on the internet. Fortunately many of the articles list references so that information can be checked. I have discovered inaccuracies (e.g., ranking of largest ports in the world out of date). To be rigorous you have to look stuff up and compare, which process Wikipedia helps. But Wikipedia certainly is not a definitive authority on any of its articles. Nor is any other encyclopedia or online references.

So it's caveat lector!

Sitearm 03:37, 29 July 2005 (UTC)


No encyclopedia is perfectly accurate, of course. I am not suggesting that Wikipedia needs a disclaimer because it is somehow not as good as other encyclopedias. (I believe Wikipedia is superior is many ways.) Instead, I am suggesting that Wikipedia needs a disclaimer because it is different from traditional encyclopedias. I think the disclaimer should inform people of the difference, not be an apology for any inaccuracies (since all encyclopedias have inaccuracies.) Articles published in traditional encyclopedias represent the "official" output of the organization, and have gone through some kind of formal review for accuracy and style. This does not guarantee perfection, but readers know that the publisher has made some attempt to utilize knowledgeable experts, carefully reviews any changes/updates, and stands behind its work. People quickly learn which publishers do this well (or not) and hence establish the reputation of the publisher. People can then confidently reference such traditional encyclopedias in their research. Wikipedia is different. Articles can be written by anyone, editors are not selected according to their credentials, articles can be changed often, and there is no formal approval process. On the other hand, Wikipedia relies on collaboration to improve the accuracy of articles (which is generally very good), content is more relevant and up-to-date, there is tremendous breadth, and it's free. I might not reference Wikipedia directly, but I would certainly start there for research. So, with all that said, if there is ever going to be a disclaimer, then we need to start throwing out suggestions. It should be fairly short and emphasize the difference in Wikipedia, not an out for any inaccuracies. Here is something to chew on:

  • "All Wikipedia articles are user-provided in a collaborative effort and not subject to formal approval for content or accuracy."

I'm sure this could be improved (in a collaborative manner.) --Wyatts 22:10, 2 August 2005 (UTC)


Well, I found the Wikipedia:General disclaimer, and it is blunt and comprehensive. No doubt here: "Wikipedia Makes No Guarantee Of Validity." So that leaves saying something about why Wikipedia is special and why it's a good encyclopedia to use (Wikipedia:Why Wikipedia is so great) or saying nothing at all and letting the work and its use speak for themselves. I'm sure this disclaimer issue will come up in the near future, say, when someone blames something on an article read here. The short disclaimer suggested by Wyatts is a good size to put on every page (is that what we're aiming for?), but its gist is covered in the existing full-size disclaimer page. How about "caveat lector et scriptor" ("let the reader and writer be cautious") to keep it short and add class? Hey, it might just work. Sitearm 06:23, 3 August 2005 (UTC)

May I politely disagree with your suggestion to use Latin? Many elementary and high-school students who use the Wikipedia do not speak Latin. The same would be true for some nonnative speakers of English. --Mamawrites 11:44, 3 August 2005 (UTC)
The Wikipedia:General disclaimer certainly seems to cover everything, but, as noted by Sitearm, I am suggesting something short that could go on every page. After looking hard, I did in fact see that the general disclaimer link is at the bottom of every page, but few will actually notice this and fewer still check it out. The line at the top of every article that says, "From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia", might be a good place. Maybe something like:
  • "From Wikipedia, the free encyclopdia. All articles are user-provided in a collaborative effort and not subject to formal approval for content or accuracy. See disclaimer details."
--Wyatts 16:57, 3 August 2005 (UTC)

Mamawrites, I am OK with not using the Latin. It's a play on "caveat emptor" ("buyer beware"), but yes, it would just confuse things. Main point is, I agree with Wyatts to put something at the top of every page in addition to the tiny disclaimer link at the bottom. I feel uneasy at the statement about "not subject to formal approval..." and it's covered in the full page anyway. How about:

  • "From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. All articles are user-provided in a collaborative effort. See disclaimer details."

Sitearm 06:56, 4 August 2005 (UTC) P.S. How do we submit what we agree on as a proposal to be added?


Although I wanted something about "not subject to formal approval", I must admit that it sounds too negative, and I could not find a good way to word it. I agree with the version from Mamawrites:

  • "From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. All articles are user-provided in a collaborative effort. See disclaimer details."

It has the following points in its favor: It is short enough to include at the top of every page; it emphasizes the difference between Wikipedia and traditional encyclopedias; it is a positive statement; it provides enough information to inform the user that the articles are not formally vetted; and it puts the link to the full disclaimer in a prominent place where people are more likely to check it out. As to how to submit, I looked at Wikipedia:How to create policy. The more I look, the more it seems that this discussion should be transferred to Wikipedia: Village Pump (proposals). A policy is more like what to do in certain situations. This is a specific proposal to modify the general article template (but not a bug). But, even if it is moved, I'm not sure how to get it out of the proposal stage to be implemented. Perhaps we can set up a separate page like Wikipedia:Disclaimer proposal? I think we will need to recruit one or more administrators to eventually set up a vote and then get it to those who can actually implement the change. --Wyatts 14:25, 4 August 2005 (UTC)

oops, I didn't coin that suggestion; Sitearm did. I support it, though! Mamawrites 22:09, 6 August 2005 (UTC)
Yes, let's add that disclaimer proposal page and link to it in the village pump proposals section. Your last paragraph is an excellent summary of the proposal and benefits. Would you be willing to start the page with your material? That would cover summarizing the proposal and the "for" reasons / benefits for doing it, for others to comment further. Things I can think of to add to the proposal page about why NOT to do this are: it takes extra space at the top of a page (probably a 2nd line); it takes some programmer time to edit a template to change this. This will give an "against" section for others to comment further. (P.S. It was me with the revised version of your version. Sorry for the confusion about addressing Mamawrites at the start of the paragraph.) Sitearm 16:09, 4 August 2005 (UTC)
I changed the tagline to:
  • From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia that anyone can edit.
the other day, and it was reverted pretty quickly (of course). Go talk on Mediawiki talk:tagline if you think it should be changed. I think it should be changed. - Omegatron 19:23, August 4, 2005 (UTC)

I made a new proposal page at Proposed update of MediaWiki:Tagline and posted notices here and here. -- Sitearm | Talk 04:29, 2005 August 5 (UTC)

That looks like a good way to go. I'll start posting discussion at Proposed update of MediaWiki:Tagline. --Wyatts 17:01, 5 August 2005 (UTC)

The primary proposal has been updated. Contributer's comments and support still requested here. -- Sitearm | Talk 19:48, 2005 August 11 (UTC)

Thoughts on tagline/disclaimer/whatever

I think there are issues behind the tagline discussion that need some closer examination. My comments are rather lengthy, and so I have deviated from the usual procedure and created a separate subsection for them. I hope no one is too terribly offended. (By the way, there seem to be many discussions on this topic. If there is a better place for my comments, could someone please point me to it. — Nowhither)

I note that people are speaking in terms of a "disclaimer". Disclaimers are legal devices. The idea is to cut through the PR nonsense and (using legal nonsense) indicate precisely what is being claimed. Usually contractual issues and protection from lawsuits are the relevant concerns. I think this is an issue for Wikipedia, and it needs some serious thought; however, this does not seem to be what is driving this discussion.

What is driving the discussion is the problem that people come to Wikipedia, read it, use it, maybe even edit it, without a clear understanding of what it is. Some of them end up using information from Wikipedia in inappropriate ways due to these misunderstandings. Others, when they discover what Wikipedia really is, feel deceived and angry. Others get angry due to their misunderstandings. Quite rightly, we want to address these issues.

So, first, I want to point out that we cannot be responsible for other people's actions. Many, many people are in the habit of grabbing some source, getting info from it, and leaving, without considering reliability or other important issues. Many of these people use Wikipedia. What can we do about them? Nothing. If someone does not want to give any thought to the source of his information, then all the explanatory text in the world will not help. Let us remember then, that some things are the reader's responsibility, not ours.

Second, Wikipedia is a new thing; the world has never seen its like before. We call it an "encyclopedia", and it is, I suppose. However, it is clear that many ideas that people associate with encyclopedias are not applicable to Wikipedia. But there is no word or phrase in any language that will concisely and thoroughly indicate to newcomers what Wikipedia is. So: how can we quickly give people a clear understanding of all the principles and process behind Wikipedia? We cannot. It is a waste of time to try.

Third, there is an annoying tradition, especially in the U.S., that every time there is an issue with some product, we tack on a notice in its documentation somewhere. I bought a soldering torch. It came with pages & pages of lists of things I should be careful of. And I read and thoughtfully considered every one, of course, wouldn't you? </sarcasm> This approach was invented by corporate lawyers as a way of stopping lawsuits. It is not about communicating information, and so it is not going to help us here. In short, don't think that tacking on gobs of little notices is going to eliminate everyone's misunderstandings about Wikipedia.

Fourth, there are people who are interested in checking their sources. Many of them do not understand Wikipedia, and could make better use of it if they did. Taglines & such are not going to help them. What might help is a short essay about who writes Wikipedia, and what approval processes an article needs to go through to be published in it. (Yes, I know, the short answer is "none", but we should still talk about the approval process, since that is what people want to know about.) The hard part is helping people find this explanation.

And that is what I think it is important to address. So, how about an actual concrete proposal: Instead of a tagline intended to communicate what Wikipedia is all about, how about a tagline that tells people where they can find such information, aimed at newcomers. Here's an off-the-top-of-my-head line: "Who writes Wikipedia?" Then make this a link to that short essay I mentioned earlier (or to a list of bullet points, or whatever). I'm sure someone can improve on this idea. Please do.

As I said earlier, I think disclaimers should be discussed as well, but that is a separate issue. Disclaimers are about contracts and lawsuits, not introducing newcomers and explaining things.

Nowhither 07:50, 17 August 2005 (UTC)

Case sensitive search engine

I'm sure this subject is familiar to old hands, but I've just finished wasting time writing (because it was requested on the list of math articles needed) an article titled "Transcendental Numbers" (title produced by clicking on the math request list) only to find that there is already a perfectly good article titled "Transcendental numbers". The only difference is the lower case "n". Now, I realize that it would only take four searches to find all possible cases in two word article titles, but it would take eight searches in the case of three word article titles and sixteen searches for four word article titles. Wouldn't it be simpler to have a non-case-sensitive search engine?

While I'm on the subject, I suspect that hundreds of the requested articles already exist, but with lower case first letters rather than upper case first letters.

Rick Norwood

Actually, since the wiki software automatically makes the first leter of the first word in a title uppercase, there are only two posibilities for a two word title, 4 for a three word title, etc. In reality, most of the combiations are unlikely to be created and can be ignored. (would you really search for Frederick II, holy Roman emperor?). Dsmdgold 19:50, August 20, 2005 (UTC)
There is a difference between links and searches, and searches by title (via the Go button) and other searches (via the Search button). Links are case sensitive, so if you don't get the case right in a link the link will appear as a red link even though the article may exist. If you type in the name, and hit Go the title search is generally case insensitive. Searches initiated by the Search button are always case insensitive (when Search is enabled). For more details please see Wikipedia:Searching#Search_is_case-insensitive_only_for_the_first_word_of_the_entry. -- Rick Block (talk) 20:16, August 20, 2005 (UTC)

I find the search box inconsistent when looking for articles I know are in the name space. I also see (and have added myself) redirect pages for proper names (John Lennon and John lennon) etc. to fix it. I am curious where to learn how often the index is updated, and what is the difference between the "Go" and "Search" buttons under the search box? ?:| -- Sitearm | Talk 22:42, 2005 August 20 (UTC)

Go only looks for article titles. Its case sensitivity is as described on the Wikipedia:Searching page. The Search button searches both titles and article text, and is always case insensitive. The index has been irregularly updated (manually initiated), but the software either has recently been or shortly will be changed (not sure if it's done yet) to keep the index continuously updated. BTW - a redirect like John lennon is needed only for wikilinks, not for searching. Without the redirect, a title search (via Go) for "John lennon" would find the John Lennon article. -- Rick Block (talk) 04:13, August 21, 2005 (UTC)

the problem is more serious than that

I appreciate your help, but let me give you a specific example that seems to contradict your advice. Under Missing Articles -> Science -> Maths7 there is a request for an article on Triangular Number. Clicking on that link results in the claim that there is no article with that title. Typing "Triangular number" into the search box and clicking SEARCH, which is suposed to be case insensitive, again results in the information that there is no such article. But typing in "Triangular Number" (capital N) redirects me to the article "Triangular numbers" (lower case n). Very strange. Even stranger, I just tried exactly the same searches, but from this page, and both searches redirected me to the proper page. Maybe I made an error, but I'm afraid there may be a deep problem within the search engine. In any case, the large number of articles that ignore the convention that article titles should be in the singular exacerbates the problem.

The problem is reproducable. Here is what I typed in the search box, after following the links I listed above: Triangular number (cut and pasted to avoid the possibility of a typo). I hit search -- no results. Just now, I cut and pasted the exact same phrase in the search box to the left of this page, hit search, and found the correct article. In other words, the search box works differently in different locations.

There is still the problem of the thousands of entries in the maths list, many or most of which are already articles with minor variations of case and number. Is there any way to work through them more efficient than repeated searches on variants, one by one?

Rick Norwood

I'm sorry you're having problems. I believe the "search" function (not "go") is what you want, but "search" seems to sometimes (without notice of any kind!) be disabled due to performance reasons. I have also seen this behavior and I find it to be relatively inexcusable (search now finds nothing, repeating the search in 5 minutes finds lots of things). I don't know if this is already recorded as a bug (see Wikipedia:Bug_report), but if search can be aborted due to server load the user should clearly at least be made aware that this happened. Until such time as this is fixed, a possible workaround might be to search using google, adding a search criteria specifying the wikipedia site ("site:en.wikipedia.org"). -- Rick Block (talk) 17:07, August 21, 2005 (UTC)

An offsite index is available, but I'm not sure how often it's updated. Joyous (talk) 17:13, August 21, 2005 (UTC)

The problem often strikes in the middle of a search. A search term throws up seventeen pages of hits, for example, and as one pages through them, one's suddently confronted by a "no hits" report. Redoing the search and going straight to page seventeen of the hits shows that they really were there. --Mel Etitis (Μελ Ετητης) 18:47, 21 August 2005 (UTC)

Sections archived on 20:14, 30 August 2005 (UTC)

Ooops. I inadvertantly posted with no headline, which caused Wikipedia to append my "Genealogy and Wikipedia" post on this post. Inadvertant addition removed by --Billf 03:27, 22 August 2005 (UTC)

Pages should be "complete"

Recently I've run across a number of articles in which someone has laid out a long series of section headings, and then put no text in the sections. This strikes me as poor practice, but I can't find anything relevant in existing policy/guidelines. Assuming there is no guideline on this at present, I think we need one saying that articles should be "complete" in some sense. Thoughts? — Nowhither 11:40, 14 August 2005 (UTC)

they're essentially stubs, outlining future improvements. Just add a {{stub}} template to them. It's better to have a short stub outline of an article than nothing at all. dab () 11:45, 14 August 2005 (UTC)
But aren't there better places for an outline? Is it better to have a short definition followed by several empty sections, or just a short definition with the proposed outline on the talk page? I think the former looks woefully shoddy. — Nowhither 12:05, 14 August 2005 (UTC)
I think I agree with you that the talk page is best if there are lots of these empty headings. I would check the history first to see if the article has been edited recently (say within the last 15 days) before stepping into someone's current work in progress. Physchim62 12:15, 14 August 2005 (UTC)

Feel free to remove headings if they contain little or no content. (See my rant on the subject.) Gdr 15:22:57, 2005-08-14 (UTC)

Instead of empty subject headings, a better approach is to put the article outline into a ToDo list on the article's talk page. There are a number of them around, see Wikipedia:To-do_list. -- Solipsist 06:40, 20 August 2005 (UTC)

Personal photographs and privacy

There are photographs of private individuals uploaded with no mention that the subjects approve of, do not object to, or even know about the public dissemination of their images. Surprisingly the only discussion I could find on the matter is from almost two years ago: Wikipedia_talk:Image_use_policy#Privacy_Rights,_Publicity_Rights. If I take a picture of a friend, doesn't she have a reasonable expectation I will respect her privacy and not post it to a widely distributed Internet encyclopedia? Not fully knowing the law, I don't see it as much a legal issue as one of basic respect. A guideline, at least urging caution about uploading photographs of non-public figures, should be issued. - choster 03:20, 23 August 2005 (UTC)

That is an issue of respect for your friend or whoever the subject is, however wikipedia cannot be expected to police such things since it would be impossible, and the only way to do so would be to require a signed letter of permission from every subject of every photo with a person in it which would all but stop any photos being uploaded wiht people in them unless that person is the photographer. Jtkiefer T | @ | C ----- 07:09, August 23, 2005 (UTC)
Note that the original posted said it wasn't a legal issue. The guideline proposed in the first poster's last sentence sounds good to me ("A guideline, at least urging caution about uploading photographs of non-public figures, should be issued.") I'm a little hazy about how official statements get made, though. — Nowhither 18:34, 23 August 2005 (UTC)
In the U.S. at least, if the photographer was standing on public property when the photos were taken (even if the subjects of the shot were on private property at the time), he or she is free to publish them however he sees fit, without any sort of release necessary. Of course, many photographers prefer to get the releases anyway, just as an extra indemnification against lawsuit. · Katefan0(scribble) 19:23, August 23, 2005 (UTC)