Wikipedia:Village pump (policy)/Archive P

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Expertise counting extra on AfD's

I have recently seen it contended, for the first time in my experience, that being an "expert" on a topic should give someone's opinions additional weight in an AfD. This claim was made here: Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Able and Baker (2nd nomination). (Note that the outcome of the AfD is irrelevant here; I might end up changing my vote anyway.) The claim was supported with this quote from Jimbo, which I don't read as having anything to do with expertise. Rather, I tend to assume "credibility" and "reputation" refer to having a track record of editing in good faith—which means doing enough research to "vote" in an informed way. I can't see how giving special emphasis to "expert" editors on AfD's makes any more sense than giving them special rights in the article namespace—which, I understand from WP:NOR#The role of expert editors, we don't do.

Obviously, of course, experts will likely be able to cite reputable sources, and sway people to their opinion in AfD's. I am referring only to the contention that the admin closing the debate should give the single "expert" user's opinon extra weight in the debate.

I'd like to hear other views on this, or maybe be referred to previous debates/discussions that shed light on this. It doesn't make sense to me at all, but I could be wrong. -- SCZenz 22:52, 24 October 2005 (UTC)

It has to be done on pure numbers, IMO. How are we to judge whether any particular voter on AfD is an "expert" or not? Until we have a system of assigning expert users in the way that we do admins I can't see how this is workable as it would mean that action could no longer be taken on weight of votes alone, you would have to go in and research who was making each vote. --bodnotbod 22:59, 24 October 2005 (UTC)
As the would-be expert in question, I prepared User:Snowspinner/Webcomics prior to asserting my expertise, and I am happy to back up any part of that with evidence via e-mail as needed. Snowspinner 23:07, 24 October 2005 (UTC)
I count the numbers, but I also look to see what people are saying. I think common sense still has to come into play. After all someone may post a very good point at the end of an AfD that runs against the fall of the votes (the previous voters may voted without the knowledge of this late info). I don't think we can have experts, but I think we do have to listen to convincing voices. After all, if some truly is an expert, then they should be able to convince us of the encyclopaedic worth of something. If they can't do that, then they probably aren't experts in the first place. --Gareth Hughes 23:10, 24 October 2005 (UTC)
That would work better if there were reason to believe that everybody actually read deletion debates while voting anymore. Snowspinner 23:38, 24 October 2005 (UTC)
Wikipedia:Assume good faith. There doesn't have to be reason to believe it. -- SCZenz 23:40, 24 October 2005 (UTC)
Bad faith has made itself more than apparent. Snowspinner 23:46, 24 October 2005 (UTC)
But I don't think verification is the issue here, or at least it's only part of it. Regardless of whether expertise can be verified (in general, I'm not sure it can) it's not clear that it should count more even if it can be verified. I think we all know it doesn't in the article namespace, so the question really is why information that's inadmissible in articles would be admissible in AfD's. -- SCZenz 23:13, 24 October 2005 (UTC)
I just read what Jimmy Wales said about it. I think the issue now has to be whether one wishes to challenge Jimmy on his "trust the expert / admin instincts" view. Because I see little value arguing here when, ultimately, those who take the "expert / admin instinct" side of the argument can point towards Jimmy's pronouncement as policy. I have to say, I was rather surprised at his view. I can understand it, but of the flaws inherent in either course of action, I would have thought abuse is far more likely in the hands of the few than of the many voters. I struck out my comment as ill-founded. --bodnotbod 23:53, 24 October 2005 (UTC)
I disagree. Jimbo's statement is a completely separate issue; there's nothing there about expertise. It refers to the "judgement and credibility" of wikipedia editors, which I take to refer to their history of editing in good faith and making sensible decisions—not to external expertise they claim. -- SCZenz 23:56, 24 October 2005 (UTC)
Yes, you're right. He doesn't mention expertise. Um... I'm too much in need of sleep to now add anything useful. But I'll strike out my previous comment as unhelpful in this debate. --bodnotbod 00:15, 25 October 2005 (UTC)
I think there is a role for expertise, but it very rarely will come into play. For instance, let's say that someone sporting an IP address for a name steps up and says "I think that you can't delete the article Fastidius Ungerus of Rome; I am an expert in Roman History and that person was KEY to moving the Senate forward on Point X". In a situation with an anonymous user, that just has to be laughed at, I think; but in the event where someone is verifiably a scholar of Roman History and has penned books and articles on which Wikipedia would draw as reference material .. that should (must) be taken into account in the decision making process. Like I said, rarer than a long-tailed manx, but still to be considered. With all deference to other folks here, I wouldn't invoke this type of mantle of expertise for someone who has only authored faithfully, long, and well on Wikipedia; they must demonstrate that their expertise extends beyond Wikipedia, into the "real world". This, by the way, is a criteria for promotion beyond a certain level in some types of organizations (particularly research organizations), demonstration that people outside of the company see the candidate as an expert in their field. Courtland 04:17, 25 October 2005 (UTC)
Why wouldn't the expert in your example have to cite an article somewhere? Surely he could. -- SCZenz 04:25, 25 October 2005 (UTC)
It depends; verifiability is not always dependent on ability to support by citations. However, being a recognized expert doesn't suddenly lead to suspension of Wikipedia guidelines regarding citations. Courtland 12:26, 25 October 2005 (UTC)
But it does seem like some rules for use of sources in article-writing are suspended for evidence given in AfD's (esp. to determine notability), or at least a large fraction of Wikipedians think so. Are there any relevant policies/guidelines on this, or discussions somewhere? -- SCZenz 16:16, 25 October 2005 (UTC)

One thing that should be mentioned in this discussion is time. When providing an edit to an article, we have an attitude of "eventually." If I, as an expert, am busy, and do not have time to go do research to find a great quote, and it waits for a week or two, no harm is done.

Deletion debates are completely different. They have a five day window, after which it is inordinately difficult to overturn them. Which means that experts are expected to do all necessary citation and sourcing work on a deadline, or else the article will be deleted forevermore. That's not reasonable. If deletion debates are going to have a deadline, we have to also be more permissive in giving people who know what they're talking about preference, citations or no. Snowspinner 19:05, 25 October 2005 (UTC)

I'll buy that. I just think it should be reflected in other users' agreement with the expert (as is happening in the AfD I cited above), and not—except in extraordinary circumstances, like a new, list minute expert opinion—counted extra by the closer of the debate. -- SCZenz 19:13, 25 October 2005 (UTC)

I'm an academic, and perhaps an "expert" in a few areas -- but it's important to remember that university expertise is highly specialized, and professors have a tendency, sometimes, to overstate the breadth of their expertise. Personally, I think that Wikipedia is exciting precisely because it permits the co-production of knowledge by experts and the public. The process can get sloppy, of course, but it's revolutionary. Don't forget that many crucial advances developed outside universities; academic rigor seems, sometimes, to develop into rigor mortis. -- Bryan 16:19, 2 November 2005 (UTC)

Can the nominator retract an AfD before it has run its course?

In the past week, I have seen two occasions where an article was tagged with {{AfD}}, then the nominator saw that several users voted to Keep, and then changed his/her mind and removed the AfD tag before the nom has run its course. Is that permitted? In one case I retagged the article, even though I agreed that it needed to be kept, and voted so. --Rogerd 03:27, 22 October 2005 (UTC)

If pretty much everyone agres that a page should be kept, and particualrly if the nominator has withdrawn the nomination, and admin can and often will clsoe the AfD early as a speedy keep. The nominator should usually withdraw by strinking out the parts of the nomination he now does not agree with, and inserting a comment/vote in which he changes his view to keep (or whatever). The nominator should not, IMO simply remove the afd tag -- leave that for the closer, who should not be a person deeply involved in the discussion, as the nom clearly is. DES (talk) 03:44, 22 October 2005 (UTC)
On the other hand, if it's not the case that "pretty much everyone" has voted to keep it, then the nominator shouldn't have any special power to kill the discussion. Other editors who favor deletion have refrained from listing it because it was already listed. It wouldn't be fair to them if the first person to list the article were given a preferred position. JamesMLane 05:13, 22 October 2005 (UTC)
Quite true. But the nominator publicly changing his or her view often has a powerful effect in persuading others to do likewise. Not always of course. DES (talk) 16:30, 22 October 2005 (UTC)
I agree, it sounds like both of you are saying that the AfD shouldn't be removed by the nominator, regardless of how the voting is going, but should be removed only by an admin, either at the end of the voting or if he/she deems it worth of a speedy keep or speedy keep. Thanks for the input --Rogerd 05:21, 22 October 2005 (UTC)
Correct. Strictly speaking, to close an Afd as keep one does not need to be an admin. But one should be an experienced wikipeidian, and not involved in the particular debate. I would advise leaving speedy keep decisions to admins. I have seen people vote "speey keep" as a sugestion to a potential closer. DES (talk) 16:30, 22 October 2005 (UTC)
Due to the sheer numbers of articles listed in Afd, many editors are trying to hurry things along. I sometimes see articles deletes after a day or 2 rather than 5, if consensus is already clear. You now see speedy keeps done sometimes too, also presumably to save time. IMO, if the nominator withdraws and there's not much serious opposition, closing the Afd is fine. However, there should be no prejudice in such cases against another Afd- if any editor feels there's a legit reason to delete, he should not be silenced just because there was a speedy keep. In general, this probably won't happen much - if controversy is anticipated, the Afd should be left open. Friday (talk) 17:19, 22 October 2005 (UTC)

I am getting conflicting opinions here. Friday is saying that what I saw may be OK. Others are saying it has to be an admin. In both of these cases, there was clear consensus that the article should be kept, including the nominator (who changed his mind). --Rogerd 21:15, 23 October 2005 (UTC)

Please take my remarks as my own personal opinion, not an attempt to explain policy. However, policy may be a bit grey here. The reason admins primarily close afd's is that deleting of the article is often required. Non-admins can and do close Afds sometimes when a deletion is not required. In practice, if consensus to keep is clear, it's unlikely there will be any controversy, no matter who closes it. Friday (talk) 22:57, 24 October 2005 (UTC)
I agree with Friday here. Howver, closing an AfD, even a pretty clear speedy keep, is probably not something someone on his first month of editing should try. Besides, speedy keeps are relatively easy, someone will grab one pretty quick. It is the really tricky cases that sit unclosed. DES (talk) 02:37, 25 October 2005 (UTC)

Wikipedia and autism

Should Don't bite the newbies apply to autists? I am concerned that in two recent cases, one of which is up before the arbitration committee, newcomers exhibiting what appears to be autistic behavior, not obvious vandals and not obvious trolls, have been abused and alienated because other editors did not understand their behavior.

Perhaps Wikipedia needs a policy or guideline to enable Recent changes patrollers, who are often the first to notice new editors, to recognise autistic editing patterns and welcome autists in a more appropriate manner.

  • Don't bite the newbies should of course apply to everyone. The question at hand is whether it should apply more to people suspected of being autists. I think it should be applied evenly to anyone who seems to genuinely want to be helpful, whether or not we suspect they are autists. Are they courteous & accepting of constructive criticism & trying to improve? If so, then we should work with them regardless of why they are making mistakes. If not, then what difference does it make if they are autists or not? If not, they are never going to be positive contributors ... their attitude, whatever the source, prevents improvement. And, how do we make the determination of likely autism anyway? I looked at the talk pages of the two editors you mention. Wiki brah seems repeatedly insincere to me; Maoririder seems well-intentioned but challenged. Isn't that what we need to know over the long haul. Of course, we should also Assume Good Faith where possible, but sometimes that defies rationality ... one of the reasons vandal blocks and RFC and arbitration exist. Derex @ 07:45, 11 October 2005 (UTC)
  • I don't see any particular reason we should treat contributions differently based upon some supposition of some or another "ism". Wikipedia is not therapy; our goal here is to produce the best encyclopedia we can; and if contributors for whatever reason are unable or unwilling to abide by the policies and structures here, why should it matter if they're autistic, schizophrenic, mean, depressed, incurable optimists, or whatever. It's certainly not for people on RC patrol to try to guess whether a person is a troll or an autist; taking a look at Wiki brah's contributions -- in particular the dozen or so inane articles that he started that were deleted, such as Anal sex in Brasil, List of Reasons why Doing Cocaine in Brasil is fun, Jesus Fish on Cars in the U.S.A., not to mention his bizarre templates -- what "autistic editing patterns" here distinguish from non-autistic nonsense generators? --jpgordon∇∆∇∆ 18:47, 11 October 2005 (UTC)
    • Exactly; consider users based on their edits not on labels inferred (perhaps rightly, perhaps wrongly) as a way of explaining the why behind the edits. Courtland 19:03, 11 October 2005 (UTC)
      • Otherwise we'll need labels to apply to article fragments which require special care due to reasons for edits, as opposed to the content of the edits. That way lies templateitis. (SEWilco 19:20, 11 October 2005 (UTC))
  • I don't think it's as simple as judging everybody the same. Whether we want to or not, we tend to judge intentions by actions. Understanding that some editors may not interpret a communication in the way that we expect is part of required civility. I see this as a way in which Wikipedia can enable good editors to function within Wikipedia, by avoiding pitfalls which can be observed in interactions with "Martians", or "Weird" editors (to avoid a problematic pseudo-medical diagnosis) who clearly show both competence, willingness and good faith in their editing but may exhibit unusual patterns of editing. --Tony SidawayTalk 13:17, 12 October 2005 (UTC)
  • Can you give some concrete examples of how we would be able to recognize this? I think I can recognize intent, despite an odd editing pattern, by observing interactions on talk. I have no idea how to recognize an autistic editing pattern. But I think I do know how to recognize a trolling pattern of editing: wiki_brah's obsession with anal sex, jewish women, & cocaine. Derex @ 14:12, 12 October 2005 (UTC)
  • It's possible he is a troll, but in general the best way is to do voluntary work with autistics for a while, and you'll soon get the hang of it. If they're acting inapporpriately but in an apparently confused way, then that's a hallmark of autism. Same with obsessions with certain subjects. Also liking patterns.
Incidentally, a lot of people on wikipedia, paticularly the bureaucratic, will be autistic. They like rules and regulations, arbitration comittees, steering groups, memoranda, etc etc, and it's the sort of thing that autistics (I'm talking here mostly about people with aspergers or higher functioning autists) would do.
BTW, a very strong contra-indication of autism is a sense of humour. Anyone who's funny, unless they dervive their humour almost exclusively through obscure references to films/Simpsons episodes (you know the kind of person I mean [and btw, an autistic definitely wouldn't from that description]) is not autistic. Spankthecrumpet 19:34, 12 October 2005 (UTC)
So we should (a) tell a joke (b) check if they are on the arbitration committee (c) figure out whether they are confused, or just stoned, or (d) all volunteer to work with autistics? While I like the idea of being sensitive about special needs, I still think the intent barometer is the relevant one and also the one we can reasonably assess (besides being an arbitrator). Derex @ 19:52, 12 October 2005 (UTC)
Assume good faith and don't bite anybody... but bad edits are bad edits even if they are done by someone with special needs. It's easy to fix an edit. It's beyond our scope to allow bad edits from well-intentioned people who may be suffering from a malady or drug though. If it looks like a bad edit it probably is. Pedant 16:35, 28 October 2005 (UTC)

Wikipedia articles about people are badly titled

Moved to Wikipedia talk:Naming conventions (people) Steve block talk 11:50, 14 November 2005 (UTC)

Can the nominator retract an AfD before it has run its course?

Moved to Wikipedia talk:Articles for deletion Steve block talk 11:50, 14 November 2005 (UTC)

Wikipedia and autism

Moved to Wikipedia talk:Please do not bite the newcomers Steve block talk 11:50, 14 November 2005 (UTC)


This somewhat moribund discusion could use broader community input. Currently has strong focus on webcomics, but this is an area where we could clearly use a guideline re: WP:MUSIC.
brenneman(t)(c) 06:34, 2 November 2005 (UTC)

Remote use of content

I am somewhat confused about the policies and rights concerning the remote use of Wikipedia content. What I am specifically interested in is whether Wikipedia allows one to dynamically use (or "remote load") articles, or parts of some, on one's own web site.

To give a more concrete (albeit totally hypothetical) example: Say, one has a web site that publishes news related to American and British jazz charts. Now, the website would have a database that includes the different artists and a record of their chart positions. This database would be used to generate individual artist pages so that a visitors could in one view see, for example, how artist X's albums have charted over the years. Yet, it would be nice to have a biographical introduction to the artist as well. The question then is, could one dynamically use, for example, the first paragraph of a related Wikipedia article (which usually gives an overview) on one's own page, of course with the relevant acknowledgements about the source of the content?

The use of Wikipedia material appears to be allowed under the GNU Free Documentation Licence ( However, remote loading appears to be prohibited ( Yet, I am not totally sure if a "mirror site" in this context also means a web site that remote-loads only a relatively small part of the whole Wikipedia? This is especially unclear to me as Wikipedia in fact offers, even seems to encourage, a way to remote-load data from Wikipedia (

It then seems that while the use of content is allowed, using it dynamically (i.e. remote-loading it) is not? Does this apply even when the content used is only a very small part of the whole of Wikipedia?

Of course, restricting remote-loading is understandable considering the potential extra traffic generated for Wikipedia servers (especially web crawlers are mentioned in the "Remote Loading" text quoted above). However, if this is the only reason why remote-loading is prohibited, would the following then be allowed: Instead of loading the page content from Wikipedia every time a user visits one's website, the content would be loaded from a mirror-like file on one's own web site. This file, then, would be kept relatively up-to-date by rewriting it once a week or so by remote-loading the Wikipedia article. This would not generate more than one extra hit per week per article and would hence probably not significantly strain the Wikipedia servers.

I wonder what the views on all of this are?

--Vili 11:10, 1 November 2005 (UTC)

The restrictions are entirely based on reducing load on the servers. For you to update a cache weekly would be perfectly acceptable, so long as you follow the GFDL. Cheers, [[Sam Korn]] 19:35, 1 November 2005 (UTC)

Is Arbitration enforced?

Are Arbitration decisions enforced? In Wikipedia:Requests for arbitration/Climate change dispute#Remedies are several remedies, but the corresponding Enforcement section does not list any actions. Was nobody banned, and no actions taken? (SEWilco 07:21, 1 November 2005 (UTC))

Use of subpage for extensive references

On the Jehovah's Witnesses-related pages, there are regular arguments over exactly what JWs believe. Each party provides long lists of quotes on the talk page, which soon get archived and forgotten.

The Wikipedia:WikiProject Jehovah's Witnesses is working on redoing the pages to include references for all claims about their beliefs, but there are often claims of out-of-context quoting and contradictory references. (JW publications often do this.) Nearly every statement will need a reference as these are highly disputed pages, and this will lead to a very large references section.

It would save a lot of time and space if a subpage could be used to quote the references and their contexts. I know subpages aren't used for this normally, but I think this would be a useful exception. --K. AKA Konrad West TALK 02:31, 1 November 2005 (UTC)

You might want to bring this up on Wikipedia talk:Cite sources.--Sean Black | Talk 04:30, 1 November 2005 (UTC)
Okay thanks! --K. AKA Konrad West TALK 05:06, 1 November 2005 (UTC)

Entries on Template:In the News

After User:Silsor removed the entry on ITN about "President George W. Bush nominates Samuel A. Alito, Jr to the United States Supreme Court".[1], we both got into a discussion about the quote on Wikipedia:In the news section on the Main Page that says "It should be a story of an international importance, or at least interest."

My question: is there any sort of good way one can determine if a news story qualifies for that criteria so one can add it to ITN, or remove an entry if it does not fit? Thanks. Zzyzx11 (Talk) 17:59, 31 October 2005 (UTC)

Tangent for a moment: personally, I do not like that portion of the criteria, as I find articles that are not of international significance quite interesting. It is usually what isn't coming out of every major news outlet that I find most interesting. In other words, give more love to the obscure articles from small/often ignored countries.
As for your question, I think the unofficial method that seems to be used by most people is how high the article ranks on or Google News. As for making those "official" qualifiers... meh. --tomf688{talk} 04:18, 1 November 2005 (UTC)

Image requests

Hi I'm passing on a request from the Talk:John Prescott page. Is there anywhere on WP to post image requests? as the above page, & a few others, need pictures. Thanks AllanHainey 13:17, 31 October 2005 (UTC)

Try Wikipedia:Requested pictures. -Splashtalk 15:13, 31 October 2005 (UTC)


It is really disturbing. Again and again yankee treat en(glish-language) as and remove anything that does not fit the lone gunman republican worldwiew. Especially sociology and related is impossible to improve, because social rights, egalitarian society and similar issues are always erased by american and blairist british vandals. Articles are maliciously misrepresented, e.g. editors make sure "social democracy" always appears described as an evil ideology fellow travelling with communism, when in fact it is a form of capitalist governance, which brought great prosperity and universal happiness with high quality of life for swveral european countries.

In general anything that does not appeal to money counting honest yankee is POV and gets deleted. European (rest-of-the-world) brains are so differently programmed from US brains that there can be no common experience or understanding between the two races, the anglo-saxon and l'homme. American way of thinking is very mechanical and legalistic (e.g. weapons ban in schools not OK due to interstate commerce) and always remains impossible to understand for europeans, who think what a jungle it must be where kids bring guns to schools! Americans always view themselves with the society as something useless or possibly evil, which they should tweak and exploit to serve their individual interests, while europeans think one's search for happiness can only be successful if it doesn't hurt but rather contribute to the common good. It looks like americans are first and foremost their own self-gods, who prey on whatever life offers them.

This is a recurring experience and repels many non-US people from contributing to the current I am sorry to say, but the solution to this problem is to make split and create separete and Currently US based editors have numerical superiorty and are always vigilant to revert any of your un-eagle-ish additions, so what remains is a dubya-approved lecture book meant for the sunday school, rather than an encyclopedia. I may not stay here for long if this frustration remains. 14:32, 30 October 2005 (UTC)

Maybe it's because of the kind of articles that I edit, but I don't think there are more Americans. Also, people complain at the slightest Americanisation, but if anything is Europeanised no one bats an eyelid. Also, articles are meant to be neutral, feel free to help! Martin 14:46, 30 October 2005 (UTC)
It sounds like you're frustrated about several specific articles. If you point out which ones, then people might be interested in checking them out for problems in the edit history. I disagree with several of your points above and it is of course silly to say that all Americans think there shouldn't be a weapons ban in schools. Tempshill 15:47, 30 October 2005 (UTC)

User:, you might like to look at Wikipedia:WikiProject Countering systemic bias and the talk page with that article. Philip Baird Shearer 16:03, 30 October 2005 (UTC)

I'm a British Wikipedian who's been editing a lot for 18 months and I don't recognise the portrait being painted by the questioner. But, yes, it would be useful if Martin could cite some examples. --bodnotbod 16:11, 30 October 2005 (UTC)
I find the mocking "self-god" characterization a bit ironic, since I've thought the same thing about Europeans, with their long self-indulgent vacations and expensive social welfare programs while people die of starvation and disease in the third world. If they really thought of others and paid more than lip service to the labor theory of value, they would work a bit more and produce some of the wealth so they could help others instead of complaining about the U.S.--Silverback 10:45, 5 November 2005 (UTC)

A side issue: U.S. federalism

BTW, as an American, I'd like to comment on a remark made in passing above: "weapons ban in schools not OK due to interstate commerce". Unlike, say, departments of France, U.S. states have (limited) sovereignty. The Interstate Commerce clause of the U.S. Constitution is one of the few bases on which the federal government may intervene in local matters. They tried to use it as the basis of a federal ban on weapons in schools. The courts, probably correctly, ruled that this was farther than the notion of "interstate commerce" could stretch, and that this was simply not a federal matter. Many, perhaps most, states and localities have laws against weapons in schools. The issue was simply that this was considered not to be a federal matter. -- Jmabel | Talk 03:00, 31 October 2005 (UTC)
What you wrote only serves to strengthen the original accusation that the "anglo-saxon" race are very legalisticly or mechanical thinking. Even if just one child dies because of a lack of school firearm total ban, his/her right to live was taken. Europeans think safety is more important than self-god status, which americans call freedom. You cannot be free without others, because otherwise you are simply alone. Real freedom is to contribute, not to prize yourself above the society.
Apparently, requiring your judges to obey the law is a "lone gunman republican worldwiew", and probably Bodnotbod doesn't recognize the issues above because he's a "blairist british vandal". We gotta assume good faith here, but I don't think this policy page should be a soapbox for insulting countries or cultures. If you have specific frustrations, please do bring them up though! -- SCZenz 09:34, 31 October 2005 (UTC)
Please note, in the US of America judges make the law rather than obey it. US laws are very loosely worded compared to european laws, so judges will tweak its meaning according to their own ideology (and there is only the right in USA, left-wing is practically non-existant). The only difference between US democratic and US convservative SCOTUS members is whether they think the individual is more valuable than the entire society for religious or for secular reasons.
Er, dude? I don't want to say this, bit you sound sort of paranoid. Remember, TINC. This is off topic, anyhow. Why don't you get a blog or something?--Sean|Black 20:38, 2 November 2005 (UTC)

Unfortunately, the judges aren't always consistent... they ruled that the federal government could ban medical marijuana nationwide, even where it applies to pot being grown by an individual for his own consumption, entirely within a state that legalized it, because that could have a tenuous effect on interstate commerce. This one cited a 1940s decision that similarly let the feds regulate farmers growing grain to feed to their own animals. So I wish they would apply the principles of federalism in a consistently legalistic manner. *Dan T.* 17:25, 3 November 2005 (UTC)

the problem of trivia sections

Discussion moved to Wikipedia talk:Trivia#the problem of trivia sections --Francis Schonken 09:43, 11 November 2005 (UTC)

Question about consensus and disambiguation

Say there is an article title, and

  • Over 90% of the general public (outside wikipedia) interpret it to mean subject A
  • but over 90% of the academic community, from all sides of bias concerning the general subject, interpret it to be extremely ambiguous, equally being able to refer to subject B, due to reasons C.

What should the article contain?

  • Only subject A, very briefly mentioning subject B, and reasons C (i.e. only one or two sentences in a very long article on subject A)
  • Subjects A and B in equal measure, with reason C explained
  • A disambiguation page between subject A and subject B
  • A summary article summarising subjects A, and B, with seperate main articles

This concerns talk:Ten Commandments, but my question is asking what the general principle is in Wikipedia when this sort of issue arises? --francis 21:50, 28 October 2005 (UTC)

Well the general rule seems to be "if there is a big consensus, like 90% of the general public interpret an article title the same way, make it an article, if less, make it a disambig page". If the general public and the academic community disagree, there seems to be no consensus and a disambig page would probably be better suited even though the public makes up 90%. What does "Ten Commandments" mean in the academic world, btw? Peter S. 02:11, 29 October 2005 (UTC)
That it is ambiguous, being a reference to both Ritual Decalogue (Exodus 34) as well as Ethical Decalogue (Exodus 20).
Amongst many others, these academics include
--francis 12:35, 29 October 2005 (UTC)

As this discussion pertains to Ten Commandments, I suggest remaining answers are collated there. JFW | T@lk 21:46, 29 October 2005 (UTC)

Uniformity across languages

Not a fan of the infobox

Hi. I'm not a fan of the infobox. I've been creating articles on cities, the ones that were put up automatically in late 2002. The majority of them are the same as when they were first uploaded, but about one in four have some different info as well and I write that in manually. However! I'm not a fan of the infobox at all. I don't see it saving time anywhere, as you still have to write in each section as you would in a basic table, and moreover a lot of them are way too complex.

Check this out: this monster of an infobox (for me). What is this if defined call 1 business? If a web page exists, call 1 and then it gets added? This is way too complex for Wikipedia. Why not just add an extra line to a table if you need it? I keep all the tables from the original article if I can see the code and simply cut and paste it over, but not this. Plus, I heard that our Wikipedia (Ido) doesn't even have some of the software needed for some of the functions - that's what I was told when I asked a question on the helpdesk. Does anyone agree that this is too complex? I don't see an infobox saving anyone any time, least of all me. Unless I am missing something really obvious that would fix everything and make the infobox a marvel of simplicity, but somehow I doubt it. mithridates

On your "monster", US_City_infobox, there should be Usage information on Template talk:US City infobox. (SEWilco 04:07, 28 October 2005 (UTC))

Well thank you for that, but that's exactly the point. People have been going willy-nilly about the talk page discussing how it works when in my opinion we should just have a source code that can be cut and pasted. Don't forget that there seem to be a few dozen people working on that one infobox, but most languages don't have that luxury. I'm sure I'll cave in a bit and make a box for us that works but I love it when the source code is right on the page and I only have to change the language itself. Mithridates 08:58, 28 October 2005 (UTC)

Proposed change to "No Original Research"

I proposed a change to Wikipedia:No Original Research to deal with photos taken and uploaded by Wikipedia editors. See the talk page section here. The gist is: It's OK and doesn't count as unallowed original research, since photos are generally illustrative and do not propose ideas. Thanks - Tempshill 19:05, 27 October 2005 (UTC)

When has it ever come up that a photo is unallowed original research? SchmuckyTheCat 19:41, 27 October 2005 (UTC)
I'll not take the blame for this :), but I'll point you to a discussion where it has been brought up ... Wikipedia:Village pump (proposals)#Writing from personal experience. I've not read the specific proposal, but I think in principle it is ok to put it down as clarification, particularly in this day of tighter copyright vigilence around images. Courtland 20:12, 27 October 2005 (UTC)
It does seem like a no-brainer, but somehow in the current policy page it states that photographs count as original research. This (obvious) proposal clarifies that they aren't. Tempshill 15:35, 28 October 2005 (UTC)

Proposed change to removing personal attacks reference on WP:NPA

Please see Wikipedia_talk:No_personal_attacks#Proposed_edit_of_remedies_re_removal. -- SCZenz 17:44, 27 October 2005 (UTC)

Burning Man, images, GFDL, and unusual image restrictions

We've encountered some unusual issues in regards to image use and the GFDL on Talk:Burning Man. The Burning Man event requires that all attendees agree not to use images they take at the event for commercial purposes.

We are attempting to obtain permission from the Burning Man organization to use some pictures on the page, but they are leery of releasing images under the GFDL. Even reporters and other members of the media, who are given special permission to make commercial use of images they take, must agree to very restrictive uses of those images which are probably incompatible with the GFDL. The discussion is two fold: is there a way to get the BMorg to agree to our use of the images, and if they do not agree what do we do? This is an unusual issue with which I am having some difficulty applying our image policies and may not be an area which has come up in exactly this way before.

Background on the discussion can be found at Talk:Burning Man#Images of/at Burning_Man and Talk:Burning Man#Letter to Bman's Media Team. The most recent updates and ongoing discussion can be found in Talk:Burning Man#Dialogue w/ Burning Man Media Team 2.

Comments from those more experienced in these issues appreciated on that page. Kit 01:54, 27 October 2005 (UTC)

If they do not agree, we delete the images. You say they are available for non-commercial use only: that makes them speedies by decree of Jimbo unless and until agreement is reached. They have the option of releasing them into the public domain, of course, but I don't suppose they'll like that much either. You may be able to rope in someone from the Foundation for assistance. -Splashtalk 01:59, 27 October 2005 (UTC)
Isn't the person who takes the photo the sole holder of the copyright? How can the Burning Man org regulate the copyright under which photos taken by attendees fall under? -Greg Asche (talk) 02:26, 27 October 2005 (UTC)
Using a small number of photos, for which no free alternatives exist, in the context of illustrating the Burning Man article itself would in my judgment qualify for a fair use tag. It is not as good as having a GFDL image, but it allows them to maintain the ownership they desire while asserting our legal right to make limited, educational use of otherwise copyrighted materials. Dragons flight 02:35, 27 October 2005 (UTC)
Someone might take pictures without participating in an agreement, and own the copyright. Are we supposed to enforce an agreement in which we are not participating? (SEWilco 03:01, 27 October 2005 (UTC))
First of all, we are under no legal obligation to enforce an agreement to which we are not a party. If a photo has been legitimately released under the GFDL, we can use the photos however we want, provided we abide by the terms of the GFDL.
The agreement does state "commercial use of all imagery taken at Burning Man is forbidden without express permission". If someone releases photos they have taken at Burning Man under the GFDL, and those photos are subsequently used commercially, the photographer may be in violation of the agreement. Given that, I think it would be wise to advise our users who upload photos from Burning Man and attempt to release them under the GFDL that doing so may be in violation of their contract with Burning Man, and that they should consult their lawyer before doing so. I do not think that Wikipedia and the foundation are at legal risk for using Burning Man photos which have been released by the photographers under the GFDL, so any policy we adopt should not be justified by an argument that using those photos puts us at any legal risk.
The question about the legal risk to the photographers themselves, though, is less clear. Unfortunately, the agreement is poorly worded and so the legal situation is murky. This restriction only prohibits attendees themselves from commercially using imagery taken at Burning Man. Since the agreement is only between Burning Man and the attendee, if taken literally, it cannot really be construed as applying to anyone else. There is a reason that lawyers use lots of verbiage in contracts: so that the status of situations like this are never left vague. If I were them, I would have made it say something like "Attendees shall not themselves use, cause to be used, or allow to be used any imagery taken at Burning Man for any commercial purpose." This would have made clear what they have left vague. If this ever were to go to court, I think the fact that the agreement did not say that would put Burning Man at a serious legal disadvantage. Furthermore, there is a question of whether or not a clause limiting the use of photos in this way would be legally enforceable. In my opinion (and IANAL), Burning Man would lose a case if they tried to sue an attendee who released photos taken at Burning Man under the GFDL.
Now that this has been brought to their attention, I would expect (and hope) next year to see the agreement spell out this restriction more clearly, so that people can make more informed decisions about whether to agree to the contract. However, the question of whether or not such a restriction is legally enforceable remains open. Nohat 09:35, 27 October 2005 (UTC)

Yes, just to clarify: the images are owned by the original copyright holder who took them while attending the Burning Man event; however, attendees technically agreed to not release photos for commercial use without permission of the Burning Man organization's media team. The biggest question is, are we (that is Wikipedia, as I won't be submitting my own images in violation of this) or should we be bound by this restriction?

IMHO I would like to see us abide by the restriction because it shows Wikipedia is a good citizen, but I recognize it might set a very bad precedent.

The second, smaller question is, is it fair to represent the GFDL as potentially protecting against use of images taken at Burning Man in corporate advertisements? This seems to be the major concern of the Burning Man media team, but in my reading of the GFDL if, for example, Coca-Cola were to use an image of Burning Man which had been placed into the GFDL in one of their commercials, they would also have to release the commercial itself into the GFDL. In addition, my understanding is Coca-Cola would also have to somehow either include the entire text of the GFDL in their ads or link to Wikipedia's copy of the GFDL in their ad? Kit 07:56, 27 October 2005 (UTC)

I am the copyright holder of one of the images in question; Image:Neonman.jpg, which had been released under the GFDL. Can I now revoke that somehow and retro-license it under, say, FairUseAndPermission or somesuch? - Ali-oops 08:49, 27 October 2005 (UTC)

If you can't relicense for some reason, as the copyright holder you can license another copy of your image in any way you wish. You can make copies from your original and you can do whatever you want with them. The GFDL only applies to the one version to which the GFDL is attached. (SEWilco 13:32, 27 October 2005 (UTC))
I should point out that "any way you wish" depends upon your wishes, which are affected by your limitations. If you're under a contract that you have to pay (or be paid by) someone $100 whenever you make a copy then this will affect your decisions. (SEWilco 13:44, 27 October 2005 (UTC))
Whilst you can't "relicense" images, what this discussion has shown is that you weren't legally entitled to release it under the GFDL in the first place, so that "license" is meaningless... does that make sense? Tagging it FU - not FUAP, since as we've seen you're not controlling all relevant rights - might be a useful solution in the interim, if you do feel it is fair use in that context. Shimgray | talk | 13:17, 27 October 2005 (UTC)
We don't know the photograph's background. Maybe it was taken through a telescope from outside the area. Maybe the photographer got in without having to agree to anything. Is there a WikiResearch service? But if Wikipedia is not party to an agreement then why is this an issue? Anyone can scribble something, but that does not require everyone to obey it. (SEWilco 13:32, 27 October 2005 (UTC))

People with such photographs might want to consider licensing them with {{Limited Use}}. This permits reuse, including for commercial purposes, but only in connection with a proper encyclopedic article about the subject or in which the subject is referenced. There is also {{Limited Use-person}} for pictures of individual people. That might avoid the problems that the Burning Man agreement was intended to deal with. Whether this would adaquetely protect such a photographer is a legal question, and IANAL, and i haven't even seen the text of the Burning Man photo agreement so i have no useful opnion. DES (talk) 15:46, 27 October 2005 (UTC)

Images and video which are reproductions of an event or performance (especially one occurring on private property) are considered to be derivative works of that performance and hence require the copyright permission of the performers. Examples of this that are often defended are movies and sporting events. I can not just go into a movie theater, video tape the movie, and resell it. That is a clear violation of production company's copyright. Similarly, I can't take photos or video at a sporting event (e.g. a football game) and then go distribute those without the express permission of the authority managing the event (e.g. the NFL). The same rules apply to performance art (especially on private property) though an artist defending their rights in that case is more uncommon.

As a matter of law, if we knowingly allow to be violated the copyright of a third party, then the contributory infringement clause of US copyright law can apply. Which is to say that even though we are not parties to the agreement, if we redistribute content under terms we know to be invalid, then we could be culpable as well.

There are some gray areas here. For example, the copyright would nominally vest in the performers, and without some statement of assignment, it is not obvious that the Burning Man Group has the authority to dictate terms of use. (Maybe such an agreement is part of the permission to attend the event?) So, I would not be sure that Burning Man would win the legal dispute; however, for us there is a simpler solution that avoids the potential problem. In the context, there are very good grounds for fair use and since the only thing we are worried about is the non-commercial clause, no one would have to violate the terms of their agreement if we argue that fair use is our rationale for inclusion. Dragons flight 15:50, 27 October 2005 (UTC)

{{Limited Use}} seems perfect, except that it appears to be up for deletion and not in keeping with Wikipedia's principles, at least according to some. I was under the impression that {{Fair Use}} images are frequently subject to deletion -- am I mistaken on this? Would this not apply to Burning Man images? Kit 10:56, 28 October 2005 (UTC)
{{Fair Use}} images are subject to deletion when they do not qualify as fair use where they are used. Examples
  • "Fair use" image that is not used in any article. There can not be any "fair use" if the image is not used.
  • The image is missing essential information (typically, its source) so that a judgement on fair use can not be made.
  • The image is only used in a context that is clearly not fair use (such as using an album cover with a picture of a dog to illustrate Dog where the album or artists are not under discussion).
So, there have been a number of deletions of "fair use" images where the tag was misused.
--Tabor 19:21, 28 October 2005 (UTC)

Do you think images taken at Burning Man dealing with the event or related topics would qualify as fair use? Kit 19:57, 28 October 2005 (UTC)

I have decided to delete my image, Image:Neonman.jpg - see Wikipedia:Images_and_media_for_deletion/2005_November_4. I've licensed another, remarkably similar image, Image:Neonman2.jpg, which is licensed {{PermissionAndFairUse}} instead of {{gfdl}}. Page updated accordingly! - Ali-oops 22:31, 4 November 2005 (UTC)

Plenty of major commercial publications have run pictures of Burning Man in articles about the event. How do they get around this? -- Jmabel | Talk 02:48, 31 October 2005 (UTC)

Their photographers got permissioin from the Burning Man media team, who object to the images being entered into the GFDL because of the unlimited commercial use clause. i.e., if a picture appeared in Time Magazine the photographer got permission to publish the photos in that magazine, but agreed not to publish it elsewhere such as a stock photography service. The media team is concerned/objects to the way they would no longer control the future uses of images posted to Wikipedia, and how it could, they fear, eventually end up in an advertisement as a consequence. Kit 03:03, 31 October 2005 (UTC)

Proposed changes to arbitration elections and policy

In response to Jimbo's intervention, I've offered a proposal regarding the Arbitration Committee elections, which would affect how the arbitration system works generally. Please direct comments to the linked page. --Michael Snow 04:42, 26 October 2005 (UTC)

Uploading .pdf images


I've been patrolling images the last few days and noticed a few instances of people uploading .pdf files. Image:Turinys.pdf is an example from today. What is the intention of letting people do this? It won't show up as an image in our pages. (And, probably beside the point, it's not really a free format.) Tempshill 22:06, 25 October 2005 (UTC)

It's discussed briefly on Wikipedia:Media. IMO, it's as much an image as Ogg Vorbis recordings are -- it's just an artifact of MediaWiki that file uploads are in the Image namespace. I'd say to treat them case by case like any other content -- complete sources belong on Wikisource, non-free content is a copyvios, things that should be images or wikitext should be converted, and PDFs that function best as PDFs to support articles stay. The usefulness of Image:Turinys.pdf specifically seems questionable given that it is unlinked and Cyrillic, though. — mendel  04:13, 31 October 2005 (UTC)
PDF is essentially just a vector graphics format. If anything it is closer to a pure image than SVG.
As for being an open format, the format is fully published. Is a single company specification really that much different from an industry consortium specification, like HTML.
--David Woolley 23:55, 2 November 2005 (UTC)
From a technical point of view you are right pdf is indeed quite close in concept to a vector graphics format. However it is intended to be used as a way of preserving documents in the "layed out and ready for printing" format. How much we need pdf on wikipedia i'm not sure but it can't really be treated as an image format imo. Plugwash 01:13, 3 November 2005 (UTC)

Listed on IFD. ~~ N (t/c) 02:40, 3 November 2005 (UTC)

Keep rendering wiki-lks with underlining

The traditional and valuable underlining of lks w/in WP (& i presume into sister-projects) has been coming and going, as if someone is working on that code & testing it live. Hopefully that is not proposed as a new standard. If someone prefers it, then it should become a Prefs choice: lks are the lifeblood of WP, and making them less visible is bad not only immediately for users but also for WP in the long run. (I hate to think what the 5-10% of color blind users would do; the blue-vs.-black contrast is low enough for my normal vision.)
--Jerzyt 19:52, 25 October 2005 (UTC)

It's already a preference, under "Misc". It's possible to control the formatting even more finely with one's personal CSS file. I don't see any recent changes to link formatting in any of the MediaWiki skin messages (Monobook.css, Common.css, Cologneblue.css, Amethyst.css, Chick.css, Nostalgia.css, Simple.css, and Standard.css), so it's not clear where (or why) this might have happened. —Charles P. (Mirv) 20:22, 25 October 2005 (UTC)
Some time agor the default prefernce settign for those not logged in, or who have never selected a preference seems to have changed. Thhis has no effect on anyoejn logged in who has a preference specified, as i understanf things. I belive that teh default setting for "Underline links" used to be "always" and it is now "browser default". DES (talk) 20:46, 25 October 2005 (UTC)
_ _ Hmm. I'm confused! Always is set, & i've not tampered with it -- except if changing from classic to mono about a month ago counts -- at least in the last year. I presently have multiple windows open, with an old one showing the underlining & several new ones showing no underlining (and some logically related differences i could describe). I think the first time i noted any lack of underlining was Friday.
_ _ However, i did, a month or two ago, try to change my copy of the CSS (only with regard to background color, which seemed to work while i was previewing it, but not once i saved it!). I'm going to try flipping it on & off with prefs, and reverting to the original CSS in case the change of skin or CSS editing is the culprit. (Or is it worth deleting the CSS after i save the versions off-line?) Additional directions to explore in, if those two fail, continue to be of interest!
_ _ I show Classic under my Skin tab, but not yr "Standard"; is that either a slip of the tongue or the old name?
_ _ (IMO this should be moved to VP (tech) if it goes on much longer.)
--Jerzyt 21:34, 25 October 2005 (UTC)
  • If you have several windows open with different undelrline style on links, check if soem are in a not-logged-in status. (look for the log-in link in the upper right corner, and the absence of a move tab, among other differences). I often find that a particualr browser instance somehow is treted as not-logged-in, and displays links in a non-underlined way. DES (talk) 21:40, 25 October 2005 (UTC)
  • Thank you for your persistence in helping. In answer to these latest suggestions, i have left two open windows (that were refreshed in one case between 19:52 and 20:16, and in the other between 20:22 and 21:34) that show no underlining. Both have "log out" and my username, & thus must be logged in in the eyes of WP. (I.e., i infer those instances presented the cookie at the time they were refreshed, which must be what you mean by "being treated as logged in" IIRC.) All others since i went to Never, then saved, then went back to Always, & saved, have been underlined as before. (There's a minor wrinkle i haven't time now to re-check & describe accurately.) I've also copied the current Monbook.CSS back on top of my personal one, with no discernable effect. (When i try Never or Browser default, i again lose the underlining.) I will try cycling my setting in this way before complaining again, but i'd be grateful for comment on the wrinkle, which i should manage to get described in next 6 hours.
    --Jerzyt 22:33, 25 October 2005 (UTC)
  • There was a time a month or perhaps two ago when I saw the underlining come and go; at the time I interpreted it either as was suggested here (someone tinkering with code) or a load-related problem impacting on access to the MonoBook (default) skin which I have always used here. I haven't seen this happen recently (weeks). Courtland 23:25, 25 October 2005 (UTC)
  • The other symptom that was too murky by then to describe from memory was per my notes a recollection of not seeing any boxes with the link (as opposed to piping) when i hovered the non-underlined lks. "It only happened once, so it didn't really happen." It may be that i hovered long enuf for the underling to show, but moved away too fast for the slightly slower box to show up as it does now. (Also, i don't want to believe in this symptom, as it seems hard to blame on the server, which must have had some kind of involvement with the underlining since cycling the Prefs setting fixed it; by same token, i don't want to believe in having client & server problems coincide. I prefer to believe my observations were careless!) Thanks to all.
    --Jerzyt 08:48, 26 October 2005 (UTC)


Why this pic haven't be deleted ? What are you doing here ? Do you know other projects needs to copy your pics ? We need trust your content, please do something. I don't understand what kind of policy you do. I know other projects needs you to be more grave. Petrusbarbygere 02:28, 25 October 2005 (UTC)

Since the image doesn't meet any of the criteria at WP:CSD, it will have to wait 5 days before it can be removed, given that there are no objections to it's removal at WP:IFD. -Greg Asche (talk) 21:28, 25 October 2005 (UTC)

I've taken off the IFD tag, as I see no reason it should be deleted, and no such reasoning was ever added to the IFD page. ~~ N (t/c) 20:42, 26 October 2005 (UTC)

In the context of an article about Katherine Hepburn, the picture surely qualifies for fair use. Wikipedia is in no trouble here. However, if you copy it and distribute it, you are in the wrong, unless you also have some claim to fair use. To see an image's licensing status, click on the image and read the image's license from the page that opens. Pedant 17:55, 28 October 2005 (UTC)

Fair use and Crown Copyright

Please review Wikipedia:Requests for comment/Crown copyright, a discussion of how Crown Copyright relates to fair use (created by Bearcat). Superm401 | Talk 03:11, 24 October 2005 (UTC)

Articles about Companies

Hi, I noticed that there artciles on larger companies such as "Rolex", "Breitling", etc.

I would like to write a small article about my company, which is not such a huge company. I know the policy states that this is not a place to advertise businesses, and that would not be my sole purpose.

I am wondering what differentiates articles on companies such as Rolex from the type of article I am proposing to write?

Wouldn't it be fair to say that if an article is allowed about 1 company that it should be allowed for all?

I appreciate your support.

Small companies tend to be a pain to verify and there are issues of original reseach. There is also the issue of wether such a topic would be encyopedic.Geni 05:00, 21 October 2005 (UTC)
There are some rough guidelines on this page regarding what corporations and products might be suitable for Wikipedia products. TenOfAllTrades(talk) 05:02, 21 October 2005 (UTC)
"I would like to write a small article about my company, which is not such a huge company."

to avoid problems, I would wait until someone else writes about your company, otherwise it may easily be construed as vanity or advertisement. Also, as you say, it's a small company. Is there some notability which would make it worthy of inclusion in an encyclopedia? Is the information about your company available elsewhere or is it your own original research? Original research, vanity articles and articles that are {or might be reasonably assumed to be) advertisement are generally not allowed by Wikipedia custom and policy. Pedant 17:47, 28 October 2005 (UTC)

I significantly differ in my views from those expressed by User:Pedant. I would say not to hesitate writing about your company here; I work for a multinational that has an article here and I have contributed to it from time to time without feeling that I should recuse myself based on my affiliation. There mere fact that you have asked what you have here indicates that you are aware of the potential for POV and the introduction of trivia, which is far more than I can say for a lot of editors. User:Pedant has pointed you to probably the best place to start. Also, the matter of "original research" should not go so far as to keep you from including personal observations that do not appear in a web or printed resource (this has been recently and vigorously discussed at Wikipedia:Village pump (proposals)#Writing from personal experience). Remember also that there are several levels of writing about a company; perhaps first you would want to determine whether your company exists in the several lists that might contain it; perhaps a full article is not warranted right now but only a mention of something significant in the context of another article. Regards, Courtland 01:02, 30 October 2005 (UTC)

License for userpage images

I recently created an image tagging template, template:userpage-image, for images used on userpages. The template specifies that the images are not "free", in that they may not be used outside userpage space, as fx I want the privacy of deciding who can use my image of myself.

I though this was the obvious way to go, as it seems perfectly reasonable to me. It doesn't matter to Wikipedia's goal of building a free encyclopedia that the images are non-free, as long as they are only used on userspace pages. It is also my impression that I was simply writing down existing practice.

Now template:userpage-image as been put on templates for deletion, and the userpage images which used it has been listed on IFD as non-GFDL images. If this goes through it seems to establish policy that all images in the future must be GFDL. Surprisingly, the consensus so far seems to be delete, though as far as I can see no arguments with merit has been put forth for deletion. So I am asking that people take a look, and hopefully vote keep :). Thue | talk 00:03, 11 October 2005 (UTC)

It's been put up for deletion because it violates about half our rules for images. Among other things, it's effectively a by-permission license (disallowed by Jimbo on May 19), it doesn't allow re-use (same), it does not permit commercial use (same), it violates the rule that all user-owned images uploaded to Wikipedia must be licensed under the GFDL (see the text on the upload page), it violates the principle that this is a free content encyclopedia, and I'm sure there are other policies it violates. --Carnildo 04:17, 11 October 2005 (UTC)
Yes, I am aware that the template clearly violates the literal wording of a number of policies and rules. But those policies were established to make Wikipedia a free encyclopedia, and in no way does allowing non-free images on userpages compromise Wikipedia's basic goal. I think it is fundamentalist thinking to enforce those rules in this case, when the template is clearly not in conflict with the idea behind the policies. See also the policy Wikipedia:Ignore all rules Thue | talk 08:00, 11 October 2005 (UTC)
Just to underscore my argument that non-free userpage images is current practice: Board member User:Anthere of the Wikimedia foundation, which is the controlling body for Wikipedia, uses an unfree image on her userpage (Image:DSCN3334.JPG)... Thue | talk 16:16, 13 October 2005 (UTC)
  • I've floated a couple of proposals for this area on wikien-l, aiming to keep our copyright status clean whilst allowing such restricted images. Comments welcome. Shimgray | talk | 14:11, 11 October 2005 (UTC)
Would it be possible to retain copyright of the image, but claim fair-use on your userpage? --JiFish(Talk/Contrib) 21:10, 11 October 2005 (UTC)
Existing policy is that fair use can only be claimed for article pages; images tagged fair use and not linked from articlespace are considered unused. Policy is then to get rid of them, because we're not a hosting service for copyrighted material - they don't benefit the project just sitting there, and they're actively a legal hazard to keep around. Yes, these caveats don't really apply for userphotos - you're not going to sue wiki for hosting an image you uploaded - but it seems to be currently thought that having no exceptions and thus no ambiguity is better than the small benefit of allowing userphotos. Does that make sense? Shimgray | talk | 01:03, 12 October 2005 (UTC)

I received a message stating to me that images I uploaded (as the author) can not be tagged with a copyright by the Wikipedia Foundation. One particular image titled "Le Marche.JPG" seem to create a problem (see Ariele's talk page for further details). Can someone explain? Ariele 12:58, 28 October 2005 (UTC)

A Question Regarding GFDL Reuse in Other Works.

I am interested in reusing some of Wikipedia's math articles, after modifications, as narrative transcripts for commercial multimedia software products. If a "transparent" copy of the modified narrative transcript document is provided under the GFDL and all compliances are fulfilled (authorship attribution, an transparent original document is provided, etc.), does the rest of the multimedia software product (artwork, recorded narration, music, programming code) fall under "individual works" and thus able to be licensed commercially? Or does it all fall under "derivative works"?

Is it appropriate to "get the vote out"

Here is a question for fellow Wikipedians. I recently had an editing dispute with another editor. In order to resolve the editing dispute, the editor in question set up a poll (so far so good). Then he turns around and cuts and pastes to the pages of a number of different editors a request to edit in this poll; editors he feels will support him. Is this ethical? Is this something a good Wikipedia editor will do to resolve an edit conflict? I feel that he is trying to stack the vote; however "getting the vote out" is a long-standing tradition (this is how the religious conservatives can get people to support Intelligent design on school boards, since normally no one votes for who should be on a school board). Thoughts? Samboy 07:33, 7 November 2005 (UTC)

What, you don't like my "Vote on Wikipedia" lawn sign? (SEWilco 07:37, 7 November 2005 (UTC))
  • This issue was once ArbCom food, see Wikipedia:Requests for arbitration/IZAK. Aggressive "spamming" of talkpages to gather votes is frowned upon. In general, it is accepted to inform users who might be interested in the debate, for example if an article on a Bolivian novel is nominated for deletion, it is definitely not inappropriate to ask the advice of a Bolivian literature expert to give his or her opinion on whether the novel is notable or not. Such notifications should be made with the intention of bringing some good thoughts however, not with the intention of unbalancing the discussion by rallying troops. Sjakkalle (Check!) 07:42, 7 November 2005 (UTC)
Exactly. It depends who you notify. It's probably appropriate to notify all significant contributors to the article in question, or a few people you know are expert in the area, or something like that. It's not appropriate to mass-notify exactly those folks you think will take your side.
In IZAK's defense, I was on his "notify" list, and he and I seldom agreed on genuinely controversial questions. Actually, on Jewish-related topics, you could probably take IZAK and me agreeing as a strong sign of near-unanimity among Jews. -- Jmabel | Talk 08:04, 7 November 2005 (UTC)

Policy on list vs category?

Is there a policy on having a list that is identical to a category? There is a list List of Western Australian towns which has the same meaning (but much less content) than the Category:Towns in Western Australia. My first thought was the list could just be replaced with a redirect to the category and the links fixed, but on further thought the list is simpler to link to in the manner used (in this case) from Western Australia. So it might be better to have both and update the list. Sorry if this is an FAQ, I did look around a bit first. IanBailey 04:23, 7 November 2005 (UTC)

There are guidelines at Wikipedia:Categories, lists, and series boxes. Lists are especially good when not all of the members of the list have articles, and the list article you pointed out still has one red link. This is outside of both the guideline page and your example, but 've also advocated for the use of lists instead of categories when the category is one that is likely to have blurry boundaries and POV concerns, or represents a purely coincidental intersection between two traits or facts. Postdlf 06:58, 7 November 2005 (UTC)

Language Policy Proposal

There is a new language policy proposal at Wikipedia:Language policy. Dass 11:37, 6 November 2005 (UTC)

Hypothetical Future Consensus

There is a new policy proposal at Wikipedia:Hypothetical_Future_Concensus.the1physicist 15:47, 5 November 2005 (UTC)

I have moved comments to the policy's talk page so that any discussion will not be fragmented.the1physicist 20:35, 5 November 2005 (UTC)

"Biblical times"

I've found uses of this phrase in articles as an attempt to give a reference to a particular period in time, sometimes when the subject matter is mentioned in the Bible,[2] sometimes when it's far removed.[3] Not only is the term hopelessly imprecise (even fundamentalist Christians believe this ranges from 4004 BC to shortly after 33 AD), but it also imposes a sectarian view on history and events to classify them by their coincidence with a period described in one holy book (and as it is named by one's never "Torah times," mind you), and I think it does this in a clear way that "BC" and "AD" do not (so let's not beat that dead horse). Google shows 192 uses of the phrase on Wikipedia,[4] some of which may be valid in context (though the imprecision will likely still be a problem), others not. Other than replacing it with "a few thousand years ago," I don't know what else to do with it, so I just wanted to bring attention to the issue so that more knowledgeable people on these subjects can make the specific corrections needed. Postdlf 00:30, 5 November 2005 (UTC)

The phrase "Biblical times" is often used (as in the Falafel link above) as a shorthand for "a few thousand years ago, which we know because the subject matter is referenced in the Bible, particularly the Old Testament, which we are assuming was compiled during that period." It's not a particularly good shorthand, but I'm not certain expanding it will improve anything. Kirill Lokshin 02:53, 5 November 2005 (UTC)
Perhaps, but a Christian colloquialism isn't really appropriate for an encyclopedia, either. Friday (talk) 03:02, 5 November 2005 (UTC)
It's POV and likely to not be understood by quite a few people, so we have to get rid of it. I suggest saying "the Nth millenium BC[E]". ~~ N (t/c) 03:09, 5 November 2005 (UTC)
My feeling is that the usage is not intended to be POV, and intention is rather important in some cases. However, I do think that usage of the term is sufficiently specific in use and sufficiently ambiguous in meaning that it is best to replace with an alternative term. That being said, I think that forbearance should be exercized when considering articles in which the term sits ok in context; for instance, in the context of articles (example possibles) such as Bible or even Archippus, it could be reasonably ok to let usage of the term stand as the term is part of the domain in which the article topics exist. This is a fuzzy-area of editorial license, though, I admit.
P.S. I do recognize that "Nth millenium BC[E]" relies on the same source as "Biblical times" for interpretation and is only less prone to misunderstanding owing to broader usage and more specific meaning; the irony of swapping text-strings while not changing the underlying semantics is not lost on me :)
Regards, Courtland 15:24, 5 November 2005 (UTC)

A Question Regarding GFDL Reuse in Other Works.

I am interested in reusing some of Wikipedia's math articles, after modifications, as narrative transcripts for commercial multimedia software products. If a "transparent" copy of the modified narrative transcript document is provided under the GFDL and all compliances are fulfilled (authorship attribution, an transparent original document is provided, etc.), does the rest of the multimedia software product (artwork, recorded narration, music, programming code) fall under "individual works" and thus able to be licensed commercially? Or does it all fall under "derivative works"?

Preview Copyright issue

Is there a Wikipedia policy on whether previews are licensed under the GFDL? I don't think it should ever be an issue, but I was curious. Taken very literally, the text below the editing box, "All edits are released under the GFDL", would imply so? What do people think? Superm401 | Talk 21:59, 4 November 2005 (UTC)

Well, (a) it's not an "edit" until you save it, and (b) nobody knows what you preview, so I should think not. ~~ N (t/c) 00:27, 5 November 2005 (UTC)

NOR policy update needed

I think that photos, which are intended to make a specific point, should not be uploaded to Wikipedia unless they have been previously published by a disinterested, reputable 3rd party., weblogs, partisan political web sites (dailykos, freerepublic, etc) and such are not acceptable, but commercial news organizations and commericial publishers and to a lesser extent, non-profits would be ok. There is simply too much opportunity out there to stage photos, for example:

Supporters of Candidate A take Candidate B's signs and make a big mess in a parking lot with them and leave also a lot of trash like water bottles and sandwich wrappers.... the Wiki caption for this reads, "trash left behind after local rally for B".

Clearly it's a staged photo intended to make a point. If the control parameter of "intended to make a point" is not enforced, the excuse regarding the above scenario would be "I found the trash & signs in the parking lot and merely snapped the photo". Such assertions could not be disproved, opening a pandora's box of scheming opporunities.

Rex071404 06:27, 31 October 2005 (UTC)

How does one define "intent" and "make a specific point"?

One does not need to "define intent". Rather one only needs to make clear that a photo can be not will be, but can be deemed an NOR violation if it's obvious the intent is to "make a specific point", see my hypothetical example (above) or this actual photo, which caused an actual edit dispute at John Kerry and which was a personally produced, primary source created by the Wikipedian who uploaded it.

You wouldn't deny that this particular photo is "intended to make a point" would you?

Here is another hypothetical: Around where I live, there are many Mennonite families, all of which (that I know of) have "Bible verse" signs in front of their homes. A safe photo to show as an example of one of those would be when there is a non-confrontational verse such as "Honor your father and your mother" (10 commandments, #5) displayed. However, a photo of a Mennonite family sign with the verse saying "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3:16) might not be. Or what about "I am the way the truth and the life, no man comes unto the Father except by means of me" (John.14:6)? This would clearly be "intended to make a point" and a very controversial one at that!

Rex071404 07:49, 31 October 2005 (UTC)

Images don't make points by themselves. They only make points if they're put wrongly into articles. For example the "private support for JK election" really only illustrates that someone, somewhere supports John Kerry—if there were a problem, it would be where it was included in an article and how it was captioned. -- SCZenz 08:02, 31 October 2005 (UTC)

It's true that only when they are put into articles can they be objected to (on any basis). Even so, a photo with an explicit text or other loaded message which is intended to make a specific point and which was created by the Wikipedian who uploaded it, certainly is fraught with risk (see above). If the NOR policy is not made more expansive to address this point, more finagling can sneak in (see above). Rex071404 08:13, 31 October 2005 (UTC)

Pictures illustrate articles, I don't think they prove their content except for what they explicitly show. Thus, if there was no reputable source that covered a particularly egregious trash-leaving at a rally, you couldn't cite it and therefore you couldn't put in a picture to illustrate it. Since the trash business only shows there was some trash lying around somewhere, without other citation it wouldn't be appropriate to put in any article except trash. Even if the picture showed it was at the site of the rally, it doesn't illustrate anything relevant about the rally without the citation. -- SCZenz 08:17, 31 October 2005 (UTC)

You miss the point, if loaded photos such as that are allowed to get uploaded/used by Wikipedians who create them, then an arms race of loaded photos can start. Poltical related pages are contentious enough without letting sneaky editors cheat to get biased/loaded/POV photos -which they created- into the articles. Read Talk:John Kerry and also the edit history for John Kerry to see how that photo was actually defended! Rex071404 08:24, 31 October 2005 (UTC)

Actually, I think you may be missing my point, so I'll be clear. There's no problem with images being uploaded, because Wikipedia isn't an image repository; there's only NPOV problems with how they're used. If we did have some way to deleting "inherently POV" images, it would only move the debate from the argument about using the picture in the article to the argument at the image deletion. I fail to see how this would help anything. -- SCZenz 08:53, 31 October 2005 (UTC)
To clarify "there's no problem with images being uploaded," what I meant is that we don't gaurentee the quality of our images to anyone, we only try to gaurentee the quality of our articles. -- SCZenz 09:01, 31 October 2005 (UTC)

I don't want problem images (of the type I refer to above) deleted. Rather, I want a clear NOR basis for objecting to them in articles. Rex071404 09:10, 31 October 2005 (UTC)

I think you already have basis to object. I don't think pictures can be used to illustrate something they don't show clearly. And I don't think they ought to be used to illustrate something that isn't significant to the article and cited—but you will need consensus to decide what's significant to the article, and there's no way around that. -- SCZenz 09:24, 31 October 2005 (UTC)
The kind of general ban on Wikipedians' photos that Rex wants would clearly be wrong. There's no NOR problem unless the photo is offered to prove a point about which there's a good-faith dispute. No one is denying that Kerry had some supporters in Arizona or that some Mennonites quote the Bible. Such photos are merely illustrative. On the other hand, if an editor were to offer a photograph of a house displaying a sign that read, "All hail Satan, praise the Dark Lord," and wanted to label it as a photo of a typical Mennonite house, that would obviously be unacceptable. Among the actual examples Rex cites, though, I don't see a problem. A photo of a sign quoting John 14:6 doesn't make the point that Jesus is the only path to salvation; it makes the point that there's somebody who lives in a house and who believes that and who cares enough to put up a sign. Reporting an opinion is acceptable under NPOV. For a non-hypothetical example, this photo by a Wikipedian shows a stained-glass window in which Jesus is depicted with a halo. The photo doesn't assert that Jesus is divine, but only that the monks at Buckfast Abbey believe he is. JamesMLane 12:56, 31 October 2005 (UTC)

Your example with "stained glass" has no text on a sign, which is part and parcel of my concern. As for John 14:6, there are many editors on this wiki who 100% reject that message and would be offended at it. Original research photographs must be innocuous and one which did this (see next), would not be:

Supporters of Candidate A take Candidate B's signs and make a big mess in a parking lot with them and leave also a lot of trash like water bottles and sandwich wrappers.... the Wiki caption for this reads, "trash left behind after local rally for B".

Allowing editors to argue viewpoints via the proof of photos which they themselves supply, is indeed unacceptable.

Rex071404 13:44, 31 October 2005 (UTC)

Y'all are trying to create a new policy where one isn't needed. All of this falls under Wikipedia:Verifiability. If a credible source hasn't identified or reported on the subject of the photograph, then any caption beyond "This is a pile of trash someone took a picture of" is unverifiable. TenOfAllTrades(talk) 14:46, 31 October 2005 (UTC)
I'm not a Christian, but I'm not even slightly offended by Christians believing in John 14:6. They're entitled to their point of view. So, if I see Mennonites quoting the bible, I go "Yep, they're Christians, and they like to put up quotes from the bible," which is what the picture was supposed to illustrate, yes? I also fail to see an important difference between images containing text and those that don't. Symbols can "make points" too, and you seem to think for some reason that text in an image "makes the point" that the text is true. -- SCZenz 17:42, 31 October 2005 (UTC)

What about the example of the staged candidate A & B? Rex071404 22:31, 31 October 2005 (UTC)

Documenting an alleged trash-leaving without a reputable source having mentioned it would be inappropriate, and I think you can make a solid argument that a picture someone took doesn't count. Also, WP:AGF and common sense both imply that Wikipedians have better things to do than staging pictures to discredit politicians they agree with. -- SCZenz 07:12, 1 November 2005 (UTC)
The Kerry "bra" photo I objected to was not intended to "discredit" Kerry, but to "hype" him. Using an invalid photo for either reason is not acceptable. Rex071404 00:14, 5 November 2005 (UTC)
My comment, as indicated by the indentation, was written to address the "example of the staged candidate A & B". I think it's hyping and discrediting candidates that's not allowed, as it volates WP:NPOV, whether it's done with or without an image. -- SCZenz 00:20, 5 November 2005 (UTC)

Image licenses

After reading this on UninvitedCompany's user talk,

Wikipedia no longer permits combinations of the CC licenses that include the NC or ND clauses, because they hinder reuse. They have been discouraged for some time and have been prohibited for new images since May. If you are able to have the files relicensed under CC-BY-SA or GFDL you can re-upload them. The Uninvited Co., Inc. 01:39, 13 October 2005 (UTC)

I came up with an idea. At least in my case (probably others too), a lot of the pictures I want to put up are mainly for my user page, or to show others something that I need help identifying. The ones I would put on my user page are the ones that I would most want to have NC or ND clauses, so the obvious answer is to allow such clauses, but only allow those pictures to be displayed on user pages. Can I get some feedback on this idea? CanadaGirl 02:43, 16 October 2005 (UTC)

All images on Wikipedia must be under a free license. Free content is a foundation issue for Wikipedia. Non-commercial images uploaded after May 2005 can be speedied. Different licensing for user-pages is not an option. Superm401 | Talk 07:36, 16 October 2005 (UTC)
If a NC image adds value to an article and cannot easily be replaced with a free image, then it should stay until a suitable replacement can be found or better licensing terms can be obtained. I find it deeply offensive, having been asked to remove content in the French wikipedia with no other explanation than "Jimbo said so". Finally coming across the explanation above, I find its ideological purity grating and ham-handed, when it results in the exclusion of content that enhances the educational value of Wikipedia. I thought education was a "foundation issue" for Wikipedia, too. Maybe I'm just too naive. Wouldn't want to stand in the way of freedom of commerce, would we now. God knows there isn't enough of _that_. --Girouette 03:35, 17 October 2005 (UTC)
Perhaps actually reading Meta:Foundation issues might help. It is not a question of impeding freedom of commerce, really. It is a question of impeding freedom. Any non-commercial image is one that can't be distributed to our mirrors. Any non-commercial image is one that can't ever be published as a hard copy, because those publications would inevitably have to charge at least a nominal fee. For maximal freedom in the sense of liberty, not price, we have the NC rule. If you have a problem with Jimbo's authority on the Wikimedia projects, you have the right to leave. I don't recommend it, but it's an option. Even better, if you left, you could take our content with you. That's the power of freedom. Superm401 | Talk 05:32, 17 October 2005 (UTC)
OK, so I read the Foundation issues page. Actually, I did read it a while back, when I did not feel so directly concerned. "Jimbo said so" is indeed a perfectly sufficient explanation in this corner of the universe. With all the talk about the power of freedom, you'll forgive me if I momentarily forgot the bit about supreme authority being in the hands of one man. I will therefore remove the offending content (and only that ; everything else, I freely donated and will not take back). -- 12:21, 17 October 2005 (UTC)

Is you advice to request a relicense to GFDL of any pictures uploaded "By Permission" (like Comet picture) from the copyright owner? I had used an old "standard form" email to ask for this permission, and now it seems this is no longer "allowed". Or might it be enough to dig out the email exchange with the owner? Awolf002 14:02, 26 October 2005 (UTC)

Yes, those photos should be relicensed. You can still use the template letters at Wikipedia:Boilerplate requests for permission. Superm401 | Talk 18:25, 6 November 2005 (UTC)

(open and transparent) vs (cute and irreverent)

Cute and irreverent was workable when wikipedia was smaller, but now Wikipedia:Ignore all rules and "Wikipedia is not a beaurocracy" must go. These have created a gunslinger and territorial attitude among the admins, too many think they know better than the rules. Rules are not the enemy. Rules are a means to make the process appear open and fair. They are there for all to see. wikipedia is doing itself a disservice if it doesn't take advantage of the power of a rules based process, and a further disservice, if it pretends to have a rules based process and then thoroughly ignores it. The perception of unfairness and arbitraryness is already prevalent and increasing in the user community. Admin discretion should be reduced and more clearly defined, and abuses quikly addressed and not tolerated out of deference. We don't need a lot more rules, in fact, ideally we would seek some minimal, workable set. But we need a lot less discretion, and a lot more openness and tranparency. The rules should be viewed as protection by the admin community. They don't have to be viewed as unfair, or the enemy if they just follow the rules and are subject to the rules themselves. Because Wikipedia:Ignore all rules is so cute and irreverent and so many people will remain nostaligic about it, perhaps it should not be deleted, but instead move into wikipedia's historical gallery.--Silverback 23:11, 10 November 2005 (UTC)

The actual problem is that people are making up pages willy nilly, and then stamping "these iz da rulez" (yes, including bad spelling at times!) on those pages, for no sane reason that I can discern (well, except to make themselves feel important, or perhaps to win at wikinomic! ;-) ) . Most of the actual wiki rules are enforced by software. This is something a lot of people can't quite wrap their heads around. Hence the proliferation of yet even more "rules" pages. All the while, the actual rules are quite different. :-/

I agree that this situation isn't entirely optimal. I'm sort of seeking some round tuits to work it out, it's a big job!

In the mean time, if you pretend that the wikipedia rules are "ignore all rules (as long as you're writing an encyclopedia)", "don't be a dick (instead be nice)" and "Always present a neutral point of view", you probably won't get into too much trouble. More detailed guidelines on how to stay out of trouble can be found at Wikipedia:Simplified ruleset.

If you DO get in trouble , even when following the latter set of guidelines, please contact me immediately, so I can sort out what's going on.

Kim Bruning 23:56, 10 November 2005 (UTC)

My point was more about how admins can stay out of trouble than users. There is going to be a continuing need for admins because there are going to be content disputes and vandals. Wikipedia needs the appearance (and preferably even the reality) of neutral admins. Rules that that all can see, and admins that can be seen to follow rules will leave little room for for criticism of the admins other than perhaps the suspicion of collusion with one of the parties, which usually cannot go very far without evidence. If the persons still feel treated unfairly, their issue is with the rules not the admins.--Silverback 00:09, 11 November 2005 (UTC)
  • Let's see some less allegations, and some more evidence. And please read the triad Kim referred to, as well as WP:NOT. In particular, the section on what the community is not (democracy/anarchy/bureaucracy). Radiant_>|< 00:17, 11 November 2005 (UTC)
    • I have read those, that is why I proposed the above changes. Some evidence is starting to be added to [5], where there is a section set aside for other reports. Note also, the Wikipedia:ombudsman page, that is an alternative proposal in response to the admin issues. --Silverback 00:28, 11 November 2005 (UTC)
      • There's no evidence there, it's just a matter of you and Rangerdude misunderstanding our policy, as has been pointed out by several respondents. Also, accusing Kelly Martin for not blocking someone is ludicrous. No policy could ever force her to block anyone. Radiant_>|< 10:12, 11 November 2005 (UTC)

sand box-

I am getting this error today only. Not able to do tests in sand box. Why? How to do test edit now please?? VERY URGENT.

This page is protected and can only be edited by administrators

--Dore chakravarty 20:47, 10 November 2005 (UTC)

  • It seems like they've had a problem with a bot repeatedly vandalizing it; I don't know why they can't block the bot. Luckily, there are other sandboxes. Try out your test in Wikipedia:Tutorial (Editing)/sandbox. Also, it is reasonable to make a test page in your user space, such as User:Dore chakravarty/Test. rspeer 21:06, 10 November 2005 (UTC)

Webpage screenshots

I've noticed most articles where a screenshots of a webpage is used usually show the user's full screen including the browser window and any taskbars, showing what apps the user taking the screenshot is running. I suspect a lot of people think uploading screenshots is a chance to show off the themes and apps they may be running. I don't think these things are ever relevant to the subject and I think it should be policy that before uploading a screenshot of a webpage the user edits the image so only the webpage is visible.


[6] [7] - This is on the Gmail page and even mentions the browser and OS used, how is this relevant?

Ratify 17:30, 9 November 2005 (UTC)

just download the images onto your hardrive cut of the excess and reupload.Geni 23:11, 9 November 2005 (UTC)
I agree that this sounds like a good policy idea. The view of the web site should be the web site itself and not include an image of the browser or surrounding desktop cruft. — Stevie is the man! Talk | Work 22:09, 10 November 2005 (UTC)

Are naming conventions guidlines or policy?

See Wikipedia talk:Naming conventions#Guidelines or policy? --Steve block talk 11:28, 9 November 2005 (UTC)

Zondor's navigational box for Naming Conventions guidelines

See: Wikipedia talk:Naming conventions#Zondor's template --Francis Schonken 08:38, 9 November 2005 (UTC)

Personal attacks on user pages

On Wikipedia talk: User page#Personal attacks on Wikipedia pages I have brought up a question: should personal attacks or lists of "bad" users be allowed on User pages? Kit 05:26, 9 November 2005 (UTC)

Generally, no, because WP:NPA and WP:CIVIL apply to user pages just as much as they apply to discussion pages.--Sean|Black 05:36, 9 November 2005 (UTC)

But should there be a specific acknowledgement of this on Wikipedia:User page?

Main Categories as Portals??

The Main categories of Wikipedia (which are in the Template:Eight portals links on the main page) as well as many major Categories such as Category:Philosophy have a layout similar to that of Portals and are reader-oriented. The namespace "Portals" was created recently and is meant exactly for that kind of cases: The "Portal" part of those categories should be made actual Portals on the appropriate namespace.

I think it should now be made a policy (or at least a guideline) that Categories stay categories (pretty much like disambiguation pages should have no other material than the links to the things it disambiguates to) and the Portal material be moved to an appropriate Portal page on the good namespace.

On second thoughts, I'm putting this discussion in Wikipedia talk:Wikiportal, but I thought I'd leave this here as a notice for potentially interested people. Jules LT 00:16, 9 November 2005 (UTC)

thumbnail sizes

Is it possible to program mediawiki to display thumbnails based upon the current resolution of the display they are being displayed upon? I often see edit-wars of people changing the "px"'s of images, and I think the ideal solution of for it to be dependant on the size of the browser window/resolution instead. --Rebroad 10:24, 8 November 2005 (UTC)

or up to user preferences... I favour that idea too. But some pictures do not suit thumbnailing below a certain size... jnothman talk 12:20, 8 November 2005 (UTC)
You can set it in the preferences. I would say, respecting the user settings is usually better than specifying "px".--Patrick 01:19, 9 November 2005 (UTC)
One problem is that images are often a vanity item, so contributors like to have their snapshots large. I added a second image to the page for a tourist city. The first image was quite large. I was very good and selected only my best image for the place, and on an aspect not covered by the first image, and deliberately left it at default thumbnail size. Within hours an anonymous user, in one uncommented edit, reverted my image and then added four or five, much larger images (probably their own, although the one I checked was uploaded by a named user). This was followed by an essentially null edit that said adding pictures. (I added mine back and so far it has stayed - in my view it is better than the big one on the same basic basic theme, which I left.) My conclusion was that the person thought they owned the image loading rights for that place and wanted them many and large. (No links to part-protect the guilty.) --David Woolley 18:11, 9 November 2005 (UTC)

Science & admin powers

I'm not sure what progress has been made towards establishing a notion of "expert" user, but I have a more limited suggestion:

Articles covering scientific topics should be expected to conform to a reasonably high level of accuracy, which is well above the abilities of most wikipedia admins to adjudicate. We could have a "science" tag which granted page-local admin powers to "science admins", and revoked the page-local admin powers of ordinary admins. Of course, any admin or science admin, or even any user, could add or remove the science tag itself, but its serves as an objective "territory marker". One could even imagine asking the various organizations like the National Academy of Science or the Royal Society for a "confidence vote" in the current wikipedia leaderships ability to appoint the science admins, if wikipedia ever got a noconfidence vote, it would need to reevaluate its choices, but it would generally be a nice source of validation to the whole project.

More generally, we could consider moving to a system where no one has both the power to lock a page, and the power to ban a user. Admins would have the power to block users, and preform other sensitive actions which were non-page-local, but they would not have special page-local powers, like the ability to lock specific pages. Instead this power would be granted only to "expert users" in specific categories. Admins & expert users would take requests from each other seriously, but seperating the powers would improve oversight of discussions where there is a need for real knowedge. Of course, you would probably leave the admins page-local powers over pages which didn't fall into any category with expert users (like pages about internet phenomenon).

We should also have a cleaner system for claiming a qualification, such as a PhD studentship, having a PhD, Full Professorship, Medical Doctorate, Law degree, Judgeship, CEO of a Corperation, etc. I'd envision one page describing the wiki text needed to embed the fancy form of such qualifications, plus a category of admins capable of adjudicating claims about them, if it ever comes up.

Thoughts? - Jeff 09:25, 8 November 2005 (UTC)

Its, in principle, a great idea to divide the diffrent admin powers among multiple groups. Its just true that people have diffrent interests. Many admin incited problems are the result of admins drifting away from their core interests. However, your suggestion might make some necissary admin solutions "less elegant". Specifically, you don't seem to want to allow your "science admins" to ban people from editing science pages, so are they just supposed to lock the whole page to stop all conflicts?

Maybe one should just try the following: adminship should come with an area of expertise, and admin status will be revoked for using them outside of that area. The explination box for admin actions could have a dropdown listing the "category" into which the action fell. Admins would be required to honestly report the "category" of the effected pages. If they were not considered an expert in that area, then the action would be queued for one who was an expert to approve.

New Guideline

Please check out the new guideline Wikipedia:POV fork. --Ben 05:39, 8 November 2005 (UTC)

I added a "mergeto" wikipedia:content forking template to that one --Francis Schonken 08:24, 8 November 2005 (UTC)

Sport results and cricket matches oh my!

There are two centralized discussions being held on whether specific sport results, such as cricket matches, should belong on Wikipedia. For sport results in general, please see: Wikipedia:Centralized discussion/Sports results. Currently, a large number of cricket match articles have been nominated for deletion. That discussion is being held here: Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Cricket matches articles. --AllyUnion (talk) 05:32, 8 November 2005 (UTC)

See also Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/List of results of the England national rugby league team. User:Zoe|(talk) 05:35, 8 November 2005 (UTC)

Age of the Earth

The see also blurb at the beginning of the article says other views on the age of the earth are "non-scientific". While that is true, User:Ergbert would like to see it removed, and it got me thinking perhaps at least within the context redirecting to another article should be sympathetic to the article its sending the reader to. Besides Age of the Earth makes clear what view is held by science. Just wondering if this is a good or bad philosophy for redirecting readers. Feedback on general sympathetic tone of redirects welcome here, but I'd prefer views on the Age of the Earth issue to go on its talk page. Thanks. - RoyBoy 800 21:41, 7 November 2005 (UTC)

I don't usually side with creationists, but If a "disambiguation" section at the beginning of an article cannot be phrased neutrally, the subject matter should have its own section or paragraph of the article where various sides of the issue can be briefly summarized, with a link to the full article. I don't think anything at all controversial can be put in such headers. COGDEN 02:37, 8 November 2005 (UTC)
Non-scientific is NPOV, keep it. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) - diff

An RfC on the admistrator culture of abuse

I have initiated an RfC based on a recent incident, about the administrator culture of abuse[8]. I also address there objection to the mocking use of m:The wrong version. Please assist me in making this RfC production.--Silverback 07:28, 5 November 2005 (UTC)

The RfC in question makes reference to policy but makes no policy proposals; rather it is presented as evidence of poor behavior in the admin-culture. Legislation of behavior is not something that is possible to do in an enforceable manner; rather legislation of punitive actions to be taken given circumstance X, Y, or Z are the best society has come up with (yet). This request for input from the person who launched the RfC would belong here if, in fact, any suggestions as to policy changes or additions were made at all within the multiple threads around it; rather, th main gist of the threads are to achieve specific ends which include a) specific alteration of article content (based on version), b) specific punitive action against specific admins, and b) admission of persons in the admin culture that they have a problem. None of these contribute to the aims of this page .. but I refrain from removing this item in favor of a "second" to that vote. Regards, Courtland 15:03, 5 November 2005 (UTC)
The new policy would be "follow the policy". Without a culture that supports following the policy, other policy changes are meaning less. The culture would change quickly if there were some minimal threshold of administrators who were willing to step in and correct policy violations, but even in the blatant example I gave, the whistleblowere (me), was attacked and mocked. A few admins need to be "convicted" of their duty to act.--Silverback 01:57, 6 November 2005 (UTC)
Maybe an irrelevant aside that just bloats the page here, but one of the reasons I've not pursued nor accepted suggestions that I should pursue adminship is that I don't want to be sucked into the culture of power that is promulgated by a minority and sours the taste for many. I would rather work from within the user-based system than allow my frustration to draw me into the acquisition and exercise of powers that, frankly, really very very few of us need. Courtland 04:13, 6 November 2005 (UTC)

Policy proposal to correct the admin culture: Admin's first!

I propose a policy where there is a separate section on the pages where violations are reported, to report violations by admins whether they involve use of admin or just user powers (such as a 3RR violation). The policy shall be that these admin violations are handled first, requiring a higher and less forgiving adherance to the standards than mere user violations. The only admin enforcement which takes higher priority than processing violations by admins would be ongoing vandalism.--Silverback 03:50, 6 November 2005 (UTC)

You can use the admin's noticeboard for that.--Sean|Black 04:01, 6 November 2005 (UTC)
  • The RfC process is too slow and laborious. The admin's noticeboard would work if the culture supports it and is responsive rather than deferential to other admins. Perhaps there needs to be a push to change the culture, if a subset of admins would agree to create a "Harmonious adminship club", the purpose of which is to create harmony in the community by showing that admins are as subject to the rules as anybody else, in fact held to a higher standard. They would pledge to apply strict scrutiny to reports of admin violations, so that they are responded to more quickly than ordinary 3RR and page protection reports.--Silverback 04:22, 6 November 2005 (UTC)
Can you show that issues involveing admins are delt with less quicky?Geni 18:29, 7 November 2005 (UTC)
I can show you that they quite often are not dealt with at all.--Silverback 22:57, 10 November 2005 (UTC)
  • Please do so, as long as it's not about that communism article again. I will not stand for admin abuse, however neither will I stand for unsubstantiated allegations, and I believe I already pointed out that abuse does not mean what you think it does. If you have evidence, let's see it. Radiant_>|< 00:13, 11 November 2005 (UTC)

Uncertain copy vio

What do we do for pages or images that we think (a hunch) may be copyvios but we don't have a good reason to so believe? Equally what about images where the copyright statement seems incomplete or wrong? Eg Image:Unis.jpg which has {{{1}}} in the box and "it is use for non-comercial purposes at the Wikipedia site." outside the box. ?? SGBailey 12:17, 4 November 2005 (UTC)

I would say you need to tag it as {{PUIdisputed}} and follow the procedure described for that template. The {{{1}}} is almost certainly a case of putting the caveat in the wrong place, and the caveat is a no commercial use one, but the template allows commercial use. Also it seems to restrict to just the Wikipedia site, which would seem to disallow mirrors.
--David Woolley 14:55, 4 November 2005 (UTC)
Thanks - That is what I wanted. Except it requires multiple page edits to achieve and, due to the response time of Wikipedia, I cannot guarantee to do all the multi-stage edits required for any wiki process. Generally I'll do the one flaging the page itself. Whether I do the others depends on whim at the time. -- SGBailey 17:06, 4 November 2005 (UTC)
Since you seem to want our advice, but can't be bothered to act on it once it is give, I have listed it under PUI and contacted the uploader. -Greg Asche (talk) 06:04, 5 November 2005 (UTC)
Thank you for doing that. I can't say I really appreciated the cynical put me down though. The reason behind statements such as that is that editing wikipedia remains a slow and uncertain business and there is no guarantee that a set on 3 or 4 edits to mark a page, warn a user, write a new reason page and list a page on a control list is either (a) achieveable in a viable time (say under 5 minutes) or (b) accurate - errors are likely. Yet again I say that with all the various page markings (eg AfD) what I would like to me able to do is to mark the page as needing "such_and_such" a type of attention in a simple, one edit way. Greetings on this firework bedazzled Guy Fawkes Day evening in the UK. -- SGBailey 20:52, 5 November 2005 (UTC)
I apologize for my comment, wikipedia wasn't really running slowly for me and I got it taken care of, no big deal. -Greg Asche (talk) 21:02, 5 November 2005 (UTC)
No problem & thanks. However I do wish to hark on about just how slow wikipedia is. I have broadband access and virtually every other web page loads in a few seconds. A wikipedia page frequently takes over a minute to load and over a minute to save. When you combine this with Save Page failing into a Save Preview it gets so frustrating. Wikipedia needs to have ways of marking a page as in need of attention in just one edit, all the rest must be optional extras for the system to be viable. -- SGBailey 11:11, 7 November 2005 (UTC)
Yep, me too. It generally runs like a slug, server timeouts are frequent, and even when things are "good" a typical page load is only as good as 10 seconds or so. Have the fundraising takings got us any new servers yet? -- 08:06, 8 November 2005 (UTC)

How to split an article and preserve edit history

When I split text off from an article onto a separate page, how do I preserve the edit history in a way that meets GFDL requirements? The answer I was given on the Help Desk said to ignore the license requirements and just write "text copied from Foo article" on the edit summary. But that sounds dubious, and I wanted to check with people before I added that information to Wikipedia:How to rename (move) a page or Wikipedia:How to break up a page. -- Creidieki 21:13, 15 November 2005 (UTC)

There isn't really a way (AFAIK) to split specific edits off like that. Just add the notice saying you copied the text. -Greg Asche (talk) 21:37, 15 November 2005 (UTC)

I believe part of the theory is that the edit History will still be available at the other article, so as long as you leave a link to it, it's probably technically enough. However, I have seen some people go further (perhaps in case the source article gets deleted for some reason), and paste the source article's history (upto that point) in the Talk page of the split-off article. On the otherhand, copyright stuff is NOT one of my specialties, so hopefully someone more versed in that can provide any further clarifications necessary. (And I also believe histories can be merged, but not split.) Waterguy 23:46, 16 November 2005 (UTC)

Use lowercase for template parameter names

I suggest adoption of a standard that all template parameter names be lowercase. See Wikipedia_talk:Template namespace#Standard for lowercase parameter_names. (SEWilco 16:30, 15 November 2005 (UTC))

Proposal to modify WP:NOT an image gallery

The nomination of Gallery of Socialist Realism for deletion (AfD) has lead me to propose changing the policy that WP:NOT an image gallery as it relates to galleries of art and similar topics. Please comment on the proposal at Wikipedia talk:What Wikipedia is not#Proposal to modify WP:NOT an image gallery. Dsmdgold 05:46, 15 November 2005 (UTC)


The Christian Classics Ethereal Library exists as high quality resource for learning about many topics to do with Christianity. It describes itself as "Classic Christian books in electronic format". I am not affiliated with them, however I would like to ask whether we could add links to various authors found in the following list. Would anyone have any concerns? It would strictly go into either the "Further reading" section, or into the "External links" section. - Ta bu shi da yu 07:45, 14 November 2005 (UTC)

I don't see a big problem. However, after looking at the link for Albert the Great, I notice that it takes you to page which is itself litle more that a web directory with only three outbound links, one of which is back to the Wikipedia article. I also see that they have the text of a PD translation of one of his works, which I think would be a great link. Dsmdgold 08:47, 14 November 2005 (UTC)
OK, I'll start doing this soon, if no-one further objects! - Ta bu shi da yu 07:12, 15 November 2005 (UTC)

Forms of Address

In adition to the current policy on article naming for biographical articles, it would be very usefull if we had some good guidelines on how to handle the correct forms of address. A quick reference for people to know what honorifics and Post-nominal letters are, and how they should be handled within an article. And how to handle cases where claims to these are disputed or unclear, which often causes edit wars.

Debrett's provide a usefull online guide [9] that might be used as an external reference. --John R. Barberio talk, contribs 05:19, 14 November 2005 (UTC)

RfC - layout of bibliographies, discographies, filmographies

i added an RfC asking for feedback/input on the proposed Guidelines for the layout of Bibliographies, Filmographies, and Discographies at this page: Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style (lists of works)#Basic information, and ordering thereof. The principle question: In what order should basic list item info be put (title, year, isbn, notes), and with or without brackets for years/isbns? Here are some examples (Only 1 response in a week, so duplicating the request here.) --Quiddity 03:54, 14 November 2005 (UTC)

Deletion Reform

I'm hoping to propose the pure wiki deletion system as a new deletion policy, but first want to get as much feedback as possible in order to consider any objections. The official discussion of deletion reform has been ongoing for three months, and pure-wiki deletion seems to have garnered the most support. Please check out the project page and post any comments on the talk page. —JwandersTalk 21:52, 13 November 2005 (UTC)

we tried an admin only version of this recently. I was not fun.Geni 04:06, 14 November 2005 (UTC)
Of course. Anyone who opposes WP:PWDS is clearly not fun.  ;-) So, where can we read about this thing that was tried? I'm not sure how something admin-only could be very close to PWDS, but I want to know more about it. Friday (talk) 22:59, 14 November 2005 (UTC)

Interlanguage links order

While there have been an informal poll about the desired language order of multilingual lists, with the result of an alphabetical order based on two letter code, no policies have been set up. Why? There should be a consensus on that idea. CG 12:46, 13 November 2005 (UTC)

Because that poll doesn't show a consensus to change the tens of thousands of articles which use the current system (alphabet based on local language). See also Wikipedia:How to create policy. Physchim62 (talk) 13:01, 13 November 2005 (UTC)
I'd think that alphabet based on two-letter code is more common--and that it should be. Gene Nygaard 13:15, 13 November 2005 (UTC)
Actually, the most common schemes currently used are neither of these, are not uniform, and appear to be mostly at the whim of the various operators of bots updating those links. This decision should not be left up to those bot operators, however. Gene Nygaard 13:38, 13 November 2005 (UTC)

How are the names under which these languages are displayed in the list determined? We don't have "nynorsk språk", "Deutsche Sprache", "English language", or "La langue française". So why in the world do we have "Bahasa Indonesia" and "Bahasa Melayu" using the local equivalent of "language" in those names? Gene Nygaard 13:49, 13 November 2005 (UTC)

For the order of links, I did a quick (and not very scientific) survey a few months ago which convinced me that alphabet by local language was the consensus ordering rule on English Wikipedia (other WPs have different rules): that may have changed with bot activity, I don't know. For the language question, I don't think we're in any position to tell the Malaysians or the Indonesians how they should refer to their language.And if anyone wants to change (or even make) policy on this, Wikipedia:Interlanguage links/Proposal is ready and waiting. Physchim62 (talk) 14:04, 13 November 2005 (UTC)
Yes, the order is rather chaotic and random and depends on each user opinion. That's why we should create a policy that fixes all the problem stated above, including the "Bahasa" issue, and create a bot that makes the necessary changes to each page. CG 14:35, 13 November 2005 (UTC)
I doubt that it was Malaysians or Indonesians who made that decision. Like I said, we don't add "language" or "språk" or "lingua" to most of the languages, and somebody must have made that decision. Who?
The earlier straw poll should be considered by anyone making a proposal. Throw out all but the three or four choices receiving significant support. Explain how each word work for the problem languages, such as "zh:" and "fi:" and "nds:" and "gn:" and the like. Even "simple:"; should it be under "English"?
Of course, most of them aren't really based on the "local language" name of the languages now, except in the minds of a strange few. The "ja:" language in English isn't normally called Nipponese or Nihongo, it is Japanese, yet it is often indexed as if it came under the N. We often have "zh:" at the end, but "zh-min-nin:" at the beginning. Why?
The name displayed in the list doesn't work very well, because many of them are not in the Latin alphabet. Yet we often have "fi:" indexed under Suomi rather than under Finnish, the "local language" (i.e. English for name of the language. Gene Nygaard 14:57, 13 November 2005 (UTC)

As many editors have noted elsewhere, sorting by two-letter code is easiest and least prone to both human and machine error. TenOfAllTrades(talk) 14:52, 13 November 2005 (UTC)

Sometimes more than two, of course: simple:, nds:, zh-min-nin:, etc. Gene Nygaard 14:57, 13 November 2005 (UTC)
The links are occasionally sorted by bots. Bots seem to use pywikipediabot as the basis for their sorting, as User:Docu pointed out in the poll. Anyone who goes about and changes the order stands the risk of all their work being undone the next time a bot is run. Noisy | Talk 15:24, 13 November 2005 (UTC)
The "by two-letter-code" school of thought seems mostly motivated by ease and obviousness for those entering the codes. Would it not be best to have them automatically ordered alphabetically by language name? If no-one disagrees, I'll file an enhancement request on BugZilla. [[Sam Korn]] 15:35, 13 November 2005 (UTC)
Based on whose notion of those non-unique language names? Gene Nygaard 15:46, 13 November 2005 (UTC)
Wikimedia's. Be consistent. Some people seem to be able to dredge an NPOV problem out of nothing. It may not entirely make sense, but as long as it's consistent it should be OK. If you think Bahasa Meleyu should be referenced otherwise, that is a completely separate matter. (Of course, that may be inconsistent, but it is correct: we think of our language as English, the French theirs as "français", the Malays theirs as "Bahasa Meleyu". It isn't our place to dictate this.) How the languages are labelled is a side-matter, however. That can very easily be changed at a later date. The ordering is far more important, and consistency is most important of all. [[Sam Korn]] 21:34, 13 November 2005 (UTC)


This bot has been used by its owner Bluemoose (talk · contribs) to move this template under the References heading. I disagree with this action, for a number of reasons:

  1. References are usually primary resources, and an encyclopaedia is a secondary resource
  2. References are places you are directed to to check the veracity of the text in the article: in this case, the article is based on the 1911, so you would go elsewhere to check the validity of the 1911 itself.

Is there concensus for Bluebot's actions? (I have also raised this on the 1911 template talk page and on Wikipedia talk:Bots. Noisy | Talk 10:29, 13 November 2005 (UTC)

Please read the Wikipedia:Manual of style and Wikipedia:Cite sources, which say to put sources under a references heading. Also, the bot isn't really "moving" the template, it is adding the heading, because at present the 1911 tag often just floats around at the bottom somewhere, which is definately wrong. Plently of articles already use the 1911 tag under a references heading as well. Martin 10:33, 13 November 2005 (UTC)

Article for each date

Is see user Pcb21 is making many new pages with titles like February 27, 2003. He is breaking up the February 2003 articles. Is this current policy? -- SGBailey 17:12, 12 November 2005 (UTC)

The most recent month pages are getting far too long, and many now appear on Special:Longpages, so breaking them up seems reasonable. That said, some thought needs to go into how these pages are organized and linked to. - SimonP 19:34, 12 November 2005 (UTC)
This came up on Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/January 1, 2005, and there was no consensus. I agree with Simon that we could use a discussion about how best to do this before people start making radical changes. Christopher Parham (talk) 20:51, 12 November 2005 (UTC)
Additional problems include the fact that mislinked dates, using February 27, 2003 instead of February 27, 2003 are indistinguishable or nearly so on the page, if it weren't for the fact that preferences don't work with the former.
Another problem is the fact that there is no redirect from 27 February 2003.
Some of the problems of overcrowded and overlinked to pages could be alleviated by removing the screwball connection between preferences and ordinary linking. Can't someone get the developers to come up with some independent scheme to make date preferences work? Gene Nygaard 12:03, 13 November 2005 (UTC)

Wikipedia: Working the system

Wikipedia: Working the system was added by a user, User:NPOVenforcer who was recently blocked. I believe this new "policy" proposal does not add any helpful information and merely muddies the water about how things work here at Wikipedia. In particular, the first entry: stating wikipedia policy (typically NPOV, civility, or assume good faith) to a person that has not violated it, so as to falsely portray the party that is addressed as having violated the policy

suggests that even bringing up policy to a user and asking them to read it might violate Wikipedia policy. If you look at User talk:NPOVenforcer, you will see that the blocked user who wrote this document used this rationale to react with extreme hostility to even polite suggestions that he familiarize himself with WP:NPA, WP:Civility, etc. Given that we already merged Wikipedia:Gaming the system, I think this document should face a similar fate. Kit 20:34, 11 November 2005 (UTC)

  • It has been nominated for deletion as inappropriate. Please see WP:MFD. Radiant_>|< 00:09, 12 November 2005 (UTC)

Spamlinks or not?

Looking for second (or third or whatever) opinion here regarding some external links I came across recently.

Someone (currently using IP User:, has been adding external links from author pages to audiobooks of the author's works. The first attempts (by IP (talk · contribs) simply added the same generic link to a dozen pages -- which I reverted -- while the newest batch has taken the time to actually make them to individual works. They still bother me, though:


  • They're Creative Commons-licensed, so they're non-commercial.
  • They (mostly) link to a relevant work.


  • It's a "*.com" domain, which is supposed to be commercial
  • The editor has created separate headers and subheaders within the "External links" section to make them stand out...
  • Placing them at the top of the list of links (only superceded by Project Gutenberg links), which had the side effect of rendering a note at Rudyard Kipling meaningless. As well, the editor ...
  • Readded the original generic main-page link he or she had added before...

...making clear to me that self-promotion is part of the purpose here.

(For an example, see this.)

Am I overreacting? Does anyone else think of these as borderline linkspam?

--Calton | Talk 06:42, 11 November 2005 (UTC)

Potentially they're just:
  1. overenthusiastic about this audio project
  2. a WP newbie who doesn't know the ropes of "External links" sections.
Go ahead and revert, or cleanup, or whatever, but I don't see any evidence of self promotion here. I think you could extend the benefit of the doubt a while longer. The "cons" you mention are fixable without eliminating all the links. —Wahoofive (talk) 06:56, 11 November 2005 (UTC)
Go ahead and revert, or cleanup, or whatever, but I don't see any evidence of self promotion here The generic links and high positions in the lists tells me that they're promoting themselves. In any case, if I knew what I wanted to do, I would have just done it instead of coming here for advice. What I HAVE done is delete the generic links and headers, and demote the individual links to more appropriate positions. I'm not 100% convinced, but maybe others can tell me if it'S sufficient. --Calton | Talk 07:20, 11 November 2005 (UTC)
That approach seems sufficent to me, but it may be wise to contact them on their talk page.--Sean|Black 07:34, 11 November 2005 (UTC)

If only he or she HAD a talk page. I'll give it a shot, anyways. --Calton | Talk 07:50, 11 November 2005 (UTC)
I'd only use only this link as it has links to all the other recordings and put it with the other external links. -- Kjkolb 08:21, 11 November 2005 (UTC)
That's my note at Kipling, that is :-). For what it's worth, I personally would class these as linkspam and revert - the motivation was apparently to add their links to a number of pages rather than to "improve the encyclopedia", and as we note on Kipling they're not even reading the ext.links section... Commercial or not shouldn't figure into it; you can spam a free site perfectly well. (I also have a personal rule of thumb that external links to one work by an author shouldn't be on their page unless that work is unusual - imagine how many links we'd have if we linked to individual recordings of each poem by Kipling! - and should wait for an article on the original work, but this is simply a personal quirk) Shimgray | talk | 11:49, 11 November 2005 (UTC)
  • Our friend is back - (talk · contribs). I've reverted the most spammy of them, but most seem to be simply fiddling the URLs for links which were left in. Looking at some of those pages, though, various classic authors really need the external links clearing up... Shimgray | talk | 00:46, 13 November 2005 (UTC)
    • Cleaning him up, I found (talk · contribs), which is a pretty classic example of commercially-planned linkspam. Ugh. All gone now, but I've left our CC-linking friend in place. Shimgray | talk | 01:16, 13 November 2005 (UTC)

I FOUND YOU! BECAUSE I TRY (a response from "the culprit") Thanks for the benefit of the doubt guys, in the last three days I've made tremendous effort (re-writing 100 pages) at LiteralSystems site to work better as a contributing source of knowlege and experience in literary works suitable for inclusion on sites such as wikipedia. On seeing my first (albeit newbyesque) attempts at adding relevant links to wikipedia author pages removed without explanation I emailed to find out why (quoted here)


Hi, I've added external links to about 15 authors biography pages but next day they were all removed. Perhaps, there is something I need to understand.

We at make audiobooks released strictly under Creative Commons licensing. There is never a charge and we create quality human voiced readings from public domain literature. Is there any reason why we could not add relevant external links to the authors-bio pages?

let me know please, Warren Smith


I never recieved a response. I re-added the links thinking somebody unathoritive removed them since I heard nothing from wikipedia. I used other external links as examples.

Through my own hard research I found this page featuring the subject of my adding links, I'll stay possitive about all this "sleuthing" of motivational design etc.. done by the page watchdogs at wikipedia but a simple return contact or establishing a query to me would have been better and more to the point. But here is quoted a response more in keeping with reality.


Potentially they're just:
1. overenthusiastic about this audio project
2. a WP newbie who doesn't know the ropes of "External links" sections.
Go ahead and revert, or cleanup, or whatever, but I don't see any evidence of self promotion here. I think you could extend the benefit of the doubt a while longer. The "cons" you mention are fixable without eliminating all the links. —Wahoofive (talk) 06:56, 11 November 2005 (UTC)


Sure, I classify as both. But here is an example of overenthusiasm on another editors part as well.


  • Our friend is back - (talk • contribs). I've reverted the most spammy of them, but most seem to be simply fiddling the URLs for links which were left in. Looking at some of those pages, though, various classic authors really need the external links clearing up... Shimgray | talk | 00:46, 13 November 2005 (UTC)
  • Cleaning him up, I found (talk • contribs), which is a pretty classic example of commercially-planned linkspam. Ugh. All gone now, but I've left our CC-linking friend in place. Shimgray | talk | 01:16, 13 November 2005 (UTC)


If a person looked at my return visit changes they would see evidence of maintenance on my part to add a deeper level of relevancy to the links (besides fixing mistakes). At we create new and valuable resources released strictly under Creative Commons, and we care about our work. We don't sell anything and don't carry advertisements. If there are any legitimate self promotion issues here regarding our adding links, then it would have to be the fact that we are proud of what we do and want to share it. Any group that claims an interest in creation of real and valued resources freely accessible on the net should recognize others with similar mind sets. That's what I thought I was doing by linking between us.

The problem with hardened mindsets is that their responses take on the simplicity of those who'd rather not know any more than what they already suspect. Moving on. Here is my email contact ([email removed - see page history]).

Hi and/or and/or and/or and/or,
First I'd like to do you a suggestion: could you perhaps take a user login? You can choose your own name, just click the upper right corner of the browser window, the procedure for acquiring a user login should normally not give any problems. Then, when you are logged in, and write something on a talk page, if you use four tildes (~~~~) for signing your contributions that will make communication with other Wikipedians probably a bit easier.
Secondly, I'd ask you to have a quick glance at the Wikipedia:Tutorial, or any similar short introduction to Wikipedia editing; Besides, if you take a login you won't have to wait too long before the welcoming committee puts a list of such wikipedia intro's on your talk page. I edited some of your talk above to make it more readable, you'll see it's not too difficult to acquire better lay-out yourself too.
Then, I think the "spoken literature" you're promoting might fit in well in Wikipedia, and the initial misunderstandings might maybe soon be solved. --Francis Schonken 16:59, 13 November 2005 (UTC)
Just to add a couple of quick comments - the reason many were assumed to be spam is that they were often rather overlinked and that they seemed to have been added without paying much attention to the content of the page, which is often a hallmark of spam. For example, on the Rudyard Kipling page, we had two audiobooks of individual works, and a link to the overall site, added in the middle of a list without noting the "the two sites above" comment below.
We get a lot of people trying to add links to their sites everywhere, and it's a sad fact we have to be somewhat suspicious about an anonymous user doing nothing but adding a swathe of links to the same site. A site being free or commercial is not our primary motivation for removing the link; it's whether or not the editor considering removing it feels it adds anything to the page, since Wikipedia is not a collection of external links. We were unable to determine the motivation for making these additions; since you were using a dynamic IP, we couldn't contact you, and there was no way of telling if you were associated with the site or not to contact you via them.
Helpdesk-l is massively overloaded, so it's a pity you haven't yet recieved a response but not altogether surprising. Also note that the "commercial linkspam" comment you quote was about someone else entirely, who I ran across whilst checking your second wave of additions, and I mentioned since there was a brief "theoretical" discussion on linkspam. Your maintenance work on the second visit was not reverted, as I recall, though some readditions were.
For reference, Wikipedia:External links says:
Adding links to one's own page is strongly discouraged. The mass adding of links to any website is also strongly discouraged, and any such operation should be raised at the Village Pump or other such page and approved by the community before going ahead.
and Wikipedia:Spam gives some useful tips on "How not to be seen as a spammer"
I'd encourage you to create articles on individual works, where they don't already exist, and add the links for audiobooks to those; they're more appropriate there, don't clog up the author's page, and are much more useful to the reader. Please let me know if you want to discuss this further and work out a useful way to get these links in; you can leave a message at my talk page Shimgray | talk | 17:29, 13 November 2005 (UTC)
I've trimmed out the email address, to avoid harvesting, and replied by email as well. Shimgray | talk | 19:10, 13 November 2005 (UTC)

Thanks for the response (and especially trimming my email) from all. Okay you're not the hardened reactionaries I took you for at first. ;-) Anyway, I've responded to Mr. Gray's email and won't press the issue any further (or bumble around the site anymore) if it is agreed that my links didn't hold any relevance to the author articles at wikipedia. I did take the time to read the articles suggested here and added my logon identity. I feel I have a better conception now of the way things work here. Frankly it's too easy to just come in and make changes, but I am not saying a policy change is needed, no. --Literalsystems 22:18, 13 November 2005 (UTC)

Fair use and GDFL

How is fair use of images compatible with the GDFL? We've been having discussions regarding fair use of images on Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Comics#Image problems, because, with comics being a visual medium, a greater proportion of images tend to be used under the fair use banner. However, it has been brought to my attention that fair use may not be compatible with someone using Wikipedia content under the GDFL for commercial use. The thrust is that we are only allowed touse images under fair use such that any subsequent use is also fair use. If this reading is correct, it seems to me to follow that fair use is incompatible with the GDFL, since we do not know how our content is going to be used by any subsequent person or organisation, and there is no conceivable use of fair use that can not be invalidated if used incorrectly. I believe that if this argument is incorrect, that we are allowed to use fair use and that it behooves the subsequent users of Wiki-content to check their usage allows for the fair use of images, then GNU Free Documentation License#Materials for which commercial redistribution is prohibited should be tightened to make this clear, as I was advised that this does not clarify the situation.

It has also been argued, and again I feel wrongly, that Wikipedia can not claim critical usage under the fair use allowances. I believe that Wikipedia articles are a critical evaluation of a subject, and therefore we are allowed to make such fair use claims. Steve block talk 13:54, 10 November 2005 (UTC)

The amount of discussion we include concerning fair use images is an important part of our justification for using them: the more, the better! Physchim62 (talk) 16:19, 10 November 2005 (UTC)
Great, I'm happy to help that cause. However, that doesn't answer the question. Is Fair Use compatible with the GDFL? Anyone else? Steve block talk 16:49, 11 November 2005 (UTC)
Just my personal understanding: Fair use ultimately is NOT compatible with the GFDL. Many other Wikipedia languages, notably German, do not allow them at all for precisely the reasons you describe. One important thing to remember is that we are offering our content to the world as "free", and outsiders are not likely to understand the subtleties of "it's all free for you to use EXCEPT for these pictures..." -- most are not even aware of the copyright/copyleft/source info on the image description page.
However, the English Wikipedia has decided by consensus that the value of illustrating some articles outweigh the drawbacks. We seem to have decided that certain classes of fair use images are acceptable, and that the our responsibility is fulfilled by tagging the items carefully. It is then the legal responsibility our downstream users to either filter out all fair use images, or to decide for themselves whether their own use is acceptable fair use under the law. (In practice, very few downstream users will do this, but then, not many of our mirrors copy our images at this point in time -- either because of the licensing issues, or because all they care about is search-engine-rich text content alongside their Google ads.)
I do believe that some classes of fair use images -- particularly album covers, book covers, screen shots (in limited numbers) and press release photos -- give us and, most likely, any downstream user a very strong fair use claim, as long as they're illustrating articles about the subject in question. Unfortunately, many editors don't really understand what "fair use" means and slap the tag onto any publicly available image they want to use -- after all, if it's on a website or in a magazine, it must be "fair" for us to use! Some people even believe that we must "exercise our fair use rights" lest they be "taken away" (I believe there's some confusion there with trademark law...).
In any case, aside from the few image types listed on the drop-down on the "Upload file" page, there's no strong consensus on how much fair use should be allowed, so different editors follow different agendas -- some aggressively tag & delete, others aggressively upload & insert.
Comics are a difficult case -- because it's a visual medium, it is very important to illustrate certain points, but it can be easy to go overboard. I agree with you that the "critical usage" applies for Wikipedia, in certain articles and in certain usages, but that doesn't address the problem that what's appropriate critical usage in Wikipedia (or any encyclopedia, or even any educational context) is not necessarily appropriate critical usage for all of our downstream re-users. And unfortunately, one "critical usage" image, used appropriately by a thoughtful editor, opens the gates for a thousand well-meaning fanboys to add inappropriate images to "their" articles as well, and it's sometimes difficult to explain the nuances.
The basic issues: 1) if more than one fair use image is used, the images should be discussed in the article -- they can't be merely decorative (see Kylie Minogue for fair-use-illustrated discussion of her changing image). 2) the image should be only of the quality necessary for illustration -- an album cover image should not be large enough to print a convincing bootleg CD cover, for example. 3) the number of images should not be excessive -- the two screenshots used to illustrate Natalie Portman are sufficient for Wikipedia's purposes (unless one is writing an in-depth article on Queen Amidala's walk-in closet...)
Anyway, that's more than I intended to write, but I hope it provides food for thought. — Catherine\talk 02:30, 12 November 2005 (UTC)
That's a great help actually. What would help me more is if these three issues were expressed anywhere in policy. So far I have been unable to find them, and if this issue is as important as it seems to be I would argue that Wikipedia simply must have a clear, well thought out and enforced policy on this matter. If this is not the case I am happy to start drafting such a policy. Steve block talk 15:26, 13 November 2005 (UTC)

major "Be Bold" guideline revision/reversal

The "Be Bold" guideline was recently revised, and virtually gutted, without notice or discussion. This shows the relevant change. [[10]] Wikipedia standards/practices call for prior notice, discussion, and consensus before a material revision in guidelines, and that wasn't done here. There is now an ongoing editing dispute -- the fourth or fifth this year, I believe -- involving the usual suspects, including myself. To complicate matters, there was admin intervention today, on the apparent basis that a perceived 2-1 division on involved editors was sufficient to justify the guideline change, even without the notice/discussion called for by guidelines and conducted in previous disputes. The guideline page is now inconsistent, with later sections pretty much contradicting the revised introduction. In previous disputes, editor sentiment as expressed in discussion was substantially against changes of this nature; most recently, in September, a semi-formal poll and extensive discussion rejected less restrictive language, applying only to Featured Articles, by a 2:1 margin. This dispute calls for involvement by a greater range of users, both in terms of the procedure for altering a longstanding guideline and the substance of the change. Monicasdude 20:32, 8 November 2005 (UTC)

  • side comment "Be Bold" is more of a meme than a guideline in almost every circumstance I've seen it used in. Perhaps one problem is in trying to apply guideline rigor to something that defies such (I am thinking out loud here and don't advocate the kind of being bold that appears to have taken place at the guideline article itself). Courtland 19:23, 12 November 2005 (UTC)

Image deletion

We all know that Jimbo made some changes in our image deletion policy recently. I'm trying to stay updated with the changes, but perhaps this one eluded me: are we no longer allowed to upload images for use in our own user pages? I don't think this has been banned, and if it hasn't, I'd really like to know why someone tagged an image that was being used [solely] on my user page as an orphaned fair use image for deletion. It would seem, however, that it was a bot that did that, which shows that this, and perhaps other bots, might be malfunctioning. But what's worse is that an Admin deleted the image as a speedy. Maybe we need a general reminder that a speedy tag does not vacate the need to check thoroughly before deleting, especially images, because, well, tags may be misused. That was really regretable, something that really should not have happened — unless, as I said, we are now no longer allowed to upload images that will (or might) not be used in articles (that is, images for the purpose of use in a user's user page). Regards, Redux 15:49, 7 November 2005 (UTC)

I've just found out that the Admin who deleted the image was new to the job (has been an Admin for a couple of weeks). I've written him a direct message on his user talk page. I still can't phantom why the image was tagged as orphaned in the first place, though. Regards, Redux 16:02, 7 November 2005 (UTC)
The bot was, I believe, working as planned - WP:CSD tells us that an image is speediable if it falls under:
Copyrighted images uploaded without permission of the copyright holder, or under a license which does not permit commercial use, which are not used in any article [...] (so-called "orphaned fair use images")
Basically, "orphaned" in this case means "orphaned from any articles", so the deleting admin was following existing policy. WP:FU tells us:
The material should only be used in the article namespace. They should never be used on templates (including stub templates and navigation boxes) or on user pages.
Hope that clarifies matters. Shimgray | talk | 16:27, 7 November 2005 (UTC)
Actually, it's got me a little more confused. There are many images that have been uploaded by users with the sole purpose of using them on their respective user pages. Apart from those that they took themselves (such as images of themselves), would that mean that all of those images should be deleted from the database, even if they are fair use, or usable under any other license?
Indeed, I got a message from another user explaining that the image had been deleted as orphaned because it was not being used in any article (as bolded by him). So that would seem to indicate that users, for all practical purposes, cannot upload images, even if usable, for illustrating their user pages, unless those images happen to be used on at least one article. Would that assessment be correct? Regards, Redux 21:00, 7 November 2005 (UTC)
Not quite. A copyrighted image that's being used under fair use can only be used in an "informative and educational context", that is to say, articles (specifically, articles that the image is relevant to, which is usually only a handful). Hope that helps.--Sean|Black 21:14, 7 November 2005 (UTC)

Well, but that seems to confirm what I had said: no [wouldbe] fair use images can be used on user pages if that's the only place where it is being used. That's a tough spot for many users out there. But I've started to review the US fair use laws (I've not completed my review yet, so this is a partial assessment), the use of the image that would be covered by fair use on my user page can very well be considered informative. The image evokes Brazil, and I'm using it to indicate to readers that I am Brazilian, which I do not say in the text. There's no profit to be derived from the situation, which indicates that the sole purpose of using the image was to inform of my condition as a Brazilian. So the question would be: what is informative? Does it relate to the importance of what's being informed? That is, my condition as a Brazilian is of no particular relevance to the reader per se (in that regard, it could be [very roughly!] compared to the contents of a gossip magazine: it's not really important, but people just might want to know about it), as opposed to the contents of an article, which is supposed (at least in theory) to contain relevant information. Now, the purpose of a user page on Wikipedia is to provide some information about the user in question, and informing my nationality, through that image, is perfectly within the boundaries of this purpose. Back when I uploaded it (I'd have to re-check this now), I found the image on multiple websites from Brazil (unrelated), which, thinking retrospectivelly, would indicate that the copyright holder (if the image was not free — hence the tag I had used on the image when I re-uploaded it, and which has already been removed) allowed it's free use throughout the web (noticing that no one was using it "with express permission"). Maybe my understanding of US copyrights provisions still needs some polishing, but it would seem (to me) that the image would be usable under the fair use provision on my user page. Or am I completely off? Regards, Redux 21:55, 7 November 2005 (UTC)

Fair use under the law is always somewhat of a grey area. There are no strict rules that can be unambiguously applied to determine whether a particular use is defensible as fair use. However, I think there is some confusion about fair use under U.S. law and Wikimedia policies about fair use. Wikimedia policy may be more restrictive than U.S. law -- Wikimedia policy is not simply, "Anything that may be allowed by U.S. copyright law is allowed on Wikimedia projects."
About: "What is informative?". So far as I can tell, the phrase "informative and educational context" does not come from the law, so I would not rely too heavily on the word "informative". Without getting too deeply into the topic here, 17 USC §107 illustrates the types of uses that are meant with the wording "purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research", and outlines a four part test of factors that are considered.
Also, the fact that an image is found on multiple, unrelated Web sites is not a reliable indicator for conditions of use. Copyright violations run rampant on the Internet. --Tabor 21:18, 9 November 2005 (UTC)
That is precisely the point. I realized later on in the process that the bulk of this issue was about Wikipedia policy, not US law. The problem seems to be that a lot of people maybe think that it's more... impressive (?) to quote the law to justify things (in this case, why an image shouldn't be here). Why say this is not in accordance with US fair use laws when the real issue is this is not in accordance with Wikipedia image usage policy? Because the law was quoted, I was trying to find in it the provision that would prohibit the use of a fair use image (was not discussing whether or not it was indeed fair use) on a user page, theoretically because it was not "informative". There was nothing there that would seem to impede it — or at least it was open for some degree of interpretation. Then I started to realize that it was about our policy, not the law per se (because, as you said, out policy may be more restrictive than the law). Redux 14:49, 12 November 2005 (UTC)

encyclopedic v unencyclopedic Definition please

There are two words which seem central to most issues arising from entries, both new pages and individual edit/additions, these are

'notability' & 'encyclopedic'

I have spent many days searching for some guidance on these concepts within wikipedia. 'Notability' though a bit arcane at times is decipherable. But... "encyclopedic" is a real catch 22. a search for guidance gets redirected to "what wikipedia is not" where there is no mention of the subject. which sort of implies that if something survives long enough to be in wikipedia it is therefore encyclopedic.

I would dearly love to see some guidance on this matter as I'm sure im not alone in experiencing good, well written (by others) passages being deleted because they haven't appealed to somebodies sense of encyclopedic, more often meaning they dont think them important.

I realise that this is probably a very tiresome subject for a lot of old hands - but a policy, or even a single sentence statement would really help to establish a yardstick. rather than a pointer to a page of negatives

there is also a more subtle issue here - where all of the notes on 'notability' make absolute sense in relation to articles, they dont when it comes to a single point of information, say a sentence or even a paragraph. once a subject is clearly notable surely most additional info must be too, provided it is verifiable etc. The same goes for encyclopedic, surely once the main subject is assured of its credentials then it follows that any nested detail will become less major, to eventually end up minor bordering on trivia. Now it is easy to identify a page subject as trivial, but the most momentous subjects are comprised of individual facts that, taken individualy are highly likely to be trivial. For example. the school Albert Einstein went to. His grades, both perhaps trivial seperately, but relevant when you realise that he left school with no qualifications at all.

I hope that this hasn't come across as a rant, one thing wikipedia is teaching me, is to be more diplomatic - but I'm not quite there yet. this is a genuine call for guidance, or better still a pointer to a definition, I have no bones to pick or edit war to win.

and now someone is going to say, "it was there all the time" thanks DavidP 04:53, 5 November 2005 (UTC)

The short answer is that there is no consensus among Wikipedia editors on notability. -- SCZenz 05:58, 5 November 2005 (UTC)
That's true, but I should think that WP:NOT gives a good idea of what most consider "unencyclopediac".--Sean|Black 06:18, 5 November 2005 (UTC)
Quite some time ago there was a discussion about this at Wikipedia talk:What Wikipedia is not/Unencyclopedic. For the most part that ended the once common practice of nominating things for deletion simply because they were "not encyclopedic." However, in many cases it seems unencyclopedic was simply replaced by the equally vague "not notability". There is currently yet a debate over the notability issue at Wikipedia:Notability_proposal. That page can give an introduction to the long running debate over notability. - SimonP 23:15, 6 November 2005 (UTC)

"Encyclopedic" is like "pornographic": very hard to define, but a lot of people think they know it when they see it. :) Basically, "unencyclopedic" can be considered shorthand for "I believe instinctively that this subject does not belong on Wikipedia: I can't be bothered to look for a specific way it fails WP:NOT, but I hope it does, and if it doesn't then it jolly well should."

Not the answer you're looking for, maybe, but that appears to be how the term is actually used. (It's certainly how I use it.) — Haeleth Talk 21:38, 7 November 2005 (UTC)

There is a fundamental lack of consensus on whether Wikipedia is an encyclopedia as the word is currently understood, or whether Wikipedia is something completely new that redefines the understanding of what an encyclopedia should be. There's a sort of Heisenberg uncertainty principle at work here.

  • If "encyclopedic" means "something which ought to be in Wikipedia," then everyone can agree that unencyclopedic articles should be deleted, but nobody can agree on what articles are encyclopedic.
  • If "encyclopedic" means "a topic which you would expect to find covered in the Britannica or the Americana or Encarta or things of that sort," then you could probably get a working consensus on what articles are encyclopedic—but you would no longer have agreement that unencyclopedic articles should be deleted. Dpbsmith (talk) 13:18, 11 November 2005 (UTC)

It should be mentioned that the word "encylopedic" outside of Wikipedia generally does not mean "suitable for inclusion in an encyclopedia." It means "having the characteristics of an encyclopedia," as in, "He has an encyclopedic memory." That said, I don't know what word would mean "suitable for inclusion," and the use of the word "encyclopedic" to mean that on Wikipedia has probably become too ingrained to stop the practice. -- Mwalcoff 23:52, 15 November 2005 (UTC)

Copyright on Lists

Under US case law (e.g. CCC Information Services v. MacLean Hunter Market Reports, Kregos v. Associated Press, Eckes v. Card Prices Update, Key Publications, Inc. v. Chinatown Today Publishing Enters., Inc.), the courts have consistently held that a list of information whose selection or creation requires editorial creativity is subject to copyright protection. This includes such items as "What are the best places to eat in Denver" or "What are the best statistics to use in judging baseball". If someone creates a "Best of..." or "Most Important..." list based on subjective criteria then the list, when considered in its entirety, is a protected form of expression even if individual elements of that list are facts beyond the scope of copyright.

The effect here is that we should not be republishing such a list in its entirety, as doing so is an infringement on the owner's copyright. (Note that this only applies to lists involving creative judgments, lists based on facts or polling are not subject to copyright protection.)

What about fair use? There are four factors one must consider under the US fair use doctrine:

  1. Purpose and character of the use: We fail this if the intention is merely to replace or duplicate a list. If we were critically discussing the merits of the list and the elements included we might pass, but almost all cases of such lists on Wikipedia are intended merely to duplicate the list. Also, merely adding wikilinks to a list is not a truly transformative use as envisioned by fair use doctrine.
  2. Nature of the copied work: Hard to generalize, though the less publically available the original, the worse we tend to look by copying it.
  3. Amount and substantiality: We fail this by copying the entire list. If the purpose is to discuss the list than only a few representative items are necessary, not hundreds. Harper & Row, Publishers, Inc. v. Nation Enters. found that the use of less than 400 words was infringement when they represented "the heart of the book". Even if the list is part of a much longer work discussing the items on the list, it is likely that the items selected cut to the heart of the work's value. For a related matter, it should be noted that copyright extends to the index of a book even if none of the book's other content is copied.
  4. Effect upon work's value: If one copies the entire list, and in so doing decreases the market value or interest in obtaining that list from the original publisher, then you have tripped over criterion number 4. Lists already available on the internet have little market value so we aren't so bad, but copying lists that only exist in print is particularly bad.

Because of these issues, I propose that the lists in the articles below be deleted. In some cases, like The 100 there is critical discussion which should be kept, with a greatly abbreviated version of the list that could sustain a fair use claim. In many cases however, someone has merely copied the content of someone else's list onto Wikipedia, and these should probably be deleted in totality. I started to post several of these on WP:CP, and someone complained and asked for a broader discussion, so here it is. Dragons flight 06:14, 12 November 2005 (UTC)

To quote Dragons flight's own talk page: "No, as I said there, IANAL. I do however work in real life areas where I have to be familiar with and care about intellectual property law. Dragons flight" as such he is NOT A LAWYER and cannot state publically as such with authority... however BD Abramson AN ACTUAL IP LAWYER has stated: "See Feist v. Rural. The formula itself is merely an idea, and is not subject to copyright; only the expression of the idea can be protected, and the listing here does not duplicate the expression because it differs significantly from the layout of the Newsweek list. See Kregos v. Associated Press, 937 F.2d 700 (2d Cir. 1991). I've maintained such a list - indeed one more similar to Newsweek's own - in my user space for quite some time without fear of legal action, because I'm quite confident that this is no copyvio (and even if it was, it would easily qualify as fair use)."

Sorry DF but in this case I can only say mind your business and speak on a subject in which you are A RECOGNIZED AUTHORITY.  ALKIVARFile:Radioactive.png 08:02, 12 November 2005 (UTC)

Alkivar, your comment would carry a lot greater weight if my arguments hadn't already convinced BDAbramson to remove that material from his user page. [11] Oh, and NPA, if you don't mind. Dragons flight 10:06, 12 November 2005 (UTC)
Which are relevant: the jurisdiction the servers are, the jurisdiction of the contributor, or the jurisdiction of the reader? --Philip Baird Shearer 09:52, 12 November 2005 (UTC)
I say we ignore the problem until one of the "rights"-holders actually contacts us and requests that they'd be removed. What do we have to lose? We should, however, make sure that we add a lot of value to the lists and not merely reproduce them. — David Remahl 10:47, 12 November 2005 (UTC)
Haha, it would be nice if it worked that way. Except that we had this conversation and decided to wait for complaints means that it is now willfull infringement. Willful infringement provides penalties up to $150,000 per violation. See U.S.C. Title 17 § 504(c)(2). Probably best to consult a lawyer or remove the material. --ChrisRuvolo (t) 12:26, 12 November 2005 (UTC)
Avoid copyright paranoia... We HAVE had a lawyer weigh in ... see BD Abramson's comment above.  ALKIVARFile:Radioactive.png 15:18, 12 November 2005 (UTC)
First, I think we can leave all this to Jimbo Wales and the Wikimedia Foundation. They are not unsophisticated and they have access to lawyers and it's their problem anyway, and Wikipedia's been up for years and if jackbooted copyrighted thugs saw much of an opportunity I think we would have heard something about it before. Jimbo Wales has not been at all reticent to step in and, dare I say "lay down the law" where there was an indication of real danger (e.g "fair use" images), and I don't see any reason to distrust his instincts.
Second, now I will render my uninformed amateur opinion. I am not a lawyer. I simply cannot believe there's any serious risk involved in waiting for someone to complain. IP law is all about money. Nobody's going to want the expense of a lawsuit unless they think large sums of money are involved. I can't imagine Rolling Stone trying to demonstrate to a court the precise number of dollars they lost because Wikipedia copied their list. It's ever so much cheaper just to send a lawyer letter. This is particularly true of substantial commercial organizations. I can imagine some individual rich wacko taking a very questionable case to court to satisfy their own sense of justice, causing expense and nuisance to the defendant even if the suit fails, but I don't think Time Magazine would do that. They have better things to worry about than Wikipedia. Like, say, Newsweek. Just my $0.02. Did I say that I am not a lawyer? Dpbsmith (talk) 15:13, 12 November 2005 (UTC)
If Wikipedia is to be a responsible public citizen then risk and money should not be the most important parts of the equation. The essence of avoiding copyright paranoia is not deleting things which are probably legally acceptable just because there is some small risk. On the other hand, the key to acting responsibly is not keeping things which are probably infringments just because we can get away with it. Just because someone lacks the time, resources, or inclination to sue us doesn't make it okay to blatantly steal their material. If we decide these lists are probably legally acceptable, then we should keep them (aside from questions of whether they are good for an encyclopedia), and if we decide these lists are probably not legally acceptable then we should ditch them. It really ought to be that simple. Dragons flight 20:36, 12 November 2005 (UTC)

I agree 100% with User:Dragon's flight. Copyright laws clearly cover the creation of lists that have any creativity in them. What the laws do not cover are simply functional lists, such as phone books and so forth. These list articles, plus Top 1000 Scientists: From the Beginning of Time to 2000 AD which I ran across today and probably several others. clearly violate the law. Furthermore, let's get real here, the vast majority of these are not encyclopedic in the least. Why risk lawsuits over something that doesn't contribute anything of value to this project? DreamGuy 17:35, 12 November 2005 (UTC)

Because that would open up a can of worms by effectively expanding the definition of "copyvio." Who knows what does and doesn't "risk a lawsuit?" Can I get any article I dislike deleted by finding some reason why something in it might not meet all the requirements of fair use and thus might be risking a lawsuit? Dpbsmith (talk) 18:20, 12 November 2005 (UTC)
P.S. By all means let's delete those lists, but not on the basis that there might be a copyright issue and that the IP owner might go straight to court without firing a lawyer letter across our bows first. Dpbsmith (talk) 18:22, 12 November 2005 (UTC)

I don't think this is redundant with what has been said above ... Jimbo Wales and the WikiMedia Foundation have weighed in on this in a limited way in the context of "list of articles found in Encyclopedia X that should be in Wikipedia" and the decision has been to remove those lists that can thoughtfully be considered copyright violations. I don't have the links to the discussion threads at my fingertips here but I'm sure that someone will be able to produce those links for general edification here in short order (I'll look for them later if I don't see them here when I have time to do so). Regards, Courtland 19:04, 12 November 2005 (UTC)

Found it ... see archived Jimbo Wales User Talk, Encarta/2004 discussion thread. Courtland 03:21, 13 November 2005 (UTC)
Actually, after a quick check, Rolling Stone's lists are available on their website and the link is in the article, so this is fair use (it's advertising for them, really), those "1000 best scientists" are the result of a poll, so not copyrightable, and I guess most of the other lists are legitimate in some way too, so there shouldn't be any "let's remove them all" talk: it's a case by case thing, and only when there's a really likely copyvio should it be removed for that reason (then again, many of these lists are just plain unencyclopedic and have nothing to do here). Jules.LT 18:39, 16 November 2005 (UTC)
You are right about the scientist list, as a poll it is not a problem. I selected my list of about 20 pages above to be limited to editorial judgements only, i.e. no polls. Please refer to the arguments at the start of this thread regarding fair use. I do not believe fair use should apply when one is copying someone's entire list. The argument that it is advertising for them is a red herring in most cases since we copied the entire list and there is no (or very minimal) additional information to learn on the topic by visiting their site. (If we provided only a small part of the list, I would buy that, but not for the entire list.) Besides, if you think it is good for them that we copied their content, then might as well ask them for permission and see what they think of what we are doing? Of course, I dare say most content providers would be unlikely to approve regardless of whether any fair use argument might apply. Dragons flight 19:00, 16 November 2005 (UTC)
Jules, jst because a list is available on a website it DOESN'T make it free use. That has nothing to do with free use. They have a copyright on it, lots of people put their copyrighted material on the web, you can't just take it and claim "fair use" or even free advertsising. Come on, think about it here, by that tortured logic you could take anything nd everything found on the web and use it yourself. That's so completely against every concept of copyright laws there are. I mean, why are you even posted to a discussion about copyright if you know so little about it? Furthermore, I don't think that the results of polls are automatically not protected. Certainly the people polled used their creativity and knowledge to come up with their answers, and the publication used its resources to make it all happen. DreamGuy 15:51, 17 November 2005 (UTC)
The result of a poll is considered in the US to be a fact which was discovered. Such facts, like scientific data, Napolean's birthdate, and the name of the person living at 348 Sycamore, are exempt from copyright protection. This applies even if the fact discovered was in actuality a summary of popular opinion. The Supreme Court, e.g. Feist v. Rural, explicitly rejected the notion that you can earn a copyright merely for working very hard to discover some set of facts. Dragons flight 16:17, 17 November 2005 (UTC)

Shouldn't incoming Article links be removed before Images are deleted? (so articles aren't left with a bunch of red links)

I've been running across a lot of Image red links, and at least some of the time it is because the Image used to exist, but has been deleted for one reason or another (no source, incompatible license terms, etc.). I don't have a problem with them being deleted, but shouldn't the Article links to them get removed at the same time? For example, Charleston, South Carolina currently has a visible File:CharlestonSC.jpg, because the pic was deleted[12] but the link was left (List of flags also wasn't updated[13]). Why shouldn't incoming Article link removal be part of the standard Image deletion procedure? Waterguy 22:34, 16 November 2005 (UTC)

Because there are so goddamn many images in need of deletion. There are approximately 4,000 unused images tagged as "fair use". There are approximately 9,000 images with no source information. There over 2,000 images with no copyright information. --Carnildo 23:03, 16 November 2005 (UTC)
Well, couldn't this be solved with a cleanup-bot that does both the image-removing and the link-removing in the articles? Peter S. 23:11, 16 November 2005 (UTC)
The odds of a bot with image deletion powers being aproved are so close to zero they can saftely be ignored.Geni 12:22, 18 November 2005 (UTC)
Well, how about a program that a user can set in motion instead of deleting the image. It goes out, looks up where the image is used, and posts a summary as step 1. The user can then confirm that he wants to delete the image and all its references with a second click. Or the user can only delete the image, or the image and a selection of the references, all from available from the interface of this summary page. Result: As fast as before for the user, but no empty references anymore. Peter S. 12:49, 18 November 2005 (UTC)
What I think is more likely is that images to be deleted are placed in a category by a human (Category:Images to be unlinked perhaps), a bot goes through and removes all links to pictures that are in that category (from pages in specified namespaces only?). When the bot has removed all links to a picture it has been tasked with removing, it moves them to a different category (perhaps Category:Images pending deletion). A human then goes through the second category, checking that nobody has linked to the picture since the bot finished and removes any links that have been created, and then deletes the image. This leaves the drudge work to the bot and leaves the deletion in the hands of a human. Thryduulf 13:13, 18 November 2005 (UTC)
Sounds good. You've got my vote on this process. Peter S. 01:15, 19 November 2005 (UTC)
Links in articles should be removed as part of the image deletion process. Links to talk pages, user pages etc. might be best left: take the example of a talk page discussion as to whether to use an image—it makes little sense to remove all trace of the fact that an image was linked to the discussion. In defense of admins who forget to do this (I cannot guarantee 100% efficiency myself), the vast majority of images to be deleted are unlinked, it can be easy to forget to check the links section. I'm not sure that image redlinks are that much worse than article redlinks. Physchim62 (talk) 08:42, 18 November 2005 (UTC)
Also, whenever I fix disambigs or avoid redirects, I don't edit User talk pages because I don't want to set off people's new message banner- it's strikingly annoying to see your orange box only to find it was a bot or something.--Sean|Black 10:45, 18 November 2005 (UTC)