Wikipedia:Village pump (policy)/Archive R

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


I hear ya BeckJord...

Something needs to be done with the AMA, it's a good idea that's basically been abandoned. So, since I was too Bold in regards to WP:AUTO, consider this an intention of boldness to come. I think at this point the AMA can be officially considered "dead", and it's only a matter how to clean the slate and start over again. I'll send it to mfd in a few days if there's no initiative towards renewing things here. karmafist 03:24, 7 December 2005 (UTC)

New Feature Proposal

This proposal may better fit at Wikipedia:Village pump (technical). If so please feel free to move it there. The Seigenthaler debacle has had me thinking about a feature I have thought for quite a while may be a good thing. Part of the problem with the Seigenthaler article, in my mind, is that no one was watching it. The idea that "given enough eyes, all errors are shallow", only applies if there are enough eyes. I would like to see a list generated periodically (or in real time) that sorts articles by the number of users watching that article. This would allow interested parties to add underwatched articles to their watch lists so that vandalism there might be more likely to be detected. I have no idea how difficult (or easy) this would be to implement. Dsmdgold 17:12, 6 December 2005 (UTC)

It's been proposed before. The concern was that it would just tell vandals where defense was lax. RJFJR 20:17, 6 December 2005 (UTC)
how about a mechanism that alerts a randomly selected admin that a lightly-watched article has been touched... 21:10, 6 December 2005 (UTC)
I suppose one could make it an admin-only function, although that would limit its utility. Dsmdgold 03:23, 7 December 2005 (UTC)

User vandalizing Belarus-related topics

Hello everyone; I'm not registered here but still I think that I can make my little contributions. User:Electionworld has been vandalizing every article about political parties in Belarus, putting in every article that the ellections were not free and fair and similar things. I reacted by commenting this to him, but apparently it just made it worse. My main objections are two:

  • Being Belarus and its legally-constitued government -wether you like it or not, like Venezuela's Chávez- under pressure of other countries, namely the United States of America and its allies, it is a sensible topic that should be covered with extreme rely on NPOV principles. The ellections were considered only by some as unfair, and CIS observers didn't say so. If Belarusians like Lukashenko, Wikipedia can't lie nor hide any position or fall into intellectual terrorism.
  • All articles have the same text! It seems that this man is lobbying here... If there are objections to Belarusian democracy and its ellectoral system, that should be named and developed in Politics of Belarus and not in every article about that country. This is a separate topic, aside the articles' contents.
I was not saying that these elections were not free and fair (my opinion is not relevant in an encyclopedic article. At the party entries I just added after the results that the OSCE/ODIHR mission considered these elections not free and fair. Why should we hide that position? It is a fact that OSCE has this opinion. It is worthwile to mention that Belarus is a member of OSCE.Electionworld 07:58, 6 December 2005 (UTC)
Ignoring the fact that I think it's a bit over the top to mention this in every single article related to Belarusian politics, I do think it was a violation of WP:FAITH to call Electionworld's actions "vandalism". He/she was adding encyclopedic, factual and sourced statements to these articles, something which cannot be said for a lot of our other contributions. This is not vandalism by any means. Johnleemk | Talk 16:43, 6 December 2005 (UTC)
Well, don't call it vandalism if you don't consider it so; you're right, traditional and typical vandalism is another thing. I'll insist with the idea of intellectual terrorism; that is, repeating something everywhere to convince or persuade the reader of that thing. Electionworld, could you please develop as deep as you can this topic, but in Politics of Belarus?. In the articles a mere OSCE observers objected the proccess' fairness or similar would be great and leave place for naming Lukashenko's response to that.

A question

This is a card. In the CNN interview, Phillips said that there are 'people who can't print articles about themselves.' And answering them all, "go thou and change it" won't do. They're all going to gang up on us now. If they gather in large enough numbers...brr. No?

What troubles me is that a country like America is very sensitive to words, whether or not they be of substance. And America was watching today...--VKokielov 04:32, 6 December 2005 (UTC)

Well. America's the U.S. is not the only country in the world. --DanielCD 14:46, 7 December 2005 (UTC)

External Links "spamming" ... especially for cities

A certain anonymous user has been linking to their website about water towers in multiple city articles within Ontario, Canada. I found the Wikipedia style guide on external links to not be specific enough (and should I be weary it's not actually policy?) I still left a note about adding the links on the user's talk page about it though. Anyway there was a quick dicussion about external links on the Toronto talk page. My stance is with Krupo as he stated:

  • I don't think the external links area serves as a place to promote your website just because it has some connection to Toronto. It should at least add something to the reader's understanding with original content, eh?

Is this a commmon concensus sort of thing? All these water tower links are connected to the cities, but they don't add anything to the reader's understanding of the article if there's nothing in it about watertowers. If there was a little one-liner about them, would the links have reason to stay? If nothing else, I would appreciate if someone would point me in the right direction here :) Thanks, Mrtea 22:41, 7 December 2005 (UTC)

  • Personally speaking, I'd have purged them - they don't particularly add anything to the individual articles, if Barrie is representative... Wikipedia is not here to link to every single useful page on a single subject; we want to link to at most half a dozen good and useful ones. WP:NOT a web directory. Shimgray | talk | 13:50, 8 December 2005 (UTC)

about copying

hi can i copy a small portion of an article as long as i put/acknowledge Wikipedia in my sources/bibliography? -thanks. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)

Wikipedia:Copyrights - see for example Wikipedia:Copyrights#Example notice --Francis Schonken 10:09, 5 December 2005 (UTC)
See also Wikipedia:Citing Wikipedia. TenOfAllTrades(talk) 20:52, 7 December 2005 (UTC)

Policies and guidelines

Kim Bruning is proposing a major change to existing Wikipedia practice, namely removing the difference between policies and guidelines. I think it is worth taking a look at Template_talk:Guideline and Template_talk:Policy to review the proposed changes. -- SCZenz 06:16, 5 December 2005 (UTC)

In fact this is not a change at all, rather undoing some instruction creep. Many people still (correctly) refer to all wikipedia rules as being guidelines. Kim Bruning 07:24, 5 December 2005 (UTC)
What makes it correct, Kim? The fact that that's how it was once, and you like it? Personally, I abide by the consensus of the community, which seems to find the difference important. -- SCZenz 07:27, 5 December 2005 (UTC)
Hey, don't look at me! You're the dude(tte) who is currently responsible for consensus being not policy. ;-) Kim Bruning 07:53, 5 December 2005 (UTC)
Consensus is policy; see WP:NOT#Wikipedia is not a democracy, which is policy. The page Wikipedia:Consensus is not policy, and I suspect this is because it's mostly details of various ways to obtain a rough consensus, which we all know is controversial. I don't see a problem here. -- SCZenz 14:13, 5 December 2005 (UTC)
Yes, there you go, Wikipedia:Consensus is not policy. So how about we put the correct actual text there that would be the "consensus policy" please, else it's all going to be very confusing to new people. Kim Bruning 22:17, 5 December 2005 (UTC)
I thought about that overnight. The issue is that the policy part of consensus is very short: the way I'd put it is that Decisions on Wikipedia are made, as far as possible, by consensus. Do we need a policy page just for that? We could do that, and move much of the current Wikipedia:Consensus material to a Wikipedia:Rough consensus page; I don't think that's necessary, but I'm not strongly opposed. Maybe just a clearer note that the ideal of consensus is policy (with a link to the relevant part of WP:NOT), and it's only the specifics that are guidelines, at the top of the consensus page. -- SCZenz 22:22, 5 December 2005 (UTC)
I thought policy had community consensus and required community consensus to change, and ought be respected in all but extreme situations, whilst guidelines may not have a full community consensus, don't have to be followed absolutely and acted as fall back positions in unresolvable disputes. Ignoring a guideline is being bold, ignoring policy is potentially disruptive, no? Steve block talk 20:42, 5 December 2005 (UTC)
No. On two counts: For one it's posible to ignore practically everything and still be ok, and for two rules pages are labeled practically at random, it seems Kim Bruning 22:17, 5 December 2005 (UTC)
Which pages are labeled the wrong thing? All the ones I've seen make sense to me, with the possible exception of the consensus page as discussed above. -- SCZenz 22:22, 5 December 2005 (UTC)
One example would be Wikipedia:Naming conventions (categories), most of which was put together by a fairly small group of users on the talk page and is felt virtually only on CFD. I'd be surprised if the majority of editors even know this page exists, let alone if it has "wide acceptance among editors." In any case, it's clearly not fundamental in the same way WP:NPOV is. Christopher Parham (talk) 03:26, 6 December 2005 (UTC)
As a general matter, I do think there's a useful distinction between policy and guidelines, but I think it's drawn in the wrong place right now; for people reading the policy pages, what's useful is to distinguish "fundamental pages I should definitely understand" from "ad hoc pages to be consulted as needed." New users should understand WP:GFDL, WP:NPOV and WP:V. These are fundamental prescriptive policies (foundation issues), and it is useful to distinguish them from the bulk of the project space that contains descriptive guidelines and policies. Christopher Parham (talk) 03:34, 6 December 2005 (UTC)
  • I think that policies and guidelines and and should be distinct. There may well be particular pages that are mis-labled, and should be marked as policy when they are not currently so marked. if so, they can and should be corrected. But an attempt to simply abolish the distinction by redircting the policy template, without significant debate, is IMO very kuch the wrong way to do this. I understand that originally they two terms had the same meanign on wikipedia, but that hasn't been truew is quite soem time. i also understand that because of this some old pages that are generally treated as policy have not been so labled. That can and should be corrected. if soemone wants to propose that there not be a distinction between "policy" and "guideline" that should be made a s a proposal to cvhange existing policy, and should need to gain consensus just as any proposal for change does. I personally would oppose any such proposal, or at least that is my present view -- I would of course consider arguemtns to the contrary that might be put forward. DES (talk) 20:41, 7 December 2005 (UTC)

Speedy criteria A7

I think we either have to deprecate this or give better guidance on what constitutes a claim of non-notability. I just removed Mary Welsh Hemingway from the speedy category, it was tagged on the basis that it did not assert the importance or significance of the subject. Is being married to Ernest Hemingway and a journalist for a national paper not enough to qualify as important or significant? Steve block talk 12:01, 9 December 2005 (UTC)

So revert it and leave a nasty polite'n'explanatory note on the tagger's user talk page. I find people tagging perfectly comprehensible (if quite deletable) pages as patent nonsense all the time, but that's no reason to deprecate it. You're under no obligation to speedy an article just because someone's put a template on it. —Cryptic (talk) 13:01, 9 December 2005 (UTC)
Been there, done that myself too. Is there not an issue here that such taggings are vandalism? And should we also not consider the message we send to contributors of such pages? I appreciate what you say, but sadly disagree. Still, fair play, I'll withdraw once again. Steve block talk 13:22, 9 December 2005 (UTC)
Accidents aren't vandalism. Vandalism requires bad-faith. Of course an accident that keeps on happening becomes progressively less accidental. -Splashtalk 13:30, 9 December 2005 (UTC)
Fair play. Steve block talk 13:35, 9 December 2005 (UTC)

Draft policy for comment: Information suppression

Following considerable discussion concerning selective POV suppression on Talk:NPOV, a draft policy for discussion has been put together on Information suppression.

Draft policy for discussion is at Wikipedia:Information suppression -- please help improve it, or leave an opinion and contribution on the talk page. FT2 19:31, 8 December 2005 (UTC)


I'm wondering if it's worthwhile to merge the data for this(to WP:RULES, WP:NOT and BJAODN), I think it's pretty obvious that it makes no sense to have an entire page to mocking peoples' ignorance of Wiki-policy(which has become in desperate need of reform anyway, so this might be a subconsious plea to do something), especially since it just says what Wikipedia is not. Sound familiar anyone? karmafist 18:37, 8 December 2005 (UTC)

User Bill of Rights

Wikipedia:User Bill of Rights: So we can build a better encylopedia without capricious interference, we should know what rules apply. (SEWilco 16:51, 8 December 2005 (UTC))

Some numbers about new pages

After I heard about the latest experiment with page creation privileges, I was interested to see how much good and bad comes out of anon IPs creating pages. So I went ahead and slaved away for a couple of hours, and tried to collect some data. I looked at the new pages from Friday, 2 December that still exist. I checked last ten pages created in each of the hours, that's 240 pages. Unfortunately, my Firefox died a noble death after I had 80 something tabs open, so I mostly didn't get to do anything about pages that need attention. I also looked at the delete log for Friday. Trying to find out anything meaningful from there would require even more work than this, so I came up with a shortcut: I looked only at the pages in article space that were deleted with the standard summary "Content was foo and the only contributor was bar", and counted IPs and logged users. I reckon that roughly as many articles were deleted friday through AfD as there were nominated for AfD, so I went and pretended that all deleted articles were new pages and added them to the pages that still exist. Here are the results, along with extrapolated values for all new pages from Friday (numbers in italics are calculated, upright numbers are data I gathered):

New pages, Friday, December 2, 2005 pages I checked calculated values for all pages created on Friday
created by: IPs logged in total IPs logged in total

new pages, still existing 95 145 240 773 1182 1955

good pages, properly done 63 125 188 513 1018 1531
good pages, didn't get attention from experienced users 16 10 26 130 82 212
all good new pages 79 135 214 643

on AFD 7 3 10 57 24 81
bad pages, should be deleted 8 3 11 65 25 90
mistakes (wrong language, namespace, etc.), should be deleted or moved 1 4 5 8 33 41
all bad pages still existing 16 10 26 130 82 212

deleted pages 264 89 353 1149 388 1537

all bad new pages 280 99 379 1280

all new pages 359 234 593 1935
At Friday's rate
  • anons were creating 706,275 pages/year – 234,695 (33%) good, 471,580 (67%) bad
  • logged in users were creating 568,305 pages/year – 397,120 (71%) good, 171,185 (29%) bad
  • all users were creating 1,274,580 pages/year – 636,195 (49.92%) good, 638,385 (50.08%) bad
Of pages created on Friday
  • 8% of bad new pages were left unattended for 3 days
  • 12% of good new pages were still unwikified after 3 days

Note: good and bad means pages that should have or should not have been created, not good or bad articles have been written. All this limited to article namespace.

It's bound to be off somewhat, but at least it's based on something. Any thoughts on what these numbers mean? Zocky 05:25, 7 December 2005 (UTC)

Well explain the lables first. Lotsofissues 18:04, 7 December 2005 (UTC)
Hmm... I thought they were self-explenatory :) Checked pages are those I checked, all pages are values extrapolated from the checked pages. Bad pages are those that shouldn't have been created (including pages that have since been deleted), good pages the opposite. New pages, still existing are pages created on last Friday which haven't been deleted in the meantime. Properly done means that the created page has been turned at least into a proper stub since it was created. Didn't get attention from experienced editor means that it's encyclopedic information, which still hasn't been turned at least into a proper stub. Should be deleted means created pages that we should have speedied or afd'd, but which we missed. On AFD means that the page has been nominated for AfD. This doesn't necessarily make it a bad page, but since the number is relatively small and doesn't have a great influence on the end results, I went ahead an pretended that they're all bad. Zocky 18:29, 7 December 2005 (UTC)
If this is an experiment why does the message given to IPs no longer mention it is a temporary measure ? Robmods 18:16, 7 December 2005 (UTC)
Quite fascinating! Although IPs do not significantly outperform registered editors in terms of the volume of garbage produced (55% by IPs), they are disproportionately likely to create bad articles (66% for IPs versus 30% for registered). It will be interesting to repeat this in a few weeks to see whether preventing IP page creation has any effect. —Kirill Lokshin 18:24, 7 December 2005 (UTC)
That's true. Logged in users are on average much better editors than IP's. Another thing worth of notice is that on Friday, IPs were producing good pages at the rate of 234,695 per year. Zocky 18:29, 7 December 2005 (UTC)
Any idea what proportion of these are redirects? I know at one point I was creating dozens at a time... Shimgray | talk | 22:07, 7 December 2005 (UTC)
Hmmm... must not be many, I don't think I saw any in that sample. I tried the first 30 links in Special:Newpages now and none of them was a redirect. So either new pages are not showing redirects, or people are not making many. Zocky 23:57, 7 December 2005 (UTC)
No, redirects don't show up in Special:Newpages. —Cryptic (talk) 02:36, 8 December 2005 (UTC)
Though they seem to appear retroactively, if the second edit stops them being a redirect. At least, I'm sure I saw one last night. Interesting. Shimgray | talk | 14:33, 8 December 2005 (UTC)
I would be willing to bet that if you divided the logged-in users between those who have had an account less than two months (or maybe one month) with those who have been editing longer, that you would also see a significant difference in the pattern of edits. BlankVerse 22:11, 7 December 2005 (UTC)
Absolutely. There is definitely the progress from anon->red link user->blue link user->name sounds familiar->admin->good user, with each of the stages doing less damage and more good. Zocky 22:57, 7 December 2005 (UTC)
Hmmm, interesting order for the last two there. On topic, I think the big number here is that extrapolated 234,695 pages a year by anons -- that is a huge amount of content. If this new policy is causing us to lose even 10 percent of that, it is a serious problem. Christopher Parham (talk) 01:08, 8 December 2005 (UTC)
Well, it's harder to be what I call a "good user" (maybe I should have said "very good user") than to become an admin, and we have plenty of very good users who are not admins. Zocky 01:14, 8 December 2005 (UTC)
Christopher said On topic, I think the big number here is that extrapolated 234,695 pages a year by anons -- that is a huge amount of content. If this new policy is causing us to lose even 10 percent of that, it is a serious problem. I don't think this is a problem at all. We are now reaching a point were we need to focus on improving what articles we have, rather than on creating new ones. (Of course this doesn't mean that we have everything we should have now — see WP:MEA.) — mark 11:42, 8 December 2005 (UTC)
I don't see why the two aren't going on simultaneously. In this case, there's an anon who wants to add a new page, and the question is do we get that page or not. Denying him the ability to add that page is hardly going to funnel his efforts into improving our other articles; we're simply going to lose the information and gain nothing. Generally, I don't see how stopping anons from creating new pages helps us improve the articles we already have. Christopher Parham (talk) 05:58, 9 December 2005 (UTC)

This number crunching is splendid and way beyond my capabilities, but I think you'd agree that an analysis of surviving pages is skewed in favour of non-logged in new page creators, as the IP number gives a strong hint that a new page needs checking and a high proportion of them are deleted within minutes. Making would-be vandals sign up before creating new pages has the advantage of tending to mean that all new pages are treated with equal suspicion. What's needed is enough people willing to check pages and not just hit the obvious rubbish while letting subtle vandals through. A question: is there duplication of effort with good pages being checked repeatedly? ...dave souza 10:44, 9 December 2005 (UTC)

The solution to vandalism

Protection policies do NOT work
Even if you somehow manage to stop the "deluge" of vandalism, you are effectively cutting off anyone who could make meaningful contributions to the articles. The regular users of Wikipedia cannot possibly have enough knowledge to make helpful contributions, save copying the information from other sources. If you expect someone to add new content, it is most likely the people who have not been to wikipedia much before. The frequent users just copy content from other sources, wikipedia is merely a storehouse that is accumulating knowledge from what is already known.

If a user vandalizes, ban their account and/or their ip
Proxy server you say? Well ban the proxy server, proxy IPs should not be allowed to edit either
These temporary ban or edit limitation ideas are nonsense
What if an IP is used by more than one person you say? If one user screws it up for the rest, too bad. You need to weed out the vandalizers no matter what it takes. If that means excluding the 100 people that are using the IP, oh well. Most likely, 1 out of those 100 would actually ever make a meaninfull contribution anyway, and they would use a different computer if they really wanted to add something.

How you find the vandalizers is up to you, but once you find them it is clear what must be done.
Ban the vandalizers, ban them all, no strikes, no second chances. If they decide to vandalize an article, they do not deserve to come back, end of story.

--Rain 23:05, 5 December 2005 (UTC)

The frequent users just copy content from other sources, wikipedia is merely a storehouse that is accumulating knowledge from what is already known. Yes, that's the idea, see No Original Research and Verifiability. These are some of our most important guiding principals. You may have a misconception about what Wikipedia is supposed to be. It is true, however, that field experts are often more adept at finding, understanding, and integrating sources related to their fields, so your point still has merit. —Bunchofgrapes (talk) 23:16, 5 December 2005 (UTC)
That is why I said that. I do not appreciate the addition to my discussion page, I am not a newbie to Wikipedia. Pulling together information from outside sources and combining them would be new content. I did not mention new research or verifiable information.

Wikipedia moderators need to stop being afraid banning users and ban them. You will not lose any content, as you say it is knowledge that is already known, someone will add it sooner or later. The goal is to stop the exisiting additions from getting changed for the worse. --Rain 23:28, 5 December 2005 (UTC)
I suppose you're suggesting that we start by banning the 15 million users on AOL? --Carnildo 00:00, 6 December 2005 (UTC)
If Wikipedia doesn't have the balls to ban the offenders, and Wikipedia dislikes the vandalism, then you can't win. One or the other has to be true, not both. I really wish wikipedians would stop complaining, and stop the endless rants about vandalism. Perhaps someone vandalised my comments on this page, how would you ever know when you don't look? Do bears really shit in the woods when no one is watching? --Rain 00:36, 6 December 2005 (UTC)
The way everybody -- including the 15 million (or however many) users on AOL -- is treated should I think be radically changed, within a radically changed WP. They should get usernames, and should then have to prove the integrity of these usernames via suggested changes. IFF those suggestions are consistently good (once a genuine "newbie" period has elapsed), the username can then be lent the power to edit articles directly, a power that's revoked when the username blatantly screws up.
Blatant vandalism is very irritating and a waste of many people's time, but actually pretty straightforward. What's worse are things like (i) the scrupulous copying of factoids from other "sources" that are themselves unreliable (and often pretty obviously so, when examined by an adult who's at least moderately well educated and intelligent) and (ii) the vehemence with which such additions are then defended.
What I have in mind would entail a drastic reduction in the addition of new content. Much of the new content that WP wouldn't get would be good. Its loss would indeed be a pity. But it would also get much less blather, leading it to be more highly regarded, and I think in turn leading it to attract more qualified contributors. -- Hoary 04:08, 6 December 2005 (UTC)
I'd say "If you want Nupedia, you know where to find it", but it seems to be dead. Guess why....--Stephan Schulz 20:06, 6 December 2005 (UTC)
A non-wiki wikipedia? that would be scandalous!!!!--Alhutch 20:10, 6 December 2005 (UTC)
What Hoary mentioned is not Nupedia. Nupedia is an entirely different concept --Rain 17:46, 8 December 2005 (UTC)

The solution to vandalism is to repair broken windows quickly. 21:15, 6 December 2005 (UTC)



The choise is obvious IMHO :)

I mean, think if you are looking for "Christian views of men" and dont find it in the "see also", what to do? Make a search? In the proposed system, you just go to "Christian studies" and follow the subarticles, for example

  • Christianity/Christian studies/Christian philosophy/Christian view of Humans/Christian view of Men

Cant find it? Then you'll know that its not there, instead of it having some name you couldent gues or seach for :)

Deco wrote

Oh, one more comment: if you browse around a bit at Mathworld, I'm sure you can see some of the annoying compromises forced by single classification. Sometimes there is no really good place in the hierarchy for something, and other times something really belongs in 2 or more places. I can already imagine edit wars about where some article really "belongs". Let's stay with multiple classification and also try to avoid adding additional clutter to the article intro.

And that is what i propose, multiple classification, and also being explicit and ordered about it :)

Rembeber, things have multible classification, so you can follow "Islamic banking" in any of this ways:

  • Religion/Islam/Islamic studies/Islamic Jursiprudence/Islamic economy/Islamic banking
  • Businesses/Financial services/Banking/Islamic banking

Hoping for more feedback!

--Striver 04:28, 6 December 2005 (UTC)

Please comment

I also saw Dominion Theology describing what i proposed!

What harm does it to sub-set in one or more catgories? Its not like we must do it everywhere... What do you think, can i continue doing it? (Zora, im not asking you)--Striver 02:38, 9 December 2005 (UTC)

Copyrights % non commercial licenses

(from Wikipedia:Copyright FAQ)

I'm confused as to why certain liceses are banned... Firstly, the non commercial license: "There are many different kinds of non-commercial licenses, but generally they say something like You may use, copy, or distribute this work for non-commercial purposes."

Surely Wikipedia is not a commercial project, and thus these licenses are allowed by U.S. law, correct? And yet here they are listed as prohibited.

There's also the educational license: "Others include all forms of public education, including encyclopedias, to be educational."

Again, this is an encyclopedia, so I fail to see any reason why these shouldn't be allowed. In cases where licenses allow only for use by schools and colleges, this would not be the case, of course, but surely it would be OK in all other cases?

In both cases, the email linked to did not help clarify this in the slightest, so I was hoping someone here could explain it to me.

All content here must be usable for commercial purposes (except fair use, which is a whole other story). All text must be GFDL, and can be other (alternate) licences too (although in practice figuring out what is dual-licenced is almost impossible). The Wikimedia Foundation does (in Germany, at least) make very limited commercial use of content, and lots of our mirrors do. It wouldn't be free if you couldn't sell it. But as it's free, it's commoditised, so no-one is going to be able to sell it for very much. -- Finlay McWalter | Talk 23:53, 9 December 2005 (UTC)
along the same lines that Finley wrote, Wikipedia is a Free encyclopedia -- all material used must also be freely reusable. Licenses that place restrictions on reuse (beyond requiring attribution) are not free and are thus incompatible with the GFDL. olderwiser 23:57, 9 December 2005 (UTC)
Yep, to "educational only" it's much the same as above: we don't limit what folks do with our stuff - in particular, it's not limited to encyclopedias. Can an open-source CD player display the article for the song or band that's playing? Can a local tourist office make a kiosk PC that allows visitors to learn about the surrounding area and its history, using Wikipedia content? We deliberately want these uses, and millions like them, to be made of our content. -- Finlay McWalter | Talk 00:01, 10 December 2005 (UTC)
I'm not offhand sure of the educational-only prohibition, but the major problem with "non-commercial" is that many non-commercial clauses essentially mean that you cannot take any money for the product. This is fine as long as we're on the web. If we want to make a DVD copy and sell it - like the German wikipedia did, selling thousands at ten euros each - this becomes impractical; it essentially makes it impossible to have a printed version at all.
Even if the non-commercial license turns out to only be "you must not make a profit", we're still screwed - arranging distribution of something so you don't make a profit yet don't lose money is really tricky, and in many cases (like the German one above) we're not distributing it ourselves - it's a private company selling it for a nominal cost, yet making a small profit (they gave us a euro per copy - 10% is a good cut!). Distributing via commercial companies, who already have the infrastructure in place, is arguably the only efficient way to do such a thing... and they tend to be for-profit organisations, thus rendering a "non-commercial use by nonprofits" interpretation problematic.
Magnus Manske has a decent summary here, which may be worth looking at (there was an argument on wikien-l, the project mailing list, about this a week or two back) Shimgray | talk | 00:03, 10 December 2005 (UTC)
Another reason was part of Jimbo's (and I guess lots of people's) vision for Wikipedia: that it could be packaged in some format (whether paper or electronic) and distributed in the third world to folks who don't have reasonable access to the web version. It's only reasonable that the little Nairobi printer or Salavan DVD burner guy can sell it (to schools or whatever) for a fair price - if we insisted on no-one making any profit, then only charities could do so (and you might well think that charities have rather more immediate problems on which to spend their money). As the content is free and fairly easy to get, our little Nairobi printer can't corner the market and become a big giant hyperweathy Nairobi printer, as some hungry little agile guy will undercut him. -- Finlay McWalter | Talk 00:18, 10 December 2005 (UTC)
It's also important to allow derivative commercial works. Much of the world's creative content is controlled by corporations, and the ability for this content to be enriched by incorporating our content will benefit not only individual companies but the audiences that consume their content, in the same way that, say, synthesizers have contributed to popular music. Imagine a fiction or nonfiction book using our text or images to add value, or some of our text being edited and used in a movie or television script. We are a raw ingredient in many future works. Deco 02:07, 10 December 2005 (UTC)

Desired disambiguation Template use?

I've been seeing some backlash against Template use. Is there specific policy on this? Is this just an attitude, or a trend? A couple of instances that happened to me today:

  1. Somebody changed an existing geodis to disambig, among other drastic deletions to the page. When queried on her/his Talk, said: "The geo dab template is useless. A dab is a dab, as far as I can tell, and I see no reason to have multiple templates."
  2. The disambiguation heading at Antioch had misspelled Antioch (among other problems), and all the useful information in it was already in the first line of the article. Rather than merely fixing the bad stuff, I replaced it with the usual Otheruses. Seemed the perfect spot for that template. It was quickly "reverted" (although it was actually an edit that also fixed the old misspellings) with the tag: "Hard to believe someone would deliberately put the obnoxious one-size-fits-all "otheruses" template in place of a notice tailored to the page. Reverting."

What should be done in these cases?

--William Allen Simpson 22:51, 9 December 2005 (UTC)

I was the one making the first comment. Surely the pump isn't the place to discuss this specific instance, is it? Shouldn't we be at the geo dab talk page or the dab talk page itself? That's where we'll find the other people interested in this issue. Pick a place and I'll meet you there. Tedernst | talk 00:23, 10 December 2005 (UTC)
Yes, I thought it polite not to mention you by name. Actually, since I thought these issues had long since been resolved (many months ago), and there are now hundreds of pages using the template, it seemed a wider policy discussion would be in order. However, on issue #1, it appears that yet another avid discussion has broken out on Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style (disambiguation pages) in the past few days. Perhaps issue #2 can be (re-)raised there again, too.... William Allen Simpson 15:29, 10 December 2005 (UTC)

Proposed Semi-protection policy

There currently is a straw poll running at Wikipedia talk:Semi-protection policy, dealing with a creation of an intermediate level of protection for pages with extreme levels of vandalism from new users. Right now, the policy has strong support, but additional input is always welcome. Titoxd(?!? - did you read this?) 21:27, 9 December 2005 (UTC)

Yes, please come! This is not another minor policy!! MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD! Please don't let this slip by, and at least just read #Rehashing for a general overview, then VOTE! -Mysekurity(have you seen this?) 05:55, 10 December 2005 (UTC)

SWIFT codes

Should Wkipedia host a list of SWIFT banking codes (used when wiring money from one bank to another)? Please comment at Talk:List of SWIFT codes. -- Finlay McWalter | Talk 17:39, 9 December 2005 (UTC)

New protection template?

I have created a new template at Template:Nprotect to handle situations where the article is about to go out to a wide audience; for example, being posted on Slashdot or an interview about Wikipedia. Is this a good idea, a bad idea, or just an idea? Thanks, Luc "Somethingorother" French 00:26, 6 December 2005 (UTC)

It's a bad idea because we don't protect articles just because they are slashdotted. We can handle slashdot trolls with our eyes closed, as we did the other day. When a page is protected because Jimbo's on TV about it, well....then it's just {{vprotected}}.
We should never protect a page that gets linked from a somewhere prominent. We could lose far more good editors than what we would temporarily gain.--Sean|Black 00:29, 6 December 2005 (UTC)
There is already Template:P-protected, it is in use for the John_Seigenthaler_Sr. article for example --Rain 04:50, 6 December 2005 (UTC)

Is this lack of comments because nobody at all cares? Or it because everybody assumes the template is redundant? If it's the latter, I could just make the template a redirect to Template:P-protected, and leave it at that. Thanks, Luc "Somethingorother" French 07:56, 10 December 2005 (UTC)

What is the current official license policy? E.g. for uploading an image?

Are the descriptions in the FAQ and at this page fully correct and up to date? If so, is that consistent with this injunction?:

Content must not violate any copyright and must be based on verifiable sources. By editing here, you agree to license your contributions under the GFDL.

If not, is anyone checking to make sure that major WP policies are always easy to find, whether by clueless newbies or allegedly experienced active users (like me)? TIA---CH 20:43, 10 December 2005 (UTC)


Due to the persistent and increasing problem of meatpuppetry - the deliberate recruitment and injection of new editors into WP:AFD debates by the creators of the article - I have created a meatpuppet template. This can be placed on the page of any user who is suspected of being a meatpuppet. Example: A new user who was asked to come here from a non-notable website to vote for the retention of that article would be tagged as a meatpuppet of the article creator. Firebug 18:27, 10 December 2005 (UTC)

  • ... and remain evermore branded, even though xe might have otherwise chosen to stay and to begin contributing elsewhere? Uncle G 19:48, 10 December 2005 (UTC)

WP:CITE - too big?

  • Wikipedia talk:Cite sources - is it time for a change to this long-standing page? Does it still serve its' original purpose? Is it helping or hindering the addition of references to Wikipedia, which in light of recent events seems to be of more importance than ever? Editors are invited to comment. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Dan100 (talkcontribs) 08:34, 11 December 2005 (UTC)

See Notice of discussion about possible policy proposals at RfC above for some related issues. This seems to be a hot topic. Andrewa 19:37, 11 December 2005 (UTC)

More fallout from the anon editing policy

Turns out anons can't even create their own User pages. Zoe ( 17:13, 12 December 2005 (UTC))

Anons don't have 'their own' user pages. IP address user pages are a community resource, usually used by admins to indicate which addresses are part of ISP/school/whatever proxies, or to warn anonymous editors about vandalism or inappropriate editing techniques. (Note that once a logged-in editor does create user and user talk pages for an anonymous editor, that anonymous editor is able to reply.)
If someone is really bent on editing 'anonymously' from a static IP and having a user page, that person can create a throwaway account for the purpose. Not sure why they would need to do this, however.... TenOfAllTrades(talk) 17:37, 12 December 2005 (UTC)


Perhaps best to take it up here. Should it be "Author requests deletion. Any page for which deletion is requested by the original author, provided the page was edited only by its author and was mistakenly created." or "Author requests deletion. Any page for which deletion is requested by the original author, provided the page was edited only by its author.", per WP:TFD#Template:Infobox television (current/past cast) AzaToth 09:25, 12 December 2005 (UTC)

The first, obviously. If someone realises months after creating an obscure article that is perfectly decent, that they wish to leave Wikipedia in a storm, they don't acquire the right to have their article deleted. G7 is a statement of common sense "Oh, I messed up, could someone fix that for me, please?". The mistake part got removed along with a number of other important but secondary parts of the CSDs a while ago. I think they're all back now. The wider application of this should be dropped: if it a mistake, thats fine, if it's merely a "would prefer this wasn't actually here", then it needs to be decided by more than one person. -Splashtalk 16:48, 12 December 2005 (UTC)

Images, Copyright, Etc.

This is specifically regarding the article Stalking Cat. Because of the nature of this page, it would be pretty nice for this article to have an image of the guy. Because his site has a big "do not reproduce" etc etc tag on it, i figured taking an image straight from his site was a bad idea, so I emailed him asking for a picture I could use in the wikipedia article. He emailed me back with a picture attached (he also commented on how the article contained lies).

Here's my (two part) question.

1. Is an email from him, the copyright holder of the image, enough to be considered permission to USE the image? 2. If I correct what he maintained were "lies" on his article, is that violated WP:NOR?

TastemyHouse Breathe, Breathe in the air 19:08, 11 December 2005 (UTC)

1.: Is the use of the image conditioned on making certain (unreasonable) changes? In that case we probably can't use the picture as the conditions are too restrictive. Otherwise the email is a perfectly fine permission; I would suggest using the Template:Fair use in image tagging template.
2.: On the NOR issue; Wikipedia:Autobiography deals with this exact problem. On the other hand, we certainly should take it serious when he says our article contains lies - removing the disputed facts which are not backed up by a reputable source seems a good solution to me. Also consider that even if a fairly reputable source says something ebout him, there is a good chance that it isn't true: in my experience "back page" articles about subjects such as this tend not to be very well fact-checked. As such, I would personally give his email a relative high weight when considering what to do about the article.
I am getting a bit curious; would it be possible to see what he has written? Thue | talk 22:55, 11 December 2005 (UTC)
I dont feel right pasting his private correspondence here, but I'll paraphrase. He said that the quote as the cost of his surgeries is innaccurate -- he says he doesn't keep track.
That was the only one that he has referred to specifically so far. I'm continuing the conversation though TastemyHouse Breathe, Breathe in the air 23:18, 11 December 2005 (UTC)
Skimming the references cited in the Wikipedia article, the source of the $200.000 seems to be this quote
Stalking Cat said he has lost track of how much his transformation has cost, though one figure quoted on a Web site estimates it would cost more than $200,000 — a figure Stalking Cat would neither confirm nor deny. He would only say, "It's a lot."
"one figure quoted on a Web site estimates" (unspecified website even) is not a very authorative source :). So I would definently trust his email on this one. Thue | talk 23:31, 11 December 2005 (UTC)
The money quote has been moved around in the article. Your quoted part as it stood before being deleted it was CnP from one of the media articles used as reference. SchmuckyTheCat 22:34, 12 December 2005 (UTC)
Its weird -- He has not yet explicitly given me permission to use an image. He replied to my request for image email with an image attachment, but didn't state in the email that I could use it. I replied and (among other things) asked if i had explicit permission to use the image. He did not reply to this part of that email.

What do you think? even though i dont have EXPRESS permission, should i post the image? TastemyHouse Breathe, Breathe in the air 00:29, 12 December 2005 (UTC)

He must give you written, explicit permission before you can use his copyrighted image. It's also questionable in my mind whether fair use applies in this case, and if it doesn't our new image policy forbids uploading it even with explicit permission. Deco 01:16, 12 December 2005 (UTC)

Really? Even if the owner of the copyright gives permission? And I think this falls under "Publicity photos" under fair-use. TastemyHouse Breathe, Breathe in the air 01:26, 12 December 2005 (UTC)

The question is, explicit permission under what terms? Remember that the default copyright terms are very restrictive, and to lift them generally requires something more precise than "you can use it." You should ask him specifically whether we can use it under the GFDL, or perhaps under one of the Creative Commons licenses (since those are a bit easier to understand.) —Steven G. Johnson 03:03, 12 December 2005 (UTC)
I think it is pretty clear from the context that he does not want to license an image of himself under a free licence. Thue | talk 10:53, 12 December 2005 (UTC)
Do you think we can just treat this as fair use? I dont want to seem pushy =) TastemyHouse Breathe, Breathe in the air 07:39, 12 December 2005 (UTC)
If he sent you the image after you asked for an image for the article, I think it is a pretty strong implicit permission to use it. I would say that is good enough for fair use in the article, but it of course depends on exactly were said in the email exchange. Thue | talk 10:50, 12 December 2005 (UTC)
I asked him specifically, and this time he said "yes". TastemyHouse Breathe, Breathe in the air 15:53, 12 December 2005 (UTC)
Explicit permission does not imply fair use. Fair use is a specific legal concept that permits use of copyrighted works without permission. The reason we want both is that the fair use provides a backup in the case that the explicit permission falls through for some reason. Deco 19:19, 12 December 2005 (UTC)
Yes - but we don't have a permission image template as far as I am aware :). Anyway, with the article being under the GFDL and being constantly modified we will have to claim fair use in some sense to make a limited permission make sense. Thue | talk 21:59, 12 December 2005 (UTC)
  • Please be sure to coipy any email or email exchange that gives permisison for use to "permissions at wikimedia dot org". Please be sure that he understood (or at least that you mentioned) that use was not limited to wikipedia, but coud be reused by anyone under the GFDL. You might want to look at Wikipedia:Confirmation of permission for a standard email requesting confirmation of permission to use an image. DES (talk) 16:58, 12 December 2005 (UTC)

I will do that. TastemyHouse Breathe, Breathe in the air 18:21, 12 December 2005 (UTC)


Cannot reach anyone....seems badly organized, any people have no email.

Getting no answers.

Who makes edits permanent?



username BECKJORD

I placed some pointers in your talk page at User talk:Beckjord ≈ jossi fresco ≈ t@ 22:21, 6 December 2005 (UTC)

The reason that changes can not be made perminant is because this is an ENCYCLOPEDIA! Information changes constantly, things happen, etc. --Link 20:57, 12 December 2005 (UTC)

WP:V citations

General Length of Articles

Situation: Long articles that cover many aspects of a subject. These are difficult to cite in other articles. It almost requires 'sub-links'. My memory of reading the entire home encyclopedia as a child was that entries were generally short. Is there a general policy of fragmentation for better internal linking? My ideal would be to have short, focused articles with many internal links, but this might be more 'linked' to our general 'social purpose', whatever that might be. :) --Zeizmic 00:17, 14 December 2005 (UTC)

  • Unfortunately there is a culture of merging short convenient articles into long unwieldy ones. I believe it's linked to a dislike of "stubs". Kappa 02:39, 14 December 2005 (UTC)
  • We have sublinks. I use them all the time. For example, Array#Advantages_and_disadvantages. I even use them in redirects sometimes. Watch out though, because they will be blue even if the section does not exist, and you must use underscores, not spaces (punctuation acts funny too). However, we do have consensus on some nonmandatory suggestions regarding article length (Wikipedia:Article size). It is typical on Wikipedia to break up really long articles — for example, Greece has History of Greece, Greek food, and so on. Deco 03:12, 14 December 2005 (UTC)
    • Linking to sections works very poorly, as the the section names are likely to be changed by somebody else, and there's the section links no longer work properly (renames of articles are handled well, due to redirects). It's impossible to even check what links to a specific section, so somebody changing a section name has no idea of the side effects of their action. Sadly, breaking up into manageable smaller articles isn't generally an option, as inevitably the newly created spin-off article will be AFD'd for not being sufficiently "notable" on its on. The spin-off article's AFD will result in a re-merge, or possibly even a full deletion. Wikipedia has a pecular notion that every topic is worthy of exactly one page (as an article is essentially a page of varying length). Somehow other content management systems allow for multi-page articles, but we can't. You can cram the silliest most insignficant item on an already huge article (just think of the all the sections that are actually labelled "Trivia"), without controversy, but if you spin-off a logical chunk into a separate article, it will face AFD (if it's about a person it might even face a speedy). --Rob 03:32, 14 December 2005 (UTC)
      • Regarding the poor behaviour of section linking in the face of updates, these are very good points that I feel are inadequately addressed by the current technology. However, I think the current practice of creating self-contained pages on each topic instead of having multi-page articles is an excellent way of encouraging proper breakup of articles. The Wikipedia software actually supports subpages using "/", and I believe they were used on Nupedia, but it has long been our policy to not use them because a flat, interlinked article space turned out to work better. You can read all about the history of subpages at Wikipedia:Subpages and linked articles on meta. Deco 03:45, 14 December 2005 (UTC)

Should photo contributors have their names on the main page?

Please contribute to the debate here: Wikipedia_talk:Picture_of_the_day#Please:_let.27s_discuss_refraining_from_crediting_names Borisblue 23:34, 13 December 2005 (UTC)

Deleting news

Hi, Although I can see that massive events (Iraq war, etc) need their own wikipedia pages, does every newsworthy event deserve permenant listings here? I'd have thought the recent fire in Hertfordshire is a good example of something that won't be any interest to anybody after the initial fuss has died down, and so can be comfortably deleted after a few weeks. News is what wikinews is for, and I think it might be worth tightening the guidelines on what deserves a wikipedia page. Inebriatedonkey 15:48, 13 December 2005 (UTC)

I'd disagree. I'm not sure we can accurately predict what will be a notable event, and the Hertfordshire fire, like the Kings Cross fire and the Bradford City disaster and the Great Storm of 1987, seems to have the potential to become another landmark event in British folklore/history. I think the guidelines are okay as they are. Steve block talk 17:36, 13 December 2005 (UTC)
Something that caused serious environmental problems, dominated the news for days, closed major motorways and caused the evacuation of 2000 people is encyclopedic. It would be embarassing not to have an article on it. violet/riga (t) 17:40, 13 December 2005 (UTC)
Yeah, there's that as well. :) Steve block talk 17:52, 13 December 2005 (UTC)
A thought prompted by this - we have a lot of very good articles on such events... but they're very good for the time, and tend to lose a lot of readers quite quickly, before they're fully polished or the full story emerges. It might be worth working through everything on WP:NEWS a year ago, and checking the articles are suitably "retrospective" by now...

read through our Hurricane Katrina articles. It is posible to tell almost to the day when people lost interest.Geni 11:30, 14 December 2005 (UTC)

From academic assignments to Wikipedia articles

Often in my university classes, I've had to do quite a bit of background research on an academic topic, generally compiling information that is (gasp) not available on Wikipedia. This background research becomes part of an assignment, but I am left with the nagging feeling that all this work should benefit Wikipedia somehow as well.

I am quite aware that essays written for a class, on the whole, are not encyclopedia articles, particularly because they are expected to contain original research. But the parts that explain the background of the topic tend to be in a format that is completely suitable for Wikipedia. Those parts aren't original research, because they only involve compiling facts from existing sources, just like Wikipedia articles.

If I wanted to make a part of an essay that I submitted for credit into a Wikipedia article, how should I go about doing it? My greatest worry is that, sometime down the line, someone would observe that the content of my essay and the Wikipedia article were pretty much the same, they'd get the causality the wrong way, and I'd get accused of a serious case of plagiarism. It doesn't matter that if it came to an academic hearing, it would be comically short ("We have found that your essay duplicates content from an encyclopedia article." "Sir, I wrote that encyclopedia article.") -- even the slightest possibility of being accused of plagiarism is a risk that I won't touch with an eleven-foot pole.

So does anyone have any ideas? Do I put a note in the paper that I'm releasing it under the GFDL and plan to use its content in Wikipedia (risking funny looks from the professor)? Do I cite myself in the Wikipedia article (which seems too self-promotional)? Any other ideas for how this could work? rspeer 04:15, 13 December 2005 (UTC)

As a college professor, I have a quick answer for you. Ask your professor first before doing this. If you do, then no one will accuse you of anything. If it were me, I wouldn't mind at all if I knew beforehand but I would be annoyed if I didn't. I hope that's helpful. Chick Bowen 05:05, 13 December 2005 (UTC)

One thing that might help would be to add a references section to any article you take from materials you write, and give yourself credit as the reference for the material from your paper. That way if your teachers or academic review board see it they will also see your name as the author. Kit 09:03, 13 December 2005 (UTC)

You should definitely cite yourself, particularly if the paper is published online — otherwise not only might your school accuse you of plagiarism, but a vigilant Wikipedian may accuse you of copyright violation. If anyone accuses you of self-promotion or removes the citation you can just explain the situation, although I admit this is a difficult situation. As for suitability of format, don't worry too much about Original Research or NPOV — if you want to give us reams of raw material to play with, we'd be happy to fix it up. That's what Wikipedia is all about. Deco 09:30, 13 December 2005 (UTC)
Often, though, your paper won't be something that can be cited in the article. In those instances, you could begin the article's talk page with a comment like, "My first draft of this article is taken from a class assignment I wrote... [give details]." Along with protecting you from an academic charge of plagiarism, this might help with plagiarism problems the other way, i.e., if a later editor happens upon a copy of your class paper somewhere and lists the Wikipedia article as a copyright violation, thinking it was plagiarized from the paper. JamesMLane 16:59, 13 December 2005 (UTC)

Survey articles are both good topics for assignments, and a good content for WP. You are not obliged to tell your professor that you plan on putting content up here (you hold the copyright on your assignments), but it is probably wise to tell him/her. --- Charles Stewart 17:02, 13 December 2005 (UTC)

I've reused some short summary sections from my MSc dissertation in Freedom of information legislation. I made sure, though, not to put them up until after it was marked... Shimgray | talk | 17:05, 13 December 2005 (UTC)

Qualifying articles with "(term)"

There are at least two articles that use "(term)" as a qualifier, not because of any need to disambiguate, but to emphasise that the article does not document the referent of the word or phrase, but the term itself:

  • Islamofascism (term) - Currently the subject of a WP:RM vote on whether to drop this qualifier. The argument against is that in its previous unqualified life no consensus on the articles content could be found, only by moving in this manner and insisting that only the usage of the term was to be covered was relative calm recovered;
  • American terrorism (term) - A consensus was found on the talk page for moving American Terror to this page, for similar reasons.

Potentially this device has the ability to defuse editor conflicts over what articles are about when articles are saddled with potentially inflammatory names. Equally, though, many editors find the qualifier redundant. I'd value feedback on the appropriatness of this name.

As a deliberately provocative suggestion, let me advance a possible rule: Articles that go by titles that cannot be neutrally applied to what that title referes to, should have the (term) qualifier". --- Charles Stewart 00:38, 13 December 2005 (UTC)

Two things: first, from my reading of the associated talk page, it appears that at least some people involved in the move of American terrorism to American terrorism (term) regarded it as a disambiguation move, rather than an NPOV "disclaimer" move. There are two other articles with very similar titles to "American terrorism". So that leaves Islamofascism (term) as rather sui generis. But regardless, Charles's question is legit: should we use qualifiers such as "(term)" in the title of articles to serve as a disclaimer, even when no dismabiguation purpose is served by the qualifier? I think we would be opening up a serious can of worms. People would demanding "(term)" be appended to every disputed country name, every poli sci concept with which they disagreed, "term" article-move wars might spread like a wikicancer. But we seem to be setting this precedent on Islamofascism (term), because the article really has been much more stable with "(term)" in the title. Babajobu 00:59, 13 December 2005 (UTC)
There are a few pages that use the word slogan in a similar manner, such as Slogan: You're either with us, or against us and Slogan 'Jesus is Lord'. - SimonP 15:03, 13 December 2005 (UTC)
  • I agree that such a rule, or indeed this precedent, may be opening a can of worms. I'm not bothered by either of the examples Babajobu raises though: for country names we have the UN and ISO standards as credible authorities to prefer a given name, and with political science topics, if the dispute is with the concept itself, and not the name applied to the concept, the dispute will go to WP:AfD and not WP:RM, which is what happens now. I think this can of worms is much smaller than Babajobu fears. --- Charles Stewart 15:31, 13 December 2005 (UTC)
I hope you're right. We can always point to certain arbiters of "official terms", the U.N., ISO, et cetera, but people could just as easily argue that these are simply top-down enforcers of arbitrary folk taxonomies. But anyway, maybe I'm overblowing the dangers, here. Babajobu 21:13, 13 December 2005 (UTC)

WRT SimonP's examples, I would want both to be qualified with "(slogan)" in preference to the formulation with "Slogan:" at the beginning, which suggests that there is a Slogan namespace spearate from the article namespace. I'll put these up for WP:RM. --- Charles Stewart 20:42, 13 December 2005 (UTC)

Do not use a prefix with a colon. Do not use a parenthesized topic area unless it is to distinguish it from other existing articles describing the same term in different topic areas; IIRC, this is policy (see Wikipedia: Disambiguation). There's plenty of room in the article to explain if you're covering only a narrow meaning of the term, and it can be moved if necessary when a need for disambiguation later arises. Deco 01:18, 14 December 2005 (UTC)
  • While Wikipedia: Disambiguation explains how to use a disambiguating term in parens to avoid name conflict, nowhere does it say that such terms must never be used if no name conflict exists. I agree that this is usually a bad idea, but someimes it makes things much clearer. For example I often see articels titles soemthing like "Phrase (band)" even if there is no actual article about "Phrase" because the simple title "Phrase" whould mislead users who would not expect this to be an article about a band. A similar rationale could IMO apply here. DES (talk) 01:28, 14 December 2005 (UTC)

So Wikipedia's now going to start outing anonymous users?

"Jimmy Wales, who founded Wikipedia, said that the site would make more information about users available to make it easier to lodge complaints." User:Zoe|(talk) 00:21, 12 December 2005 (UTC)

Or–possibly–Jimbo was referring to the recently-expanded pool of admins with CheckUser privileges. Perhaps the best place to ask Jimbo what he means might be at User talk:Jimbo Wales; it seems a tad reckless to jump from a one-line quote at the bottom of a article to the headline on this page section.
Though Jimbo bears part of the blame for not always explaining new policies with the utmost clarity, do the rest of us always have to go off half-cocked every time he says something ambiguous to the media? TenOfAllTrades(talk) 04:57, 12 December 2005 (UTC)
Or even when he's reported as saying something ambiguous?
The article doesn't say who this information will be provided to, and under what circumstances. It does, however, speak of Wikipedia suffering a blow to its credibility. However, the article later says the incident touched off a debate about the reliability of information on Wikipedia - and by extension the entire Internet (my emphasis).
This debate is a very good thing. Perhaps it will encourage people to actually learn about Wikipedia and other Internet sources before using them, so they won't be quite as naive as whoever wrote the lead paragraph of this story (probably not the same person who wrote the rest of the article, of course). If anyone's credibility is jeopardised by this article, it's the New York Times. Andrewa 10:17, 12 December 2005 (UTC)
It would certainly help if Jimbo would start letting us know ahead of time what his new "experiments" are going to be before reporting them to the press. Zoe ( 16:25, 12 December 2005 (UTC))
Especially when they violate the spirit of wikicracy. I continue to be outraged that the community was left out of the decision, even if the decision was technically a good one. — Stevie is the man! Talk | Work 23:18, 13 December 2005 (UTC)

Notice of discussion about possible policy proposals at RfC

There is an ongoing discussion at Wikipedia talk:Requests for comment/Roylee in which at some users expressed that existing policies/structures have proven insufficient for countering the systematic introduction of believable nonsense, as illustrated by one user. Things are currently in the discussion stage and any formed policy proposals that emerge would obviously come here, but I figured that a courtesy notice would be in order at this point. Further comments are of course welcome. - BanyanTree 17:45, 7 December 2005 (UTC)

There seems to be a related proposal at WP:FN (redirects to Wikipedia:Footnotes), which is marked as a guideline but there hasn't been any consensus formed to adopt it that I can see (or perhaps guidelines are a bit like that). IMO some wider discussion of the implications of this would be a good thing. See also Wikipedia:WikiProject Fact and Reference Check for some background to these proposals. Andrewa 19:22, 11 December 2005 (UTC)

new policy against anonymous users creating articles

Who the hell came up with this ridiculous idea? This was done with no consensus at all! I swear that this just came out of thin air. What happened to "assume good faith" anyway? I strongly oppose to this change. I doubt that this will stop the nonsense articles. People will just replace existing articles with nonsense even more. And if people are really determined to create nonsense articles, having this new ugly restriction won't do anything to stop them. --Ixfd64 22:57, 5 December 2005 (UTC)

I agree, but Jimbo has assured everyone that it is only a test. If it doesn't work, or it meets with disapproval, it will go away. We'll see, I guess.--Sean|Black 23:00, 5 December 2005 (UTC)
I also strongly object to his policy. I regularly patrol new articles and find that no more than half are vandalism. The rest are valuable suggestions for legitimate topics that we may never have come up with on our own. That said, perhaps 50% of new pages is a lot of pages for admins to delete, as few as there are of them, and ideally newbies should be starting out by minor editing and getting feedback on that, not creating brand new articles. I guess there are legitimate arguments on both sides. Deco 00:04, 6 December 2005 (UTC)
Hear, hear! What makes Jimbo think that enough anons are not physically able to create well-crafted meaningful articles that it requires a full out ban, blocking out good anon article creators? And what makes him think that its worth throwing out the baby with the bathwater? So I take it National Pact shouldn't have even been started then, since we're now judging people by their IP addresses and user names now. --Bash 00:16, 6 December 2005 (UTC)
  • For what it's worth, I approved of this idea before I even heard Jimbo was considering it. I didn't think it was politically feasable, but always felt it would be a good idea. If Jimbo is going to force the community to swallow some bitter but good medicine, I'm all for it. --Improv 01:10, 6 December 2005 (UTC)
  • I'll throw my voice in with those opposing; there's no reason for this policy. We are simply not being overwhelmed by the bad new pages created by anons, and if we were overwhelmed, the way to solve that is to improve our ability to sort and delete bad new articles, not to toss a blanket over an entire arbitrary class of new articles, both good and bad. There are many suggestions for new RC and NP patrol software that could improve the responsiveness of our vandal fighters without inhibiting constructive additions at all. Christopher Parham (talk) 03:37, 6 December 2005 (UTC)

Where on Wikipedia was this policy change announced? Do we have to hear about major changes like this from the news? User:Zoe|(talk) 03:47, 6 December 2005 (UTC)

It seems we either hear it from the news, or the news hears it from us, and gets an even more distorted version of it. Jimbo doesn't really have a way to share it with the site without sharing it with the world. —Bunchofgrapes (talk) 03:50, 6 December 2005 (UTC)
  • Maybe we should view Jimbo's action as an experimental stimulus (see this email). It is a fairly meaningless policy change, but it may force the Wikipedia community to take stock of existing problems and make some other more important and needed changes. --JWSchmidt 04:08, 6 December 2005 (UTC)
  • I noticed that talk pages can still be created by anons... As for requiring accounts, I'd probbaly discontinute contributions instead. The only reason I might have registered would be to access page moves, but it's not that big a deal. To require registration, won't stop determined vandals. Since I contribute on impulse, I won't contribute further, because it impedes my altruistic impulses. I can just read google news instead. 19:21, 6 December 2005 (UTC)
  • If anon users don't want to get accounts, that's their loss, not ours.--Alhutch 19:28, 6 December 2005 (UTC)
    • I think you've got it backwards... anonymous users make many good contributions. Kappa 19:42, 6 December 2005 (UTC)
      • Now that you mention it, that was sort of a dumb thing that i wrote earlier. I wasn't thinking correctly. What i meant was that if an anon user really wants to create an article, they can just get an account and create the article. There's nothing preventing them from getting an account. It takes like 2 seconds and its free. If you want to write a new article, get an account. seems simple to me.--Alhutch 19:49, 6 December 2005 (UTC)
      • And i do agree with you Kappa that anonymous users make good contributions.--Alhutch 19:50, 6 December 2005 (UTC)

Could an advocate of the position that users identified by IP addresses alone should be allowed to create pages cite some really good pages recently added by such users? patsw 19:56, 6 December 2005 (UTC)

  • Looking at the Special:Newpages from a few days back, practically all of the anon additions (and there are a fair number) are constructive. An article is always better than no article, even when it's not great. Some are better than others, of course, e.g. Youth Leagues and Noah Brooks, both reasonably high quality articles that were created totally by anons, including references from the first edit. Christopher Parham (talk) 20:04, 6 December 2005 (UTC)
Filtered out of this, of course, are the many, many articles that were speedy-deleted shortly after being created. Anyone who has spent much time watching Special:Newpages can tell you that a large portion of the pages created are candidates for deletion. Check Special:Log/delete to get some idea. This deletion takes administrator time. CDC (talk) 22:28, 6 December 2005 (UTC)
Naturally....the point was to provide examples of quality pages submitted by anons. Christopher Parham (talk) 23:10, 6 December 2005 (UTC)
I tried to look at the new pages, but got tired after scrolling through about 6500 of them. I didn't have the patience to scroll through thousands of new articles get back to when we didn't require registration. While your point is well taken that some anonymous users contribute good articles, it is less than clear (and I submit, unlikely) that many anons that previously submitted "quality pages" will be deterred by registration. I support this new policy. Srcastic 03:11, 13 December 2005 (UTC)
  • I would like to state my objection to the new policy. If there's a discussion of this policy other than here, I'd appreciate it if someone could point it out to me--I do not do IRC, generally, so I missed this entirely. My first edit to Wikipedia was the creation of an article, Balachandra Rajan, because I noticed there wasn't one and thought there should be. It was easy, I got interested, and became a registered user. I suspect this is not all that uncommon. I would not have registered if I hadn't already realized how easy it was to create pages. Chick Bowen 22:53, 6 December 2005 (UTC)

I strongly support the new policy. Here's the reasons why from a previous discussion: I would support limiting new page creations to those who are logged in, perhaps even requiring them to build up a few edits first, like we already do for page moves. It's much harder to deal with bad articles than bad edits. The vast majority of new articles created by anonymous users, that I've seen, could be called "bad". However, bad doesn't mean vandalism. A lot of it is vandalism, but the articles that are CSD and AfD material unintentionally, combined with copyright violations puts the number of bad articles over good. On the other hand, I've seen a much better bad to good ratio for edits. However, this is just my experience and perception, which can be unreliable. It would be good to have some precise numbers about the problem.

Also, while the potential loss of good editors resulting from changes like this is a valid concern, there are consequences to accepting a higher level of bad articles. We may lose editors we already have when they get sick of dealing with the articles. A more significant consequence is the amount of time good editors waste deleting bad articles. How many good articles and edits are don't get made because they are busy nominating or voting them for deletion, or reporting them to copyright problems? I don't know which loss would be greater, but there are definitely consequences to doing nothing.

If we do make a change, we could limit it to a week or a month and collect information on whether it works and whether new editors are lost. -- Kjkolb 23:56, 6 December 2005 (UTC)

  • I am opposed to this policy change. It is my view that this will only make the job of new-page patrollers harder, because a page created by an IP user used to get extra scrutiny as a rule -- now pages by newly created users will not get that. (If Special:newpages could show the number of contributions of the contributor, that would help.) I also think thas will reduce the rate at which useful new volunteers enter the project, while doing little to slow vandalism. i also note that this makes it imposible for non-logged-in users to nominatge pages for deletion via WP:AFD since one must create a new (sub-)page as part of teh AfD process. The rules have always been than an anon user was allowed to make AfD nominations, this has effectively changed that rule as a byproduct. if this change is kept, pages in the AFD-space (or perhaps in the entire wikipedia spce) should not have this restriction applied, just as pages in the talk: space now are not restricted. DES (talk) 21:00, 7 December 2005 (UTC)
Agreed with DES. I think this is a poor implementation of a reasonable idea -- helping new contributors learn how to edit before cluttering up article-space (say, by following a redlink or hacking their first url). We should NOT change the current minimum time to contribution, which is one of WP's greatest strengths. If I'm on a strange computer, and need to add info about a new topic, I should still be able to do it in 15s, not 150s -- creating a new account from scratch takes a good minute, as you have to find your way back to where you were before to keep editing.
Saying "sorry, we've prevented you from doing X" is a very negative way to start someone's experience of a site.
Instead, we could transparently redirect such edits to a section on "Articles for Creation", and thank the user afterwards, encouraging them to log in to create new articles directly in-place [and offering them links to good WP-introductions to get them properly hooked]. Now that would rock. +sj + 21:06, 7 December 2005 (UTC)

I support the experimental policy change. And it should be clear to anyone who's read a newspaper—it turned up on my print copy of the Boston Globe yesterday—or performed a Google News search on "Wikipedia" lately--who made the experimental policy change and why. The scary part is that the reporters who wrote the news articles, and the public who reads them, probably don't understand just how little this policy does to prevent gross problems like the Seigenthaler issue. But it does something, and we'd better do something. The better Wikipedia gets, the more people trust it; the more people trust it, the angrier they are going to get at gross inaccuracies in it. Saying "you can fix it yourself" and "it's a work in progress" and "we never said you could trust it" are not going to be an acceptable answers forever. Dpbsmith (talk) 21:40, 7 December 2005 (UTC)

But they sure are acceptable for now. We are a work in progress. Any thinking that we're close to being in publishing quality is strongly misguided. We need hundreds of thousands of articles that far exceed our current FA standards to do that. We are a work in progress, which doesn't make us useless. People can use us to find links to primary and secondary sources and get informed there. We also give a good basic idea of great many subjects. But anyone using an often tertiary source like Wikipedia to check facts should be either told not to believe everything they read on the internet, or told to do their homework or job properly, as in the hillarious case of NYT reporters who need to be told not to use Wikipedia as a source for writing stories [1]). Shouldn't we be using them as a source, rather that the other way around?
We should stick to our guns and ignore what media says. Zocky 22:03, 7 December 2005 (UTC)
I strongly support measures, even experimental or draconian measures, to curb the creation of hoax articles, vandalism of existing articles, and I strongly feel (on the basis of my own WP experience) that wikicruft poses a critical problem which urgently requires amelioration. I have no illusion that hoaxes or vandalism of WP can be eliminated entirely, but this is not the point. My point is that experience--- at least, my experience--- suggests that wikicruft is displacing high quality content. (In fact, even displacing content plus stubs.) I believe that as a community we urgently need to recognize this, and to take steps to curb the growth of the problem, which should enable us to catch our breath and consider how to eliminate the huge amount of vapid nonsense, crackpottery, vanitycruft, and even carefully crafted hoaxes which has already crept in.
Some months ago I spent a Sunday carrying out an informal survey in which I attempted to vote on every AfD (I could only vote on perhaps 10%, as it turned out) and also tried to monitor the listed articles with the list of recent edits. I concluded that the majority of new articles on that day were obvious hoax articles, or obvious vanity articles, or otherwise obviously crufty articles. In addition, in the categories I watch closely (math and physics), something like 1-2% of new articles are cranky or less obvious hoax articles.
As another illustration of the magnitude of the problem, I have also been tracking Albert Einstein for months. This is one of the most visited physics-related articles in WP, to judge from the fact that it is vandalized several times per day. Yes, most of this vandalism is reverted, but is not the point. Check the history page of this article, note the timestamps, and do the math. Despite the allegation that an army of honest folk quickly revert vandalism to such articles, by my estimate a random user has a chance of finding this article in a vandalized state at any given moment which I find unacceptable (higher than say one chance in a thousand). Yes, this article is vandalized much more often than some little known stub, but again this would miss the point. Random users, schoolchildren, etc., who visit WP to learn about a topic are much more likely to visit the most popular articles, but unfortunately, popular articles are more often vandalized. Surely this has something to do with why (according a recent and highly informal CNN internet poll) 66% of those voting believe WP is unreliable. (Too bad, incidently, that Wikimedia presumably lacks the funds for a properly designed Harris Poll or something like that.)
In addition, the community should recognize that it is a huge waste of the valuable time of users of good faith to force them to either spend the time required to revert with sufficient care so frequently, or else to let a core article (in my fields of interest, anyway) become corrupted by vandalism of various kinds. IMO, users like myself should be free to create new content, rather than spending all our time in bootless attempts to protect the articles we have already written or rewritten from vandalism or other degradation (e.g. the insertion of irrelevant political rants by certain registed users, which I think has been another recurrent problem with Albert Einstein, even when I happen to agree with the political opinions expressed!).
Deco, I notice that we agree that about "half" of all WP edits seem to constitute vandalism, but clearly we disagree about whether half is too much. Also, I guess you would agree that rather more than half of anon edits constitute vandalism, hoaxes, or other edits which (we would probably agree) are destructive to the stated purpose/goals of WP. Yes, I do sometimes see legitimate edits by anons to the pages I watch, but by my count, the ratio is roughly 5% legitimate to 95% illegitimate edits for anons.)
These are only a few reasons why, based upon my own experience trying to create and maintain high quality articles (in math/physics), I am much more pessimistic than some others who have spoken up about how bad the cruft problem already is, and how important it is to curb anonymous edits. When I see comments like those above from Deco and C. Parham, I think they must be living in some alternate reality (rather, unreality), but perhaps they are simply watching a very different set of pages from the ones I am watching. I would like to see Jimbo &c. acknowledge (by policy changes, not just discussion) that some pages (such as Albert Einstein) need more protection than others.
I also feel that the rapid growth of WP has overwhelmed the current admin system, which simply has not scaled with sufficient grace to address the problem of administering such a huge and complex enterprise. In particular, I have doubts whether the current system supports experimental policy changes, because I have doubts whether there is an adequate system in place to track statistics and otherwise make a proper rational assessment of whether an given experimental policy change seems to be working well.
Banning all edits by anons is only one baby step toward ameliorating the wikicruft problem, but I strongly believe that this is an essential first step. I have the impression that the WP board is extremely reluctant to acknowledge certain regretable hard truths about human nature (or at least, the nature of some humans), but I strongly believe that it is only a matter of time before they will have take this step, however reluctantly. My point is that putting it off will only increase the pain, because WP will have been that much more degraded by the time Wikimedia gets serious about protecting high quality articles which have already been written (which in my view is the best way to encourage the creation of more high quality articles). Much better to do it now and allow those who fear it will somehow ruin the WP experience to learn better, while there is still sufficient ratio of signal/noise at WP to make it worth saving.
I would like to see (or learn of the prior existence of!) a convenient forum where registered users can discuss all these policy issues (and more) with a reasonable chance of being heard by those who are in a position to make changes.
But leaving aside the question of what policy issues still need to be addressed by further (perhaps provisional) policy changes, I have two immediate concerns about this particular new policy which echo points raised by others, including several who strongly disagree with me about the extent or seriousness of the wikicruft problem:
  • why did I learn about this new policy from a friend who read about it on CNN, rather than from the Wikipedia welcome page? Shouldn't major policy changes be announced in a prominent place at WP? Sean said "Jimbo has assured everyone..." --- Sean, where did you see this assurance, pray tell?! I have been editing WP for months, so I am surely no novice, yet I after several minutes I couldn't find the official announcement which presumably exists somewhere on WP!
  • Banning all edits by unregistered users is neccessary, but the new policy falls far short of even this tiny first baby step toward saving the WP from the rapid growth of wikicruft. The new policty strikes me as a pulsillanimous attempt to curb the creation of new hoax articles by anons, but its does nothing to begin to address the broader wikicruft problem, which I believe is already even more serious (and is rapidly growing even worse).
Where are such WP policy issues publically discussed? (Assuming they are publically discussed.) This page is too inconvenient a forum for user input, IMO.
By the way, Sj, can you please explain just why you would be logged onto "a strange computer" and have the need or ability to create a user account on such a machine? I hope you can provide some innocuous explanation; otherwise, some of us are apt to conclude that this comment speaks volumes about the moral standards of at least some users who badly desire to continue to edit the WP anonymously!
To end on a slightly more positive note: I presume that this change means that the WP board is at least discussing the issue of wikicruft and what to do about it, and if so I am glad to know that hoaxing and other wikicruft is at least on the radar screen. I hope the board will remember a bit of traditional WP advice to newbies: go ahead, make changes, be bold!---CH 01:05, 8 December 2005 (UTC)
CH, I for one appreciate what you are saying: losing time with people who are not here to help is a problem. But you seem to be missing an important issue – all we know for certain is that allowing anons to edit is a part of the process that works. We don't know whether it's essential, but we do know that similar projects that tried to get quality through limitation of access rather than through sheer numbers of editors have failed. Zocky 02:54, 8 December 2005 (UTC)
Well, if we start thinking like that we might well wind up saying that WP is a utopian social experiment and therefore is doomed to ultimately fail, simply because all previous utopian social experiments have ultimately failed. In fact, I have often parroted this slogan myself, and mostly believe what I squawk, although I try not to think about it :-/ So perhaps we are simply discussing which mode of pstittacide we prefer :-/ But seriously, I would like to postpone the inevitable (assuming WP be not the exception which proves the rule). Others who are not as pessimistic about the long term future of WP as I might still agree that realizing the goal of providing the world with a free, on-line, universal, and high-quality encyclopedia is incompatible with permitting the rapid growth of hoaxes, vanity articles, blatant factual inaccuracies, crackpottery and other cruft in the Wikipedia.
Just to be clear: from time to time I have been pleasantly surprised to see some helpful anon correct my often careless spelling in some article I have labored over, and I am sincerely grateful to those editors. So the claim that some anonymous edits are helpful is not in dispute, at least not by me. I do not even dispute that from time to time anons have started legitimate articles which have sometimes grown into good articles.
But as I see it, we are discussing making judicious tradeoffs, in which we may choose to give up the genuine benefits from good anon edits in order to protetct the WP from further degradation by bad anon edits. And my belief, or rather my wild surmise, is that the best way of ensuring the rapid creation of more high qualtity WP articles is in fact to demonstrate that we care about the articles and categories we already have, at least enough to preserve them from careless or intentional destruction.
As I see it, dealing with anons is only one facet of protecting the good material already in WP and promoting the goal of reversing the figures in that CNN poll which claims that about 2/3 of respondents believe that WP is not reliable. (I venture to guess that surveying journalists would show that 90% think WP is not reliable, but that many or most of them would probably anonymously :-/ admit to using WP as a source, which raises the issue of what I see as our broader social responsibility, as citizens of the world, to clean out our cruft.)
For example, on several occasions since I came to WP, I have watched with dismay as articles reach a state of which WP can be proud, but then are gradually dismantled by careless edits, sometimes from well-intentioned registered users who are too hasty or inexperienced to take care not to shove in new material any old place, but rather to to try find some place where it fits neatly, or barring that, rewriting nearby paragraphs in order to correct any damage done to the previous flow of ideas. A dangerously naive WP myth holds that (apparently by some previously unknown law of nature) articles can only improve monotonically in quality. As I see it, this is rather like saying that we need not worry about energy resources because the laws of thermodynamics are too depressing to take seriously! I suspect that the typical evolution of a WP article is more analogous to statistical-mechanical fluctuations in discussions of Zermelo's objection to Boltzmann's so-called H-theorem than to the proverbial free lunch. In social experiments, as in physics, if a claim seems to good to be true, it probably is.
But while by no means all bad or otherwise problematic edits are made by anons, it is nonetheless true that anons are as a group responsible for far more than their fair share of bad edits. And the table presented by Zocky below says more than I could say in a thousand words about why we must, however reluctantly, ban unregistered editors from the WP.
It has not escaped my notice, incidently, that part of my frustration with the claim that we must at all costs preserve the right to edit anonymously, is that I still find it difficult to understand why anyone would feel (apparently) that this right trumps all other considerations in promoting the stated goals of the WP. Some users hint that they believe that habitual anons are too shy to register even under a pseudonym. I can well understand why users might not wish to use their IRL identity here--- in fact, from my own experience I'd probably even recommend editing under a pseudonym (too late, in my case!)--- but while WP is not without security flaws, the Wikimedia privacy policy is easy to find and the registration process is fast and easy. So, I tend to wonder why some users seem to have a huge problem with establishing even this minimal level of responsibility for their actions here. Speaking as one deeply concerned about current trends in my own country (the U. S.), I find it hard to understand why people concerned about supression of dissent or whatever would fail to recognize that free speech does not entail free denial of responsibility for what you do and say in a public forum.
I'd like to see a kind of round table discussion of all these issues (I'd guess participants would have to start by agreeing upon some list of issues to discuss, heh), in hope that as a community we can make wise decisions of this difficult and painful nature. If nothing else, in such a forum perhaps someone who truly believes that the right to edit anonymously trumps all other considerations for the health of the WP can explain their reasoning to me. Indeed, we might all perhaps learn that addressing the thorny problem of suppressing wikicruft is even more difficult than we had each previously realized! ---CH 09:59, 8 December 2005 (UTC)
You may be overlooking an important factor, that is recruitement. People burn out or just go do other stuff in life. We need a constant influx of new good editors. Most of started as anons, and many of us would have never tried editting in the first place in registration was required. Zocky 12:26, 8 December 2005 (UTC)
  • I can see why Jimbo "had to do something" relating to the recent embarrassment, and it's actually something I was thinking of as a possible way of slightly discouraging the stream of ridiculous test or joke new articles. The downside is losing the signal that an IP address instead of a username gives of likely vandalism (still relevant in edits), but it's sneakier vandalism or hoaxes that are more problematic. It might be a possible help if anon edits were subject to validation before appearing, and if there was a way of monitoring new registered users closely until they'd shown trustworthiness. Another approach might be to emphasise the unreliability of Wikipedia as a positive virtue, a useful reminder to students to always double-check sources: it excels as an introduction to a subject, but not as the truth on tablets of stone. The best answer to vandalism must be more people checking articles and edits, and we do need to rethink RfA which has too often become a way of testing useful editors to destruction rather than encouraging trustworthy people to play more of a part in monitoring quality (check out the WP:GRFA debate). ....dave souza 22:08, 8 December 2005 (UTC)
Zocky, Of course I agree that enlarging (not just maintaining) the community of active editors is essential to the continued growth of high quality content in WP. I suspect our only difference is this: I never edited anonymously before I became a registered user, but you did. I guess we both may have assumed that most other users are like ourselves. I'd like to see a survey of active WP editors to find out if an overwhelming majority agree with "I never would have started to edit the WP if registration had been required".
When I called for a public discussion here at WP in advance of major policy changes, I should have made it clear that I have in mind a "policy cyle" somewhat like this:
  • public discussion,
  • provisional implemention,
  • statistical study of logs, survey data, whatever seems useful,
  • assessment,
  • loop
One reason for careful public discussion before making changes is to avoid creating a situation where Wikimedia rapidly makes a chaotic sequence of possibly unannounced or at least insufficiently publicized WP policy changes, which would obviously be frustrating for everyone here. I said above that I much prefer spending time at WP creating new content to spending time on cruft patrol, and as you would guess, this implies that I don't want to have to (hypothetically) spend energy trying to track rapidfire WP policy changes in real time so that I can be confident that I am not violating any policies with any given edit.
I should also stress that when I mentioned public discussion in advance of policy changes above, I did not mean to imply that the WP Board, sysops, or admins, should be prevented from taking emergency measures as needed, since occasional unanticipated circumstances seem to be unavoidable in a huge social enterprise like WP (or in maintaining any large website). Of course, in a well-run website any emergency measures should be reversible or amendable once the dust clears.
I also want to add that while I am frustrated with what I see as a weak and tardy response by the Board to the growth of the Wikicruft and accountability issues, we must all remember that one of the most remarkable aspects of the WP is that it has been built almost entirely by volunteers and has a comparatively tiny staff and operating budget, so we do need to cut the staff some slack in that respect. I am disappointed when I see Jimmy repeat shibboleths which do not accord with my own experience at WP, but I was struck by the comments of a poster at, who drew a distinction between truth and knowledge, saying that while truth may ultimately be subjective, knowledge is something which can be shared. I also feel that we must avoid getting bogged down in disputes over moral philosophy or espistemology and focus on practical measures we can take as a community, and sharing seems to me to reside at the core of the WP experience. That might be worth keeping in mind.
I see another issue lurking in the background of this controversy. I don't much care for the possibility that the board might be more responsive to individuals who threaten legal action than to those who prefer to resolve content disputes by talk page discussion and if neccessary an appeal for arbitration, but we all need to recognize that as a practical matter it wouldn't take very many lawsuits to exhaust the WP operating budget (even if they have pro bono lawyers "on retainer"), and as I understand it, there is a real possiblity that a single adverse legal ruling could shut down the entire enterprise in a heartbeat.
Some outraged Wikipedians have suggested that Siegenthaler should have simply edited his own bio and have done with it. I think that is an absurd suggestion: no-one should have to waste time in daily edit wars with some anonymous crank to correct blatant factual misinformation, certainly not when the misinformation insinuates involvement in pedophilia, terrorism or murder (probably the most inflammatory charges I can imagine in the modern world). But perhaps these users were merely trying to express the sharp distinction between technology and social mechanisms which are inexpensive and involve volunteer labor versus those which are expensive and involve highly paid professionals. One reason I think the admin system needs overhaul is that currently I think there are some technical problems which make it more difficult than need be the case for newbies to discover and grasp the distinction between "wikifriendly" ways of doing things (like resolving content disputes over allegations of factual inaccuracies) and "wikihostile" ways. Naturally, we should do everything we can to encourage wikifriendly modes of discourse and dispute resolution.
Beyond this, we probably need to try harder to help technically incompetent newbies learn our ways, or at least seek effective assistance from more experience/competent users if they are having trouble accomplishing some legitimate goal here (like correcting factual misinformation). This is a huge challenge, but one thing is clear: layout is a crucial component of ensuring that WP is easy to use effectively. For example, while Wikipedians like to say that in the event of a quarrel, the sequence of events can be readily reconstructed from the history page, it only takes one technical incompetent to render a history or talk page virtually unreadable--- and now it seems that history pages are limited to the previous 500 edits, which isn't enough in some cases. Also, edit histories are currently almost impossible to reconstruct if a page underwent several moves. These usability issues combine technical and policy elements; technical problems and possible solutions can be best explored by the sysops (i.e. developers, not admins). From time to time I have noticed them playing with various changes, not always with good results. I'd like to see a "developer's sandbox" where they can test describe the rationale for and given samples of proposed layout changes and get feedback from users. ---CH 23:09, 8 December 2005 (UTC)
  • Is there any reason why User space page creation is also restricted? 01:43, 10 December 2005 (UTC)

What's a user space page? Whatever it is, it doesn't sound good. Why would anybody want to ban anonymous users? They shouldn't because:

1)Some anonymous users contribute greatly.

2)Wikipedia is supposed to be the free encyclopedia.

3)There are many good articles started by anonymous users that may have not be created at all without them.

4)Logged in users vandalize just as much as anonymous users.

5)It is not a good first experience and would not encourage people to log in and use Wikipedia regularly.

6)People should have the right to choose whether to get a username or not. Wikipedia shouldn't force people to get a username to make articles.

7)When you ban out the anonymous users, you ban the good ones as well.

8)It doesn't take much work just to erase vandalized info.

Therefore, this policy should end! Or you could:

1) Whenever an anonymous user wants to make an article, they have to go here (or some other place) to debate whether they want it or not.

2)If an anonymous user vandalizes more than five times, ban that person from making articles.

These are better, but I rather have no policies at all. So, if you can, please get rid of the policies. If not, please do either number 1 or number 2. --anon

Sorry if this is a repeat, but look at what some clowns are now saying about the Wikipedia. It seems to me that Wikipedia should be the one to file a lawsuit against these mean-spirited pricks launching this crap against the Wikipedia. — Stevie is the man! Talk | Work 23:38, 13 December 2005 (UTC)

What is the WP China naming policy

Can someone direct me to the policy that WP has (if any exists) on what the naming/text should be like for China related articles. I stumbled upon List_of_railways_in_China and it looks like there is a few editors having a fight over whether a mention should be made of HK in that article (for me, I explicitly mention HK to avoid any doubt). But I am a bit worried I might be treading against some policy here (and a bit scared of this Huiawei guy). Pointers anyone???? novacatz 16:37, 14 December 2005 (UTC)

Try Wikipedia:Naming conventions (Chinese)#Political NPOV --BadSeed 17:55, 14 December 2005 (UTC)

Using a new template to avert an edit war

There was recently an edit war at Economic fascism, due to the outcome of a vote for deletion. In the vote, no consensus was reached, with 12 voters opting to delete, 11 to keep, and 5 to merge or redirect. Following the end of the vote, several editors, including myself, User:Mihnea Tudoreanu, and User:172, redirected the article on the basis that it was a POV fork and there was no consensus to keep it. User:RJII strenuously objected and reverted all of these changes. I'm using a new {{Ambiguous redirect}} template in order to attempt to rectify this. It will be seen as the main Economic fascism page and contains links to both Economic fascism/Article and Economic fascism/Redirect. This should help to end the edit war. If this works well, it may be helpful for other disputed situations. Firebug 04:16, 14 December 2005 (UTC)

  • This seems like a fairly silly template; why are you creating a subpage simply for a redirect? Why not just have a note at the top saying some editors want to turn it into a redirect to some title and to see talk? Christopher Parham (talk) 07:32, 14 December 2005 (UTC)
    • Because doing it the way you suggest essentially makes the redirect a "second best" option. This is one of the reasons the old Template:Twoversions was deleted - because, despite the disclaimer, it basically told the other side to sit down and shut up. With Template:Ambiguous redirect, each side gets equal billing. Redirect and article are presented as equally valid options, each requiring exactly the same amount of work to access. Firebug 09:03, 14 December 2005 (UTC)
      • I don't see why the example I gave above doesn't do the same with far less work and confusion; the entire content of both the article and the redirect (a link to another article) would appear on the page at once. How does this make the redirect a "second-best option"? Christopher Parham (talk) 16:22, 14 December 2005 (UTC)

I oppose such a template on the basis that it would be confusing for a person who logs on to Wikipedia to read an article and not necessarily edit it. --Gurubrahma 10:03, 14 December 2005 (UTC)

  • I think it should be worked out somehow instead. For this situation, since the AfD failed, I would just leave it as an article and mention that most historians and economists don't use the term (assuming they don't) and other problems with the idea of economic facism. I don't think a template will help for these situations, as people will argue over the template being placed on the page. Also, people may add it to any redirect they don't like without commenting in the edit summary or on the talk page, just like how many "POV" tags are added to articles (mostly by veteran editors and admins). Often the editors haven't edited the article before and don't edit the article after placing the tag. -- Kjkolb 10:54, 14 December 2005 (UTC)

Wikipedia Class Action

What's the best way to make the community aware of and prepare to defend against ?

Class actions are run by law firms who expect to collect a large sum of money, both for members of the class and for themselves. So they sue auto makers, drug companies, and airlines. You have to expect to recover millions of dollars for the whole business to be worthwhile.
The Wikimedia Foundation, by contrast, is essentially litigation-proof. It's got virtually no cash, no real assets, no income, no customers, no contracts, and no worthwhile intellectual property (individual contributors own the encyclopedia, collectively; the foundation owns none of it). Other than goodwill, its major assets are a farm of computers (for which, after expenses, you'd get very little money for) and the Wikipedia trademark and domain name.
Anyone suing Wikipedia will lose money doing so. For folks like Seigenthaler whose primary concern is getting libelous information removed, this might be worth it. But no lawyer is going to take this on contingency.
Note that the page has google ads. He just wants to surf the Siegenhaler wave, get on CNN, and rake in some nice adsense revenue. Ignore him. -- Finlay McWalter | Talk 17:50, 12 December 2005 (UTC)
If a spiteful person was willing to pay for the lawsuit, taking the domain name would be a huge lose to this effort, don't you think? Tedernst | talk 18:12, 12 December 2005 (UTC)
Is the use of the Wikipedia logo a violation of copyright, or is it fair use? Guettarda 17:53, 12 December 2005 (UTC)
I'm going to agree with Finlay McWalter here - I think this is just a joke or some way for someone to get some attention/money. I can't find a single legal argument that really holds water. They claim to represent epople who have lots money due to Wikipedia, and frankly, I don't see how the wikipedia foundationc an be sued for the claims of it's users. (This has been repeatedly decided by the courts - ISPs and BBS systems cannot be held accountable for user's comments). Also they want to change WP so that there is someone (or some entity) in charge that can take responsibility for WP content, and then hold that entity liable. They could conceivably do the first one, but the second goal is contingent on the first and therefore not really relevant till the first happens. --Bachrach44 18:16, 12 December 2005 (UTC)
I think its just a variation on the legal threat strategy. Like big business organisations they hope to get the change of behaviour they want by scaring the opposition. Normally this is done with a high powered lawyer, but since they don't have one they are trying to get public opinion to do the same. HOWEVER we should really be taking account the recently publicity that caused this. We should really be making sure that we are not publishing libel; not because we could be sued, but because libel is (be definition) inaccurate information, and we should be being careful to avoid it.
Thinking about it, this publicity could probably all have been avoided if there was a Wikipedia complaints procedure. Subjects of an article (or anyone else affected) could complain, and the offending information be temporarily removed pending verification. DJ Clayworth 18:47, 12 December 2005 (UTC)
The Wikipedia complaints procedure idea sounds very interesting. The real problem is, as you stated, inaccurate information getting on Wikipedia. However, if we can stop disputes from escalating, we should do it. -- Kjkolb 00:01, 13 December 2005 (UTC)
It looks like the the site is set up by QuakeAID (WHOIS tie-ins here), because they have long-standing complaints about Wikipedia's coverage of them [2]. --Interiot 19:41, 12 December 2005 (UTC)
OfficialWire published an article about untrue postings on Wikipedia, by Christian Wirth also known as RaDMan. Shortly after the devastating earthquake and tsunamis on December 26, 2004 in the Indian Ocean, Wirth took upon himself to wage a war against QuakeAID Foundation, Inc. Wirth's arsenal consisted of untrue, libelous writings that he and Wikipedia published as fact. All attempts, by QuakeAID's founder, to correct the untrue comments were re-edited, blocked or labelled as 'untrue' by a group of volunteers, who hold themselves untouchable and above the law.
QuakeAID has written once again to Jimbo Wales, demanding the untrue and libelous information be removed from Wikipedia, while a group of interested parties have joined together and plan to initiate legal proceedings against Wales and Wikipedia Foundation, Inc., and numerous others—the so-called anonymous 'volunteers'—who they believe should be held responsible for the content they publish. For more information, visit
Please sign your posts a little more clearly, User:Interiot. Andrewa 00:02, 13 December 2005 (UTC)

Perhaps this observation may help your efforts: The site may possibly be making illegal use of the Wikipedia logo. --Nerd42 23:10, 12 December 2005 (UTC)

Can we change our slogan from "Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia that anyone can edit" to "Wikipedia: We are above the law"? The OfficialWire articles were written by the person who was trying to add the content to the article. So it's a normal edit war, but one has access to a shabby online newspaper. Also, the author of the Register articles seems to find the idea of Wikipedia offensive somehow. The New York Times had Jayson Blair, but no one called for the Times to be shut down. -- Kjkolb 00:01, 13 December 2005 (UTC)

<voice accent="really awful" mood="somewhat non-serious">Ha! Unitet states of Amerika. Te only pleis in the voold vheer people don't haf enouf knou-how tu klik the "Edit this page", but know the intrikate prosyedur of hau to start a laww-syut. Wye, te vide varied peepuls of Euroup, velkum Vikimedyia Faundesun, oupn aams, to aur soill, wye velkum yuu to vhat seems tu bi the last bastyn ov saniti in tis vorld.</voice> =) --wwwwolf (barks/growls) 01:47, 13 December 2005 (UTC)

This reinforces the need to emphasise that Wikipedia should not be taken as gospel, and while wiser minds have no doubt already considered this, it seems to me that a short statement under the globe logo could help, along these lines:
Anyone can edit Wikipedia and many have contributed to making it an extensive introduction to a huge range of topics. By its nature it is not definitive: always double check information.
Just my suggestion to reduce misunderstanding, misuse and misrepresentation of Wikipedia content. ...dave souza 09:37, 13 December 2005 (UTC)
Have a look at the Disclaimer I wrote for my church's public wiki website. Much of the wording is directly applicable IMO; Wikipedia shouldn't take itself too seriously. On the other hand, I think the time for a refereed derivative either as part of English Wikipedia or as a separate WikiMedia project is at least approaching, and perhaps already overdue. See Wikipedia:Village pump (policy)#Notice of discussion about possible policy proposals at RfC for some current discussion along these lines. Andrewa 12:24, 13 December 2005 (UTC)
Thanks for the recommendation: I've gone to the Notice of discussion and added my tuppenceworth with some revisions to suit. ...dave souza 14:20, 13 December 2005 (UTC)

Take a look at Wikipedia:General disclaimer. There is a link to this at the bottom of every page of Wikipedia (including editing pages), and has "Wikipedia makes no claim of validity" in gigantic small caps font. I don't think you can get any more obvious than that. --Deathphoenix 14:30, 13 December 2005 (UTC)

Good point, , but the intention is to draw this to the attention of people who aren't looking for the small print...dave souza 16:08, 13 December 2005 (UTC)

Whatever you do, don't ignore this. There have been over a dozen prominent personalities who have in the past 2 weeks threatened to sue Wikipedia over the content of their biographies. Whether this site is a hoax or not, it is being picked up by the media, and is emminently possible to really happen. I think that "hoax" is a bad way to describe it. Perhaps more like "pre-empting an obvious disaster" is a more accurate way to describe it. Wikipedia better hire a few lawyers over this one or else they'll be in deep doggy doo. Brandt's a good lawyer. Why not hire him? He beat google after all. Don't want him against you, that's for sure. Zordrac (talk) Wishy Washy Darwikinian Eventualist 13:50, 15 December 2005 (UTC)

I know this may seem extreme, but I think it's a valid way to handle it:

  • Wikipedia itself, is an encyclopedia. It depends upon users to add valid information.
  • Users have a completely free hand to add such information as they see fit, and the quid pro quo is that they are expected and looked to be doing do in good faith, to build an encyclopedia.
  • Users who add information knowingly and maliciously (as opposed to mistakenly or because they thought it was appropriate) have added information not to help and build wikipedia, but to abuse the above privilege. They should not necessarily be immune for their action any more than a person who posts a libel on a forum. The forum might be -- but users themselves are responsible for their actions.
  • In the event that someone uses Wikipedia, to post material, which they knew was untrue or knew or should have known was not factual, then I really don't see why that user is not liable for it, same as any other user who uses the net to post malice or libel. Wiki policies (WP:NPOV) most clearly state thast only verifiable factual information is relevant anyhow.

I can see problems and concerns, but i think legally and morally, someone who uses Wikipedia not to build an encyclopedia, but visibly to libel someone (a very VERY small class of edits), shouldn't be able to hide behind "Oh I'm just contributing to an encyclopedia that says users can add anything, so I can write any lie I want here", and use that as a shield. If that was the way we handled libellous matters then I think we'd see the problem reduced. I'm not sure how one addresses it in a practical or policy manner, but I think the principle, that a user who posts libel shouldn't use WP as a shield and it's not really WP's issue to defend it, is sound. FT2 14:21, 15 December 2005 (UTC)

General consensus reached on semi-protection policy

Any input on where we go from here is appreciated at Wikipedia:Semi-protection policy 98 to 4 consensus on the latest proposal. Pretty solid. --Woohookitty(cat scratches) 04:21, 16 December 2005 (UTC)

Libel on talk pages?

So, what do we do about accusations of libel on talk pages? - Keith D. Tyler 21:42, 15 December 2005 (UTC)

It's been my impression from some recent discussions on wikien-l that if it's a ranty screed unsupported by any kind of facts (or assertions of fact from a source we'd consider reliable) it should probably be refactored or removed. · Katefan0(scribble)/mrp 21:45, 15 December 2005 (UTC)

Proposal for credentialed contributor

In reading an article at about Wikipedia ([3] article), I thought of the idea of getting more academics and experts involved in the contribution process. My thought was to create a new user level where with a little work on the part of admins, we can hopefully increase the participation by experts. The process of becoming a credentialed contributor would be done in the completely opposite fashion of everything at Wikipedia. Instead of people being able to sign up for this level of access, it would be something which the user is contacted by Wikipedia admins. Starting with current contributors who are acknowledged as experts in their field, a referral system would be used so that credentialed contributors could recommend additional people to contact as a potential credentialed contributor. Additionally, users could request credentialed contributor access by providing documentation which would provide verification of their expertise. They would then be asked to submit their resume, or automatically given permissions based on a set number of referrals by credentialed contributors (i.e. - if 5 credentialed contributors recommended Albert Einstein, then he would automatically receive credentialed contributor status if he wanted it). One limitation on the scope of the access granted to the credentialed contributor could be that it would be limited to a specific subject matter (i.e. - Albert Einstein would receive credentialed contributor access to the Math/Physics section of Wikipedia articles and everywhere else he would be a normal user). The benefit of being a credentialed contributor would be that any modification or entry that a credentialed contributor made would be unalterable by basic users. A change to what a credentialed contributor could be suggested, but it would have to be approved by a user with higher access (credentialed contributor, admin, etc.). Additional privileges and rights could be assigned to a credentialed contributor.


-- csundar 12:21 (EST), December 15, 2005

I won't comment on the wisdom of your proposal, but the technical aspects need to be hashed out more. How does one "lock" a five word edit and how would the software know that that specific word was "locked" and thus uneditable? — Ambush Commander(Talk) 20:38, 15 December 2005 (UTC)
This is more question to Wikimedia developers. Such feature would need software support implemented first. Pavel Vozenilek 20:43, 15 December 2005 (UTC)
Actually, it probably should get some community support first. Personally, I don't think it's a good idea, but I'd have to think about it before shooting it down to the ground. I can, however, point out the immediate implementation problems. — Ambush Commander(Talk) 21:02, 15 December 2005 (UTC)
I actually really like the idea of people being "credentialed contributor"s, but not to the extent of locking their edits, because no matter how technically correct a passage is, there's usually improvement in terms of grammar or style (which Albert Einstein is probably not an expert on). What privilages would the credentialed contributors then have? I have no idea! but it'd be shiny and exciting!!! TastemyHouse Breathe, Breathe in the air 09:41, 16 December 2005 (UTC)

Policy needed to alert Wikipedia if a rogue admin. is being considered here

I recently became aware of an alledged rogue and suspected troll admin.[4][5] at wikinews trying to take up an adminship at wiktionary [6]. The wikitionary community had no clue as to the alledged rogue's past behavior at wikinews.(please see [7] item 3.) Is it possible to design a policy where applicants for administrator positions here are required to disclose their user names at other wiki projects? Methodology 14:55, 15 December 2005 (UTC)

Oh, honestly. Can you refrain from taking your vendetta aginst Amgine across all of Wikimedia? Not everyone likes what he does, no, but if he's a troll I'll eat my hat. (It's a very large hat.) FWIW, I think there are enough cross-project contributors around these parts that such a measure would not be necessary even if proposed under less dubious circumstances. Mindspillage (spill yours?) 00:56, 16 December 2005 (UTC)

Political candidates

Is there any official policy or consensus on articles for political candidates? Someone has been poking around the Don Sherwood article adding in a few bits of support for Chris Carney, who is challenging the incumbent U.S. representative fron Pennsylvania in 2006. It's an election year, so I figure some people will be inflating the Carney article, and adding potshots to the Sherwood article.

Politically, I don't care for either candidate. But I'd like to keep things clean on both sides. -- Name Not Needed 14:39, 15 December 2005 (UTC)

I don't know if there's anything specific to political candidates, but Wikipedia:What Wikipedia is not#Wikipedia is not a propaganda machine clearly applies. Political POV (in any direction) should be avoided. Wikipedia has articles for most incumbents, so adding an article for a candidate seems only fair. -- Rick Block (talk) 20:31, 15 December 2005 (UTC)

Category redirects, revisited

Previous discussion

(copied from Wikipedia:Village pump (policy)/Archive):

  • I've come upon this: Category:Animal liberation. It's a redirect to Category:Animal liberation movement, and so it shows up itself as empty and orphaned. Is this kind of category redirect a standard practice, or is it something that should be handled in some other way? -- User
    • Redirected categories are strongly discouraged, see Wikipedia:Categorization#Redirected categories. In some cases, categories have been "soft redirected" using {{Categoryredirect}}, which is not much different from "see instead", but has a little better message (and is easier for bots to find). -- User
      • Until category redirects actually work, they should be replaced by a "This category should be empty, all articles should be in Category:Foo" type message.. -- User


I have done some work on this myself, and reviewed the Bug trackers. The following problems from my experience & Bug #100 have been resolved. I use Category:Danish_sport_shooters as an example. Redirect Category refers to the "old/unused" category, Target Category refers to the "new/in use" category.

Issues Resolved

  • Redirect doesn't work Bug
    • Resolved. Attempting to access "Category:Danish_shooters" will redirect to "Category:Danish_sport_shooters".
  • Redirect Category added to the Target Category Bug
    • Resolved - the Redirect Category is not listed on the Target Category.
  • Articles added to the Redirect Category instead of the Target Category
    • If there are no articles pointing to the Redirect Category, this will not be an issue. If there are still articles pointing to the Redirect Category, they will need to be recategorized first.

Remaining Issue

  • There is one remaining issue I discovered with category redirects. This occurred with Category:Firefly_planets, that was in use. There was another category, Category:Firefly_Planets (note the capitalization) that was empty. Attempting to do a #REDIRECT did not work in this case.


  • A person looking for "Danish_shooters" may not know that while that category is empty, the articles that they are looking for are under the more current "Danish_sport_shooters", so a redirect would be useful here.
  • A person looking for "Firefly_Planets" may not know that while that category is empty, the articles that they are looking for are under the more current "Firefly_planets", so a speedy deletion would be needed here.


Let me know what you think here. Sct72 05:59, 15 December 2005 (UTC)

The basic issues described in Template_talk:Categoryredirect still remain. That is, the redirecting category will show up as empty, and users may put articles in it without them ever being seen or the error being realized. By contrast {{categoryredirect}} puts the redirecting article in a category (for redirects) and has an associated bot that automatically moves incorecctly-placed articles. It's also made clear to users that they're looking at the wrong category to put articles in, where a conventional redirect wouldn't. It's not a bug issue so much as a redirects-still-don't-do-what-you'd-expect issue. -- SCZenz 06:31, 15 December 2005 (UTC)
A little more on this - consider the case where a user adds an article to a redirected category. From looking at the article there would be no way to tell anything is even remotely odd. However, if you click on the category link from the article you'll end up at the target category (which is OK) but the article you were just at won't show up in the list of articles in this category (!). IMO, the only acceptable way to implement this would be for redirected categories to act more like aliases and show identical content under different names (either name showing the union of the articles added to each). Assuming this all works, now undo such a redirect or redirect a target. Even precisely defining what should happen in all the relevant cases is not easy, let alone implementing it. -- Rick Block (talk) 15:28, 15 December 2005 (UTC)
  1. Should empty categories (like Category:British_Shooters ) be added to WP:CFD?
    No, just edit any article that refers to such a category to refer to the real category. -- Rick Block (talk) 20:12, 15 December 2005 (UTC)
  2. From Template_talk:Categoryredirect -
    "Q: If Category A redirects to Category B and User C puts Article D into Category A, then Article D won't show up on Category B like it should!
    A: This is an issue being solved by the MediaWiki development team, and it may account for the fact that category redirects do not work yet. As a result, category redirects are to be used lightly for the time being."

Branching Topics

Sometimes discussions in the Village Pump can go from small to long and long-lived. Is there any consensus on when a discussion should be branched off Village Pump and given its own Wikipedia namespace page? — Ambush Commander(Talk) 21:03, 14 December 2005 (UTC)

Generally, it shouldn't. We generally create namespace pages only for matters that either are:
  • the subject of a serious policy proposal that has already gained support and is seeking to be enacted, or
  • necessitate long-term maintenance or reference of some sort.
That said, you can create pages for anything you like - just watch out for the MFDers. :-) Deco 04:47, 15 December 2005 (UTC)
Okay. — Ambush Commander(Talk) 20:41, 15 December 2005 (UTC)
Probably Wikipedia:Centralized discussion would be the best place for long/large discussions... (Just a guess) JesseW, the juggling janitor 11:04, 16 December 2005 (UTC)

Wankers, fiddlers, fools and trolls

Even as the Seigenthaler scandal was breaking in hundreds of news reports across the world, arbcomm member and suspended (in effect, apparently disbarred) lawyer Fred Bauder voted to endorse the statement that my sourcing standards were "unrealistic," as in, "Why bother for accuracy? Any tabloid crud will do!" Here at the village pump, Zoe accused me of "whining."

Here's what the Register has to say today about Wikipedia's sourcing standards and credibility:

Calls for responsibility, we learn, in that unique strangulated prose style that is truly Wikipedia's legacy to the world -
"... often form a pejorative means of attacking political opponents. This habit of demanding behaviour aligned to one's own desires also occurs in other arenas: one expects "responsibility" from children, parents, spouses, colleagues and employees, meaning they should change their attitudes to suit the speaker."
From which the only thing missing is:
".... booooo big bad teecher - I'm not going to skool today. fuck you!!"
Which is terrific stuff.
Now a picture of the body behind the "Hive Mind" of "collective intelligence" begins to take shape.
He's 14, he's got acne, he's got a lot of problems with authority ... and he's got an encyclopedia on dar interweb.

Yep. Wikipedias vaunted Hive mind happens to behave like a clueless, irresponsible 14 year old boy. Wankers, fiddlers, fools and trolls. Also from that article:

Involvement in Wikipedia has taken its toll on a significant number of decent, fair minded people who with the most honorable intentions, have tried to alert the project to its social responsibilities and failed. Such voices could be heard on the Wikipedia mailing list, speaking up for quality. Wikipedia is losing good editors at an alarming rate, but who can blame them for leaving?

Hint: It's not all the bad publicity. Wyss 20:42, 12 December 2005 (UTC)

hmm...I see your point --Link 21:00, 12 December 2005 (UTC)

  • The Register has always hated Wikipedia, and has an editorial policy of bashing whenever they possibly can. The "hive mind" crap is a direct quote from Daniel Brandt's Wikipedia-bashing Web site. FCYTravis 00:13, 13 December 2005 (UTC)
Please clarify and cite your assertion that The Register "has an editorial policy of bashing whenever they possibly can." Did you mean they only bash WP whenever they can or, like, everything in the world? Wyss 03:12, 13 December 2005 (UTC)
The reg does have it out for WP: [8]. Jacoplane 03:09, 15 December 2005 (UTC)
  • Anyway yeah, I know I'm whining like Zoe said and missing the whole pith of Wikipedia which isn't so much about writing an encyclopedia as it is a big Bomis traffic machine. Porn "Adult" content didn't work, a scholarly encyclopedia (Nupedia) didn't either but a global culture blog marketed as an encyclopedia and run like an online community has brought numbers and fame. Hmmm... what to do with it now...? Wyss 04:14, 13 December 2005 (UTC)

This is the 7th anti-Wikipedia screed from the Register essayist with a nagging hatred. We've stopped listening since the Pol Pot comparison. Lotsofissues 05:43, 13 December 2005 (UTC)

Maybe you should start listening again. The writer may use over-the-top, unhelpful analogies but otherwise seems rather spot-on to me. WP has serious, systemic sourcing problems which (both in appearance and in fact) undermine credibility and reliability across its content. Wyss 13:24, 13 December 2005 (UTC)
We should ignore him. The writer is "over-the-top, unhelpful" because he wants to stir drama rather than encourage reform. He has found a shctick--bashing Wikipedia--that gets him slashdotted. I wouldn't bother furthering his career. Lotsofissues 18:28, 13 December 2005 (UTC)
Yeah, anything to avoid addressing the issues raised in the article... anything to avoid editing an encyclopedia to academic standards... anything to justify coddling the trolls and fools... :) Wyss 03:53, 14 December 2005 (UTC)

I'm having trouble with Wikipedia standards too. An admin blocked me recently for adding citation details, and I think that is also part of my ArbComm case (I think I won't find out until the Grand Inquisitor emits a pronouncement from the pulpit). (SEWilco 09:46, 13 December 2005 (UTC))

Wyss - pardon me if you've answered this (multiple times) before, but - Why don't you go and work on "editing an encyclopedia[based on Wikipedia] to academic standards"? Forks are good things - and if your's is better, I, for one, will be happy to say - Great! You were right! Now we have an even better free encylopedia! Otherwise, while you are free to rail and go on as much as you like, I'm somewhat at a loss as to what response you are hoping to get... JesseW, the juggling janitor 10:06, 16 December 2005 (UTC)

What the heck... After wading through the Register article linked above, here's the "the issues raised in the article" as best as I can identify them. Let the "avoiding" begin.... :-) JesseW, the juggling janitor 10:20, 16 December 2005 (UTC)

  1. "Wikipedia has made it more difficult for such detective work to be performed in the future, as the site now requires a 30 second log-in procedure to create an unvalidated user id, behind which libellers can shield their identity."
  2. "Wikipedia is indeed, as its supporters claim, a phenomenal source of pop culture trivia."
  3. "The public has a firm idea of what an "encyclopedia" is, and it's a place where information can generally be trusted,"
  4. "Wikipedia has sprung up to fill a temporary void. Copyright law exists in a permanent state of tension, and there's a latency between a new technology being invented and compensation mechanisms being agreed upon that spread that valuable, copyrighted material far and wide. / So I'm very privileged right now, as a member of the San Francisco public library, to be able to tap into expensive databases I couldn't otherwise afford. In ten years time, these "member's societies" will be the norm, and most of us won't even realize we're members. The good stuff will just come out of a computer network."
  5. "since nothing at all can be trusted, er, "definitively", then Wikipedia can't be trusted either. ... Everything you read is suspect! ... Only a paranoiac, or a mad person, can sustain this level of defensiveness for any length of time however, and to hear a putative "encyclopedia" making such a statement is odd, to say the least."
  6. "the word "publication" has become rather blurry. ... as soon as it hits print, the blurriness behind publication disappears, and Wikipedia The Book is seen for what it is, an evasiveness based on accident. And the lawsuits will begin in earnest."
  7. "If "publication" by an "encyclopedia" means anything, it means that you have to get those facts right. / More or less. Kinda."
  8. "Involvement in Wikipedia has taken its toll on a significant number of decent, fair minded people who with the most honorable intentions, have tried to alert the project to its social responsibilities and failed."

Ok, responding in order...

  1. True, if somewhat misstated. Only page creation has been limited to logged in users, not all editing. But every edit not made by a "anon" is one more edit that (unless the logged in user has effectively verified their identity (as many Wikipedians have, examples provided on request)) cannot be traced by IP without permission of a user with CheckUser access. This doesn't seem like an earth-shattering issue.
  2. This is a compliment. The only proper response is, "Why, thank you."
  3. Ok. Something like a real issue. Does Wikipedia make it's status as not-the-same-sort-of-thing-as-a-normal-encyclopedia sufficiently clear? Maybe, maybe not. The Reg article gives no specifics, or details. If someone wants to discuss this (or find the many past discussions on this), please do.
  4. Ah, wild speculation #1; The author of the Reg piece seems to believe that, in some vague way, "member's societies" will save us from the evils of relying of information sources put together by people helping other people. Ok. Details, please? And what does any of this have to do with Wikipedia? Even if one accepts his claim that "Wikipedia has sprung up to fill a temporary void", isn't it better that something exist to fill a void? I don't see how this is a criticism, exactly.
  5. The fun of over-generalization, wheee! "Don't trust anything absolutely" somehow got translated, in the author's head, into "Distrust everything completely". I hope most readers of this can see the error here. Straw-man, anyone?
  6. Ah, another interesting (if already often discussed) issue! Again, the author makes unjustified jumps, seeming to believe that only the entire current version of en.wikipedia could be published, rather than (as has already happened with the German Wikipedia) carefully selected, and very carefully checked, selections from the corpus are published. If someone would like to link to the many existing discussions of this, please do so.
  7. Repeat of #3. Same answer applies.
  8. Part of this is a true, and sad thing. Many excellent Wikipedians do burn out, and leave in anger or despair over the fate of the project. While this still is a pretty civil place, further methods for dealing with editor burnout would be great. As for the "social responsibilities", details (other than what's mentioned above), please? And, has the author met our regular trolls and nutcases? They have plenty of "social responsibilities" they think we need to address, mainly involving doing whatever they say...

And how were we "avoiding" the "issues" raised in the Register article, again? JesseW, the juggling janitor 10:43, 16 December 2005 (UTC)

  • Wyss, the problems of Wikipedia are well known to every serious editor here. And yes, we need to do some things about them. People are trying, maybe you haven't noted. But you are telling us nothing new, you are just telling it many times (I've seen your "on what was to be my last day of checking my talkpage" piece in about five different places). Maybe you are not "whining", because your concerns are legitimate, but you sound bitter. Either you accept Wikipedia for the sad monster it is, and put your shoulder to the wheel to make it a little better, or you write it off, and do an academic fork. This is a serious alternative, and I've had serious discussions about such projects in the past. If the academic fork is GFDL, Wikipedia editors can import its work back into Wikipedia, and there could be a beneficient synergy between the two projects. But your academic fork will have to start small, because you'd need funding. Plus, you'd need to convince academic editors to use it. The joy of Wikipedia is that you can type 1473 or Bessarion or spinor and know the links will come up blue. Wikipedia 1.0 could be such a fork, there could be a select team of academics working on it, but the question will invariably arise, who will select such an "elite"? If you want full control of who's in and who's out, you'd need to do your own private fork, where you'll be a little Jimbo of your own, and just hope that the right people will accept your benevolent rule. dab () 10:40, 16 December 2005 (UTC)

Catalog of defamation incidents

Perhaps, in light of the recent fiasco concerning John Seigenthaler Sr., known attempts at using Wikipedia for defamation should be documented, perhaps in the Wikipedia namespace? I would limit such a list to significant character attacks which persist for some minimum duration--anonymous rants of "g30rg3 bu$h is an 33d10t!" which are reverted in minutes don't qualify. I just removed an (unsubstantiated, as far as I can tell) rape allegation from the article on Ahmad Rashad (alleged to have occured when he was a student at the University of Oregon), that has been there since October 2005. A quick search of google reveals nothing. Now, student-athletes commiting sex crimes and being protected by campus authorities is certainly not unheard of--but Wikipedia should not repeat such allegations without firm and verifiable evidence. (A bogus link, claiming to be evidence, was included in the article as well). --EngineerScotty 00:07, 6 December 2005 (UTC)

Go for it. You may also want to pen some more guidelines such as the ones above. --Gurubrahma 06:49, 6 December 2005 (UTC)
Such a page is now up at Wikipedia:List of known defamation incidents. 3 incidents (Seigenthaler, Jens Stoltenberg, and Rashad) are listed, as are a proposed set of rules. The rules are only proposals at this point. (The interesting question--how much time will elapse before the page is slapped with an AFD?) --EngineerScotty 23:03, 6 December 2005 (UTC)
The current title perhaps suggests that legal action was taken in the cases listed, i.e. somebody sued for defamation. Is this at all true? Dmharvey 00:27, 7 December 2005 (UTC)
AFAIK, no. In some cases, the issues were discovered and reverted by Wikipedia editors; only two of the listed cases (the Norwegian PM and Seigenthaler) attracted any press attention. Seigenthaler would probably have a difficult time suing WP under US law (IANAL) due to the provisions of the CDA; don't know about the other case (where Norwegian law may come into play). One other interesting question (and maybe this page leads here): In the US at least, a common defense against libelous information which is published in error, rather than maliciously, is the publication of a retraction--for example, if the local newspaper mistakenly puts your photo next to a caption indicating "wanted for bank robbery"; and it was done in error, they can avoid liability by retracting the information upon notification of the error. --EngineerScotty 01:00, 7 December 2005 (UTC)
EngineerScotty, a retraction is not always enough to protect a defamer from successfully pressing legal action. If it were, then defamers could just keep defaming and retracting with impunity. This is especially so if a plaintif can prove the defendent acted with reckless disregard for the truth. An example of this, I believe, involves the current dispute I am having with Wiki administrators over the repeated publication of libelous statements by Wiki user Julio Siqueria. I have repeatedly complained, cited examples of his defamation, and asked that he be stopped from publishing any more libelous material on Wiki. Yet, just this morning, Siqueria published more defamation on Wikipedia. He falsely stated that I am under psychiatric care. (For those not familiar with libel law, falsely saying someone is mentally ill is considered defamation per se. No evidence of damage is necessary for defamation to be proven. Being under psychiatric care in some cases may disqualify people for certain jobs, for purchasing a gun, etc. As the Carter Center for Mental Health keeps pointing out, there is widespread discrimination against people with mental illness. Siqueira clearly sought to exploit this discrimination with his false and libelous accusation.) Although Wiki administrators were repeatedly warned, they have done nothing to stop Siqueira from using Wikipedia to defame others. In my opinion, this failure to act responsibly constitutes evidence of a reckless disregard for the truth. Askolnick 21:26, 15 December 2005 (UTC)
What some call "defamation" others call "information". Consider renaming. (SEWilco 00:29, 8 December 2005 (UTC))
Now that is a weasel statement: Defamation is of course information. But it's false information that causes injury to a person's (or corporation's) reputation. It is a tort under civil law. By the same argument, one could defend sexual offenders by saying, "what some call "rape," others call "having sex."Askolnick 21:26, 15 December 2005 (UTC)

I question whether this is a good idea. It seems to encourage a certain type of vandal to make trouble, hoping to score an entry. -- Jmabel | Talk 00:47, 12 December 2005 (UTC)

CSD images - new proposal

The relevant discussion is taking place at Wikipedia_talk:Criteria_for_speedy_deletion#CSD_I6_-_A_new_proposal. It has been proposed to formalise an arrangement used already in practice. Please continue the discussion there. --Gurubrahma 14:13, 17 December 2005 (UTC)

Anon Edit on Disputed Pages

I know I'm going to get a lot of heat for this one after gleaning the 'Anon New Page Creation' argument. I support that policy, by the way.

I think it would be a good idea to block anons from editing disputed articles because:

  • Their edits are often inconsiderate of the history of the argument
  • They often edit without explaining on the talk page
  • They aren't open about their personal biases [eg. bio on userpage] but are willing to edit articles that are trying to remove bias
  • Someone conscientious enough to actually research, reference outside sources and check the history and talk of an article before making a significant edit more than likely already has an account, and if they're that committed to the article then they won't mind getting one.

Honestly, an account is free, doesn't take more than a minute to create and doesn't violate your privacy. LambaJan 03:48, 17 December 2005 (UTC)

Causality is the wrong way around here. People with accounts generally make better edits because more dedicated editors create accounts. If you restrict anons they'll just make the same changes with throwaway accounts and become more difficult to detect. And if you think the additional trouble will deter them, you haven't seen how persistent they can be. Deco 06:27, 17 December 2005 (UTC)
I can appreciate that. Though you can understand that I would appreciate a solution even more. :-\ LambaJan 07:53, 17 December 2005 (UTC)

Red links and "Page creation limited" notice

If a non-registered user attempts to create a new page, they now see a notice that begins as follows:

Page creation limited
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
Wikipedia has restricted the ability for unregistered users to create new pages...

The problem here is that the user may not have been attempting to create a new page. They may just have tried to follow a link from an ordinary article -- either they didn't know what a red link means, or they were using a browser that didn't render it specially at all. (I often access wikipedia in monochrome through lynx, for example.) And it looks awfully unfriendly if someone is just trying to find out more about, oh, say, the Gas Belt (from the Indiana article), and here they get this page that's shouting about restrictions.

I think the notice should look something like this:

Article not found
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
We don't have an article called Gas Belt
But you can write it. As an unregistered user, you have two choices... (and then continue with something like the present notice).

See what I mean? Says the same thing, but much more friendly. 00:20, 10 December 2005 (UTC)

Sounds good to me. Deco 00:28, 10 December 2005 (UTC)
I agree. -- Kjkolb 02:52, 10 December 2005 (UTC)
Done. -- Rick Block (talk) 17:55, 10 December 2005 (UTC)

Thanks! -- 07:15, 11 December 2005 (UTC)

And I see that someone has now further improved it. Better yet! -- 05:30, 17 December 2005 (UTC)

Wikipedia edit form notice (re GFDL) considered harmful

This text was added recently to the edit form: By editing here, you agree to licence your contributions under the GFDL.

Until now the GFDL was applied to Wikipedia as a whole, and would be based on its compilation copyright. The only copyright requirement on individual contributions that I know of was the rule (once implicit, lately explicit) that they must not violate a copyright.

This new rule is much stronger. In order to place something under the GFDL, you must first own the copyright yourself. Which means that this change has taken away the right to contribute any material written by someone else, even if

  • it is in the public domain,
  • the copyright holder already allows unlimited copying,
  • the copyright holder already allows copying for the purposes that Wikipedia requires -- such as by having already placed the material under the GFDL!

You now cannot even contribute your own material if you have placed it in the public domain.

Now, Wikipedia includes considerable amounts of material that was in the public domain when contributed. Copyright-expired encyclopedia articles, US government photos, and so on. I do not believe anyone intended to shut off these sources of content; I think the intent was that people should not be able to impose any restrictions through copyright that the GFDL does not.

For myself, I want to be able to contribute new material of my own without being required to have a copyright on it. I also want to be able to upload existing public-domain material if I happen to find some that would be useful. And I cannot imagine that anyone really wants me not to do so.

In which case, this statement in the form needs to be changed. 04:40, 7 December 2005 (UTC)

  • IANAL, but as far as I understand, public domain is not a license and does not work the way you think it does. --Improv 06:08, 7 December 2005 (UTC)
IANAL, but poster is quite mistaken. We have always, *always* required materials posted here to be licensed under GFDL. That has never been not-true in the entire time I've been here. Also, you misunderstand the public domain completely. --Brion 06:35, 7 December 2005 (UTC)
IANAL, but I don't see how GFDL would prevent use of public domain material. It says that you cannot restrict the use of any material you copy from Wikipedia. Since you cannot restrict the use of material that is in the public domain anyway, I don't see what the problem is supposed to be. The only change I'm aware of since the first time I became involved in Wikipedia (2003) it that at the notice didn't use the phrase GFDL; it said you were agreeing to license your contributions under "the terms of the Wikipedia license" (which was, in fact, the GFDL.) The notice used to use stronger or plainer language than it does now, urging you not to contribute if you did not want your material to be widely and freely copied, or words to that effect. Dpbsmith (talk) 13:33, 7 December 2005 (UTC)
It still says all that. There's an additional one-line message higher up as well, now. --Brion 02:22, 8 December 2005 (UTC)

This is the original poster. I decided to wait a couple of days before coming back to this, to allow time for considered responses.

First, IANAL either, but I certainly understand that public domain material is that with no copyright restrictions on it of any kind. GFDL, on the other hand, allows unlimited copying or modication provided that certain rules are followed. Clause 2 requires that all copies include a notice of the license; this is sometimes called a "viral condition" because of its "infectious" nature. Similarly, Clause 4 requires modified versions to be identified by a change of title, among other things.

Dpbsmith says that "Since you cannot restrict the use of material that is in the public domain anyway, I don't see what the problem is supposed to be." The problem is precisely that the GFDL does restrict its use, even though only in the small and well-intended ways that I've just mentioned. Therefore it requires the work to be under copyright, and a contributor cannot "agree" to place it under GFDL if it is not.

If, as Brion says, it was always the intent that each individual contribution, rather than the totality of contributed material, was to be licensed under GFDL, then I say that there was always a problem, which the new wording has simply called attention to.

The issue is not whether I want to allow my contribution to be widely and freely copied, or whether I object to the GFDL's intent; it is whether I have the authority to license my contribution under a particular license (one that does impose restrictions even if they are small ones) if it is in the public domain already. Simply, I do not.

Is my objection now clear?

It is entirely reasonable for a GFDL'd work (i.e. the entire Wikipedia) to contain public-domain material; it is not reasonable to ask for a single contribution to be GFDL'd if it is already in the public domain. So the resolution I would like to see would be to substitute something like this (which I believed was always the intent): "All Wikipedia content is released under the GFDL. Your contributions must not violate any copyright." 23:57, 9 December 2005 (UTC)

I'm trying, but I'm still not sure I'm getting it. IANAL cubed, but my naive understanding of "public domain" is, "material you can do anything at all with", where "anything at all" is very broadly defined. In particular, "rereleasing under GFDL" is not disallowed as an example of "anything at all".
Ah. Perhaps I'm starting to see the objection, from the perspective of the end reader of the rereleased material. "You're placing restrictions on me via the GFDL," says that reader. "But you can't do that, I recognize this material, it's a verbatim copy from the public domain, I can do anything I want to with it, including not being bound by your so-called license."
And I think the answer (or at least part of it) is that people do this sort of thing all the time, and the legal system doesn't seem to mind. Media companies are constantly republishing PD information with their own, new copyright notices on it, either wrongly, or because they believe they have some claim on the novelty of their presentation. (And readers can either ignore the wrong/meaningless notice with impunity, or ignore the rereleased-but-copyrighted copy and go to the PD copy for all their copying needs.) Another example is Project Gutenberg, whose offerings all come with a monstrous legal disclaimer prepended, and though that disclaimer may not formally be a license or a copyright notice, my memory is that it sure acts like one. (And that disclaimer annoys the heck out of me, so I think I'm seeing more and more of your objection to Wikipedia's use of the GFDL.)
At any rate, I'm rambling here, and I'll stop now, though I realize I haven't answered the question, but perhaps my ramblings have further clarified the question so that someone else can.
Steve Summit (talk) 14:44, 12 December 2005 (UTC)

Anon, the thing you apparently don't appreciate is that works may be simultaneously placed under multiple different licenses even if the terms of which are explicitly incompatible. You aren't making anything more restrictive by doing so as under conflicts the least restrictive terms compatible with a given use would necessarily apply. In fact, I could publish Hamlet by Dragons flight and there would be no problem sticking a big fat copyright notice on it, but I wouldn't be able to enforce any copyright claims that conflicted with the public domain content. In essence, the copyright statement is saying that any content which is original to you must be licensed under the GFDL and the fact that other content "must not violate any copyright" implies that any content which is not original to you must have at least as much freedom as the GFDL.

Maybe it is a little unfair to users to tell them that content if GFDL when in fact it could be found in the public domain and used as such, but surely you recognize that trying to state the least restrictive terms applicable to each given paragraph or passage would be an absurdly complicated task. In essence what we do is say that all content is compatible with the GFDL, so as long as you are following that, you should be okay. The fact that some cotnent is even more free is a bonus to the reader, but not something we are required to tell them. Dragons flight 15:31, 12 December 2005 (UTC)

It's not that it's unfair to readers; it's that it requires submitters to make a false declaration.
Let's change the analogy a bit. Suppose you come across a 17th century copy of Hamlet and decide that if you have this same edition republished, people will buy it. The content of your edition will be absolutely identical to the old one, so there is no question of your being able to meaningfully assert a claim of copyright. You might think of adding "©2005 Dragons flight" somewhere, just in case it would benefit you somehow, but you're sure it won't mean anything if you do, so you just photocopy the old pages and take them to the printer.
But to your surprise, he says, "I am a devout member of the Connochaetean Church, and my religion forbids me from publishing public-domain material. You can place it under an open license allowing unlimited copying if you want, but public domain is right out. You have to own the copyright on the manuscript yourself. If you don't, then take it to another printer. If you do, then you must sign here to promise me that you own it."
It would be unethical to sign that agreement.
It is similarly unethical to agree to place an individual contribution under GFDL when you know it is public domain: the GFDL belongs to the Connochaetean Church, and its functioning requires you to own the copyright.
Dragon flight wrote, "In essence, the copyright statement is saying that any content which is original to you must be licensed under the GFDL". But the actual agreement doesn't say "which is original to you"; it says "your contributions", whether they are original or not. That's what's wrong.
-- 08:40, 13 December 2005 (UTC)
No, you misunderstand, you do own the public domain (as does everyone else) and it would be perfectly ethical for me to sign such an agreement. I don't have the right to claim exclusive control over it be that is a seperate thing. When you provide a license with your work you are telling the world that as long as they do X they are allowed to do A, B, C with your work. I could write a license on my work that says you are allowed to copy Dragons flight's Hamlet provided you offer up your first born child to the Flying Spaghetti Monster. In so do I have made a binding obligation not to sue anyone who copies my book after engaging in human sacrifice to this chosen diety. The fact that I didn't have the right to sue anyway is irrelevant.
By agreeing to license your contributions under the GFDL you are relinquishing your rights to stop copying, etc. provided the other party follows the GFDL. You have agreed to be bound by this regardless of whether your content would otherwise have a defensible copyright.
You seem to view copyright as attaching to the work (a not unreasonable point of view given the prevalence of © on things), but it is really binding on people; it controls what actions you and others may or may not take. There is nothing deceitful or unethical about saying that you agree to license Hamlet under the GFDL than there would be in my promising not to turn into a fairy next Tuesday. In both cases the promise is moot, but Hamlet is in no way hurt or encumbered by my promise to treat it as a GFDL work. Dragons flight 09:14, 13 December 2005 (UTC)
  • I still believe that the statement is wrongly worded and in order to reflect the intent it should be corrected as I suggested. But if everyone else still thinks it already does reflect the intent (and we all agree on what that is), then I have no further arguments to bring forward. So I'll just shut up about this now, consider myself governed by the intended meaning henceforth, and offer my thanks to those who took the time to answer. -- 04:28, 14 December 2005 (UTC)
Did the Anon's suggested wording ever really get considered? For reference, it was "All Wikipedia content is released under the GFDL. Your contributions must not violate any copyright." Did anyone have specific objections? It's certainly a significantly different statement from the one that's there now -- which of them better suggests the real intent? Steve Summit (talk) 14:19, 17 December 2005 (UTC)

Limited license for Images

Wikipedia:Restricted image licenses is a proposal to accept a slightly more limited license for images, one which migjht be accpetable to many content creators/copyright oners whoa re not willing to release images under the GFDL. Your commetns and views are welcome. DES (talk) 04:56, 18 December 2005 (UTC)

BC/AD versus BCE/CE

Currently, the MoS has this to say about notation of eras in the Gregorian calendar:

Both the BCE/CE era names and the BC/AD era names are acceptable, but be consistent within an article. Normally you should use plain numbers for years in the Common Era, but when events span the start of the Common Era, use AD or CE for the date at the end of the range (note that AD precedes the date and CE follows it). For example, [[1 BC]]–[[1|AD 1]] or [[1 BCE]]–[[1|1 CE]].

I don't think this is satisfactory, as it seems to lead to edit wars between those who feel strongly about the appropriateness of each system. [9] [10] I got lightly involved with this issue in a couple of articles before deciding that it might be more productive to change the MoS than to try to put out many small fires. At this point, the edit warring is going on, and people are getting 3RR blocks, which eventually leads to the side that's better at gaming the rules "winning", which isn't really NPOV.

I suggest adding a sentence to the above paragraph acknowledging that the controversy exists and setting up a guideline along the lines of: "make it consistent, then leave it alone," in order to avoid unproductive edit wars. More specifically, a given article should only use one system for indicating eras, and editors should not change the era notation in an article that is already consistent. In specific cases, if there is some kind of consensus on the article's talk page to use one particular system or another, then that would trump this general guideline, of course. Perhaps by amending the MoS, we could force the issue out of the edit summaries and onto the talk pages, where it belongs. Opinions? -GTBacchus(talk) 01:14, 18 December 2005 (UTC)

  • Thank you GT for inviting me to speak hear. From what I understand if an article was started using CE and it consistently used BCE and CE then it should stay that way. And the same with BC and AD I think that is fine. Although I think that the whole recently invented, compared to AD and BC, CE and BCE is rather obscure and less well known and rather pointless, if an article was started that way I'm not going to change it. I think it is silly to use these "new" initials when every encyclopedia I have consulted in this matter uses BC and AD. Wikipedia does not even have date pages for BCE and CE they are just redirects to the BC and AD date pages.

I further am totally perplexed as to why the most commonly accepted dating system, the most widely used and the one that has been in exsistance for over a thousand years in Western Civilization is considered point of view by several Wikipedians. Suddenly, after a 1000 years a few Wikipedians judge that this dating system is POV! I'm perplexed. Someone suggested it is because it skirts with Christianity and that people opposed to Christianity don't want to use something that was derived from the Christian religion no matter how seperated or accepted BC and AD is. If that is the case I can't believe that anyone would support such a miopic and biased view. What next revert back to the Julian calender? Randomly assign the beginning of the new era 47 years before the supposed birth year of Christ so that it won't have any ties to Christianity?! Religion hadn't even come into the situation for me, but apparently others prejudices are what is causing problems.

BC and AD is the accepted dating system. This is not my opinion it is a fact. I don't see anny need to change the current Wikipedia policy leave the dating as original started in the article that should make both parties happy. I'm not the problem causer here despite what has been said about me. Every history book I own uses BC and AD. Michael Grant the famous Roman scholar uses them and that good enough for me.

Please let the policy stand for the consistency of dating from when the article was first created. Why is that a problem. Just follow the rules. I haven't tried changing articles that were created in CBE or CE to BC and AD even though I think CE and CBE are silly so why are these other people all fired up about removing the accepted system. Let this be the end of it! Dwain 02:07, 18 December 2005 (UTC)

another edit conflictThe same people who are currently being blocked over this pointless revert war will almost certianly ignore any descion made by other people, and will simply keep edit warring, for instance, after the second time one such person was blocked for this, he decided instead to edit war over miles vs kilometers, because he had been prohibited from BCE vs BC edit wars on penalty of block, it has nothing to do with content, some people are just trolls--Aolanaonwaswronglyaccused 01:53, 18 December 2005 (UTC)

Edit conflict. I brought up the same topic here. --Elliskev 01:49, 18 December 2005 (UTC)

  • My concern with this is that it's going to lead to a complete edit war over every article that is currently split between AD and CE. The POV warriors on both sides are going to rush to find articles to make "consistent" and spark 15,000 brushfires around the Wiki. My thoughts are that NO date system should be changed and that it should be up to each contributor to choose which system he or she wishes to use when making an addition. Under NO circumstances should anyone's personal choice of system be disputed or reverted, and this should be a blockable offense from both sides. If I want to add a section with BC in it, that should be fine. If I want to add a section using CE, that should be fine too. It is hardly confusing to use both, and it would stop the edit warring in its tracks. FCYTravis 10:39, 18 December 2005 (UTC)

I agree that the BC and AD system are much more common than BCE/CE, and I wholeheartedly admit that I never use BCE/CE in everyday life. However, I believe that wikipedia shouldn't always simply go by this. After all, this is not the simple wikipedia. As regards to the issue at hand: the terms "Before Christ" and "Anno Domini" have a christian connotation. As such, I believe they are strongly linked to christianity and to the christian parts of the world (or parts with a distinctly christian identity or history, since many parts of northern and western Europe are rapidly secularizing). There are many areas that are not covered by this. One would be ancient Greece, which was an explicitly pagan society. I believe it is inappropriate to use the BC/AD system in an encyclopedia article about e.g. Xenophon, Sophocles or Euripides. I believe an encyclopedia should, in such cases, use BCE/CE. Aecis praatpaal 10:42, 18 December 2005 (UTC) PS. It has been suggested at Wikipedia Talk:Manual of Style (dates and numbers)#Eras that a preference setting for BCE/CE or BC/AD be created. If it is technically possible, this suggestion has my full support.

I suggest centralizing this discussion at Wikipedia Talk:Manual of Style (dates and numbers)#Eras. Wikipedia talk:Eras. I'll reply to you there, Aecis. -GTBacchus(talk) 10:49, 18 December 2005 (UTC)

Not everything can be verifialbe from "reputable sources"

[Hoo boy! If this isn't a fine example of a major problem with the Wiki philosophy, then nothing is. Elvarg edits out my ironic criticism (saying it's "trolling"), while leaving the misspelling. And that's the point I was making: Too many in the Wiki community are more tolerant of errors and falsehoods than they are of criticism.]Askolnick 19:38, 16 December 2005 (UTC)

  • If you see spelling mistakes, you should fix them yourself, or at least politey point them out, rather than making witty comments about them. Besides, the talk pages is about the ideas people convey, not knitpicking out minor things like spelling. Making fun of other people's errors instead of helping to deal with them, and looking for minor unimportant things shove in other people's faces, is as trolling as it gets. Elvarg 21:22, 17 December 2005 (UTC)

See for background.

Discussion is currently going on at , please participate. Elvarg 22:22, 15 December 2005 (UTC)

  • In that case, the primary source of the game itself is reliable source (primary source) when it comes to statements made about the game itself. So if the game itself says that's the name of the boss (or the accompanying manual does, etc.), that is a reliable source for that piece of information. Christopher Parham (talk) 21:57, 15 December 2005 (UTC)
  • yes, "reputable" is relative to the subject. You don't go looking for Pokemon character names in the Proceedings of the Royal Society. dab () 10:42, 16 December 2005 (UTC)
  • Sometimes official sources conflict. Ganon is a notable such case. In these cases just following your favourite official source is not okay, and you should probably discuss the conflict. Deco 18:42, 16 December 2005 (UTC)
    • What's important is to state the source. The reader can judge its reliability. In cases where a source is obviously non-neutral, it is not inappropriate to make a comment to that effect, provided of course that the comment is neutral and, if necessary, sourced. For example, in a discussion of whether chocolate is healthy, it would be perfectly reasonable to cite Harvard researcher Norman Hollenberg to the effect that it contains flavanoids which may reduce high blood pressure, and equally reasonable to note in the citation that Hollenberg's studies have been funded by the American Cocoa Institute and by Mars, Inc. Dpbsmith (talk) 18:49, 16 December 2005 (UTC)
      • Sources should be named, but there is normally the suggestion of credibility if we cite a source without providing grounds for doubting it. --- Charles Stewart 19:24, 16 December 2005 (UTC)
  • I've suggested on the talk page that we make a distinction between reputability, which is fairly broad in scope, and being authoritative, which is narrow in scope but is entirely reliable. --- Charles Stewart 19:21, 16 December 2005 (UTC)

What about stuff that approaches the bounds of original reserach. See The Gates. There is nothing (IMHO) very controversial there, but much of the text of the article is based on the writers of the article observing the installation of the art work. Morris 21:39, 17 December 2005 (UTC)

long or short scale

Is there any policy for usage of long or short scale? For example in Voyager 1#Distance travelled it says 14.2 billion kilometers, I interpret it as 14200000000000 km, not as 14200000000 km AzaToth 19:25, 16 December 2005 (UTC)

The preference is for scientific or engineering notation. Voyager 1 travelled 14.2×109 kilometers (engineering notation) or 1.42×1010 kilometers (scientific notation). --Carnildo 21:23, 16 December 2005 (UTC)
Enginering notation? have never heard about it. But if it's specified as 'billion', how much is it then? AzaToth 21:26, 16 December 2005 (UTC)
Engineering notation is scientific notation where the exponent is limited to being a multiple of three. As for short scale vs long scale, the Manual of Style doesn't specify, but it's usually short scale. --Carnildo 23:37, 16 December 2005 (UTC)
Doesn't it depends who wrote it if it's in long or short scale? AzaToth 15:42, 17 December 2005 (UTC)

Announcing the reawakwening of Wikipedia:Eras

Hi. Due in large part to recent edit wars over the traditional BC/AD notation versus the less common but arguably more NPOV BCE/CE notation, some Wikipedians have decided that the current guideline in MoS doesn't sufficiently address the problem. Indeed, many Wikipedians assume and quote guidelines on the matter that do not in fact exist, at least not explicitly. Some refer to what has been said in ArbCom on the matter, but ArbCom decisions are not policy, and if some there is some principle at work in the ArbCom decision that is a sound one, it probably deserves being written into the guidelines somewhere.

Since this problem clearly hasn't just gone away, Wikipedia:Eras is stirring again. Please drop by, read the newly revamped projet page, and discuss your opinions on the project talk page. Thanks! -GTBacchus(talk) 06:10, 19 December 2005 (UTC)

  • Why don't we just add a feature to MediaWiki where dates are entered in a coded format, and then automatically translated before rendering to one of the two styles based on user preferences? That'd put an end to all this nonsense. Firebug 06:35, 19 December 2005 (UTC)
    That's a very good idea. Some date formats are already done that way, right? -- SCZenz 07:15, 19 December 2005 (UTC)
    Some users are delinking years if they are not central to the article, even the first occurrence, so it might have to be something different than the date preferences. I'm not implying that the users doing so are acting improperly. -- Kjkolb 07:21, 19 December 2005 (UTC)
    Surely somebody can write a bot to relink all the relevant years? That is, of course, if people like this plan in principle, I think the technical problems are surmountable. -- SCZenz 07:25, 19 December 2005 (UTC)
    They probably could, but we would have to decide whether we want years linked or not when they are unimportant. I think it is a good solution, though. -- Kjkolb 07:46, 19 December 2005 (UTC)
    "In 2005, the agency hat 1997 affiliates and looked back at a history of 1492 years." Good luck with the bot... --Stephan Schulz 07:51, 19 December 2005 (UTC)
  • Ah, I should have mentioned that, too. There is a proposal to automate era formats for registered users, in a way that would be controlable through preferences. That's at Wikipedia:User preferences for BCE/CE notation, which has been dormant since July. -GTBacchus(talk) 08:11, 19 December 2005 (UTC)
    • Can that be added to the options on Wikipedia:Eras? -- Kjkolb 08:23, 19 December 2005 (UTC)
      Well, it says on that page feel free to add options, since that's how brainstorming works. There's also a section on the page talking about the tehnical proposal that you might want to read first; it contains arguments for why the two proposals are both being pursued. -GTBacchus(talk) 08:33, 19 December 2005 (UTC)
      • Ah, I forgot about unregistered users. It would be nice if unregistered users could set preferences for dates and such with cookie-based preferences, although the default setting would still have to be decided. -- Kjkolb 08:58, 19 December 2005 (UTC)

High-risk templates

There is currently a proposal to protect all high-risk templates. See Wikipedia:High-risk templates. --bainer (talk) 23:26, 18 December 2005 (UTC)