Wikipedia:Village pump (proposals)/Archive 78

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Template to assist bots in updating stats?

Sorry if this is perennial, didn't see it in the search. In articles such as Comparison of open source software hosting facilities there are columns of statistics such as "Number of Users" and "Number of projects" which could be efficiently updated by a tool or a bot. The location of the information is unique for each source. I propose a silent template designed solely to serve as a kind of inline citation for a tool or bot to lookup and insert the stat in the article. This could be a template in the table ==Popularity==, column Users, row Launchpad:

{{lookup| url= | match="There are currently %10d people and %7. teams registered in Launchpad."}} 1,234,567

where %10d is the numeric partial string to replace the string to the right of the template, and "%7." represents a variable length alphanumeric to skip).

Such an explicit data lookup template is a kind of ultra-specific source citation, and can serve to assist editors locate source data too, so maybe it belongs as an extension to {{cite}}. Of course these rules could be gathered separately from the article, embedded in the tool itself, but where's the sport in that? --Lexein (talk) 09:19, 2 October 2011 (UTC)

I got a proposal to improve OKBot so she can update Alexa rankings within the article's text as well. I think it's easy to do this for specific websites, but it's less easy to create a 'universal' script to extract all kinds of data because each website will depend on a different regex, well, unless we can keep a list of domain patterns and the regex that should apply to them.--OsamaK (talk) 06:25, 3 October 2011 (UTC)
I see that arbitrary regexes should not be created by users on the fly - there should be a repository of vetted "safe & tested" strings. Ok, how about a page where folks can submit urls and strings, as follows:
{{setOKbotlookup| url= | match="There are currently %10d people" | field="people"}} 1,234,567
{{setOKbotlookup| url= | match="and %10d teams registered in Launchpad." | field="teams"}} 4,234
(I don't think the originating web page should be listed - seems like the info might be usable in multiple pages ...)
then you vet them, add the url, regex, and url-unique field name to the cases list for the bot, remove them from the submissions page, and list them on the "working searches" page (updated by OKbot daily). Then, usage would be of the form:
{{OKbotlookup| url= | field="people"}} 1,234,567 or
{{OKbotlookup| url= | field="teams"}} 12,234
When OKbot does its Task 5(?) processing once a fortnight, and the URL and field name match an entry in your database, OKbot updates the text following the template. A failed search would not update the page, but produce an error on the OKbot status page, listing the failed lookup URL and field name, such as "no such field in database" or "no such URL in database" or "404 while accessing URL". --Lexein (talk) 06:42, 4 October 2011 (UTC)
This is the sort of thing that meta:Wikidata would be perfect for. I just wish the Foundation would put some resources towards it... --Cybercobra (talk) 06:54, 4 October 2011 (UTC)

Did you know?

Good afternoon :)!

I would like to speak with you about an app' that i created yet. It is an animated gif that i posted on commons.

You write into the box ( 1) the name of an article (target) in wikipedia and (2) a question about this article.

Look :

[ [ File:Did you know.gif|right|120px|thumb| [[Human Torch (android) (1) |What is the first Marvel Comics-owned superhero appeared in Marvel Comics #1 (Ocober 1939)? (2) ] ]

I am sure that wikipedia would be more insteresting with it. Don't you? : )

[[:File:Did you know.gif|right|120px|thumb| What is the first Marvel Comics-owned superhero appeared in Marvel Comics #1 (Ocober 1939)? ]]

Thank you very mutch.

Best reguards and have fun ! : )

Bastien Sens-Méyé (discuss) 13:58, 3 October 2011 (UTC)

Much as I hate to shut down a clearly enthusisastic and good-faith editor, this has to go. The animation (which is actually quite a cool design) is so fast as to be brutal on the eyes (I'm getting a migraine just looking at it), and the concept of inline quiz questions is not appropriate for an encyclopedia. Perhaps a slower version of the .gif could be used on the mainpage, to draw attention to the Did you know? section, but as it stands, this concept doesn't belong in article space. Yunshui (talk) 12:30, 3 October 2011 (UTC)
Agree with migraine concerns, actually. I was coming by after seeing the animation in action at AN to say that very thing. --Moonriddengirl (talk) 13:14, 3 October 2011 (UTC)
I have slower!! But i was afraid that would be tooo much slow. Just take a look, please, and tell me?! Thank you very much :) !! Bastien Sens-Méyé (discuss) 15:18 , 3 October 2011 (UTC) PS : It is possible to slow down more and more and more :) !!

[[:File:MORPH.gif|right|120px|thumb| What is the first Marvel Comics-owned superhero appeared in Marvel Comics #1 (Ocober 1939)? ]]

Sorry, I think this is a step in the wrong direction. Animation should be used exceedingly sparingly, in my opinion, and never as a "decoration". Animation like this is OK, because it helps reader understanding, but we shouldn't just display animation because we can, or we risk irritating and annoying readers. 28bytes (talk) 14:19, 3 October 2011 (UTC)

Count me as someone that would be irritated and annoyed by this. I've seen it at the original rate and the slower rate that was posted here. I find both distracting and ugly. Honestly, my first thought when I saw them was "who's using the blink tag?" Yeah, it's that bad to me. I have no doubt this was created with the best of intentions, but at least for me, it's an utter failure. Please don't use this in any article in WP space. Ravensfire (talk) 14:34, 3 October 2011 (UTC)
I agree with 28bytes, and IMO even the slower version is still headache-inducing due to the sudden jump as the animation loops. Anomie 15:25, 3 October 2011 (UTC)

Good evening, People!!

Ok, I have understand : this animation is not to use on wikipedia.

So, I won't use it on wikipedia. Trust on me! ; ))

If I have other ideas, and of course i'll speak about it here at noon. But, from now on : no (gif) animation , ok :) Have fun !Bastien Sens-Méyé (discuss) 22:49, 3 October 2011 (CEST) PS : Perhaps with the same idea of acient chinese turtle [1] , because i like Asia and i like turtles too! :)


Where do you envision placing this? It doesn't threaten to trigger a migraine in me anymore, but I'm not sure I understand what it's intended to do. :) --Moonriddengirl (talk) 11:25, 4 October 2011 (UTC)

Political positions articles have non-neutral (unencyclopedic) titles and should be renamed

The core of my argument is that these articles do not have neutral titles which "encourage multiple viewpoints and responsible article writing". I have started this discussion at the NPOV noticeboard, and I am asking for more input there. Thanks. Jesanj (talk) 17:42, 4 October 2011 (UTC)

Add language names in English as tooltip in language links

I think it would be a nice minor convenience to have a tooltip (hover message) on the interlanguage links, allowing English users to easily determine what the different languages are without having to look them up individually:

With tooltip

Or something along those lines. —Designate (talk) 21:48, 23 August 2011 (UTC)

As you have the table above, the words in the right of the column are a mere replication of the words on the left hand side. Did you mean to have the words Danish, German, Greek, Spanish, Esperanto and French on the left-hand side of the table? I appreciate your good intentions here, but I feel that if Wikipedians are knowledgeable enough about different languages to be able to edit in different languages, they would almost certainly know that name of a language in its own language (please correct me if I have misunderstood you here!) ACEOREVIVED (talk) 23:00, 23 August 2011 (UTC)

Hover over the words on the right and you can see it gives the English name of the language in the tooltip. –xenotalk 23:02, 23 August 2011 (UTC)
To translate the interwiki links to English, add this to Special:MyPage/skin.js:
importScript('User:Tra/sidebartranslate.js'); //[[User:Tra/sidebartranslate.js]]
---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 04:25, 24 August 2011 (UTC)
I would support this for sitewide implementation. Before I figured out an easier way, I can't tell you how many times I went to m:List of Wikipedias to figure out things that this would have made moot, and I can't think of any reasons not to do it except possibly if we were told it was a server strain, which I doubt.--Fuhghettaboutit (talk) 05:10, 24 August 2011 (UTC)
When I hover over the link, I want the name of the article, not the name of the language. Choyoołʼįįhí:Seb az86556 > haneʼ 05:33, 24 August 2011 (UTC)
It already does this. Hover over the third one down to see.--Fuhghettaboutit (talk) 06:27, 24 August 2011 (UTC)
That's my point: don't change it. Choyoołʼįįhí:Seb az86556 > haneʼ 11:58, 24 August 2011 (UTC)
In other words, you oppose this because it would add an additional feature that other people would find useful, that you personally would not, but which would not affect the feature you find useful at all?--Fuhghettaboutit (talk) 14:21, 24 August 2011 (UTC)
This looks like an excellent idea. Well worth proposing to the developers (though there's no guarantee they'll act on it, of course).--Kotniski (talk) 10:32, 24 August 2011 (UTC)
Agreed. As long as it retains the name of the article (and it does), adding he name of the language sounds like a great idea. --Philosopher Let us reason together. 11:55, 24 August 2011 (UTC)
It's bugzilla:5231 from 2006. PrimeHunter (talk) 22:45, 24 August 2011 (UTC)
Looks like a good idea to me. bobrayner (talk) 11:30, 25 August 2011 (UTC)
Not really sure where this proposal ends up. —Designate (talk) 01:02, 1 September 2011 (UTC)
You could post to bugzilla:5231 with a permanent link to this section to show support for the feature. You could also vote on the bug. I don't know whether it will have any effect. See also Wikipedia:Help desk/Archives/2011 August 24#Interlanguage map? I posted an idea for an implementation which may require less work for the developers. PrimeHunter (talk) 03:36, 1 September 2011 (UTC)
Cool idea. I've been mystified by certain languages myself. Before I had to make a judgement by looking at the first two letters in the address bar and looking at the particular article ("" for Danish is easy enough when viewing an article, but I still don't know what language "" is, for example).--Brianann MacAmhlaidh (talk) 03:52, 1 September 2011 (UTC)
I like the idea of the double tooltips too. I've had the same problem as Brianann: with Wikipedias in foreign languages, especially foreign writings systems, it's often quite impossible for a non-expert reader to find out what language it actually is by looking at their own pages. ("ka" is Georgian, by the way.) Fut.Perf. 05:38, 1 September 2011 (UTC)

This is a good idea. It is little things like this that get people interested in exploring things more. Shabidoo | Talk 08:46, 6 September 2011 (UTC)

  • Never mind tooltips, the text should give the name of the language in English. I can't help wondering why WP:USEENGLISH seems to be ignored for interwiki links. — Blue-Haired Lawyer t 02:25, 11 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Because the interwiki links exist for people who have stumbled across the page but don't necessarily speak English, so they can direct themselves to the article which does exist in their language. The tooltips, by the way, seem like an excellent idea, and I support them. elektrikSHOOS (talk) 03:47, 18 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Support I like this. Yoenit (talk) 14:53, 21 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Support Of course we need the sidebars in the language's native name, but what of us English speakers who only know the language's English name? I think this should also be implemented across other language Wikipedias in those respective languages. Interchangeable|talk to me 18:48, 25 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Support - This is a cool idea and I see no downside to it. -- Atama 17:23, 28 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Support - I don't know if this is going anywhere, but I like the idea a lot. I've had to look up the language the hard way a bunch of times, and I wholeheartedly agree that "little things like this get people interested in exploring". The exact format of tooltip given in the proposal seems perfect to me. Sir Tobek (talk) 15:15, 29 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Update I've tried posting this to bugzilla:5231 but I don't think it's going anywhere. Designate (talk) 04:59, 4 October 2011 (UTC)
  • Support, although it's not likely going to go anywhere, this is a very useful idea; I can't imagine a downside. Nyttend (talk) 11:07, 5 October 2011 (UTC)

Summary Pages NOT Childrens' Pages

My suggestion is that significant (value-judgement!) and / or large articles should have a SUMMARY [one-page or maximum-two-page]. It should use simpler language, be somewhat content-censored and be both neutral and balanced about multiple argument, be particularly suitable for homework and general knowledge readers and perhaps be somewhat access-limited for editing.
This is NOT the same as altering or amending the Simple English concept.
This is NOT the same as suggesting that there should be a Childrens’ Wikipedia.

The quality of articles on Wikipedia is tremendous in both spread and depth BUT there are often occasions where I need to show my son simplified one-page or maximum two-page summations without the complexity, jargon and depth of the full article. Is this a gap in the Wiki system which needs to be filled ?

Accumulated and commented comments from Archive J #72 & 104 dealing with a Childrens’ Wikipedia 2003/4

There is already the Simple English Wikipedia ‘SEW’. However this merely uses an abbreviated vocabulary rather than being a brief article. As at Oct 1 2011 there are 3.7 million articles on main Wikipedia and a mere 74,000 articles or under 2% on SEW. There appears to be no link to Wikipedia to say there is a SEW version.

There is also WikiJunior Project begun in 2004 for which the avowed intent is to create books rather than articles. As at Oct 2011, Solar System; Big Cats and South America have been completed as prototypes.

The proposal for Children’s English Wikipedia “CEW” was eventually closed as being incompatible with the Language Proposal policy in 2007. The original idea was for a Wikipedia aimed at children, with a less text-heavy interface, more friendly language, explicit content censored and special reference desks for homework help. There were arguments in favour and arguments against.

The majority of arguments against stated that SEW and Wikijunior would suffice. Others argued that ‘there are other sources for Junior readers’ {such as??]

One argument against the CEW stated - “If you want it simpler, either write simple introductory paragraphs, or add to the simple English wikipedia already in place. If you want homework support, go to, or create a homework orientated site.”

Would a Childrens’ version still be a genuine wikipedia if it is designed for a particular audience ?
Would a Summary article fall foul of any wikipedia rules?
Would a new set of rules be required for valid summaries ?
Would there be some restriction on editability or word-count ?

How would a Children’s Wikipedia deal with Creationism, Homosexuality; Abortion or any of the flameable or edit-war issues - It then becomes quite easy to see that a Summary will often be viable for dealing with these more ‘adult’ issues. Editing-Rules for Summaries would need to encourage the use of simpler language and to deal ‘properly’ with “on the one hand one the other hand” argufying.

“Children's encyclopedias when I was young were great. Each article was short, focused on exciting or interesting aspects of the topic, and was probably 2/3 pictures. And re ‘Simple English’ they definitely used a vocabulary bigger than 1500 words.
There still appears to be no ‘worthwhile’ online free children’s encyclopedia as at autumn 2011

There is an article for a proposal called Wikikids. The attached talk page has had only occasional input since 2005 through to 2009.

Overall, I believe that there are more and better arguments for a Summary than for a restricted-content-Child version. In addition for any Children’s Wikipedia or equivalent there will continue to be all sorts of adult input as to appropriateness, child-friendly POV and similar issues.

I would appreciate feedback on how to progress this suggestion. Nojoking (talk) 22:40, 4 October 2011 (UTC)

Personally, I prefer it if an editor uses the lead (first) paragraph, or two, to summarize the article topic in a clear and concise way, essentially the simplified capsule-form of the topic. But it's a problem to decide how simplified is simplified enough. If Wikipedians were to add summaries to every article with the intention that they be child-reader friendly, how would we all determine what age range to aim for, so that the language would be age-appropriate? 6 to 8 years, 9 to 12, 13 to 16, etc.?
Although it sounds like a wonderful idea in theory, I don't think it's realistic -- I just don't see how a complex and controversial article, such as "Creationism", or "Homosexuality" or "Abortion" would be boiled down to a non-controversial summary that would be acceptable to all parents to show their children. Even the fact that some of these things exist as concepts is repulsive to some people, and some people have a moral objection to what would otherwise be a NPOV presentation of the topic.

OttawaAC (talk) 02:24, 5 October 2011 (UTC)

My first section talks in terms of NOT a ChildrensWik but of Summaries for the General Reader for large or significant articles. My understanding of Wik is that what you call unacceptable articles must be carefully written so as to cover the topic as a NPOV while avoiding being repulsive. Nojoking (talkcontribs) 08:58, 5 October 2011 (UTC)

re OttawaAC I have produced a two-page summary DRAFT for the 'General Reader' for the three topics of "Creationism", "Homosexuality" & "Abortion" which I am very willing to send onwards. They took about half-hour each. Nojoking (talk) 12:22, 5 October 2011 (UTC)
Could you post them on a sub-user page so we could see what you have in mind? —Akrabbimtalk 14:28, 5 October 2011 (UTC)
Haven't done a sub-user page yet but General Reader Summary - Abortion !!very draft !! is on my talkpage albeit still requiring wikilinks and references (lost in transfer). Nojoking (talk) 15:48, 5 October 2011 (UTC)

Why this pointless change?

Before going on, I am well aware (from experience) that it is difficult, if not impossible, to bring about a change that satisfies all users of Wikipedia. However, I wish to complain about how to log onto Wikipedia: Village pump (proposals), and wish to make a plea to go back to the old way of getting here. At one time, it was very easy - one just clicked on "Proposals" after visiting the Village Pump, got an icon that said this had been added to your watchlist then another icon that said "Return to Village Pump - proposals" and there one was. Now, for some strange reason, you get a little box saying "Do you want to add this to your watchlist?" You can click OK, but then you do not seem to get any icon telling you where to go back to the Village Pump (proposals) (I can only do that by putting in the full wikilink for this section). Can I make a request that we go back to the old manner of doing things, before I have any more difficulty getting here? Thank you, ACEOREVIVED (talk) 09:58, 5 October 2011 (UTC)

> At one time, it was very easy - one just clicked on "Proposals" after visiting the Village Pump...
It seems that one has to either click on the icon or the text link below the icon to get to proposals. I'd agree that the "watch" link is not so useful as it doesn't tell you if you're already watching it or not. The "post" link is also not very useful because you'd want to first go to the page and check the existing proposals before creating a new one. And the "search" link doesn't seem to do a good job of finding a search keyword in previous proposals that have been archived. Maybe a "find *my* past proposals" or "find *my* past proposals and comments" (i.e. a search that includes archived proposals) would be easier to implement and more useful than the present search which does not do a very good job of finding a search keyword in present and past proposals. LittleBen (talk) 10:57, 5 October 2011 (UTC)

Thank you for the feedback on this. I think your idea of having a "Find my past proposals and comments is a good one" but I would add one qualification. Why do we need to bring in the word my? This is because a lot of people come here to look at proposals that are not their own, but have been made by other Wikipedians. Again, thank you for the feedback. ACEOREVIVED (talk) 20:15, 5 October 2011 (UTC)

Re: Italian Wikipedia Shutdown

cross posted: Special:UnusedTemplates

See Wikipedia_talk:Special:UnusedTemplates#subpages (to get more attention). Thanks. Choyoołʼįįhí:Seb az86556 > haneʼ 03:47, 7 October 2011 (UTC)

Side bar/Template for research institution articles

Since corporations and universities have standard boxed descriptions in sidebars, perhaps this should be extended to research institutes as well. It could include the standard information, including logo and so on. Nlight2 (talk) 16:49, 8 October 2011 (UTC)

MWM Proposal

There's a discussion without comments that is 18 days old at WP:MWM. Please participate. ~~Ebe123~~ (+) talk
12:42, 9 October 2011 (UTC)

RfC: Elimination of outline articles

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section. A summary of the conclusions reached follows.
I know I shouldn't close my own RfC, but I think the result is pretty clearly no consensus. Ozob (talk) 01:22, 12 October 2011 (UTC)

User:Monty845 has pointed out that I forgot his alternative proposal. My apologies. The result of that discussion was support. Ozob (talk) 11:47, 12 October 2011 (UTC)

I would like to propose the removal of all outline articles. All articles currently named "Outline of ..." would be renamed "List of ... topics". If there is already a list of that name, the two would be merged. For example,

The earliest reference I've found to the idea of outlines on Wikipedia is Wikipedia:Village_pump_(proposals)/Archive_28#Major_rename_proposal_of_certain_.22lists.22_to_.22outlines.22. User:The Transhumanist began to implement his proposal and was quickly met with Wikipedia:Administrators'_noticeboard/IncidentArchive436#User:The_Transhumanist. It soon became clear that there was no consensus for this, and The Transhumanist reverted himself, pending a discussion at VP. No consensus for these moves was achieved during that discussion, Wikipedia:Village_pump_(proposals)/Archive_31#Proposal_to_rename_the_pages_called_.22List_of_basic_x_topics.22_to_.22Topic_outline_of_x.22.

Ever since then there has been no clear consensus on Wikipedia over the status of outline articles. There are periodic disruptions caused by mass moves from one naming system to another. For example:

It appears to me that most (not all, but most) articles named "Outline of ..." were created by a non-consensus renaming of a "List of ... topics" article.

On top of that, there are big and unanswered questions about what outline articles should be and whether or not they are appropriate. Here are some past discussions I've found on the subject:

There are a few issues that keep coming up:

  • Some outlines are lists. They should be named lists.
  • Outlines that are not lists are content forks. They should be turned into lists.
  • Outlines require as much effort and maintenance as ordinary articles. This effort could be spent elsewhere.
  • Some people in the above threads do not believe that outlines offer any benefit beyond lists of articles or ordinary articles.

I believe that all of these are serious problems with outline articles. Because of this, I believe that all outline articles should be renamed or merged.

If this proposal were to pass, the transition would mostly consist of a large number of moves from "Outline of ..." to "List of ... topics". No redirects would be left behind. In addition, any currently existing "Outline of ..." redirects would be eliminated. The most time-consuming parts would be:

  1. Merging material that does not fit in a list into the main article on the topic, if there is any such material. For example, the introduction to Outline of water would be merged into Water.
  2. Merging duplicate lists. For example, Outline of Africa and Index of Africa-related articles would need to be merged into a single list. This list would be called List of Africa topics. If objections to this name are raised on the talk page, then the merged list might also be called List of Africa-related topics, Index of Africa-related articles, Index of Africa articles, or some similar name.

In addition, Wikipedia:WikiProject Outlines would cease to be useful. It would become inactive, and pages such as Wikipedia:Outlines would be marked historical.

Finally, I would like to ask everyone to refrain from commenting on user conduct. While there have been contentious user conduct issues in the past (on both sides), the issue at hand is the outlines themselves, not the behavior of individual users or the outlines WikiProject. Ozob (talk) 00:01, 6 September 2011 (UTC)

Update: It seems that many people are misinterpreting the above as a proposal for deletion. It is not. All content will be either renamed or merged. No content will be lost. However, articles that are currently formatted as outlines will be reformatted. Ozob (talk) 23:58, 14 September 2011 (UTC)

To clarify, the above proposal does not mention anything about reformatting, except in the case of merges. The Transhumanist 17:19, 16 September 2011 (UTC)
See my response to you immediately below. Ozob (talk) 23:01, 16 September 2011 (UTC)


  • Support as proposer. Ozob (talk) 00:01, 6 September 2011 (UTC)
    • The proposal is very poorly conceived. "Elimination of" implies that all outlines, whether named "Outline of" or not are to be deleted or rendered into non-outlines. It implies that when your work is done, there won't be any structured topic lists left on Wikipedia! But the body of your proposal specifies that outlines are merely to be renamed to "List of ... topics". But then you confuse that issue by mentioning merges into the alphabetical "Index of" articles. The proposal also does not consider what is to be done with existing "List of ... topics" (almost all of which are hierarchically-structured lists, that is, outlines). This is not a well-thought-out proposal, and if it is adopted in its above form, it will lead to great confusion.
Simply put, you have not made clear how you wish hierarchical topic lists (such as Outline of Middle-earth or List of computer vision topics) to be dealt with and whether or not they will co-exist with alphabetical topic lists, or what this co-existence will be.
Also, why would you be in favor of merging some structured topics lists into indexes while keeping others? Your proposal does not explain this approach at all. Compare Outline of Japan with Index of Japan-related articles for instance. The Transhumanist 01:02, 16 September 2011 (UTC)
Let me attempt to clarify, then.
  • The proposal would not eliminate hierarchically structured lists. However, all lists of articles that grouped articles by topic (whether the grouping was hierarchical or not) would be renamed "List of ... topics".
  • If there is already a list of articles at that name, it will be merged. If that's not possible or desirable (for example, if one of the lists is alphabetical and the other is topical), then a different name for one of the articles will be chosen. For example, the alphabetical list might be named "Index of ... articles".
  • Some outlines are more than hierarchically structured lists. For example, consider Outline of canoeing and kayaking. This articles contains a hierarchically structured list, but it also contains prose that is not integrated into that list. For example, it contains a lead; it contains a paragraph on canoeing and kayaking activities; and it contains paragraphs on traditional and modern kayak designs. These outlines are content forks. Duplicate content will be merged into the main articles on these topics and removed from the outline. The result will be a hierarchically structured list. This is the sense in which outlines are eliminated. The rest is just housekeeping.
  • Some article indexes and some topical outlines may be better off merged. My first impression regarding the Outline of Africa and the Index of Africa-related articles was that these two lists would be better off together. The former groups African articles by topic; the latter groups African articles by country; countries are a topic; therefore the latter list fits naturally within the former. Now, I might be wrong on that. I have no experience with either of those lists, so I would defer to those who do. But that would be my first inclination.
Ozob (talk) 23:00, 16 September 2011 (UTC)
I'll reply point-by-point:
  • A list is a group. A topics list is a group of topics. Therefore topics in them are "grouped". If you meant "organized topics by subtopic, rather than alphabetically", that meaning was not conveyed well. I had to read it a few times to figure out what you meant.
  • Also, you have contradicted yourself. You said that "The proposal would not eliminate hierarchically structured lists." But hierarchically structured lists are outlines, and your proposal is entitled "Elimination of outline articles". If your intent was to keep outlines, but under different titles, then you shouldn't have proposed getting rid of outlines in the title of the proposal. Whether outlines should continue to exist or not is primarily what has been discussed below. The term "outline" pertains to any article the contents of which is an outline, regardless of what it is named. It's a type of format. In the title you state you want to eliminate that format, and in the body of the proposal you imply you want to keep it. The title is very misleading, and has eclipsed your intended proposal.
  • Removing paragraph prose (section leads) from outlines would not be an act of eliminating outlines, just modifying them. More confusion.
  • The Index of Africa-related articles currently lists Africa-related index pages (one index per country), which makes it a multi-page index divided by country. Similarly, the Outline of Africa includes links to the outlines of each country in Africa, since they are branches of that subject. In the outline, a link to the Index of Africa is provided, which in turn leads to its component parts.
It appears that you support outlines, just not the name nor the inclusion of paragraph prose. The Transhumanist 22:31, 20 September 2011 (UTC)
  • The proposal is essentially to rename outlines, but keep the format except for paragraph prose. Outline of is more accurate and more concise. The title "List of ... topics" is ambiguous. Topics lists include structured topics lists (outlines) and alphabetical topics lists (indexes). To have one type named "topics" rather than by its type, is confusing. Outlines and indexes complement each other nicely. "Topics lists and indexes" makes no sense, since indexes are a type of topics list. The rename would be a misnomer, leading to grammatical awkwardness and errors. The Transhumanist 22:48, 20 September 2011 (UTC)
  • eliminate with prejudice. This was an extremely bad idea to begin with. Now it's just dead weight. Just let it die already, it isn't going anywhere. --dab (𒁳) 14:06, 6 September 2011 (UTC)
Commenttaxonomical structuring is a bad idea? It has major applications in both science and in encyclopedia publishing (including in the Outline of Knowledge in the Encyclopedia Britannica). The outline project is alive and well, and it is helping readers understand subjects and navigate Wikipedia's coverage of those subjects. The outlines are continuously being improved and refined, and these are pretty good "places" to be going. More literally, the outlines lead readers to many places they wish to go; the outlines contain over 100,000 links to articles on Wikipedia, presented in an organized fashion for ease of understanding and navigation. The Transhumanist 02:45, 30 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Support. The articles either duplicate content better found in other places (an undesirable fork) or are worthless. Quale (talk) 23:13, 6 September 2011 (UTC)
The relationship information conveyed in the structure of the outlines generally is not presented better or more concisely anywhere else on Wikipedia. Outlines do not fall under the definition of undesirable forks as defined in WP:CFORK. And based on how many readers use outlines (and that number is growing), the outlines are a valuable feature of Wikipedia. The Transhumanist 02:45, 30 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Support, yet another group of articles that need regular updating, watching, policy application (shouldn't the people named in Outline of British pornography have a reference on that page?), and so on. A section of Outline X links to List X, which is a redirect to Outline X: not really helpful but all too common. Outlines are dreadfully subjective, and have been for years (e.g. Outline of fiction, the lists of authors; worse, probably, on Outline of rights, the list of "Accused limitators" only contains left-wing people, not a single right-wing person, as if Hitler wasn't a limitator of rights, or whoever started the Inquisition, or many, many other people. Communism isn't the only limitator of rights, contrary to what that outline strongly suggests... ). Sticking to one format of topic lists, and maintaining those, will serve Wikipedia better than this hard-to-follow variety of similar lists. Fram (talk) 11:08, 7 September 2011 (UTC)
I agree some of the outline articles are atrocious, but this is no reason to ban the entire method, it is on one hand an opportunity to provide clarity and guidelines for them, and on the other hand to improve the issues they have. By your logic, we should close down wikipedia, its all about vandals anyways.--Cerejota (talk) 11:26, 7 September 2011 (UTC)
No, my logic (badly expressed probably) is that we have too many similar systems of topic lists, indexes, introductions, outlines, timelines, ..., many of them duplicating info from one another (e.g. the outlines copying the intro's from the general articles in many cases), but too many to be maintained. The quality of the outlines indicates that many or badly maintained or not maintained. I support any suggestion that reduces the number of similar topical index articles, sibnce I don't believe that the advantages outweigh the negative effects. Outlines don't have new information, they present information in a different way: articles have new information. Comparing my criticism of outlines with a general criticism of Wikipedia is therefor not correct. Fram (talk) 11:39, 7 September 2011 (UTC)
To make the argument on Wikipedia that outlines should be eliminated because it is too much work to improve and maintain them seems like very short term thinking to me. By that logic we should delete about 3.5 million of the 3.7 million Wikipedia articles because there are just too many to improve and maintain. Many of the outlines may be in poor shape right now, but they will improve over time, just as the rest of Wikipedia does. Hopefully Wikipedia will be around for many decades, and so there is plenty of time to get around to improving all the outlines eventually. Rreagan007 (talk) 05:07, 8 September 2011 (UTC)
But those other articles don't simply duplicate information found elsewhere on Wikipedia, and only present it in a different way. Please don't take only one aspect of my argument to dismiss it, when it is the combined argument that actually is my reason to support this. Fram (talk) 08:18, 8 September 2011 (UTC)
As for new information, I assume that what you are trying to say that since almost all links in a outline will appear in the main article also. I did not think that would be the case since my experience is that I find lots of NEW interesting articles that I have not seen before when I find a new good outline. I wanted to tested this and did so on Chocolate and Outline of Chocolate. The result is like this.
The internal wikilinks that appear in both pages are.
Bitter (taste), Brain, Children in cocoa production, Chocolate Chip, Chocolate bar, Chocolate chip, Chocolate fountain, Chocolate ice cream, Chocolate liquor, Chocolate milk, Chocolate truffle, Cocoa bean, Cocoa butter, Cocoa solids, Couverture chocolate, Criollo (cocoa bean), Côte d'Ivoire, Dark chocolate, Digital object identifier, Dutch process chocolate, Encyclopædia Britannica Eleventh Edition, Fermentation (food), Fudge, Health effects of chocolate, History of chocolate, History of chocolate in Spain, Hot chocolate, International Standard Book Number, Lecithin, List of bean-to-bar chocolate manufacturers, Milk, Milk chocolate, Open Directory Project, Phenethylamine, PubMed Identifier, Sugar, Theobroma cacao, Theobromine, Theobromine poisoning, Types of chocolate, United States military chocolate, Vanilla, White chocolate.
The links that appear ONLY in the outline are:
Afghan biscuit, Antioxidants, Banania, Bittersweet chocolate, Black and white cookie, Broma process, Cacao tree, Cafe mocha, Caffeine, Candy, Catechin, Choco Pie, Chocolate, Chocolate-coated marshmallow treats, Chocolate-coated peanut, Chocolate-coated raisin, Chocolate agar, Chocolate biscuit, Chocolate brownie, Chocolate cake, Chocolate chip cookie, Chocolate crackles, Chocolate money, Chocolate pudding, Chocolate salami, Chocolate spread, Chocolate syrup, Cocoa Frosted Flakes, Cocoa Krispies, Cocoa Processing Company, Cocoa Puffs, Cocoa powder, Cocoa production in Côte d'Ivoire, Compound chocolate, Concentration, Confectionery, Cookie, Cookie Crisp, Crème de cacao, Death by Chocolate, Dessert, Devil's food cake, Fairtrade labelling, Fat, First-pass metabolism, Flavonols, Food, Freddo Frog, German chocolate cake, Grenada Chocolate Company, Ice cream, Index of chocolate-related articles, Ingredient, International Cocoa Initiative, International Standard Serial Number, Kuapa Kokoo, List of breakfast cereals, List of chocolate bar brands, List of cookies, Minstrels (chocolate), Mint Chocolate Chip, Mint chocolate, Modeling chocolate, Molten chocolate cake, Monoamine oxidase, Nesquik, Phenylacetic acid, Routledge, Rum ball, Scho-Ka-Kola, Semisweet chocolate, Swiss Miss, Swiss chocolate, Theophylline, Wacky cake, Yoo-hoo.
Many of these might not be interesting but I find enough new in the outline good enough to justify outlines. --Stefan talk 06:35, 9 September 2011 (UTC)
The bulk of these articles are foods made with chocolate. The chocolate article doesn't currently have a section on chocolate's use in other foods. (It's in fact an ex-GA; I wouldn't promote it to FA without such a list.) Some of these are aspects of production that could be linked from the chocolate article. For example, I just linked cacao tree by finding its first mention in the article and turning it into a link, and I just added a {{seealso}} for Cocoa production in Côte d'Ivoire. The above list mentions a few groups such as the International Cocoa Initiative that could also easily be added to the article. Oddly, your list also includes International Standard Serial Number, which doesn't appear in either the main chocolate article or in the outline. It seems to me that the outline mentions more topics than the main article does, but only because the main article is incomplete. Ozob (talk) 12:02, 9 September 2011 (UTC)
Comment – The question is "are the outlines worth the amount of effort needed to maintain them?" Yes! First, once developed, it doesn't take that much effort to maintain an outline. Circular redirects are a minor problem, easily fixed. The subjectivity Fram mentioned above comes from the fact that these are works-in-progress, that is, incomplete, just like millions of other articles on Wikipedia. Getting rid of them just because they aren't completed yet is all-or-nothing reasoning. Even partially completed, outlines are useful navigation aids. Second, based on their traffic stats, the outlines have great utility. But by far the strongest reason to continue developing outlines is their potential: they will keep evolving and improving over time, to become more and more useful. We haven't even started to apply outliner technology to them yet. There are some amazing things that can be done with hierarchically structured information.
  • Support, or move them to Portal space as they are purely navigational. Hans Adler 23:04, 8 September 2011 (UTC)
But "List of", "Timeline of", "Glossary of", "Index of", and "Table of" are all in article space. And for a good reason. -- penubag  (talk) 02:17, 9 September 2011 (UTC)
That's not a good reason, that's basically special pleading. I forgot to say it, but most of the stuff you are listing should also be moved to portal space because it's more similar to portals than to articles. Portal space is currently severely underused because its scope is interpreted in a ridiculously strict way. I can think of no valid reason for this. Except: In the same way that the line between the various other list-style pages and portals is blurry, this is also the case for the line between articles and lists. Some "List of" pages are really articles organised in list form. As they should remain in main space, some effort will be required to clarify the new rules. Hans Adler 16:31, 10 September 2011 (UTC)
Comment – Being taxonomical, outlines convey relationship information within their structures. Therefore they are not merely navigational. In addition, note that outlines are topic-based, rather than article-based. That is, not all topics are linked, and therefore outlines are more than site maps of subject coverage on Wikipedia. They cover their subjects' topics, whether Wikipedia has articles on the subtopics or not. The links are not the primary feature of outlines, the topics they convey are – the links are a bonus! The Transhumanist 02:45, 30 September 2011 (UTC)
Comment – we've looked closely at the option of moving these to portal space. The effect it would have would be to bury the outlines. Wikipedia's search engine is useless for searching portals, due to the way the cryptic page names clutter search results. Because of this, portal space is not included in Wikipedia search results by default (you have to reconfigure it in "My preferences"). If outlines were integrated into portals, they would be buried even deeper, as their formatting is not compatible with the formatting of portals' topic lists. The topics lists in portals have much more complex and tedious formatting, and they don't support annotations. Outlines were designed to be easy to work with, and have much simpler wiki-code, and they support annotations. The Transhumanist 21:32, 2 October 2011 (UTC)
  • Support total, scorched-Earth deletion of this nonsense shite that has infested Wikipedia. Not once have the supporters of this quixotic little project to duplicate the encyclopedia shown one single quantifiable benefit. Not one. Ever. I've said it before and I will say it again: Outlines are crap, and everyone who has wasted their time and ours by insisting on them--usually via ridiculously circular, well, I won't dignify it with the term 'logic'--should be sent to bed without their supper. Outlines are useless duplication that serve absolutely no purpose whatsoever. → ROUX  10:27, 11 September 2011 (UTC)
Comment – The traffic statistics show that the set of outlines get millions of page views per year. But it's quality that matters here, not quantity. The structural information conveyed by outlines isn't covered anywhere else on Wikipedia as well as it is in outlines. And many outlines are growing into comprehensive guides about their subjects, far more comprehensive than the corresponding prose articles. The main purposes that outlines serve are to present the subtopics of a subject in a hierarchically-organized fashion for ease of understanding and browsing. They also provide enhancements, such as descriptive annotations to aid in topic selection, and pictures, that are impossible to include in a category page's listings. Readers are using outlines, and many find them quite helpful (see the Oppose section below for some of them). The Transhumanist 02:45, 30 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Support pulling the plug on this project and getting these out of article space - either move to portal space, delete, or rename and redo. Outline articles are essentially WP:OR, many violate WP:NPOV and WP:UNDUE, most are unreferenced, and I believe most of them are content forks. Karanacs (talk) 13:32, 12 September 2011 (UTC)
Comment – the content fork guideline was created to prevent synonymous articles about the same subject, such as one article entitled "United States" and another entitled "United States of America". It has nothing to do with outlines, which are a different type of article, with different purposes. They aren't original research any more than prose articles are. If Karanacs was willing to point out specific OR or NPOV violations, I'd be happy to fix them. The Transhumanist 02:45, 30 September 2011 (UTC)
How are most of them not OR? Editors are deciding for themselves what belongs in the overview - there are in the vast majority of these outlines no reliable sources cited. Sure, I can find source A that says "Z" is a part of topic T. I can find source B that says "Y" is a part of topic T. I can find source C that says "X" is a part of topic T. I can then put together an outline that groups Z and Y under one section header and X under another section header. Synthesis. We're cherrypicking in some cases, we're cramming topics that most scholars may consider unrelated in others, and we're synthesizing it all into a format that a few editors thinks makes sense. As for NPOV, I'll go out on a limb and posit that 90% of all outlines that have a section on history are POV because that list of links does not include the explanatory text that tells the nuances. Karanacs (talk) 15:03, 3 October 2011 (UTC)
Note that each article on Wikipedia is an overview of its subject. Your WP:OR and synthesis arguments are just as applicable to paragraph-format articles. It applies to the entire encyclopedia. WP:VER states "The threshold for inclusion in Wikipedia is verifiability, not truth—whether readers can check that material in Wikipedia has already been published by a reliable source, not whether editors think it is true." Outlines get written the same way as articles do, by editors who decide for themselves what they wish to write about. For the vast majority of material found in articles, there are no sources cited. And most of the citations are concerning the facts being presented, not about whether or not the fact belongs to the subject or field that the article (and article section) is about. That's not as detrimental as it sounds, since WP:VER states "in practice you do not need to attribute everything. This policy requires that all quotations and anything challenged or likely to be challenged be attributed in the form of an inline citation that directly supports the material." There have been very few challenges to the inclusion of material in the outlines, since the editors have been careful not to include anything they thought would be likely to be challenged. And because most inclusions are obvious. As far as I know, there are no whales listed in the Outline of sharks. If someone comes across a non-shark-related topic in there, they would simply remove it. Outlines are under the same scrutiny as articles, if not more so. By the way, I visited WP:VER a few years ago to ask what would happen if an editor went around challenging everything on Wikipedia that wasn't cited regardless of how obvious it was, and it was pointed out to me that the person would likely be blocked for being disruptive or trying to make a point. If there are instances of inclusion that you doubt the verifiability of, then please point them out, and we'll track down sources for them. If we can't find any, we'll remove that material from the outlines and the corresponding articles (citing your challenges as the reason for the removal). If outlines need cleaning up, please point out exactly where, so we can get right to it. The Transhumanist 22:55, 3 October 2011 (UTC)
Re:NPOV: As for NPOV, are you saying that a list of links is NPOV simply because it lacks the detail you would typically find in a prose article? The purposes of topic outlines is topic identification and to show taxonomical relationships, and the lack of nuance-level detail is built-in to the definition of hierarchical outlines. Anyone familiar with outlines knows that they are a summary format and therefore also knows not to expect all nuances to be present. But it is also hypertext, and more detail on a topic is usually just a click away. Also, most Wikipedia pages are works-in-progress and therefore incomplete. If an outline lacks topics (which are a type of detail), then it is because editors haven't gotten around to adding them yet. To require that articles not be posted on Wikipedia until they are done defeats the collaborative nature of the wiki. Wikipedia is great because editors can and do build upon each others' work. The Transhumanist 22:55, 3 October 2011 (UTC)
  • Support deletion of these and the index articles. We have categories for a reason. And the people behind these don't seem interested in their upkeep or improvement. Especially support deletion of the ones related to U.S. states because they include arbitrarily created redlinks to topics that may not ever merit their own articles. If kept, they must actively involve a related WikiProject in their improvement. Valfontis (talk) 19:48, 12 September 2011 (UTC)
Comment – I have been working on improving these for years, and they have improved a great deal since they began. I've put multiple man-years of effort into them. How much more interested can I possibly be? Others have helped a great deal as well. I especially like the work others have done on Outline of forestry, Outline of Buddhism, Outline of cell biology, Outline of canoeing and kayaking, and Outline of motorcycles and motorcycling. Outlines are evolving nicely. Concerning the redlinks on state outlines, they aren't arbitrary, as they were based on the patterns by which the coverage of states is expanding. Most of those topics actually do exist by the way, but not as separate articles (the topics haven't split off on their own yet). That is, most of the redlinks can be turned blue, with section links. Categories don't support section links, but such links work well in outlines. The Transhumanist 02:45, 30 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Support; utter dead weight. Ironholds (talk) 22:54, 12 September 2011 (UTC)
Comment – the evidence shows that people are using the outlines and deriving benefit from them. It's not like they aren't being used. The Transhumanist 02:45, 30 September 2011 (UTC)
What do you mean by "dead weight", in the outline what is dead weight and how is it dead weight? Please point out on the outline's talk page specifically what is wrong with the outline. Then we can address your concerns and go about fixing any problems. The Transhumanist 20:56, 2 October 2011 (UTC)
  • Support - Outline articles are basically a list of articles, so they seem to be duplicating articles named "List of". Especially in geographical articles. AlexCovarrubias ( Talk? ) 00:01, 15 September 2011 (UTC)
Comment – "Outline" is short for "hierarchical outline", which is a structured list. The hierarchical outlines on Wikipedia are a type of topics list (the other type of topics list are alphabetical indexes of articles). There are about 500 outlines named "Outline of" and another 200 outlines named "List of ... topics". Most of the 7,000+ other lists are item lists, which present the members of a set, such as List of culinary vegetables. "Topics lists" on the other hand try to present all the topics related to a subject or academic field, such as Outline of chess or Outline of hydrology. There is relatively little overlap between the outlines named "Outline of" and the outlines named "List of ... topics". There is a near complete set of outlines on the countries of the world, including about 260 country outlines named "Outline of". There is another set of country outlines on about 50 countries named "List of ...-realted topics". The smaller set should be folded into the more complete set. There are maybe another 20 pairs of "Outline of"/"List of ... topics twins. So, of the approximately 200 outlines called "List of ... topics", about 70 of them are on the same subjects as outlines. The set of outlines include most top-tier and second-tier major subjects. The set of outlines named "List of", not so much. I cover the makeup of the 200 in more detail in the "Other" section, below. The Transhumanist 21:25, 2 October 2011 (UTC)
  • Weak support Outlines may be navigationally valuable (though I 'strongly suspect that navigation is a relic of the past--most of our readers get to articles through google) and some may have good content or helpful information. I oppose deleting them outright on the basis of a single RfC however I think we should consider eliminating some of the less trafficked outlines. Many of them are better as lists, content forks, or otherwise unmaintanable. In the prior RfC I expressed a contrary position to this, however I think I've changed my mind. Protonk (talk) 01:49, 15 September 2011 (UTC)
Comment – There are two ways to look for things on the Web: by search engine and by browsing the links on pages. Outlines provide a solution when readers get stuck. If they can't think of the right word to search for, or they don't know what topics a subject is comprised of (and therefore don't know what to type into the search box), outlines help by providing a bird's eye view of a their subjects. Outlines present the terminology of each field, and provide readers with lots and lots of search terms. Outlines and search engines are synergistic. Note that nothing on Wikipedia is unmaintainable, the nature of the wiki makes them maintainable. It's a collaborative effort. Concerning changing their names to lists, that won't change the fact that they are structured topics lists, that is, hierarchical outlines. But, eliminating the less-trafficked outlines will put holes in the collection of outlines, which is growing into a comprehensive outline of human knowledge, with each individual outline being a branch of the great big tree. Readers browse the tree and wonder why particular branches are missing. Currently it is because it is a work in progress. We shouldn't make the matter worse by deleting branches. We shouldn't prune the tree of knowledge. Instead we should fertilize it and make it grow. The Transhumanist 23:49, 2 October 2011 (UTC)
  • Support. These are just redundant at best, and at worst very confusing content forks that appeared without any consensus among editors working in the article space of these topics. 2005 (talk) 05:31, 15 September 2011 (UTC)
What content do they fork, and how do they violate the WP:Cfork guideline? Articles don't get consensus before they are created. People just create them &ndash all it takes is a click. If articles had to be approved first, that would slow the process way down, and Wikipedia wouldn't have 3.7 million articles. Nor would it have 8,000 lists, 900 portals, etc. Both structured topics lists (hierarchical outlines) and alphabetical topics lists (indexes) have been around since the beginning of Wikipedia. Back then both types were called "List of ... topics", and the two types competed for that same name, which was awkward. So you wound up with similar titles like "List of mathemetics topics" (structured) and "List of mathematics articles" (alphabetical). The mess isn't yet entirely cleaned up. There are still about 200 hierarchical outlines named "List of" (though almost all the alphabetical topics lists have been renamed to "Index of"). The Transhumanist 23:49, 2 October 2011 (UTC)
  • Support per nom. This entire undertaking was profoundly misguided, not least because the people creating most of the the "Outline of" articles clearly did not have even rudimentary knowledge about the topics they were trying to compile "outlines" (sic) of. Most of the content is just complete and utter dross. We have the categorisation system to collect links of related articles. All attempts to systematically "dumb-down" Wikipedia should be resisted. In fact, we should be striving to make the project as academic and intelligent as possible. Next, the Pokemon plague?Mais oui! (talk) 06:09, 15 September 2011 (UTC)
Comment – It was only about 3 years ago (June 2008) that topics lists started getting renamed to indexes and outlines. The development of structured topics lists has been going on since 2001 when Wikipedia started, and is done by interested editors - the same selection criterion for editors of prose articles. All editors on Wikipedia are self-selected. Most articles, including lists, start out as stubs or rough drafts. Some editors are more knowledgeable about a subject than others and over time articles, including outlines, improve. That's the wiki-way. Outlines are improving over time, and are being developed with features that categories lack, such as more structure per page, annotations to reduce clicking/hunting and speed up topic selection, and more attention to detail. They also have the advantage of edit histories so that additions and removals of entries can be tracked (on categories they just mysteriously disappear). Outlines support redlinks and section links, while categories cannot. With section links, outlines can lead the reader to topics even when they are under a subheading of an article.
  • Strong support - long overdue end to this appalling timewaster of a dead-end failed experiment! --Orange Mike | Talk 14:33, 15 September 2011 (UTC)
Comment – I conducted an experiment to see how helpful outlines could be, and built the Outline of chess. My chess game has improved immensely, and players who used to beat me about as often as I beat them can barely touch me now. That outline provides a much more helpful presentation than the chess category tree does. It improved my chess vocabulary very rapidly, which in turn enhanced my chess awareness - I couldn't even see these concepts on the chess board until I learned the terms. Now I see the tactics coming much further in advance, because I recognize them as part of my chess concept vocabulary. Toward building that vocabulary and helping to make it stick, the outline helps review the material whenever needed, because the annotations remind you what the terms mean, and saves you from doing a lot of tedious clicking around to re-read article leads. The chess category tree is a much more tedious way to study and review chess on Wikipedia. Eventually, outliner technology will become available to view and edit outline content. There are some pretty powerful features to look forward to there. The Transhumanist 23:49, 2 October 2011 (UTC)
  • Support, merge with Portal - IMO they should be merged/moved into Portal spaces. Most of the outlines I've seen are basically duplicate information & links. Let's face it, most people find information in WP articles by searching, not clicking on nested links on an outline page. IMO, Outlines are an idea whose time has gone. Best, Markvs88 (talk) 15:10, 15 September 2011 (UTC)
Comment – The set of outlines get millions of page views per year. Many of Wikipedia's readers are finding them helpful. They assist macro-study of a subject and taking in the big picture, and provide rapid taxonomically-based (top-down) navigation. The Transhumanist 23:49, 2 October 2011 (UTC)
  • Support. Per some including dab, with a special shout-out to Roux. This is dead weight, reduplication or retriplication that does nothing but waste electrons. Below, ItsmeJudith puts it nicely as well, but let's face it, we've had these discussions before, and I'm wasting my breath. Get rid of it. Drmies (talk) 02:10, 16 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Support, a mish-mash up of categories, lists and other filing mechanisms into one. As the good doc says it's dead weight currently. —SpacemanSpiff 19:54, 16 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Support. Since no content will be lost, and the Outlines will be incorporated into the List system which already exists, I think this is a great idea. Since the outline is just a list of links in most cases. JoshuaJohnLee talk softly, please 13:05, 17 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Support. Never understood why these were needed alongside portals. Babakathy (talk) 21:15, 19 September 2011 (UTC)
Comment – quoting myself from another page...

As a type of article, outlines are designed to cover the entire scope of their subjects, while portals are modeled after the Main page and are designed to sample a subject by presenting excerpts of a small selection of articles. Outlines are for browsing an entire subject, while portals are for presenting suggested reading similar to the Reader's Digest.

Being more comprehensive, outlines tend to be larger than portal pages, and wouldn't readily fit into most portal's designs without making the portals overly long, cumbersome, or unbalanced.

Some portals have their own topic lists, but the scope of their lists is very limited compared to that of outlines, and the complex table formatting of the lists on portals make them much harder to create and develop – even more so than the other parts of a portal. And converting existing outlines to these formats would be extremely tedious and time-consuming.

Outline formats are standardized, making outlines very useful for comparing similar subjects (such as comparing countries).The Transhumanist 23:49, 2 October 2011 (UTC)

  • Support. There is no reason for their inclusion alongside portals. Merge 'em. — LlywelynII 21:52, 19 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Support, with modifications. For the first time in many attempts to remove the outlines, I've actually seen a valid, credible argument in favor of the outlines. However, there are several flaws in the outline process:
    1. The people maintaining the outlines are not subject-matter specialists, so that the outlines are not maintained as articles are created, deleted, or renamed.
    2. The lead paragraphs in the outlines are almost always accidental forks of the primary article for the topic, are not maintained, and do not maintain the necessary copyright information. (This is also a problem with some portals, but Wikipedia:WikiProject Outlines makes these first two points worse.)
    3. I see not all the portals are even as well-maintained as the outlines, but Portal:Mathematics is much better than Outline of mathematics could be.
    Some of them should be merged with the Portal, some merged with the lists, and some eliminated, but I don't see any that should remain intact. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 08:19, 22 September 2011 (UTC)
Comment – the people maintaining the outlines are random editors who come across the outlines. The same type of people who maintain prose articles. If you watchlist the outlines, you'll see that they get a lot of editing activity. People are changing outlines every day, adding new links, removing dead ones, etc. The leads aren't accidental forks - they were included in the outlines to aid in subject identification. That way, you wouldn't have to look around to find out what "Outline of epistemology" meant. But even if you oppose the use of article leads in such a way, it doesn't justify getting rid of whole outlines - the actual outlines start after the lead section, and even states so on almost all outline pages, like this: "The following outline is provided as an overview and topical guide to x:"
Speaking of the lead paragraphs, the required copyright info (in the form of GFDL accreditation) was added to the edit histories of all outlines thanks to Minnecologies and others.
Have you tried merging an outline into a portal? How would you go about merging Outline of Buddhism into the Portal:Buddhism? Most outlines dwarf the corresponding portals, but the Buddhism outline must be 50 times the size of the Buddhism portal. The biggest problem though, is that portal developers don't even want outlines as part of their portals. The two are incompatible. Portals have their own format of "topics lists", which is totally different than outline format. The purposes of portal topics lists are different too, in that they are short rather than comprehensive, and they don't include annotations. It would be an insanely difficult task to convert outlines into portal topic list format, so you'd probably have to leave outlines in their own format. And if all you did was move them to be subpages of portals, you might as well leave them where they are, since outlines are easier to find right now and their links do not violate the "no cross-namespace links" guideline. Making them part of portals will eliminate them from Wikipedia searches where the portal namespace is excluded by default. And it would make links to them against the rules. It wouldn't serve Wikipedia's readers better than outlines do now. The Transhumanist 23:49, 2 October 2011 (UTC)
  • Support, they are at their best redundant alongside portals. --Deadly∀ssassin 09:41, 22 September 2011 (UTC)
They aren't even comparable to portals. Outlines are lists, while portals are a mosaic of excerpts, news items, categories, task lists, and non-annotated topics lists. Outlines are generally larger than portals, so where would you fit them in? And how will portal developers respond when they learn you're forcing them to include outlines? The outline content, being far more extensive than portal content in most cases would dominate the portals. It would be more like adding portal content to the outlines. The outlines would engulf most portals. What would portal developers do with all that material? If you just stuck outlines onto the bottoms of portals, how would anyone find them in searches? How would they travel between outlines? Outlines currently fit together as branches of one huge outline of human knowledge. The Transhumanist 23:49, 2 October 2011 (UTC)
  • Support on behalf of User:My76Strat, who is having technical issues (see below). Ozob (talk) 11:43, 25 September 2011 (UTC) My76Strat (talk) 15:35, 25 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Support as per Nom. I've never understood the use of this outline articles. In the case of countries, from my experience, they just serve as content forks for POV pushers, as they get less attention from the wider readers community. Maybe they should be kept for some subjects but definitely useless for countries. Tachfin (talk) 12:06, 25 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Support. There's never been any good argument for expending the resources to maintain these content-forks. _R_ (talk) 14:02, 30 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Support, they are redundant, deletion is long overdue.--eh bien mon prince (talk) 09:32, 1 October 2011 (UTC)

2011 (UTC)

  • Support. Often redundant because of lists, portals, and categories. Neutralitytalk 18:57, 5 October 2011 (UTC)
  • I propose that outline article are desposed of. I know this is a rash decision, but I think that when entering a wikipedia portal, one sees different subject protal with links and references to smaller subjects. The outline articles are simply lists of sources, which could be citated in the subportals, making it where there is not a huge disorganized mass of references without any article to give reason to the references, so outline article may instead of listing portal after portal after portal instead be introductory articles of the subjectory portals. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Codypuma (talkcontribs) 02:37, 8 October 2011
  • Support -- eliminate them in article space, yes. They (and "Index of Foo" type pages) focus on navigation, not content, and can live in Portal space without losing the value that they have (as opposed to proper lists that offer comparative and/or comprehensive content, or disambiguation pages that are a navigational necessity in article space). Amalthea 11:31, 11 October 2011 (UTC)


  • Oppose Are you insane? These outlines are crucial! They function as "Subject guides" showing the full taxonomy of knowledge for certain subjects. They allow for macro study. DO NOT DELETE OUTLINES. --Baalhammon (talk) 19:57, 22 September 2011 (UTC)
    I do not think I am insane, but I'll take your advice into consideration. Ozob (talk) 15:39, 25 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose Not sure how deletion then a merger to the less orderly format would help our readers at all thus I must Oppose. Its clear that some of our readers like this Outlines (as proven by view counts on Outlines). Its best to let our readers chose what they would like to use to navigate Wikipedia - as some like the indexes and/or lists with there ABC order, while others like the Outlines with there TOPIC more uniform format. Your asking us to chose for all what format everyone "must" use to navigate topics, rather then giving our readers that option that they currently have.Moxy (talk) 00:15, 6 September 2011 (UTC)
    The proposal does not suggest deletion. Please see my clarification above. Ozob (talk) 00:06, 15 September 2011 (UTC)
    The title of the proposal suggests deletion very explicitly. The Transhumanist 00:25, 21 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose Looking at the three example articles listed, Outline of physical science seems like a valuable article, that does more then a list would, providing insight into the scope of the field and its subdivisions that does not just duplicate content available in other articles. I think the example is more of an article then a list, but trying to cram the contents of it into the physics article would result in a bloated article, that would have lots of useless content for someone just looking for information of the general field of physics. The other two examples seem more like formatted/organized lists, and I wouldn't have a problem seeing them renamed as lists, but as Outline of physical science demonstrates, some outlines are valuable to the encyclopedia, and they should be considered on a case by case basis. I would instead suggest that a guideline be established on what should be in an outline, and when wikipedia would be better served by a list. Monty845 00:25, 6 September 2011 (UTC)
    • Copied from Wikipedia:WikiProject Outlines: For examples of well-developed outlines, see those on anarchism, ancient Rome, Buddhism, canoeing and kayaking, cell biology, forestry, Iceland, and Japan. I suggest those considering this proposal take a look at some of those outlines that the WikiProject has identified, some of them seem really good. Monty845 00:44, 6 September 2011 (UTC)
      OK then, let's look at one of those. Arbitrarily I pick Outline of ancient Rome. Here is what I see:
      1. Three paragraphs of lead. These were derived from this revision of Ancient Rome. Since then the lead of the Ancient Rome article has improved, and that of the outline has not.
      2. No footnotes. None of the text in the lead has any footnotes at all. In the Ancient Rome article, that's tolerable because the rest of the article is cited; anyone who wants a citation for a fact in the lead can find one by looking in the article body. But in the outline article, that's not possible.
      3. The rest of the article is just a list arranged by topic. I suppose that you can call that an "outline" if you want, but it makes no more sense to do that than it does to call it a "list" or an "index".
      Let's look at the next one on the list, Outline of Buddhism.
      1. There's two paragraphs of lead here. These were present in the very first revision of this outline. They were copied from this revision of the Buddhism article. (Much later someone noted this in a dummy edit. [2]) And again, we have the problem of drift. Nobody is maintaining the lead of the outline article.
      2. This outline contains more commentary than the one on ancient Rome. For example, in the first section on "The Buddha", there's a section called "Qualities of the Buddha". It has a bullet point that says, "Abandonment of all defilements (kilesa — principally greed, hatred and delusion) together with their residual impressions (vasana)". This is a content fork. The topic is also described at Buddhism and in great detail at Kleśā (Buddhism). And it suffers from a common problem with content forks, namely that it does not agree with the other branches of the fork (according to the Kleśā article, the outline's explanation is a vast oversimplification of a subtle and nuanced theological subject).
      3. That bullet point is followed by three more bullet points, "All defilements have been abandoned totally — all defilements have been destroyed with none remaining", "All defilements have been abandoned completely — each defilement has been destroyed at the root, without residue", and "All defilements have been abandoned finally — no defilement can ever arise again in the future". None of these have citations. To be honest I can't say I have a clue what they mean. There is some sort of Buddhist jargon here, but to a non-Buddhist like me, the meaning is impenetrable. Now, that could be fixed by adding more detail. But then you would have turned this brief description into a large and serious content fork.
      4. These problems are repeated over and over throughout this article. For instance, under the "Four Noble Truths" doctine, we find the heading, "1. The Noble Truth of Suffering (Dukkha ariya sacca)" followed by the bullet, "Suffering (dukkha • duḥkha) — to be fully understood (pariññeyya)", which is glossed as, "Dukkha as intrinsic suffering, as bodily or mental pain (dukkha-dukkha)", "Dukkha due to change (vipariṇāma-dukkha)", and "Dukkha of conditioned formations (saṅkhāra-dukkha)" (with a list of examples after each). Again, I have no idea what's going on. The main Dukkha article (which is linked from the outline) explains this idea in complete sentences. But again, the outline is too fragmentary to comprehend. And if it were not fragmentary, it would necessarily duplicate a large amount of the content in Dukkha—it would be a content fork.
      Let's move on to Outline of canoeing and kayaking.
      1. The lead is copied from canoeing ([3]) and kayaking ([4]). Again, the original has been improved and is much more detailed, while the copy is stagnant.
      2. Underneath "Types of canoeing and kayaking" there is a wonderful paragraph on what people do with canoes and kayaks. As far as I can tell it appears nowhere else on Wikipedia. Someone looking for information on what people do with canoes and kayaks will not find this under canoe, canoeing, kayak, or kayaking. This is another problem with content forks: Some forks gain material that others don't. In this case, the outline fork has gained a beautiful paragraph that the main articles on these topics don't have.
      3. And again, most of the article lacks citations. The parts that have citations are full paragraphs, i.e., content forks.
      I stand by the claims I made in my proposal. Outlines are either lists or content forks. Ozob (talk) 12:34, 6 September 2011 (UTC)
      Even if we moved these outlines to lists, you would still need an introductory paragraph to explain the larger topic and the like, and using the logic you have above, would still be a content fork. We have to recognize that content forks are not bad as long as the overlap between the articles that share content is not large. In fact, content forks are almost necessary when an article topic spreads over multiple pages. It is not required that prose between content forks be exactly the same nor up-to-date with whatever the original article is, as long as it is not saying anything that is blatantly wrong. And if the outlines gain new language, and that's language that would be beneficial on another page, that seems like a simple trivial fix of copying the new text to the other appropriate pages. --MASEM (t) 13:57, 6 September 2011 (UTC)
      No, you don't need an introductory paragraph. Take a look at List of general topology topics, for example. It clearly states that it is about general topology. If the reader wants to know what that is, then the reader can go to that article. There is no content fork, and no maintenance is required. This is ideal.
      Furthermore, it may be a trivial fix to copy new text from one outline to an article; but it's not a trivial fix to copy new text from a hundred outlines to a hundred articles. The examples I provided show that this kind of maintenance does not happen. So as long as you have outlines, content forks are unavoidable. Ozob (talk) 21:55, 6 September 2011 (UTC)
      First on WP scales 100 items is nothing, secondly fixing them up to remain in sync is trivial, thirdly the effort expended on this RFC would more than have achieved that goal. Rich Farmbrough, 14:06, 25 September 2011 (UTC).
      What is the trivial mechanism by which they can stay in sync? Ozob (talk) 15:40, 25 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose Outlines serve to organize information of a complex subject into a readily-usable format, particularly if you don't know exactly what you are searching for. I would even go to the other extreme: we should delete "List of X topics" in favor of using categories for these, unless they can be coaxed into an outline format. --MASEM (t) 01:09, 6 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose Outlines and "list of..." serve different purposes and should not be merged together. Most proponents just don't understand the differences between the two. I've written a short essay awhile back, please give it a quick read before you vote. -- penubag  (talk) 04:28, 6 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose in fact, as is the case with the special type of disambiguation article called set indices, we should formalize and expand "outlines" into their own type of list, rather than treat them as some kind of special list. This RfC (if outlines are kept) should be followed up with an effort to formalize the "Outline" articles as an accepted and encouraged form in any encyclopedia, with its own guidelines and purpose. Essentially, Wikipedia:Outlines should be rewritten and prepared to be promoted to a guideline - and hell, there is already a WikiProject. --Cerejota (talk) 04:36, 6 September 2011 (UTC)
I think this is a great idea and would definitely make transparent many buried articles. -- penubag  (talk) 05:35, 6 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Outlines are lists. Outlines are specialized navigational lists of articles arranged hierarchically. This is not a new concept, as an example, Encyclopædia Britannica is using such system. This is as much a content fork as categories, indexes, navboxes, set indexes, lists of, or portals are to each other. This is supplementary system. Edit stats for broad outlines [5][6][7][8] show that these are more visited than many of individual articles, so they are useful to at least some people. Neither categories, portals, navboxes, or indexes currently allow for sentence outlines (brief explanation of the topics, such as here) or group all sub-topics hierarchically. WP:OUTLINE should be trimmed down and made into a guideline. The project should serve to keep track of and organise these pages. I do not think "Outline of x"/"List of x topics" naming should be enforced without discussion, but that's another RfC. —  HELLKNOWZ  ▎TALK 08:18, 6 September 2011 (UTC)
    • they may be "specialized navigational lists of articles arranged hierarchically", as you say (emphasis mine). This means they aren't valid list articles. Our list articles are lists of encyclopedic topics, e.g. a list of kings of Hungary, not lists of Wikipedia articles. Lists of Wikipedia articles are self-referential, and duplicate our category system. If we must have them, they belong under Portal:Contents, but certainly not in article namespace. --dab (𒁳) 14:11, 6 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose: it's quite rare for me to come across an outline page but when I do I'm glad of it. I don't understand why anyone would say they are a content fork. --bodnotbod (talk) 08:55, 6 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Outlines are useful to group topics together in a way that cannot normally be achieved by categories. They are not supposed to reproduce content from articles but to structure articles thematically, which I think can be very useful if a reader wants to know more about a subject area that reader has few or no previous knowledge of. Toshio Yamaguchi (talk) 13:26, 7 September 2011 (UTC)
    What do outlines achieve that lists and categories do not? I don't understand why you find them useful. Ozob (talk) 22:09, 7 September 2011 (UTC)
    As I said an outline article can be useful to give an overview over a subject area. I agree that many outlines currently are poor. However they can be useful if they are well structured to give a reader an overview over a topic. For example, many people complain about that Wikipedias mathematics articles could only be understood by professional mathematicians. Some subject areas like mathematics require some basic knowledge that cannot be pressed into a more specific article. A well written outline in my opinion could guide a reader to the articles required to understand more abstract or more specific subject areas in mathematics. And yes, I think that Outline of mathematics in the current state is not very helpful, but I think it is possible to transform it into an annotated page that gives the reader an overview of the subject areas of mathematics and has the potential to become a useful guide through mathematics (although it currently isn't). Toshio Yamaguchi (talk) 00:05, 8 September 2011 (UTC)
    I'm still not sure how the outline would be useful. For example, suppose that I want to learn about abstract algebra. The first step I would take would be to read the abstract algebra article. That would give me an overview of the subject. If I wanted more detail on something, I might click on a link in the article, maybe group (mathematics). From there I might make my way to Sylow theorems. If I wanted to browse, then I might visit Category:Abstract algebra or go to the List of abstract algebra topics (which, I should point out for fairness's sake, has also been called Outline of abstract algebra).
    An outline, as I understand it, would be like the List of abstract algebra topics but would have additional commentary and description of what the articles are about. If I wanted that I would be more likely to visit the main abstract algebra article or an article on a more specific topic (like, say, Lie algebra). It will link to the topics I'm interested in, and it will have a fuller and more complete description of what those topics are than an outline could (unless the outline is a large content fork). I suppose you might use the outline if you were looking for something and didn't know what to put into the search box or which articles it might be linked from. But in that case I am not sure that the limited detail an outline can provide makes it any better than a regular article.
    I am curious to know: How do you think someone would use an outline article? Ozob (talk) 01:48, 8 September 2011 (UTC)
    The outline of mathematics can be transformed into an annotated list providing an overviev over the branches of mathematics, but in a more compact form than Mathematics#Fields of mathematics or Areas of mathematics does. An outline (as I understand it) is supposed to give someone who does not yet know how a topic area is structured an overview over the branches of the field. I would use an outline to get an overview over a specific field. For example, if I wanted to learn about Physics but did not have previous knowledge, I would look at the outline to see for example into which subfields it is divided and which articles Wikipedia has that might be relevant for me. This also might be more convenient than looking at categories. I don't think, for example, that the alphabetical structure of a category is helpful to get an overview over the field I want to learn about. If i don't know what specific terms mean beforehand, looking at a category is not very helpful. An annotated outline, however, that is not structured alphabetically, but instead from basic level content to more advanced content could be helpful here. Toshio Yamaguchi (talk) 11:37, 8 September 2011 (UTC)
    So, if I understand what you are saying, you would find an annotated list of articles (as described at WP:SAL#General formatting) useful. I don't have any objection to an annotated list (similar to the List of business theorists, even though it's not a list of articles). If a Wikipedia outline was the same as an annotated list of articles, then I might use them myself.
    Instead, Wikipedia outlines are unstructured. The ancient Rome outline is done in a completely different style from the Buddhism outline which is yet another style from the kayaking and canoeing outline. The lack of structure isn't a good reason to eliminate them. But they're almost always either annotated lists (which should be called annotated lists) or content forks (which should be merged), and that is a good reason to eliminate them. Ozob (talk) 23:34, 8 September 2011 (UTC)
    I agree that all outlines should be formatted and structured in a consistent manner (and currently they are not). However, this is not a reason to ban the concept of an outline from Wikipedia, but instead to create clear guidelines and make all outlines compliant with those guidelines. Toshio Yamaguchi (talk) 00:11, 9 September 2011 (UTC)
    Well, if you can write guidelines for outlines that (1) give them a consistent structure, (2) make them more than annotated lists, (3) ensure they are not redundant content forks, and (4) gain consensus from other supporters of outlines, then I'll withdraw my proposal to eliminate outlines. Ozob (talk) 01:10, 9 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Outlines are a very useful way to help organize topics that have large numbers of articles associated with them. They are also very encyclopedic in that other reputable encyclopedias use them. Rreagan007 (talk) 17:35, 7 September 2011 (UTC)
    What kind of organization do you see outlines providing that lists and categories do not? Right now, quite a few outline articles are just lists. Even the best-developed outlines have long lists of articles. Ozob (talk) 22:09, 7 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose Redundancy is better than consolidation. Whatever is useful to the reader. User:Fred Bauder Talk 21:16, 7 September 2011 (UTC)
    Redundancy also creates extra work and backlogs. Do you personally find outlines useful? (I don't.) Ozob (talk) 22:09, 7 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose, after some thought. I think an "outline" serves as a contents page for a topic, and I think there could be a useful distinction to make between lists-as-contents-pages and lists-as-lists. I don't see why outlines can't coexist with portals and categories as another way to group related content and give a structure that enables end users to find what they need.—S Marshall T/C 22:12, 7 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose this particular RfC. I do believe that some outlines may be merged into their corresponding lists on a per-case basis, but as Monty demonstrated, some outlines indeed truly are valuable. — Kudu ~I/O~ 22:43, 8 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose Wikipedia now have 5,460,855 articles, I do not know them all and any help in navigating is a plus, I find outlines very useful. If you call them Outlines or List or god knows what does not matter that much. If content forking is such an issue (I do not think it is), move them to a EASILY accessible different portal space that can be searched by default without adding extra options to the standard search. Just because some outlines are not good or updated does not mean that they should be removed. We have lots of stubs and we do not remove them because they are just stubs yet. The extra work is not an argument to remove them. --Stefan talk 05:52, 9 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose per KuduIO and Penubag - HIGHFIELDS (TALKCONTRIBUTIONS) 20:28, 11 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose I can see how outlines may be useful for younger readers or non-english speakers. It's rare to find an importance-based hierarchy in Wikipedia, so that apsect of outlines is useful. Why do we have outlines in addition to...? is somewhat convincing and although I rarely come across these, looking now outline of Japan seems interesting, well-illustrated and a useful addition to the encyclopaedia Jebus989 16:05, 12 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose The fact that outlines are not articles per se is one of their strongpoints. They are a useful place to keep navigational information that is improper to have as an article (a lot of list articles are improperly formatted this way and their material could easily be merged into an outline with little loss). This being said, moving outlines outside the main namespace would be a step in the right direction, solidifying this distinction. ThemFromSpace 16:17, 12 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose Outlines seem superior to lists as a concept because their essence is to summarise in an encyclopaedic way whereas lists tend to be open-ended laundry lists. Warden (talk) 17:27, 14 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose -- Outlines are an improvement on lists. We should be trying to preserve improvements rather than regress. Greg Bard (talk) 22:16, 14 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose Just because we have found examples of problems with a particular format is no reason to delete the entire format. If I know of a particular outline that should be renamed to a list, I should propose a move. If I know of an outline that is a content fork, I should propose a merge or delete of the offending outline. It makes as much sense as deleting all articles because some Wikipedia articles violate policy, or deleting all images because some images don't conform. Might as well declare all of Wikipedia "dead weight" that is too much work to maintain. The fact that some outlines are useful is proof that it's possible to create good outlines. Now it's simply a matter of time to bring the weaker outlines up to the level of the good ones. And we have all the time in the world. --Dennis Bratland (talk) 23:14, 14 September 2011 (UTC)
    I am not aware of any outline that is acceptable in its current state. As far as I am aware, all outline are either lists or content forks. To carry your analogy further, it is as if all Wikipedia articles violated policy. My proposed solution would not be deleting all articles, but instead bringing them into compliance. As you can see from the proposal above, no content would be deleted, only renamed and reformatted. Ozob (talk) 00:06, 15 September 2011 (UTC)
    OK. Outline of motorcycles and motorcycling is the only place I'm aware of that gives a comprehensive and thought-out overview of motorcycles and motorcycling. Category:Motorcycling and Category:Motorcycles are both inferior, by definition. Years went by with nobody creating a navbox or portal or list or category that does what the outline does. It was only due to the inspiration of the outline format that we now have a useful navigation tool for motorcycles. It's imperfect, but to call it "unacceptable" is absurd. What's unacceptable about it? --Dennis Bratland (talk) 00:15, 15 September 2011 (UTC)
    It contains redundant content forks, so it violates WP:CFORK. Some of the content forks are in full paragraphs not connected to the list. This content discusses the Daimlers, motorcycle racing, motorcycle clubs, and The Wild One. Other content forks include the legal definition of a motorcycle, the meaning of café racer, and a description of land speed racing.
    I don't want to see a useful navigation tool go away, but having content forks means that users can't find all the information they want in one place and that editors have to maintain more than one set of information. That makes Wikipedia harder for everyone to use. The right solution is to merge the excess paragraphs into regular articles and turn the outline into an annotated list of articles. We would still have a useful navigational tool. Plus, because we'd have fewer content forks, Wikipedia would be even easier to use. Ozob (talk) 23:14, 16 September 2011 (UTC)
    It is not redundant content. It is a brief summary of the main content. In other words, it is an example of Wikipedia:Summary style and WP:SPINOFF. --Dennis Bratland (talk) 02:32, 19 September 2011 (UTC)
    Most text in outlines is either copied from the main articles on the topic or written from scratch; WP:SPINOFF is about the reverse, where the main article got too big so some of the information was moved to a separate article.
    Because there are no standards for outlines, there is no community consensus on whether or not they meet WP:SS. My opinion is that they do not. I think the motorcycle outline is close to being acceptable, but I think the items that I mentioned above are too detailed. Details should always be in the main articles on a topic. Ozob (talk) 12:26, 19 September 2011 (UTC)
    You are confusing "unstructured" with "variously structured". That the outlines may differ in structure is not necessarily a bad thing. Moreover "Details should always be in the main articles on a topic." - would mean we would not need the detail articles - ultimately we would have just one enormous article called Everything with all the detail in it. Rich Farmbrough, 13:33, 25 September 2011 (UTC).
    I do believe in WP:SPINOFF and in WP:SS, and I do not believe that there should be a single article named everything. But I also do not believe that outlines are article spinoffs, and I also do not believe that they usually adhere to proper summary style. Sometimes, the outline does not include enough detail (for an example, see the outline of Buddhism that I discussed above). Other times, it includes too much (I believe that the outline of canoeing and kayaing is worse than the outline of motorcycling in this regard). It would help a lot if there were standards for outlines—at least then, you could say to me, "You think that's a redundant content fork but in fact it follows the guideline." Right now, you can't say that, because there are no standards for outlines. Ozob (talk) 15:49, 25 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose. I have no objection to renaming them as List pages, but I strongly oppose deleting them. If someone doesn't want to read them, they don't have to. --Tryptofish (talk) 23:25, 14 September 2011 (UTC)
    The proposal does not suggest deletion. Please see my clarification above. Ozob (talk) 00:06, 15 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose The outline articles are very helpful and are different from a simple list. The ones I've seen are much more than an simple list of articles - they show the structure of topic. For instance chess doesn't have anywhere near all of the articles on chess. Index of chess articles is a list of all of the chess articles, but you don't see much of the structure of the articles. Outline of chess shows that structure but doesn't have all of the articles. Also, the list doesn't have any text whereas the outline does have brief explinations of the article. Bubba73 You talkin' to me? 23:59, 14 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Having worked collaboratively with other editors on a new outline, it really helped me by exposing me to other articles related to the topic - articles that I probably would not have come across (and subsequently contributed to) had it not been for the outline. --Biker Biker (talk) 00:09, 15 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Well structured outlines serve a different purpose from articles and comprehensive topic indexes/lists. I agree certain outlines have problems (content forking being a common one), but this is a reason to improve those outlines, not to prohibit the form from Wikipedia. --Avenue (talk) 00:45, 15 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose Lists and Outlines are essentially two different animals--Lists are typically an alphabetical enumeration of existing articles on a given topic, whereas Outlines are a topical enumeration. In an alphabetical list, the presence of redlinked (not existant articles) is discouraged, whereas in a topic enumeration, the presence of a redlined article topic is a logical extension of the ultimate purpose of an outline--what are major topic areas (with sub-articles) for a much broader topic. Editors who wish to contribute to a topic area find outlines extremely useful in identifying subjects for new articles. I would caution those who wish to delete outlines enmass (merging into existing lists is impossible since a topical enumeration cannot be merged into an alphabetical enumeration with eliminating either the alphabetical or topic organizational structure) that Wikimedia has strategic goals to significantly improve the quality and scope of content in the encyclopedia. [9]. Outlines, as a concept and as a tool are a significant contributor to furthering that goal. Deleting them serves no purpose other that to satiate the desires of those who don't understand the strategic goals of the community.--Mike Cline (talk) 01:00, 15 September 2011 (UTC)
    • Additional Comment It really distrubing to see many of the comments in the Support section claiming Outlines are useless, a failed experiment, inherently of low quality, redundant to categories, et. al. It is disturbing because the outline concept is one of the most useful tools when trying to identify topics for new articles and topics that need improvement within a given broad subject area. Those of us that are Campus Ambassadors, charged with outreach to higher education find outlines a perfect way to quickly identify topics that students can and should work on in university classes. Over the course of many terms, a professor can have many classes working on filling out topics based on outlines on a broad subject. Indeed there are good and bad outlines, as there are good and bad articles, but that is irrelevant to this discussion. What I believe is exceptionally relevant is the fact that outlines are a valuable tool in our Wikipedia in the classroom initiatives. Everyone reading and participating in this RFC needs to be aware of and understand that a lot of hard volunteer work is going across the globe to achieve lofty goals relative to higher education in addition to $$$ being spent by the foundation. Eliminating the outline for the reasons being stated by the supporters of this RFC would be strategically ill-advised.--Mike Cline (talk) 20:39, 16 September 2011 (UTC)
    You seem to be suggesting that outlines are part of WMF's strategic goals. Am I interpreting you correctly? Or do you intend to say only that you believe outlines help achieve WMF's strategic goals? Ozob (talk) 23:19, 16 September 2011 (UTC)2nd
    Ozob, your 2nd contention is correct. Outlines as a form of list (a topical enumeration of articles and potential articles on a broad subject area) are indeed a valuable tool in the classrooms of higher education. Efficiently identifying potential Wikipedia articles for improvement or creation by a class of 25-30 students is not served well by categories which are typical highly fragmented on complex or broad subjects and tell you nothing about what's missing. Indeed it is not the foundation's role to tell us to use Outlining as list/navigational/developmental methodology, but it is our responsibility to develop policy that supports (not impedes) progress toward our global community strategic goals. If the case was made that outlines are indeed bad for the improvement of WP quality, that they impede to growth of content and that they discourage increased diversity of participation or they impede technological innovation, I would support their elimination. But none of the supports in this discussion have done that. In other words, no one has made a strategic case for their elimination and the tactical rationales being provided have little basis or merit when weighed against the strategic goals of the community. --Mike Cline (talk) 10:18, 17 September 2011 (UTC)
    I agree that there is a place for lists of needed articles. But such a list would not be part of the encyclopedia proper. It's more like an internal memo. Such a list would fit better in the Wikipedia namespace than in article space. So I went looking for it there and was not surprised to find Wikipedia:Requested articles. It's an enormous list of articles that Wikipedia needs, grouped by topic.
    That list does not indicate articles that might need improvement (but then, neither do outlines). Wikipedia:Cleanup handles that, but unfortunately it's not grouped by topic. With the help of a bot, it's possible to filter out all the articles of a certain topic that need cleanup; the mathematics WikiProject does for math articles and catalogs its results at Wikipedia:WikiProject Mathematics/Current activity.
    Finally, regarding tactics versus strategy: To me, avoiding content forks is a strategic decision to improve the content, the user experience, and the ease of editing. I don't know if you've ever had the experience of saying, "I remember reading about [something or other] and I want to look it up, but I can't remember where I read it." That is exactly the problem caused by content forks. Content forks make it harder to find the information you want, harder to integrate that information into a larger context, and harder for editors to maintain and improve. They make Wikipedia lower quality. I don't object to proper summary style, and I don't object to annotated lists when the annotations are short. In those cases there is a net gain in usability. But that does not seem to be the standard for outlines, which contain extensive duplicate content. As long as outlines do this I will see them as impeding WMF's strategic goals. Ozob (talk) 14:36, 17 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose Look, it's all well and good to prefer one format to the other, but proposing that the other format be eliminated is really veering into WP:NIME territory. If you don't like the Outlines... don't use 'em. Jclemens (talk) 01:43, 15 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose Some outlines, such as Outline of physical science, are done well and can be useful. Others are simply list that are improperly named outlines, and you just change their name. But don't destroy all outline articles simple because some aren't really outlines. Dream Focus 04:57, 15 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose What harm do outlines do? We have better or more urgent things to do with our limited time. And this isn't really a proposal to eliminate Outline articles so much as it is a proposal to rename them. Using the phrase "eliminate" gives a misleading and somewhat scary impression. Jeff Ogden (talk) 05:09, 15 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose Outlines provide a useful alternative navigation system in Wikipedia. Also merging with "List of" articles is a bad idea as "List Of" articles are themselves quite problematic.--Penbat (talk) 08:48, 15 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose Outlines and topic indices should be to different things structured in a different way. GreyHood Talk 09:15, 15 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose. I see no reason to eliminate outlines that some users clearly (based on view counts) find useful just because others don't like/use them. The nominator says (in response to something someone posted higher up in this section) "I don't understand why you find them useful." To me, this smacks a bit of WP:IDONTLIKETHIS. MeegsC | Talk 12:52, 15 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose:List of... or Index of... articles are lists of links generally organised in alphabetical order. But outline articles are different. They are organised according to topic. Both types of articles serve different purposes and both must be kept. Nedim Ardoğa (talk) 05:38, 16 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose: Although those subjects may already have specific articles talking about them, outlines can provide people with deeper views into the subjects and can induce them to read other related articles. In short, outlines are needed for people to know more about the subjects that the outlines are related to. -- 7D HMS (talk) 14:01, 17 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose. The outlines that I'm familiar with are useful. Whether there are other outlines that aren't I have no idea, but I'm not in favour of "eliminating" the useful ones in the haphazard approach that the nominator has suggested. PKT(alk) 16:19, 18 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose. The articles seem to serve a useful purpose. Many of them have a large number of page views a day and a fair number of watchers. They provide a useful overview of topics in different areas and are also a good guide to searching. There is of course more work to be done in order to improve their coverage and provide more detailed explanations of the topics they cover. - Ipigott (talk) 07:14, 22 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Some outline pages are incredibly well-done. Most, unfortunately, are under-developed (in particular the country ones are little more than lists with a lead copied from the country's main article). But that doesn't mean that they cannot be developed in the future. Wikipedia is not finished. Nightw 11:11, 22 September 2011 (UTC)
    • I'd also agree with moving them into portal space. Nightw 11:19, 22 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose.If the proposed deletion policy is carried through,in a blanket manner,then it would be a form of "legal" vandalism.My reaction to that is exactly the same as the very first commentator in the Oppose section-"Are you insane?"I admit though that some of the outline articles are kind of sub-par and need a lot of work.Some may have to be merged with others.Some yet would need a few touches to bring them up to standard.But that is called editing.A proposal to zap the category is going to be counterproductive.Please keep this very useful category.They can exist side by side with the portals.There is no conflict between the two categories.The outlines aid in "macrostudy",as the first commentator in the Oppose section stated while the portals bring up a more "multimedia-oriented" and "multi-nodal" aspect to the studies.Let them both stay and evolve.Skylark2008 (talk) 22:40, 24 September 2011 (UTC)Skylark2008
  • Oppose the proposal, keep outlines in article space, and use Outline of for their titles - There are about 500 "Outline of" articles, while there are only about 200 outlines entitled "List of ... topics". Definitely keep outlines, and use Outline of titles for them, which are the most accurate names for this type of page: Outline of presents what these pages are in fewer words and differentiates them from the other type of topics list: Indexes. Outlines and Indexes make useful pairs. "Lists of topics and Indexes" is more awkward and potentially confusing, since indexes on Wikipedia are a type of topics list – why would one be designated by the type of topics list they are and not the other? It would be best to keep outlines in article space where they are the most accessible and the most useful: many other articles link to them, while cross-namespace links are discouraged. Moving them out of article space would reduce connectivity and accessibility, partly because Wikipedia searches of portal space do not work, due to unreadability of the results which includes a mass of convoluted portal subpage titles - try a portal space search and see for yourself. But the main reasons outlines should be kept in article space are that outlines serve two major purposes: 1) They present a taxonomy for their respective subjects, which shows relationships between topics by how they are placed within the structure relevant to each other. It's encyclopedic content within the structure itself. That is, the structure itself conveys information about the topics included - basically, what is a subtopic of what, throughout the tree: parent/offspring relationships. As articles, outlines are effective learning tools, and they show structure and relationships where prose articles do not. 2) The second main purpose is navigation, via links, to Wikipedia's coverage of each subject. An outline, which may extend to further branches represented by further outlines and item lists, may become comprehensive, and several have already while the rest are progressing in that direction. These purposes serve two very important functions, the first supporting understanding, and the second improving access to all pages about a particular subject on Wikipedia. That's a potent combination to have on a single page, serving up an entire subject to a reader on a silver platter. Keep outlines, and oppose the proposal to eliminate/rename/move them. Thank you. Sincerely, The Transhumanist 00:46, 25 September 2011 (UTC)
  • I like outlines. They are like big warm fuzzy navigation templates with context. I therefore oppose this proposal and i guess kinda call for the reverse of it where appropriate. delirious & lost~hugs~ 07:35, 25 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Lists and categories are useful; outlines seem in many ways to be an improvement as they organise the information and indicate relationships between articles. I've no doubt that they have problems, too. If there are problems with redundancy and fork-ish issues, I'd prefer to see those resolved on a case-by-case basis. Enabling the user to easily find and navigate to articles of interest is a hard problem, and I think it's a mistake to think we've solved it. As long as it doesn't do any harm, it's probably better to encourage experimentation with presentation of information. Jakew (talk) 09:26, 25 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose Another way of organising information is good thing. A structured way is even better. Rich Farmbrough, 13:27, 25 September 2011 (UTC).
  • Oppose These articles provide useful information to our readers, which is the reason Wikipedia exists. This proposal does not change the information, it simply changes the way in which it is presented. To implement this proposal will require a great deal of time and effort, and that is not necessary. I suggest we expend our energies on other more-important topics and leave these articles as they are. Truthanado (talk) 15:21, 25 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose I find them useful. I don't think they confuse the readers. --Iopensa (talk) 13:33, 26 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose I also find them useful. They help the users make their way easier through the millions of articles that Wikipedia has. -- Petru Dimitriu (talk) 16:44, 26 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose and let outlines exist in peace. I'm not involved in the Outlines project and don't actively edit outlines, but the fact is that many other editors do, and have been for a long time now. Outlines are firmly established now, and I have enough good faith to respect the work of so many editors who have put their time and effort to improve Wikipedia by providing readers with another legitimate method of navigation. Furthermore, The Transhumanist has done more good for Wikipedia than many of you may be aware of. I've watched him tirelessly put up with a lot of hassle over this and still maintain his integrity and resolve. He shouldn't have to waste his time on so much needless drama. -- œ 04:34, 4 October 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose Outlines are a valid and valuable educational technique. More effort should be put into to making our outlines great. Uniplex (talk) 20:04, 4 October 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose This proposal has come up before and has been defeated. I have been working on a new outline; it was an unpleasant surprise to see the proposal resurface. --Ancheta Wis (talk) 11:20, 5 October 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose Refer to The Transhumanist comments above. Outline are extremely useful to find quickly all the content on a topic, for readers and also for us, editors. Everything is said. OffiikartTalk 20:18, 5 October 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose (this is going to be a lengthy one). First of all, I would like to start my response to this proposal by pointing to the ever-present policy of our global community project that Wikipedia is not paper. Therefore, pages that do nothing other than improve the navigation between existing articles are actually not overtly redundant, but rather improve the general flow of article namespace by directing readers to the most relevant articles. They are grouped by sub-topic, and are quite different from regular lists, topical indices, categories, portals, disambiguations and WikiProject link listings. Most of the arguments I've seen here have focused largely upon redundancy and replication, either with other article or pagename formats or from the main article itself, replicating the lede introductions. At worst, this is a minor GFDL violation in articles that stagnate quickly from inactivity and disinterest; at best, this can be easily fixed given adequate collaboration and checking for page parameters such as consistency and article development.
Many of Wikipedia's article creation lists, WikiProjects and Wikipedia-space topics are heavily backlogged as there are not enough editors to actually work on them. However, and additionally in the case of article outlines, this is not a reason to trash any portion of the encyclopedia simply because prolific editors have quit or are currently unavailable. Obviously, there needs to be a way of optimizing the flow of the encyclopedia given this now-years-old existence of article outlines. They are extremely expansive, and can lead readers into developing articles (at worst, stubs) on red-linked areas that need content. We can see that they need content only when a listing such as an article outline brings them up, a feature rarely found on other similar listings. Portals typically show only the best articles, while a regular index or category page can be too difficult to navigate as a result of its alphabetical nature: it is difficult to apply the reader's current knowledge to find an article they want to read or improve.
Over the years, Wikipedia's new articles and their rate of creation have declined dramatically, while the contribution proportion of regular editors has nearly stagnated. Even worse, difficulty of navigation may have created a form of Internet gridlock that I suggest slows down overall article creation. Of course, many would argue that we need to work on bringing our existing articles up to Good or Featured status, yet this alone might fail to attract new editors simply because some might perceive that Wikipedia is becoming "complete", which goes against its very definition, as well as counter to the nature of knowledge itself. Recently, there were a series of appeals for donations, one of them by a Wikipedia member named Sue that our article output has fallen in the past few years. Please see WP:STATISTICS for more information.
Here, we have a tendency to delete whatever is currently unproductive. Sure, the outlines do have potential, yet we judge them to be detrimental to the progress of the project when they seem mere duplicates of existing formats. This, in my opinion, is an unnecessary line of thinking in terms of the encyclopedia, since we can develop whatever format that works. The article outlines are simply a new way of organizing articles, lacking a detailed explanation into what it actually constitutes. Thus, extreme confusion ensues in the populace.
There, in my mind, is absolutely no reason why an individual editor cannot simply introduce a new idea or format to Wikipedia and implement it over the span of several years. Yes, discussion and community collaboration is necessary. No, it is not redundant, nor distracting.
A great number of Wikipedians IMO undergo a routine type of editing, consisting of checking Special:Watchlist, article improvement, occasional participation in expert editing, Wikipedia-space discussion, talkpage discussion and usertalk discussion. Of course, there is great variance, for example in the case of some users creating bots and other scripts to facilitate user-encyclopedia interaction, and discuss whenever something causes the entire website to crash, such as the trouty deletion of the Wikipedia sandbox. Perhaps the outlines are thus not routine, and hence, get very little activity or edits, and therefore after a stagnation period of several years are put up for deletion, and mass chaos inevitably ensues.
We defiantly [Sic] require more insight. As a reader of Wikipedia, I know how easy it is to become insanely addicted to the encyclopedia simply through clicking see also links and discovering more information about a topic, followed by tangential topics, and followed even further by more tangential topics. Of course, those see also links are sometimes chaotic, and many featured articles do not have them, simply because the articles already incorporate the necessary links in its main body, giving the appearance it is approaching the asymptote of completion. This is precisely the reason why article outlines improve navigation, as they subdivide topics by topic-category. I, for one, have little to no problem providing a relatively concise explanation of a topic featuring many references to external sources and dozens of internal links, all fitting on one browser screen. It is this ability to cross-link, rather than cross-categorize, that IMO facilitates the user experience on the Wikipedia.
As editors, we all have different ways of interacting, or designing article namespace, or spending our time here, or combating vandalspamcruft, or talking to other users whom we presume are human, or contributing in general; the mere existence of Conflicting Wikipedia philosphies strongly exemplifies such. Nothing, therefore, is a massive waste of our collective time, since there will always be some users interested in editing a certain area of our project. Heck, there are plenty of pages that don't even fit in our standard understanding of article-space formats, the existence of which I refuse to demonstrate due to non-existent confidentiality measures. There are plenty of such users too: many are blocked for “trolling”, others are forced to quit due to wiki-overdose, and still others flee to alternative websites.
In my experience, Wikipedia is a three-part, co-interactive process: article space, editor traffic, and the real world itself. The last part is where we find all our sources, verification, and mentions of Wikipedia in the mainstream news. Without it, the encyclopedia wouldn't even exist, never mind outlines. Thus, I believe it is crucial to connect those three components as much as possible when designing articles or navigation formats, so that the encyclopedia can grow as a whole.
Currently as they stand, the article outlines are neither irrelevant nor defunct. In fact, in the unlikely event that user traffic exceeds our current expectations, the project can involve the participation of developers so that any bursts of high traffic flow do not trip the circuit breakers on our servers. Even more importantly, WP:expert retention needs addressing in a way that the scope of topics on Wikipedia can be expanded in all dimensions. We need breadth as well as depth for all topics, but it is even more important to remember that all topics are mutually connected. The only place where over-linking is currently not a problem for navigation, IMO, is the article outlines that have existed for years. Individual concerns can always be solved through collaboration and discussion, rather than bipolar fist-fighting.
Of course, the outlines must incorporate the important aspects of both written content and simple linking throughout the topic's scope, and WikiProjects can also work on them. This needn't be an obscure, self-limiting, self-contradictory idea that only receives a handful of participants; rather, this can go project-wide. Since Wikipedia doesn't have five-year plans nor collaboration on anything similarly identical, we always need an influx of new ideas and contributors from around the world and the inter-sphere, lest knowledge stagnates, for potential knowledge is infinite.
Consider also that existing topics are approaching Wikipedia, and that non-existing topics are receding from Wikipedia, in a process called the Doppler shift. When we realize that nearly all topics have multiple applications in various fields, there is a distinct possibility we will attract experts on subjects. Many articles can use expansion in areas we don't normally think about, yet because we are such time-limited beings, we tend to continue not thinking about them, and thus stagnation results, and deletion causes an implosion that further results in trought.
Another problem given the existing article space is that despite the fact that we have few expert editors, most articles are written from a completely obscure POV, often requiring years of experience and research knowledge just to comprehend the article's basics. This puts many of our articles in danger of becoming esoteric, further alienating the encyclopedia from the minds of regular readers and potential editors, who usually edit less then ten times. In fact, this may even increase our susceptibility to attacks from dramatic foreigners.
Yet, we often give vandal-fighting attention, without really considering the source of that vandalism, which often makes a disruptive point about the nature of the encyclopedia. Rarely do we have any time to incorporate these suggestions, as thickly veiled as they may be, into improving the project's content and its navigation. Many have seen the end of the encyclopedia project as such, and yet it doesn't even have to be the END.
...Unless, of course, an EMP destroys the Internet in 2012, in which case it really would be the end. However, that's irrelevant. Article outlines aren't. </end-rant>
Given that there are so many aspects of Wikipedia, few of us find ourselves devoting time to the more obscure entities. NPOV issues result when contributors hinder the use of logic in efforts to improve article space, and those issues are rarely addressed–the last time I visited an administrative NPOV complaints page several years ago, it alongside many other similar pages were heavily backlogged. Despite this, the rest of the project keeps trudging along, without thinking much of the ways we can improve the ease of the project in a multitude of ways.
Most of the regular editors here, myself included, actually have plenty of time to edit the encyclopedia and participate in collaboration without even realizing the amount of time we have. Therefore, the outlines are not simply a waste of time, nor of the very renewable electrons. In the event that Wikipedia contributes excessively to pollution and/or global warming, simply switch the servers to renewable energy resources that don't cause other damage.
Any editor can spend a bit of time addressing many of the ever-growing problems on Wikipedia, and I think the outlines are a great innovation to our project. However, we tend not to understand outlines, since they are obscure. Since many editors do not wish to use outlines, the contributors behind the outlines project also take less time to outline (excuse the pun) the purpose and usage of these pages. There is always room for improvement, even when traffic is low. When the traffic is high, please ensure the bridge does not collapse under its own weight.
Additionally, we have plenty of unusual articles, and whether we adopt formats already used on other encyclopedias, or stick to our own unique procedures, really doesn't matter, given it does not give rise to legal issues. In fact, many of our most unusual article topics could use outlines as well, and in order to prevent certain pages from becoming a directory, we need adequate discussion and collaboration on part of all interested parties.
I will conclude my disjunct analysis by a list of suggestive measures through which to ease the facilitation of article outlines even further:
    • Have a guideline for what the outlines are, why they're here, and in what ways they contribute to the encyclopedia. This is better than relying on any and all readers to interpret them.
    • Discuss ways of expanding outlines directly, without making them frustrating to read and navigate.
    • Create a flexible layout for outlines per subject area, which can be open to discussion directly on part of associated WikiProjects, without necessitating any overt canvassing. The template-like format of some outlines, especially for countries, can be problematic.
    • Allow any contributor to the project to suggest ways of either improving an individual outline, or improving the format of all outlines. Even when this may take months, regular collaboration can speed it up.
    • Focus on ideas affecting the encyclopedia, rather than limited in-group discussion that solely discusses the future of the outlines WikiProject, when it can be put up for deletion…again.
    • Have discussions, even those not related to the outlines project, on the Wikipedia-space talkpages of other areas of Wikipedia to reduce any backlogs and facilitate navigation and communication.
    • Focus on WP:5P, and demonstrate how the outlines contribute to it.
    • Find ways to collaborate so that WP:AGF is no longer meaningless.
Thanks. That's all I have for today. ~AH1 (discuss!) 02:22, 6 October 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose These articles have utility, plain and simple. I have used Outline of British Columbia and was glad to find it. As noted above, we are not a paper encyclopedia and some overlap between our navigational pages is not a real problem in my view. These aren't for the reader seeking an immediate fact, but for the leisure reader who can take the time to wander through a topic. If these are being actively improved, they should not be deleted. The Interior (Talk) 06:47, 6 October 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose - the elimination of all articles in outline format would be overly-broad, and would reduce options for browsing and learning. It also appears that outlines are a valid type of encyclopedic formatting. Northamerica1000 (talk) 12:59, 6 October 2011 (UTC)
  • Please be so kind as to keep the current Outline format : it is extremely helpful as a comprehensive research tool in topics. Your effort and understanding in this regards is highly appreciated by users from around the globe. Thank you — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 13:33, 6 October 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose Wikipedia is supposed to make it EASY for people to find connections between things and Outlines do exactly that. I have followed traffic to articles before and after they were included in outlines and there is a clear trend for increased page views. The idea of deleting the useful Outlines that have been created is an example of the worst kind of editorial thinking. Ask users - i am sure they will agree that outlines help not hinder. Strong Keep. Thruxton (talk) 08:10, 7 October 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose Not against having these out of mainspace, but removing them all together is a very bad idea. For some large topics, not all articles within it are equal, and grouping them via list or category isn't sufficient. Instead, an outline can help guide a reader to the right area where they are looking for information but lack exactly article knowledge of where to find it. Just as lists and categories can work interchangibly , so can outlines and categories. I still do support that these pages must meet other content guidelines where appropriate. --MASEM (t) 13:08, 8 October 2011 (UTC)
Please share your reasons with us. The Transhumanist 18:09, 11 October 2011 (UTC)


  • comment --- elimination or no elimination, the important thing is to move them out of article space. They aren't articles. They are de-facto a part of Portal:Contents. So if people want to work on them or find them useful, peace to you, but please, please, move them into Portal: namespace where they belong. Did I mention that they are not articles? --dab (𒁳) 14:08, 6 September 2011 (UTC)
    Is being portal really consistent with the systematic coverage of the topics that the outlines provide? The portals I'm familiar with don't really do that. Monty845 14:18, 6 September 2011 (UTC)
    Outlines are not part of Portal:Contents, only a list of them are. Portal:Contents lists articles that are elsewhere, the same way the project Wikipedia:Featured articles lists articles. Featured articles are in article space, lists are in article space, glossaries are in article space, and so are timelines, bibliographies, indexes, and outlines. All these articles are not part of the project or portal they are associated with, they are supported by those. And yes, outlines are articles, the same way lists are a type of article. Actually, outlines are lists, a type of topics list. As topics lists, outlines aren't restricted to listing articles, as the purpose is to outline each entire subject, whether it has articles on all the topics or not – and therefore non-article list entries can be added to any outline. Note that the other type of topics list is indexes. By the way, that there are 2 types of topics list is why neither should be named "List of ... topics", since that would imply lists of the other type are not topics lists. The Transhumanist 22:59, 7 October 2011 (UTC)
    • Why move outlines to portal namespace? We already have "List of", "Timeline of", "Glossary of", "Index of", "Table of", "Outline of", and others in article space, why should we put outlines in Portal namespace and leave the rest in article namespace? This has already been explained -- penubag  (talk) 21:47, 6 September 2011 (UTC)
@dab (Dbachmann): DAB pages aren't articles either, yet they are in article space. So I don't really see what the problem is with having the outlines in article space. Toshio Yamaguchi (talk) 03:04, 12 September 2011 (UTC)
We have disambiguation pages because articles on Wikipedia are indexed by name. Someone who types lift into the search box could be looking for any of 35 articles. They can't reach the article they're interested in without additional assistance. (This is similar to why set indices are necessary. It's also part of why article naming disputes can get so heated.) Whereas outlines are not necessary, because articles on Wikipedia are not naturally indexed by topic. If we replaced the search box by an outline navigation tool, then I would concede that outlines were a fundamental part of Wikipedia. But right now they aren't. Ozob (talk) 11:30, 12 September 2011 (UTC)
  • I agree with dab. What use are such articles? They can only duplicate and confuse. What would you put in an Outline of the Hundred Years War article when Hundred Years War is an encyclopedia article and therefore an outline in itself? We are writing hypertext here. We can use internal and external links. Readers can already navigate using categories, links, navboxes, projects, portals and more. Itsmejudith (talk) 14:16, 6 September 2011 (UTC)
    You say "what use are such articles?", I understand you are not familiar with an outline and probably never used one, but please give this a read before commenting. -- penubag  (talk) 21:47, 6 September 2011 (UTC)
  • comment Clearly the people opposing and commenting on opposition have no idea what an outline article is. It is used in nearly all encyclopedias, and in printed ones, there are even outline volumes as part of the "micropedia" or equivalent book, intended to allow the reader a quick overview of topics that have a lot of articles related to them, and to do so in a concise fashion. They can aid in navigation, but are not navigation tools, but rather a special type of article. As I mentioned, perhaps the tight association of outline articles with lists does them harm, and we need to create guidelines specifically for outlines. Again compare it to the long respected form of dab article, the WP:SETINDEX. That outlines have not gathered the respect and attention they deserve, or that some are low quality and badly done, is no reason to delete the whole type.--Cerejota (talk) 00:21, 7 September 2011 (UTC)
    • My recollection is that "outline" articles in printed encyclopedias include some explanatory prose giving an overview of the topic. It's much more than just an introductory paragraph followed by a list of articles. Many of the articles called "outline" on wikipedia really are lists: all we have is a lead paragraph followed by a structured list of links. It's not at all the same as the printed outlines you refer to. Examples of good outlines: Outline of anarchism, Outline of canoeing and kayaking, Outline of cell biology, List of algebraic structures (should be called an outline but isn't). I haven't yet found any others. Examples of misnamed lists: Outline of logic, Outline of regression analysis, Outline of statistics, Outline of fiction, Outline of music and many many more. There are some annotated lists which in my opinion are closer to lists than outlines, but I admit that it's a grey area: for example, Outline of chess and (the humourously named--I hope it's not intentional) Outline of Russia. It seems to me that WikiProject Outlines is a good concept that so far hasn't been well implemented. Jowa fan (talk) 00:51, 7 September 2011 (UTC)
      • My recollection is precisely the opposite. The outlines that I loved so much in World Book had no explanatory text. --Danger (talk) 18:15, 7 September 2011 (UTC)
      Print encyclopedias do not have the benefit of hyperlinks. Together, the use of wikilinks, {{main}}, {{seealso}}, categories, lists, and searching makes it far easier to find appropriate articles on Wikipedia than in a print encyclopedia. If we were a print encyclopedia and did not have any of the above available, then I would agree that outlines served a purpose.
      I disagree that set indices are a useful analogy. Set indices collect objects of the same type that share similar names. We look up things in Wikipedia by name, so set indices are unavoidable. Outlines, I maintain, are made obsolete by hyperlinks. Ozob (talk) 01:09, 7 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Comment. I have seen a few "Ouline of..." articles that actually are outlines, but mostly they are lists renamed. Regardless of the outcome of this RfC, I suggest that at the very least these lists be moved back to "List of...". As for whether outlines belong in article space, I tend to agree with Dbachmann. Sławomir Biały (talk) 02:23, 7 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Disorganized thoughts - Having worked on outlines a fair amount, I don't think they are articles in the traditional sense, but they certainly are useful. And while "It's useful" is not an argument for keeping an article, it is an argument for keeping a navigational structure. (And easy navigation is one thing that Wikipedia definitely lacks.) When I talk to readers and new users, many tell me about how difficult it is to find things on Wikipedia. I understand that as an organically grown project we resist top-down organization, but I think this is a great disservice to readers and editors alike. (One nice thing about outlining is it allows you to see what is missing from our coverage of a topic, hence the appearance of redlinks in many outlines.) --Danger (talk) 18:15, 7 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Has there been an RFC of any form on outline articles before? I was wondering about this a while ago - I vaguely feel like I've seen reference to one, but no idea where, or if it was just a proposal being kicked around. Shimgray | talk | 20:41, 7 September 2011 (UTC)
    See here for a bunch of discussions regarding outlines. It doesn't look like we've had a formal RfC. --Danger (talk) 21:36, 7 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Delete all including "List of x topics" I see no clear inclusion criteria for these articles, as items can be tangentially related, or not so tangentially related, which is hard to define. I also see no reason why categories can not do what these "lists" are doing.Curb Chain (talk) 12:23, 8 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Comment. Outlines may have their place, but anyone proposing to "outline-ize" a current list for a discipline must consult the project first, to avoid disruptions. Rschwieb (talk) 18:00, 8 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Move them all to Portal:Contents. They are useful for navigation, but redundant to articles, and are not proper mainspace content. Same with most of all of "List of", "Timeline of", "Glossary of", "Index of", and "Table of" (excluding independently notable things). Navigation aides require original editoral work and the best of it can't comply with WP:NOR. I suggest creation of a namespace shortcut for Portal:Contents/Outlines. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 10:48, 11 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Move them out of article space to somewhere else. I don't really care where, but they are not articles, they are navigation aids, and do not belong in article space. Steven Zhang The clock is ticking.... 21:34, 12 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Move out of article space. I support moving them out of article space, no preference where. Kaldari (talk) 01:34, 14 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Why does the notification say that outlines will be deleted?. The notice that is being inserted on various outline articles, saying that they will be deleted is a bit misleading. Deletion discussion notice While I appreciate the notice, it might have been more helpful to say that discussion was happening about renaming or merging. Since the edit summary says that deletion of the articles is being discussed, that might be part of the confusion on what is proposed. Zodon (talk) 23:13, 15 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Allow exceptions. I think the proposal is too strict and does not allow enough flexibility in handling. Most of the outlines are simply lists of articles, and should just be renamed back to lists.
However there are a few (I have seen 4 or 5 so far, such as Outline of anarchism, Outline of cell biology, Outline of forestry, Outline of motorcycles and motorcycling ) that seem to have merits as articles. The outline format (a topic with additional detail text) can be useful in explaining the relation between various items. While an article may contain an outline, it might get too large to be a subsection, and therefore merit splitting into it's own section (per summary style). But if that happens, then suddenly it is an outline and runs afoul of this proposal and gets deleted. Just as with a regular article, an outline should be supported by sources, etc. (i.e. it is a regular article, but happens to have a particular format) So there should be latitude for outlines to continue to exist, either where there is a well formed one already, or where a new one is divided off from a main article (but they have to have a clearly indicated main article that they are a subsidiary part of).
The definition of lists is also too narrow - some of the documentation says it should be alphabetical. Many lists of articles are more helpful if articles are grouped based on content. (Making them somewhat like the beginnings of an outline). Zodon (talk) 00:07, 16 September 2011 (UTC)
That's a pretty small list. Notice that the list is devoid of most major subjects. It's a weird list of straggling subject lists without any WikiProject support. Almost all of them are outlines (hierarchically-structured lists). Those about mainstream subjects should be folded into the set of outlines. The rest should be merged somewhere. The Transhumanist 00:55, 1 October 2011 (UTC)
  • Comment I was actually looking for something like this, didn't know it existed. I can't comment on most subjects, but in science they would be very useful, at least if users knew about them. Same goes for portals, why are 95% of links to portals buried in talk pages where most users will never find them? And as for categories, I don't know what subject those who find them useful are into, every time I click on a category it only confirms my feeling that something providing structure to the categories content is badly needed. If articles would actually link to outlines maybe more editors would get involved in improving them. I don't quite understand where the links are that title=Special:WhatLinksHere/Outline_of_physical_science refers to, can't seem to find them on most pages listed... DS Belgium (talk) 23:18, 2 October 2011 (UTC)

Alternative Outline Articles Proposal

We should develop a guideline that specifies what a proper outline article is. Once a consensus is reached on that, the guideline can be used to support the renaming of lists masquerading as outlines, and the merging of outlines that do nothing more then duplicate existing articles or lists.

  • Key features of an outline:
    It helps explain how a large topic area is broken down into subtopics.
    It Provides links to subtopics, with an explanation of how they relate to the broader topic.
    It Provides a broad overview of the topic area, without going into depth.
    Is designed to help those who may not know much or anything about the outline topic identify subtopics that may interest them.
  • What an outline is not:
    Not a list (lists can be annotated and still be lists).
    Not a mere copy of the contents of a main topic article with a bunch of links.
    Not a replacement of any existing article or list, it should provide something that is not currently available in another location.

That is just my idea for how to start it, does it seem consistent with what a proper outline should and should not be? Monty845 01:51, 7 September 2011 (UTC)

This makes sense to me. Looking at the examples I mentioned in the section above, which do you think should be called "outline" and which would you call lists? Jowa fan (talk) 08:33, 7 September 2011 (UTC)
I support the idea of having guidelines on outlines and that seems a good start. However, I do think that an outline will, of necessity, take some content from the lead of articles it links to. Some may say that's a fork, but if so it's a benign one. For me a fork is an attempt to mirror an article with the intention of sneaking in stuff that couldn't achieve consensus in the article proper. That's obviously bad. But provided that isn't happening I think an outline should give more than an article link, and I don't see how that can happen without repeating some info that the user will find should they click the link. We should be providing context that gives the viewer of the outline enough to decide whether they want to progress to the article or not. A teaser, I guess. --bodnotbod (talk) 09:48, 7 September 2011 (UTC)
What you call a fork is what WP:CFORK calls a POV fork. I don't think—and I don't think anyone thinks—that the paragraphs in outline articles are POV forks. (And thank goodness they're not!) But CFORK describes another type of content fork, the "redundant content fork". It's not malicious like a POV fork; it's just a waste of resources. It generally happens by accident. But my opinion is that with outlines, it happens (and cannot help but happen) by intent. If they use proper summary style to introduce each of their links, then they will effectively duplicate the main article on the topic (or even, perhaps, have more detail). Summary style is not itself a redundant content fork; but duplicating an article is. I still haven't seen anyone attempt to explain why the examples I discussed above (in the "Oppose" section) are not redundant content forks. Ozob (talk) 11:45, 7 September 2011 (UTC)
The exact same duplication happens by intent in regular articles. (In the main article on a topic, in related articles where they summarize what is in the related article.) The articles will not duplicate the main article on the topic, they will summarize it. If I have various sections that cover material in related articles, using summary style, what makes this okay if I have them just listed sequentially with different headings (as in an article), but not okay if I have them in an indented list (an outline)? Zodon (talk) 23:56, 15 September 2011 (UTC)
You're right; I misspoke. I believe that proper summary style for the main article on a topic is out of place in an outline. Proper summary style in an article may include a full paragraph with a multitude of links. Including an entire paragraph next to each entry in an outline means that you are effectively writing a new article, and I object for WP:CFORK reasons. However, I believe there is a proper summary style for annotated lists. It's shorter than in a regular article; no more than a sentence or two, and nothing that ought to need a footnote. If an annotated list consistently limits itself to that then I think it's not a redundant content fork. Ozob (talk) 19:16, 18 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose - "Hey, this storage box is full of crap, let's clean it out!" "Naaaahhh.. let's just rename it a Crap Storage Receptacle, and formulate rules for how we put crap in it!" → ROUX  10:24, 11 September 2011 (UTC)
This comment is useless, inappropriate and childish. Wikipedia is not a place to give emotional opinions. OffiikartTalk 20:14, 5 October 2011 (UTC)
  • Support. This looks like a way forward. Some outlines are indeed poor and should be deleted or moved to be a list. Some lists could become outlines. At their best, outlines are very useful. At their worst, grrr!
I agree with whoever the unsigned user above is - HIGHFIELDS (TALKCONTRIBUTIONS) 20:28, 11 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Support. Outlines should be permitted (not particularly encouraged). In general they should have a main article associated (unless they are the main article on the topic). They should have sources, just as a regular article. For some material an outline is a natural way to present it, editors should not be arbitrarily barred from using that format.
The requirements for list of articles should be made less strict (not require alphabetization), allow items to be grouped by topic. Zodon (talk) 00:06, 16 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Support. Clearly matches my understanding of what an outline should be. Toshio Yamaguchi (talk) 10:56, 16 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Support a good compromise which should keep the majority of supporters and opposers above happy Jebus989 11:03, 16 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose per Roux above. It's duplicate portal content. Merge 'em. [edit: Where original content wasn't a pre-existing list that should be restored. Why didn't admins stop this trainwreck editing faster?] — LlywelynII 21:57, 19 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Comment When I have found "Outline" pages useful it is because they are lists - a particular type of list, ordered by topic, annotated where needed to make clear what the articles listed are about. Timelines are another specialised type of list. Outlines should not have introductions or simplified explanations of subjects - those belong in the Lead section of the articles. I don't much like the name "Outline" but apparently it is widely used in US universities so I guess I can live with it as a name. In summary Keep "Outline" pages where they are hierarchical lists of articles, organised by topic and sub-topic.--filceolaire (talk) 23:14, 20 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Support. The good examples referenced above like Outline of anarchism, Outline of canoeing and kayaking, Outline of cell biology show great promise for providing new and unique value, even though they cover the same area as some other lists and articles. Although not all encyclopedias include them, they clearly are in line with our mission. However, I am also concerned about the risk of content forking - I would rather see minimal prose in the outlines, including links, or a brief summary, than a straight copy of any substantial part of the article on the topic. One way to do this is to replace prose paragraphs with short bulleted lists of phrases or possibly infoboxes (which offer the succinct key:value format for basic facts). Dcoetzee 07:00, 22 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Comment - the massive cleanup that this proposal suggests is already underway, and has been for the past couple of years. That's why the outline and index WikiProjects were formed. Many pages have been merged, to reduce redundant lists, and the work continues. Note that outlines are lists. All of them are, so differentiating them from lists per se is impossible. Though we can differentiate them from other types of lists, such as indexes, and item lists. The Transhumanist 21:16, 26 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Comment I have three times been unable to save a support !vote because the system says I am trying to save a blacklisted external link. There were no links in the prose I tried to append, so in effect my !vote is being unnecessarily precluded. Someone should investigate this. My76Strat (talk) 07:35, 25 September 2011 (UTC)
    • I have placed a vote in your name in Support section. Maybe it will let you edit that vote? Ozob (talk) 11:44, 25 September 2011 (UTC)
      • Thank you, BTW I have isolated the problem as local, so it is not an issue to be investigated further. Unless someone knows why my end might be causing this? It has something to do with the word updating, the fact that dating is green with two underscores on my screen, and when I edit, up and dating split with some crazy markup which includes a blacklisted site added between the two words. It's crazy. My76Strat (talk) 03:43, 26 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Comment I agree that clarification of the difference between "Outlines" and "Lists" would be worthwhile. If a clear consensus of that distinction can be made, I support such a guideline in principle, if not in content. With such a guideline it is likely that some Lists might be better served in Outline format. Consider Tree structures and Inventories, for these articles in question (whatever their current forms), are they more suitably defined as strictly Lists or conversely as strictly Outlines? I suggest neither limitation is advantageous. Keep both, but clarify and distinguish appropriately. Also, I typically use these linking-articles, as well as tables and boxes, as primary browsing tools. Pro-expansion, anti-constriction. JimsMaher (talk) 03:45, 28 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Weak support. Would prefer an outright deletion for those pages, though. --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| talk to me 01:36, 4 October 2011 (UTC)
  • Support. An outline should list topics in an order that makes the scope and vagaries of the subject matter clear. bd2412 T 18:03, 4 October 2011 (UTC)
  • Comment. As I commented in a separate RFC, I feel that the whole focus of Wikipedia should be to help people to quickly find and jump to an answer to their specific question, not to redirect them and force them to read through a humongous article to see if it contains something related to their question. If articles are written as outlines with links to subtopics which are standalone articles, then it is much easier to find a subtopic than if it were merged into a humongous article. In general such major subtopics do not belong exclusively to a single main topic anyway -- for concrete examples, see the comments on Emergency Management in the above-mentioned RFC. LittleBen (talk) 11:28, 5 October 2011 (UTC)

The above discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section.

custom comparision

I was seeing this page( and thought that not all partitions were needed to be compared and i could in fact remove or hide other file systems which were for example obsolete or not needed. By employing this in all the tables we can avoid over-crowding .Is there any function to do so?? — Preceding unsigned comment added by VIV0411 (talkcontribs)

Hmm... I'm not aware of any simple way to do that, no. If you're willing to get your hands a little dirty in template magic, you could split the table's data into a few subsets, and then populate multiple tables on the fly by transcluding various portions of the full set. This wouldn't be fully dynamic, though, since you'd need to edit the page to change which data is visible in any given table. From a technical perspective, this is relatively simple, but it does present some practical problems: it makes the table much harder to edit, presents editorial concerns when you sort out which table entries should be visible where, and can be a departure from our usual presentation style. You could use subpages to store the various table views, or use a template like {{hidden}} to let users pick which one they'd like to see, but it's really a bag of worms. Might be worth looking into, though: some of those tables are so massive that they're essentially useless for casual users. Perhaps it would be practical to include a summary table on one page, and a full table on another page? – Luna Santin (talk) 21:07, 11 October 2011 (UTC)

Wikilove - Send a message of appreciation to another user

A lot of new users are using this function (the 'heart' icon on User and User Talk pages) to award themselves barnstars, kittens etc.
Example: User talk:Hb18619
This is not what user talk pages are for, and may irritate other users who genuinely like being sent these messages by others as a welcome or gesture of appreciation.
Can this function be partially disabled so these messages can only be sent to other users, and not to themselves ? . . Mean as custard (talk) 09:14, 7 October 2011 (UTC)
How is it that a user experimenting in their own userspace should annoy anyone? --Jayron32 14:23, 7 October 2011 (UTC)
Agreed - in fact, I think users absolutely should be experimenting with the feature in their own userspace before they go try using it on others. Dcoetzee 23:04, 7 October 2011 (UTC)
To be fair, I think Mean as custard meant users that deliberately award themselves stuff and keep it rather than just experimenting and reverting themselves.. But even still.. a little self-love can't hurt ;P -- œ 00:31, 11 October 2011 (UTC)
Template:Abuse of Awards? Template:Abuse of WikiSelfLove? I'm sure the church lady has something to say about that. But as long as there is a notion of Abuse of Twinkle ... --Lexein (talk) 19:56, 12 October 2011 (UTC)
Reality check: User talk:Hb18619 gave themselves one (1) Civility Award. Having raised the bar on themselves, we can heretofore expect nothing but the finest quality reasoned and polite discussion from this user, or there will be community hell to pay. Nicht war? --Lexein (talk) 20:03, 12 October 2011 (UTC)
  • Meh... isn't there anything more important to worry about? LadyofShalott 14:43, 7 October 2011 (UTC)
  • Nope. It's the Village Pump. --Lexein (talk) 19:56, 12 October 2011 (UTC)
  • Comment From the message in the award at User talk:Hb18619 it seems quite obvious that this user did not award himself a barnstar, but simply tried out one of the many things one can do on Wikipedia, so this is a rather poor example for this proposal. Toshio Yamaguchi (talk) 18:18, 13 October 2011 (UTC)

Template to request a discussion be closed

In light of the somewhat common requests for closes of various discussions at WP:AN, I propose that we create a Requested Close template that will flag the discussion for close, and add the page to a tracking category, such as Category:Requests for Close. I have put together a template that could be used for this purpose {{User:Monty845/Rfclose}}, the various options can be seen at User talk:Monty845/Rfclose. Rather then immediately going to AN to request attention, requests would go to the category, and only if they still go unclosed would a special request to AN be necessary. Feel free to adjust my proposed version. Monty845 20:41, 8 October 2011 (UTC)

It looks good to me. A date parameter might be useful. Various instructions will need updating – I know that WP:Merging and Help:Merging recommend WP:Administrators' noticeboard. Flatscan (talk) 04:55, 12 October 2011 (UTC)
I support the proposed template(s) and category. Agree w/ Flatscan that a date parameter would be helpful.--JayJasper (talk) 05:12, 12 October 2011 (UTC)
I have no objection to adding a date parameter, do you have any proposals on how it would be used, or would it just be a date on the tag that wouldn't trigger any additional functionality? Also, it will require a subst: wrapper to automatically date the request, the alternative would be to have the tagger add the date. Monty845 19:19, 12 October 2011 (UTC)
I like it, but we need to make very very very clear in the accompanying documentation that most discussions may be closed by any uninvolved user, and that administrators do not carry special privileges with regard to closing discussions. Non admins should be encouraged to patrol the Requests for Close category, and should feel comfortable summarizing and closing discussions. We need to make it clear that this is not just tolerated, but accepted and indeed best practice at Wikipedia. In summary, this template and maintenance category seems like a Good Idea, so long as we make it clear that this is not an administrator function. --Jayron32 19:36, 12 October 2011 (UTC)
Perhaps an optional admin=yes parameter would be useful, to tweak the display text and/or categorization as needed. Generally, though, I agree that the template looks pretty solid. I could easily see us building up the same sort of infrastructure that we have surrounding templates like {{rfc}}, {{unblock}}, {{helpme}}, {{editprotected}}, and so on. – Luna Santin (talk) 20:13, 12 October 2011 (UTC)
The template already has a adminonly=yes parameter that removes the "or Experienced Editor" language from the template, it could certainly add a new category when it does so. See template options. Monty845 20:26, 12 October 2011 (UTC)
Sounds good. I'm somewhat thinking the template shouldn't mention admins at all unless adminonly is set, but it's a pretty minor quibble. – Luna Santin (talk) 05:45, 13 October 2011 (UTC)
  • As someone who has closed a number of very stale discussions that nobody else seemed to want to bother with I like this. I'm not positive it will help get the more complicated closes done in a timely manner, but it's worth a try. Beeblebrox (talk) 21:09, 12 October 2011 (UTC)
  • I'm not an admin, but several times in my wiki-career I've had to make several requests apiece for a discussion to be closed, so I'd support a template. I also think the template (or, actually, probably the category page) should link WP:NAC. –Roscelese (talkcontribs) 04:17, 13 October 2011 (UTC)
    While WP:NAC is, as far as I know, the best page we have on non admin closes, it is written with a near complete focus on the closing of deletion discussions. As far as I know, there is not a similar page that goes into much depth on non-admin closes generally, and if anything, non admin closes are given more respect outside of AfD. Monty845 04:30, 13 October 2011 (UTC)
  • My opinion closely mirrors Beeblebrox's. The difficult closures will likely remain on the list for weeks. However, requests at the administrators' noticeboard frequently have a long delay of weeks, so this idea is worth trying. I suggest having a table format like the one at Category:Wikipedia semi-protected edit requests, where a link to the discussion, username of close requester, timestamp of the discussion's beginning, timestamp of the close request, and other relevant details are placed in columns. Cunard (talk) 07:53, 13 October 2011 (UTC)

Page specific search

I propose that each page has its own search tool allowing that a reader/editor can search just that article for given words and/or phrases. The results having colour-coded highlighting of matched terms ranged from green for "exact" to orange for "similar". This could be further extended to provide a temporary TOC allowing jump-to navigation of the pages matches. The temporary TOC could also float by means of CSS position:fixed; so editors/readers didn't have to scroll up and down in order to use it. The highlighting and/or search-term-TOC could be hidden/shown by clicking a button provided next to the page-search input or on the TOC itself (if provided). An automatic inclusion of this feature could arise when a page exceeds a given length or it could be simply applied to all pages. -- fgTC 09:15, 9 October 2011 (UTC)

Ctrl-F in Windows, Apple-F in Mac. Dunno about Linux. → ROUX  13:13, 9 October 2011 (UTC)
Ctrl+F in Chrome too.
  • Not everyone knows this. Many users (especially casual) are not at all web-aware or browser-savvy. I know people for whom the web is a confusing and scary place.
  • The search would act only within the article thus it wouldn't highlight sidebar, footer, header or potentially template text.
  • Greater functionality could be added to a Wiki specific tool than is available in the browser tools.
-- fgTC 14:13, 9 October 2011 (UTC)
As above, every browser already has it; besides, it will only encourage sound-bite-reading. Maybe someone could chime in on how expensive/complicated this would be to implement. Choyoołʼįįhí:Seb az86556 > haneʼ 14:36, 9 October 2011 (UTC)
So um... we should include more tools for people who don't know how to use the ones they already have? This makes no sense. None of what you propose would be useful or desirable. → ROUX  18:31, 9 October 2011 (UTC)
Just as an aside to the above details, Apple hasn't used the "Apple Key" for about four years, it is now the command/⌘ key. Beeblebrox (talk) 21:15, 12 October 2011 (UTC)
Also the shortcut is to browser functionality not OS. I don't know if all browsers actually have a page-text search feature either (but then that was 1/2 the reason for this suggestion). -- fgTC 21:34, 12 October 2011 (UTC)

Make ability to view deleted content a separate userright

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section. A summary of the conclusions reached follows.
Close discussion - WP:PEREN, noting no indication here that the community's feelings have changed. Also note that both the current and former Wikimedia legal counsel are on record as opposing this proposal due to legal concerns (see Wikipedia:Village pump (proposals)/Persistent proposals/Straw poll for view-deleted). --Philosopher Let us reason together. 03:11, 14 October 2011 (UTC)

Sometimes it would be very helpful for my work at the help desk to be able to view deleted content, such as at WP:HD#Lost !. Therefore I propose to make the ability to view deleted pages a separate userright, so that I am not required to become an admin in order to have that right. Toshio Yamaguchi (talk) 13:49, 13 October 2011 (UTC)

There are some high-level considerations that must be taken into account with respect to viewing deleted revisions; see Wikipedia:Viewing deleted content. –xenotalk 13:53, 13 October 2011 (UTC)

Oppose. This would give the ability to view deleted sensitive personal information. If we trust a user enough to give that right, I think we can trust the user enough to be an administrator. Jc3s5h (talk) 13:55, 13 October 2011 (UTC)

Comment I think this proposal has been already raised a short time ago and rejected Cambalachero (talk) 14:09, 13 October 2011 (UTC)

By my count, at least four times, in various forms, over the past year. All went nowhere. Sven Manguard Wha? 14:58, 13 October 2011 (UTC)

Not gonna happen, as it shows in the link Xeno provided the foundation has specifically vetoed the idea that anyone except admins and above can view deleted material, for legal reasons--Jac16888 Talk 14:17, 13 October 2011 (UTC)

Oppose While it would be helpful, Xeno is right. If you really need to get access to deleted contributions fast, there are usually admins around in the IRC. If not, a message to an admin you know will get you a good response in good time, in most cases. Sven Manguard Wha? 14:58, 13 October 2011 (UTC)

Oppose in this form I agree that in some roles it is useful mainly perhaps in the Help Desk and on IRC where it is a problem I have encountered. I believe that some deletions may be done to hide sensitive data so I believe that viewing deleted pages should be kept to admins only. If the userright only let people view pages deleted as non notable however then that might be different as it would help me a lot in IRC when people come to me and say 'Why was my article deleted?' and then I have to spend ages trying to find an admin to ask them to tell the user what was wrong with the page. But even this should only be granted to people with exceptional need, but certainly no, non-admins should never be able to view all deleted content for privacy reasons. Jamietw (talk) 15:16, 13 October 2011 (UTC)

Oppose Perennial issue that has been discussed many times as part of admin tool unbundling suggestions. This is one of the tools that needs one of the highest levels of trust and integrity, any one who can demonstrate sufficient need to view deleted matter, will also be able to obtain the communitiy's approval for adminship. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 15:52, 13 October 2011 (UTC)

Comment by proposer "If we trust a user enough to give that right, I think we can trust the user enough to be an administrator." If my only intention of becoming an admin would be to be able to view deleted content to support my help desk work, I most certainly would not be able to pass RfA, even if I were a highly trusted user. The first question in an RfA usually is something along the lines of "What administrative work do you intend to take part in?" so I think I could have as much support from the community as I want, I most likely would not be able to pass the RfA because of a lack of need for most of the tools. Toshio Yamaguchi (talk) 16:15, 13 October 2011 (UTC)

Perhaps you're right. But I believe it is the RfA process that needs to be fixed. Originally I understand it was expected that users would become administrators as a matter of course if they behaved well for a while. Now you have to show why you really, really NEED admin privileges. I would love to see a showdown with the clique that's keeping adminship a private club. Jc3s5h (talk) 16:23, 13 October 2011 (UTC)

Oppose. The main thing here is that this shouldn't be an issue, because there shouldn't be a problem with a trusted user becoming an admin here. That being said, the only way that I'd be comfortable with this proposal would be if this proposed group required a process similar to RfA, and if that is going to happen they may as well just go to RfA. Ajraddatz (Talk) 16:34, 13 October 2011 (UTC)

Comment by proposer Another question in the RfA targets how a user deals with conflicts and how he reacts to other users. This is obviously targeted at the ability to block / unblock other users. This is completely irrelevant for me personally, as I am not interested in blocking or unblocking other users, yet it is somehow part of the threshold required to be passed if I intend to become an admin, even if I am only interested in becoming an admin to support my help desk work. Toshio Yamaguchi (talk) 16:59, 13 October 2011 (UTC)

Comment Perhaps it might be best of we start a new discussion about revamping the RfA process? Rather than just explaining all of the problems here? Jamietw (talk) 17:33, 13 October 2011 (UTC)

Comment Only a trusted few may delete things. This is good since otherwise vandals would be destroying Wikipedia as I type. Those few are vetted carefully to verify they can be not only trusted to only delete what is potentially harmful to the Wikimedia foundation but also be trusted to keep said materials away from the likes of me. They or the foundation have no idea if I am a good guy or not. I may have a clean record but then maybe I am planning something (see Pinky and the Brain). Deleted materials most likely contain data that could either be used to do harm by malicious folk or is simply too sensitive to be available for viewing by all and sundry. That's why it was deleted in the first place. Allowing dodgy stuff to be viewed by any but those who have proven themselves worthy would make deletion pointless. If deletion is pointless no one should have the right or everyone should. If I accidentally dropped my passport in the street I would prefer a police officer found it than some anonymous passer by. Not because all anonymous passer bys are bad people (far from it) but because most police officers can be trusted to do the right thing. Even if the proposer means well, opening up the ability to view sensitive data to any but those who have proven themselves righteous would eventually result in badness. I myself would not betray any trust given me and as such would not use any deleted data in any but the most honourable of ways; Honest. Do ya trust me Face-wink.svg Go on! Lemme see. (If my sense of humour confuses you just ignore the preceding 3 sentences) -- fgTC 17:51, 13 October 2011 (UTC)

The above discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section.


I think there has to be a way like AIV/RPP to request revdeletion of obviously offensive material, so I thought it would be a good idea to propose such a way, which I call Requests for Revdeletion. The diff(s) in question should be supplied unless they contain personal information. Just a thought.Jasper Deng (talk) 02:36, 14 October 2011 (UTC)

See Wikipedia:Revision deletion, especially the criteria for redaction. These requests generally shouldn't be made on-wiki, though. You can see a list of administrators who have volunteered to help out with these requests at Category:Wikipedia administrators willing to handle RevisionDelete requests. --Philosopher Let us reason together. 02:58, 14 October 2011 (UTC)

Userfy instead of CSD A7/A1

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section.

Except for very obviously bad pages (like advertising, vandalism, and attack pages), most pages that get CSD'd often are good-faith. Speedy deletion can be demeaning to new editors, as any admin who participates in speedy deletion knows.

The vast majority of these pages would have no problem if they were userfied. My proposed change here is to modify the CSD policy so that userfication should be considered before deletion. Any thoughts?Jasper Deng (talk) 19:39, 28 September 2011 (UTC)

For reference, A1 is "Articles lacking sufficient context to identify the subject of the article" and A7 is "No indication of importance (individuals, animals, organizations, web content)." Grandiose (me, talk, contribs) 20:17, 28 September 2011 (UTC)
I suggest you take such discussions to WT:CSD but I'm fairly sure that has been proposed before. Check the archives maybe. Regards SoWhy 20:25, 28 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose - moving useless crap that would never survive as an article into userspace is not a better solution than deleting it. See also the Article Canvassing Rescue Squadron for an object lesson in why. → ROUX  20:45, 28 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose - we have a flood of junk. moving it around doesn't lower the level. Passing the user on to Article Creation or another mentored process is best. Keeping content which will be overwritten at best isn't useful. Rmhermen (talk) 21:10, 28 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Comment: There are certain pieces of junk that should not be userfied. However, we need to make this more friendly to new users, not just us.Jasper Deng (talk) 22:08, 28 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose - it is already open to the reviewing admin to userfy if he thinks the article has potential, and I sometimes do that, but just being "good faith" is not enough - e.g the innumerable garage band and non-notable autobiography articles. The speedy notice gives the reason and links to essential guidelines like WP:N, for users who are willing to learn. JohnCD (talk) 22:14, 28 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Comment. I agree with the spirit, but I feel like I oppose the proposal due to instruction creep; I'd hope all admins consider possibilities for the article rather than just deleting everything with a tag, so it isn't necessary to state it. Myself, I see articles tagged A1 or A7 falling in a range. At one end are articles that are clear deletes: utter lack of context or utter lack of significance (e.g., Jane Doe is a freshman in high school; she's cool!). At the other end are articles that just need a little tweak, like a(nother) reference, before they can stay in article space. In between are the articles where I try to talk to the editors and tell them what they need to add that could save the article or that they could have the article userfied to work on it with less threat of deletion. (I didn't think about moving the articles to Articles for creation space; I'll need to consider that for the future.)
    If any change needs to come about, maybe it's a template that can be added to note that an administrator has reviewed the request for speedy deletion and is discussing the situation with the article's editor(s). —C.Fred (talk) 23:13, 28 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Comment Last big discussion on this was Wikipedia:Wiki_Guides/Change_CSD_to_userspace_drafts. Yoenit (talk) 06:18, 29 September 2011 (UTC)
  • The vast majority of pages deleted under A7 and A1 are not suitable as encyclopedia articles. The logistics of this aren't trivial. A7 is used to delete about 7,000 articles a month. A1 and A3 account for another 2,000 a month between them. Consensus is that pages which look like articles should not be allowed to remain indefinitely in userspace. If most deletions under A1, A3 and A7 were to be replaced by userfication then it would be necessary to delete tens of thousands of stale drafts on clearly inappropriate topics. Even if this is possible there are surely better ways to use the time of our editors. Hut 8.5 17:03, 1 October 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose - The overwhelming majority of article being CSD'd over an A-code is because they are not and very likely will not ever achieve notability. The proper solution to this is better communication, doing things in as non-bitey of a way we can, and educating the new user in our proper policies and procedures. Userfying every crapsack article that we KNOW isn't ever going to be in the encyclopedia is no more fair to the new user than simply deleting it is... only in this case we are giving them false hope and wasting their time in the improvement of an article that we could have said from the very beginning would never survive a CSD the NEXT time they try adding it. Trusilver 20:46, 5 October 2011 (UTC)
  • Comment Irrespective of content, an article can be useful to the editor as an example of how to start, create sections, format text, insert links, references, ..., a cheatsheet basically. Especially when it's the first article by an editor, deletion would take away what could be his/her main edit aid. Seems strange to use the lack of notability and suitability for article namespace as an argument against moving it to a namespace where it would not break the rules. Exactly the same could be said for essays placed in the article namespace. Should they be deleted instead of moved to the project namespace, because they'll never make it as encyclopedia articles? And about the work involved, wouldn't moving to userspace and deletion of stale drafts after a certain inactive time be considered less drastic actions requiring fewer considerations to take into account, effectively reducing the workload?
Not saying a user should be allowed a large collection of rubbish articles of course. DS Belgium (talk) 06:02, 6 October 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose At least half of not just the promotional pages deleted as G11, but also of the no-indication-of-importance pages deleted as A7, are totally hopeless, and will never make articles--at least not at the present stage of development of the person's career, the company's growth, or the organization's activities. The only realistic advice in most such cases is to suggest working on other articles until the original subject has developed to the extent it can realistically be written about for an encyclopedia. Userifying such pages and encouraging the contributor to work on them is not to the befit of either the contributor or the encyclopedia. Some pages are further developable, but in most cases the contributor would do better to develop them off-line rather than on the encyclopedia. If it's just a matter of some rewriting or addition of additional references for notability , the sort of things that can be quickly fixed, then the articles shouldn't have been speedied in the first place, but either left in place with an tag & an explanation, or changed to proposed deletion. DGG ( talk ) 23:48, 8 October 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose basically per DGG. I very occasionally userfy pages but it's not an operation that should become routine. We would certainly need far greater skills of judgement on the part of New Page Patrollers before anything like this could be seriously considered - and that's not for any time yet. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 10:11, 14 October 2011 (UTC)

The above discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section.

Call for volunteers: if you can read a diff, you can help keep us from making dumb mistakes.

Hey folks,

Maryana and I have been collaborating with some Wikipedians to continue one of the research projects from the summer, namely involving the randomized testing of talk page templates to try and improve them. (If you watch WP:VPT or read the Signpost, you might've seen stuff about it.)

The great thing about doing randomized testing is that we get a more unbiased assessment of our experiment. The bad thing is that in order to do a proper job of crunching these numbers, we need help from people who can read wiki histories accurately and tell us what's going on. Because doing an analysis that throws in, say, BLP vandals with people making simple markup mistakes, is a dumb way to do research. :)

This is where you come in. Obviously no one is better primed to analyze diffs and editing histories than actual editors, so we're looking for a few (3-4, but the more the merrier) volunteers to lend us their experience this week.

I know used the "r" word (research), which makes it sound not really important, but this is a live experiment on the projects. If we do this correctly, then we can do a better job of educating good faith editors, warning away those who cause damage to the encyclopedia, and keeping experienced Wikipedians from getting their user pages vandalized by angry people. ;-)

The system we've got set up for analyzing these diffs is really simple, so let me know either here or on my talk page if you might have an hour or two to spare. (Coordination-wise, you need to have some email address you're okay sharing privately with us, though we won't be sending you mail and it's just fine if it's a throwaway account on Gmail or the like.)

Thanks, Steven Walling (WMF) • talk 21:22, 11 October 2011 (UTC)

Mark GAs in sections for babel links

Looking quickly at az:Vegetarianizm, I observe that the babel links section has little icons marking GAs in other languages, similar to how we do for featured articles (e.g. the German link in Nattō). Why don't we do this systematically? {{Link GA}} exists, and it is used on some pages, but as far as I can tell, it's missing from many pages where it should be placed. I'd like to see a bot add it to all applicable pages, but I don't want to make a bot request without agreement here. Nyttend (talk) 21:28, 14 October 2011 (UTC)

My suspicicion is that GA criteria on the other languages are not trusted. Using the link you provided, the German version is not so far from en GA, but the Esperanto version is. Featured article indication was probably less controversial in this respect. Grandiose (me, talk, contribs) 22:46, 14 October 2011 (UTC)
Perhaps, but GA and FA are always going to be with respect to the local Wikipedia. I think systematic linking is a great idea. --Philosopher Let us reason together. 00:59, 15 October 2011 (UTC)
There's a significant contingent of people that don't even think our own GA ranking carries any weight. I'm not one of them, mind you, but I have to admit that there's a great range in quality within our own GA system. I'm not so sure about this. Sven Manguard Wha? 11:49, 15 October 2011 (UTC)
I think we should either link all of them, or none of them. If we're going to pick and choose, we must have clearly delineated criteria for which Wikipedias are considered "legitimate" (so that Wikipedias that want to be listed have a clear path forward to "legitimacy"). Personally I'd rather just link all of them and let the free market of ideas do its job, so to speak. If the xyzian Wikipedia is poorly written, new editors can work to drive the criteria upward over time. No reason to just shut it out. —Designate (talk) 17:19, 15 October 2011 (UTC)

Monthly cleanups - group by month

I was wondering if it is possible to easily (ie make a few changes to a master template or two, rather than edit 100s of cats/templates) to group all of the clean up categories (ie cats in Category:Monthly clean up category counter) into months/years, rather than just by type - is Category:Article sections to be split from June 2011 should be a subcat of Category:Article sections to be split and Category:Clean up categories from June 2011 (which should be a subcat of Category:Cleanup categories from 2011). This will enable drives of the type "lets cleanup everything in WP:Australia marked in 2006" much easier to complete, rather than going section by section. Is a change to the {{DMCA}} template able to easily do this? What is the point of Category:Monthly clean up category counter? The-Pope (talk) 07:14, 16 October 2011 (UTC)

I'm not clear on what exactly you're trying to do here. If you're just wanting to create Category:Clean up categories from June 2011 and make all "from June 2011" cleanup categories subcategories of it, you wouldn't need to touch {{DMCA}} at all. {{Monthly clean-up category}} would be the one you'd want to look at for that.
As for Category:Monthly clean up category counter, I assume it exists so someone can do {{PAGESINCATEGORY:Monthly clean up category counter}} to find out that 0 monthly cleanup categories currently exist. Anomie 13:40, 16 October 2011 (UTC)

protected from creation template proposed modification

i'm sorry if this is the wrong section for discussing this proposal; i'm new to the village pump. anyway, i was thinking that it might be helpful to change the "protected from creation" template so that it includes links to all the afds that led up to the article being salted. the reason is that there may be multiple topics that go by the same name, and a new editor who wanted to create an article under a salted name, seeing that template but not understanding how to go through the deletion logs to find out what happened, might be discouraged from creating the article on the different, legitimate topic. this occurred to me because of the deletion discussion on carnism: Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Carnism (2nd nomination), where the current article legitimately needs to be salted, but there is a different kind of carnism altogether which may at some point need an article (the details are explained in that discussion). it seems that it wouldn't be so hard to put a statement at the bottom of the template stating that editors wishing to create a new article should read the deletion discussions and explain to the admin from whom they request recreation permission how their new article would differ from previous versions, and have links to the deletion discussion(s) included with it. just a thought, and maybe a way to avoid discouraging some new editors from creating articles that ought to be created. an alternative might be to include in the template an explanation of how to get to the logs and from there to the afd discussions.— alf.laylah.wa.laylah (talk) 15:29, 17 October 2011 (UTC)

"Proposal: bring WP:Images into the MOS"

Just a note here that I started this proposal at WT:MOS#Proposal: bring WP:Images into the MOS currently with no comments at all. Would appreciate what people thought. Grandiose (me, talk, contribs) 14:50, 18 October 2011 (UTC)

Content dispute resolution

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section. A summary of the conclusions reached follows.
No consensus for anything and the thread has gone dead. Feel free to reopen with a new more straightforward proposal. -- DQ (t) (e) 10:58, 13 November 2011 (UTC)

A breakdown of content dispute resolution processes. Two diagrams discuss how content dispute resolution was done in the past and how it is done at present, with two further diagrams outlining potential shuffles of the DR hierarchy.

This isn't the first time I've been here recently. Back in June I proposed the creation of the dispute resolution noticeboard, a way of getting many eyes on a dispute and coming to a quick resolution as opposed to something like MedCab or an RFC. Not to toot my own horn, but it has been reasonably successful thus far. Since then, I've been discussing proposed changes to the Mediation Cabal (see discussion) to make it more of an intermediate option as opposed to how things are at present (refer to diagram).

Resolution process for content and conduct issues at present

Additionally, it's made me think of the issues that content dispute resolution faces at times. Conduct issues have a pretty clear cut method of resolution, whereas content disputes have no lasting resolution. Consensus can change, and that's important. At the same time, there have been a select few disputes in the past that have gone through conventional DR methods numerous amount of times, and have ended up at ArbCom, often because of conduct issues, but at times topic bans or discretionary sanctions don't have the desired effect and the issues with the content continue. Senkaku Islands, Ireland article names, Eastern European disputes and Palestine-Israel articles are a few examples of disputes that have been through the DR processes endlessly both at present and in the past.

This is not a new idea. It's been proposed in the past, with Wikipedia:Community enforceable mediation, there was some discussion of it at an RFC on content DR back in 2008, and several variants of the idea for binding resolution of content disputes are littered over userspace, Two examples of this are here and here. I don't think that such a committee or body should be utilised lightly, it should only be done when all other methods of dispute resolution has failed. Perhaps it could be used after a case is closed as unresolved by the Mediation Committee. Perhaps a dispute would be referred there by the Arbitration Committee. Or perhaps there's another idea completely. I don't have any concrete ideas as of yet, I do think that any potential resolutions or decisions by this, well, for now let's call it "content ArbCom" should have time limits and be open to amendments if situations change vastly within the dispute, but would be ideal for highly charged disputes such as the ones I've listed above, and would appreciate input from the community on this. Thanks. Steven Zhang The clock is ticking.... 01:00, 29 September 2011 (UTC)

Since one of the referenced userspace drafts is mine, I'm obviously in favor of the idea. While my version is a bit rule-intense, its goal is to make content arbitration a kind of enforceable-RFC which requires a prior attempt at RFC and DR, attempts to make a last-ditch attempt to draw in as much community participation in the final outcome as possible, and only allows the arbitrators to make a decision if the community fails to come to consensus about the content, saying in effect: "Hey, community - trout slap - if you don't decide this, it's going to be decided for you: Do you really want that to happen?" Though it's not mentioned in my draft, I would hope that filings with this committee would get the publicity, such as ongoing reporting in the Signpost, as do ArbCom proceedings so as to draw in as many editors as possible and avoid committee-only decisions. Whether by community consensus or committee decision, decision at this forum would determine the matter for the time being and would be enforceable. Best regards, TransporterMan (TALK) 14:05, 29 September 2011 (UTC)
Just rename Wikipedia:Administrators' noticeboard/Incidents to Wikipedia:Community forum, because that is all that is. Moreover, I question whether or not "mediation" is suitable in an open wiki environment (as opposed to MedCom, which is more closed). –MuZemike 23:01, 1 October 2011 (UTC)
  • We already have a last resort for content disputes. It's called ArbCom. Not sure what the point is here, but it seems to ignore the fact that behavioral and content issues often go hand in hand, therefore it makes sense to have one body that is authorized to deal with both. Beeblebrox (talk) 23:51, 1 October 2011 (UTC)
    • No, not really. I'm actually bringing this here partly on the suggestion of an arbitrator (see the Abortion workshop). ArbCom don't issue decisions on content. I agree that in 99% of cases there shouldn't be a "binding" decision in regards to content, but for the rare cases where continuous discussion is damaging to the community (see the list of cases I linked to) there should be a method to resolve the disputes, at least for a period of time (like the Ireland article names dispute). I have no concrete ideas at present, but think we should have a serious discussion about it instead of throwing ideas out pretty much straight away. If ArbCom deals with content disputes, why are so many issues sent around the loop too often without resolution. At least think about it. Steven Zhang The clock is ticking.... 00:08, 2 October 2011 (UTC)
Ok, i see where you are coming from, they make decisions about how editors in dispute are to behave, but you are right that they don't usually wade into the dispute itself. I guess I'd like to see a more solid idea of how this would work. Beeblebrox (talk) 18:28, 2 October 2011 (UTC)
There are two possible ways we could do this. Either a dispute goes through the content dispute hierarchy first (Talk page, DRN/3O/MedCab or MedCom) and then ArbCom who will look at any conduct issues and refer any unresolved content issues to this "content committee" or it could be a step taken directly after a MedCab/MedCom case, with strict requirements for the dispute so the new committee doesn't become a free-for-all (Serious discussion must have happened for an extended period of time and all options of resolution have been tried without success.) A modified version of User:TransporterMan/Sandbox/3 may be a starting point, out of which we can mould a more of a solid proposal. Steven Zhang The clock is ticking.... 02:40, 3 October 2011 (UTC)
  • I don't think there is a problem here to solve. Content issues, devoid of editorial issues, should be dealt with by: 1) Editing, 2) talk page, 3) WP:3O, 4) WP:RFC. The higher number should be seen as supporting the lower number, with solutions only ever obtained via #1. Perhaps there is room for some structure for RFC? There are various noticeboards that can support, and I think that committed tendentious editors should be restricted in editing in the problem area without reference to the content issue. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 03:13, 4 October 2011 (UTC)
    • Part of the reason I brought it here was the Senkaku Islands dispute which has been through content DR processes several times over. If a dispute is still unresolved after 2-3 years of conventional DR, we need something new to fix that. Our standard processes also have no way of dealing with civil POV pushing. Is this a radical idea? Of course. But I think by the info I listed at the top of this section, it's needed, at least for those once a year issues that warrant it. Steven Zhang The clock is ticking.... 03:29, 4 October 2011 (UTC)
  • I agree with the idea of having a semi-systematic way of making a final decision on controversial content issues (final in the sense of, if nothing changes in the real world, nothing changes on Wikipedia); when an edit war drags on for years and years, it's in the encyclopedia's best interests to come to a resolution and put the issue to rest. However, I cannot support this proposal without knowing more details about how this body will work. What, ideally, should their decisions be based on? Like for ArbCom, their decisions are based on Wikipedia's policies and guidelines, etc., but it really comes down to personal judgment and common sense. Why does User X deserve a 1-year ban while User Y only gets admonished? The severity of sanctions is not encoded anywhere in policy; it's just what feels right to the arbiters. Now, a bit of personal opinion is perfectly fine for ArbCom, because ArbCom members (as well as most experienced users) are all pretty mainstream when it comes down to user conduct. Even an ardent deletionist, as long as they understand and uphold our policies, would object to someone mass deleting articles they don't like, for example. The problem for content disputes is, however, that it would be very difficult to find a group of users who are relatively neutral on all political, social, and other controversial issues. Moreover, while our behavioral guidelines cover all of user conduct (yes, all - any leftovers are taken up by WP:IAR), we can never hope to create a set of guidelines describing all possible content, simply because the world has too many twists and turns. IAR is fine, but just try moving Republic of Ireland to Ireland unilaterally. IAR means common sense; articles, however, feed on sources. Interpretation of those sources (what to include, what to prioritize, etc.) is what leads to this mess. If a policy or guideline is ambiguous, we hold a discussion to amend it. But the sources are there, and we can't change them. The above is the fundamental difference between conduct and content. -- King of ♠ 08:55, 4 October 2011 (UTC)
    • I agree with the differences in content and conduct disputes, and the complexities and difficulties that convening such a DR body for content issues will create. The reasons you give are sound ones. As Wikipedians we all have personal opinions on things, religion (either religious or not religious) or politically (various broad categories here). One doesn't have to have no opinion on anything to be able to be objective and neutral, they must however have a very sound understanding of the content policies and how they work together (NPOV, RS, V, BLP, UNDUE to name a few) as these are largely how content is governed. I think TransporterMan's draft proposal might be a decent starting point we can mould something out of. I'd agree that this should be done cautiously, so perhaps the requirements for case acceptance at the "Content Committee" can be very strict to start off with, with their remedies to be in effect for a max period of time to start with (say 6 months) and the acceptance requirements and duration of remedies etc can be modified as the committee becomes more structured and the case process becomes smoother and works better as time goes on. Steven Zhang The clock is ticking.... 10:23, 4 October 2011 (UTC)
  • The more time single purpose editors spend arguing, the less time they spend edit warring. In that respect, the status quo works relatively well.

    I think what we need is an alternative to RfC that comes after existing options have failed, in which uninvolved editors try to determine whether there a solution is remotely conceivable, or whether the issue should be recognised as something which is unlikely to ever be resolved. When writing about love and war, religion and politics, life, the universe and everything, it's inevitable that the latter will sometimes be the case. —WFC— 14:35, 4 October 2011 (UTC)

  • Would be in support of this idea. Frequently a RfC resolves issues but for cases in which it does not we do need a further mechanism of content resolution.--Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 01:43, 6 October 2011 (UTC)
  • Support something being done in this area. ArbCom's current model is not working; content and conduct problems don't always go hand in hand and so dealing with conduct only is inadequate. (To be fair, it's not really the Arbs' fault their model is inadequate; their scope is given to them by the community.) What exactly should be done I don't know (I might think of some more ideas when I'm more lucid), but something should be. Heimstern Läufer (talk) 05:56, 12 October 2011 (UTC)

Thoughts by FT2 on content resolution + proposals

The issues that cause content not to be resolved are very well known - as a community we have seen it happen thousands of times. Four issues seem to cause a debate to get really bad. I would like to propose a 4-way framework that would be likely to help.

The problem with "binding content resolution"
  1. The risks of "setting content in stone" is huge, this alone is a major concern ("you can't change it, it was agreed by arbitration etc").
  2. It makes it hard to improve any "fixed" text later,
  3. It creates a prime target for gaming and politiking (eg who gets to make these decisions),
  4. We don't want to ditch broad community consensus as our process except in the utmost need.
Issues to design around
  • Some topics are inherently difficult because of the question, even if conduct is good. For example: - weighing sources, evaluating what is a "mainstream" view, and issues with genuine multiple answers (naming disputes etc). The process especially needs to help these kinds of question.
  • It doesn't take many people to frustrate good debate. We have policies that in theory should work well but rely on good quality participators and very good faith efforts and mutual respect. In heated debates these are easy to break or hard to obtain from all participants.
  • We don't have a formal structure to help editors reach consensus in complex issues. So each time there is a "reinventing of the wheel". At Arbitration the answer to many content issues is "you need to try proper multi-stage, carefully planned, consensus-seeking". Several "heavy" content issues got resolved this way but the lesson how to do it (or that it may be needed) hasn't spread.
  • It's easy for a newcomer to a topic to demand a rehash of a debate even if there isn't really anything new to add. This can add scrutiny and improvement and inclusion of updated facts (good) but can also cause pointless rehashing and lack of progress to the frustration of long term topic editors (bad). It can also mean a newcomer with a good point is silenced due to impatience that they were not aware of nor responsible for (bad).
Proposed framework

Three key targets:

  1. A way to bring specific points to a process that examines genuine hard content questions productively and narrows down or answers the problem, but without fossilizing or helping gamers.
  2. A way to make more/better use of multi-stage dispute resolution methods, also easier and earlier. (Used as well or instead of #1)
  3. A way to put the brakes on users who "fly under the radar" by impeding good discussion in a way that makes it hard to block them (eg civil edit warriors), and on disputes involving so many heavily-involved users that little progress towards resolution gets made over years (eg ethnic disputes)
Framework proposal #1 - Content review for genuinely hard issues

Users able to bring specific content points for independent evidence-based review, if all other routes fail.

  • Talk pages often get distracted or fail. The review "rules" are designed differently to avoid that.
  • Users present evidence related to the content issue (not related to past debates, behavior, personalities etc).
  • Only the highest standard of contribution is allowed, eg speaking on content issues only, examining evidence only, asking questions intended to clarify concerns or points of fact/evidence, and making succinct (non-essay) points related to policy or best practice only.
  • Page header states that anyone meeting certain standards (eg mainspace edit count, GA/FA, no recent blocks) can contribute but users who can't or won't discuss to a very high standard , may be asked to contribute on the review's talk page only.
  • The aim is to set rules that gain high quality discussion by experienced users - including a high proportion of uninvolved users - who can be shown the actual evidence on the content point rather than endless dispute history, and who collaborate to analyze that evidence and ask questions, and clarify their thinking to the disputants.
  • The outcome is that disputants get a high quality review of the content related evidence, which can be taken back and used to help settle the dispute - but is only binding in the sense that it's an independent and high quality review.
  • Future questions on the topic can be resolved by pointing to the discussion of evidence, or by adding a new section to reopen the debate on specific new points of evidence if editors can't solve it on the talk page. So content isn't fossilized or "dictated by edict", but also isn't endlessly rehashed in the absence of new evidence.
Framework proposal #2 - Making multi-stage dispute resolution more accessible

Users able to get proper uninvolved help to set up and operate a good quality multi-stage DR process. We have seen these used on several big disputes already. They work.

  • Relies on experienced users working neutrally together (maybe part of MEDCOM or a separate WikiProject?) who help others with a dispute to set design, set up, and operate a decent DR process for their specific content concern, by listening and learning what the issues are and why it's stalled, and trying to help the participants to develop a way to resolve it (eg based on what's worked in other major issues)
  • Users in a difficult content dispute could disagree on the content but agree they are getting nowhere and agree to ask for help to design a good quality DR process. The request would be something like, "This is a major and messy dispute, we agree we need a proper DR process but we can't agree on one or don't know how to operate one. Please help"
  • The role of the "helping" users would be to help disputants build consensus for a process that gets enough "buy-in" to be helpful (eg to frame the issue, agree what questions need asking, agree any "rules" for the discussions, then hold a discussion with agreed "rules" etc)
  • May work or may not, but this is how many "heavy" disputes like naming disputes actually get resolved after years of arguing, so worth making it more accessible.
Framework proposal #3 - Keeping "skilled disruptors" and "mass involved participant issues" from damaging content progress

Two possible avenues:

  • The line between disruption and good faith lack of skill or advocacy is hard to draw. Disputes often flounder because our criterion for removing a user is that they are egregiously causing a problem. If the rule was flipped in some disputes, that users had to contribute to a visibly high standard of conduct (as seen by uninvolved user consensus) to stay in the debate, and not just "avoid egregious bad conduct", or there was a "one warning and courteously asked to leave the page for 24-48 hours without a block" rule for some disputes, then a lot of disputes would vanish because people would start to realize anything but good content-focused conduct just got them excluded. It would make tendentiousness or ad hominem much harder to get away with.
  • Good quality content tends to be more stable and less polarized. Articles with perennial disputes drive away exactly the skilled editors who could help improve the content. An option would be to develop a way to identify users the community trusts in content disputes - users who have shown a high level of editing skill and capability, very good respect for policy, not prone to POV or gaming, good on both conduct and content, fair, etc etc. In effect "trusted content editors" - people we know from their past editing will consistently edit content well, neutrally, and with good conduct. We have easily hundreds or thousands of such users, enough to make this work. Such users could be given exclusive editing of the article for a month, then it handed back to the wider community/previous participants to take it over again. It won't stay perfect, but being put into good shape by good quality editing that reflects multiple views neutrally and acknowledges issues, will reinvigorate it, and makes it much easier for regular users to maintain.

Together these would make a massive improvement to content issues, possibly including some of the worst, and avoid the risks of "binding content arbitration". FT2 (Talk | email) 15:15, 4 October 2011 (UTC)

  • We certainly do need a workable process for content dispute resolution. Options that I can think of are (1) to set up authority figures who chair, guide, steer, or decide, as FT2 suggests (will we elect these people?), or (2) to have a fixed-duration centralised discussion framework, which would resemble XFD discussions, to be closed by administrators based on community consensus. Either way would lead to a quicker and more final decision on content matters, which I think is the outcome we want.—S Marshall T/C 00:12, 5 October 2011 (UTC)
  • Many moons ago I came up with a proposal for a circuit of lower courts under the authority of the Arbitration Committee, run by a single judge (or some other title) who could adjudicate content disputes by fiat, using a set of criteria laid down by Arbcom. Those decisions could then be appealed to the full Committee, and the lower court justices would be elected by the community and could be removed by Arbcom at any time (and easily). Obviously this is modeled after the US civil justice system. It has the advantage that it could lighten the load of Arbcom (because they can reject appeals where it looks like the case is straightforward and the lower court arbitrator did his or her diligence, plus the lower court arbitrator would have already done the clerking work of making the dispute legible to committee members), which means that more disputes could be put into the Arbitration phase, and earlier. That would provide binding content dispute resolution that supports the efforts of good-faith editors who don't back down from trolls. We'd probably have to delete WP:BURO if we did that, though. causa sui (talk) 19:17, 11 October 2011 (UTC)

Would an admin assess the consensus in this discussion? Thanks, Cunard (talk) 22:44, 19 October 2011 (UTC)

I have a feeling that there hasn't been enough discussion to do much here, which is a shame. But not much that can be done, if there's a lack of interest. Steven Zhang The clock is ticking.... 23:24, 19 October 2011 (UTC)
Many thoughtful proposals have been raised here (in this subsection alone, the proposals by FT2, S Marshall, and causa sui are very innovative). There was likely a lack of interest in this discussion because there was not a well-defined proposal about what changes to implement.

This discussion's purpose was to elicit ideas about how to change the content dispute resolution structure. If you are still interested in implementing one or more of the proposals here, I recommend that you create a page dedicated to discussing them and ask the editors who have participated in this discussion to help you form (a) well-defined proposal(s) for change. Solicit more proposals and opinions via WP:CENT and other pages. After drafting a well-defined proposal and advertising it on WP:AN, WP:ANI, WP:VPP, and WP:CENT, it will likely garner much higher user turnout and interest. Cunard (talk) 04:34, 20 October 2011 (UTC)

The above discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section.

Tool request

Can anybody create or does a tool exist that can check all revisions of an article and identify when a particular string of characters appears in the article, preferably checking the revisions in reverse chronological order? That means from the current revision the tool should check backwards through all prior revisions and identify the first revision, where the string does not appear and then output the previous revision (which necessarily would be the first revision, where the string was introduced). Toshio Yamaguchi (talk) 13:21, 19 October 2011 (UTC)

History → Revision history search. ---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 13:24, 19 October 2011 (UTC)
I think this is what you are looking for, GB fan 13:25, 19 October 2011 (UTC)
Hmh, thanks for the replies. When I enter AB Album 2010 into the text search field for the article Ahmed Bukhatir I get this diff by Yobot. However then inserting AB_Album_2010.jpg finds what I need. What an awesome tool. Thanks a million. Toshio Yamaguchi (talk) 13:40, 19 October 2011 (UTC)
There is also this: Helder 14:01, 19 October 2011 (UTC)
Thanks. Much appreciated. Toshio Yamaguchi (talk) 14:11, 19 October 2011 (UTC)


At present there is a discrepancy on the way villages and other types of unincorporated localities are treated. For some countries, articles on villages are accepted, for other countries they are not, even when there is no major difference in the administrative setup. It does not make sense for instance, to accept articles and categories for villages in Bulgaria, Bangladesh, Botswana, Hungary, Poland, Ukraine and not for Romania, Moldova or Serbia. Even if villages are not independent administrative entities, they are separate settlements and should be accepted as subjects for separate articles. There is no reason why an unincorporated locality such as McLean, Virginia should be accepted as subject for an article and Veneţia de Jos, Braşov (which is first documented in 1235) should be excluded. These are only examples. The issue is that all settlements (villages) should be accepted as subjects for articles, regardless of the country in which they are located. A unitary approach should be adopted for the entire en:wiki. Treating the locatities of different countries in different ways only creates conclusions.Afil (talk) 16:52, 11 October 2011 (UTC)

???? Based on the consensus demonstrated at numerous AfD discussions, every geographic location or entity that has a name and a verifiable location is suitable for inclusion as a topic of an article in Wikipedia. Who told you otherwise? --Orange Mike | Talk 17:15, 11 October 2011 (UTC)
If I'm reading you correctly, your using McLean, Virginia as an example of a place without an article? Monty845 17:32, 11 October 2011 (UTC)
On the contrary, I was quoting it as a place with an article as opposed to others for which the articles have been deleted.Afil (talk) 18:13, 11 October 2011 (UTC)
So have you tried actually creating these articles only to have the deleted/merged or is it that they don't exist? If the letter, then go make them. Just because something hasn't been done doesn't mean "it's not accepted". ♫ Melodia Chaconne ♫ (talk) 18:20, 11 October 2011 (UTC)
The problem started in some articles on villages which I have posted and which have been deleted being replaced by redirects. I also designed a template for the communes to which the villages are administratively subordinated. This lead to a dispute on the talk page of Template:Beceni, Buzău where a fellow wikipedian considered that even if Romanian villages have a name and a location, they should not have their own articles. The discussion was getting heated and I had no proof of what the accepted policy of Wikipedia was. As the discussion was getting nowhere, and each of us was sticking to his guns, I am trying to find out what is agreed upon, if there is a consensus on the matter (or to generate a discussion if the matter was not agreed upon. It is definitely a matter of not accepting articles on Romanian villages and this view has been advocated by my opponent. I don't want to argue indefinitely but simply know what is correct and what is not correct.
And I fail to understand why a template which lists the compunent villages of a commune and tthe neighboring communes should be deleted because the villages are irrelevant.

Afil (talk) 18:30, 11 October 2011 (UTC)

As I am the user in question, I would like to clarify why Romanian (and Moldovan) villages are (and should be) covered under the articles of the parent communes to which they belong, as well as through redirects to those articles, rather than as separate articles:
1) Rather than have 13,000 permanent stubs, it seems far preferable to have 3000 (mostly) stubs that can be expanded; having eternal and virtually identical stubs floating about is not a goal of Wikipedia. If an article has no chance to get to FA status, it shouldn't exist; this is the case for Romanian villages, but not communes, and even if villages did make FA, they'd necessarily overlap greatly with the commune articles, or else the latter would remain empty shells, with relevant material in the village articles. Multiple articles on essentially the same topic are by nature redundant and cumbersome as well. Would readers want to have several small articles to look through, all of them assuming that the readers already know how one article relates to the other, or do they want a single, reasonably long coherent article that answers most questions in one place? Because you can make a coherent article on a locality of 1,000 people if you don't decide to make ones about each of its individual parts.
2) In 95% of cases, commune A will have villages A, B, C, etc. How do we distinguish village A from commune A in two separate articles, and more to the point, why take that pedantic step, a step tantamount to content forking?
3) The standard Romanian encyclopedic dictionary of 1978 stops at the commune level. Yes, I know we're not paper, but this still matters.
4) Villages don't have administrative powers; communes do. Again, I know this isn't determinative, but it's another factor.
I'd like to emphasize that I have never sought to delete articles on villages, but to merge and redirect them, so please let's stop right here with charges of "deletion". Whatever relevant content there is on them should be added, but I (and others; this isn't just my opinion) simply think this material should be in the commune article, not split up. I'd also like to note that another discussion (in which I took no part) decided not to have articles on the barangays of the Philippines, so such a step is not without precedent. And that it's possible a more logical structure could be devised for organizing villages in Bulgaria or Bangladesh or Botswana, but the important thing, as I see it, is to have consistency within countries rather than across them. There are almost 200 countries on earth, and terms like "village" or "commune" or "county" mean different things in different places, so it seems absurd to try for one standard that fits all. (Moreover, I'm afraid referring to other countries is untenable: what we have is articles on the smallest self-administrating units of each country, which Romanian villages are not. A Romanian village is a the equivalent of a commune quarter, which makes it have unparalleled status and border on zero relevancy for this project as a whole.) Involved editors happen to have thought up a standard that fits Romania and Moldova quite well, and there's no reason to discard it. - Biruitorul Talk 22:31, 11 October 2011 (UTC)
I agree - certainly every spot on a map should be mentioned on Wikipedia, but there has to be a level below which we don't necessarily create separate articles for each of them (unless there's something especially interesting about a particular spot). In many countries which have "commune"-like units, that seems a good level to use for article separation. (Entities below that level are likely to be more like hamlets than real villages.) Similarly, civil parishes in England (where they exist), and sołectwos in Poland, seem to be the right sort of level to make separate articles. (We need to consider how we represent the coordinates of subvillages, though - this should be done in such a way that they can still be exported to external map applications.)--Kotniski (talk) 08:05, 12 October 2011 (UTC)
I think this is a case of deciding on organization rather than actual text. No one is questioning whether or not information at Wikipedia regarding such villages should be included; I see nothing wrong with keeping such information around. Whether it makes more sense to organize it into seperate articles, or to collect it into larger articles covering multiple villages within a larger administrative unit; well, that is the sort of thing that needs to be taken on a case-by-case basis, and needn't be decided by any all-encompassing policy for the whole 'pedia. Instead, use common sense, and decide what situation calls for what sort of organization. It is not insulting or unfair that many small articles are redirected to a larger, omnibus article if such method makes for better reading. No one is deleting anything, and if that works to make Wikipedia easier to use, then go with that! If, perchance, more information were to be found regarding certain villages, then it could be spunout into a larger article. But there's nothing wrong with merging these articles, so long as the information is preserved. --Jayron32 19:32, 12 October 2011 (UTC)
The discussion is presented incorrectly by User:Biruitorul. If you look at his discussion regarding Template:Beceni, Buzău. he specifically states that ALL articles on villages in Romania and Bulgaria should be replaced by redirects. There is no reference on the contents - even if the information is sufficient to justify an independent article it still should be merged into the article on the commune. This is incorrect.
What I am objecting to is setting a different rule for any country as opposed to a general rule applicable to the entire Wikipedia. We cannot have country-specific rules. If we do dont want stubs or small articles for inincorporated localities, this should be specified. Any rule which is applied only to a certain group, country, nationality etc. constitutes a discrimination. If we accept the views advocated by user:Biruitorul they should be equally applicable to Bulgaria, Poland, Hungary etc.
Some arguments simply do not hold water, for instance the fact that villages do not have administrative powers. It is not a factor at all. It it was, we would not have an article on McLean, Virginia, who has absolutely no administrative powers.
In conclusion, I consider that all countries are to be considered equal and that no single country should be the object of a separate discriminatory rule which is not applicable to the rest of the world. This is the issue I have raised and which should be addressed. Afil (talk) 20:07, 12 October 2011 (UTC)
Actually, I said nothing about Bulgaria. As for Romania, yes, I support merging and redirecting articles on villages, and indeed I've done it for all 13,000 of them. As Jayron notes, an extra-long article on a village could conceivably be split off, but we're nowhere near that stage yet. When we have information on a Romanian village sufficient to justify an independent article, I'll be pleasantly surprised.
In fact, we very well can have country-specific rules; see for instance this section of WP:NCGN. This is not an instance of "discrimination" (oh, and by the way, in relation to this topic, you've used that word nine times in recent days and it's failed to cause people to fall all over themselves, so you might as well quietly drop it) — it's a matter of dealing with different realities in different countries. For the reasons outlined above, the model I have followed probably works best for Romania; other models may work better elsewhere. (The average Bulgarian rural municipality, for instance, is ten times bigger both in terms of population and area than its Romanian counterparts, so it could perhaps make more sense to have separate articles on Bulgarian villages.) See also WP:CREEP: we probably have enough rules as is, and we're simply not going to create one special standard that encompasses all 193 UN member states. WP:GNG and WP:CFORK are more than sufficient to handle this situation.
On the contrary, villages' lack of administrative powers is a factor: we're talking about places with hundreds or even tens of inhabitants that don't even have their own mayor and local council, and that are in fact informal, often undefined or vaguely defined districts of communes. We absolutely should (and, thanks to me, do) mention them at the articles of the communes they belong to, and redirect for accessibility (again something I've done), but splitting them off would only create redundancy and confusion. After all, would readers want to have several small articles to look through, all of them assuming that the readers already know how one article relates to the other, or do they want a single, reasonably long coherent article that answers most questions in one place? As for McLean: let's not compare a city of 50,000 with commune quarters of a few hundred residents.
Just so participants can get a concrete idea of what we're talking about, please have a look at a well-developed article on a Romanian commune, Coronini, made up of two villages, Coronini and Sfânta Elena. Now, if I understand Afil correctly, he'd want us to have articles on Coronini (the village), Sfânta Elena and Coronini Commune. (This is what they do on Romanian Wikipedia...) The first two would split the content roughly in half, while the third would be a pretty empty shell. Now, in all honesty, isn't the suggestion a little absurd? Why take a nicely written, coherent article on a single entity and cut it into pieces on a whim, in the process dispersing and reduplicating content? Because one editor thinks it's "anti-Romanian discrimination" not to have three articles where we easily can have one?
And your final point is more of the same ignoratio elenchi. Having a particular arrangement for how we deal with one country's geographical subdivisions does not mean we consider it less "equal" or that we "discriminate" against it (that word again!). Just as we don't have articles on the smallest units in the Philippines or (as Kotniski helpfully informs us) Poland, there's a logical stopping point for Romania as well, and that's the commune. - Biruitorul Talk 21:37, 12 October 2011 (UTC)
You do not understand me correctly. What I am opposing is discrimination of any kind. I would consider it equally offensive if we advocated a rule which for whatever reason (let's ssay because the names exceed 20 characters) would exclude Welsh names from Wikipedia. I would consider it offensive to propose a rule which for whatever reason would exclude some Israeli entities from Wikipedia.
I am also opposed to hidden discrimination i.e. of designing criteria which would have the effect of eliminating a certain category.
This is a general principle which should be followed by Wikipedia in all cases. There should bbe no rule which is applicable only to a single nationality, ethnicity, country, religion etc. And no pretext which would have the effect of singling them out should be acceptable.
If there is a rule which says that "every geographic location or entity that has a name and a verifiable location is suitable for inclusion as a topic of an article in Wikipedia" it is not acceptable to add "except in Romania or Moldova". Even if some pretext are presented to explain why this exception should be accepted.
It would be non-discriminatory to indicate that information regarding these locations should be included in articles with more comprehensive subjects, to put certain conditions on when stubs are not acceptable as long as they are applicable to the entire world and not to a certain country, geographic area, nationality etc. I am not against such rules, as long as they are not defined in a discriminatory way or do not have hidden discriminatory effects.
But a rule which excludes only geographic entities in Romania and Moldova is discriminatory and anti-romanian (especially as it targets the only two Romanian-speaking countries in the world), just like a rule which would exclude geographic entities in Africa would be a racial discrimination and the exclusion of geographic entities in Israel would be antisemitic.Afil (talk) 22:18, 12 October 2011 (UTC)
  • Established practice throughout Wikipedia is that there should be individual articles. The only related instances where any discussion at AfD has ruled otherwise is in cases where the real existence cannot be proved, cases where the proposed village actually is a single non-notable isolated house or farm, where the name is not a community but just a non-notable housing development of some sort being given a distinctive name by the proprietor and only the proprietor, and --most often -- for the neighborhoods of a city where the name is not an official designation and not used in a specific and reproducible way with sources other than real estate advertisements. For the examples you give, the smaller included locations are separate settlements in the sense we use it here, and should unquestionably have separate articles. Unfortunately we have no final way of settling questions like this except to make it a question of deletion and take it to AfD. We've frequently held that if an AfD closes as a keep, and the discussion includes the possibility of a merge, and the closing specifies in accord with consensus that it not be a merge, that a subsequent merge is improper. As for the applicability in a specific country, I do not think that discrimination would normally have anything to do with it, but rather the question of consistency. Trying to do it differently for a particular country would be like saying that any other eneral guideline hilds, except for a particular area.
With respect to the arguments: 1/the number of stubs is irrelevant., We can accommodate any number of small articles just as well as large ones. There will always be something specific to talk about in the geographical section & almost always the historical also. 2/ if commune A has villages A, B, and C, this is no different from a country or province A having cites A, B, and C. We simply distinguish in the heading. 3/How the country's standard gazetteer limits itself is irrelevant if we have sources. / Administrative powers are irrelevant if they are known to be distinct and defined communities. There's another argument; The individual parts in a long-settled country normally have separate origins and were once independently administered at some point, before a later organization. Any historical village gets an article here just as does a current one. Using the very example given, the individual villages in Coronini do in fact have this earlier clear separation, and have not only different dates of formation, but different histories and ethnic compositions. I think it a very clear case for why we have sand should have eparate articles. DGG ( talk ) 22:39, 12 October 2011 (UTC)
DGG, what you write about AfD is not especially relevant, given that no one here has proposed deletion, but merger and redirect have instead been applied. I will also note that all the information on a village can easily fit into an article on a commune, and the redirects were mostly done with that in mind. The village is not an administrative subdivision of any kind, and, if anything, functions as an informal section of a commune, when the commune itself only hosts thousands of inhabitants at best. No matter how much one would expand the article on a village, the info would still not be too much not be featured nicely in the relevant commune article; the opposite will result in articles which either say the same thing or of which at least one is forced to remain a stub (the commune article, which in that scenario would only say "x commune has x, y, z villages"). All of the information would be segregated along impractical lines.
This would specifically happen with Coronini: sure, the two villages have their own histories, but they also happen to be part of the same administrative unit, and having one article on each and then one on the commune will necessarily result in duplication and one permastub, when now, all the content is under one coherent umbrella, and anyone happening to search for Sfânta Elena (or, if you prefer, by its Czech name Svatá Helena) will effortlessly find it. - Biruitorul Talk 23:25, 12 October 2011 (UTC)
Congratulations, Afil: you managed to use "discrimination" seven times in your last post, as well as throwing in "offensive" twice, and "anti-Romanian" for good measure. I hope people continue to ignore this nonsense, but just in case, let me state for the record that I am a patriotic Romanian who simply has a more logical approach to presenting the country's geography on Wikipedia — not that who I am should have any bearing on the discussion, but I don't want casual observers to get the wrong idea about my motivations based on Afil's tireless repetition of the same baseless canard.
At this point in the discussion I think we've established that all named places should be mentioned and accessible (which they are for Romania and Moldova), but how exactly this is approached will necessarily vary from country to country, given the plethora of administrative systems in existence. The strength of this encyclopedia lies in its pragmatism: there are some general rules for all to follow, but it's quite common that particular subjects are tackled on a case-by-case basis, and it would be counterproductive to have a policy covering Romania and Peru and Malawi and Tuvalu and Burma and North Korea stating what sorts of places need separate articles. It would be more enlightening if instead of complaining of "discrimination... discrimination... discrimination", you'd actually delve into the details of this, like how you'd approach Coronini Commune and why your approach would work better; or why readers should be asked to wade through several permastubs on informal quarters of communes, when these are now brought together in reasonably coherent wholes; or how your plan (if you have one) addresses WP:GNG and WP:CFORK; but maybe that's too much to ask. - Biruitorul Talk 23:25, 12 October 2011 (UTC)
I consider that we can only agree to disagree. The discussion had been carried out long enough. You may stick to your guns and I to mine. I am not complaining about anything, I simply stated that I do not like any kind of rule which implies discrimination in any way. And this means singling out some elements which are not subject to a generalized rule. Once a general rule has been agreed upon then we can discuss any details you wish. But coming up wwith any detailed examples cannot cover the main issue which I have raised, that the rule must be applicable to all countries of the world, without exception. If we talk about pragmatism, this would imply accepting articles for nonincorporated localities - wherever they are located - if there is sufficient information to justify an article and to recommend incorporating the information in more comprehensive articles (covering the municipality, commune, upazilla or whatever may be the case). What I am objecting to is the general rule you want to establish that in the case of Romania and Moldavia ONLY, unincorporated villages should not have articles. All your lengthy discussion and claims to patriotism - which has nothing to do with this issue - just avoids the issue. Afil (talk) 21:58, 13 October 2011 (UTC)
I only mentioned my patriotism because I didn't want others to buy into the false charges of "discrimination"; I'm not that self-absorbed to think it normally matters. Interestingly, France seems to be another country treated much the same as Romania and Moldova: we have articles on the French communes, but the villages in France category mainly contains communes as well. Anyway, when "sufficient information to justify an article" about a Romanian village turns up, I'll be pleasantly surprised. At present, that day seems far off.
And if we're going to talk about avoiding the issue, the crux of the matter is not "discrimination" or the alleged need to create a single standard covering geographical entities in all ~200 countries on Earth, but how we structure information logically and present it to readers in an accessible fashion, keeping in mind WP:GNG and WP:CFORK. As I've said before, it makes far more sense to present information on villages A, B and C of commune A in one article, "A", rather than disperse and duplicate it into articles "A", "B", "C" and shell article "Commune A", while expecting readers to look through all four (even assuming they know how they're related). Perhaps you can address that point, preferably without using the word "discrimination" or calling for a generalized rule on the topic. - Biruitorul Talk 00:59, 14 October 2011 (UTC)

Huh??!! 13,000 articles merged, all related to the same country, by one editor? I can't believe someone would decide on his own a policy for articles about one country and then apply this policy to all the articles. Not only that, also "knowing what a reader would prefer", assuming that the articles wouldn't be expanded (I can believe that, who'd want to spend time and effort after seeing 10,000 articles removed), using the allowance of geographical differences in titles as justification, and claiming that none of those could ever make it to FA.

It's clear that at least some editors don't agree with your merging activities. Yet when I look at for example the revision history of Hoghiz, there's an edit marked merging on 5 september,

  • but no notification of a merge proposal, no proposal on the talk page, or reasons given, arguments or any discussion.
  • No edit summary noting merge content from [[SOURCEPAGE]] , "a step required in order to conform with Wikipedia's licensing requirements. Do not omit it nor omit the page name." See Help:Merging
  • In the edit summary of Cuciulata, once again only the word "merging", despite the clear instruction: Save the source page with an edit summary noting merge content to [[DESTINATIONPAGE]] .

So you seem to be telling us that you've ignored wikipedia guidelines, policies and rules, over ten thousand times? That could be a new record... DS Belgium ٩(͡๏̯͡๏)۶ 10:22, 15 October 2011 (UTC)

The number of "articles" (we'll call them that, even though they usually didn't come up to any basic standards) I actually merged was roughly two dozen of 10,000. The remaining 9,975 or so never existed as articles; I simply created redirects for them and added mention of their existence at the commune articles. And don't forget Moldova, where I did the same thing for about 1,000 villages; the number of pre-existing "articles" there was about 5.
I've fixed the problem regarding Hoghiz/Cuciulata; thank you for pointing that out.
This was not a unilateral step, but rather was discussed by a number of interested editors. I actually do think a reasonable reader, rather than having several small articles to look through, all of them assuming that the reader already knew how one article relates to the other, would prefer a single, reasonably long coherent article that answers most questions in one place. And this is not the only justification; I've outlined several, the main point being that informal commune quarters without administrative capacity border on negligible notability, and that it's sufficient to fold them all into the same article rather than spreading them out in several disparate, duplicating directions. And I repeat: if we take article A on Commune A with villages A, B and C, and if we split it into four articles ("A", "B", "C" and "Commune A"), the last of these will have essentially nothing to say, except what its villages are and what its population, ethnic and religious composition are — at best three lines of text. ("A", "B" and "C" are also going to be very short in most cases.) Whereas by covering everything in one place, including history, geography and so forth, we at least have a chance to develop a "well-written, comprehensive, well-researched" article. - Biruitorul Talk 15:48, 15 October 2011 (UTC)

The discussion mentioned is probably Wikipedia:Romanian Wikipedians' notice board/Archive 10. However no consensus has been reached and in the conclusions of the discussion, drawn by User:MariusM he indicates the pros and cons of the various alternatives and concludes that small villages should not be excluded as having potential separate articles. The discussion was held in 2007.
To define the problem in Romania communes are territorial units - not settlements. By law, there are four types of settlements in Romania:cities, towns, villages which are commune seats and villages which are not commune seats. This type of setup is valid for most countries in the world, where the lowest level territorial units have a number of settlements of which one is the seat of the territorial unit.
Is is therefore interesting to present how Wikipedia has dealt with the problem in other countries.
Let us take, for instance, the Commonwealth of Virginia. The lowest level of administrative unit in Virginia is the county. As an example Culpeper County, Virginia has a separate article presenting the administrative unit (county). The seat of the county is Culpeper, Virginia which is a town with a population of 9664 inhabitants, which is of the same order of magnitude of some of the seats of communes in Romania. Culpeper, Virginia is a different article and is not included in the county article. The county has several unincorporated communities, some of them, for which information is available, having their own articles, for instance: Richardsville, Virginia. Though it is only a stub, it has a separate article and the available information regarding Richardsville is not merged into the county seat or county article.
Looking at another country, let us take the state of Schleswig-Holstein in Germany. The state is divided into "Kreise" (Districts) which in turn are divided into "Ämter" which are the lowest level of territorial units. Each Amt has several settlements, called °Gemeinde" (which would be correctly translated as community, but for wich en:wiki has preferred the name of municipality). Let us take the Amt of Leezen (Amt) which has its own article. The seat of the Amt has is Leezen, which is a settlement of 1700 inhabitants. which has a separate article. All the other communities of the Leezen Amt have their own articles, for instance Wittenborn, Bark, Germany, Neversdorf etc. Most of these Gemeinden have populations of a few hundred inhabitants and the articles are mostly stubs.
The argument user:Biruitorul presents could be made both for Virginia, for Schleswig-Holstein and for the great majority of states or countries in the world. However, as it has been established that "every geographic location or entity that has a name and a verifiable location is suitable for inclusion as a topic of an article in Wikipedia" and if this rule has been applied for other countries, as indicated in the examples presented above. I see no reason why we should make the argument made by user:Biruitorul which is applicable only to a single country and not stick to the rule which has been applied everywhere else. The argument made by Biruitorul may have its merits - what is does not explain is why the situation is different in Romania from the example presented in Germany, which is basically identical. Especially, as even for Romania, the old discussion mentioned has not reached a consensus. Afil (talk) 19:51, 16 October 2011 (UTC)
According to the Romanian Constitution (Article 3, Section 3): "The territory is organized administratively into communes, towns and counties. Some towns are declared municipalities, according to the provisions of the law." The Constitution says nothing about villages. The relevant law (Law 2 of 1968) does mention that communes are made up of "one or more villages", but Romania (unlike perhaps Virginia or Germany) lends itself well to stopping at the commune level. Why? Well, simply for the reasons I've stressed above over and over. I'm glad you've dropped the claim of discrimination; even if it happened to strike you as such, my motives are only with the best of intentions. As I see it, the important thing is not to try and force the same standard onto Romania and Germany and France at the same time, but to do what's most practical in each case. And covering information on parts of communes under the umbrella of their commune will surely make for more coherent articles (if these ever materialize; precious little has happened on that front since 2007), rather than slicing and reduplicating for no particular reason, given that the villages are still accessible to all looking for them.
I'm also aware that we can't do something completely separate from the rest of Wikipedia for Romania and Moldova only. But the fact is that for many countries, we do seem to stop at the smallest self-administering unit: a quick perusal showed that Algeria, Guinea, Mali, Spain, Iceland, Cambodia, and by and large Italy and France all seem to fall into this pattern. So in fact, the way we now cover Romania and Moldova seems not that unusual.
About the Leezen example: does having a dozen one-line stubs, where the content could all be covered in one place, actually improve the encyclopedia? If so, how?
For the record, I disagree that 9664 is "of the same order of magnitude of some of the seats of communes in Romania". I believe Holboca is the largest commune in Romania, at 11,662 people. With seven villages, that's 1666 inhabitants per village. Of course, some of those villages will be larger than that, but probably not too much. The average village (10,139,000 rural inhabitants ÷ 13,285 villages) has 763 residents. Some have just a handful, or even 0. - Biruitorul Talk 04:02, 17 October 2011 (UTC)
I would not compare the villages of Romania with the ones of Guinea. I have worked in countryside of both countries and there are few similarities. Have you ever seen a village in Guinea or Mali?
Just for the record. The component villages of the commune of Holboca are: Holboca (2689 inhabitants), Dancu (7225 inh), Orzeni (752 inh), Cristesti (643 inh), Rusenii Vechi (673 inh), Rusenii Noi (375 inh), Valea Lungă (281 inh).
The biggest village of the commune has 7225 inhabitants which is obviously of the same order of magnitude as the 9664 inhabitants of Culpepper.
I was presenting the comparison whith the amt of Leezen in Germany and its component villages who all have articles in en:Wiki. The entire Amt has 8516 inhabitants. The various villages have: Bark 1003, Bebensee 608, Fredesdorf 385, Gross Niendorf 683, Hogersdorf 405, Leezen (Amt seat) 1700, Mozen 461, Neversdorf 103, Schwissel 254, Todesfelde 59, Wittenbord 825.
What is the difference which makes small villages having 59 or 103 inhabitants in Germany be acceptable and similar villages in Romania not to be worth having separate articles. These are actual examples. What makes Germany so much superior to Romania regarding the value of its settlements? If you look at the articles of the German villages, could you present an arguments as why the content of these articles justifies a separate article while the information on villages in Romania does not? Can you make a similar argument why the unincorporated settlements in Culpepper County which have articles (not all have) justify a separate article.
Regarding the villages, it is true that the Constitution of Romania does not mention villages, as it deals only with the territorial organization of the country. I have also indicated the communes are not settlements, but territorial units and that is how they are defined by the constitution. Settlements are classified by Law 351 of 6 July 2001 which indicates the various types of settlements and which lists villages which are county seats as rank IV settlements and villages and rank V settlements. Therefore, villages of various types are separate entities, recognized as such by law. This is not the case for unincorporated settlements which have no legal status. The frazione in Italy have just recently been granted some legal rights and even so, some frazione in Italy have their own articles. Anyway, in Romania, villages are legally separate units. And the law makes a distinction between communes which are territorial units and villages commune seats which are settlements. Obviously you can ignore both the similarity with Germany and the provisions of the Romanian legal system and create your own. But that does not make it right and correct.
In conclusion, my proposal of accepting separate articles for each entity is based both on the legal definition of these entities by the Romanian legal system and on an analogy with other similar cases for other countries in Wikipedia. Afil (talk) 22:41, 17 October 2011 (UTC)
No, I've never been to Mali or to Ghana, but that's not the point: the point is that you repeatedly claimed I somehow set a special precedent by excluding articles only on Romanian villages and stopping at the lowest self-administering unit, and this is wrong. The various countries I cited above, including several in Europe, disprove your contention.
Thank you for the data on Holboca. Naturally, some villages are extra large, and I wouldn't be surprised to see them become communes soon. Meanwhile, the same arguments apply: we may as well give readers access to the same information on the same related entities in one reasonably coherent whole.
Myself, I think it's absolutely silly to have one-line stubs on German villages that can be folded into the article on the next-level settlement. And I think it was thoughtless to have created them. I'm not going to get involved on anything related to Germany, but it was a bad idea.
All right, so villages are settlements; we knew that beforehand. That doesn't mean they're self-administering settlements, or that we don't stop there for a bunch of other countries, or that it doesn't make sense to do so for Romania. - Biruitorul Talk 02:38, 18 October 2011 (UTC)
I'm 100% behind Afil on this one. See: WP:IMBALANCE. If a village in the States deserves an article, a village in Romania deserves an article. The reason Romanian (or Cambodian, as mentioned above) village articles don't exist is because no one's gotten around to creating them yet. And in fact some do exist in many of these countries, but the way it's being carried out is haphazard: some with infoboxes some without, some in the correct category some not, and all using English transliterations of their names coming from different sources. As Wikipedia grows over the decades to come, these articles will get padded out, eventually. So they should be created. And the best way is to do it in a uniform matter, because with nearly 4 million articles the most important thing is structure, or we'll just be overwhelmed. To place them in a list and fork them out when they reach an arbitrary number of characters is just asking for trouble, IMHO, because then instead of a team creating a nice outline for each village in one go, you'll get individuals over the next decade+ creating the pages (using villages in Uttar Pradesh as an example) "'Village', Romania'"; "'Village', 'County'"; "'Village', 'Commune'"; "'Village' (village)"; "'Village ('Commune')" with an infinite variety of infoboxes and category placements which will cause nothing but grief.
I know a lot of people hate stubs, but in cases like this, where we know that eventually we'll get to a stage where the articles start filling out, it's better just to create them now, in an organized manner, to speed up development and avoid future grief. Standardization is the key, and the forking method is not the way to achieve that.
Cheers, PhnomPencil (talk) 23:36, 17 October 2011 (UTC)
PhnomPencil, allow me to set a few things straight, if I may. I appreciate your concern about standardization and having a uniform approach. It's something I took quite seriously as I did this kind of thing, creating redirects for every single Romanian village, adding mention of those villages to their commune articles, making sure those articles, on every single Romanian commune, had uniform titles and (for the most part) structures. I really went through with a fine-tooth comb, and our coverage of Romanian settlements is a little less chaotic and a lot more complete than it was a year ago. (To give just one example about titles: someone who probably didn't bother checking how we title Romanian communes moved Bobota to Bobota, Romania upon creating Bobota, Croatia. While working on the villages, I moved it to Bobota, Sălaj, where it belongs - commune, county.)
That we don't have much content on Romanian villages is indeed because no one's added it, but that we don't have articles on them is the result of a conscious decision on the part of several interested editors, implemented by me. Anyone interested will still be able to find them, just under the heading of their respective communes. And anyone wishing to add relevant content is also able to do so under the current structure. I've done it myself in one or two places and it really works out quite nicely.
So we do have a highly standardized approach to Romanian (and Moldovan) geography as of right now. It happens to stop at the lowest self-administrating level, but it makes accessible the next level (i.e., the village) and encourages (one hopes) the addition of content on them. As for forking, well, I won't ask you to wade through everything I wrote, so let me repeat it. When you have Commune A with villages A, B and C, you can cover everything in one place, as we do now, in an article that has the potential to become well-developed, and where readers know precisely how the various settlements relate to one another. Or you can split it up into four disparate bits ("A", "B", "C" and "Commune A"), where there would inevitably be forking, and where at least one ("Commune A") and probably others would inevitably remain stubs in perpetuity. I think there's something to be said for the former approach, don't you? - Biruitorul Talk 02:38, 18 October 2011 (UTC)

I wholeheartedly endorse Biruitorul's approach above, being one of the first to propose it (let me add, contrary to what is claimed above, that there was consensus on this: the few objections came from editors canvassed from Romanian wikipedia, who were quick to proclaim that a "massacre" of Romanian villages was in the making, etc.). Now, I want to be very clear about this: nobody is suggesting not to have info on the villages themselves, but what is noted is the need to fit that info into an accessible standard, make it the least redundant and most informative. There is absolutely no practical use to splitting the info on a small locality into its even smaller divisions, particularly since the core info is utterly redundant and confusing; there is even less cause to having these and a separate article on the commune, which would either duplicate the relevant info or simply function as a stubby list (commune comprises x, y, z villages").

As the precedents on Romanian wikipedia show, the only "merit" of separate articles on the villages is for various editors to propagate local patriotism, giving as much exposure to non-encyclopedic, unsourced, unverifiable or simply inane factoids of sub-commune importance. This applies to the largest of the villages, since those existing villages that only number in the hundreds or tens of inhabitants are likely to function as permastubs. In every case: get all the relevant info on all the component villages collected in one place, the commune article, and you'll have an article that: a) says it all; b) puts things in relation without sending the reader all over the place; c) can be kept clean and informative. Do the opposite, and you'll have loads of confusing rants, and loads of original research. One of my own contributions to sorting this out is Coronini: look over it, and tell if anything is confusing or missing.

Note that this also reflects issues of sourcing. By now, countless sources will mention, for instance, that x writer was born in y commune (leaving us to guess what village of that commune is his). Published monographs often deal with communes and specify villages in the same manner I propose. Add to this that, under Romania's own administrative system, villages are awarded no recognition, which means that we only call them units of something by uncodified tradition.

As for the suggestion that we should have separate articles on each and every geographical location: I find it unrealistic and indigestible. First, how does one define a geo location, and when is something not a geo location? Even in the case of Romanian villages, this issue is self-evident: villages sometimes have hamlets, or are divided into several parts (say, a Romanian and a Rom half), which have their own nomenclature. If it is proposed that we define geo locations after oral tradition, these subdivisions are also "geographical locations". Since neither them nor the villages are actually (still) codified by external norms, and since we have to assume that articles on communes are "not enough", then we might as well start work on every imaginable subdivision of a commune, or how else would we be serving our readers? Dahn (talk) 18:12, 21 October 2011 (UTC)

Dahn is not totally correct. The Romanian legislation acknowledged villages which are not commune seats as a distinct type of settlements. Hamlets are not. Each commune has defined villages which are part of the commune and are officially listed as such. They do not cover hamlets or other types of settlements. There are not every imaginable subdivisions, but entities which are recognized by law.
But all this does not answer the basic question I have asked. What is the general Wikipedia policy regarding settlements? I have shown that for other countries, such as Germany, all settlements, even those having populations of under 100 inhabitants have their own articles. I have shown that unincorporated settlements in the Unites States, which also have no administrative recognition have their own articles. Now we have a discussion regarding villages in Romania and the Republic of Moldova. Tomorrow, somebody else might start a discussions on the villages of Hungary or Romania.
It does not make any sense that for situations which are extremely similar in various countries to adopt a different policy. Neither Biruitorul nor Dahn have answered this question. Maybe Biruitorul considers the case of the Leezen Amt in Germany and the component villages, which I have quoted above as making no sense. However, it exists in Wikipedia and is considered as complying with the general rules. Why would those rules not be applicable to the settlements in Romania. And if we have new rules for Romania, why would they not be applicable for other countries too. Just as Biruitorul has replaced articles for villages with redirects, why would we not make the same corrections for the villages of Leezen Amt and the rest of Germany as well as for Culpepper District and the other districts of the United States? The entire discussion does not answer this question. Afil (talk) 05:04, 22 October 2011 (UTC)