Discussion Reports and Miscellaneous Articulations
The following is a brief overview of new discussions taking place on the English Wikipedia. For older, yet possibly active, discussions please see last week's edition.
Who administrates the administrators?
At Wikipedia talk:Sock puppetry, User:Tony1 requested clarification regarding the sock puppet policy. Specifically, Tony1 wanted to know if an "RfA candidates should be asked as a fourth standard question whether they have used any past accounts". Tony1 also felt that the policy did "look as though all admins need to disclose (on their talk page?) their past accounts ... like, immediately."
The portions of policy Tony1 was referring to were believed by User:WereSpielChequers to be recent additions, which WereSpielChequers thought were somewhat representative of "an element of barn door closing going on in the community at present," cautioning that "there is a risk of forgetting that the reason why barns have doors is that sometimes they need to be open."
The discussion prompted User:Hiberniantears to suggest that "all admins, and admin candidates" be subject to a check user on their account. However, User:Risker believed that such a move was 'clearly "fishing" and is not appropriate use of checkuser', adding that furthermore "it's also an extremely inefficient method of trying to find alternate accounts."
At Wikipedia:Requests for comment/The Plague User:Rd232 was asking for ideas which might help with the general problem outlined in 'User:Moreschi's comments at Administrators Noticeboard about "The Plague" (of nationalism, but similar issues can apply on religion).' To start things off, Rd232 suggested that 'editors involved in conflict might be given "community service", such as transcribing documents on Wikisource.' However, User:NVO believed that "community service must be designed in a way that does not add burden on existing admin forces." User:Russavia felt that "community service could be used a carrot in some low level circumstances, but not in matters where a stick is actually warranted."
Focussing on the underlying problem, User:Ben Kidwell argued:
The effort to fight against POV often becomes completely bogged down in wikilawyering over the exact nature of reliable sources and what is synthesis or original research and what is a valid summary, or how many reverts in how many hours - because there is no other ground on which to make a stand. As a consequence, rigid and maximalist interpretation of policies becomes the only way to fight against POV biases, and this in turn acts to make editing more difficult even on topics that are not subject to nationalist flame wars. My opinion is that the current admins who enforce wikipedia policy need to be supplemented by community chosen content administrator/arbitrators with expert knowledge in the area. It's time to face the fact that in contentious topics, editors with a strongly biased POV are often much more motivated and committed than unbiased editors.
While a number of respondents agreed with the thrust of Ben Kidwell's arguments, many also agreed with User:Radeksz that "the selection process here is the trickiest part".
A round up of polls spotted by your writer in the last seven days or so, bearing in mind of course that voting is evil. You can suggest a poll for inclusion, preferably including details as to how the poll will be closed and implemented, either on the tip line or by directly editing the next issue.
Your writer has trawled the deletion debates opened and closed in the last week and presents these debates for your edification. Either they generated larger than average response, centred on policy in an illuminating way, or otherwise just jumped out as of interest. Feel free to suggest interesting deletion debates for future editions here.
A lot of hot air about nothing?
On the 15 October User:E1foley created an article about the current event regarding a six-year-old boy and a home-made helium balloon, initially at Colorado 2009 balloon incident. Unbeknown to E1foley, another editor, User:Wuffyz, had created an article on the same current event at Falcon Heene some twenty minutes earlier. The latter article was swiftly proposed for deletion and after this was contested, nominated for deletion based on the reasoning that Wikipedia is not a news outlet. After twenty-five minutes of discussion, User:xeno closed the debate with a merge consensus, and the material was merged to the E1foley created article, now located at Colorado balloon incident, and itself by now a contested deletion candidate.
A listing for deletion soon followed, with Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Colorado balloon incident created to again discuss the applicability of Wikipedia articles not being news reports. The debate ran for two-and-a-half days, with no real consensus emerging among the one-hundred-and-eighty-six editors who contributed to the debate, amassing four-hundred-and-ninety-nine edits between them. At this point User:Bigtimepeace closed the debate, noting that:
well over half of the !votes below ... simply do not provide any valid rationale whatsoever. Some comments are ... snarky and nothing else, some make an argument that does not at all reference Wikipedia policy or guidelines, and some simply reference ... guidelines or policies without actually tying them to an argument ... [a] lot of the discussion here relates more to personal feelings ... than our policies and guidelines for content.
Following on from that point, Bigtimepeace said it would likely "be much easier to ascertain consensus one way or another at that point when we have a bit of distance from the current cable news cycle", and in closing the debate asked that "If anyone feels inclined to take this to deletion review ... then by all means feel free to do so. But please—pretty please, with a cherry on top—think twice or thrice before doing that."
While a number of Wikipedians approached Bigtimepeace to express agreement with the early closure, User talk:Bigtimepeace#What goes up..., nearly twelve hours after the closure of the deletion debate, User:Prodego, who has been displaying a wikibreak notice for almost a full year now, opened a review at Wikipedia:Deletion review/Log/2009_October_18#Colorado balloon incident commenting that 'Claims that the close was "procedural" are incorrect, in that this closure was completely outside the procedure of AfD', believing the debate should stay open as "an active discussion about a page may lead to other improvements to the article". The DR was closed five hours later by MZMcBride as "closure resoundingly endorsed".
In terms of bytes it stands as the 6th largest AFD ever.
A nomination of Persecution of Falun Gong by User:Simonm223 led to your writer doing a little digging. The article is nominated as a recreation of a merged article, given that after "extensive debate [the] content from [the] previous [version] of Persecution of Falun Gong [was] moved and merged with other content to create History of Falun Gong". Having looked at the article history of "History of Falun Gong", it appears that there is more here than meets the eye. Apparently, the original article at History of Falun Gong was seemingly merged to Falun Gong in September 2007. It's hard to be definitive because the legal requirements outlined at Performing the merger have not been followed. It's also hard to show you the page differences because the article has since been deleted, again in contravention of the Wikipedia license which requires page history of merged articles to be kept to allow proper attribution of individual authors.
The reason the first page to exist at "History of Falun Gong" was deleted on 15 October by Alexf (talk · contribs · blocks · protections · deletions · page moves · rights · RfA) was to "make room for an uncontroversial page move", namely a move of the article Persecution of Falun Gong in the People's Republic of China. This move was undone by User:HappyInGeneral within twenty minutes, but re-performed after a further eleven by User:Ohconfucius. Digging through the history reveals a vast number of page moves for this page. In fact, the latest move is the twenty-third move of the page in just over three years (full details available here, courtesy of Ohconfucius). The deletion debate has already seen three compromises proposed in the three days it has been open, generating 61 kilobytes of text.
- Controversies related to prevalence of Jews in leadership roles in Hollywood is nominated by User:Frmatt who feels it "mainly pulls tidbits from other WP articles, appears to have some reliable source issues, and has some definite POV issues". A number of respondents feel it is a coatrack article, namely that it ostensibly discusses the nominal subject, but in reality is a cover for a tangentially related biased subject
- Keith Bardwell is another article in which debate centres on interpretations of the coatrack principle and the policy on biographies of living people
- Seventeen articles have been nominated for deletion in the mass-listing at Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Empreintes DIGITALes
- The subject of Paul LaViolette has requested the deletion of the article in Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Paul LaViolette (2nd nomination), the second deletion debate for the article in two months
- Is List of women who have murdered their husbands inappropriate content? Discuss
- Pornographic film actors by bust size has been deleted for a third time after an eighth deletion debate. The debate was closed as delete after nearly three days, User:Cirt feeling it would not have a snowball's chance of changing
- Is List of disbarred lawyers a cause for concern regarding the policy on biographies of living people? Discuss
- Is People speculated to have been autistic speculation? Discuss
- Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Kyle XY characters sees eleven articles nominated for being "nothing but overly long in-universe plot summaries"
- This week's too long didn't read award goes to Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/The Shells (folk band) (2nd nomination)
- Bad smell award: Howard Press, second relisting
- The notability of articles on David Shankbone, Lancelot and Guinevere (Merlin), Fourth Studio Album (Rihanna album), PMP HQ, Dr Prabhat Das Foundation, John Freshwater, Kari Ferrell, The Shells (folk band) and Human suit is contested in the relevant debates.
Categories and files
A round up of the administrators' noticeboards as viewed by your writer. You can suggest a notice for inclusion, either on the tip line or by directly editing the next issue.
Thirty-one Requests for comment have been made in the week of 12-18 October: