Wikipedia talk:Article Rescue Squadron/Archive 55

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Archive 54 Archive 55 Archive 56

The rescue template

The following is an excerpt from a post I made at the current deletion discussion regarding the rescue template, for the perusal of Article rescue squadron members and any users interested in the topic.

Excerpted text

  • Comment – People have varying views about how the rescue template should be used. I simply use it in accordance with its instructions for use located at WP:RESCUETAG. A significant part of use of the template is to involve other Article rescue squadron WikiProject (ARS) members to share in the work of improving articles with topics that are perceived to actually be notable per WP:GNG by the tag-placer. People have continuously extrapolated their own views regarding these instructions in various manners, adding on additional instruction paramaters that are not a part of the template's actual instruction set.
  • Some state that use of the template amounts to canvassing other ARS members to vote in Article for deletion discussions. This is a flawed argument, because the use of many tags could be portrayed in this manner. For example, adding a refimprove tag to an article could be misstated as “canvassing” users to add more references to articles. Adding a Wikiproject template to an article talk page could be misstated as “canvassing” a Wikiproject to participate in an article. Adding a template to an article does not amount to canvassing or vote stacking. Wikipedia templates are neutrally-worded. See WP:CANVASS for the actual guidelines regarding canvassing.
When a template is placed on an article, it is very unreasonable, overly-assumptive and unfair to state that the tag-placer is somehow psychically knowledgeable in advance about what any other Wikipedia users may hypothetically type on their computers. It's also unreasonable to state that those who respond to rescue tags are obligated to respond in whatever various specific manners. A user who places a tag on an article has no control over the actions of other users on Wikipedia.
  • Another matter is instruction extrapolations and instruction creep regarding use of the template, which are not included in the template's actual use instructions.
  • Some have stated that a rescue template should be removed once sources have been added to an article. This goes against the current instructions for use of the tag, in which removal of the tag is forbidden once it has been placed.
  • Some say that adding a rescue template to an article without making a certain number of improvements to an article is misuse of the template, or disqualifies use of the template. There are no parameters in the instructions that specifically state how many improvements should be made to an article to qualify the use of a rescue tag.
  • Some have extrapolated arguments that edits either have to be performed prior to adding a rescue template, or conversely, that a rescue template cannot be used once editing improvements have been made to an article being considered for deletion.
  • Some have extrapolated that once a rescue template has been placed, the placer is somehow obligated to continue to make improvements to the article.
  • Some have synthseized canvass arguments based upon some of the various extrapolations above, stating that use of the tag amounts to canvassing, unless various extrapolated rules (that are not part of the actual instructions) are adhered to.
None of these extrapolations are included in the template's actual instruction set. These types of instruction creep don't serve to change the actual instructions for the template.
If the template is kept after this discussion ends, users who continue to extrapolate instruction uses for the template not based upon the actual instructions should focus on obtaining consensus to change the instruction set.
—(Signature and timestamp for this addition here on the ARS talk page) Northamerica1000(talk) 20:06, 13 January 2012 (UTC)

Proposal for ARS Project page redesign

See {{Wikipedia:WikiProject Film/Sidebar}} at right:

In emmulating other Wikipedia projject pages, I propose a modification to the Wikipedia:Article Rescue Squadron project page, adding a sidebar just as is used in other projects.

Can someone please create a Wikipedia:Article Rescue Squadron/Sidebar for the ARS?

I propose ARS emmulate examples such as the Wikipedia:WikiProject Film/Sidebar and have its own delsort page similar to Wikipedia:WikiProject Deletion sorting/Film... creating the page "Wikipedia:WikiProject Deletion sorting/Article Rescue Squadron".

And similar also to other projects, and to address concerns that the Rescue Template should not be on mainspace artcles...

and as just as with {{subst:delsort|Film|~~~~}}...

this would entail creation of {{subst:delsort|Article Rescue Squadron|~~~~}} delsort to tag (hopefully) rescuable articles thusly:

Note: This debate has been included in the list of Article Rescue Squadron-related deletion discussions. Schmidt, MICHAEL Q. 08:42, 14 January 2012 (UTC)

allowing articles considered improvable when listed at AFD to be IN the newly created sidebar-linked ARS delsort for ARS members to easily check. Who will help? Schmidt, MICHAEL Q. 08:42, 14 January 2012 (UTC)

Comments and suggestions:

Ideas anyone?

New discussion occurring: add the Find sources parameter to the AfD template

Northamerica1000(talk) 05:07, 15 January 2012 (UTC)

Wikipedia Review

The disruptive editor Bali ultimate added the rescue tag to Wikipedia Review. It's a trick to get us to vote keep on an attack site that has targeted our prominent members. They keep adding it. I used my 3rr already. Please assist. CallawayRox (talk) 19:10, 20 January 2012 (UTC)

If you think that's what the rescue tag is for, then you shouldn't be here. And don't canvass for edit warriors. --SarekOfVulcan (talk) 19:27, 20 January 2012 (UTC)
Bali ultimate is a known ARS critic who hasn't improved the article at all. This is an attempt to distract and waste our resources. CallawayRox (talk) 19:39, 20 January 2012 (UTC)
The point of tagging is that you don't know how to fix the article, but you think someone else might. If you can fix it yourself, you don't need to tag it. How is that a waste of resources? --SarekOfVulcan (talk) 19:42, 20 January 2012 (UTC)
"couldn't help myself" indicates bad faith. CallawayRox (talk) 19:48, 20 January 2012 (UTC)
So does saying "I used my 3rr already". And if it's not bad faith, it shows a significant lack of understanding of what WP:3RR is for. --Conti| 20:32, 20 January 2012 (UTC)
  • That editor has gone after the ARS before, although its been awhile. He once tagged a hopeless article for rescue that was about people who are vegetarians and had sex with animals just to mess with us. Anyway, it doesn't matter now since the evil hordes of deletionists seemed to have finally done us in. Dream Focus 07:20, 22 January 2012 (UTC)
Obviously youre using the word 'evil' in a humourous way, but yesterday was certainly a sad day. At least dozens of voters came out in support of the squad, with some non members recognising that we do the best work in the entire encyclopaedia. If one ignores the deletionist nonsense, the TfD is a fitting memorial to mark the passing of the old ARS into legend. Deletionists may have won this time, but the values we represent - inclusiveness, friendliness and respect for others work –will never be destroyed and will find new and even better forms to express themselves. In the end, good always prevails over evil. It is inevitable. FeydHuxtable (talk) 17:23, 22 January 2012 (UTC)

I'd like to point out that there is nothing stopping editors (whether or not they are fans of ARS) editing and improving articles which are being considered for deletion. pablo 21:29, 22 January 2012 (UTC)

New Discussion occurring about at Village Pump (Policy) regarding ARS

Northamerica1000(talk) 08:46, 21 January 2012 (UTC)

Actually, my proposal was begun in a different discussion amd was moved to the villiage pump by another. I asked for input up above as well. Schmidt, MICHAEL Q. 06:35, 22 January 2012 (UTC)
Thank you for clarifying. Struck out name above. I apologize for the incorrect attribution in this case. Northamerica1000(talk) 21:20, 22 January 2012 (UTC)


FYI: Wikipedia:WikiProject Article Rescue Squadron/Newsletter/20090901 is transcluded on approximately 270 user talk pages ... should it be substituted like most newsletters are? -- Black Falcon (talk) 22:48, 24 January 2012 (UTC)

I see no reason to substitute newsletters. Every version of every page will then contribute the full size of the newsletter to the full database dump (currently several hundred gig, if my memory serves). Rich Farmbrough, 20:40, 26 January 2012 (UTC).

A technical solution to a social problem

I like to make a proposal which is unrelated to the rescue template or the mechanism of finding AfDd articles likely to be rescued, but that I think would help this project's goals.

One of the complaints that lead to the template deletion was that some editors viewed the Squadron activities as canvassing. They claimed that some editors were enticed by the ARS to deray AfD discussions by flooding them with Keep votes in a way that didn't help improve the article. I don't care whether those claims are substantiated or that this conduct is right or wrong; my concern is that what was seen as misbehavior could ever be attributed to the project as a whole. I've thought a way to avoid in the future that this guilt by association can gain traction; I hope that, if it works, it will alleviate the rarefied atmosphere.

The focus of the Article Rescue Squadron with respect to AfDs should not be to "keep as many articles as possible" but to "make AfDs as fair as possible". This way we could attract more immediatists and deletionists like User:SL93, which of course are welcome. This would help the project's goals and reduce "inclusionist vs deletionist" natural tensions.

Someone at the village pump proposed creating a hierarchy to police the actions of project members to keep them in check and avoid the negative perception. I don't believe in hierarchical policying at Wikipedia, but I feel that an easy to use tool that meets widespread use could achieve the same effect to help shape behaviors and keep away the unwanted ones.

Thus my following proposal; keep reading for its description and how it could address the project's current situation:

Templates for accurate AfD discussions

Create a group of templates to cast the votesbold words that represent each editor's desired course of action in an AfD discussion.

Wikimedia commons already has one similar set that is regularly used at their discussions, but I've never seen something similar at Wikipedia.

The We could create required parameters for the actions that all participants in AfD should follow but often don't. For example, a {{keep-notability}} template could require a |source=(url) parameter for the reference. This tag could be expanded into something like this:

By including templates for all the common outcomes we could entice them to be less emotional, and help users to identify when their vote is missing some step required by the relevant guideline - like, for example, linking to guidelines without arguing how they apply to the current situation. Also a list of reliable sources identified in the AfD could be generated and inserted automatically in the article, avoiding some of the hard work of improving the article itself.

Just think how WP:civil AfDs could be if most of their content was generated from templated discussions like this:

* {{delete-notability}} and I don't think we can find sources on this topic. ~~~~

* {{keep-notability|source=|title=Some Important Blog}} ~~~~

** {{oppose-notability|unreliable|reason=It's a blog}} ~~~~

*** {{avoid|justablog|comment=This author is an eminence in the field.}} ~~~~

* {{delete-notability|unreliable|reason=The provided link is in a personal blog of the author, not related to his work.}} ~~~~

...that would be expanded automatically into this:

  • Delete: we have no reliable sources that establish notability and I don't think we can find sources on this topic. – Compelling Reason, 13:13, 08 June 2007 (UTC)
  • Keep Some Important Blog is a reliable source valid to establish notability. – Know your guidelines, 13:13, 08 June 2007 (UTC)
    • Disagree: The provided source is not reliable. It's a blog. – Format Error, 13:13, 08 June 2007 (UTC)
  • Delete: the sources provided are not reliable. The provided link is in a personal blog of the author, not related to his work. – Didn't impress me, 13:13, 08 June 2007 (UTC)

In summary, we could help rise the level of discussion at those AfDs (and in particular of those where an attack is perceived), by encouraging comments that strictly follow policy. By encouraging users to abide to the consensual templates we could also lower the risk that "rogue editors" are identified with the project; and by including templates for all the possible votes we could attract editors from all the (X)-ionist spectrum.

Idealistic? Maybe, but this "templated approach" has helped Wikipedia:WikiProject Copyright Cleanup to educate users in providing better fair use image rationales, for example; so there is precedent that it may work.

Now I hate to say this, but I have no idea how to start a new template nor add it parameters. Someone could point me on how to get my hands dirty? Comments on the overall idea? Diego (talk) 15:22, 25 January 2012 (UTC)

You've thought about this a lot, it's clear - but I must admit I'm not keen. Already at AfD people are prone to liberally pepper their comments with links to WP:HEY, WP:N, WP:BEFORE and WP:STARDOTSTAR. Sometimes the material linked is relevant, other times not. I fear that such templates would lead to an increase of spamming links to policies and guidelines through the discussion rather than actually, well, discussing the article at hand. pablo 16:05, 25 January 2012 (UTC)
Thanks! :-) Actually no, I've not thought much about it; it came out naturally as I was writting it, after reading this morning the recent village pump discussion - so it may get shovelfuls of improvement.
The trick to make it work is to require any policy-linking template to have a mandatory 'comment' or 'reason', that would force the user to explain why they're using that guideline in particular. The point is not to discourage linking to policy but getting people to elaborate on the intended argument.
We could turn that "spamming" habit on its head if, instead of links, these templates get some widespread usage. If enough editors lead by example by always detailing which part of the linked guideline is relevant to their position, others will follow. Heck, we could even have that template for debates that are not AfD - a {{guideline-link|relevant-section=}} template could be used at any talk page as the default way to clarify links to guidelines. Diego (talk) 18:13, 25 January 2012 (UTC)
Well don't let my pessimism get in your way; it's only my opinion after all. Good luck. pablo 19:56, 25 January 2012 (UTC)
It's an interesting idea. There are regular arguments made that are (by consensus) not valid, and I have seen them carry the day - like wrong name, badly written, unreferenced. It would be uber-useful to catch and note these arguments too, the upload wizard is good at that sort of thing. Rich Farmbrough, 20:47, 26 January 2012 (UTC).


  • So the rescue template actually got deleted, huh? Stupid nominations yield stupid unpredictable results, as always. Is there another place to list AfD discussions for articles that merit rescue? The template almost never drew in useful non-ARS member assistance by itself.--Milowenthasspoken 13:15, 23 January 2012 (UTC)
North just seems to like following guidelines to the letter, cant really blame them for that, or for having the good faith to think the community would come to a reasonable decision at the TfD. However we try to organise, we're almost certainly going to be attacked if we're successful in saving large numbers of articles from deletion. Perhaps the most important lesson we can draw from recent events is that no one inclusionist should try to save more than say 2 or 3 articles a week. Its always the most active editors who seem to become the focus of their attacks. Except maybe the few gifted with the grace to easily get on with deletionists such as maybe yourself, MQS and Silver. FeydHuxtable (talk) 13:39, 23 January 2012 (UTC)
  • I remain neutral on the matter of the deletion of the rescue template, because the template was deleted per consensus. I think it was intelligible to nominate it for deletion, because people continued to synthesize canvass arguments for typing the ten-character template onto an article. Then there was the problem of instruction creep; people making up rules that weren't part of the template's instruction set. Fact is, ARS is a Wikiproject that I just stumbled upon and considered a good idea. So, I got involved. Then, people began complaining that the typing of a ten-character template onto an article was canvassing. It's amazing how people will synthesize arguments and then make false accusations based upon that synthesis. I've been falsely accused of canvassing for typing a ten-character template onto a Wikipedia article, and was even brought to ANI for doing absolutely nothing wrong. Then I spent my time refuting arguments about cherry-picked articles and AfD discussions I had contributed to, and refuted each and every argument with truthful facts. I think ARS is a useful project, but it becomes droll to be continuously falsely accused of canvassing for typing a template onto an article. Northamerica1000(talk) 15:26, 23 January 2012 (UTC)
  • Two suggestions. ARS might consider adding a hidden parameter to the deletion template that would result in an articles for rescue category that could be monitored by ARS and others. ie. a parameter such as |rescue=Yes/No with the default being No Instead of adding the Rescue tag to an article, ARS would merely flag the article for rescue using |rescue=Yes. The alternative is to create the standard deletion sorting mechanism to be added to AfD discussions so that articles for rescue would again show up as a subpage of the ARS projects. --Mike Cline (talk) 15:51, 23 January 2012 (UTC)
  • Or we might want to make a category that we can tag AfDs with, like User:Gene93k is always adding for Wikiprojects (he's like the only one that does it, so he's indispensable to Wikipedia). That way, it's a small typeset note in the AfD discussion itself and we can all access the category. The main reason, in my opinion, why it was deleted (at least the visual reason) was because it was so obtrusive, slapping a huge template tag into the article. There's absolutely no reason to do that if all we want to do is keep track of articles that can be improved. We were essentially using it for posturing and ownership. SilverserenC 16:07, 23 January 2012 (UTC)
    • Does the old one Category:Articles tagged for deletion and rescue still work? CallawayRox (talk) 18:36, 23 January 2012 (UTC)
    • This is my second choice after DRV. The visual obtrusiveness was a good advertisement for the important work of the ARS. Selery (talk) 18:23, 24 January 2012 (UTC)
Serving as an advertisement for the article rescue squadron seems like an abuse of the purpose of templates and categories. IRWolfie- (talk) 11:18, 25 January 2012 (UTC)
  • We should get this travesty overturned at DRV. "Consensus" my ass. CallawayRox (talk) 18:33, 23 January 2012 (UTC)
I don't know where it will go, but I'd have fun with it if someone did it. Perhaps on some planet 60/40 of who shows up is a consensus, but not on Earth. Whether Wikipedia is on Earth, I sometimes wonder.--Milowenthasspoken 20:54, 23 January 2012 (UTC)
I agree with DRV. The closer's statement was completely unpersuasive (not to mention incredibly long winded) and I'd like additional review. I would prefer that a ARS long-timer put up the DRV... long story. Selery (talk) 18:18, 24 January 2012 (UTC)
It wasn't meant to be "persuasive"; as the closing admin, my job is to summarise what people said, not say my own things. With 89 participants, there was a lot to say ;p. Milowent, if you're searching for "pure" consensus, you'll never find it at that deletion discussion. You'll never find it anywhere else on earth either, unless your argument is with yourself in a locked room. In that situation, I feel sure that 100 percent of the participants can be brought around to your point of view. Ironholds (talk) 10:16, 25 January 2012 (UTC)
Anymore support for DRV? It will be an uphill battle. CallawayRox (talk) 18:32, 25 January 2012 (UTC)
There was no consensus, Ironholds, its silly for us to even argue about it. Consensus is something much harder to obtain than a majority, or even a supermajority. I didn't come up with these "rules," the early wikipedians did, who were far more inclusionsist than the current population. Because of that, there has been neverending pressure on admins to treat things that are not consensus as consensus when the default outcome (keeping) is sought to be avoided. The meaning of consensus at AfD has become distorted, this is all not surprising, its completely predictable organizational behaviour. You came out with what you thought to be the best result, and certainly one that had support in the discussion, but not one that was a consensus in the way that term is generally used outside AfD.--Milowenthasspoken 13:51, 25 January 2012 (UTC)
I chose not to participate in the AFD because I figured it would be needlessly dramatic. But I wonder if your failure to see the circular reasoning ("it isn't canvassing because we have enough ARS members that you can never find a consensus that we were canvassing") is strategy, or irony. Shooterwalker (talk) 01:24, 26 January 2012 (UTC)
Wikipedia:Deletion review/Log/2012 January 27#Template:Rescue CallawayRox (talk) 18:08, 27 January 2012 (UTC)
  • It's gone, and frankly it's not that big of a deal to me. It was extraordinarily useful due to the sheer amount of junk that is rightfully sent to AfD every day. At least the template, and more importantly the Article list/Category gave one a starting point from which to work. On the bright side, most of the arguments used in support of deletion in the TfD are just as easily used to get the AfD template moved out of article space (where it does no service to readers as it only represents an internal process). Maybe that long overdue correction can be brought up as a result of this and the AfD template can be moved to the talk page. Moving them both to talk space would have been the best possible solution, but what can you do in the face of a closing admin who discounts the canvassing theory, yet still considers those who argued it to have made valid support for their !vote? Now the challenge is to determine a new method of seperating the wheat from the chaff in AfD. Somewhere in that list every day, 5-10% of the articles are worth some kind of effort. How do we identify those that are worth the time? Jim Miller See me | Touch me 17:01, 24 January 2012 (UTC)
Well, you could, for example, note that the closing administrator discounted the canvassing people completely, and read the bit where he specifically said he wasn't bean-counting and merely drew up the numbers to show that the same decision would have been reached if he had. Just a thought. Ironholds (talk) 10:22, 25 January 2012 (UTC)
I not as concerned about the ARS tag going away as I am the very premise that those opposing it were using to support deletion. As we find more creative and productive methods to identify and alert editors to articles that need rescue we need to be watchful for attempts to twart those methods for the same reasons used to delete the ARS tag. In other words, any method we use to help rescue articles, may be challenged because it lowers the probability that any given article may be deleted. Those who favor deletion have historically opposed any method that lowers that probability. --Mike Cline (talk) 11:06, 25 January 2012 (UTC)
Exactly, because the fact that it blatantly ignores WP:CANVASS could not possibly be it. Those opposed must want Wikipedia to be completely blank instead? Any attempt to continue canvassing will be met with the same response by the community: ARS must follow the same standards and policies everyone else does. If that doesn't make sense to you, tough.--v/r - TP 19:17, 25 January 2012 (UTC)
TP, you expressed significant opposition to the ARS template in that Tfd, mostly based on WP:CANVASS. Although you did indicate that rescuing notable articles from deletion was a laudable endeavor. Here are the lead paragraphs from WP:CANVASS:
  1. In general, it is perfectly acceptable to notify other editors of ongoing discussions, provided that it is done with the intent to improve the quality of the discussion by broadening participation to more fully achieve consensus.
  2. However canvassing which is done with the intention of influencing the outcome of a discussion in a particular way is considered inappropriate. This is because it compromises the normal consensus decision-making process, and therefore is generally considered disruptive behaviour.
We all know what blatant canvassing is, but might be instructive and actually might inform the future actions of ARS if you could describe for us what you believe would be acceptable ARS activity that would comply with paragraph one above. Can you do that for us? Thanks - Mike Cline (talk) 01:20, 26 January 2012 (UTC)
Actually, I think Wikipedia:Article_Rescue_Squadron/Rescue_list is as close as you'll get to acceptable. I think it's still canvassing but there are two differences that I like. 1) It's transparent so those outside are fully informed about how it's used, and 2) So far it's been used to discuss how to improve the article which I also like. At first I thought this page would end up at WP:MfD as a way to circumvent the deletion of the rescue template and continue to canvass, but after watching it since it was created, I sort of like it. Not that I speak for everyone, but I could endorse this approach.--v/r - TP 03:44, 26 January 2012 (UTC)
I think the best way for the ARS to avoid problems in the future is to focus on the rescuing of articles, not AfD's. I've always thought that ARS could become one of the most respected wikiprojects on WP if they largely refrained from voting at AfD, and let their improvements to the article prompt everyone else to change their votes. —SW— babble 15:35, 26 January 2012 (UTC)
If the AfD isn't 'rescued' it makes no difference what you do to the article. I think the vast majority of constructive editors would agree that articles on notable subjects that can be brought up to scratch should be kept and brought up to scratch. The main problem with fixing the article first is time. Take this AfD as an example. I came across this when I only had a few minutes available - it took me less than 5 minutes to find sources demonstrating notability and list them in the AfD (which begs the question why the nom couldn't have done that and saved us all a lot of wasted time, but that's another issue). It was more than a day later when I had time to spend the hour and a half needed to go through those sources in detail and improve the article. At other times it could be days before I had that much time. Getting in early often prompts other editors to look at the evidence presented and agree that the article should be kept. Leaving it a few days until improvements can be made risks having half a dozen editors lacking an inclination to look for sources to come along and !vote for deletion (very common unfortunately), by which time it can be much harder to turn the discussion around. It would be nice to think that when presented with evidence of notability and/or an improved article, editors who argued for deletion would revisit the discussion and change their mind, but unfortunately in the real world (as far as that describes WP) many won't budge once they have given an opinion, and even worse will still argue for deletion once it has been demonstrated that it would be inappropriate. This revisiting and the encouragement for editors do so is also an additional drain on resources. So get in early to the AfD, but present policy/guideline-based arguments for keeping backed up by evidence. Then use sources found to improve the article when you are able to do so. --Michig (talk) 19:39, 26 January 2012 (UTC)
I'd agree with S. Wong, and in fact many people who do actually do the work on these articles are not in fact fans of ARS. Some, in fact, have revoked their 'membership' precisely because of the attitude of some of their colleagues here - but that, too, is another matter. Your point about the limited timeframe is a good one though. pablo 20:31, 26 January 2012 (UTC)
What if (just an idea) we do two things. 1) ARS uses Wikipedia:Article_Rescue_Squadron/Rescue_list so for situations like Michig mentions, they can post the sources to the AFD and to this page so someone else in the ARS can come by and use those sources to improve the article, and 2) Instead of an {{rescue}} template on the article, what if we had a {{ars wuz her}} (or more seriously {{improved}}) template to put in an AFD at the time of improvement. That way, the closing admin will know which !votes were prior to improvement and which were after improvement so they know the weight to give the votes. For example, when I am closing an AFD, if I see major improvements have addressed the issues of prior !votes, I give less weight to those prior votes. This kind of a template would give a clear line for the closing admin at which point improvements were made. It could potentially be abused, for example if it was placed on an AFD on the 6th day at the 23rd hour, but that kind of abuse would be more obvious and addressable.--v/r - TP 20:36, 26 January 2012 (UTC)
Just an alternate idea... One feature of ARS *is* that they sometimes want to (in good faith) keep an article despite a lack of sources, because there's a good faith belief sources probably exist. Sometimes they even find an isolated quote, which isn't enough for a keep, but might be enough to create a reasonable belief that more sources exist. It's sometimes hard to tell the difference between what I just described versus canvassing: are they voting keep with complete disregard to improving the article, or are they voting the keep in the belief that someone will be able to improve the article in a few months? Maybe this would be something to incorporate into the AFD process as an alternate vote. Instead of keep or delete, you could !vote conditional keep -- where the article would be kept and given a template similar to Template:Afd-merge to that expects further work to be done after the AFD. Shooterwalker (talk) 22:31, 26 January 2012 (UTC)
Tough noogies on you TP! AfD itself is a huge canvass operation -- its whole purpose is to canvass votes for deletion, that's its important function. But it has also been elevated to a status beyond many other Wikipedia processes. It wasn't that long ago, though before my time, that some editors actually used to suggest that AfD (then VfD) should be halted. Perhaps the AfD template should be deleted too for a violation of WP:CANVASS.--Milowenthasspoken 19:26, 25 January 2012 (UTC)
I think Michig's response to my suggestion is revealing. The goal of ARS needs to be to improve articles that are facing deletion, not to ensure that certain articles don't get deleted. For those of you who are saying, "But that's the same thing!", it's not. There's an important but subtle distinction there. If you do the former well, the latter will follow naturally. But the classic problem with ARS is that many editors start out with the former latter as their goal. If the ARS could somehow disassociate themselves with the idea that the most important thing is that the article gets kept, then I think they'd get a lot more respect and a lot less complaints. —SW— gossip 23:49, 26 January 2012 (UTC)
"the latter as their goal", surely? --SarekOfVulcan (talk) 23:58, 26 January 2012 (UTC)
No, the goal needs to be to stop articles on encyclopedic/notable subjects from getting deleted *and* to improve them. AfD is for deciding whether subjects should have articles, not for forcing other editors to put their time into tidying up articles.--Michig (talk) 07:28, 27 January 2012 (UTC)
Sure, you are right about what an AFD is for. But the question is what is ARS for. The issue at hand is whether ARS is used to improve articles or whether they are used to votestack AFDs. Which is it?--v/r - TP 12:07, 27 January 2012 (UTC)
ARS is for improving articles, but there are structural reasons that may compel individual members and sympathizers to votestack; see my reasoning below. Anything that would alleviate those structural reasons would help to get a healthier ARS project and more civil AfD discussions. Diego (talk) 12:14, 27 January 2012 (UTC)
And that's why ARS gets a bad name. Everyone here (even deletionists) are for improving articles. It's the votestacking that hurts your cause. My proposal above should help with this.--v/r - TP 12:20, 27 January 2012 (UTC)
I know, and I agree that the current battleground is not healthy. I answer you at "more food for thought". Diego (talk) 12:57, 27 January 2012 (UTC)
It's misleading to present this issue as a binary choice between article improvement and votestacking. ARS is concerned with AfDs, so you can't separate the two. What's the problem with ARS members finding and presenting evidence of notability in AfD discussions? That's completely different to votestacking, and helps the AfD to reach the correct outcome, which should surely be everyone's goal. There are plenty of editors, unfortunately, who are not for improving articles, particularly once they've nominated them at AfD, and often out of prejudice against certain types of topic. Dealing with the problem of bad AfD nominations would solve a lot of the issues (and save a lot of wasted time and effort at AfD). If reasonable efforts were taken to establish notability prior to AfD there would be a much reduced need for articles to be 'rescued'--Michig (talk) 17:29, 27 January 2012 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Honestly, I'm not concerned with that. It doesn't concern me when there is an article up for deletion and one or multiple ARS members !vote. What does concern me is when those ARS members !vote "per other ARS member" and/or when there is little-no improvement on the notability of an article. That's where the votestacking bothers me. Personally, and I don't speak for everyone, I can look the other way when there is clear improvement. However, when there is clear improvement, that's when the votestacking will be the least effective because I'll already have discounted prior votes anyway.--v/r - TP 17:46, 27 January 2012 (UTC)

So an emphasis for the ARS on finding evidence of notability and presenting policy-based arguments for keeping would surely be an improvement, and would deal with any perception of votestacking? !Votes for keeping or deletion without any policy/guideline rationale for doing so should be given little or no weight anyway. Once there is evidence of notability, anyone can use that to improve the article - including the nominator, although that's a rare occurrence.--Michig (talk) 18:02, 27 January 2012 (UTC)
I'd prefer to see article improvement. You said in your edit summary "so make it clear that policy/guideline-based arguments will be given weight, and others won't." The problem with that is that folks are quick to call out "Vote counting" when the close is in agreement with the fallout of !votes, and "Supervote" when it's not. Many of the DRVs I've been brought to have been for one of these two because folks didn't like the result. If you want to see policy/guideline-based only given weight, than Northamerica1000's old "Keep per WP:NOT" and "Keep per WP:NOTDUP" arguments won't fly and I'll expect ya'all to support that stance. Both ways or no ways. If you want invalid deletion rationale completely discounted (which it honestly is) than expect invalid keep rationale to be completely discounted.--v/r - TP 18:50, 27 January 2012 (UTC)
Yes, discount both keep and delete !votes if they don't have valid rationale. Make it clear that votes either way without valid arguments will carry little or no weight and people may stop acting that way at AfD - my suggestion is that since the concern here appears to be 'keep' votestacking from ARS members, that this point should be reinforced among this project's members. AfD though, as we all know, is not for cleanup ("If the article can be fixed through normal editing, then it is not a candidate for AfD"), beneficial though such cleanup may be. Taking articles to AfD to try to get others to clean them up is an (unfortunately common) abuse of AfD. Arguments that the only response to an AfD should be cleanup will only reinforce that abuse. Moving away from keep !voting to finding and presenting evidence of notability would be an improvement, and once that evidence is found, we have a basis for article improvement, and hopefully still an article to improve. If the project were to maintain a list of articles 'rescued' by good arguments at AfD then that would be a good todo list for those with the time/inclination for article improvement. --Michig (talk) 19:15, 27 January 2012 (UTC)
Sure, that's not tough to swallow. But when it comes to which I, as a Wikipedia editor and reader, would prefer: I'd prefer to see articles improved rather than "saved at AFD". It'd help the articles, and it'd help fix ARS's image. Also, "this point should be reinforced among this project's members" is exactly what I suggested to MichaelQSchmidt: "Effort by the project to address concerns by outside of the project. Acceptance that the concerns are valid even if they are misconceptions. Effort shown to improve the image of the project."--v/r - TP 19:33, 27 January 2012 (UTC)
I made the point below that reinforcing that behavior would be a lot easier for everybody if "failed rescues" at AfDs didn't mean an instant loss of all content from view. You seemed to agree at first, but then Scottywong deviated the settlement. Is there a strong reason why deletionists want to keep deleted content (that doesn't risk liability) strongly out of view, other than tradition? Diego (talk) 20:33, 27 January 2012 (UTC)
From my point of view, I think the issue is abuse of the system to circumvent the process. It's a ton easier to circumvent a "soft delete" than a real delete.--v/r - TP 21:08, 27 January 2012 (UTC)

Yes yes, you're absolutely right. AFD is an exclusive club of deletionists. I'll be sure to strike out any ARS !votes in AFD because we control the audience at AFD which is a clear violation of WP:CANVASS. Or wait, no we don't. Anyone can participate.--v/r - TP 00:42, 26 January 2012 (UTC)
Its just like ARS. Anyone can participate at AfD, but not everyone does. You participate if you have an interest in what gets deleted.--Milowenthasspoken 20:36, 26 January 2012 (UTC)
I'm an evil deletionist though. I'd incinerate in the presence of the ARS template. The holy drink of sources burns my skin.--v/r - TP 20:54, 26 January 2012 (UTC)
Yeah, I tried to douse Snotty/Scotty with it a few times, but he's quite durable.--Milowenthasspoken 21:10, 26 January 2012 (UTC)
Have you tried beating him with the Holy Sceptre of ARS?  ;D --v/r - TP 21:17, 26 January 2012 (UTC)

Some interesting articles

Here's some interesting articles about one user's experience on Wikipedia regarding topic notability and article deletion. Please note that I in no way endorse or oppose this information, it's just being placed here (neutrally) for people's perusal.

Posted neutrally (not endorsed or opposed), by: Northamerica1000(talk) 00:50, 28 January 2012 (UTC)

Food for thought

I would like to pose the following question: Is WP improved or harmed, if articles that demonstrate notability IAW WP:NOTE, fully supported by cited RS in the article at the time of deletion, are deleted? In other words, irrespective of any delete/keep votes in an AfD, if the article otherwise demonstrates notability through reliable sources at the close of an AfD, should the article be deleted? This isn't a trick question, but insteads begs this question. If an article is indeed worthy of AfD nomination at the start of an AfD, but through editor intervention, the article is brought up to notability standards during the 7 day Afd (the measure here is that given its improved condition it would be an unlikely candidate for AfD) does it matter how many delete or keep votes there are in an AfD? Can we imagine a scenario where at the start of an AfD, an article has clearly not demonstrated notability and many editors vote delete. Yet other editors, who actually never vote in the AfD, improve the article to the point to where it is clearly notable. Would the result of the AfD in this case where there was 10-0 delete/keep vote be deleted? If yes, why would we delete a clearly notable article? --Mike Cline (talk) 00:19, 27 January 2012 (UTC)

As I said earlier: When there is significant improvement to an article then I give less weight to the !votes prior to the improvements; especially if the improvements directly address the rationale for the delete !votes. However, delete votes after the improvement still get their full value. Of course, it's ambiguous values in my head, but that's how I do it.--v/r - TP 02:16, 27 January 2012 (UTC)
All well and good, but if the article had been improved to the unequivocal state of demonstrating notability of the subject but all votes in the AfD were delete, as a closing admin, would you delete the article? If so, why?
That's a trick question. The role of the admin is to assess the consensus not to ignore the discussion and make their own decision. That's why we have issues with supervoting. The correct answer is that the closing admin should not close the discussion but make a well argued keep vote to fix the consensus. There is another issue that discussions at AFD in the past have discouraged admins from looking at sources and articles themselves because that inevitably leads to them taking their own position on the content and that leads to a supervote. But finally, its for the community to decide at AFD and, if the voters have reviewed the sources, then the consensus of the community is that they don't cut the mustard?? Spartaz Humbug! 07:51, 27 January 2012 (UTC)
No, its not a trick question, its a question aimed a exposing a possible flaw in the deletion process. I know this is an unlikely scenario, but it could happen. Even your comments above point to potential flaws that could contribute to it happening. You said if the voters have reviewed the sources, then the consensus of the community is that they don't cut the mustard?? A great many delete votes never indicate the participant actually reviewed the sources, they are just agreeing with someone else who purportedly has. Now for the scenario, far fetched as it might be. (remember this is process observation). If some bozo, pacifist editor with a grudge againist all things military nominated this version of the article Battle of Midway as non-notable, no sources on day one of a 7 day AfD and 9 of his bozo, pacifist editors piled on with delete votes. And, for unknown reasons such as sunspots or locust in the desert no other editors bothered to weigh in on the Afd. At the end of 7 days the tally is a clear 10-0, non-notable, no sources. Yet, behind the scenes, another ten editors worked on the article in the dark of night and brought it up to this state Battle of Midway. But no one encouraged them to vote (and they didn't) in the AfD because any whisper like that is seen as bad form WP:CANVASS. How does the process deal with this? Can the admin, responsibly just say Not deleted, as the nom's rationale is no longer valid, despite the 10-0 vote? --Mike Cline (talk) 10:53, 27 January 2012 (UTC)
No, actually, the correct procedure is to look at the !votes, discount the ones which don't match reality, and assess the consensus of the rest. If there are a ton of "no sources!" !votes, and sources have subsequently been added, but the authors of those opinions have not revisited and revised their !votes, they are no basis for deletion, and the closing admin is doing Wikipedia a disservice if he or she accords any weight to them whatsoever. If doing THAT would result in a policy-based consensus (e.g., because someone had improved, but no-one had !voted) that would be detrimental to the encyclopedia, THEN a !vote in lieu of a close would be an appropriate option. Jclemens (talk) 08:15, 27 January 2012 (UTC)
+1. Consensus is not about bean-counting or voting; admins are expected to ignore any comment that has no basis in reality. If an article with sources has "delete, no sources", then that's an invalid comment to take into account in the same way that we wouldn't expect "delete, I like ponies" to be counted. And if your hypothetical situation occurs, all of the votes would then be discounted. Whoops, no consensus. Ironholds (talk) 18:51, 27 January 2012 (UTC)
Great! Can we now persuade people at both sides that this is how AfDs are decided? 'cos I'm not sure that this is how they're always decided. Admins are also humans after all, and there's the possibility to turn them around by the most vocal proponents. Diego (talk) 20:38, 27 January 2012 (UTC)
Articles are usually not entirely unsourced. If a delete supporter opines that there are no acceptable sources, and additional sources of comparable quality (quantity over quality) are produced, the opinion should not be discarded. It may be given less weight if the commenter fails to return and affirm it. Flatscan (talk) 05:35, 30 January 2012 (UTC)

More food for thought

I want to take advantage of the constructive discussion going on to make a counter-proposal and prompt our fellow deletionists to consider the AfD process itself.

The limited timeframe mentioned above is what creates a sense of urgency to "rescue" the article before its time runs out; at least it does for me. Deletion causes harm to the wiki process; it creates an artificially high barrier to recover content that might be used in a potential recreated version of the article. As mentioned above, undeletion requests are no substitute for the wiki history; common editors can't access to the content to assess whether it merits the time expense to make the request.

To summarize I think the question is, would you find acceptable that articles for which notability cannot be established to be legitimate blanked instead of deleted, with a tag stating that "A page with this title has been previously removed - see discussion" (instead of the current "deleted")?

I mean this possiblity only for articles nominated for notability, not copyvio, BLP or spam. I know that as a member of ARS I would more likely !vote for Pageblank than Keep at articles with poor sources, if that outcome was one supported by the community. I'm sure this approach would help alleviate the problems that newcomers face when their new articles are speedely deleted, which is also one of the strategic goals of the Board.

Note that this proposal is not exactly the perennial request that deleted pages should be visible, but a way to facilitate that deletion be actually used as a last resort; I hope you will agree that it is often not the case. If pageblanking was usually preferred over deletion, I think you would find that the Resque Squadron members would be more willing to behave in the "step in to improve what can be fixed, not get a forced keep" that TP was asking for. At the very least, it would align the AfD process with the stated reasons why deleted pages are not accessible.

This idea is not new; but maybe the recent removal of {{rescue}} could help to build a new consensus. Of course this would merit a community policy discussion and is not to be decided at this project talk page, but I'd like to gather some first impressions. Diego (talk) 11:27, 27 January 2012 (UTC)

I'd have two issues with this that might be addressable but I'll put them out there. 1) The option makes it too easy for folks to simply "undo" the blanking. Right now, new pages are recorded in the new page patrol log so it can be tracked if a page keeps getting recreated. This proposal doesn't offer a method for stoping someone from restoring a non-notable page for no other reason than they dislike that it was blanked. 2) IP editors will be able to recreate these pages. If we do this then that will result in a large quantity of "blanked" pages that can be unblanked and content written by IP editors. Not that IP editors are bad, but we put a restriction on new pages by IP editors for a reason. Again, we won't be able to track this. NPP would largely become impossible and spam would run rampant. 3) It isn't going to alleviate the issue of new editors discouraged their page got deleted. New editors are still going to be discouraged that their page got blanked.
Furthermore, new editors will learn than they can go in the page history and use a permenant link to an older revision to "pretend" or "fake" a non-deleted Wikipedia page. For example, I create a page on my brand new company "TParis' Awesome Web Design". I write a completely advertising article about my company but surprise surprise, I've actually had an article written about my company in the local newspaper because I did a website for a local cat adoption agency for free. My source saves me from outright deletion, my page gets blanked instead, and I've got a nice little link from my website to the revision before blanking that legitimasizes (spelling?) my business for all of my clients. That's how blanking would be used, I'll guarantee it. Nice idea in theory, but it will be abused by IP editors and spammers.--v/r - TP 12:16, 27 January 2012 (UTC)
I've seen your proposal and the one from Shooterwalker; it's great that you worry enough to suggest them, but I'm trying to make you understand why I think they wouldn't work, as they are at most a cosmetic fix over a deeper trend.
The problem is not that the eeeeevil ARSers like to gang together in order to stop those pesky deletionists; the root problem is that the current AfD practice is generating that wish in a spontaneous way. This is because some content is removed from view for reasons different than the original reason for permanent content removal. This mismatch (between the usual Wiki process and what is going on at marginal articles) will always prompt this behavior in some editors, whether an ARS project exists to coordinate them or not. This is also the reason why viewing deleted articles is a perennial request.
You can review the previous discussions for the most common objections; some of them will be easy to resolve, some more difficult. At the very end if/when all technical objections are solved, the choice is between having some novice editors trying to repeatedly recover deleted content (which could be handled by the common consensus building process of dispute resolution), or having many experienced editors !voting to keep articles that could otherwise be safely removed, only because that would destroy all their future potential. Diego (talk) 12:53, 27 January 2012 (UTC)
Reviewing Shooterwalker's proposal, it is not that different to what I suggest; mine is complementary, designed for cases where merging is not an option in the current article's form. Diego (talk) 13:02, 27 January 2012 (UTC)
I am sure this has been proposed before, but what if we had another kind of "soft-delete" tool for sysops and a "view soft-delete" right that can be granted at WP:PERM. The idea would be that pages that are copyvios, attacks, and other serious deletion reasons get the hard-delete we do now and pages for notability and spam get a soft-delete which is exactly the same as a hard-delete except that folks in the view soft-delete userright can still view the history? The idea is to continue to protect the foundation by not allowing non-sysops to see the pages that could harm the foundation while also granting access to others users. Has this popped up anywhere before?--v/r - TP 13:10, 27 January 2012 (UTC)
One problem with this and similar proposals is that it makes the work of (exepcially) New Page Patrollers / Speedy Deletion admins a lot harder. Now, often articles that look like they may be copyright violations are speedy deleted because they are e.g. A7 (no indication of importance) candidates. Similarly, dubious BLP pages which may be attack pages are also deleted as A7 where applicable, because that one is less confrontational and in some ways less subjective (e.g. I've deleted a page, possibly an autobio, from someone who claims that the subject is a DJ who also works in the adult industry (with a portrait picture taken supposedly in a sauna).
Currently, it doesn't really matter if the article gets deleted as A7 or as a copyvio or a G10 BLP page: in the proposal though, a lot more work and thought should be put in checking that we don't "soft-delete" something that is also a BLP violation, a copyvio, a hoax, and so on. This would slow down new page patrolling dramatically, and it already is an overworked and understaffed job. Coupled with the technical changes that need to be made (new userrights, new functionalities, ...) I don't think it is worth the effort. Fram (talk) 13:24, 27 January 2012 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── I think we're onto something, if I can manage to convince TP that a soft-delete would be a good idea. ;-) Any strict soft deletion mechanism will always be rejected for the reasons Fram stated. What I'm aiming for is a different approach that would have a similar effect through a consensual tweak in the current procedures. Moderate inclusionists should agree to !vote for page blank (a kind of soft-deletion) instead of !keep more often, and moderate deletionists should agree that the default result for notability nominations should be page blanking more often than hard deletion. If we can reach a consensus along this lines, it could be codified into guidelines and improve the current issue for everybody.

Problematic content (copyvio, libellous...) will never get approval from the powers-that-be because it can expose the company to liability; that's why many similar proposals have failed before. What I'm suggestying is to separate notability deletions from the rest, as they are not likely affected by liability problems. By tying this outcome to AfD discussion instead of speedy deletions, I don't think it would overload new page patrolling - the tweaked procedure would be used only for contested deletions.

I'm hoping that the {{rescue}} issue could give momentum to a new attempt to reach community consensus. Combining what I think is a slightly new approach with the battleground that this unsolved problem favors (as demonstrated by the heated deletion discussion), maybe this time we could overcome the previous "no consensus" results. Do you think it is worth trying? Diego (talk) 13:51, 27 January 2012 (UTC)

I can't get behind a page-blanking soft-delete. It'd be heavily abused as WP:WEBHOST and WP:SPAM by folks who figure out the permanent link/history feature. Only in the case of strong possible future notability, for example a "sources must exist" consensus, would I be OK with this approach.--v/r - TP 14:05, 27 January 2012 (UTC)
It seems a good start. ARS members are likely to !vote Keep when some third-party sources of unclear reliability have been found, not when the article is likely spam; and we have proven that we're willing to look for candidate sources ourselves, so this could help to improve the current situation of the project (we would gather to provide sources, but accept that the article would be soft-blanked if we don't convince other people). I think this would provide a step in the right direction; if this works, the policy may be loosened later with better tools to fight spam. Let's see what our fellow inclusionists think of this proposal. Diego (talk) 14:24, 27 January 2012 (UTC)
If this proposal were to go through, the "sources must exist" sort of blank, I think it should include full sysop protection which requires a WP:REFUND request to overturn. Otherwise, there would be edit waring over whether to recreate an article and what not.--v/r - TP 14:26, 27 January 2012 (UTC)
Now you are getting too demanding ;-) You're probably right, but there's no point to discuss right now between you an me the exact details of what should be done. What gives me hope is that we could agree on the substance of the core procedure. We should collect get the details to write a draft proposal (maybe waiting a little more to get input from other members of this Wikiproject, which is directly affected), then place the proposal at the Villa pump. Diego (talk) 14:53, 27 January 2012 (UTC)
  • This "soft deletion" mechanism already exists (albeit in a somewhat different form) at WP:INCUBATE. Why not just vote Incubate instead of Keep for articles with poor sources? Incubation solves all problems, such as: it doesn't allow under-the-radar page re-creation, it doesn't disrupt the new page patrol process, it doesn't allow spammers to permalink to an article (since articles aren't allowed to remain forever in incubation), and it allows non-admins to view deleted content and collaborate on improving it. Sounds to me like the solution already exists, no need for another layer of technical complexity. —SW— talk 15:46, 27 January 2012 (UTC)
That's very true.--v/r - TP 15:51, 27 January 2012 (UTC)
See time limit. Incubator is meant for temporary storage, not definite, so it doesn't solve the root problem. Moreover, there's no guarantee that AfDs with only Delete and Incubate !votes would be usually closed as Incubate. No, a renewed consensus is needed if we want people to moderate their behavior; even if some obscure current process exists to achieve the desired result, it will need a thorough discussion to get traction and become widely used. Diego (talk) 16:01, 27 January 2012 (UTC)
So what you're looking for is a process whereby deleted articles remain permanently available to readers? In other words, you want to get rid of deletion altogether? I seriously doubt you'll find consensus for any kind of soft deletion mechanism which doesn't include a time limit of some sort. Also keep in mind that the time limit at WP:INCUBATE is not of a fixed duration, it's flexible depending on the circumstances. And incubated articles are not automatically deleted, they generally require an MfD in order to be deleted. I'd say that's a pretty fair deal. —SW— squeal 16:08, 27 January 2012 (UTC)
That is not fair (it's exactly the statu quo, which solves nothing) and you didn't understand my proposal, at least not exactly. Note that "remain permanently available to readers" is not the same thing that "get rid of deletion altogether". But yes, the consensus that TP and I were building was more on the line to make deleted content read-only, out-of-view as long as it doesn't get the Wikimedia Foundation in trouble (which was the original only reason to delete content permanently, BTW). This middle ground is a concession on both sides, as it's one step down from a pure wiki process but also requires a different outcome for some (not all) the successful AfDs. Yes, it would change the current nature of deletion but no, it wouldn't get rid completely of it.
I honestly believe this would benefit the stated goals of deletionism while avoiding its pitfalls. (I also believe that blocking all deleted content from view is a perversion of the wiki process and the Wikipedia Founding Fathers vision, and that the current consensus for AfD does not reflect that this blockade is an actual need but rather a necessary lesser evil; but you don't need to share my opinion to work towards a middle-ground consensus, only to be more open-handed to recognize where the middle ground actually is). Diego (talk) 18:20, 27 January 2012 (UTC)

I don't like the content being available for everyone. If there is a page blanking with that note, it should be edit protected except for approved editors. Those approved editors can also view past revisions. I remember that mass promotion for the reviewer user right. How many editors received that user right in a short amount of time was amazing. Then maybe a new Wikiproject could be started or a category with those many approved editors that others without that user right can go to, maybe even both. SL93 (talk) 23:04, 27 January 2012 (UTC)

What I have never understand of deletionism is why that strong opposition to make deleted content reachable in the history page, even in a read-only way? I know the reason why this purge mechanism was created, to protect the Wikimedia Foundation from liability; but the deletionist movement is not using it in that way (and both Scottywong and SL93 reinstated that view), as it seeks the same fate for unproblematic content too.
Which is a funny thing to do in a site created with wiki technology. So, what makes article creation so special that it merits a special rule, different to all the content removed from already existing articles? Is it just because reachable content would make it easier to re-create the article, or am I missing some other deep reason there? Diego (talk) 18:31, 28 January 2012 (UTC)
Abuse basically. Using Wikipedia as a WP:WEBHOST. Post something on Wikipedia, it gets soft deleted for notability, now I've got a permenant link to the article in the history I can shop around to all my friends.--v/r - TP 21:24, 28 January 2012 (UTC)
You can do that right now at any Wikipedia page, and I don't see that being a problem. It reassures me that purging regular content at deleted articles is an overreaction, and shouldn't be made on a regular basis but just for problematic content. Diego (talk) 21:59, 28 January 2012 (UTC)
You can do it on any legitimate page. But we delete pages that don't meet guidelines. Soft delete would allow any created page that didn't have a legal reason for deletion to be soft-deleted. That means, as long as I don't use bad words or copyvios, I can essentially post a page, wait for it to be blanked and protected, and then grab a permenant link from older in the history and shop that to clients/friends with Wikipedia's logo authenticating the page. I could use Wikipedia's name to legitimize my company. So for example, let's say I am creating a fraud non-profit organization to get donations for Haiti. I create a Wikipedia page, it gets soft deleted because there are no sources for notability. Then I grab a permenant link, and I send that to perspective "donators" and they assume it must be a legitimate company if Wikipedia-says-so.--v/r - TP 22:47, 28 January 2012 (UTC)
Do you honestly believe that a shady business would like to point to a page saying "This is an old version of this article, which has been removed because editors found it not trustworthy"? If that was a realistic possibility we would have been flooded by article-history spam by now. As it stands now, we only have the occasional out-link spam vandalism that gets reverted and forgotten in history. Why would removed articles be any different? Diego (talk) 01:02, 29 January 2012 (UTC)
There, a precise example of what we're talking about. It didn't take a failed AfD to create that shady page, so why aren't we inundated by them at every Wikipedia article? (I hope that no conscious administrator will sack me for that illustration). Diego (talk) 01:10, 29 January 2012 (UTC)
No, we arn't flooded with article history spam...because we delete it. And yes, I do think folks are willing to have a small red message saying "This is an old version" as long as the Wikipedia logo is shown.--v/r - TP 03:55, 29 January 2012 (UTC)
Then, the right decision is to delete articles that are spam, and keep the rest. Exactly the same mechanism that is working well and good everywhere around the rest of Wikipedia. Don't you agree? Diego (talk) 09:30, 29 January 2012 (UTC)
The line between G11 and A7 is incredibly thin. Many, and I mean most, articles that are A7 candidates are also G11. Have you worked NPP lately? On paper (on WP:CSD), A7 and G11 are separate criteria. But the way folks generate new articles about their companies and webpages, both generally apply. What's going to happen if we use soft delete, is PR agencies are going to realize if they can figure out this WP:NPOV thing, they can get a page on Wikipedia. Even if the language isn't advertising, they can use the Wikipedia logo to legitimize and advertise their company. There needs to be a higher threshold than A7 for a soft delete. If such were an option, as I said earlier, the threshold needs to be "there must be sources". But as SW pointed out, that's what the incubator is for. What about if the incubator were moved under the ARS?--v/r - TP 13:32, 29 January 2012 (UTC)

The Rescue tag DRV is ongoing

In case some of you missed it. Wikipedia:Deletion review/Log/2012 January 27

(We're losing! To The Barricades!)<sarcasm/> Diego (talk) 21:21, 27 January 2012 (UTC)

  • Its mind-boggling how many people have shown up there in the first three hours of its listing. Here's a disclosure: I don't even regularly check DrV, for anything. Its just not usually the most fruitful place to find things to improve.--Milowenthasspoken 21:48, 27 January 2012 (UTC)
    Just to check; does anyone here have any problem with me notifying all the individual participants in the AfD? I normally wouldn't bother, but it seems somewhat onesided to have one (now two) notices on the ARS page that an ARS template has been deleted, and nothing anywhere else but DRV itself. Ironholds (talk) 22:25, 27 January 2012 (UTC)
Somehow the deletionists are already appearing amazingly quickly in that discussion, Ironholds. How is it possible so many could show up in 3 hours time?!?! Nobody has dates in the UK tonight? Sadly, the original AfD didn't get nearly as well-advertised to inclusionists despite the canvassing claims made in the discussion - i almost didn't find out about it myself! This is what is going to happen if you notify everyone (and which may happen anyway) -- the discussion is going to get huge and will be artfully endorsed by the closer because its hopeless to decipher.--Milowenthasspoken 22:30, 27 January 2012 (UTC)
Well, my workday normally goes until 1am, so I've got an excuse for being on-wiki on a friday ;). I can't speak for anyone else; don't even know where many of them are based. Is that a "don't tell people it's happening" or a "feel free"? I'm trying to be fair, here, not weight the scales - given how it's going at the moment, if I was trying to ensure an "endorse" I'd leave it well alone. Ironholds (talk) 22:35, 27 January 2012 (UTC)
Please do notify participants. I was trying to give visibility to the DRV but wasn't sure which was the best avenue for it. Diego (talk) 22:36, 27 January 2012 (UTC)
Gotcha :). I don't have any problem with the ARS notification - I would have expected the DRV requester to get people involved, and I'm glad he did (and you did too!); it's just ensuring that we're getting people involved in a fair and transparent way that is the priority. I'll send out notices tomorrow morning via AWB when I've got some shuteye. Ironholds (talk) 22:38, 27 January 2012 (UTC)
I also noticed the original AfD when it was finished and not before... Even if this gets out of hand, this notification would provide people a chance to exhibit their best arguments (as well as their worst, but I still think this could provide good thoughtfood for later digestion). Diego (talk) 22:36, 27 January 2012 (UTC)
Agreed. The number of people who participated in the AfD shows that this was touching on more than just any old template (which is why I found my close so difficult). Whatever the bigger issue and whatever the resolution the community comes to, we should be trying to give as many editors the opportunity to speak their piece as is possible. Ironholds (talk) 22:45, 27 January 2012 (UTC)
Iron -- I think such a notification would be fine, and based in policy. Then again, I know of an admin who -- if he evenhandedly applies his view of the matter to you the same as he would to anyone else -- will without question block you for such a notification, nevertheless.--Epeefleche (talk) 00:55, 28 January 2012 (UTC)
  • Crazy admins is a risk anyone takes whenever they make an edit. I'm sure there are a few people here who, with this AfD, have concluded I'm one of them ;). Ironholds (talk) 09:35, 28 January 2012 (UTC)
  • Well, then ... at the risk of leading you down a path that results in him blocking you, here is some background (I haven't checked to see if there is more, or more recent, guidance). A parallel matter arose at the wp:canvass talkpage. An editor complained when editor Collect contacted 50 editors on their talkpages as to an AfD. Collect had used a neutral notice, and sent it "to everyone practicable" who had participated in the prior AfD. I'll let you read the diff, rather than characterize the advice he received. Similarly, the question as to whether multiple postings (to all RfA !voters) are excessive if they: a) are not solicitations to !vote; and b) are made to editors who had previously participated in a related discussion, was discussed at the guideline talkpage here. Having said all that -- caveat emptor. Don't blame me if you get blocked.--Epeefleche (talk) 09:50, 28 January 2012 (UTC)
  • Indeed; caveat emptor is the way with all edits. We'll see how it works out. Personally, I have no objection to Collect's actions there, and it doesn't look like anyone else really does either; to be honest I rarely object to Collect's actions ;p. He's a great and thoughtful editor, but trouble seems to follow him. Speaking cynically, for a moment, that may be one of the reasons for such a reaction. Ironholds (talk) 10:20, 28 January 2012 (UTC)
  • Notifications sent out, and I'm still alive (for now). Ironholds (talk) 10:46, 28 January 2012 (UTC)

ARS Newsletter

I've been working on a new issue for the Article Rescue Squadron newsletter on the newsletter Draft page. Placing this message here to invite participation. The sections "Featured editor", "Featured administrator" and "Contest" are empty. I'm thinking about omitting the "Contest" portion for issue #3, because I'm not sure if there would actually be any participation in it. If anyone has the time to help out, a new newsletter could be ready for publishing relatively soon. For any that are interested, please discuss matters on the talk page for the newsletter, located here: Talk Page Issue Number 3, and also feel free to make direct immediate contributions on the draft page. Northamerica1000(talk) 04:51, 29 January 2012 (UTC)

Northamerica1000(talk) 07:39, 1 February 2012 (UTC)
Rescuesquad - No text.png

Article Rescue Squadron Newsletter

Volume I, Issue III
February 2012

To contribute to the next newsletter, please visit the Newsletter draft page.
ARS Members automatically receive this newsletter. To opt out, please remove your name from the recipients list.

Prevalance of Soft delete closes at AfD?

In connection with the discussion above about the death of AfD, I ran into this recently closed AfD, Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Household Name Records, which had been relisted twice without a single vote. The AfD ran from Jan 6 to Jan 29, 23 days, without anyone saying anything about it. It was closed as a "Soft Delete", "Counts as expired PROD." I found this interesting as I don't recall ever seeing such a close before, indeed, I thought Wikipedia:Soft deletion (failed proposal) was an old failed proposal from 2007 to prevent actual deletion of articles. And indeed it was, however, this idea of "soft delete" was added to Wikipedia:Deletion process under the subheading "Other outcomes by discussion venue" on 6 October 2010, see [1]. Its interesting what can happen on Wikipedia while you're busy doing other things. But in August 2010 we had Wikipedia talk:Articles for deletion/Relisting straw poll, where the idea of "soft deletion" similar to an expired prod was adopted with the support of 29 editors in favor, the favorite among the options of what do to when no one has commented in an AfD that should not be relisted again (presumptively after two relists). An earlier attempt to get a similar process in place in April 2009 was overwhelmingly opposed. I see a few instances where Admin Stifle has closed some AfDs as soft delete in the past few months, properly per what the rule seems to be, though someone might want to double check to see if recreation is warranted. [2]. Has anyone else run into this process? Its easy to protect against if you monitor all expiring AfDs, I suppose, but with the rise in AfDs with very little participation,its something to consider.--Milowenthasspoken 20:10, 30 January 2012 (UTC)

In what way is this a "soft deletion", what does that mean in this case? It doesn't seem to be, like in the failed proposal, an article deleted but with reachable history. Is it "deleted without prejudice" meaning that it can be undeleted without getting a speedy deletion? Diego (talk) 22:31, 30 January 2012 (UTC)
  • I think it gets treated like an expired PROD, e.g., it can be restored upon request under WP:REFUND, though newer editors are unlikely to be able to figure that out. The term "soft delete" as currently used seems to have no relation to the old proposals using the same term.--Milowenthasspoken 04:12, 31 January 2012 (UTC)

AFD notification of inclusion in rescue list

To avoid accusations of vote-stacking, it is important that listings of XfD discussions operate transparently. Please can members of this project ensure that when an article is added to this project's rescue list, a notice to that effect is promptly added to the AFD discussion?

This is routinely done by those who assist with WikiProject Deletion sorting, which has a template to assist the task: {{delsort}}. This project may wish to create a similar (and neutrally-worded) template of its own to simplify the process of notifying AFD participants.

The current version of the rescue list includes 15 articles and their related AFD discussions. I have just checked each of those AFDs, and in none of those 15 cases do I find any notification to participants of the involvement of the ARS. This contrasts with presence in all of the same AFDs of one or more notice(s) that the discussion has been included in one or more deletion sorting lists.

AFDs checked
  1. Flemming Rule
  2. Vladimir Kush
  3. Canadian Gun Nutz
  4. Pennsylvania Dental College
  5. Abraham Bryan
  6. Cope Truss
  7. Springs Hotel and Horse Railroad
  8. Tapeworm Railroad
  9. Tipton Station
  10. Round Top Branch
  11. Schleifer
  12. Shoshana Grossbard-Shechtman
  13. Stacked (TV film)
  14. TLG Communications
  15. Articles for deletion/Worlds of Ultima Online

I know that the ARS in transition, having only recently adapted from template-tagging of articles to the maintenance of the rescue list, so this issue may not have caught your attention yet. But please can you now start notifying AFDs?

Thanks! --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 11:36, 1 February 2012 (UTC)

Damned if you do, damned if you don't. :sigh: I agree that this is needed, and I hope that doing what you request is not used against the project as further intention of canvassing.
What do you think of this name: Template:Rescue_list and this wording?
Note: This debate has been included in a list of contested deletion discussions.
Diego (talk) 12:08, 1 February 2012 (UTC)
Hey, relax. I took great care not to damn anybody, and specifically stated that I understood that the rescue list was a new process in which this detail may not yet have been noticed. Far from damning the ARS, I spent some time checking out the facts and the available mechanisms, and then set out what I had found and politely suggested a solution.
Anyway, glad that we agree that this is needed, so let's focus on the how.
Template:Rescue list sounds to me like an OK name; I can't think of a better one. However, the wording "list of contested deletion discussions" seems wrong to me. After scrutinising an article which has been placed in their rescue list, ARS members may conclude that the article is nonetheless worthy of deletion, so its presence on that list should not necessarily mean that its deletion is contested. It should mean that the article is being scrutinised in good faith by ARS members because someone has considered that it may be appropriate for rescue. (I assume that this was just a drafting issue, so please don't take this as a personal criticism).
So I suggest that the template should draw on the existing wording at the top of the rescue list, and refer to the ARS's "list of content for rescue consideration". How about:
Note: This debate has been included in the Article Rescue Squadron's list of content for rescue consideration.
That format a) is explicit about the ARS's involvement, which helps transparency; b) does not prejudge the view which ARS members may take if they participate in the discussion. Whadddayathink? --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 12:36, 1 February 2012 (UTC)
PS if the use of a neutrally-worded notification template such as this is cited as evidence an intention to canvass, then please count on my support. The mechanism being proposed is intentionally being kept very similar to that used by WP:DELSORT, which seems to be uncontroversial. The template's presence on the AFD (rather than on the article) means that it cannot have effect of drawing anyone to the AFD, because they will only see it when they are already there. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 12:49, 1 February 2012 (UTC)
Sorry, don't take my words at face value. I keep forgetting that it's too easy to misrepresent tone in written conversation. I like your suggestion, and if you're confident that it will not cause mischief then let's go for it. I wasn't sure about the "contested deletion" wording, but I wanted to avoid the word "rescue" for the same reasons. But reading your version it's easier to read it in a neutral way that is consistent with policy. Do you thing that the template title is fine? Already answered. Diego (talk) 12:53, 1 February 2012 (UTC)
Let's wait until the mother of all DRVs is finished before creating the template. We can manually notify the open AfDs till then. Diego (talk) 13:00, 1 February 2012 (UTC)
Getting the wording right on these things usually involves swerving around various pitfalls, so I understand your logic in avoiding the word "rescue". But since that word is included both in the title of the list itself and in the project's name, I'm glad we can agree that it belongs in the template. AS you say, that way it's easier to read it in the neutral manner we intend.
I can't see that the outcome of the DRV affects the existence of the notification template. So long as the list exists, the template helps editors to use it transparently. If the list is deleted, the template won't be needed; but in that case its consequential deletion would be uncontroversial.
As you probably know, I have been quite a severe critic of the ARS, and recent events have not changed my views. (It looks to me me like a failed experiment; many laudable goals, but waaay too much drama and battleground). But the ARS still exists, and it seems to me to be in everybody's interest that while it exists, good faith editors on all sides should try to help it to stay out of trouble. I believe that the Template:Rescue list will help in that direction, so I will go ahead and create it now. If there are objections to its creation, please note for the record that it was not created by an ARS member! --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 13:23, 1 February 2012 (UTC)
As you wish. Let's use it! Diego (talk) 13:35, 1 February 2012 (UTC)
  • Notification of listing in the AfDs is good and transparent. I'm also fine with manual notification per editor comment because it encourages one to explain why you've added it to the list. A template is fine too though. But I must comment as an aside that the ARS is the most successful wikiproject I am aware of since the foundation of wikipedia, in fact its the only organisation connected to wikipedia that I know of that any normal non-wikipedians have heard of, probably due to the press coverage of it.[3][4][5][6]. The only other ones I can think of relate to controversies about Israel/Palestine articles. Most normal people think wikipedia editors are weird and dictatorial.--Milowenthasspoken 13:57, 1 February 2012 (UTC)
Milowent, do you think it's needed to explain at the current AfDs why I added the tag, or is it enough with the edit summary linking to this current thread that I left at each edit? Diego (talk) 14:08, 1 February 2012 (UTC)
On a going-forward basis i think its best to explain why it was tagged if you can. Sometimes its obvious, but it avoids an easily fixable complaint from deletionists. E.g., "I have listed this article over at ARS on the rescue list because it seems to me this article is probably able to be improved to show it is notable. Please check for such improvement before this AfD is closed."--Milowenthasspoken 14:14, 1 February 2012 (UTC)
Diego, I see you started work without delay. Well done!
Hopefully this will help to remove one area of contention from any further discussions about the merits or otherwise of ARS's work. One small further suggestion: I think it would be a good idea to add a note at the top of the rescue list, to remind editors to notify the AFD. The delsort project seems to have a standard format for that sort of guidance, which is displayed at the top of all its lists. So far as I can see, the guidance is contained in {{Deletionlist}}, and it would probably be best to follow the format of that guidance closely. (With one exception: {{Deletionlist}} says that you "can" also tag the AFD, but since such notifications are now almost universal, I think they are expected. So I will edit {{Deletionlist}} to change the wording from "can" to "should", and will notify the delsort project). --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 14:01, 1 February 2012 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── ... mmmh, maybe we could add a parameter to the template to make it easier to include a reason. {{rescue list|''rationale''|''signature''}}. Diego (talk) 14:22, 1 February 2012 (UTC)

That would be possible, but I don't think that a templated reason would be a helpful thing to do. Two reasons:
  1. {{rescue list}} uses a small text format, as is the convention for these factual notifications. That would not be appropriate for commentary, so combining the two tasks into one template would either obscure one purpose or the other.
  2. Templated explanations carry little weight, and are too easily abused (or seen to be abused). It would be much much much much better for the editor concern to take a minute or two to explain why they thought that the article was rescue-able. For example, instead of just "may be notable", better to say that "notability may be established if anyone has access to the 19th cent archive of The Times. Have listed my suggestion to the ARS." --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 14:50, 1 February 2012 (UTC)

"What ifs" regarding {{Rescue list}} template for AfD discussions

  • What if a non-ARS member places an article on the rescue list but doesn't tag an AfD discussion with notification? Does ARS take the blame?
  • What if the above scenario occurs, and nobody in ARS notices the missing template in the AfD discussion? Does ARS take the blame?
  • What if an ARS member forgets to place a tag in an AfD disussion? Does ARS take the blame?
  • Has there been a precedent for other Wikiprojects to do so? For example, was the (believed to be inactive) Wikiproject Deletion required to do such? See the following for an example of a list from this project from 2007: User:Dragons flight/AFD summary/Few votes.
  • What if this type of template has an effect of causing false accusations of vote stacking, simply vis-a-vis ARS members' involvement in AfD discussions? A hypothetical example: if several ARS members vote "keep" for a topic that is clearly notable, (which is anyone's right to do), but are incidentally a member of ARS, what types of negative repercussions could this have on the ARS project as a whole?
  • What if an article is placed on the rescue list, but then a user's internet connection fails before they can place notification on the AfD discussion? What if they forget to add the template afterward? Does ARS take the blame?

Northamerica1000(talk) 13:49, 1 February 2012 (UTC)

  • How are these situations different to what we have now?
  • How is it different to Wikipedia:DELSORT? Diego (talk) 14:03, 1 February 2012 (UTC)
I think the answer is "ARS is going to get blamed by some editors no matter what". The need to take time explaining things instead of improving articles is a pain, but I guess its necessary, especially now. When a non-ARS member in the past rescue-templated an article that was clearly not subject to rescue I would sometimes note in the AfD discussion that it was not tagged by an ARS regular/member. AfD participation has dropped very low and its regular participants are not drawn from a random editor population (i.e., when you write articles or work in Did you Know and other areas you run across reams of active editors you never see at AfD), so let's do our best to be transparent with each listing.--Milowenthasspoken 14:06, 1 February 2012 (UTC)
I agree with the notion of transparency. I'm concerned about hypothetical scenarios that may occur if the template isn't utilized, for whatever reasons, though. Northamerica1000(talk) 14:14, 1 February 2012 (UTC)
I agree with Diego on this. The template does not suddenly make such notifications possible; it just makes them easier to add. The primary responsibility for notifying the AFD rests with whoever lists the discussion in the rescue list, and I'm sure we would all hope that if other good faith editors (whether ARS members or not) saw that the notification was missing, they would WP:SOFIXIT.
One effect of the notification will undoubtedly be to draw the attention of AFD partipants to the ARS's involvement. In fact, that transparency is the template's sole purpose. The underlying situation will not change: once that involvement is made transparent, it is up to other editors how they react to ARS involvement, although that reaction may reflect their perceptions of the conduct of ARS members in this or other discussions. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 14:17, 1 February 2012 (UTC)