Wikipedia talk:Attribution/Archive 18

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Archive 17 Archive 18 Archive 19


So apparently this is no longer a policy proposal. Is it an essay? —Ashley Y 22:35, 25 June 2007 (UTC)

I think it's a good idea to leave it without status for the time being. It's not a personal essay. There's a sense in which it's policy, in that it's a summary of two other policies, but strictly speaking it doesn't have that status (though it did for a while). It's not a proposal anymore. Yet it's a page that lots of people still use and link to in order to understand the policies. Therefore, it has a kind of unique status. SlimVirgin (talk) 22:38, 25 June 2007 (UTC)
But it's definitely not a policy or a guideline or anything official, is it? That should probably be mentioned at that top. —Ashley Y 22:43, 25 June 2007 (UTC)
Like was said, it has a sort of unique status -- it's sort of half-official and half-unofficial. Best to leave it this way unless and until it can be pinned down. mike4ty4 09:15, 4 July 2007 (UTC)
I disagree that the page has a unique status. In my opinion, either it's policy or it isn't, and apparently it isn't. I think it's an essay. Some essays are written by one writer, and some essays are written cooperatively. What is the evidence to support the idea that it has a unique status, and what process was carried out for it to achieve such a status? The current tag which states that it summarizes two key policies is misleading -- it sounds as if it's policy, which it isn't. It should also have an essay tag above that, to make it clear that it does not have consensus (as was found in the poll.)
I think the original idea of this page was to simplify policy by replacing two policy pages with one. To make it a new policy page only makes the policy more complex (three pages rather than two) and to create a whole new type of status that pages can have makes policy even more complex. An essay tag would solve all that. --Coppertwig 16:11, 14 July 2007 (UTC)
I also disagree that it is an accurate summary of the policies, for reasons discussed in the section "the second sentence" of this talk page. --Coppertwig 16:13, 14 July 2007 (UTC)
It seems to me that it is time to add {{essay}} to this article, until such time as it is given another status. The wording on Category:Wikipedia essays [essays] do not have policy or guideline status, and most are the opinion of one or two users. Nevertheless, many contain useful insights, and at least some of them are worth reading. This seems like a good description of the current status of this article rather than something like {{historical}} or {{rejected}} --Philip Baird Shearer 17:26, 16 July 2007 (UTC)
The problem though is that, like you mentioned, essays are often just the opinion of one or two users, and this is a page that a great deal of effort has been spent on with many different opinions having been involved. Calling it a simple "essay" seems to ignore this. It does not need a special category to be created, I think it should just be left the way it is. What exactly is bad the way it is now? Just call it a page, alright? mike4ty4 03:23, 18 July 2007 (UTC)
But essay is not ruled out because it does not say "LIMITED TO the opinion of one or two users" so it can be an essay --Philip Baird Shearer 10:15, 18 July 2007 (UTC)

Any other thoughts on this or can I place an essay template on the top? --Philip Baird Shearer 19:13, 20 July 2007 (UTC)

It's not just an essay: hundreds of people worked on it, and hundreds more wanted it to be policy. Jimbo suggested we call it the "canonical description" of the policies. I've already added an explanation to the page. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 19:16, 20 July 2007 (UTC)
(That was on 20 March 2007, before the straw poll. --Philip Baird Shearer 19:35, 24 July 2007 (UTC))
Are you saying that there is an upper limit to how many people contribute to an essay before its status changes to something else? If so what is the number? --Philip Baird Shearer 23:23, 20 July 2007 (UTC)
When hundreds of people work on draft legislation in a government and want it to become legislation and it's voted down, they don't generally create a new status for the draft legislation -- they just accept that it didn't meet the requirements to become legislation.
The current note at the top of the page is misleading. It says "This page summarizes two of Wikipedia's core content policies: No original research and Verifiability, which explain how and why sources should be used in articles." This makes it sound as if this page is policy. It should be clearer that while it is an attempt by hundreds of cooperating editors to summarize policy, it is not the actual policy but is an essay. --Coppertwig 17:11, 21 July 2007 (UTC)
I think {{rejected}} would be the most honest classification. I mean, that's what happened... —Ashley Y 21:00, 21 July 2007 (UTC)
I restored the message box which says "The status of this page is currently under discussion." Please don't delete it, especially not without explaining why here on the talk page, before the discussion is resolved. Here there is a discussion, not yet resolved, about putting an essay tag or otherwise changing the status tags of this article, therefore the message box about being "under discussion" is accurate. --Coppertwig 00:11, 24 July 2007 (UTC)
I support the edit by Ashley Y which added "It is not itself policy" to one of the message boxes. It supplies a needed clarification as I point out above. --Coppertwig 00:14, 24 July 2007 (UTC)
SlimVirgin is right: we can't just slap an ordinary "essay" tag on it. The "essay" tag says "This is an essay. It is not a policy or guideline; it merely reflects some opinions of its author(s). Please update the page as needed, or discuss it on the talk page." That would be misleading, since although this page is not itself a policy, nevertheless it's (attempting to) summarizing policies which do have consensus. It can be an essay, but special wording is needed, such as the "It is not itself official policy" currently on the page. Putting it into the category of essays and including "This is an essay" in the tags still seems like a good idea to me, though.
Also, will someone please put back the tag saying "The status of this page is under discussion". Of course everyone knows there's a talk page, but it's useful to let people know that the status of the page is under discussion at the present time so that more people will participate in this discussion and hopefully help resolve it. For most pages, minor edits are occurring all the time, but usually the status of the page is not under discussion. In this case, it is. --Coppertwig 21:32, 24 July 2007 (UTC)
Template:Historical would seem to be a fair summation. "This Wikipedia page is currently inactive and is retained primarily for historical interest. A historical page usually is one that is no longer maintained or no longer relevant, or one for which consensus is unclear. If you want to revive discussion regarding the subject, you should seek broader input via a forum such as the proposal page of the village pump." (my emphasis). If the "Working party" is currently working on this page then when they report back this template can be removed. If the Working party are not working on the problem, then this page is inactive. Does anyone know is the working party is active? --Philip Baird Shearer 11:35, 26 July 2007 (UTC)

(<<outdent) I support the clarifying edit by Blueboar changing "It" to "This page" in "This page is not itself official policy." The "rejected" tag seems close to being appropriate but could be misleading since the policies being summarized are official policy. Either "historical" or "essay" seems appropriate (i.e. having "This is an essay" but not exactly all the usual words in the essay tag). I haven't heard anything about whether it was ever decided who was to be on the working party or whether the working party was ever active; I never accepted or declined my nomination, as I was waiting to hear more first about the purpose and format of the working party. --Coppertwig 21:46, 27 July 2007 (UTC)

The working party was waiting for SlimVirgin to get back to us with feedback from Jimbo, but we never heard back nor got responses to follow-up queries on her talk page. Askari Mark (Talk) 22:33, 27 July 2007 (UTC)

So another month and a half has passed anyone still object to Template:Historical? --Philip Baird Shearer 19:23, 17 September 2007 (UTC)

I don't object to the concept... however I wonder if that is the right template. Is it "historical" if people are currently referring to it? Recently, I have seen several references to this page on discussion pages (most of them incorrectly calling it a policy, and citing it as such)... I just don't know if there is a better tag? Essay seems to not catch the right facts either. At the hight of the debate over this page, Jimbo seemed to agree that it should be considered a "summary" of NOR and V... It isn't a policy, but because it summarizes policy it is more than an essay. Guideline does not seem to work either. It is sort of in a category of its own. Sigh... I would tag it however you want, expecting someone to come along and object. Heck, tagging it 'historical' might just get movement on figuring out what the status actually is. Blueboar 19:47, 17 September 2007 (UTC)
If as you say people are "incorrectly calling it a policy, and citing it as such" at the very least a more explicit banner needs to be placed at the top. So asit seems Blueboar that you and I are the only ones discussing this at the moment so I have added Template:Historical to the top and lets see if that puts the cat among the pigeons. --Philip Baird Shearer 22:57, 19 September 2007 (UTC)

How about Template:Supplement? It seems to fit. —Ashley Y 04:47, 20 September 2007 (UTC)

No because it is not a supplement it is a summary. If the word supplement is used then people will think that it is in addition to the policies it is summarising.
It seems to me that until such time as the "working party" starts its work the best template for this is "Template:Historical". When the "working party" reports back then this article can be in the words of the template "If you want to revive discussion regarding the subject, you should seek broader input via a forum such as the proposals page of the village pump." --Philip Baird Shearer 09:49, 20 September 2007 (UTC)
It's no longer simply historical, since its authors now intend it as a summary of existing policy. As such it's a "supplement" (which is a kind of essay). —Ashley Y 00:17, 21 September 2007 (UTC)

The second sentence

This is a continuation of a discussion, part of which was moved to Wikipedia talk:Attribution/Archive 17#The second sentence.

Enchanter said in part: "...I would suggest something along the lines of "Material should not be included in Wikipedia if it cannot be attributed to a reliable published source, even if we think it is true. This is because Wikipedia is not the place to judge the truth of new ideas."Enchanter 12:27, 24 June 2007 (UTC) "

I agree with this suggestion, and I also agree that the colon is better but only slightly and that some other wording needs to be found.

I believe that everyone can be satisfied if we find a wording which accomplishes the following:

  • Makes it very clear that material Wikipedians believe is true, but which is not attributable to a reliable source, is not to be included.
  • But does not seem to imply that it's OK to insert, without prose attribution, material which one knows or believes to be false.
  • But in the process of clarifying the above, does not seem to imply that Wikipedians must verify or guarantee the actual truth of material which is included.

Note that there are a number of suggested wordings on the page Wikipedia talk:Attribution/Role of truth which I believe accomplish the above and to which no one has objected.

It's often OK to include material some Wikipedians know or suspect to be false if it is in a sentence like "The XYZ Association states that..." That's what's called a prose attribution. In that case, even if the statement by the XYZ Association is false, the Wikipedia article itself is not false as long as it's true that that statement was made by the XYZ Association.

I ask that people participating in this discussion please participate here on the talk page, not in the edit summaries; also please don't revert without discussion unless you can refer specifically in the edit summary to talk page discussion somewhere which supports your revert. We need to move this process forward to reach consensus, and talk page discussion is a much better way to accomplish that than edit summaries. --Coppertwig 16:03, 14 July 2007 (UTC)

Possible alternative wordings:

  • Just delete "not whether it is true". Once "verifiability" is gone, those words are unnecessary.
  • Revert to the original "verifiability, not truth".
  • As User:DCB4W suggested: "...not solely whether it is true".
  • "...not merely whether it is true."
  • "Being true is not enough."
  • "Some true material does not belong."
  • "All material must be attributable."
  • "If it's not attributable, it does not belong."
  • "...otherwise, it does not belong in Wikipedia."
  • "...; only such material is acceptable."
  • "...without this, it cannot be included."
  • "...; proving that something is true does not get it included."
  • "...; however, false or contentious material requires prose attributions (see WP:NPOV)."

Please do not change the colon back to a period without discussion. Changing back to a period increases the extent to which it could seem to imply that it's OK to insert, without prose attribution, material which one knows or believes to be false -- something I think it's a bad idea for Wikipedia policy to imply, and which is not implied by the current policy "verifiability, not truth". There are many other possible alternative wordings to be thought up. Please try to find a wording that accommplishes the three objectives I listed further above. --Coppertwig 17:02, 21 July 2007 (UTC)

Revive discussion?


Why not revive the discussion of this page? It seems no clear consensus occured either pro or con for the merger. mike4ty4 03:26, 18 July 2007 (UTC)

Links to sections, not summaries

If the policy section is not clear, then the policy section should be changed to make it more comprehensible. As this is not policy or a guideline, this document should not try to make summaries of policy and guideline sections, in an alleged attempt to make Wikipedia policies more understandable, because placing summaries here can lead to confusion.

All that is needed is a section header is a link to the appropriate section in a policy or guideline article. If this is done then this document can become a navigation aid to those looking for an overview of WP:NOR WP:V and supporting guidelines, without causing confusion by trying to interpret the policies and supporting guidelines. --Philip Baird Shearer 09:30, 12 August 2007 (UTC)

I don't see any problem with (briefly) summarizing the Policies and Guidelines that are being linked to... a summary of a sentence or two will help people be sure that they are navigating to the correct policy statement. The key is to make sure that any summary we include is firmly consistant with what the Policy or Guideline in question actually says. Blueboar 14:35, 12 August 2007 (UTC)
  • I spotted this comment in the page history, "Rvt - can't link from policy level to guideline, as guidelines derive from policies"... I should point out that this is obviously false. There are no bureaucratic restrictions on linking to pages, and plenty of policy links to pages that aren't policy. >Radiant< 13:12, 13 August 2007 (UTC)

Also this page is not a Wikipedia policy page as its status is still under review. --Philip Baird Shearer 13:39, 13 August 2007 (UTC)

The problem with this page is that if summaries of policy and guidelines, is that there is no guarantee that this page accurately reflects the policy pages as this page may not be up to date. Who is to say that this page is an accurate summary of the Wikipedia policy pages? Better by far to place links to the policy and guidelines sections and not try to interpret them in the text on an unofficial page. --Philip Baird Shearer 13:39, 13 August 2007 (UTC)

For example Blueboar the text recently restored "Exceptional claims require exceptional sources" to the section. Is not a summary it is almost a word for word copy from the guideline, what is the point of that, when the same thing can be looked at via a link to the guidline? --Philip Baird Shearer 13:45, 13 August 2007 (UTC)

I certainly don't disagree with you, Philip. My restoring of the text (but also resoring the link to WP:RS) was an attempt at compromise, nothing more. If the text is simply copied from RS in its entirety, I agree we need to re-write it so that it is a summary.
Moving from specifics to the general: My feeling is that we should have both links to the more complete sections on the policy and guideline pages and brief summaries of each section (an aid for quick reference). As far as making sure that such summaries do reflect the content of the policy or guideline in question... that is an issue whenever we refer to one policy within another. The solution is to constantly check this page against what NOR and V say... and if there is a conflict, correct this page to reflect the official Policy. Blueboar 15:03, 13 August 2007 (UTC)

I think that this is where you and I part company. I was never against the merger of the other policy and guidelines into one. What I was against was the alternation to the wording (by a few editors) before the merger took place. I think that this document should only link to the sections that it is proposed should be merged into the WP:ATT document. Only once those sections are agreed, and it is agreed that WP:ATT should replace WP:V etc should those sections be merged word for word into this article. Once that is done then the full Wikipedia community can help to fettle the wording of the WP:ATT policy document. Making summaries of the Wikipedia policies, is I think a step too far, and will stop many who would otherwise agree with a merger supporting it. --Philip Baird Shearer 15:20, 13 August 2007 (UTC)

Unfortunately, I think the idea of a merger is a dead duck (I supported it at the time, but realize that there is no consensus for it). However, I think the idea of this being a summary page, one page that links those policies and discusses where the two policies overlap and compliment each other is valid. As such, I don't think it is wrong to repeat what V and NOR say... as long as we do stick to what those policies say. I understand your concern about the alteration of the wording ... In my concept, this page would do nothing but directly quote relevant key statements from V and NOR, essentially cutting out the various examples and explanations that fill out the policy pages. In other words, this would contain accurate summaries of the policies, and not rewrites of them. Blueboar 15:43, 13 August 2007 (UTC)

This seems contrary to WP:SUMMARY to me. That guideline describes procedures for keeping summaries and the longer articles that they summarize in synch; I don't see why that should be a problem here. PBS's edits go too far in my opinion, turning a useful guideline into a much less helpful sequence of links and making it more difficult to interpret. —David Eppstein 17:24, 20 September 2007 (UTC)

What is the source for:
  • "Exceptional claims require exceptional sources"?
  • "The Bible cannot be used as a source for the claim that Jesus advocated eye removal (Matthew 18:9, Mark 9:47) for his followers, because theologians differ as to how these passages should be interpreted."
--Philip Baird Shearer 18:13, 20 September 2007 (UTC)
David Eppstein: Thanks for explaining the reason for your reversion. If I understand what you're saying, you mean that a summary, according to WP:SUMMARY, should have a certain amount of information, not be extremely short, and that Philip Baird Shearer's edit was going too far in the direction of making it too short. I think that's a good point. Anyway, we'll see what happens at WP:NOR. --Coppertwig 18:16, 21 September 2007 (UTC)

But it dos not answer the points above. Besides a summary should be a summary and the current wording is not. --Philip Baird Shearer 16:14, 24 September 2007 (UTC)

Image Attribution

It seems to me that Original Images is a good place to include a description of how to properly attribute an author contributed image.

Softtest123 15:02, 2 September 2007 (UTC)

Status - Historical?

The question has been raised above ... should this be tagged as 'Historical'. If we look at this page in terms of it being a failed proposal to merge two policies... the answer is "yes". However, if we look at this page as being a summary of two policies (as I do) the answer is "no"... the two policies that this summarizes are still active and, thus, so is the summary of them.

This page may be a unique case. None of our existing templates seem to fit. It isn't a guideline, it isn't an essay, and it isn't policy. It is neither active or historical. I think what we need is a new template... one that clearly informs people that this is a summary of policy and not a policy in its own right. Blueboar 12:35, 20 September 2007 (UTC)

WP:5P is a summary and it has no tag at all; perhaps this tagging fascination is the problem? SandyGeorgia (Talk) 12:39, 20 September 2007 (UTC)
As I wrote above in #Status?: It seems to me that until such time as the "working party" starts its work the best template for this is "Template:Historical". When the working party reports back then this article can be in the words of the template "If you want to revive discussion regarding the subject, you should seek broader input via a forum such as the proposals page of the village pump." --Philip Baird Shearer 13:36, 20 September 2007 (UTC)
Although the 5 pillars doesn't have a tag, it does have an introductory sentence at the top which serves a similar purpose. One big difference between the 5 pillars and this page is that (as far as I know) the 5 pillars page has the support of the community, whereas broad consensus was never reached as to the wording of this page, particularly the "not whether we think it is true" part which is not accepted by myself (and perhaps also not by others, who did not accept an earlier version) as a summary of the policy "verifiability, not truth". In my opinion, the meaning is significantly different in a way of fundamental importance. Since the community as a whole does not seem to have accepted this page, "historical" seems accurate; the template says it's for pages where consensus is unclear, which describes the situation here.
Reverting without engaging in ongoing back-and-forth discussion on the talk page with a goal of achieving mutual understanding and consensus has been a longstanding problem on this page, and I believe it is the reason why consensus was not reached on the wording. This same problem is happening now. Please do not revert without first engaging in current discussion on the talk page. --Coppertwig 16:17, 20 September 2007 (UTC)

If no one is going to engage in why this is not an historical page I shall put back the historical template. --Philip Baird Shearer 16:15, 24 September 2007 (UTC)

done --Philip Baird Shearer 12:14, 7 October 2007 (UTC)

Good. Thincat 12:13, 8 October 2007 (UTC)

Types of sources

Note that there is currently discussion at WP:NOR to replace the source typing section with different wording which gets across the same basic idea without mentioning primary, secondary etc. sources. After consensus is reached at WP:NOR, we may need to update this page. --Coppertwig 16:24, 20 September 2007 (UTC)

and at the moment, the version by SV is the correct statement of the practice at WP. Primary sources can be used in appropriate cases, with the limitations mentioned. DGG (talk) 08:00, 21 September 2007 (UTC)
Agreed... However, Coppertwig does have a point. Those who edit on this page should keep tabs on what is happening at WP:NOR (and at WP:V) to make sure that any changes there, are reflected here. Blueboar 16:39, 24 September 2007 (UTC)

Status November 2007

This page is not historical as it summarizes existing policies. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 00:34, 13 November 2007 (UTC)

Agreed. At this point it's more or less an essay: it's some people's views but not necessarily everyone's. I see its status as similar to WP:WIARM, someone's discussion of policy but not itself policy. —Ashley Y 02:26, 13 November 2007 (UTC)
I think trying to add "historical" to this is just being provocative for the sake of it. It's not historical, because it describes current policy. Jimbo was quite happy for it to be called something like the "canonical description" of policy. If some people don't like it, you don't have to use it or link to it, but please allow the rest of us to do so without it having a misleading historical tag, because many people still find it very useful. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 06:44, 13 November 2007 (UTC)

Why is it "provocative for the sake of it" to describe it as historical? It is historical because we are waiting on the working party starts its work. Until they do the contents of this page is controversial because it uses other examples and words that are not in the wikipedia content policies and guidelines and -- while it does -- keeping it up to date with the policies and guidelines is as difficult as agreeing changes to the content policies and guidelines. Until such time as the working party starts its work I think we can all do without without the endless debate that this page engenders if if is to be kept up to date as a current page. --Philip Baird Shearer 10:03, 13 November 2007 (UTC)

What working party? SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 11:51, 13 November 2007 (UTC)
This one Wikipedia_talk:Attribution/Archive_14#Working_party, announced by User:SlimVirgin. Thincat 13:53, 13 November 2007 (UTC)
Agreed. The current wording of this page is months behind what current policy says, particularly given recent and major activity going on at WP:NOR. Furthermore, this page has never been properly rewritten to accurately reflect the scope of policy anyway, and has remained mostly inactive since Jimbo had to get involved due to the upheaval it caused when it was policy briefly. It's historical by any measure of the word, and I would go so far as to say redundant on top of it. -- Y|yukichigai (ramble argue check) 11:43, 13 November 2007 (UTC)

'Pending revision' is a better fit for the status of this page than 'historical'. 'Historical' on a proposed policy/guideline/essay implies rejection, and I do not see that the contents of this page have been rejected. -- Donald Albury 11:49, 13 November 2007 (UTC)

It's not correct at all that Jimbo got involved because ATT was causing upheaval. On the contrary, it was being used very successfully. Jimbo described ATT as the "canonical description" of the policies.
There have been no changes to V and NOR that affect this summary of them. People are still using this page. This is the page I still link to when people e-mail me for policy advice.
What difference does it make to those of you who don't want to use it? All you have to do is ignore it. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 11:50, 13 November 2007 (UTC)
No, Jimbo didn't say that at all. As far as it being the "canonical description" of policy, what he said was, quite possibly, the exact polar opposite of that. As for why he got involved, it most certainly was due to problems with the policy. If you don't believe me, take it from the man himself:
I don't think it can be any clearer than that. -- Y|yukichigai (ramble argue check) 13:16, 13 November 2007 (UTC)

No need to rewrite history. A couple of hours later Jimbo added this to the NOR and V policies: "The canonical description of this policy is at the unified WP:ATT page. This page is policy, but should track that page in terms of details. This page exists to give a rich explanation of the policy." -- see this edit and this one. It's hardly surprising that SV knows the facts of the matter. Avb 13:45, 13 November 2007 (UTC)

And five minutes after making those "canonical description" changes to WP:V and WP:NOR, Jimbo wrote:

I very much support a straw poll. In the meantime, after an excellent discussion with SlimVirgin, we hammered out a compromise until we can have a fuller discussion. What the pages say now is that WP:ATT is canonical, and WP:V and WP:NOR exist as separate pages to more fully describe those. My big beef with this merger is that we often need to send people to a page like WP:NOR which explains in a rich and persuasive way what the policy is about and why it is a good idea. This involves sometimes saying things which overlap with parts of WP:V. (They are not the same idea!) The combined page provides a handy way to keep policy consistent and have a tight presentation of what policy actually is. The separate pages can be more detailed and understandable.--Jimbo Wales 21:35, 20 March 2007 (UTC) [1]

Note "compromise until we can have a fuller discussion" (bolding added). Then followed the straw poll, no consensus during or after that poll.
My assumption: I don't think the discussion in this new talk page section will lead to anything new (consensus-wise), if we keep ruminating argumenta ad Jimbonem, irrespective of whether we describe these argumenta ad Jimbonem as confirming or opposing argumenta ad Slimvirginem. Let's have an "excellent discussion" (oops, quoting Jimbo again) instead. --Francis Schonken 14:39, 13 November 2007 (UTC)
Please note that I was not arguing for or against the "historical" tag, just wanted to point out that "No, Jimbo didn't say that at all" was rewriting history. Maybe not terribly hysterical but still somewhat funny under the circumstances. My personal opinion on ATT is virtually nonexistent - I was, at the time, taken as much by surprise as Jimbo. Avb 01:03, 14 November 2007 (UTC)
I discussed this with Jimbo a lot. He was happy to have this page stay as the "canonical description of the policies," with the benefit that its existence would ensure the other key policies didn't stray far from it. But he wanted the other pages to exist separately, in part so that people who wanted more details could find them, and in part to emphasize that V and NOR are separate concepts. So that's what we did.
The poll was to find out whether we had consensus for this to replace NOR and V, Francis. You're mixing those two issues up. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 17:03, 13 November 2007 (UTC)
In other words, nor your extensive discussions with Jimbo, nor the straw poll (nor the ensuing "working party" and "working group"[2] initiatives for that matter) are of assistance when deciding today whether to mark the page as "historical". That was my point (and not what you make of it).
And then I tried to get the discussion on a somewhat higher level than the "Jimbo said..."/"Argumentum ad Jimbonem" type of argumentation. Sorry if my invitation was unsuccessful thus far. I'm not decided (yet) whether the historical tag is useful here (I think you misinterpreted me there too), I'm looking for "quality" in the discussion, hoping arguments might appeal to me by the time quality reaches "excellent". If Jimbo says (sic) he had an "excellent discussion" on the topic, it shouldn't be too difficult to reproduce something of that level of quality here, should it? Anyway, Philip's last contribution to this page seemed to me more successful in avoiding the usual pitfalls for downgrading the level of quality of the discussion. --Francis Schonken 19:45, 13 November 2007 (UTC)

The article has had the historical template on it for over a month I think it should remain until there is a consensus to remove it because as the template says:

A historical page usually is one that is no longer maintained or no longer relevant, or one for which consensus is unclear. If you want to revive discussion regarding the subject, you should seek broader input via a forum such as the proposals page of the village pump.

And AFAICT there is no consensus for it to be an active page, and there has been no attempt to seek a broader input. --Philip Baird Shearer 16:42, 13 November 2007 (UTC)

Phil, you are correct that this page isn't "active" in the way a policy or guideline would be active ... but it isn't historical either. It is somewhat unique in that it is a summary. I would think that as long as the two Policies are active, and as long as this page accurately summarizes what they say... it is a valid, non-historical page. The issue of it's "activeness" is moot. Blueboar 20:06, 13 November 2007 (UTC)
Back in August I tried to reduce some of the paragraphs so they accurately summarize the policies but each time the changes were reverted (e.g. Revision as of 20 September). So rather than try to reach a consensus over the content of this "not policy" it is easier to disagree and keep an historical template on the tome/tomb until such time as the working party reports back. --Philip Baird Shearer 12:02, 14 November 2007 (UTC)

It does not and never has "accurately summarizes what they say... ". I find it interesting that many people who argue for the retention of this page as a summary are the same ones who argued for its promotion and can not understand why anyone would want to keep it on life support. To repeat myself: It is historical because we are waiting on the working party starts its work. Until they do the contents of this page is controversial because it uses other examples and words that are not in the Wikipedia content policies and guidelines and -- while it does -- keeping it up to date with the policies and guidelines is as difficult as agreeing changes to the content policies and guidelines. Until such time as the working party starts its work I think we can all do without without the endless debate that this page engenders if if is to be kept up to date as a current page. --Philip Baird Shearer 21:07, 13 November 2007 (UTC)

I think the "historical" tag is a reasonably good indication of the status of this page. I'd be happy to have a discussion to try to reach consensus on the wording of this page. Until there is consensus on the wording, it should not be presented in such a way as to appear to be policy. I think that the tag which says that it summarizes policy, and then says that this page is not in itself policy, is still too easily misinterpreted, perhaps by someone who doesn't read the last sentence of the tag, as meaning that the page is policy, and that another tag is needed before that to clarify the status. Here's a suggested wording for the tag: "This page is believed by some users to accurately summarize some of Wikipedia's policy pages. While there is consensus for those policy pages, the status of this page is unclear." I believe that this page does not accurately summarize the policy. The policy says "Verifiability, not truth". This page has "not ... true" but without the "verifiability" to clarify the intent of those words. I think it would be a better summary if it said "Verifiability, not truth" instead. Other options have previously been mentioned and not discussed much.

I would like to ask anyone who reports Jimbo's point of view to please always quote in full Jimbo's exact original words. --Coppertwig 22:37, 13 November 2007 (UTC)

Hi! I regularly cite to WP:A for one and only one proposition which hasn't been clear in either WP:V or WP:NOR: in the event of a controversy, the article must provide a reader with the ability to identify who said an opinion -- it must attribute the opinion to an opinon-maker or side in a disagreement. For example, in articles on religion, religious and academic opinions are frequently mixed in a way which makes it unclear what is what. I cite WP:A for the proposition that a reader needs to be able to tell whether a given statement comes from religious theologians or secular scholarship. Similarly, when different religious denominations disagree about the interpretation of the Bible or some other religious issue, the reader needs to be able to tell which denomination has which interpretation. But I must confess that I don't tend to cite WP:A for most other purposes, I tend to cite either WP:V or WP:NOR for that directly. Best, --Shirahadasha 22:44, 13 November 2007 (UTC)

Please leave the dispute tag in place until this dispute is settled. The dispute tag is to let people know that the status of this page is in dispute, and to direct them to participate in this discussion. By the way, in reply to jossi: a page can summarize existing policies and still be historical. Another example of such a page would be an earlier version of a policy page, in the page history, which has been edited for spelling and grammar only. --Coppertwig 22:59, 13 November 2007 (UTC)

Suggestion to Crum375: If the reason for removing the dispute tag is that there is too much clutter, as you suggested in your edit summary, then I suggest removing one of the other tags instead. I think the nutshell tag could likely be removed without anyone objecting much. After the dispute is resolved and the dispute tag is removed, perhaps there would be enough room to put the nutshell tag back. I'm OK with having 3 tags. Another option would be to replace the middle tag with one that simply states that the status of this page is under dispute. --Coppertwig 23:04, 13 November 2007 (UTC)

Suggestion: that the page have a tag that looks like the "historical" tag but has this wording: "This Wikipedia page is currently inactive. Consensus for this page is unclear. If you want to revive discussion regarding the subject, you should seek broader input via a forum such as the proposals page of the village pump."

Meanwhile, let's see if we can have consensus that the dispute tag can remain in place until we've finished discussing whether to have the "historical" tag or not, and then page-protection can be removed. --Coppertwig 22:33, 14 November 2007 (UTC)

I dunno about anybody else, but I find that suggestion quite acceptable. -- Y|yukichigai (ramble argue check) 22:36, 14 November 2007 (UTC)

This page is neither inactive, nor historical. It is no different that WP:PILLARS as it simply summarizes and explains existing policies. 02:21, 15 November 2007 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by Jossi (talkcontribs)

I don't agree with the analogy because this page was an attempt at a replacement/merger of other policies, so much of its content is as detailed as the policies it was to supplant. To date my attempts to make it a summary have been reverted. To take one example: compare the entry for secondary sources in this article with the current version in the WP:NOR. --Philip Baird Shearer 23:20, 15 November 2007 (UTC)
jossi's right that it's neither historical nor inactive. On the other hand, there is no consensus for labelling it a summary. Philip Baird Shearer has a good point that the way it was produced tends to make it too lengthy to be a summary; also, while many users believe that it accurately summarizes the other policies, the difference between ATT and the Pillars is that there are also a significant number of users who believe that in its current wording it is not an accurate summary of those policies. (It seems to have fallen behind the recent updates to the PSTS section at NOR, for example.) I don't think there's any other page in quite the same situation.
I like Ashley Y's suggestion to use a tag similar to that at WP:WIARM. The word "complement" could be replaced by "summarize". A problem with some of the other suggestions (template:policy summary, or a tag beginning "This page summarizes...") is that they don't make it sufficiently clear that there is no concensus that this is either policy or an accurate summary of policy. I don't oppose a tag saying historical, inactive or pending revision, but I think something that lets people cite it (essays are cited, for example, even without concensus) would be more accurate and more likely to get consensus for a tag change. --Coppertwig 01:04, 16 November 2007 (UTC)

If the shoe doesn't fit

If none of the tags accurately describe the status of this page, then we could always come up with a tag that does describe it. There used to be Template:Policy summary (it seems Radiant deprecated it a couple of days ago for some reason). If that's not appropriate, we could put together some custom tag that explains that:

  • This used to be a proposal to supersede several other policies, but in that respect it's inactive.
  • It's now something of a summary of those other policies, and how they interact.

--bainer (talk) 02:39, 15 November 2007 (UTC)

You mean something like: "This page summarizes two of Wikipedia's core content policies: No original research and Verifiability, which explain how and why sources should be used in articles. This page itself is not official policy."? Blueboar 02:51, 15 November 2007 (UTC)

I put up the WIARM-like tag as suggested above, but it's been reverted. I'm putting the dispute tag back up, as clearly the dispute is not yet resolved. Some tag is needed that makes it obvious that this page is not actually a policy page: a historical tag, or the WIARM-like tag, or something. The other tag, if read two-thirds of the way through or if only the bold type is read, makes it look very much as if it's a policy page and would be misleading if it's the first tag on the page. Please don't remove the dispute tag until consensus is reached, and please don't revert without participating in discussion on the talk page. --Coppertwig (talk) 01:53, 27 November 2007 (UTC) Crum375's edit summary was "Rmv redundant template - we already say it's a summary and not policy". A suggestion: we could keep the WIARM-like template and remove the other template. --Coppertwig (talk) 01:56, 27 November 2007 (UTC)

I'm opposed to that idea. -- Donald Albury 03:11, 27 November 2007 (UTC)
Thanks for participating in the discussion! What's the reason for your opposition? I'd be interested to hear any reason from any user, so that we can try to find a solution that satisfies all concerns, or at least a compromise. I second Dreadstar's call to "work it out on the talk page".
By the way: meanwhile, I'm opposed to the removal of the dispute tag, since the dispute is ongoing. However, the dispute tag could possibly be reworded since there are more possible solutions than just a historical tag. Although this page is not simply historical, it doesn't seem to be used by many people, and perhaps it would be better to make it historical than to have tags that could easily be misread as indicating it to be a policy page. --Coppertwig (talk) 13:13, 27 November 2007 (UTC)
This page is a useful summary of the WP:V and WP:NOR policies. While I did not participate in shaping it, I watched its development, and thoroughly approved of it. I was disappointed that Jimbo intervened to demote this to 'summary' status and keep WP:V and WP:NOR as separate policies. It should remain as a 'summary' of those two policies. Calling it 'historical' implies that it is no longer valid, which is not true. -- Donald Albury 14:15, 27 November 2007 (UTC)
I don't think he intervened to demote this to 'summary' status. Intervened yes, but not to a 'summary' status. --Philip Baird Shearer (talk) 15:58, 27 November 2007 (UTC)
That's right. This page never went through a proper process for making it into policy. The widely publicized poll didn't ask whether this page would become policy alongside V and NOR -- it only asked about the merge idea, which was not confirmed. Making it into an official summary would require discussion at the village pump and, in my opinion, changes to the wording to make it into what I would consider a reasonably accurate summary of the actual policies. --Coppertwig (talk) 00:34, 28 November 2007 (UTC)
Donald, this is why I proposed some form of custom message, since there are two things that need to be said, the first being that it is indeed "inactive" or "historical", but only in its aspect as a policy proposal (there has been no activity on the merger-and-superseding business for many months). --bainer (talk) 01:43, 28 November 2007 (UTC)

I support this edit which makes the first few words of the first template read "This page is not a policy or guideline itself, it is intended as a summary ..." which makes the status of the page clearer and easier to notice, addressing some concerns raised above. --Coppertwig (talk) 17:00, 2 January 2008 (UTC)

I do not agree that this page was ever "intended as a summary of two of Wikipedia's core content policies: No original research and Verifiability, which explain how and why sources should be used in articles." Its status will not be decided until the working group is formed, reports back and further discussions take place. --Philip Baird Shearer (talk) 18:45, 6 January 2008 (UTC)

There has been no consensus since the last time it was protected. I suggest that we reprotect it until such time as there is a consensus. --Philip Baird Shearer (talk) 18:47, 6 January 2008 (UTC)

I don't insist on the "intended as a summary" part. I only meant I think it's important to have the "This page is not a policy or guideline itself" part in a prominent position. I have no particular preference for "intended as a summary", but I oppose an earlier version "is a summary", since I don't consider it an accurate summary in its current form. --Coppertwig (talk) 23:28, 6 January 2008 (UTC)


I've protected this page for 72 hours due to edit warring over the tags at the top of the page. Edit warring on a page like this is detrimental to the project as many people cite this in discussions. Please take this time to discuss what place this page has on the project and when protection expires, only alter the tags once consensus has been reached. Ryan Postlethwaite 23:06, 13 November 2007 (UTC)

As the historical tag has been on the article for more than a month I presume not many people cite this page, and those who do have not been reading the page! I think that the few people who do cite this page should cite the policy pages as they are a more accurate reflection of Wikipedia policy. --Philip Baird Shearer 11:38, 14 November 2007 (UTC)

I've reprotected the article due to continued edit warring. Work it out on the talk page. Dreadstar 06:31, 27 November 2007 (UTC)

Interwiki link for Farsi page

{{editprotected}} Please add interwiki link for current Farsi page of this policy to prevent users from creating duplicate copys in Farsi wikipedia. The link should point to fa:ویکی‌پدیا:ارجاع‌پذیری. Ammar (talk) 04:21, 10 December 2007 (UTC)

 Done -- ReyBrujo (talk) 04:24, 10 December 2007 (UTC)

RFC: Status as of April 2008

See above for earlier discussions on the status of this article # Status?, #Status - Historical? and #Status November 2007

I have put the template {{Historical}} back on this page to make it clear that it does not reflect current thinking. I have done this because the some of the content of this page has been dragged into a debate over on WP:V. This page was never designed to be a summary page it was meant to be a replacement page, but it failed to gain a consensus and is misleading as it has not been actively edited in many months. --Philip Baird Shearer (talk) 21:50, 23 April 2008 (UTC)

Actually, it was originally intended to be a merger of two policy pages, which is slightly different. It may have originally been designed to be a merger page and not a summary... but in the process of discussion it became a summary. The only question is: is it still an accurate summary? If it still accurately summarizes WP:V and WP:NOR then it is incorrect to mark it as historical. I think it still does... and thus, I am removing the template.
This has been discussed multiple times (see above). You know as well as I do that tagging this as historical is very likely to end up in yet another edit war. Please resist the temptation. Instead... file an RFC or something. Blueboar (talk) 22:21, 23 April 2008 (UTC)
As noted multiple times, I have never considered this page to be an accurate summary of current policy. Coppertwig (talk) 22:24, 23 April 2008 (UTC)
What do you think is inaccurate? Blueboar (talk) 22:34, 23 April 2008 (UTC)

It never was an accurate summary, that is why some people opposed it in the first place. Further as one of parties who took part in creating I appreciate that you may find it hard to do but I think you should let it go. But to give you a specific examples then please look at the edit history of my edits to this page last year. Further trying to maintain this page as well as the policy pages themselves is a wast of everyone's time (at one point I tried to reduce it to just the links to policy sections it is trying to summarise, but some objected to that). Much better to mark it as historical and be done with it. --Philip Baird Shearer (talk) 23:08, 23 April 2008 (UTC)

Again, what is inaccurate? Blueboar (talk) 11:05, 24 April 2008 (UTC)
Look at my edits last year to this article such as this one:[3] where I copied the text that was then currently used in WP:NOR. There are lots of others. I see no point in trying to keep this article up to date so it is better that it becomes historical. --Philip Baird Shearer (talk) 11:24, 24 April 2008 (UTC)
Well, this is a summary... so we should summarize what is in the policies instead of simply doing a cut and paste of entire sections from the policies. I notice that the current version of ATT leaves the entire PSTS section of NOR out of the summary... are you saying we need to add it in? 11:39, 24 April 2008 Blueboar
There is a section in this article called "Primary and secondary sources" and no I am not saying we need to add text to this article, I am suggesting that we mark this article with {{Historical}} so we don't have to modify the text or discuss it further. --Philip Baird Shearer (talk) 12:07, 24 April 2008 (UTC)
In answer to Blueboar's question "what is inaccurate": See User:Coppertwig/Attribution policy discussion. Coppertwig (talk) 12:23, 24 April 2008 (UTC)
Ah yes... I was wondering when you would raise your problems with the "Verifiability not Truth" issue. Coppertwig, that statement is in WP:V... thus is not an inaccuracy to repeat it in the summary. In fact, if we were to change it here, then it would be an inaccurate summarizaton. If you can convince people at WP:V to change it... then we would need to change it here. In other words, the summary is accurate... you just don't like what it is summarizing. Blueboar (talk) 12:35, 24 April 2008 (UTC)
There was never a consensus that this page should be a summary page. Development was put on hold while the there were back room discussions about it. But AFAICT those came to nothing so the status of this page is undecided and as it has been undecided for a year now, so its status is best described as historical. If we are going to convert this into a summary page I suggest that we do it by removing as much text as possible and replace it with links to the relevant policies and guideline sections - as I tried to do some time ago with this edit. This would reduce the misunderstand that the text on this page can cause, and would reduce its maintenance to manageable proportions. If such a change is not to be made then I think it should be headed with the {{Historical}} template which is an accurate summary of its current status. --Philip Baird Shearer (talk) 12:51, 24 April 2008 (UTC)
I disagree that there is no consensus for it to be a summary. The discussions on this page seem to indicate that there is consensus. But feel free to do a double check ... file an RFC and let's find out. As to the issue of whether it could be a better summary... I have no problem with continuing to work on this page to improve it. I would object to simply having a link to the relevant policy section. That isn't a summary, it is just a link. We should at least have some text that gives the gist of what is stated in the policy.Blueboar (talk) 13:01, 24 April 2008 (UTC)
Where (and when) on the talk page do you think a consensus was reached? --Philip Baird Shearer (talk) 14:13, 24 April 2008 (UTC)

My two cents: Big and bold it says "This page is not a policy or guideline itself." Thus, it doesn't really matter whether it is {{historical}} or not - it remains an essay. YMMV of course. :) -- Fullstop (talk) 22:26, 24 April 2008 (UTC)

I withdraw my objection given the current wording. Thank you very much, Blueboar. Blueboar, I support all of the wording of WP:V. My objection was to "not ... true" without qualification. Coppertwig (talk) 23:17, 24 April 2008 (UTC)
  • As another author and contributor to the development of this page, I would rather see it marked as an essay or as historical, but not this odd summary tag. Hiding T 13:40, 25 April 2008 (UTC)
  • Much of a do about nothing. No problem in keeping it as is, no problem in calling it an essay.≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 00:40, 26 April 2008 (UTC)
Whatever it is, it should stay as an example of the growing difficulty in making any progression in adapting policy as the project evolves. It can join the ranks of the recent BLP discussions, the source typing discussions, and other proposals that died. I would call it "The Routinization of Wikipedia" :) ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 00:43, 26 April 2008 (UTC)
I now see that Philip's RFC is responsive to my edit to WP:V. First, I need to apologize for a bit of misunderstanding. I did in fact take the policy at face value as being, by consensus, "intended as a summary", without being aware of its history. However, my edit to WP:V stood for 6.5 days, and now (after drive-by reversion, followed by an instructive interlude with another editor) is being tried out in a new version. I still think it was a clever enough finesse to break the logjam, and I see I can thank Merzul for the original finesse, which I merely promoted. :D So, Philip, I see your concerns here as (1) editors possibly misapplying more credence to WP:A than proper and (2) your seeking resolution of an unpigeonholed proposal. I can understand why both concerns together might tempt one to RFC, but I believe they are separate solutions. (1) I don't see that overreliance on WP:A is in any way an ongoing problem, and my one reliance on it does in fact use a consensus of over one year, as shown below; the solution is to see how my edit plays out at WP:V. (2) To solve the pigeonholing, we need to rekindle interest in this page as a workshop for a true summary and build from it here. It serves a useful purpose in staving off edit wars from core policies by directing them to this less volatile location.
I will repeat the same point I made at WT:V: if one believes the long version of "verifiability not truth" found here is an accurate description as it claims to be, then one would have no objection to it standing in WP:V; and if one believes it isn't, then one would need to explain why the phrasing "whether we think it is true", presented soundly as a compromise by Merzul 16 Apr 2007, has already so well stood the test of time in that role. Merzul has answered both debate sides: those who think bald statement of VNT is necessary to ward off certain cases of "what we think is true", and those who think VNT, too baldly stated, improperly wards off too much of "what is true".
Briefly, I believe this page is not historical but is well-described already; after its initial phase it was in fact redesigned to serve as a summary; and its consensus failure as a policy and its later quietude does not impair its effectiveness as a summary, although updating it per the WP:V discussion is appropriate. JJB 18:05, 1 May 2008 (UTC)
I see that Blueboar's accommodation of Coppertwig here is a good parallel to my WP:V proposal as well. JJB 18:13, 1 May 2008 (UTC)
JJB, that you were confused is why this should be marked as historical, others will come along and make the same mistake over the content of this page. Even if this page was a true summary of current policy -- something I do not think it is -- that this page will diverge from the policies as they evolve is inevitable unless they are kept up to date (and who need to debate the neuances of a summary having just agreed a hard fought change to policy), so unless we are going to just link to the appropriate sections or block copy those sections here, it is inevitable that the nuances of policy will on occasions be presented on this page incorrectly. That being so, any one reading this page will have to read the policy pages to check what they have read here is an accurate summary of the current policy pages, therefor there is little point to this page. I think this page does more harm than good and should be marked as historical. --Philip Baird Shearer (talk) 19:15, 2 May 2008 (UTC)

J Readings what was your reason for reverting? --Philip Baird Shearer (talk) 09:35, 28 May 2008 (UTC)

I see no consensus yet for adding the {historical} tag. In fact, you seem to be the only editor (so far) to push for (and want) this tag on the main page. I removed it per WP:CONSENSUS, which is, as you know, a firm Wikipedia policy. Unilaterally (and repeatedly) adding back the tag is inappropriate and ill-advised at this stage. Personally, I have no problem with WP:ATT serving as a summary of two core Wikipedia policies, but if the overwhelming Community consensus should decide otherwise that's fine with me. I would recommend that you file a formal RFC if you really want to pursue this further. Best regards, J Readings (talk) 11:02, 28 May 2008 (UTC)
Can we please just call it an essay and be done with. Philip has legitimate concerns regarding this page being used as policy or guidance, whilst others, self included, don't think it should be historical. Let's not dress it up in fancy clothes, let's simply refer to it as an essay. Then it is quite clear for everyone that it is not policy or guidance, but it does have some support as a position which can be taken. Hiding T 11:08, 28 May 2008 (UTC)
  • I have been reverted as well. If there is no willingness to compromise or discuss, there is no collaboration. See y'all on some other page. I'm going to let this one drop of my watchlist. Hiding T 11:21, 28 May 2008 (UTC)
Hi. Thanks for the note on my talk page. I just noticed your comment here. All I can say is that you might be right. Maybe it should be categorized as an essay. Then again, maybe it should be categorized as am information page, or a policy, or a guideline, or a simple summary of the latter two. For quite a while, it's remained only as a summary of two core Wikipedia policies: WP:NOR and WP:V. In cases affecting potential Wikipedia rules of governance, identifying this page (rightly or wrongly) is something that the Community ultimately decides, not just one, two, or even five people. I can tell from your tone on my talk page that you're quite upset. I'm sorry about that and even a little surprised, actually. But, if you really want compromise, discussion, and collaboration I really don't see why you would object to a formal RFC involving many of your colleagues. The more collegial input, the better. Best regards, J Readings (talk) 11:46, 28 May 2008 (UTC)
It seems to me J Readings that from your reply you are not aware of the history of this page. Please read the archive of this talk page, if you do you will see that this page has failed to gain a consensus as policy replacement and has never had gained consensus as a summary page. It was left moribund waiting for a "Working party" to report back as it never has this page should now be marked as either {{historical}} or {{rejected}}. I suggest this because several edits to this page indicate that despite the box on the top some editors are confused by the structure of the page and think it is a policy page. --Philip Baird Shearer (talk) 12:27, 28 May 2008 (UTC)
Interesting. Thanks. Please let me ask, did the "Working party" instruct you to put the {historical} tag on the page? Did you contact them to find out what happened? I ask because, so far, based on my reading of this talk page, the current section thread and the "Working party" threads, nothing leaps out at me suggesting that editors agree with you. In fact, the opposite seems to be the case. With the noted exception of Hiding (who wants this page tagged as essay, and not even {historical}), there seems to be no consensus for placing a {historical} tag on the page. Personally, I'm content with whatever the Community decides, but it's a little strange that you are the only one specifically wanting this tag so far. J Readings (talk) 12:51, 28 May 2008 (UTC)
Please read this page again, there are a couple of other editors who agree and one this is for certain the status of this page as it is at the moment is confusing people and there has never been a consensus that this should be a summary page. Usually when a such page is put to the community and there is no consensus to promote it then it is marked historical or rejected, why should this page be any different? --Philip Baird Shearer (talk) 13:59, 28 May 2008 (UTC)
Hmmm. Well, I've read and re-read this page. There are numerous contributors who are responding to your suggestion. It would help if you actually name the two people who explicitly agree with you in order to put this situation into context. On another note, I'm happy to be corrected. Which policy or guideline page are you thinking of in particular with your second comment? If the Community does not "promote" a page (assuming that accurately reflects what happened, and some editors seem to disagree with you saying that the "summary" tag accurately reflects the consensus), the page "usually" gets tagged as "historical"? I looked for that specific policy or guideline, but I'm not familiar with it. J Readings (talk) 14:22, 28 May 2008 (UTC)

<-- WhatLinksHere:Historical WhatLinksHere:Rejected --Philip Baird Shearer (talk) 15:35, 28 May 2008 (UTC)

I see now. Thanks. Essentially, you're making an assumption on what to do based on these lists of places where the tag was placed in the past. I think I understand your thinking a bit better now. The first problem is that many of these tags were placed on all kinds of projects that never had any legs to begin with. Just reading through a few of them now, in some cases, there weren't any opinions expressed at all. It's a small wonder the historical tag was finally placed on the page. In contrast, the second problem is that WP:ATT page seems to elicit (sometimes strong) opinions, hence my question to you about what concrete procedural policies or guidelines you're citing in order to move forward. This is not a decision that can be made unilaterally. Ultimately, in cases like this, I agree with some of the other editors here: if you're looking to legitimize the {historical} tag placement, filing a formal RfC is a worthwhile option. A wide community discussion -- with specific wording on what the issues are -- needs to be opened, discussed and ultimately respected (whatever the conclusion). In good faith, J Readings (talk) 09:08, 29 May 2008 (UTC)
This page is not "Historical" (as the policies that it summarizes are still in force), and it is more than an "Essay". It is a Summary of existing policy. It may be unique in its categoriazation. Blueboar (talk) 11:00, 29 May 2008 (UTC)

Edit conflict this was addressed to J Readings's last post:

There is no need there because was no consensus for this page to become policy and the consensus at the time was not that the page should become a "summary of two of Wikipedia's core content policies" the intention was that the working group would report back as to what was to be done. Clearly the working group is either as dead as a dodo or it is moribund so the emphasis is the other way round as there has never been a consensus for this page to be a summary and it is in essance al, as the {{historical}} template says "If you want to revive discussion regarding the subject, you should seek broader input via a forum such as the proposals page of the village pump."
If you look at the history of the page you will see that as early as 2 March (500 edits ago) that the page was marked clearly with a box at the top that "This Wikipedia page has been superseded by Wikipedia:Verifiability and Wikipedia:No original research, and it is retained primarily for historical interest." That tag replaced the former tag with an edit on 28 February 2007 there was some edit warring over that heading until this edit which added a box about the working committee on 25 March 2007. That stayed there there (on and off) until 25 June 2007 when SlimVirgin changed it to a summary box. I can not find a discussion on this change in the talk archives. There have been no substantive changes to the page since then apart from changes to the status at the top of the page and discussions about its status (for example it was marked as historical for more than a month). So AFAICT there is no consensus for the change in status at any time and as a rejected policy it should marked as historical until such time as a "broader input via a forum such as the proposals page of the village pump" is sought. --Philip Baird Shearer (talk) 11:25, 29 May 2008 (UTC)

PBS adds new tag

I am not opposed to PBS's new tag (saying that whether the page is historical is disputed) so long as he is not opposed to our tinkering with it to demonstrate better its currency. JJB 13:17, 29 May 2008 (UTC)
Hi John. By tinkering "it" what do you mean--the main page or the new tag itself? J Readings (talk) 13:54, 29 May 2008 (UTC)
Hi JR! The main page. But I'll be going slow of course. And of course Crum has reverted the new tag, and of course this used to be a formal RFC, closed as stale by the bot. Like you, I had read the result as (at least) no consensus, resulting in default to no historical tag. JJB 15:42, 29 May 2008 (UTC)
Hi, the page has something of a unique status. Jimbo has called it the canonical description of two of our content policies: V and NOR. Editors who use it see it as a good summary of those pages. We tried to get it to replace the policy pages, and we got a majority but not enough to go ahead, so it remains as a useful summary. It shouldn't be classed as historical or as an essay, because those policies are still in place. The best thing is just to leave it be, unless V or NOR change in a way that requires a change here too. SlimVirgin talk|edits 17:13, 29 May 2008 (UTC)
SV you assert that "the page has something of a unique status" when was this agreed? AFAICT you made the change to the status 25 June 2007 with out discussing the change at the time and building a consensus to do so. If I am wrong and you did then please show me the section in the archives where this was discussed. It is because the other policies remain in place and this is a fail policy that it should be marked as such. Your idea of leaving it in place might be reasonable if some editors were not getting confused over its status. This has been seen recently in the comments a couple of editors have placed on this talk page and in guidelines such as Wikipedia:Notability (films) and Wikipedia:Manual of Style (writing about fiction). --Philip Baird Shearer (talk) 16:05, 30 May 2008 (UTC)
I basically agree with PBS (I've been wanting to say that some day!). Normally a failed policy proposal would be marked as such, but marking as "historical" makes sense in light of how similar this is to our actual policies. Of course, per WP:CCC, it could be remarked as "proposed" and put through the grinder again, as so much time has passed. -- Kendrick7talk 15:41, 31 May 2008 (UTC)
And, BTW, don't tell me there's no confusion -- there are two sections below here where are actually people still arguing, quite bizarrely, about what WP:A says and what parts need to be changed. I don't quite have the heart to tell them that it doesn't matter in the least, because this isn't policy and is unlikely to become policy any time soon. They're like Japanese holdouts, lol. -- Kendrick7talk 03:17, 1 June 2008 (UTC)
Actually, if various guidelines and policy pages are adding links to this page, I think that argues towards the idea that it isn't considered historical.
As for the fact that people are discussing and arguing about changes... that does not mean it should be historical. If you look at the talk pages of WP:NOR and WP:V (the two policies that this page summarizes) there are constant discussions and arguments about what they should say... and no one would dream of saying that these discussions and arguments make those policies historical. I agree that this page isn't policy... what it is is a "Summary" of two policies. Since those policies are active, so is this summary. Blueboar (talk) 03:44, 1 June 2008 (UTC)
Unless I am mistaken, pages do not acquire 'unique status' by virtue of a tag that gets put up, they acquire status through being useful, and being used correctly and often by wikipedians. An essay is an essay. For instance WP:pillars; no tag is provided or required, and we follow the advice on that page because we volunteer to do so and because the page is supremely useful. No tag is needed to make that happen. All of our core policies, and the remainder of our policies and guidelines must be relevant and remain in use, or redundant or replaced; it is their usefulness, not the tag at the top, which needs maintaining. --
Personally, I could care less what tag this-page gets. If it isn't useful, then don't use it, or else edit it to improve its usefulness (though that can't happen while the page is protected). --NewbyG (talk) 03:54, 1 June 2008 (UTC)
Yes tag wars. Thank you for that last! I think PBS's "historicality is disputed" tag is an offer to compromise and should be treated as such. But I prefer most anything to protection, when forced to choose. JJB 04:15, 1 June 2008 (UTC)

Attribution in Image captions

Should attribution be given in photo captions, i.e. "Photo by John Doe?" A proposal at the Village Pump wants your opinion: Wikipedia:Village_pump_(proposals)#Photograph_attribution_in_image_captions (Mind meal (talk) 14:16, 26 April 2008 (UTC))

Something missing here

This policy is missing two words relevant and contextualised. So, should I add that

Reference to any source has to be relevant to the statement or data presented in the article, and should be in the appropriate logical context to the statement or data it purports to support.

Cheers--mrg3105 (comms) ♠♣ 13:25, 19 May 2008 (UTC)

What is important is that the text of this page closely matches whatever is in WP:V and WP:NOR (since this is supposed to be a summary of those two policies) .... if these words are in those policies then they can (and should) be added here... if not, then they should not be added. Blueboar (talk) 13:39, 19 May 2008 (UTC)
From memory this was supposed to incorporate WP:RS as well. I think what you're looking for is already covered in WP:V, Sources should directly support the information as it is presented in an article and should be appropriate to the claims made: exceptional claims require exceptional sources. It's kind of angled differently here, which may be why this page died the long slow death it did. Next time we should just dump WP:NPOV on top of a page, WP:NOR in the middle and WP:V at the bottom and then let editing remove redundancies. Come to think of it, next time I am bored... Hiding T 13:55, 19 May 2008 (UTC)

Yet another example why this page should be marked {{Historical}} "This policy is missing two words ...". Further there has never been a consensus that this is a summary page. If such a consensus exists on this talk page or in the archives please indicate in which section this was agreed. --Philip Baird Shearer (talk) 15:48, 24 May 2008 (UTC)

In WP:V (Self-published and questionable sources in articles about themselves) "1. the material used is relevant to their notability"
In WP:NOR nothing about relevance
In WP:NOR ((Sources) "Take care, however, not to go beyond what is expressed in the sources or to use them in ways inconsistent with the intent of the source, such as using material out of context."
In WP:V (Sources - about 2/3 down) "The appropriateness of any source always depends on the context."
Here is the problem though - someone uses a snippet from country data in the Library of Congress. The Library of Congress is not a "questionable source" as such, but the snippet is out of context even if relevant. The intent of the country data is to be used as a general reference for the country, a very general one, so it offers a summary, but the editor chooses to use it in a very specific, and specialised way ordinarily reserved for a given specialist subject field terminology because both use the same word, even if in completely different contexts. So, instead of offering a source that deals with the specific application of the specialised term in editing the subject article, what is offered is the general usage of a word in English that is one of many possible which could have been applied in the very general summary, with the argument that the word comes from a reliable source and is in context. For example, in writing the article about the recent victory by Manchester over Chelsea, instead of specifically saying how the match ended (extra time, etc.), the Library of Congress summary of all football events for the year is used as a source to say "Manchester defeated Chelsea" (</ref LoC webste). Well, sure it did, but I don't need to read Wikipedia and the rest of the article to know that.
I am also strongly objecting to use of other reference sources exclusively when editing a Wikipedia article. I know its another story, but surely that it the purpose Wikipedia was conceived, to give readers a choice other then Britannica and Encarta--mrg3105 (comms) ♠♣ 22:11, 24 May 2008 (UTC)
I'm lost. Can you clarify why the part in WP:V about Sources should directly support the information as it is presented in an article and should be appropriate to the claims made does not cover what you are referring to? Hiding T 15:27, 25 May 2008 (UTC)
A source can be, and has been used by editors selectively. Although the source may be appropriate generally, the degree of directness in WP:V is not clear, so the reference can be either irrelevant or taken out of context despite the source being appropriate. I often find references in my scope of articles which are attached to a sentence in a section, and only cover that one sentence, with the rest of the section being entirely OR if I did not know the material. What I would like to see, is the wording changed to Sources should be relevant to the context of the sentence or paragraph of the article's content, and should be referring specifically to the claims made--mrg3105 (comms) ♠♣ 01:33, 30 May 2008 (UTC)

Welcome back SlimVirgin!

Hi there. I am seeking to assist in migrating the "unique status" here into one or more pigeonholes acceptable to a wider audience, and have been doing miscellaneous policy cleanup for a month or two. My leaning is to see how much WP:A can be harmonized with standing policy so that it either reaches the level of being policy itself (perhaps supplanting two other core policies) or is regarded as redundant itself (and thus resolving back in favor of the three standing cores). IMHO this page is ambiguous primarily because it introduces concepts not acceptable at the policy pages, and if these concepts are unpacked (I suppose "unpacked again") in this "safer" environment we might be able to sell them better at the policy pages on a piecemeal basis. So I went ahead with synchronizing just the first paragraph here with extant policy (and with the consensus definition of encyclopedia). There was a debate at WP:V over "verifiability, not truth", which seems to be resolved in favor of a consensus I assisted in:

whether readers are able to check that material added to Wikipedia has already been published by a reliable source

Here you favor the language:

whether material is attributable to a reliable published source

First question: is there any significant difference in meaning? Second: If not, why not keep the longer, less ambiguous version? If so, what is the difference and how do you think we can encourage the WP:V editors to accept such a change? And of course: Any other issues with my importing of other wording from policy and consensus? Thanks for your assistance! JJB 17:26, 29 May 2008 (UTC)

Hi John, thank you for your help with this. I could never understand the objections to ATT, as they seemed to involve a misunderstanding of what some of the words meant, so I'm not able to answer your questions. Certainly, we chose attribution/attributability because "verifiability" is actually used somewhat incorrectly in WP:V, as it implies a relationship with truth. It's an error that was made early on but it has stuck. SlimVirgin talk|edits 17:12, 30 May 2008 (UTC)
SV I would have thought that it this is "summary of two of Wikipedia's core content policies" then it should summarise and not start to criticise current Wikipidia policy articles. Why not mark in historical and be done with it? --Philip Baird Shearer (talk) 18:08, 30 May 2008 (UTC)
There's no criticism of the policies in ATT. It just summarizes them, and it's not "historical." SlimVirgin talk|edits 19:32, 30 May 2008 (UTC)

OK thanks SV. But "verify" means "check by attribution", not "attribute", correct? It seems to me that the relationship with truth needs handling either way: either it has been truly published, or truly attributed. JJB 18:45, 30 May 2008 (UTC)

"Verify" suggests checking that something is true, which of course is not what we do. It was clearly meant as "attribute" when first started, and it's how people understand it now. I'm not sure what you mean by "either it has been truly published, or truly attributed." SlimVirgin talk|edits 19:32, 30 May 2008 (UTC)

Well, the policy (now) defines "verify" as "check that [it] has already been published", so it deflects that misinference. Perhaps "check [publication] via attribution" is good enough for everyone. My last comment referred to a different relationship with truth than the one you were concerned with, so never mind. OTOH, we do routinely check whether it's true that "Y says Z". I may make that into an essay myself. JJB 19:46, 30 May 2008 (UTC)

SV as you have replied here and not above perhaps you did not see my questions to you:

SV you assert that "the page has something of a unique status" when was this agreed? AFAICT you made the change to the status 25 June 2007 with out discussing the change at the time and building a consensus to do so. If I am wrong and you did then please show me the section in the archives where this was discussed. It is because the other policies remain in place and this is a fail policy that it should be marked as such. Your idea of leaving it in place might be reasonable if some editors were not getting confused over its status. This has been seen recently in the comments a couple of editors have placed on this talk page and in guidelines such as Wikipedia:Notability (films) and Wikipedia:Manual of Style (writing about fiction).

--Philip Baird Shearer (talk) 12:12, 31 May 2008 (UTC)

Well, I apologize for any action which may have misled Viridae to characterize our collegial draft comparison procedures as edit warring requiring protection. Ah well. This time SV reverted my text "whether readers are able to attribute material added to Wikipedia as already published by a reliable source" with "the idea of things being attributable (not necessarily attributed) is key". I still don't get it. "Readers are able to attribute material" equals "material is attributable". If there is no real difference in meaning, what is it about that shorter wording that commends itself to SV and yet fails to find consensus at WP:V (other than brevity)? Why is reversion so important on this page? I didn't think there was anything canonical at WP! JJB 13:21, 31 May 2008 (UTC)
Since Viridae has stated the protection has no stated expiry until people are actually talking about the allegedly warred material instead of reverting, and since I don't see anyone else either indicating animus or thinking there is much new to discuss (one truly minor scrap excepted), I don't see that much is likely to happen on this page soon, and the hoped-for rekindling of interest in this unique summary may be quenched. For the record, I am open to just about any of the reversions I've noticed (although of course with some of them I may try an exploratory foray into new editing territory, believing that "revert" and "undo" both refer only to old editing territory). That is, count me as an automatic "yes" !vote on both sides of any question brought forward to end the alleged war. However, for the nonce, I believe the circumstances indicate it best to shelve temporarily my ambitious plans for resolving this longstanding ambiguity and focus on other areas. Will keep watchlisted though. JJB 03:35, 2 June 2008 (UTC)


This page was categorised as an essay for ten months or so, Slim categorising it there back in July last year. You can amend that, discuss amending that or do what you like, but don't make false claims in edit summaries like it is the wrong cat or a demotion or there was no consensus. It was there ten months. That's a bloody strong consensus. I am tired of people misrepresenting things to achieve their own ends. If you want to retag it, I am perfectly happy to discuss such a proposition, but attempting to state that there is no consensus is simply unacceptable in the light of the fact the page was categorised as such for ten months. If I cock up, I hold my hands up. I speak to people reasonably, and if I don't like something I state that instead of dressing it up as anything else. I expect to be treated with respect and with good faith. I don;t care what you tag the page with, just do not misrepresent my actions. That I cannot tolerate. Hiding T 21:24, 29 May 2008 (UTC)

Actually... You are correct that the page was categorized as an essay for several months... however, we also need to note the fact that over that same period of time we were engaged in debates over whether to tag it as an essay or not. I have a feeling that with the focus on the banner at the top of the page, those who objected to this being an essay simply did not notice the categorization at the bottom of the page. I know that if I had noticed it, I would have removed it a long time ago.
This simply isn't an essay (which are essentially personal opinions)... it is (as Jimbo defined it) cannonical, meaning it has some degree of official standing (which essays don't). As far as I know, it is unique... it's a summary of two core Policies it falls into the cracks. It is "official", but is neither Essay, Guideline, nor Policy. Personally, I have no problem with that unique status. I just don't see a need to force square pegs into round pidgeon holes. Blueboar (talk) 22:32, 29 May 2008 (UTC)
I'm from the school where if it ain;t policy and it ain;t a guideline, it's an essay, but I could really care less. I also don't tend to give Jimmy's thoughts any more weight than any other contributor. Personally, I have no issues with the page, and was heavily involved in drafting it, but I resent misrepresentations. Given this page was reverted back to an essay here and there in the past, I have to wonder how people could miss that fact. I also don't seem to see the same amount of traffic you do on this talk page. Givemn you made the page an essay back in July, I kind of find the fact that you say you didn't know this was an essay somewhat odd. [4]. Like I say, I don't mind what we call the page, but I do resent people misrepresenting things, and I really resent people misrepresenting my actions. If you've changed your mind, that's fine, but don't present my action as being something it isn't in an edit summary, especially when you yourself have acted contrary in the past to build a consensus you later deny exists. If I cock up, I hold my hands up. Fair play, yeah? Hiding T 23:46, 29 May 2008 (UTC)
Look at that diff again, please... I was reverting the change of text in the noticebox (the stuff in red print in the diff), not the essay categorization (which I did not notice) This is exactly what I was referring to in my comment above. Concentrating on what was in the big box at the top of the page and not focusing on what showed up at the bottom. Blueboar (talk) 00:02, 30 May 2008 (UTC)
I'm looking at it. You've added that category. It wasn't there in the version you edited. It's there after you edited. This means you added it back. It's right there under all the red words. It's in green because it's new. It's not a question of it being at the bottom of the page, it's there at the top when you edit the page. All I'm looking for is fair play. At the top of this page there's a rough consensus that it's an essay, demonstrated in the ten months the category stayed on the page and removals of it were reverted, including yourself. I don't care what you want to call this page today, I simply don't see any justification for your edit summary, nor the way it misrepresents my actions. Hiding T 00:26, 30 May 2008 (UTC)
No, I did not add the category... I did, inadvertantly, reinstate it. Go back one edit further and you will see that I simply reverted Melsaran's edit. Look at the edit summary... The issue at the time was whether to include WP:RS in the noticebox or not, and we were having a minor revert war over it. Perhaps I should have payed more attention, but I really did not notice that my revert was reinstating the categorization - in fact, I did not even notice that there was a categorization. My attention was focused on the noticebox at the top of the page, not the cat tag at the bottom. Blueboar (talk) 17:14, 30 May 2008 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Attribution#Living persons

Editors must take particular care when writing biographical material about living persons, for legal reasons and in order to be fair.

-- Gotta be a better, less ambiguous, word than 'fair'. Do we mean neutral, even-handed, unbiased, or do we mean just or non-malicious or 'nice' or what? Any suggestions? --NewbyG (talk) 20:49, 31 May 2008 (UTC)

Neutral. Unbiased. JJB 22:49, 31 May 2008 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Attribution#How to cite sources

Any reader should be able to verify that material added to Wikipedia has already been published by a reliable source.

Read that sentence; does it read as if plagerism and copyvio become acceptable? How about :

Any reader should be able to verify that material added to Wikipedia closely and neutrally reflects or summarizes information that has already been published by a reliable source.

Is that just as confusing? Any suggestionS? --

  • --And do we 'define' anywhere what we mean by "material"—it is the text which actually appears on the article page, including the text in footnote sections, and any diagrams charts infoboxes etc. It is not the same as the 'material' which appears on the page in the actual reliable source, because we, effectively, paraphase that material for our purposes. --NewbyG (talk) 20:49, 31 May 2008 (UTC)
Interesting potential inference. This has been comfortable policy at WP:V for some time as "material added to Wikipedia has already been published by a reliable source". I think the clear copyvio policy dispels the fuzzy potential reading, though it doesn't appear in the same place. You could make a case for changing "material" to "information" or "facts" ("... have"), and for mentioning copyvio policy elsewhere in WP:V, but I don't think you could argue for a substantial rewording of this sentence, because it could easily suggest greater leeway in summarizing sources than we wish to permit. JJB 22:58, 31 May 2008 (UTC)
Thankyou for elucidating. I found these.

WP:V : The source should be cited clearly and precisely to enable readers to find the text that supports the article content in question.

WP:V : Sources should directly support the information as it is presented in an article and should be appropriate to the claims made: exceptional claims require exceptionally high-quality reliable sources.

On reflection, I am comfortable with all that, given that we try to read all relevant policies in the proper context, and given that copyvio is adequately covered, just some paragraphs away. Thanks. --NewbyG (talk) 23:30, 31 May 2008 (UTC)


I'm obviously been floating around the recent RFAR involving some users that edit this page, and I read a bit about it. I notice one major flaw here. "Verifiability, not truth" is insanely flawed when it comes to BLP. If "verifiable" info exists about a person, but isn't true, does that mean we can include it? No, cause that would be a BLP vio. How does that make sense at all? Kwsn (Ni!) 22:25, 1 June 2008 (UTC)

"Truth" is a philosophical or religious concept that is not a factor in deciding Wikipedia content. Verifiability and reliability are, along with NPOV, NOR, UNDUE, as well as notability. This is true for all articles, including BLP. For BLP we just make an extra effort to cross the t's and dot the i's, especially for contentious material, and we also remove such material first and ask questions later, if it's not properly sourced or otherwise in violation of the applicable policies. As a short answer to your question, yes, "verifiability not truth" also applies to BLP, and even more so. Crum375 (talk) 22:35, 1 June 2008 (UTC)
You're missing my point. Allow me to rephrase: what if a statement is verifiable, but it isn't true? What do we do then? Kwsn (Ni!) 22:37, 1 June 2008 (UTC)
WT:V is the place to address this. WP:ATT is just a summary of V and NOR. SlimVirgin talk|edits 23:47, 1 June 2008 (UTC)
The answer for you, Kwsn, is quite simple. A piece of information X is notable and verifiable, very good. Now, if you say that "X is not true" and this is your private statement, Wikipedia chooses to ignore it per WP:NOR (sorry! it doesn't even matter if it's true). On the other hand, if you have verifiable information Y that conflicts with X, just filter both X+Y through WP:Neutral point of view, and behold - you have a perfect article. --Kubanczyk (talk) 21:51, 2 June 2008 (UTC)
I have a case in point. The SS_Kiche_Maru, according to WikiProject Japan and several editors in the AFD, seems to have never existed -- but it's in several major English-language references as a Titanic-rivalling shipwreck. As apparently no source in either English or Japanese has noted this discrepancy, we were forced (well, some felt that way) to accept verifiability over truth. I don't have an answer; it seems obscene for us to promulgate that which isn't true, but just the fact that no Japanese sources exist for this wreck isn't enough. --Dhartung | Talk 22:57, 2 June 2008 (UTC)
So you did well. (And this doesn't seem like a case for WP:Ignore all rules.) Sooner or later some bored historian will write a paper, and your article will be entirely re-phrased. --Kubanczyk (talk) 23:07, 2 June 2008 (UTC)
I did "well" by the rules and norms of this community, but I don't feel that in doing so I served the larger purpose for which it is intended, and which drives my own participation. This is why this is such a troubling impasse. --Dhartung | Talk 03:18, 3 June 2008 (UTC)

Plea for discussion

Per my latest edit, could we please minimize the risk of reprotection by hammering out here what the status should be? Thanks! My first vote is "proposed" "supplement" "essjay" but I have lots of votes. JJB 18:46, 2 June 2008 (UTC)

Viridae counted 15 reverts prior to protection. I count 12 13 14 20 22 28 full edit-and-revert cycles before and after (including /Header). I'm waiting. I have WP:LEW and I'm not afraid to use it. JJB 19:06, 2 June 2008 (UTC)
I've noticed nobody pointed it out (or it got buried in the archives): stop creating new policies and guidelines, especially overlapping ones like in this case. It does harm to our encyclopedia. Wikipedia:Avoid instruction creep and use KISS principle! --Kubanczyk (talk) 21:59, 2 June 2008 (UTC)
I would be happy to see this go back through the proposal process. It's been a long long while, by my reckoning, since this policy proposal went live. What I'm concerned about is that not a lot of people are really paying attention to this page if it's neither a policy nor a proposal, which means there's potential for a sort of "WP:POVFORK" in wikipedia (as opposed to article) space, which if it had a known status no one would have to worry about. It's not an essay either. So, I mean -- what is it? The community has put this on the back burner for too long, imo. -- Kendrick7talk 22:06, 2 June 2008 (UTC)
"What I'm concerned about is that not a lot of people are really paying attention to this page if it's neither a policy nor a proposal" - well, my suggestion is simply not being concerned. It's just a page. Wikipedia is not about people paying attention to regulations. They come here (in millions) expecting quite different challenges. --Kubanczyk (talk) 22:34, 2 June 2008 (UTC)
WP:A is just a page. The essay tag is appropriate. Looking at the material, it seems very much 'in sync' with both WP:NOR and WP:V. There is very little prospect of this page becoming a dangerous fork. Why would normal editing be defective in the case of this page? So, it is an essay, and ought to be able to be edited, (i.e. not protected). There is no need to mark an essay as "rejected" unless the material is clearly and dangerously wrong, in which case it would be ignored, or edited for improvement, or Mfd'd. --NewbyG (talk) 22:46, 2 June 2008 (UTC)
Kendrick, this a very useful summary page for two closely coupled policies. And it is tagged as such. There is nor need either to revive it as a policy or deprecate it. There is nothing wrong in having a page of this kind, and it is not a unique one of this kind. E.g. I am aware of WP:5P. Mukadderat (talk) 23:41, 2 June 2008 (UTC)
This is a failed policy page. It should be marked as such with {{historical}} or {{rejected}}. It was tagged as a summary page by SlimVergin without AFAICT any consensus to do so. Mukadderat please read the archives so that you know the history of the page. --Philip Baird Shearer (talk) 07:47, 6 June 2008 (UTC)

I have reprotected this again. When I next unprotect if it jumps back to edit warring again those involved in said edit warring who have not attempted resolution on the talk page will be blocked, really I sholdnt have had to come back. ViridaeTalk 00:13, 3 June 2008 (UTC)

It's not even gained consensus as a guideline, let alone a policy; you would expect this to at least be able to attain consensus as one or the other if it's a "summary" of other policies. If there's useful material here, why not split it out into supplemental guideline proposals that have some real meaning? This is hardly WP:5P so I'm unconvinced this has the same special status as that. -- Kendrick7talk 02:37, 3 June 2008 (UTC)
Ah. It seems to me, that this discussion is not about the status of this page! We have a page that contains material copied verbatim from policies. So I guess there is no dispute that the status is "summary of". The dispute is about the appropriate tag for such status: should we invent new "summary of" tag, or use existing {{essay}} tag, or {{supplement}} tag, or {{guideline}} tag (achieved through {{proposal}}). Am I right? --Kubanczyk (talk) 06:51, 3 June 2008 (UTC)
Mukadderat raises a good point. If WP:5P manages to traverse the line between policy and essay by declaring "policy summary" status with few objections, why can't this page? What is it about this page that upsets such a small groups of editors that we don't read the same problem over at the WP:5P talk page? Is it the length? Should this page be smaller? Is that the real issue? I'm trying to understand what's happening here. J Readings (talk) 13:46, 3 June 2008 (UTC)
Please read the archives of this page. This page is a failed policy page. There was never was a consensus for the content of the page and (see above) there was never a consensus to to change this page into some sort of intermediary page. Further as I have mentioned above, there are several editors who have edited this page recently, and links to this page from guidelines, that show that at least some editors are confused as to the status of this page and think that it is policy. Better by far to mark it as {{historical}} and concentrate on the policy pages. --Philip Baird Shearer (talk) 13:54, 3 June 2008 (UTC)
...which still does not answer my question. I've read the archives in full and that's not my question. Specifically, why do you have such a problem with this page being a "summary" of two existing core policies while, at the same time, you don't seem to have a problem at all with WP:5P? I'm still trying to understand the difference. J Readings (talk) 14:01, 3 June 2008 (UTC)
(edit clash) Also it is not true as Mukadderat wrote "We have a page that contains material copied verbatim from policies." Last summer when I tried to do that for WP:PSTS, I was told that this was a summary and that verbatim copies were not needed. When I tried to delete the verbiage of the old WP:APP proposal, I was told that the text is a summary, which it clear is not, as that text was meant to be a replacement for WP:PSTS. --Philip Baird Shearer (talk) 14:08, 3 June 2008 (UTC)
What's wrong with WP:APP, which resolves to Wikipedia:WikiProject The Apprentice UK? --Kubanczyk (talk) 18:53, 3 June 2008 (UTC)
User:J Readings The devil is in the detail. This is not an overview, it was originally a replacement and as such it failed. Maintaining such a detailed "summary" is counter productive (given the amount of debate over whether "may" or "can" is better in WP:PROVEIT), a summary here is bound to raise the same issues (unless it is a verbatim copy) and as has been seen this detailed "summary" is confusing people as to its status. Much better to mark it as {{historical}} --Philip Baird Shearer (talk) 14:15, 3 June 2008 (UTC)
For the record, I don't believe the charge has been proven that plural editors are confused or the page is confusing them. IMHO, the facts established are that I used a clause of this page to resolve a month-long hot discussion at WP:V, a resolution which has stood for more than another whole month, based on my belief that this is a summary (which it was successfully retracked into after being a failed replacement). I don't believe my one-time admission of former confusion, in an attempt to be civil, is sufficient evidence for everything that is now being said about confusion. JJB 14:32, 3 June 2008 (UTC)
Philip, WP:ATT has over thousand links from Wikipedia namespace, and over 500 from article Talk namespace. New links are created as we write this. "Historical" is out of question, put it and you will see some real confusion! --Kubanczyk (talk) 18:53, 3 June 2008 (UTC)

<<-- Have you looked at the links? The majority are user talk pages and are the result of having WP:ATT embedded in the welcome template for a time. The second most common is probably the result of the {{cent}} template being embedded in some articles and WP:ATT is currently in the list. Of the other pages listed many have links to WP:ATT over a year old. Of those other pages that were not user, talk, archived pages, I found less than a score of which most stated that WP:ATT was policy (so I fixed them). --Philip Baird Shearer (talk) 11:15, 4 June 2008 (UTC)

Of course you don't have links that say ATT is a policy... we make it very clear that it isn't a policy in a big banner at the top of the page. However, it also isn't historical... it is a "summary" of two policies, restating them with a focus on how they interact with each other. The only way to make this "historical" is to make the two policies that it summarizes historical. Blueboar (talk) 16:12, 4 June 2008 (UTC)
It did have pages that linked to policy and included this one until a couple of days ago when I altered them. Some of them could have been there since this was briefly a policy page, I did not check the dates when the additions had been made. --Philip Baird Shearer (talk) 07:50, 6 June 2008 (UTC)
Yes, but it lacks the wording of other essays. At the very least, it should say, as all other essays do, that editors don't have to abide by what it says. -- Kendrick7talk 17:27, 4 June 2008 (UTC)
I really don't know what to think about the particulars yet, but I do know one thing for certain: the edit wars over these tags have to stop. No sooner had Viridae came back for the second time (!) to unprotect the page, explaining that the next time an edit war ensued, he'd start blocking editors, what happened? Someone right away disregarded the statement and changed and fiddled with the tags again. <sigh> I'm reading these arguments on the talk page very closely, thinking about the evidence, and seriously considering the logic because I think both are important, but I don't understand why anyone would want to provoke other editors on the main page after we've been repeatedly instructed not to edit war. Let's try to work things out here on the talk page. It could only help, right? J Readings (talk) 17:31, 4 June 2008 (UTC)
But as everyone keeps saying, this isn't a policy; therefore, the policy exception to WP:BRD doesn't apply here. As such, I've tried again to clarify the status. -- Kendrick7talk 17:43, 4 June 2008 (UTC)
Philip yes, I looked at the links. I've just excluded the page itself from {{cent}}, and checked the count again. Let's assume that you are right and 0 (zero) pages in the Wikipedia assert that "WP:Attribution is a policy". But there are still 11,500 pages that link here at the moment, and probably say something like "take a look at WP:Attribution". Eleven thousand pages. Keep that in mind. --Kubanczyk (talk) 20:06, 4 June 2008 (UTC)
I looked through all the links for guidelines and policy documents and fixed them (there was about a dozen in total). Although I did not look at the 1,000s of other pages in detail I did dip into some. AFAICT (from a small sample) most are welcome sections in user pages because for a time the welcome used WP:ATT because it was policy. There were quite a few articles for deletion pages because they include {{Cent}} which at the moment includes a link to WP:ATT. So I suspect that the vast majority of the links are historical and not current. --Philip Baird Shearer (talk) 08:48, 6 June 2008 (UTC)

Intent to edit

  • Please note that I have resolved to edit the lead again for policy harmony, although three prior drafts were reverted. I would change the definition of "verifiability" from "meaning, in this context, whether material is attributable to a reliable published source" to the WP:V consensus of "that is, whether readers are able to check that material added to Wikipedia has already been published by a reliable source". "Verifiable" (checkable) does not mean "attributable" (citable); they are exclusive: citing refers to inserting text, while checking refers to responding to inserted text. (However, it could be said that "verifiable" does mean "attributed", which is already well hashed out.) The reasons for reversion were "back to original: the concept of attributability is important to mention up front, and it's just a summary of V and NOR" and "I think original version is simpler and clearer" and "the idea of things being attributable (not necessarily attributed) is key". In response, attributability is mentioned in the immediately next paragraph and in the nutshell, probably redundantly; if it's a summary, the two should be harmonizable (if we can't harmonize them it's not a summary but a replacement again); and the simpler, clearer statement about attributability may be true and expressed here and at WP:NOR, but it's simply not a definition of "verifiability". So I believe this is clear-cut enough to go forward with it as a fourth draft, but in the interim I await further discussion about the proposed change. JJB 22:32, 3 June 2008 (UTC)
That seems reasonable, and if you are able to edit the page, good lock to you. that is, whether readers are able to check that material added to Wikipedia has already been published by a reliable source works at WP:V, so it works on this page. "Attributable" is a useful word, but it is not used perfectly correctly in the context, and the replacement offered ought to be unproblematic, seeing it is already in use at WP:V.
Note that, if this page were unreliable, I would favour it be deleted or "historicalled', however as the material is not substantially wrong, there is no need for such. If the page is an "exact summary" of two other policy pages, it could be argued that it is redundant; perhaps so, however if the page is linked to, and used to good purpose, that argument is weakened, though not demolished. It is a matter of current use of and attitudes to the use of this page, or, if it is argued so, misuse if there be any. In other words, if the page attracts edits, it seems a current concern. I dont think I am any more confused than is usual, any confusion that I suffer from can't be blamed on this page. Cheers --NewbyG (talk) 02:45, 4 June 2008 (UTC)
Thanks Newby, we'll see if it wakes anyone else up when it happens. I am actually trying to resolve discrepancies between this page and the policies point by point, because when that is complete we can theoretically end the debate and delete as redundant if consensus leads that way. If this page really does say something different from policy, then it's not a summary and the disagreement should be resolved; if it is a summary, then all its good content can be safely reimported back into policy. We'll find out which in each case as we go. But this limbo is silly. JJB 08:16, 4 June 2008 (UTC)
Wait the minute, so you are just trying to precisely summarize two large policies on the page just because you want a later consensus to historify/delete the page? Wasted work. Too many links lead here, so you will never have historical/deleted status. Maybe it would be easier to propose a short text about Attribution (with links to more precise WP:V, WP:NOR) and seek consensus for such content first? Then, having decided on content, seek consensus on the status and tag? --Kubanczyk (talk) 13:03, 4 June 2008 (UTC)
Deciding on content is the whole logjam. My method is a step-by-step approach that has reasonable hope of success. Any method which achieves content consensus is acceptable. JJB 16:04, 9 June 2008 (UTC)

The (first) threshold for inclusion

I have a problem with changing the line from "The threshold for inclusion..." to "The first threshold for inclusion...". My issue isn't with the intent of the edit or even what the new wording says... at first glance, I actually agree with this. But... it does change the meaning away from what is stated at WP:V, which I do have a problem with.

This page is supposed to be a summary of WP:V and WP:NOR... As a summary, the key bits of language need to closely follow what is stated on those pages - and this edit seems to be a step away from that. At the moment the policy page states "The threshold for inclusion..." so this page should state that as well. It there is a consensus to change it to say "first threshold", I feel that the change should be discussed and made at WP:V ... and then imported here. Blueboar (talk) 12:00, 4 June 2008 (UTC)

See WP:V it was changed there as well, I have just reversed it on that page. This is one of the problem with ATT and why it needs to be marked as historical. --Philip Baird Shearer (talk) 12:04, 4 June 2008 (UTC)
As I said, I have no real problem with the wording... so if the change is accepted at WP:V, and it remains stable, I have no problem importing it here. I simply want to make sure it is accepted there before we start changing it here. Blueboar (talk) 12:26, 4 June 2008 (UTC)
From a slightly different perspective perhaps, I'd support the change in WP:V as well, but the language here must match the current stable version there or this page is useless altogether as a summary of policy. If it differs, then we essentially have the old situation of contradictory statements of policy. (personally, I think that this is such a real possibility that I'd mark the page historical and freeze it, but while it's live it has to be accurate.) DGG (talk) 13:10, 4 June 2008 (UTC)
OK in this case again I fail to understand PBS. (1) He provided no reason for reverting WP:V either in edit summary or in this comment that I just noticed. (2) I, however, indicated the WT:V consensus I was building on, so I don't understand the reversion, especially with more support for the edit coming out. (3) I don't see anything wrong with changing in both places to see where it works better. (4) I don't think it serves PBS well to claim this incident as evidence for his favored tag on this page, and I am concerned that others may make improper inferences from his statement. Anyway, I'd appreciate it if centralized discussion continued at WT:V#Recent changes, point 11. JJB 17:35, 4 June 2008 (UTC)
Agree... discuss the change there... and if accepted, then change it here. Blueboar (talk) 17:50, 4 June 2008 (UTC)
We could perhaps add a header to the top of this talk page, stating that substantial changes need to be discussed at talk:V and talk:NOR before being implemented here. That way, WP:A lags behind, only slightly, but does not get in front. However, there probably aint no way to "enforce" such a requirement, a strong recommendation would have to suffice. --NewbyG (talk) 00:11, 5 June 2008 (UTC)
Consensus is developing at WT:V for "A fundamental criterion" in lieu of "The threshold". JJB 15:12, 6 June 2008 (UTC)
Changes need to be discussed thoroughly on WT:V, then made on V, and should only be made here if we're sure the change to V will stick. Otherwise both pages will be flipping back and forth. SlimVirgin talk|edits 15:23, 6 June 2008 (UTC)
I strongly agree with SV on this... gain full consensus on WT:V first. Blueboar (talk) 15:38, 6 June 2008 (UTC)

Protected page

Not good. I would suggest the 'essay' tag is perfectly suitable. I would suggest 'no tag' is perfectly suitable. I would suggest the 'supplement' tag is perfectly suitable. I do not see any reason to edit-war over any of these tags. Other tags may also be suitable. I will not be edit-warring over it (Haven't 'ever' done so). So, I suggest at this point in time, leave it as is, and let's get back to editing, maybe even editing articles. --NewbyG (talk) 01:49, 3 June 2008 (UTC)

  • As to what should happen, I've been saying that it should be merged back into the relevant policies and guidelines, and that any controversies should be resolved seriatim because the en masse method was too much to pass consensus. Parliamentary division of question. Sounds like Kendrick's approach too.
  • As to the tag, I've been saying I'll opt for any of them. However, thanks to the excellent suggestion, "supplement" is now my favorite.
  • As to the edit war, I affirm Viridae this time, and I'd note that at this instant it appears everyone engaged in it (some 9 people) has made a modicum of attempting resolution on this page, but many of them should be encouraged to return and actually achieve resolution. However, another very viable solution is for an admin to unprotect it, and to let those of us interested in improving the text itself go ahead noncontroversially, while the others rack up the Wikipedia:lamest edit wars points in the tag section. (There has been very little reverting over the text itself.) That could easily also be construed as an improvement to Wikipedia. JJB 13:32, 3 June 2008 (UTC)
When it comes to tag: normal Essay would work best, but Supplement is a decent proposition. --Kubanczyk (talk) 19:02, 3 June 2008 (UTC)
The reason I did not take part in the opinion survey that rejected this as policy was because although I was in agreement with the concept I was against the way it was being implemented. The wording on this page was not just an amalgamation of the wording on the two policy pages it was attempting to replace (a move that I supported), it was also replacement text for those policies (something I was against) -- for example have a look at the wording in the primary and secondary sources section? That is more than a summary of the current WP:PSTS --Philip Baird Shearer (talk) 09:37, 6 June 2008 (UTC)


OK. I've decided to mark this as a guideline, since attempting to mark it as anything else, even as a proposed guideline, has been met by derision. I actually believe as a summary of two policies, it meets at least this standard by definition. So, everybody happy? -- Kendrick7talk 17:34, 5 June 2008 (UTC)

[5] Yes, why didn't I think of that. --NewbyG (talk) 19:47, 5 June 2008 (UTC)
It has never been agreed that the text on this page is a accurate summary of the policy pages it was supposed to supplant, so it definitely should not be a guideline. AFAICT there has never been a consensus to mark it as an essay or any other status (but if someone can find a section in the talk pages that proves me wrong I would be interested to read it). A working party was supposed to report back with findings but AFAICT the working party is moribund and until that working party reports back or the steps suggested in the {{historical}} template are taken this should be marked either as historical or {{rejected}}. --Philip Baird Shearer (talk) 09:37, 6 June 2008 (UTC)

Removed guideline tag

I've removed the recently placed guideline tag. The page as it is doesn't seem to meet the criteria for a guideline, being instead a mishmash of several established policies and guidelines sometimes with sections copied verbatim from the existing pages (ironically seemingly without any form of attribution). Things like WP:OR and WP:BLP should not be presented as guideline because they are not. The page essentially tells users how to interpret certain policies which are deliberately descriptive rather than prescriptive, if a certain interpretation is accepted by consensus it should be included on the policy pages not forked here. I can't see any significant change in the page since it was deemed to have been rejected by the community and think further discussion - not just arguments over an appropriate header - is required to establish the consensus. Guest9999 (talk) 20:54, 5 June 2008 (UTC)

I have returned the tag to the version that has been here for over a year. It clearly states that the page is not a Policy nor Guideline, but is instead a Summary... that is what it is, and what it is intended to be. nothing more, nothing less. Blueboar (talk) 21:03, 5 June 2008 (UTC)
It has not been marked as such for little under year [6] but as AFAICT there was never a consensus for that and for over month of that time it has also been marked as {{historical}} --Philip Baird Shearer (talk) 09:37, 6 June 2008 (UTC)
I reverted this. Please let it be transcluded to WP:Attribution/Header until the issue with content is not resolved. Please edit as you wish there. This way discussions about the header can be separated from discussions on the body's content. --Kubanczyk (talk) 21:07, 5 June 2008 (UTC)
The language in the messagebox was worked out by careful compromise... It has been in place for a long time (over a year) and was stable... why overturn it now? Blueboar (talk) 21:09, 5 June 2008 (UTC)
My change got reverted by you in a minute. "Why overturn now?" - per WP:Consensus policy, of course, why do you ask? Please provide reasons why do you oppose the split and refuse to edit the splitted template. --Kubanczyk (talk) 21:13, 5 June 2008 (UTC)
Um... I returned it to the consensus version... that is why I oppose the split. Blueboar (talk) 21:23, 5 June 2008 (UTC)
No. You returned it to previous consensus. Now, as you can see here, on this talk page, we have no consensus now, and are working on a new one. Yes, consensus may change from time to time. And you cannot possibly drag me into dispute if we have a dispute. We have a dispute, here it is, you are looking at it right now. There's an on going dispute about (a) content and (b) header. You provided no reason why you reverted the attempt to separate (b) discussion to another page (that is to Wikipedia:Attribution/Header. --Kubanczyk (talk) 21:37, 5 June 2008 (UTC)
That doesn't make any sense, Guest9999. You are saying it isn't a guideline because it's really a policy, like WP:OR or WP:BLP, just a policy without any consensus? -- Kendrick7talk 21:23, 5 June 2008 (UTC)
Kendrick... I know the history of this page... there is strong consensus that this page should NOT be a guideline. What there is consensus for is having this as a "cannonical" SUMMARY of two policies (similar in standing to WP:5P). Blueboar (talk) 21:30, 5 June 2008 (UTC)
Blueboar Please indicate where in the archives, I can read about this consensus. --Philip Baird Shearer (talk) 09:37, 6 June 2008 (UTC)
(edit conflict) Well partly yes. The language in the standard guideline tag does not represent the content of the page which among other things largely duplicates WP:OR and WP:BLP - accepted policies. It's a legacy of the original intent of the page as a replacement for policy pages (WP:V, WP:OR, WP:RS) and sticking a guideline tag on as a halfway solution doesn't seem acceptable - there is no community consensus that BLP, NOR, etc. should have an occasional exception (under normal circumstances). Personally I do not like the idea of having a guideline like this that describes how to interpret and use various policies; policies are constantly edited and I do not see how this page would be able to keep up with the changes to WP:BLP, WP:OR, WP:V and WP:CS whilst still representing the community consensus of the time. Guest9999 (talk) 21:43, 5 June 2008 (UTC)
(ec) I'm enjoying watching this so much, and mmm, this popcorn sure is good! We're up to 19 full revert cycles, plus one at the subpage. I think David Levy's very smmaaarrt idea was that the next time this gets protected (and someone gets blocked), at least maybe the admin will only protect the header instead of the rest of the page. But of course that was assuming folks would all have consensus on duking it out at the subpage instead of hear, a consensus which does not yet include the last two editors just above. So I'll just sit back and watch and do what I can. Send in the IPs! (Or is it possible that Blueboar doesn't yet understand that he can put the "consensus version" at Wikipedia:Attribution/Header?) JJB 21:32, 5 June 2008 (UTC)

We don't need another stupid edit war over this page. We really, really do not. User:Kendrick7, User:Kubanczyk, and others... please... leave it alone. The purpose of this page is to describe the policies, not to be the policies. It's kind of like those booklets that governments hand out that explain the laws of driving in a succinct and straightforward way, without being the laws of driving that are codified in official traffic acts. -/- Warren 21:41, 5 June 2008 (UTC)

See my comments above. To the best of my knowledge it has never been agreed that the text of this page is an accurate summary of the policy pages. That is one of the reasons it failed to become policy in the first place. --Philip Baird Shearer (talk) 09:37, 6 June 2008 (UTC)
Then it should be marked as a guideline like every other page which describes policies (e.g. the WP:BADLINKS guideline describes a section of the WP:HARASS policy). That's exactly what you are describing, Warren. As for Blueboar, see WP:CCC. Just because people argued a long time ago that it shouldn't be a guideline has no bearing on the current discussion. If you think more consensus is needed, then someone let me put the {{proposed}} tag on it. -- Kendrick7talk 22:10, 5 June 2008 (UTC)
What you are saying is at odds with the definition of the word guideline. Take a couple of minutes to review dictionary definitions of the word, because you aren't using it correctly.
We all have to follow what's in this article because it is nothing more than a restatement of what is written on policy pages. Other WP: pages, such as Wikipedia:Build the web, are guidelines because they are good expressions of common sense that help us build a better encyclopedia. The MOS is a guideline for the same reason. You don't have to follow the MOS in order to contribute to the encyclopedia on an ongoing basis, but you do have to follow policies. Once you understand the "policy = must; guideline = should" formula, you will understand why this page should not be described as a guideline. -/- Warren 22:28, 5 June 2008 (UTC)
So you prefer the current version which basically says this has no force at all -- that it is neither a policy nor a guideline, and therefore can be completely ignored? That doesn't make sense either. There was never any consensus to make this policy; and I don't see how leaving it as an essay helps your case that it should be policy. In the wikipedia sense of the word, "guideline" status makes sense, as edits here or to WP:OR and WP:V will mean it will be periodically out of sync with actual policy, like it or not. At those times, the actual policies are what are in force, not this. Wouldn't you agree? -- Kendrick7talk 22:40, 5 June 2008 (UTC)
As an experienced editor, you can completely ignore this page's existence if you want. You can't ignore the policy pages it is based on, and so long as the content on this page matches what is said in those policy pages, then yes, you must -- by implication only -- follow what is said here as well. If this page falls out of sync with actual policies, then it should be fixed. Given the sheer number of editors who are interested in presenting our policies well, it's extremely unlikely that such a problem will occur. Also, given the glacial pace of change with our fundamental policies, and how much ruckus gets kicked up if someone wants to change things, it's not even that great of a concern. Don't worry about it.
It has never been agreed that the contents of this page is in sync with the policy pages. --Philip Baird Shearer (talk) 09:37, 6 June 2008 (UTC)
So that we're clear about this -- you can't declare someone to be in violation of "WP:A" in a dispute, because it is neither a policy or guideline, but you can suggest this page as some very good reading for someone who is relatively new to Wikipedia and could benefit from a stronger grasp of how we think about our policies. Like I said, this article is like one of those booklets you get from the government that teach you the rules of the road. It describes the law without being the law. -/- Warren 00:33, 6 June 2008 (UTC)
Right. It's almost as if it were "an indication or outline of policy or conduct"[7] like one of those guideline booklets handed out by the government. I don't quite fathom your quibble here.... -- Kendrick7talk 00:47, 6 June 2008 (UTC)
I'm not the one with the quibble here -- I support the long-established status quo, because I think it makes the most sense. You're the one saying that a simple restatement of a policy document is a "guideline", whereas we clearly haven't used the term in this fashion elsewhere on Wikipedia. Guidelines are often based on policy (a good example is WP:AGF, which builds on WP:CIV with additional points that we all agree on, like "don't bite the newcomers"). Other guidelines aren't derived from policy at all; the MOS is the stand-out example of that. Then we have pages like this one, and Wikipedia:Five pillars, and Wikipedia:Simplified ruleset, and Wikipedia:Wikipedia in brief, and Wikipedia:Wikipedia is an encyclopedia, that are neither policies nor guidelines, but summarize what it is we're trying to accomplish here in different ways. -/- Warren 01:11, 6 June 2008 (UTC)
This is much much more extensively detailed than any of those in your list; this isn't in Category:Wikipedia basic information -- we could just as well have a "basic template" but currently don't. Of course, 5P and Enc are essentially "carved in stone" to where they transcend policy; obviously, this is not carved in stone. In any case, I've restored the essay tag on WP:SIMPLE which only disappeared some months ago. And, as you point out: this is in fact based on policy; isn't any summary based on its source or sources? -- Kendrick7talk 01:50, 6 June 2008 (UTC)
Warren when was this status quo agreed? I do not think it makes sense to keep the status quo or to make it a guideline, it makes much more sense to mark it as {{historical}} and be done with it. --Philip Baird Shearer (talk) 09:37, 6 June 2008 (UTC)

Protected (2)

See here. Marskell (talk) 22:14, 5 June 2008 (UTC)

It's interesting that you protected that page and left the transcluded subpage (intended to prevent such protection by separating the header dispute from the main content) unprotected. —David Levy 00:06, 6 June 2008 (UTC)
Yeah, David, I thought your idea was really smart, except that it assumes the editors will behave smartly too. Maybe the next time such a situation shows up, a big inline comment and a big bold talk comment might help. So much for idealism.
Several editors are also missing the key point. The side which believes this is not policy or guideline thinks it is materially different from V and OR. That's the root issue that needs resolving and which I had been working assiduously on. It's exceeding challenging to get both sides to even state what their objections and concerns are, I end up being told instead about such important factors as whether brides are carried across a threshold or the threshold. I'm glad I read WP:LEW last week to keep my sense of humor about it. Don't worry though, the subpage will get protected too as soon as enough people figure out they can still edit it! JJB 02:11, 6 June 2008 (UTC)
I have protected the header to match the page. There's no need to be snarky, David. I saw edit warring and acted reasonably. Splitting it to a template might not have been the best idea—it seems to have provided a new venue for argument. Marskell (talk) 17:02, 6 June 2008 (UTC)
Huh? I was merely pointing out that you protected the page with the unprotected header subpage intact (thereby enabling the edit war to continue). How is that "snarky"?
The purpose of the split was to provide a new venue for the edit war (in which I had no part). I assumed that it would continue, and I hoped to limit the resultant protection to the header (instead of the entire page). It was worth a try, and it still would work if people would pay attention to the page and its revision history (instead of blindly reverting) and agree to leave the transclusion in place (with the current situation as the only alternative). —David Levy 04:46, 7 June 2008 (UTC)
It was snarky to say it was "interesting" that he'd done it, which implies there was a hidden motive, when in fact he just didn't notice what had happened. SlimVirgin talk|edits 19:10, 8 June 2008 (UTC)
Oh, no such implication was intended. The idea that Marskell was acting in anything other than good faith never crossed my mind, and it didn't occur to me that anyone would even suspect that I was suggesting that. I actually was trying to be polite by referring to it as an "interesting" decision (because I felt that other adjectives would come across as too negative and harsh).
Marskell: I apologize if you took that as an insult or accusation of impropriety. It truly wasn't intended as such. —David Levy 15:26, 9 June 2008 (UTC)

Status June 2008

This failed policy should be marked as {{historical}} or {{rejected}}. Since Wikipedia has had the ability to redirect to sections of policy articles (eg WP:SOURCES and WP:PSTS) the need for an artcle such as this has receeded. This particular article is a failed policy article and the text is basically the same as it was when it was promoted as a policy and has never been agreed that it is an accurate summary of policy. --Philip Baird Shearer (talk) 18:51, 8 June 2008 (UTC)

Philip, what is it to you? There are users who use this summary because they find it helpful. There are others who don't. If you don't like it, why not just ignore it? Why are you so keen on undermining it? SlimVirgin talk|edits 19:08, 8 June 2008 (UTC)
Philip, this is getting to be a WP:POINT situation. You have made it abundantly clear that you think the page should be marked as historical... others (myself among them) have made it abundantly clear that they dissagree. I have to echo SV's question... WHY? Blueboar (talk) 21:22, 8 June 2008 (UTC)
I have to ask the same question as SlimVirgin and Blueboar. What is the purpose of repeatedly stating the same point all over the talk page? Surely, Philip, once would have sufficed. I was tempted to ask several days ago, but refrained. I can see now I'm not alone. J Readings (talk) 21:34, 8 June 2008 (UTC)
Affirm prior three paragraphs. JJB 16:18, 9 June 2008 (UTC)

If the issue of its status is not raised then tempted to say that as there is silence there is consent for this page to exist. The page failed to become policy and as I have said before AFAICT there was never a consensus to have this page as a summary. If there was, which section in the archives shows that it was agreed to turn this page into a summary? further when was the failed policy article changed to become a summary as opposed to the wording of when it was a policy? --Philip Baird Shearer (talk) 14:10, 9 June 2008 (UTC)

The fact that no one, other than you (repeatedly), has questioned the page's status as a "Summary" should indicate that it has at least some degree of consensus. Can you point to any indication that there is consensus for marking it {{historical}}? Blueboar (talk) 14:56, 9 June 2008 (UTC)
Yeah, PBS, with all due respect, you might consider that your latest repetition of the same nearly verbatim argument has tipped the critical mass into a pile-on against the "historical" tag being the solution. There is clear consensus for existence as something. It might help if you got specific and told us what sentences you believe are historical, or most misleading if not marked as such (besides the tag), and then we could continue current discussion by focusing on what to do with those sentences, because otherwise, well, we've had a three-page lame edit war now already. JJB 16:18, 9 June 2008 (UTC)
I agree. PBS, please join the discussion on this talk page, instead of repeatedly stating your arguments (which is not the same). --Kubanczyk (talk) 19:14, 9 June 2008 (UTC)

This appears to be in essay status, the definition of which is a page expressing opinions without demonstrated consensus. We don't need another euphemistic tag which confuses the legitimacy of the instructions given here. If people want to create a new animal at the Policy page then the tag might become legitimate. For now it implies a level of broad recognition not supported by consensus. --Kevin Murray (talk) 14:05, 10 June 2008 (UTC)

Isn't this kind of essay a {{supplemental essay}}? I was under the impression that Category:Wikipedia supplemental essays was for essays that try to summarise policies/guidelines in this manner. --tiny plastic Grey Knight 14:53, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
I'm less concerned with the format of the tag, but I'm really concerned when people start making up tags that pose to represent some category that does not yet exist. Is there some place where we describe how to develop a "supplemental essay" and what degree of consensus warrants such a tag? You say that you were "under the impression" -- that's the problem! These psuedo-categories leave an impression of legitimasy which does not in fact exist. --Kevin Murray (talk) 14:58, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
I didn't mean to imply I was under the impression that supplemental essays are "quasi-policy"; I think the wording makes it clear enough that it's an essay, but that the essay-writers' intent is to talk about the application of certain policies; a subtype of {{essay}}, just like {{MoS-guideline}} is a subtype of {{guideline}}. I see User:David Levy was involved in the discussion in this respect on the relevant talk page as well as further up the page here, I guess he might have a good viewpoint to contribute. Obviously I'm only a newcomer to this discussion, but from my humble position it looks like what both sides are driving at. --tiny plastic Grey Knight 15:11, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
Thanks Grey! You bring light to this clouded issue. It looks like Template:Supplement has survived XfD with some notable participation and could be contrued as legitimate. I would like to see the concept specifically described at WP:Policy and then would support the use of that tag here. However, I don't understand why a custom tag was produced for this page when Template:Supplement might have been used instead. --Kevin Murray (talk) 15:24, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
Oh, you know what the Template namespace is like; there's one for every purpose, but you can never find the one you want! ;-) --tiny plastic Grey Knight 15:27, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
(ec) It's definitely a supplement, we definitely should not make up tags for categories that don't exist, but I think supplement is a helpful and clear-cut category. The real category that doesn't exist, which is causing all the trouble here, is "summary of core policy which was once taken as core policy and then later taken as having insufficient consensus to replace core policy and in which much interest has been abandoned". (My proposals have been to edit the text, not the tag, to get it out of this category and clearly into a better-defined category, but that's another story.) Please observe that there be edit warriors here and that even "commonsense" changes to the tag are likely to be reverted by somebody and protected by somebody else. JJB 15:25, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
  • I’m convinced that the "supplemental essay" tag is more pertinent than the "essay" tag and have posted it to the page while leaving the custom tag in place. I've invited further discussion here by posting a notice at the Pump and the relevant pages which this page summarizes or supplements. --Kevin Murray (talk) 15:47, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
    • This article isn't in the form of an essay, nor was it written to be an essay, nor are many editors going to accept it being called an essay. This is a lost cause on your part -- please, just drop it and go find something productive to do on Wikipedia. -/- Warren 16:38, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
      • If it isn't an Essay, then it is a proposal for a guideline or policy (active or failed), or it is a policy or guideline. There don't seem to be any other options described in our policy pages. It seems that we have at least 4 editors here who see it as something other than a "Summary" If I'm wrong can you tell me why other than "it's popular" --Kevin Murray (talk) 16:49, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
It's either an essay or a failed policy/guideline proposal. As far as I know there isn't any other category for a page of this type. Please tag it with one or the other, or both. Cla68 (talk) 17:18, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
Actually there is another category... "summary"... see WP:5P for another example. Blueboar (talk) 17:55, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
(ec) I think that these are *NOT* the only categories or options available to us. Another category is entitled "Wikipedia basic information". Conceivably, WP:ATT can be marked as a "basic information" page that is no different than some of the other basic information pages out there that summarize other materials, including (but not limited to) WP:5. J Readings (talk) 18:01, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
Do you know, I was just thinking, we don't really have to tag it at all. :-) It can just go into Category:Wikipedia basic information or Category:Wikipedia administration if that's what we want to do, there's no mandate that everything in the Wikipedia namespace has to be a policy/guideline/essay/other tag category. That lets us just brush the whole question under the carpet! ;-) --tiny plastic Grey Knight 20:01, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
  • Grey, why would you want to sweep something under the carpet? This is a policy page page which deals with WP policies and as tagged implies consensus; thus it and should receive broad support or be eliminated. This whole thing smacks of sneaky. --Kevin Murray (talk) 21:08, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
First you said it was an essay. Then you said it was a supplement essay. Now you say it's a policy page. I'm having a little difficulty following your thought process on this topic, Kevin. J Readings (talk) 21:46, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
J, yes you are correct, my language was imprecise and I have corrected it above (italics) to more clearly reflect my thoughts. Thanks! --Kevin Murray (talk) 14:35, 11 June 2008 (UTC)
Folks, what is so confusing about this... it isn't a Policy... it isn't a Guideline... and it isn't an Essay. It's a SUMMARY of of V and NOR (focused on the concept of attribution). There has been at least some consensus for this status for quite a while (an no consensus has been demonstrated for any other status). Blueboar (talk) 21:54, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
No, it's a disputed effort at a summary. The assertion that it is a summary is widely disputed. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 19:38, 23 July 2008 (UTC)

This page is a historical essay: nothing more. It was not accepted by the community and many of those who rejected it felt it was not a summary of existing policies, rather a rewrite of those policies. It isn't a policy, it isn't a guideline: it's a historical essay. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 21:56, 10 June 2008 (UTC)

May I ask a rather obvious question: what is preventing us from simply re-writing the disputed sentences (whatever those might be -- no one has bothered to reply to John Bulten's legitimate questions yet) in order to put this (non-)issue to rest? If the "summary" tag is the problem, then the text can simply be re-written to summarize WP:V and WP:NOR. What is stopping us from working together in order to move forward? J Readings (talk) 22:07, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
If V and NOR are so complicated that they need to be summarized, then it is time to simplify these policies so that they are concise, readable and actionable. However, if those two could be successfully merged into a replacement policy called ATT, I would support. I object to two things here: (1) creating a pseudo-policy page without consensus, and (2)creating a further layer of instruction creep which leads to potential confusion and inconsistency. --Kevin Murray (talk) 23:15, 10 June 2008 (UTC)

Parts of this were consensus on their subjects (insofar as anything so forced by a handful of editors can be consensus). The whole proposal to replace was defeated; there was disagreement on what this page actually meant, which accounted for most of the opposition; see the mess of poll results for more. The way to find out whether any given language here is acceptable is to propose it to WP:V or WP:NOR as appropriate; I still think it a shame that some things that could be salvaged were not. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 21:51, 11 June 2008 (UTC)

Another segment of the opposition was thet WP:V, WP:RS, and WP:OR should not be merged, whether or not this text was the merger; that they were two or three separate ideas and should be separate policies. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 22:59, 11 June 2008 (UTC)

RfC - Status?

OK folks... we seem to be talking in circles, with everyone saying that other people's views don't have consensus, and no one demonstrating that their view does have consensus. So let's see what the consensus really is... you can opt for more than one, and add additional options if you feel so inclined:

Consensus-seeking discussion


  • Support --Philip Baird Shearer (talk) 13:43, 11 June 2008 (UTC)
  • Weak fourth choice (not counting ties). JJB 14:25, 11 June 2008 (UTC)
  • This would be fine, as second choice after Failed. Marskell (talk) 18:23, 11 June 2008 (UTC)
  • Support What it is. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 21:52, 11 June 2008 (UTC)
  • I agree with Marskell, a reasonable second choice after Failed. Tim Vickers (talk) 22:45, 11 June 2008 (UTC)
  • Support --Francis Schonken (talk) 09:41, 15 June 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose How can a summary of NPOV, V and OR be historical? ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 16:36, 15 June 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Illogical. The content is current policy. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 01:25, 16 June 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose. After careful review of the main page contents, there is nothing "historical" about it. It's a reflection of V and NOR. J Readings (talk) 09:07, 16 June 2008 (UTC)
  • Could live with this as second choice. Davewild (talk) 20:51, 19 June 2008 (UTC)
  • Support as second choice after Failed. PubliusFL (talk) 16:18, 20 June 2008 (UTC)
  • Tag as {{historical}}. The net result was more confusion, not less: it tried and failed to conflate three policies and a guideline which had of necessity been made distinct per consensus. — Athaenara 20:02, 4 July 2008 (UTC)

Failed (formerly rejected)

  • Pcarbonn (talk) 08:59, 11 June 2008 (UTC) I favor the option of refocusing the OR and V policy pages, and to significantly improve the OR page to convey a more clear, specific message. This would make the ATT page unnecessary.
  • Support --Philip Baird Shearer (talk) 13:43, 11 June 2008 (UTC)
  • Weak fourth choice, because I believe the intent is another reference to {{historical}}. JJB 14:25, 11 June 2008 (UTC)
  • Support It feels awful after all the time I spent on this, but ATT did fail. It's time to move on. Marskell (talk) 18:13, 11 June 2008 (UTC)
  • "Vetoed" would be more accurate. In any case, the proposal to replace V and OR with this did not succeed, and I agree with Marskell that this should be set aside as an unsuccessful attempt. — Carl (CBM · talk) 18:20, 11 June 2008 (UTC)
  • Support, this was proposed as a policy and was rejected. I don't see any reason to treat this page any differently than other failed policy proposals. Tim Vickers (talk) 22:44, 11 June 2008 (UTC)
  • Weak Oppose Not complete; the replacement proposal failed, but much of this would still be consensus. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 22:47, 11 June 2008 (UTC)
  • 'Support after a couple days' reflection and in an effort to find consensus. This seems like the most objectively accurate tag, in the absence of an ability to form consensus in support of any other option. It's true that much of the document would still be consensus, but it's also a fact that the document as a whole failed to achieve consensus support. PubliusFL (talk) 21:36, 13 June 2008 (UTC)
  • Support After consideration of the options and discussion, I think this serves little purpose as a training tool and is just a failed attempt with the best of intentions. --Kevin Murray (talk) 21:53, 13 June 2008 (UTC)
  • Could live with this --Francis Schonken (talk) 09:41, 15 June 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose - How can a summary of NPOV, V and OR be tagged as Failed? ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 16:37, 15 June 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose. The statements on this page are neither failed nor rejected. The closest to this that they could be called is redundant. What failed was the attempt to supercede and replace WP:V and WP:NOR. This page does not call for that action. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 01:29, 16 June 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose. After careful review of the main page contents, there is nothing "historical" about it. It's a reflection of V and NOR.J Readings (talk) 09:08, 16 June 2008 (UTC)
  • Support No consensus was ever reached for this page so it should be marked as failed. Davewild (talk) 20:50, 19 June 2008 (UTC)
  • Support Wouldn't this be normal for a policy proposal that the community decides not to support? Sχeptomaniacχαιρετε 18:25, 20 June 2008 (UTC)
  • Support For reasons stated. It had a run, it was rejected. SchmuckyTheCat (talk)
  • Tag as {{failed}}. The net result was more confusion, not less: it tried and failed to conflate three policies and a guideline which had of necessity been made distinct per consensus. — Athaenara 20:00, 4 July 2008 (UTC)


  • Blueboar (talk) 22:09, 10 June 2008 (UTC) (2nd choice)
  • --Kevin Murray (talk) 23:52, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
  • Peregrine Fisher (talk) (contributions) 01:22, 11 June 2008 (UTC)
  • DGG (talk) 03:05, 11 June 2008 (UTC)
  • Cla68 (talk) 11:28, 11 June 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose --Philip Baird Shearer (talk) 13:43, 11 June 2008 (UTC)
  • Second choice (tie). JJB 14:25, 11 June 2008 (UTC)
  • Weak oppose If Summary is limbo, Essay is semi-limbo and I feel it may still give rise to arguments. However, this may become compromise choice, in which case I might weakly support. Marskell (talk) 18:28, 11 June 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose Whose opinion is it? Septentrionalis PMAnderson 22:49, 11 June 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose, I agree with Pmanderson, this isn't a single person's opinion, so it isn't really an essay. Tim Vickers (talk) 22:57, 11 June 2008 (UTC)
Question... were does it say an essay has to be the opinion of only a single person? Don't many any of our essay pages reflect the opinion of multiple editors (as expressed, for example, by many editors citing them at AfD debates etc.)?
  • Good solution, but in this case it would be best it is kept up to date as good as possible, in order to avoid in the end it gets (consciously or unconsciously) used as a parallel ruleset (see Wikipedia:How to contribute to Wikipedia guidance#Guidance level and the creation process) --Francis Schonken (talk) 09:41, 15 June 2008 (UTC)
  • Could live with it. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 16:37, 15 June 2008 (UTC)
  • My second choice. J Readings (talk) 21:39, 15 June 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose. This is not an essay in any normal understnding of the term. Worse, "essay" is synonymous with "not policy" and this page clearly espouses policy. Anyone can write an essay, but a document like this one, but with non-policy variation in it, would not be allowed to remain. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 01:33, 16 June 2008 (UTC)
  • Could live with it as a second choice. Davewild (talk) 20:51, 19 June 2008 (UTC)
  • Support as third choice after Failed. PubliusFL (talk) 16:19, 20 June 2008 (UTC)


  • Blueboar (talk) 22:09, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
  • -/- Warren 02:41, 11 June 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose because it is confusing, The wording is that of a failed policy not a summary --Philip Baird Shearer (talk) 13:43, 11 June 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose because it's not a current category or template, but a unique unpigeonholed exception. JJB 14:25, 11 June 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose unless there is a demonstration that WP needs a category of summary pages and clear guidance is developed on how these pages should be formatted and the level of consensus needed for a page to qualify is specified. I'm not completely opposed to the concept as long as the synthesis from policy to summary does not change the meaning. However, this begs the question of why we develop policy pages which are so complex that they need summaries to be effective. --Kevin Murray (talk) 14:41, 11 June 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose Continued limbo that will only invite more argument. Marskell (talk) 18:25, 11 June 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose because confusing as to weight to be given to this sui generis class. Seems to be an attempt to make an end-run around the results of the big poll on this document: giving its contents policy/guideline-like effect by casting them as a "summary" of other policies/guidelines. PubliusFL (talk) 18:57, 11 June 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose because disputed. I think it's largely, but not entirely, right; but there's certainly no consensus that this does summarize policy. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 22:44, 11 June 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose, this was intended as a summary, but describing it as such at present will confuse people, since it was not accepted by the community. Tim Vickers (talk) 23:47, 11 June 2008 (UTC)
  • (I suppose this is the current "custom template" solution, then:) Oppose (no good, confusing, gives the impression it is automatically kept up to date with WP:V and WP:NOR which is shaky ground) --Francis Schonken (talk) 09:41, 15 June 2008 (UTC)
  • Support ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 16:38, 15 June 2008 (UTC)
  • Support J Readings (talk) 21:37, 15 June 2008 (UTC)
  • Support per Jossi. Sceptre (talk) 19:11, 17 June 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose No consensus was ever formed for this page. Davewild (talk) 20:53, 19 June 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose It is a summary. But if failed to get the community behind it as a working cite to authority as a summary of policy. SchmuckyTheCat (talk)

Proposed Policy or Guideline

  • --Kevin Murray (talk) 23:49, 10 June 2008 (UTC) Oppose it had a shot and failed.--Kevin Murray (talk) 18:20, 11 June 2008 (UTC)
  • Strongly Oppose there was a very large poll over this involving hundreds of editors, and this page failed to become policy. --Philip Baird Shearer (talk) 13:43, 11 June 2008 (UTC)
  • Second choice (tie). JJB 14:25, 11 June 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose, this was not adopted as a policy. Tim Vickers (talk) 22:41, 11 June 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose, wouldn't go there any more: editor resources can be of better use elsewhere. --Francis Schonken (talk) 09:41, 15 June 2008 (UTC)
  • Strong oppose. Davewild (talk) 20:54, 19 June 2008 (UTC)


  • Third choice (tie). JJB 14:25, 11 June 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose --Francis Schonken (talk) 09:41, 15 June 2008 (UTC)
  • Third choice, maybe second actually (tie). J Readings (talk) 09:11, 16 June 2008 (UTC)


  • Third choice (tie). JJB 14:25, 11 June 2008 (UTC)
  • Having got over the outrage of returning to find WP:V and WP:NOR labelled "superceded", I now think this should be policy, for all the original reasons behind it. However, do not denigrade the exisitng policies. There is nothing wrong with overlapping policy, as long as everything is consistent, especially where the new version is better for newcomers. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 07:27, 15 June 2008 (UTC)
  • Strong oppose. --Francis Schonken (talk) 09:41, 15 June 2008 (UTC)
  • Third choice, maybe second actually (tie). J Readings (talk) 09:13, 16 June 2008 (UTC)


*--Kevin Murray (talk) 23:49, 10 June 2008 (UTC) -- as written it is not a supplement, nor is it a summary. But, people claim that it is now meant to be a learning tool. If it were rewritten to be a learning tool, then it would be validly tagged and used as a supplement. --Kevin Murray (talk) 14:51, 13 June 2008 (UTC)

  • Strongly Oppose See my comments above in #Proposed Policy or Guideline --Philip Baird Shearer (talk) 13:43, 11 June 2008 (UTC)
  • First choice is this or "essjay". JJB 14:25, 11 June 2008 (UTC)
  • This makes no sense whatsoever. Marskell (talk) 18:34, 11 June 2008 (UTC)
  • I can't see the sense in this either. It was intended as a summary, not a supplement, and it was not adopted. Tim Vickers (talk) 22:53, 11 June 2008 (UTC)
  • Could live with it (if supplement essay is intended, and if both WP:NOR and WP:V are mentioned as policies this is supplementing), but would prefer simple essay in that case. --Francis Schonken (talk) 09:41, 15 June 2008 (UTC)
  • oppose. This would be silly. It doesn't serve to supplement anything. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 01:46, 16 June 2008 (UTC)


I have no problems with this remaining as it has been for most of the last year, a Summary of V and NOR (as it relates to the concept of attribution). My weak second choice is to mark it as an Essay. Blueboar (talk) 22:09, 10 June 2008 (UTC)

I believe "historical" and "failed" refer to the same template. Other options not polled include "merge candidate" and "userfication candidate" (like User:Jimbo Wales/Statement of principles), but I don't think they'll get a stronger consensus. I also reserved a vote for "I'm a Luddite". JJB 14:25, 11 June 2008 (UTC)
JJB, historical and failed (formerly rejected) are separate tags with slightly different meanings, though the former has been used in the past as a euphemism for the latter. The historic tag is meant to archive that which was once in use as an accepted process but is now obsolete or no longer reflects consensus. The failed tag should be used when a process has not developed consensus after a reasonable time. The label "rejected" seemed to cause ill will, so the tag was modified to say "failed", while the name of the template has not yet changed. --Kevin Murray (talk) 15:26, 11 June 2008 (UTC)
Both Policy and Guideline should be taken off the table; not possible given the poll. Marskell (talk) 18:15, 11 June 2008 (UTC)

I don't know why this discussion is occurring. We had a massive community poll that demonstrated there was no consensus for this page. It is a historical, rejected, essay whatever you all want to call it. Nothing else; we shouldn't be re-voting something that was polled to the entire community. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 18:27, 11 June 2008 (UTC)

One, there was an enormous time investment in this page and hence an attachment to it amongst editors. Two, Jimbo actually advocated the summary idea. Three, there's some useful wording here. So I'm not totally surprised there's still discussion. But it really is time to move along. Marskell (talk) 18:33, 11 June 2008 (UTC)

I came here as a result of today's village pump posting.

If it has no reasonable chance of becoming policy and superceding its ancestors, then it shouldn't be tagged as a proposal. That is my only opinion.

It is a well written piece that is probably useful for Wikipedia. Per Sandy, at the risk of offending those who have taken strong positions, I will call a spade a spade, and say that arguing about whether it should be tagged as essay, historical, canonical summary, failed, something else or nothing at all is unnecessary wikidrama that I don't wish to participate in.

--Hroðulf (or Hrothulf) (Talk) 08:34, 20 June 2008 (UTC)

Action plan

I propose that the current discussion-framing poll suggests that consensus is stalled not because of the tag but because of the ambiguity over the differences between this page's statements and the policy pages' statements. If anything, consensus suggests that something must be done to change the (otherwise accurate) long-standing unique "summary" tag; but we have not been doing that something. Particularly, I affirm Pcarbonn: "I favor the option of refocusing the OR and V policy pages, and to significantly improve the OR page to convey a more clear, specific message. This would make the ATT page unnecessary." The remaining discussion is centering on what to tag it now so that folks don't need to edit it, without much touching the larger question of what it would be in the future if some folks did edit it. I continue to affirm that the individual differences between this page and policy should be hammered out separately until there is a policy consensus on each, or (at minimum) a consensus that there are differing views on any given point and thus none of them need be policy on that point. Having ambiguous policy categories is ridiculous; self-governing bodies much prefer clear delineations, and rely on ambiguity only when it successfully hides an inability to work together and a general malaise about the question. WP is above all that. Let's not hierarchicalize our processes toward irrelevance. JJB 15:05, 13 June 2008 (UTC)

The action that you are advocating is a bit unclear. But I think that you are saying that you: (1) support Pcarbonn's statement, (2) you are looking for a resolution, and (3) thus you are advocating tagging this as "failed" and that we should (4) move to simplify WP:V and WP:OR. Am I right? --Kevin Murray (talk) 20:55, 13 June 2008 (UTC)
Sorry. I am advocating ending the argument over what to tag it now, but instead editing it and V and OR to reconcile their differences until the tag becomes obvious, one way or another. JJB 19:56, 24 June 2008 (UTC)
Why hasn't the obvious been mentioned: just change the page so the statements are more in line with the policy pages' statements and remove the ambiguity? mike4ty4 (talk) 20:58, 1 July 2008 (UTC)
Because just chang[ing] the page takes lots of effort. When single phrases or even words are argued about in the policy documents, it could be just as involved process for this page, and what is the point of doubling the work for every change that is made to the policy pages (because if the wording here is a detailed summary of the policy such debate is inevitable)? That is why I support the retirement of this page. --Philip Baird Shearer (talk) 21:15, 1 July 2008 (UTC)
But what would make such "lots of effort" worthless, anyway? Why didn't such "lots of effort" get done when WP:ATT was still an active proposal? Furthermore, if one is to ever develop any sort of useful policy, guideline, or even just an essay, one must change it to address people's concerns -- that's what the whole point of discussions on these things are: to find out how to make something useful. That being said, I'd be curious as to exactly what the person I was talking about meant by "differences between this page and policy" so I could see what would happen if I tried to hammer a few of them out with discussions/editing. Don't know if that would make "ATT" any better but why not, just to see what happens? mike4ty4 (talk) 03:40, 6 July 2008 (UTC)

Header transclusion

[two-person argument snipped by mutual agreement]

I think the point is we could start transcluding every section of every disputed page from a subpage, and pretty soon the whole wikipedia would be a whole bunch of little subpages at varying degrees of protection, and editors would not be motivated to solve the individual problems because they can go on editing the unlocked parts at their leisure. It has the potential to derail the consensus process were the practice to become wide spread. I don't know how many novel experiments in consensus we need going on at this page at once, but, :shrug: I can live with what you've done here. I just can't recommend making a habit of it. -- Kendrick7talk 01:57, 11 June 2008 (UTC)
This is something that I wouldn't even consider doing with a page's main content. But it's highly unfortunate (and perhaps counterproductive) to protect an entire page because of a dispute pertaining to the bloody header. —David Levy 10:59, 11 June 2008 (UTC)
The preamble to the page is fundamental to one's reading of the page content. This is not a section of the document that can be disassociated from the document as a whole. How one reads and understands the sections lower down the page depends on whether this is a policy, a summary or an historical page. For example if it is historical then there is no point even starting to edit the page to bring it in line with current policy, but if it is policy then it needs lots and lots of work. --Philip Baird Shearer (talk) 11:23, 11 June 2008 (UTC)
And if it remains a "Summary" then is needs some small tweeking now... and constent monitoring to make sure it reflects any future changes to V and NOR. Blueboar (talk) 11:31, 11 June 2008 (UTC)
But under no scenario is it harmful to allow editors to try to improve the page's main content. What tag we use might end up depending on the text that follows it (rather than the reverse).
Please note that I don't particularly care how the page ends up being tagged. I just hate to see it repeatedly protected, thereby hindering potential efforts to resolve the dispute one way or another. —David Levy 11:44, 11 June 2008 (UTC)
Don't sweat the small stuff, David, it was a good idea because it had been used in the past, but it needed a consensus on the mode of resolution and we don't even have that (though polling seems helpful this time!). I'm just resigned to the fact that the risk of temporary full-page protection is a cost of doing business for one who wishes to understand and resolve the underlying tension between this page and the core policies. Continue to take the long view. JJB 15:04, 11 June 2008 (UTC)
I think, basically, David has confused people with the template, although he was well intentioned. Marskell (talk) 18:17, 11 June 2008 (UTC)
No offense, Marskell, but such confusion stemmed primarily from the decision on the part of a few editors (including you) to act without examining the page's revision history and/or reading the talk page. (Please note that this is the sort of statement that I was trying to avoid making when I accidently insulted you with the vague wording that I used instead.) —David Levy 19:56, 11 June 2008 (UTC)

I agree with David that this is a useful subpage to prevent page protection. It didn't confuse me. 99of9 (talk) 22:41, 11 June 2008 (UTC)

Bold action

This page has evolved through many iterations. If the purpose is to summarize as a learning tool, then let's rebuild in that direction. Let's break from the old box which is failing and rebuild this page in the right direction. To that end, I've cut out a lot of fat and verbiage. Let's try to add back section by section what is needed to really be a concise learning tool. --Kevin Murray (talk) 17:25, 11 June 2008 (UTC)

It's too bold an action at this time. For one thing, it is not yet clear what the consensus on this pages status actually is... (things seem to be leaning towards "Essay"... but it is still early in the process). If it turns out that this should be a summary, then we can discuss whether it actually does a good job of summarizing or not (and if not, how to fix it). In other words, have some patience please. Blueboar (talk) 17:46, 11 June 2008 (UTC)
Yes, patience is a virtue, but sometimes a luxury. If you have lemons make lemonade; when you have people here for a discussion take advantage and get some fresh ideas on the table for discussion. --Kevin Murray (talk) 17:56, 11 June 2008 (UTC)
No worries. OK, I've been reverted twice and had a good chat with Slim Virgin. The boldness was productive in developing some dialog and maybe some fresh ideas. Please take a look at [8] and maybe we can discuss this as a building point. Maybe we need a sandbox version to play with. I think that this could be a valuable essay describing policy -- a learning tool. On the other hand it has been suggested that the current version remain as a testament to the hard work and broad support for this to become a policy replacement, that was defeated by Jimbo's concerns and a significant minority of participating editors. Maybe an effective compromise could be tagging this as failed for archival purposes and creating the supplement under a differnt name with the shortcuts redirected. Thoughts? --Kevin Murray (talk) 17:53, 11 June 2008 (UTC)
No major problem here either... I assumed you had good intent.
I am concerned about the comment you made that this page was "defeated by Jimbo and a minority of participating editors". That isn't quite what happened. The proposal of merging WP:V and WP:NOR into this page was defeated (initiated by Jimbo's concerns, and by a rather significant minority of editors)... but the compromise idea that this be a called a "summary" was never defeated (epecially not by fact, it was a compromise that Jimbo endorsed, calling this page "cannonical").
On the other hand (to be fair), ... looking back through the archives, I don't think the summary status was ever actively approved either. It developed after the merger debate hand ended, but did not involve the same community wide discussion that the merger debate did. Thus the questions as to its current status. So... let's see where people want this to go... if consensus says it is historical, then we can simply mark it as such and ignore it. If the determination is that it should be an essay, we can do some work to better make it fit that classification. If it is to remain a "summary" we can work on better summarizing... etc. But let's find out what the consensus is before we do a lot of editing... simply because the status will determine how we should edit. Blueboar (talk) 18:37, 11 June 2008 (UTC)
I modified my comment above to more accurately reflect my thoughts. I was trying to say what you said, but lacked your clarity. --Kevin Murray (talk) 18:42, 11 June 2008 (UTC)
I agree that current consensus is most important in determining a course, but I'd hate to lose momentum. I think though that there may be archival value to keeping this text somewhere, if not here. --Kevin Murray (talk) 18:45, 11 June 2008 (UTC)
This could be a guideline, as I see it as supporting WP:OR and many other WP policies. Corpx (talk) 21:13, 16 June 2008 (UTC)

All material in Wikipedia must be attributable to a reliable, published source; in practice not all material is attributed

No restriction on liability of challenge?

So I am not allowed to say that 1235*2=2670? Since I very much doubt that this is a fact that could potentially be sourced. Taemyr (talk) 08:08, 13 June 2008 (UTC)

The fact that 1235*2 = 2470 is a statement that could be attributed to a reliable published source if it was ever truely contested. In practice it isn't, since it is a basic mathematical opperation that can be checked by anyone with around a 2nd or 3rd grade education. No policy statement is going to over rule common sense. Blueboar (talk) 12:58, 13 June 2008 (UTC)
(Believe Taemyr means 2470. If so:) If a challenge occurred which could be interpreted in good faith, it could be sourced by any software output like Windows Calculator. If the math were less trivial, e.g. (96!/6!90!)*(1/26)^6*(25/26)^90 ~= 8.80% (the odds that 96 randomly chosen letters contain exactly six X's, which I had occasion to calculate yesterday), such a sourcing might actually become necessary. But of course the problem is not sourcing or original research (it is sourceable and correctly representative of source) but whether mentioning the calculation is due weight. JJB 14:44, 13 June 2008 (UTC)
But the question of due weight is more one of neutrality issues, not one of verifiability/original research ("attribution"). mike4ty4 (talk) 02:39, 18 June 2008 (UTC)
I believe his point is that this is a license to over-cite every fact, whether the fact is likely to be challenged or not. We have far too many people running around saying things like "well, I challenge every claim in this article, therefore we need a citation on every sentence". The old policies are carefully constructed to avoid over-citing. This would give the cite-freaks more of a license to push their agenda. Gigs (talk) 14:45, 13 June 2008 (UTC)
There is a recent Village Pump discussion on this very subject, actually, if that's of interest to anyone. --tiny plastic Grey Knight 14:54, 13 June 2008 (UTC)
Thanks for the link. That's interesting (and I would support simplifying the inline cite clutter), but it's about more than just clutter. I get the feeling that people will misunderstand the subtitles involved in WP:A with regard to the difference between "attributed" and "attributable". It's bad enough that I see so many people, even admins, say "every claim needs a reliable source". This never was the policy. The idea that people are not free to add unattributed knowledge goes strongly against the entire idea of a wiki. I am afraid that people are erroneously concluding that already, and WP:A only makes it worse, with its more subtle wording. Gigs (talk) 15:06, 13 June 2008 (UTC)
Gigs, I dispute that because we use the wiki format, we are a traditional wiki in terms of freedom of expression. The format facilitates access, but our purpose is not to be a forum, but an encyclopedia. --Kevin Murray (talk) 15:23, 13 June 2008 (UTC)
So why not just alter this page so that it does not give such license? It's not a policy or guideline now so why not do that? mike4ty4 (talk) 02:39, 18 June 2008 (UTC)
The distinction is no fault of WP:A's uncertain status; it's been present in core policy for awhile too. WP:NOR nutshell has had the second clause for some time (it came from A, but has been accepted as policy at NOR). The first clause has been reflected in WP:V in that readers must be able to check all material. If challenged in good faith, material must move from potentially attributable to actually attributed. I agree it's subtle, but it's also policy. The view "every claim needs RS" is incorrect on simple comparison to the policy (which says that every claim potentially needs RS), and proponents can simply be referred to the policy and discussion. The view "I challenge everything" is more direct but (if made in good faith, as it might be with BLPs) it will be broken down sentence by sentence in discussion, and will get resolved there. Addressing bad-faith "challenges of everything" and rescuing inserters from overburden of evidence is an active discussion at WT:V; Gigs's concerns of license for deletionists (overcitationists) should be addressed there, being a current policy debate, not a WP:A oddity. JJB 16:13, 13 June 2008 (UTC)

Looking at the RFC results so far... and a proposal

Well, the initial wave of opinions on the Status of this page are in... and I think we can reach a few initial conclusions:

  1. Unless we get a whole bunch of late posts, there does not seem to be any consensus for calling this a "Summary".
  2. Unfortunately, there is no consensus for any of the other options either. (we seem to be about equally divided between the historical/failed options and the essay/supplemental options.)

To borrow a phrase from AfD debates, it looks like this is a "No consensus" situation... although even that is misleading as we have not had nearly enough input to reach a determination. None of the options have anything close to an indication of community wide consensus much less a local consensus.

Now, we could continue to edit war, with both sides legitimately saying that "your view does not have consensus"... or... we can discuss our views in an attempt to build a true consensus (at least locally).

As a first step... I propose that we remove the "summary" messagebox - without changing it to any other option and leaving the "status is disputed" tag. Before we do so... Does anyone object to this? Please discuss. Blueboar (talk) 13:14, 18 June 2008 (UTC)

  • I think that the current tag achieves your immediate purpose already, but I'd be willing to see your suggestion. Your request sounds reasonable at first blush, but it seems like one more process in a string of failed processes. We need some closure not more discussion. The point of the "failed" tag is to acknowledge a failure to achieve consensus, but now you are asking us to find a consensus to acknowledge the lack of consensus. This seems like circular logic. With all due respect to your fine sense of propriety, let's be done with this and bury our dead. --Kevin Murray (talk) 14:06, 18 June 2008 (UTC)
We need some closure not more discussion. Perhaps, but as you can see, other editors do not agree with your proposed solution. And without a majority, let alone a WP:CONSENSUS, the status quo will have to suffice for now. What I hope does not happen--and I sincerely mean this--is that other editors take this opportunity to start canvassing their friends and so forth in order to stack the votes. All that will accomplish is create a sense of illegitimacy in the outcome (whatever that outcome might be). J Readings (talk) 15:58, 18 June 2008 (UTC)
How can we have closure without discussion? Part of the problem with this page is that people have been edit warring over its status without any discussion. If we go by WP:CONSENSUS and go with the "status quo" - then that means the page should continue to be marked as a "Summary" (which was its status when this all started) ... a result which I personally like, but freely admit is one of the least liked solutions according to the poll. Please... can we for once give discussion a shot instead of trying to imposing our views on each other. Blueboar (talk) 16:30, 18 June 2008 (UTC)

WP policy has been carefully worded to avoid stalemates such as this from occurring. If you really read the policy section regarding failed/rejected, it specifically is the default when consensus can not be reached. It is silly to demand that we reach a consensus to declare that there is no consensus. I'm merely trying to apply established policy. --Kevin Murray (talk) 17:00, 18 June 2008 (UTC)

And yet many established editors disagree with your assessment, Kevin. What does that tell us? Frankly, for roughly a year (if not longer), the "summary" tag remained on the main page without any objections. Like it or not, as WP:CONSENSUS tells us (another policy), it was consent by silence. Suddenly, someone only recently decides to make it an issue. Interpretations, edit wars, and polls ensue. No consensus to change the tags on the page is clearly evident. Consequently, it's logical to infer that the status quo prevails until a new consensus is established. At least, that's my take on the situation. Respectfully, J Readings (talk) 17:48, 18 June 2008 (UTC)
It is very clear at the consensus policy page that silence = consent only applies to policy changes with adequate exposure. Changing to a custom tag took this off the proposal list and this festered in the dark. When the custom tag here was used as a precedent for clever use elsewhere, the issue arose. Once advertised at the Pump the issue came to light. Allowing a summary of policy without the same scrutiny required for policy pages is a dangerous license to create pseudo-policy. --Kevin Murray (talk) 18:11, 18 June 2008 (UTC)
True, if this were an obscure page, I would agree with you that silence ≠ consensus. However, let's face it: editors constantly linked to this page over the past year. A simple search will indicate how many times, in fact. I can only assume that traffic was high as a result. I myself certainly visited the page quite often. Yet, no one said anything during all this time. Add to that fact the current RfC which (presumably) was advertised publicly yet finds itself in a (I admit) awkward "no consensus" situation and I'm forced to conclude that the status quo has to prevail for the time being. And, again, that is only my current take on the situation. Things can change, obviously. J Readings (talk) 18:37, 18 June 2008 (UTC)
The arguments presented by Kevin and J both are prime examples of why I would like to change the entire aproach to this debate... both are essentially arguing about why the page should not be marked with a particual status... as opposed to making a good argument for why a particular status should be approved. Please stop. Turn things around and tell us why the page should have a particular status. Try to build consensus for your view, instead of pointing out the lack of consensus for some other view. Kevin, why should this be marked as "failed"? J, why should this be marked as "Summary"? Someone else, why should it be marked as "Essay" or any of the other options? What are the positives behind each option? Blueboar (talk) 18:55, 18 June 2008 (UTC)
There is consensus in the RfC that this should not have been nor should it remain tagged as a summary; thus the consensus is against the recent status quo. Since it was a proposal prior to the summary tag, it should thus revert to that, then in the absence of consensus to accept, WP:Policy calls for marking a proposal without acceptance as "failed." If it really could serve a purpose, I would be OK with essay, but nobody seems to be able to validate a purpose as written. It could be this and it could be that, but now it is just an attempted merger that failed. This seems to be escalation of commitment in justification of the efforts thus far expended. That it receives a lot of traffic is just further evidence of the danger. --Kevin Murray (talk) 19:03, 18 June 2008 (UTC)
Let me tell why I'm a little irritated now, Kevin. I click on escalation of commitment -- which you suggest is the heart of the problem, and it tells us that anyone who continues this discussion (like anyone who invests in a failed project) must be "irrational". The analogy assumes that something is broken (emphasis on the word assume), but let that pass. Presumably, the only way we can have closure is if we agree with you, correct? Never mind that I could have just as easily employed the same debate strategy, suggesting that we all should wait for a new consensus to emerge on which specific tag to choose (which is also policy), thereby calling anyone who disagrees with me "irrational" by engaging in a failed escalation of commitment to the current "failed" policy tag proposal. Not only is it a little insulting to everyone involved, it's also not a good way to build consensus by putting other people on the defensive. Frankly, my humble suggestion is to simply wait this situation out and see what others think as they slowly come upon this discussion. Sooner or later, we'll get consensus on a specific tag. I don't see why we need to rush, anyway. Things have been fine for almost a year. Regards, J Readings (talk) 19:34, 18 June 2008 (UTC)
J, I meant no offense at all, and the term irrational is not meant in the context you've perceived. Escalating commitment is unfortunately lumped into that article, and I had not perceived the implied offense. Historically escallating commitment appears quite rational at the time and I think that we all do it every day -- it is almost intuitive to proceed on the vested course. Please read the section specifically related to Escalating commitment/sunk costs. I am really disappointed that I've offended you intentionally or not -- while we disagree on this topic right now, I very much respect your comments and approach. Sincerely! --Kevin Murray (talk) 19:44, 18 June 2008 (UTC)
J Readings in sesponse to your posting (15:58, 18 June 2008) There has never been a status quo for this page. The tag that has been there for most of the time since last June AFAICT has never had a consensus on the talk page, and only remained in place because instead of continuous edit warring on the [Put in description here for the project page] the issue has been raised repeatedly on the talk page. As for more talking, see the reaction when I raised this issue recently in the section above called #Status June 2008.
In defence of Kevin Murray it is notable that two of the most committed editors for keeping this page on life support are also two of the editors who spent a lot of time creating the initial drafts of the failed policy. --Philip Baird Shearer (talk) 07:47, 19 June 2008 (UTC)
Philip, you keep saying that there has never been a status quo... I disagree. Between the time the page was tagged as being a "Summary" and we started this round of debates, exacly ONE person expressed opposition: You. One person objecting to a page's status is not enough to change that status.
Blueboar please re-read this talk page and you will see that several other editors have also disagreed with the status of the page as a summary, before the current pole. --Philip Baird Shearer (talk) 18:51, 19 June 2008 (UTC)
That said... consensus can change. Currently, enough people have indicated that they object to the status that we need to assess what the current consensus actually is. Let's stop arguing about what past consesus was or was not... and focus on determining what the current concesus actually IS.
At this moment I count only 15 people who have given an opinion... of these:
  • 7 have expressed support for "Essay"
  • 6 have expressed support for "Failed"
  • 5 have expressed support for "Summary"
  • 3 have expressed support for "Historical",
  • 2 have expressed support for "Guideline"
  • 2 have expressed support for "Policy"
  • 2 have expressed support for "Supplement"
Now, this tells me that (at this moment) there is not yet a clear consensus in favor of any option... there isn't even a local consensus, much less a community wide consensus. I don't think we can make any determination at this point. Thus, we need discussion and more input from the community at large. Blueboar (talk) 14:06, 19 June 2008 (UTC)

Typically, there are three potenial outcomes for a policy which is not accepted; these are tagged either: Essay, Historical, or Failed. Sixteen out of 27 "votes" indicate this course. I suggest that we acknowledge that this process has not been accepted and choose the right tag from among Essay, Historical, or Failed. This would resolve the current issue. If there is a need for a "summary" category, I suggest that it be proposed at WP:Policy with specific directions on how to summarize policy and suggestions on how to verify that the proposed pages reflect consensus. Though I see summaries as dangerous ground for misinterpretation and subtle POV pushing, I would be open to discussion. --Kevin Murray (talk) 15:41, 19 June 2008 (UTC)

Given that Summary currently has more support than Historical, if we are going to cut the list down to three, the choices should be: Essay, Failed or Summary. However, I don't think we can cut out any of the options based upon the opinions of only 15 people (even if all 15 agreed on a single option, I don't think we could claim "community consensus"). So far, all the poll indicates is that there are legitimate grounds for further discussions... We need to get more input. Blueboar (talk) 16:42, 19 June 2008 (UTC)
BB, that is why we don't "vote" or "count votes" at WP. We try to determine what consensus can be formed from the RfC and other recent discussion. Those expressing a preference for Essay and Supplement are supporting the concept that it is an opinion page. Those suggesting Failed and Historical are supporting an archive. Those supporting Policy, guideline or Summary are advocating that this be considered an instruction. The real three choices are Archive, Opinion, or Instruction, and once that is determined we should select the tag which best reflects the WP:Policy. Having a run-off is non-WP. We should honestly assess what has been said and then accept closure. --Kevin Murray (talk) 17:42, 19 June 2008 (UTC)
If your re-formulation of choices were correct, Kevin, it would have (and should have) been labeled as such during the RfC. Anything else runs the risk of assuming what editors *must be* thinking upon placing their names below a choice. I'm not sure, for example, that I would call WP:5 (a summary page) as "instruction" rather than simple "information". In any case, we actually have 6 (not 7) for Essaymy apologies, it was 7 for Essay, 6 for Failed, 5 for Summary, and a smattering of other possibilities. Right now, the current situation doesn't tell us much of anything. I suggest patience. If nothing clarifies the situation in a few days, we still have options. In attracting more editors to this RfC, we can (1) notify in neutral fashion Jimbo Wales' talk page, (2) notify the Village Pump, (3) make sure the public RfC page is still tagged, (4) notify a few of the policy talk pages, or even (5) contact the Wikipedia Foundation (thought this last one, I admit, would be unusual). If after exhausting these five other options, we still fail to attract some new faces, I'll admit we have a really unprecedented situation here. J Readings (talk) 18:15, 19 June 2008 (UTC)
With all due respect to Jimbo and the Foundation, I don't believe in top down for this type of issue. Otherwise I agree that attracting attention is a very good idea. I support your post at the pump. I agree that 5P is a summary page, but too much of a good thing is just creep. My first choice is to cut our instrcution pages in half or further and then simplify the rest. We probably have more "laws" than many countries and it gets worse very day. --Kevin Murray (talk) 18:29, 19 June 2008 (UTC)
Actually, I find Kevin's reformulation helpful. The question of whether this should be an Archive, Opinion, or Instruction page is at the core of this debate... perhaps we should pause and see if we can answer that question first... and then, if we can reach a consensus on that, narrow it down to the specific type of Archive, Opinion or Instruction. Blueboar (talk) 19:21, 19 June 2008 (UTC)
Good plan. Do we need a revote, or could you and I work together to see whether we can assess the first step and maybe ask for clarification where needed? Though we disagree on some things, I definately value your integrity. --Kevin Murray (talk) 19:28, 19 June 2008 (UTC)

The Poll

I'm subheading this because I find the above a little maddening. Last year we had a poll, here: Wikipedia:Attribution/Poll. Over the course of this long, awful process 778 editors registered a clear vote: 424 or 54% supported and 354 or 46% opposed. Insufficient. On this basis ATT did not succeed. Fact. Done.

My question then: what the fuck are we doing here? Seriously? Why are we wasting editing time on this talk page? I agree with much of what Kevin says above, but now people want to go back to the pump? About ATT?! Maybe then we can have a site wide vote in which its status is decided and the devs can list it at the top of the watchlist...umm. (Even more astonishing, given the poll, is the idea that we can again make this a proposed P or G.)

I understand the attachment and at the same time find it exasperating. I do understand Jossi's votes, for instance—he invested time. And yet I don't understand them: when we developed this in '06 and '07 one of the principal ideas was to reduce P&G clutter. And now we have the exact opposite situation: Hydra has an extra, useless head. This entire process has been a black hole of wasted time. The only thing we should be debating is how best to never have to spend more time on it. Marskell (talk) 20:36, 19 June 2008 (UTC)

424 or 54% supported and 354 or 46% opposed. Exactly. To me that simply demonstrate how contested this issue remains. Proof? Read this page... ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 21:28, 19 June 2008 (UTC)
Why do you want to waste more time on this Jossi? We could argue for a decade; we're already closing in on two years.
ATT failed. Marskell (talk) 21:34, 19 June 2008 (UTC)

Yep. This is a rejected, historical essay, and as of now there is no appropriate tag on the page. That should be remedied, because the page as it stands now is misleading. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 21:39, 19 June 2008 (UTC)

ATT did not fail... the proposal to merge/replace NOR and V with ATT failed. There is a difference. Look at the questions that were asked in last years poll. That poll was not about the merits of ATT on its own. Blueboar (talk) 22:22, 19 June 2008 (UTC)
Aye. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 03:30, 20 June 2008 (UTC)
"ATT did not fail...the proposal to merge/replace NOR and V with ATT failed." This is a contradiction in terms. ATT didn't fail even though the main purpose of ATT failed?... ATT is the merger—insofar as the merger failed the page failed. Marskell (talk) 10:08, 20 June 2008 (UTC)
ATT was initially designed to be a merger, yes... but it became something else... a "cannonical summary". That status has been challenged... What we are now trying to determine is what its status should be. Blueboar (talk) 11:31, 20 June 2008 (UTC)
It never became a canonical summary. Nobody voted it as such. Nobody quotes it as such. The best we can say about the canonical summary idea is that it was a sop to SlimVirgin's feelings from Jimbo. In practice, it has not functioned as a canonical anything. Marskell (talk) 12:37, 20 June 2008 (UTC)
I (obviously) disagree... as apparently do several others... which is why we need to find out what the consensus is. Blueboar (talk) 12:55, 20 June 2008 (UTC)

It was designed to be a replacement for several policies, but despite considerable efforts by some, the community as a whole did not accept the changes as being an improvement. Many concerns were raised that the new proposal was inferior to the old in several key respects. It was then marked as a summary, but I don't think it does the job well and risks misleading editors. A clear indication that this is a failed or historical proposal is needed I think. In terms of moving forward, developing WP:5 would seem the logical place to start. Orderinchaos 17:25, 24 June 2008 (UTC)

Time for a history lesson

Yes, there was a poll last year... on whether WP:NOR and WP:V should be merged (and thus effectively replaced with this page). That proposal did indeed fail. What we are now discussing is what happened after that. I thing a review of the pages history is needed to explain why we are discussing this.
This page was initially created by a sizeable group of editors (about 200 editors contributed over a period of several months). The original idea was that it would be a merging V and NOR... effectively replacing those two policy pages with this one. Around March of 2007 the work was completed, and those who had worked on the page felt that there was a consensus to bring it live. They declared it to be policy, and placed notices on V and NOR to that effect. This seemed to be acceptable... there was no immediate outcry at least. However, While there was clearly a solid local consensus (of those who had worked on the page) to do this, they had not properly advertized that it was in the works. Implimentation took a lot of other editors by surprize.... and instead of registering their objections here... they complained to Jimbo. Jimbo logged into the page and simply announced that he was reversing the local consensus to impliment. This, naturally upset those who had been working on the page and who felt that they were opperating by consensus.
At that point two things occured... first Jimbo asked that we run a wikiwide poll to determine if this merger did indeed have broad consensus. Second was that he engaged in several discussions with the most ardent supporters of the merger. When the poll closed, the results were indeed as Marskell outlines above... a majority in favor, but no clear consensus. However... it is important to note that the reasons given by those opposing were varried. About half of the objections were not really due to anything in this page, but simply objections to getting rid of WP:V and WP:NOR. In any case... it was clear that there was not a consensus to merge... The merger was over-turned, WP:V and WP:NOR were reinstated. The question now turned to what if anything should happen to this page.
As stated above, while the poll was running several editors had back channel discussions with Jimbo... The result of those discussions was that he agreed that the page was useful, At first he suggested that the page be considered a seperate Policy in addition to V and NOR... then he suggested that it be considered (to use his words) a "cannonical summary". Once it became clear that the merger did not have consensus, the creators of this page followed up on Jimbo's suggestion, and marked as a Summary. That was about a year ago.
The suggestion was that there should be a working party to decide what to do with this page, so for a few months after that decision this page was moribund (and should perhaps have been marked historical), but initially I suggested using essay as a tag. Now that it is clear that the working party never convened (or if it convened it never reported back) it probably time to mark it as a failed policy. --Philip Baird Shearer (talk) 08:53, 20 June 2008 (UTC)
Since the time that it was first marked as a summary, Philip has tenatiously and repeatedly expressed opposition to that designation, and has repeatedly changed it to "historial". But, as he was the only one to express the view that it should be historical, others (myself included) objected to his change on the grounds that it did not reflect consensus. Only recently has anyone else expressed opposition to the tag.
If one looks at the edits on this talk page, I am not the only person to have supported "historial" and more have objected to the tag of summary, (suggesting other options), prior to the current poll. --Philip Baird Shearer (talk) 08:53, 20 June 2008 (UTC)
And thus we find ourselves in the situation we have today... We have had a LOT of policy wonks and admins... and even Jimbo himself... declaring this page to be one thing or the other. The only thing we have consensus for is that it shouldn't a merger of WP:V and WP:NOR. It is time to finally ask the broader community question that should have been asked after the poll last year: OK... if WP:NOR and WP:V should not be merged, is WP:ATT useful on its own merits? and if so should it be a policy, a guideline, or what? We have determined what the page should not be... but what should it be? Blueboar (talk) 22:16, 19 June 2008 (UTC)
I was well aware of the implementation of this page and the fallout when the chickens came to roost, but I haven't followed any of the apparent squabbles which followed at all. I am also intimately familiar with WP:V and WP:NOR, so I think I am well suited to look at this de novo. I think the current tag which frames this as either rejected or essay is a poor choice. Having just compared this page and V and NOR, I think it does a beautiful job of coherently summarizing existing policy with the main change being introducing the term attribut! (using ! to mean a boolean wildcard), but this a semantic change only. As such, I think Jimbo was close with "cannonical summary". I would give it a tailored tag, stating something to the effect that it is a summary of the two existing policies.--Fuhghettaboutit (talk) 22:44, 19 June 2008 (UTC)
I think it does a beautiful job of coherently summarizing existing policy. Completely agree. But further, it does a better job in the process. "cannonical summary" would be good, keeping the original policies in current form, for specific tratement of specific issues. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 04:19, 20 June 2008 (UTC)
I take it that you both essentially endorse the "summary" aspect. If so, that brings the number up to seven for Summary, seven for Essay, and six for Failed. Just trying to keep track of how this discussion is progressing. Thanks, J Readings (talk) 09:37, 20 June 2008 (UTC)
Then add my vote in for "Essay". That was not my previous point of view, but I, too, find Kevin Murray's re-formulation into Opinion, Archive and Instruction clarifying and useful. Based on it, my opinion has changed. Also, for the record, I object to deletion of "oppose" votes, since they contain information as to what people will not support as we seek to build consensus. I followed this issue keenly prior and up to the vote, intermittently since, and I have to agree that for this energetic a debate to re-surface on a decided matter that nobody is prepared to re-visit, there does appear to be some escalation of commitment going on. But that's human, and I now think "Essay" honors both the human sentiments and the encyclopedic effort.Lethiere (talk) 22:58, 20 June 2008 (UTC)
Add mine for "failed", then. Orderinchaos 17:29, 24 June 2008 (UTC)
  • All this has been stated above and paints a picture of hard work diligent effort and bureaucratic misdeeds in defiance of democracy. But the salient points are (1) this is in no way a summary (2) there was a vote on whether it served a purpose as a replacement but not a vote to determine if a summary was needed or whether this accurately reflected a summary. It is a failed attempt where the authors are looking for validation of their efforts. This is frequently referred too as Escalation of commitment; when people cling to a failed process to justify the sunk costs of time and energy. We have two policies which deal with this matter; if these are so unclear as to need summarization, then let's clarify those policies. If those can't be clarified, then let's write a summary for that purpose, not try to make ocean liner into a speedboat. --Kevin Murray (talk) 22:54, 19 June 2008 (UTC))
  • I’ve pondered this thoroughly. Yes, WP:V and W:NOR are somewhat unclear, with the root of the problem being that neither can be properly understood without a parallel reading of the other. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 04:19, 20 June 2008 (UTC)
Minor sidenote, if the word cannonical were actually to be used in any way, we might want to spell it correctly.--Fuhghettaboutit (talk) 04:44, 20 June 2008 (UTC)
It was just a hamfisted Jimbo intervention. He didn't understand the background and so, trying to be nice, he suggested keeping the old pages plus the new page in discussion with Slim. But what that failed to account for (and what a lot of people now are failing to account for) is that a summary turns the very idea of ATT on its head: it increases rather than decreases the number of sourcing pages we have to watch.
But it had already drifted into de facto historical territory. Go to the article history stats.[9] At the end of last year and the beginning of this one, the page was getting like three edits a month. This talk received zero edits in March. People had forgotten about ATT. It's not a canonical anything. We shouldn't be sending newbies here (except perhaps as an object lesson in how confusing the site can be) and we shouldn't be quoting it. I agree it's a beautiful summary and supported it in the poll. But that doesn't matter with the poll done. We already went to the wider community. Marskell (talk) 10:28, 20 June 2008 (UTC)
Actually, I'm not convinced by your argument. The fact that the summary page of two core policies received little editing over the past year does not necessarily mean that editors lost interest in WP:ATT in a negative way. In fact, we could strongly infer the opposite: despite the high traffic and links, many (most) editors were satisfied with both the tag and the page itself. There was no need to fiddle with it further. Either way, it doesn't matter. The current brouhaha among a handful of editors requesting it be tagged as "historical" or "failed" is clearly a recent phenomena originating over the past few weeks. The question now is simply one of patience: what does the wider community think of WP:ATT as a stand-alone page? That answer won't come from the same handful of editors repeating the same tired statements over and over again. It will only come with new faces offering fresh opinions to build consensus and break the local impasse. Respectfully, J Readings (talk) 10:45, 20 June 2008 (UTC)
But my God, do you realize how acrimonious and time-consuming the poll was? Did you vote on it? We've already gathered together nearly a thousand opinions. What are people suggesting? Rinse and repeat? Say we go to the pump and increase the number talking from fifteen or so to fifty or so. What new, useful mandate can we hope for? None. Marskell (talk) 11:01, 20 June 2008 (UTC)
I do not think we need to go to the extent of last year's poll... but I do think we need the opinions of more than 15 or so people. If we can get 50 that would be excellent. Of course, it depends on what the 50 people say... if their opinions swing the current deadlock towards a particular status, then we have done a reasonably good job at seeking consenus and can adopt the appropriate tag (whatever it may be). If their opinions continue to be split between the various options then we know that the broader community is deadlocked, and we need to think of another way to break the deadlock. Do you want to continue revert warring with both sides shouting "no consensus" at the other. Do you have a better idea as to how to break this deadlock? Blueboar (talk) 11:26, 20 June 2008 (UTC)
No, I don't think anyone is suggesting rinse and repeat. The fact that the poll was incredibly contentious and time consuming was expected. This is a totally different topic! The poll last year was on the profoundly hot button subject of merging WP:V and WP:NOR into this and deprecating them. That's a dead subject and no one is suggesting, I think, that it be reanimated. The comparison between what descriptive tag to use on this now, verses the past question of whether to replace two out of three of Wikipedia's core content policies with it, is not unlike comparing a firecracker to an atom bomb.--Fuhghettaboutit (talk) 12:08, 20 June 2008 (UTC)
The subject is the status of ATT. In that sense, we are discussing exactly what the poll addressed last year. Forty-six percent of people "Broadly opposed" ATT. It has no mandate. All we should be discussing is how best to retire it. (I realize Philip has been something of a gadfly on this and his attempts to mark it historical have ironically reignited debate.) The idea of seeking wider community involvement on page that has had more community involvement than virtually any other (and had been resting in oblivion for months) strikes me as perverse. But fine, go and try and get more opinions. Beforehand be clear what cannot happen. It cannot become a policy or guideline. It cannot become a proposed policy or guideline. The proposal has already been rejected. Marskell (talk) 12:32, 20 June 2008 (UTC)
Actually, it could become a Policy or Guideline... dispite last year's poll. Because: "Consensus can change". If the current consensus is that it should be a Policy or Guideline then it can be re-proposed and become a Policy or Guideline. Now, before you get all hot and bothered by that fact, please note that at the moment there does not seem to be a consensus for that option. And I don't expect that such a consensus will emerge. The growing consensus at the moment seems to be split between keeping the unique "Summary" status it had for the last year, changing it to "Essay", or marking it as "Failed". Blueboar (talk) 13:17, 20 June 2008 (UTC)
Split yes, but the vast majority of about 70% do not support the "summary" tag. With the majority of those opposing, in support of one or the other form of an archive tag (e.g., failed or historic). I think that we have a WP:SNOW issue here, in terms of the summary and the only remaining decision is really which archive tag to use. We are postponing the inevitable in deference to the emotion invested in this process. If we need a monument to the efforts expended here, it should not pose as pseudo-policy. --Kevin Murray (talk) 14:31, 20 June 2008 (UTC)
Actually, it's currently 7 for Summary, 10 for Failed, 8 for Essay, 7 for Historic, 0 for Proposed, 3 for Policy, 2 for Guideline, and 3 for Supplement. There's no point in counting the opposes--that's just noise intended to intimidate other editors before anyone expresses a preference (it would be great if we all stopped that -- myself included -- and let new editors make up their own minds; in fact, I'm tempted to delete all the opposes, so people can freely think for themselves). Also, calculating percentages at this stage is pointless. Yesterday, we could have argued for example that 70% was in favor of either Summary or Essay, thus trying to remove the Failed category. Again, it's pointless to play with percentages. What matters right now is the raw data. J Readings (talk) 15:15, 20 June 2008 (UTC)
I reject the notion that my "opposes" were just "noise intended to intimidate". An explanatory reason was given. I would be unhappy with those options. I was silent on compromises. The furthest thign from my mind is there there are people participating here who could be so easily inimidated, and would then change their behaviour because of intimidation. Quite the contrary, actually. Attempts at intimidation would be nore likely to raise ire. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 11:55, 21 June 2008 (UTC)
How do "oppose" votes "intimidate other editors"? Has someone been voting "Oppose -- and you will too if you know what's good for you!"? My first vote in this poll was "oppose" to Summary, and I cast that vote because I was unsure at the time which option I supported but wanted to express the good-faith reasons why I thought the status quo was not justified. PubliusFL (talk) 16:24, 20 June 2008 (UTC)
  • In the spirit of J Readings suggestion, I refactored the RfC at Wikipedia talk:Attribution/poll2 removing opposing comments and organizing into three major categories: Archive, Essay and Process. There are several cases where particpants have made overlapping choices between essay and one of the other categories; however, in every one of these cases it is apparent that Essay is the subordinate choice. --Kevin Murray (talk) 16:32, 20 June 2008 (UTC)
The problem with removing oppose, is that it strips out important information which may allow a compromise option to be the most acceptable although it appears to get less positive support. --Philip Baird Shearer (talk) 17:04, 20 June 2008 (UTC)
I agree, so that's why I followed J's advice, but at a separate location, so the discussion remains at the RfC. The new page allows an analysis of the results, but I did not mean it to be a replacement of the expression process. --Kevin Murray (talk) 17:13, 20 June 2008 (UTC)
  • My memory was that there was consensus to merge, but that what we had come up with wasn't what people wanted from such a merge. After that, I let go of my emotional investment. I like to think of the page as a page in the Wikipedia namespace. It seems to me to be the most pragmatic solution. I don't think Jimmy initiated discussions with the most ardent supporters of the merger. Jimmy obviously had discussions with some people, but I think we should avoid characterising how he chose to decide who he contacted. I don't know what opinion you are counting, but if you have not yet counted my opinion, it is that this page is more likely an essay at this point in time than anything else. Hiding T 10:13, 7 July 2008 (UTC)

"canonical summary"

Can someone explain to me exactly what that term means/implies? Thanks, --A. B. (talkcontribs) 16:42, 7 July 2008 (UTC)

OED canonical "Prescribed by, in conformity with, or having reference to ecclesiastical edict or canon law." but in this context this is a better source: "Some circles in the field of computer science have borrowed this usage from mathematicians. It has come to mean 'the usual or standard state or manner of something';...". --Philip Baird Shearer (talk) 13:58, 9 July 2008 (UTC)


It appears that closure can soon be consummated. Unless the results at Wikipedia talk:Attribution/poll2 are materially disputed, there are many more people acknowledging a form of archive than other options such as a type of opinion or process. Within those advocating an archive tag, the majority advocate "failed." However, I suspect that many who supported other options would prefer historical over failed if these were the only options, and it is possible that some advocating a process would select "Essay" over either archive options. I suggest that we hear from those who advocated "Summary" to see what their second choice would be, since Summary clearly does not reflect consensus. After a few days we could evaluate how this should be tagged. --Kevin Murray (talk) 14:38, 8 July 2008 (UTC)

Not really. I don't know what to do about this bizarre situation. I do agree with JJB, however. We're not anywhere close to any form of consensus yet. Unless "consensus" is defined as a few votes more than the other options (and is it? I honestly don't think so), the only thing we have determined beyond a shadow of a doubt so far is -- as JJB rightly acknowledges -- there's no consensus on which tag to choose. Sorry, but it's true. It seems at the moment we have two options -- (1) patiently sit back and wait (via heretofore uninvolved editors) to see what happens (I'm hoping that a large number of editors over the next few weeks will decide this issue for us) or we go back to watching the highly undesirable edit wars of the past few weeks. <sigh> I don't know about anyone else, but I certainly don't want the latter. God, how the latter is such a headache. In good faith, J Readings (talk) 15:04, 8 July 2008 (UTC)
Unfortunately, the RFC is getting stale now, and I don't see any reason to expect a large number of editors to chime in any reasonable period of time. The poll has been running for four weeks. Over two dozen editors voted during the first two weeks. Two voted during the last two weeks. As others have pointed out, since the big poll ended ATT isn't on as many editors' radar screens anymore. How long will it take to collect enough additional votes to make a clear consensus? Maybe Kevin is right that we should narrow the focus of the survey by eliminating a couple of the choices that clearly have no chance of consensus support, and asking those who voted for those choices to express their next preference (if they haven't already done so). PubliusFL (talk) 16:16, 8 July 2008 (UTC)
One can not look at Wikipedia talk:Attribution/poll2 on its own because it excludes oppose opinions, and they are important. For example it is clear from the poll that there is a more of an opinion against this being a proposed policy or guideline than for it, (I did not express an opinion about policy or guideline because it would have to be a proposed one first, and I assume that was true for the others who opposed this), so to suggest that there is so much support for "Process (recognized form of policy or guidance)" is in my opinion misleading. --Philip Baird Shearer (talk) 17:20, 8 July 2008 (UTC)
Philip, while technically correct it seems to be a moot point since few people support any type of process. It seems redundant to count the oppose votes, since by defaulta vote for another alternative is a vote in opposition. --Kevin Murray (talk) 23:14, 8 July 2008 (UTC)
I disagree because it is not at all clear to me that those who expressed a view in favour of a summary meant a "Process (recognized form of policy or guidance)" if that is what summary meant then I would have strongly opposed it for the same reason I strongly opposed proposed policy or guideline, if the summary meant that then why was it not placed under proposed policy or guideline? --Philip Baird Shearer (talk) 23:21, 8 July 2008 (UTC)
That's yet another reason to repoll those who voted for Summary to get them to choose another option that has a chance of reaching consensus. Building consensus by narrowing the focus of the poll. PubliusFL (talk) 23:51, 8 July 2008 (UTC)
Thanks for your support guys toward the consensus of no consensus. (I also agree with PBS's point that another retrospective flaw of the poll and/or its recasting was the poor tallying for oppose options.) I don't think it's appropriate to say that it's probative that the majority considered by subgroup is archive and the majority of the majority is failed, when the majority considered by vote alone was probably essay. That's all simply slice-and-dice statistics and we can all descend into that abyss, but what we do have is a clear agreement there is a problem without easy solution and it's not settled and it hasn't been for a long time. So I'll look at the text again. IMHO the differences between this page and policy are chiefly the result of disagreements among editors not currently participating on this page but who come out of the woodwork to stump for both sides when the differences are reaired, which is only natural behavior in longstanding disagreements (I don't have the evidence to be any more specific than that). Again, I favor reairing because sooner or later it yields the desired fruit among good-faith editors. JJB 13:27, 9 July 2008 (UTC)

Philip supported two options: Failed and Historical. JJB supported most options in an order of preference, with the highest preference given to an opinion or Essay category. Neither of you seem to strongly support the concept of this becoming a process, so why are we trying to split hairs over that failed concept. The only remaining decision is whether this should be tagged as an essay or a form of archive. Could it be tagged as both as was suggested by a recent contributer to the RfC? I could support this resolution. --Kevin Murray (talk) 14:57, 9 July 2008 (UTC)

I can live with "Essay" if consensus is to get rid of "Summary". I do have a problem with calling it some form of archive. The concepts that this page talks about are active and in force as part of the WP:V and WP:NOR Policies, even if the language and form used in the page is not. Blueboar (talk) 20:55, 9 July 2008 (UTC)
But the phrasing is not consensus. I'm not sure all the reasons for that make sense, but that's where we stand. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 20:41, 18 July 2008 (UTC)

As noted above {{Failed}} has the most support. The three objections are that it is a synthesis of V, OR, and NPOV. This is off-point; there is no consensus that that this is a synthesis, and there is no consensus that the wording here should be policy. (Personally, I think that large parts of it are a synthesis, and that large sections of the innovations are sound ideas which should be proposed for inclusion in the pages in question; but my opinion does not create consensus either.) I am therefore being bold and so tagging. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 22:41, 20 July 2008 (UTC)

It may have the most votes at the moment... but there is hardly a consensus... the only thing that I think does have consensus is that the status is disputed. I am therefore reverting. Blueboar (talk) 15:13, 22 July 2008 (UTC)
This has been going on long enough for all parties to express an opinion, but no consensus has emerged. Please read the Policy and guideline policy page; when consensus has not been reached within a reasonable period of time, then the proposal has failed. This has had exposure and discussion; to continue this is just forum shoppping. --Kevin Murray (talk) 15:27, 22 July 2008 (UTC)
Agree, especially after seeing the "failed" tag up there and reading what it actually says again. The very fact that no status has consensus support means that "failed" is appropriate. That's exactly what "failed" means: that no status has consensus. "Failed" is a default when other statuses are proposed but none are successful. At some point objection to a "failed" tag seems to just exhibit an unwillingness to accept that there is no consensus about a page, because that's all "failed" means. PubliusFL (talk) 16:56, 22 July 2008 (UTC)
If somebody wants to add a non-tendentious summary of the history, which is more complex than the usual {{failed}} proposal, fine; do link to the actual poll, please. If somebody thinks there can be consensus to accept this, I am sceptical; it certainly didn't exist last time, and I don't see evidence of a sweeping change. But I could be wrong. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 18:19, 22 July 2008 (UTC)
I still have a problem with "failed"... I don't think you can default to one of the options that people are arguing about. Also, what proposal has failed?... I don't recall any proposal? (except the proposal to merge V and NOR... I don't think anyone is contesting that that proposal did fail... but nothing since then). Blueboar (talk) 00:01, 23 July 2008 (UTC)
The propsal of March 2007 to have this page replace WP:NPOV and WP:OR as policy; that failed, in large part because it was disputed that all of this language should be policy. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 19:34, 23 July 2008 (UTC)
Addendum: if there is any proposal on the table now... it is the proposal to change the status from "Summary" (the status it had for over a year now) to something else... are we saying that this is the proposal that has failed?... if so, then marking this as "Failed" has failed (ie not achieved consensus) and we should revert back to the status quo anti... which was "Summary". Blueboar (talk) 01:08, 23 July 2008 (UTC)

To break the impasse, I would suggest nominating this for WP:MFD to see what input is received in that forum, which could very well be "Delete" it. Cla68 (talk) 00:11, 23 July 2008 (UTC)

I doubt they would Delete... but it might bring the issue to a wider audience and help us achieve consensus. Blueboar (talk) 01:08, 23 July 2008 (UTC)
As a rule, we don't delete things like this. "wrong forum", etc.

My preference is 1. Policy, 2. Summary, 3. Historical, 4. Essay, 5. Failed. I think the people who disagree with #1 are wrong, but I accept that I don't persuade them, and I'll let #1 go. Summary/canonical summary is OK. I prefer historical over failed, because for a brief time it was indeed policy. Philosophically, I have a problem with both historical and failed because the content of the page is in fact consensus supported policy, but we've had the debate, and without something new, or changes in old positions, Kevin Murray is right, consensus is not required for something to appropriately tagged {{historical}} or {{failed}}, just a lack of consensus for something else. The time for "proposed" is over. It is not an essay Maybe an essay can be anything. Leaving it untagged might be OK. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 01:55, 23 July 2008 (UTC)

Why can it not be an essay? Blueboar (talk) 02:16, 23 July 2008 (UTC)
As per my opinion far above (01:33, 16 June 2008 (UTC)). Well, It could be. I suppose it is less illogical than historical or failed, and essay also doesn't require consensus to tag. I think I was imprinted with someone's insistance that a proposal can't become an essay. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 02:57, 23 July 2008 (UTC)
If you believe it should be an essay, then be bold and tag it as such and see if it sticks. --Kevin Murray (talk) 04:45, 23 July 2008 (UTC)
As I predicted above (15:04, 8 July 2008 (UTC)), the lack of a clear consensus for how to tag the main page as a result of the heretofore inconclusive poll--coupled with an obvious lack of patience by some here--has now led to more edit warring in the name of being "bold." Charming. I'm wondering what happens next. We continue as we did before, pretending as if a slim majority somehow translates into outcome legitimacy for whichever tag (which is clearly not the case), or we follow Cla68's useful suggestion. Anything that brings some kind of clear consensus either way is much better than the current situation. J Readings (talk) 08:15, 23 July 2008 (UTC)

JUst by the way, Historical isn't actually an option. It never was a working policy or process so It can't be marked as a historical one. ViridaeTalk 08:17, 23 July 2008 (UTC)

It was policy for a short time. --Philip Baird Shearer (talk) 09:51, 23 July 2008 (UTC)
It was tagged as {{policy}} from 17:01 17 Feb 2007 to 17:22 28 Feb 2008, except for 11 minutes reverted back to proposed from 16:03 20 Feb 2007. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 12:27, 23 July 2008 (UTC)

Is there consensus that as a compromise, we mark as this as "historical"?

I propose that this page be marked {{historical}}. The options of {{policy}}, {{summary}} and {{supplement}} would require consensus support, which they clearly do not have. {{historical}} is preferable to {{failed}} because it once had support as policy, but it now does not. Historical is also less offensive to those who invested effort in it, and for practical purposes, historical and failed are the same. Just because it is tagged historical doesn’t mean that its content is not true, it means that the community chooses to emphasize WP:V and WP:NOR independently. An essay on the joint interpretation of WP:V and WP:NOR might be a good idea, but this page was not intended to be an essay. The style of an essay is different to the style of a policy page, and I don’t think we want to see the page given a thorough rewrite to improve its qualities as an essay. Editors may write an essay based on concepts found here, but they should start with a fresh page.

Who agrees that the best reading of consensus here is that the appropriate tag is {{historical}}? --SmokeyJoe (talk) 13:22, 23 July 2008 (UTC)

Disagree... To the extent that this page is a summary of WP:V and WP:NOR, both of which are active policy, nothing in this page is historical. They may be stated in different language on this page (which is why the page isn't policy itself), but the basic underlying concepts being discussed are active policy. As a summary of V and NOR, it can't be historial unless V and NOR are historical as well. Blueboar (talk) 13:30, 23 July 2008 (UTC)
It can be historical, if it isn't maintained concurrently with WP:V and WP:NOR. I am assuming that we can't tag it as a summary without consensus support. There may be two questions: (1) is it currently a true summary?; and (2) is it intended to be maintained as a true summary? Some dispute even question 1. Question 2 reflects a crucial question of "our" intentions, is in an archive (and an archive of when, 28 Feb 2007?), or is it to be modified with time? --SmokeyJoe (talk) 14:05, 23 July 2008 (UTC)
The point of this page was to replace WP:V and WP:OR. Once the move to make that replacement failed, this page became historical in the same way that legislation which is voted down becomes historical. The existence of other legislation on the same topic as the failed bill doesn't change the status of the failed bill itself; the existence of WP:V and WP:OR as policies doesn't change the fact that the bid to make this page a policy failed. — Carl (CBM · talk) 14:28, 23 July 2008 (UTC)
Carl, historical in the context you describe fits within the "failed" category per WP policy; however, people frequently like to use the historical tag as a euphamism. I would not object to tagging it either historical or essay to resolve the issue, even though failed really describes the situation. If a proposal does not succeed, then by default it failed. --Kevin Murray (talk) 15:41, 23 July 2008 (UTC)
You are correct that the original purpose of the page was to merge and replace V and NOR... but I would contend that when that proposal failed, it gained a new purpose... to summarize and further explain V and NOR. ATT looks at those two policy pages, and how they interact, from a different angle. That is a very useful thing, as witnessed by the fact that editors keep referring to the page. This is why I support either leaving it as a "non-policy summary" or marking it as an "essay".
As to your question number 2) Given that there have already been edits to this page made to reflect changes at WP:V and WP:NOR, then yes, I think it is intended to be maintained in the future. The extent of that really depends on the outcome of the current debate... if the somewhat unique status of "Summary" is kept, then it would definitely have to be regularly updated, to reflect any changes made at V and NOR. I would think the same would be true if it is marked as "essay", although there would be less urgency to do so in a timely manner. If it is marked as "historical" or "failed", then no, there is no need to update it.
To put this another way... I think the issue is whether this is going to be a living changing page, reflecting current thinking, or is it going to be a snap shot of past thinking. I envision it as being a living thing. Blueboar (talk) 15:19, 23 July 2008 (UTC)
You would do better to copy this and make a living page out of it, or propose parts of it for inclusion in existing policy pages. But if you do want to make it reflect current thinking, it should be tagged {{proposed}}; until somebody reshapes it, however, the status of the present text is clear: it was proposed for consensus and did not get it. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 19:34, 23 July 2008 (UTC)

What about "Essay"?

It seems clear to me that this page reflects the thinking of many editors. Thus, "Essay" should be a viable option. But I think others may disagree. So let's discuss. What do you see as being the positives and negatives of marking the page as an "Essay". —Preceding unsigned comment added by Blueboar (talkcontribs)

  • If you think that it should be an essay, then I don't think that you wil find a strong objection. At this point chatter has not produced results. Just tag it and see if it sticks -- I won't oppose a legitimate form of closure. --Kevin Murray (talk) 16:18, 23 July 2008 (UTC)
Part of the reason why this page has now been protected (again) is that people have been changing the tag without consensus. That leads to edit wars when people object. Rather than go that route, it is better to discuss the proposed tag, find out what the objections might be, address them and build a consensus. That's how Wikipedia works. Now... what do people see as being the pros and cons of "Essay"? Blueboar (talk) 16:47, 23 July 2008 (UTC)
BB, this has all been discussed above, and you are just dragging out the process for the sake of process. We have other things to do in our live and at WP. People were asked to comment and "vote" above. It is time for decision and/or compromise. WP works in many ways including boldness. --Kevin Murray (talk) 16:51, 23 July 2008 (UTC)
I see votes for and against, but I don't see any explanation of why "Essay" does or does not work (if I have missed something, please point it out to me). That's what I am trying to find out... Is there objection, and if so why? Blueboar (talk) 16:56, 23 July 2008 (UTC)
BB, if you look at the RfC poll you'll see that many people from both extremes see Essay as a palatable and practical solution. I'll not oppose this and in his comments below, Ryan suggests this course. Perhaps if you and I jointly ask him he would either post the essay tag and leave the protection in place, or he would remove the protection so that we can effect a compromise. --Kevin Murray (talk) 17:09, 23 July 2008 (UTC)
  • I asked: if it's an essay, whose opinion is it? Answer that, and we can go with {{essay}} for all I care. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 19:44, 23 July 2008 (UTC)

Blueboar's "...a living changing page, reflecting current thinking..." would have been a lot more convincing if his updates to the page would have been, apart from dozens of reverts of the tag, more than this edit of six words three months ago. Nonetheless:

{{editprotected}}  Done PeterSymonds (talk) 19:59, 23 July 2008 (UTC)


Red question mark.svg There is a dispute as to whether this page should be marked with the {{failed}} tag, {{historical}} tag, or {{essay}} tag. Please discuss the issue on the talk page.



--Francis Schonken (talk) 19:04, 23 July 2008 (UTC) Second the request. --Kevin Murray (talk) 19:23, 23 July 2008 (UTC)

Twelve months ago I thought that essay was an appropriate tag. But as time has passed since then I think "historical" was the best, but I also support using failed as that was the majority of the reject camp supported, because I think that keeping this alive just gives another forum for edit warring. I can understand the emotional commitment by those who put in a lot of work into it, but I think it is time to take it off life support. As Blueboar pointed out, any good ideas in here can be incorporated into the policies, and if this is to become an essay it needs a rewrite to reflect current policies, which would remove any good ideas not already incorporated into policy if it is to be a reflection of policy. --Philip Baird Shearer (talk) 10:05, 23 July 2008 (UTC)
I support any closure which can be achieved by Essay, Historical or Failed tags. --Kevin Murray (talk) 19:23, 23 July 2008 (UTC)
Me too. Although I would still like an assertion by Blueboar, or somebody, that these are his opinions. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 19:44, 23 July 2008 (UTC)
I would be happy to say that it is my opinion, if that is all that is holding things up. After all, I agree with everything it has to say. However, just to be clear, I was not the person who drafted it... nor, in fact, was I involved in drafting it in any way (I became involved with the page shortly before the merger debate... originally in objection and then, after my mind was changed by discussion, in support the merger). So it would probably be more accurate to say that it is the opinion of the many editors who were involved in drafting it (I would have to check, but I seem to remember "60" being floated around as an estimate of the number of people who participated in drafting). Slim Virgin and Jossi being prominent amoung them. Blueboar (talk) 00:38, 24 July 2008 (UTC)
It seems that we should allow a bit of time to pass to see if it stays an essay, then if it does, take steps to make it a useful essay. Cheers! --Kevin Murray (talk) 01:03, 24 July 2008 (UTC)
  • Let's not exaggerate. I may not be counted in the sixty, although I did tweak it; but certainly there were editors who did draft it, but who disagree with this version. Much work was cut out by drastic reversions before it was proposed. Nevertheless, one essayist will do. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 02:00, 24 July 2008 (UTC)

I'll support the {{essay}} tag. I think it means that the page should now note that it doesn't necessarily reflect the proposal of 2007/2006, and that easy to find links to the important history of all this is maintained, as per the current "Quick history links (the status)" in the navigation bax at the top of this talk page. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 04:13, 24 July 2008 (UTC)

Protected (3)

I've protected the page for a week. It's quite disapointing that I've had to do it really because it's such a lame edit war. Over tagging whether it's a summary or rejected (none of which would be classed as official pages here anyway)????? Does it seriously matter which one it is? Even if it's tagged as rejected, people can still look at it for advice and if it's tagged as a summary, it doesn't hold any weight in deciding what pages are verifiable by reliable sources. Guys, it's time to drop it. Ryan Postlethwaite 16:21, 23 July 2008 (UTC)

  • Ryan, it really does matter. Creating a "summary" implies that it accurately summarizes policy, which it may or may not, but requires constant energy to maintain the accuracy and update changes to policy. Summaries of critical documents including rules, professional opinions, etc. are very tricky, since deciding what to ommit can seriously alter the interpretation. The reason this became an issue recently was that this page was being cited elsewhere as a way to create "policy" without the rigorous process of attaining consensus. This is why it is important that we follow the format described at WP:Policies and guidelines and not subvert them to find the more cozy and polite avenue. --Kevin Murray (talk) 16:32, 23 July 2008 (UTC)
    • Use an in-between of an essay then - that would seem to cover most concerns. Ryan Postlethwaite 16:33, 23 July 2008 (UTC)
      • I believe that we were working toward that compromise before you protected the page. I suggest that you remove the protection and see if we can work through this. Sometimes there is a fine line between edit warring and aggresively seeking compromise. The world is not always pretty, but generally things workout. --Kevin Murray (talk) 16:44, 23 July 2008 (UTC)
Per the consensus above, I've tagged the page with {{essay}} and unprotected it. PeterSymonds (talk) 20:00, 23 July 2008 (UTC)
Did Ryan agree to have his action overturned by another admin? Just checking. The last thing we need is to add wheel warring to the list of problems with this page. J Readings (talk) 20:19, 23 July 2008 (UTC)
The protection was in response to edit warring. Consensus has now been agreed upon, so I unprotected it. My actions would be wrong if the dispute is ongoing, but it is now resolved. I've let him know, but uninvolved admins often unprotect pages after disputes have been resolved. PeterSymonds (talk) 20:55, 23 July 2008 (UTC)