Wikipedia talk:Attribution/Poll/Archive4

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List of questions?[edit]

The one thing I was going to do before the time this disaster was scheduled to get off the ground was to make a subpage with suggested questions and link to it. I thought I had two days to do that before the consensus to start no earlier than 00:00 2 April.

I won't bother to assemble it (it would be non-trivial work) if it's going to revwerted by the revert warriors among us. Well? Septentrionalis PMAnderson 01:42, 31 March 2007 (UTC)

I certainly wouldn't revert it. — SMcCandlish [talk] [contrib] 01:45, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
You haven't reverted anything; I have reverted chiefly undiscussed reversions. I wasn't concerned about us. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 01:59, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
OK, "just for the record" was all. — SMcCandlish [talk] [contrib] 02:23, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
Thanks, I'm going ahead for now. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 02:24, 31 March 2007 (UTC)

Please stop the poll..[edit]

Something's really uncooked here... this can't be the result of weeks of collaborating.. maybe people who've been working on this have spent to much time only focusing on it, because I don't think the outside editor is getting the full story. This is an absurd joke of a poll, and it seems to have been opened now only out of frustration. -- Ned Scott 02:35, 31 March 2007 (UTC)

The poll was started on the basis of an hour's discussion among half a dozen people, and has begun two days before the agreed on time, 00:00 April 2. (The only item on which there was consensus) I began by supporting WP:ATT; I now have difficulty believing any of this has been done with civility or in good faith. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 02:40, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
Supposedly, a pre-poll on the wording was still going on. While I have seen more hopeful strawpolls, Option 1, 4, and 6 looked promising, and Option 6 at least had no-one screaming in outrage. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 02:48, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
There is no need to get so worked up. Let people state their opinions unencumbered, as they are doing it now. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 02:49, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
Oh, come on gang! We are on the same team. It is life. It all evolves. Let us continue from where we are. What will people say?  :)) Who turned off the lights? --Rednblu 02:51, 31 March 2007 (UTC)

Ned: You are reverting 20 editors. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 02:52, 31 March 2007 (UTC)

No, he's reverting you. Sorry, others can revert besides you and SV. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 02:55, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
If the results are inconclusive, we can always and based on the responses do some additional polling. Please do not make this into more of an issue. It is not such a big deal after all. We can always go back to pre ATT. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 02:54, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
Let's do that. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 02:55, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
You can find out if you stop and let people make their opinions known without 'you' deleting their opinions!. In any caee, I am outta here. Your actions speak for themselves. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 02:57, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
I would not have stopped it; but I did throw in one revert to support this protest. Please learn to discuss. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 02:59, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
How is this anything more than a turf war? Doesn't our task matter more than the turf? --Rednblu 03:01, 31 March 2007 (UTC)

We can restore their comments later, but we should halt the poll at this point. Why the hell were we taking our time with the poll and this discussion in the first place if only a hand full of editors just up and decide to throw that out the window? -- Ned Scott 03:04, 31 March 2007 (UTC)

Well, when I saw that the poll had started, I felt angry and cheated. What a waste of time! We had at least seven better options. I was even tempted to revert to stop it. But I looked at myself and I said, you know, I have just had the turf pulled out from under me by a dirty trick. So, of course, I am furious. But the only thing I am furious about is turf. So isn't this just a turf war? --Rednblu 03:15, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
I have not been involved in any of the planning until now, so.. no. I saw the poll page with fresh eyes and saw something half-cooked. -- Ned Scott 03:17, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
Hmmm. So what was "half-cooked"? --Rednblu 03:21, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
Under-developed is the impression it gave me. The links and basic idea were there, but the right things didn't seem to jump out. Links meant to give a background on the issue were easy to miss, the "oppose" "support" wasn't clear to me, since a user's response might not be so black and white. The potential for groupthink seemed to be much higher than a normal poll. I can just see people supporting one option that doesn't actually conflict with another, but will seem to conflict to a 3rd party. It's hard for me to put it into words.. but I know we can do better than this. -- Ned Scott 03:36, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
I can sympathize, yes.  :((( I wanted to try all seven options in a dry run with the twenty editors working on the options, but the dictators said no.  :((( --Rednblu 03:46, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
So what do we do? --Rednblu 03:48, 31 March 2007 (UTC)

Could someone explain what is going on, please? SlimVirgin (talk) 03:52, 31 March 2007 (UTC)

Some people started the poll. Then some other people decided they didn't want the pole to start and removed all the votes. Revert-warring and petty-bickering ensued, and here we are. Picaroon 03:55, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
I was going to use the word "drama", myself. On the plus side, we have two hour's worth of polling that we can use to make the poll better, if need be. Nifboy 04:02, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
The poll started after a discussion (see Wikipedia_talk:Attribution/Poll/Archive3). I am tired of all this bickering and disruption. I had more than enough. People have politicized and personalized this as if it is a thing of life and death. One week of useless cdiscussion, polls about polls about polls and other nonsense, trolling, and what not, is more than I can bear. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 04:02, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
Sorry. : ( Armed Blowfish (talk|mail) 04:04, 31 March 2007 (UTC)

Jossi has a point. This page, which I regret to say I created, has probably wasted two whole hours of my life. I could've written five or six missing Nigeria-geo-stubs in that time. Oh well, I'm out. Of the watchlist it goes. Picaroon 04:05, 31 March 2007 (UTC)

Let's get it started again, then. We can't just stop it once people have started commenting. SlimVirgin (talk) 04:08, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
So the question is whether we will start the poll again without any actual measure of what consensus is or isn't? What will our definition of consensus be for the next two hours? --Rednblu 04:09, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
  • It should be noted that Ned violated WP:3RR. Unless I am misreading the history page, I will issue a 24 hour block. This will also help Ned cool down, because he's been taking a lot of heat today. — Deckiller 04:10, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
Thank you. - Denny 04:11, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
I don't think people should be blocked. Everyone's upset, so I think we should let it go, so long as it stops now. SlimVirgin (talk) 04:25, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
I agree with you here, SlimVirgin. No one should be blocked. I don't think that will aid in the recovery process towards calming down and remembering what we like about each other (for those who have forgotten). — Armed Blowfish (talk|mail) 05:30, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
I strenuously object to that block. I believe that virtually every single editor who has spent any time, on any side, of developing this poll has violated 3RR at least once in the week+ of its development. Please check the archive pages; we have a gentleperson's agreement not to enforce 3RR on it unless the editwarring is excceedingly serious. That agreement has served us well so far. — SMcCandlish [talk] [contrib] 04:40, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
A gentleperson's agreement? ;-D SlimVirgin (talk) 05:25, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
Eh... trying to be gender-neutral. Gentlefolk's? Ladies' and gentlemens'? I give up! Wait, I have it: Gentlepeeps'. Someone just trout me. — SMcCandlish [talk] [contrib] 07:44, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
20 editors seemed happy to respond to the poll. Is their opinion about the poll's status not counting here? Could they not have objected if they wanted? But they did not. And two of the editors that stopped the poll had the chutzpah to speak of consensus... ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 04:13, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
There's no need for polemics. It was clear from the discussions I read here that the poll was scheduled for 2 Apr, and this date had apparent consensus. It's not surprising that people might feel upset that the date was changed without adequate time for discussion. CMummert · talk 04:35, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
I must concur with Septentrionalis and CMummert, strongly. This "fuck the consensus to wait, we're just going to pre-emptively launch it with our preferred questions" is highly questionable, certainly disruptive (as that term is actually defined at Wikipedia), and grossly against consensus. — SMcCandlish [talk] [contrib] 04:42, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
As is moving the poll's introductory text to a protected page. I've filed a WP:RFPP about that. — SMcCandlish [talk] [contrib] 04:44, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
And rescinded it. Editprotecteds are getting dealt with quickly and neutrally enough that unprotection doesn't seem necessary. — SMcCandlish [talk] [contrib] 07:46, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
  • As someone who has not participated in the development of this poll (except to vote earlier today), closing a poll started by 20 editors seemed more extreme than reverting poll choice changes several times. Thus, I doubt an agreement would apply in this specific situation. However, I believe this issue has been made clear, and Ned understands, so I am going to lift the block myself. Please remember to try to at least attempt to adhere to our policies :) — Deckiller 05:28, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
Thanks. That would be best at this point. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 05:30, 31 March 2007 (UTC)


Where was the consensus to wait, SMcC? I only saw people saying either let's go ahead, or let's not have a poll at all (with my own preference the latter). SlimVirgin (talk) 05:24, 31 March 2007 (UTC)

I have been following the talk here, and the following sections led me to believe the poll was scheduled for 2 Apr. Whether or not this was actually consensus, it is not hard to see how some editors could have felt it was. [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] and especially [6]. There was certainly a conversation right before the poll opened, but there was hardy any time for editors who thought they had 48 hours to know that the poll was about to be started. CMummert · talk 05:39, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
Concur with CMummert, on "led me to believe the poll was scheduled for 2 Apr." My recollection is that there was some talk about doing it very-nearly immediately, which back then was 28 March, I think. I and Pmanderson and at least one other person brought up the Fool's Day issue, and suggested 2 April. Then it was a dormant topic for a while, then a popular one within the last 24 hours with all plans pointing at 2 April. Then all of a sudden over what I believe was about 30 minutes of chat between 2 parties in favor of the "go now" idea the poll was launched, over objections being made during and immediately after this "go now" launch process by at least as many "wait"-favoring parties, so definitely no consensus to launch. I can't say that there was certainly concensus to wait until 2 April specifically, but I do believe that consensus was evolving in that direction. This is from memory, not diffs though. — SMcCandlish [talk] [contrib] 07:16, 31 March 2007 (UTC)

Opening of this poll came as a complete surprise, but wording is not bad. Leaving out the questions is probably the best compromise solution. -- Vision Thing -- 10:30, 31 March 2007 (UTC)

Restart poll, Watchlist notification[edit]

Can someone restart this, and please put up the proper watchlist notification that was agreed upon so that everyone knows the poll is going? But *BEFORE* that happens can someone please refactor the responses into the "Sections" format? Having an editing free for all in one section will have edit conflicts out the butt later. - Denny 04:12, 31 March 2007 (UTC)

It has restarted, so let's just get on with it. Let people have their say. That's what this was all about in the first place — people having their say. I've added my comment/vote. SlimVirgin (talk) 04:14, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
Que sera sera; I approve of restarting the poll. Nifboy 04:16, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
Wrong header, gang! We should take off the StopSign!!  :)) --Rednblu 04:17, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
This back and forth has to stop, please. People are being asked their opinion. Let them give it!! SlimVirgin (talk) 04:24, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
I've done the requested refactor, though I think the poll proceeding at all is an iffy idea. — SMcCandlish [talk] [contrib] 04:49, 31 March 2007 (UTC)

Editors who are voting ought to know that the status of this poll is disputed[edit]

Resolved: Participating parties satisfied.

Given the recent reverting about whether or not the poll is open, I added {{Warning|<big>'''Whether or not this poll is open yet is disputed. If you vote, your vote might be archived.'''</big>}} to the top of the page. I think editors who are voting have a right to know that their vote might not count if the poll is cancelled. I do not mean to express an opinion about whether or not the poll is or should be open right now. However, I think people should know. I therefore request that the tag be restored until the issue is clearly resolved. — Armed Blowfish (talk|mail) 04:26, 31 March 2007 (UTC)

Yes, and let's add a tag to that tag (to indicate that the tag itself is disputed).
Where does this madness end? Honest to God, I've never seen anything like this in my life (on Wikipedia or elsewhere). —David Levy 04:28, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
Please respect these editors that are contributing by making their opinions know. Stop the madness. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 04:30, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
David, me neither, and it must stop now. Everyone has had their say. I also don't like that we're having a poll, but we're having it and it has started, imperfect as it is, and so let's just get to the end of it without further disruption, please. SlimVirgin (talk) 04:41, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
Would it be more neutral to say "may or may not be disputed" rather than "is disputed"? Look, I don't want to express an opinion about whether or not it should be open. But until it is clear that the reverting over whether it is open or not has stopped, it would be good to have the tag up so that people coming here know rather than seeing their votes mysteriously disappear. — Armed Blowfish (talk|mail) 04:34, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
Let it be... if there are more reverts we can consider that possibility. The fact that many editors have already opined, will hopefully be understood as acceptance of the poll. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 04:38, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
The poll is open so please just leave it alone now. How do we get a watchlist notice, does anyone know? SlimVirgin (talk) 04:45, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
Post a request at MediaWiki_talk:Watchdetails. There is a template already designed by Denny there. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 04:47, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
Jossi, I am afraid that if the people who think the poll should not be open succeed in unopening it, and people who voted have no idea that this happened, that we will lose their votes. I'd really rather not express an opinion about whether or not it should be open, I just want people to know of the dispute so that they will check back again, and make sure their opinions are expressed sooner or later. — Armed Blowfish (talk|mail) 04:52, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
Despite being pissed as hell (i.e. angry, not drunk, for the UK people) at the partisan nonsense going on here, I don't think this particular matter is of any concern. Any comments "archived" while the poll is disputed would, I would think, be restored if the poll were restarted again (as, in fact, just happened). No one's votes are going to disappear into the bitbucket. Whether to actually proceed with the poll right now is the actual debate here. — SMcCandlish [talk] [contrib] 04:48, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
There's no reason to worry about votes "disappearing." The poll is open, people are voting. We have to stop messing around with this. It's time to lie back and think of England. SlimVirgin (talk) 05:02, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
I wish that there was no reason to worry. However, I don't know of any way to help insure that besides participating in reverting anyone who tries to close it, which a) I don't feel like doing and b) would probably be a revert war I'd lose anyway. I just received your latest message on my talk page. If it was just one editor, I guess I am worrying too much. Thinking of England sounds good.  : ) Armed Blowfish (talk|mail) 05:11, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
Thanks. ;-D SlimVirgin (talk) 05:13, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
Thank you for alleviating my worries about this.  : ) Armed Blowfish (talk|mail) 05:17, 31 March 2007 (UTC)


Resolved: ToC fixed.

Would someone please change "How to participate in this poll" in the header to be a level 2 section heading instead of just bold, so it shows up in the TOC? CMummert · talk 04:57, 31 March 2007 (UTC)

Thanks, that looks great. CMummert · talk 05:09, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
Welcome. Thanks for pointing it out. SlimVirgin (talk) 05:13, 31 March 2007 (UTC)

Stray hr[edit]

Resolved: Stray hr's removed.

There's a stray horizontal rule at the bottom of the /header. Please delete. And unprotect. No one is editwarring over the intro, which has been stable for a week, and it's unbelievably silly that I have to come make an editprotected just to fix a typo. <grumble> — SMcCandlish [talk] [contrib] 05:14, 31 March 2007 (UTC)

Yes they are. -Amarkov moo! 05:18, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
I wouldn't call that an edit war at all; it's quite stable and doing what it is supposed to. The protection didn't have anything to do with that, since the formatting changes made up to this point under that protection was where it was headed to begin with. That was just some futzing. :-) — SMcCandlish [talk] [contrib] 05:27, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
{{Editprotected}} seems to be done. CMummert · talk 05:22, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
Yep, Jossi got it; thank you. — SMcCandlish [talk] [contrib] 05:27, 31 March 2007 (UTC)


Amarkov moo! has objected to the Neutral/qualified/compromise section header. How would people rather it be sectioned? — SMcCandlish [talk] [contrib] 05:20, 31 March 2007 (UTC)

If more subsections are added, they should be made subsections of the current Neutral/qualified/compromise header. We shouldn't move other peoples votes, but I think it would be appropriate to encourage people to move their own votes. I would suggest additional headings like "mostly support", "partially/borderline support" and "mostly don't support". — Armed Blowfish (talk|mail) 05:24, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
Lol, you picked up the moo. Anyway, I'd prefer seperate sections for at least "I support everything but including WP:RS", which I expect will be quite a few people. I'm not too sure about the idea proposed above, since it doesn't really add much in terms of seeing what people actually think. -Amarkov moo! 05:26, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
I'm bowing out of this; people who feel strongly about the matter can add sections. I do agree with Armedblowfish that we don't need a zillion top-level headings, but rather subheadings for general categories under the existing subheading. I don't even feel very strongly about that, though. I've said my piece, and I'm moving on. Good night! (my time) — SMcCandlish [talk] [contrib] 05:30, 31 March 2007 (UTC)

Please don't change another person's comments by recontexting them as for example by putting them in new sections or relabeling sections. We are here to get people to contribute their opinions. Recontexting their opinions constitutes fighting about the nature and definition of the consensus that we are trying to guage and is counterproductive to an honest effort to seek consensus. Leave the structue of this structured discussion alone. Let people say what they will without spinning things. Please. Please? WAS 4.250 05:52, 31 March 2007 (UTC)

I stopped back by. I actually agree with WAS 4.250 on this, and think that there should be no more sectioning. We are all intelligent and can read, so I don't think anyone's views are going to be inappropriately seen as pro-"consensus" when they are in fact "neutral" or mistaken for "neutral" if they are in fact "qualified" support or opposition. — SMcCandlish [talk] [contrib] 05:56, 31 March 2007 (UTC)

Please fix the explanation[edit]

How can something attempting to be factual be so incredibly biased? Anyway, we're directing users who don't know about this to a page filled with "Yay for WP:ATT!", which might have a little teeny (read HUGE) effect on the results. -Amarkov moo! 05:29, 31 March 2007 (UTC)

Oh, and it manages to contradict pretty much everything. For instance, for some reason, it takes a paragraph blasting WP:RS. Why we're including this supposedly terrible page into ATT isn't made even remotely clear. In addition, it directly contradicts the "We're not making any policy changes!" argument by explaining why all the changes to policy are good. It's rather funny, actually. -Amarkov moo! 05:32, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
Considering a rebuttal wasn't submitted, I believe NPOV would sorta require deleting that from the poll—it certainly invalidates any poll neutrality. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 05:38, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
We also have this on the poll page: "Wikipedia:Attribution is a merger of Wikipedia:Verifiability and Wikipedia:No original research into a single policy page." There seems to be no rebuttal of this info anywhere in the poll. The poll is still leading and biased. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 05:40, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
I'd leave the essay up, actually, as an example. If the policy is so confused that an essay attempting to explain it contradicts half the support it's gotten so far, that reflects kinda badly on it. I'm not entirely sure what's to dispute about the fact that it is a merger, though... -Amarkov moo! 05:43, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
(edit conflict) Wikipedia:Attribution/Attribution explanation is supposed to be the pro-ATT summary of the situation. Some people wanted statements from other sides added, see Wikipedia talk:Attribution/Poll/Archive2#Statements_from_all_sides_needed. There was another one written, see User:Coppertwig/Stability of policy. However, some people objected to linking to it. See Wikipedia talk:Attribution/Poll/Archive2#Coppertwig_opinion.3F. — Armed Blowfish (talk|mail) 05:42, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
(edit conflict x6 now...) Re: "rebuttal wasn't submitted": It's was complete over a day ago, I just think it wasn't moved into WP: space: Copy User:Coppertwig/Stability of policy and its talk page to Wikipedia:Attribution/Stability of policy (and matching talk page), enable the WP:ATTCON shortcut to it, and add it to the header under SlimVirgin's essay. Oh wait, we can't because ATT proponents have protected it... Well, I did the other parts. I don't even agree with everything in WP:ATTCON, but it should be available (outside of userspace like the largely SV-authored pro-ATT piece has been for a while). — SMcCandlish [talk] [contrib] 05:43, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
What a deal—while attempting to formulate Wiki policies, we rush up a poll (against "polls are evil") that's not even NPOV. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 05:47, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
The issue on the table is "Do we merge V and NOR" or not? If the answer is yes then there are additional issues: Do we merge RS? Do the merged policies get frozen or deleted? If frozen do we call them "explanations" or "historical" or "superceded"? Should the merged policy be called "Attribution" or something else? And whatever the outcome the exact wording of the merged policy can be further hashed out. And new policy initiatives can be proposed to modify whatever is the end result of the outcome of all of that. A poll to try to find a "final" authoritative stamped-as-approved solution is nonsense given that anyone can edit and anyone can initiate new policy proposals at any time in the future. We have a process of thoughtful discussion that has got us this far. Let us stick with thoughtful discussion, sometimes illuminated by discussions structured as polls. WAS 4.250 06:06, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
How is it not NPOV, Sandy? It just asks people what they think. SlimVirgin (talk) 06:07, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
"Let us stick with thoughtful discussion, sometimes illuminated by discussions structured as polls." Well said, WAS 4.250. — SMcCandlish [talk] [contrib] 06:28, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
Someone just deleted (I mean redlink deleted) Wikipedia:Attribution/Stability of policy. Investigating. — SMcCandlish [talk] [contrib] 06:09, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
The investigation might lead to the user above your post :) — Deckiller 06:10, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
It's at Wikipedia talk:Attribution/against the merge. CMummert · talk 06:12, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
Noted. Looks like SlimVirgin and I were doing the same thing, just at different pages. :-) — SMcCandlish [talk] [contrib] 06:17, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
Great minds etc. :-) SlimVirgin (talk) 06:18, 31 March 2007 (UTC)

I am going to point out that I agree that this poll is biased, per the original poster. tiny effects indeed. —— Eagle101 Need help? 19:51, 31 March 2007 (UTC)

Fix order of backgrounders[edit]

Resolved: Order changed.

{{editprotected}} OLD:

  • Summary of the objectives of the merger.
  • Arguments against the merger.
  • Wikipedia talk:Attribution/Community discussion.


  • Wikipedia talk:Attribution/Community discussion.
  • Summary of the objectives of the merger.
  • Arguments against the merger.

The community discussion is an order of magnitude more important than either of the two essays. — SMcCandlish [talk] [contrib] 05:58, 31 March 2007 (UTC)

Inaccurately implying policy differences in oppose comments[edit]

I'm troubled by the number of editors stating, to quote one, "I do not support putting attributability above truth". I have to assume that they think the WP:V policy is different from WP:ATT in this regard—but of course, it's not.

WP:V—The threshold for inclusion in Wikipedia is verifiability, not truth
WP:ATT—The threshold for inclusion in Wikipedia is whether material is attributable to a reliable published source, not whether it is true

Please examine the policies in greater detail to ensure that, if you oppose WP:ATT based on its content, the same content does not also exist in the predecessor policies. –Outriggr § 07:20, 31 March 2007 (UTC)

Problem is, quite a number of editors here, who have read them at least as closely as you, do feel that a subtle but important change has been made. I don't think they are insane. I'm not sure I agree with them either. I do not for a second believe we are in a position to tell people "You are welcome to vote in this poll, but only if you don't say 'X', because some of us here think that 'X' is nuts." — SMcCandlish [talk] [contrib] 07:48, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
In addition, some people, me included, think that the current version of WP:ATT is too allowing of false information which is attributable, while WP:V is not. -Amarkov moo! 15:48, 31 March 2007 (UTC)

Such comments do not trouble me at all. When this discussion is closed, such comments will not be used to decide if V and NOR are merged as they do not address that issue. But they will be used to illuminate efforts to improve the wording of our suite of policies. Such comments make it clear that WP:ATT is unclear with regard to "true" or "truth". WAS 4.250 23:29, 31 March 2007 (UTC)

That's fine, if our hypothetically omniscient judges discount the comments appropriately. I guess I don't have that much faith. One minute it's "consensus", the next minute people are comparing, on this talk page, shear numbers of votes in each section. SMcCandlish, I didn't say we should tell people "not to say 'X'"—can I not bring up the point as food for thought on the talk page, where it belongs? If this process is consensus-driven, and those poll comments, unless elucidated, appear to provide no informed opinion on the matter, then presumably they hold less sway. By mentioning it on the talk page, I was hoping to suggest that this line of argumentation needs to be fleshed out, at the least. (As opposed to, say, replying to every comment on the poll page with You're nutz0rs!!) Per below, others are also concerned with this line of voting, though as usual, I'm stuck in my own section with no "me too"s. –Outriggr § 07:01, 1 April 2007 (UTC)
Well, I'm glad WAS won't be closing this discussion. Such comments should still be considered when closing. -- Ned Scott 07:05, 1 April 2007 (UTC)
Of course such comments should be considered, especially as they're entirely valid. To "Verify" something is "To substantiate or prove the truth of something." Therefore, the statement "The threshold for inclusion in Wikipedia is verifiability, not truth" suggests that to be included, a fact must not merely be true, but must be provably true. Whereas to "Attribute" something is "To associate ownership or authorship with" it. So "The threshold for inclusion in Wikipedia is whether material is attributable to a reliable published source, not whether it is true" can be more easily construed, or misconstrued, to mean that a statement need not necessarily be true, but merely attributed to a source that is generally regarded as reliable (according to standards of reliability that may have been weakened by omission of detail). Whether or not you choose to recognize such distinctions, you can't simply ignore the opinions of people who are sensitive to these subtleties. It should be recognized that even in the basic use of language "verifiable" represents a higher standard than "attributed," and that the omissions that have occurred while summarizing did not only economize on language, they have resulted in generally weakened standards. It should also be considered that many people who chose to highlight this particular point in their oppose comment probably have other grounds for opposing as well, and didn't always bother to repeat what was stated and restated in so many comments above theirs, such as "these are related but separate policies that are best described on separate pages," or "the combined article is more difficult to understand and explain to new users."zadignose 21:54, 1 April 2007 (UTC)
It should be recognized that even in the basic use of language "verifiable" represents a higher standard than "attributed," and that the omissions that have occurred while summarizing did not only economize on language, they have resulted in generally weakened standards. Just wanted to replay that. And an even higher standard when you factor in attributable but not necessarily attributed; this change weakened our ability to enforce verifiability to reliable sources, as "experts" (a la Essjay controversy) can argue they don't need to cite what they consider common knowledge, ignoring that our readers should be able to verify where our text comes from. By the way, verify wasn't used in the dictionary sense you used it above; it mean verify that something was published in a reliable source, nothing to do with whether it was true. (From WP:V: "Verifiable" in this context means that any reader should be able to check that material added to Wikipedia has already been published by a reliable source.) It's the attributable but not attributed that really weakened policy, over verifiable to a reliable source that any reader can check, with the burden placed squarely on the editor wanting to add or retain the text. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 22:09, 1 April 2007 (UTC)
I think you are missing on the fine points, SandyGeorgia. Attributable but not necessarily attributed means that a statement that can be attributed but has not been attributed yet, can be marked as {{fact}}, or removed is there are no sources forthcoming. The burden of providing sources for any material that is challenged has not changed in ATT. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 22:12, 1 April 2007 (UTC)
Oh, *I* understand it just fine; my problem is that, in practical application at FAC and FAR, that is *not* how it was being interpreted by others. Semantically (psychologically) the wording is weakened, and it was being interpreted that way. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 22:25, 1 April 2007 (UTC)
We have the line "Verifiable" in this context means that any reader should be able to check that material added to Wikipedia has already been published by a reliable source. This can easily be seen as elucidating the standard of how we judge material as verifiable. It does not contradict the interpretation that the goal is to provide factual, truthful information, that the material should be verifiable in the literal dictionary sense, and it shouldn't lead us to the conclusion that the truth of material included in our articles doesn't matter.zadignose 05:19, 2 April 2007 (UTC)

As I watch ATT go down in flames[edit]

As I watch ATT go down in flames, it makes me think about the real problem. A wiki is a wonderful invention, but it doesn't lend itself to consenus driven policy changes. The notice at the top of the watchlist is the best attempt I've seen at finding a way to deal with changes that effects 10's of thousands of users. We need to devolop a system that scales. If 1000's of user could have participated in creating ATT, there might be 1000's of supports. The solution may be software related, in which case we need to come up with something we can do in the meantime. - Peregrine Fisher 07:31, 31 March 2007 (UTC)

Hey, it's early days yet, Peregrine. ATT is a tough old bird. :-) SlimVirgin (talk) 07:38, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
This was fun, sorta! El_C 07:42, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
With the emphasis on sorta. SlimVirgin (talk) 07:45, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
If no consensus defaulted to WP:A stays, we would be in the clear, but I somehow doubt that's the way it will turn out. --tjstrf talk 07:49, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
Was was my emphasis. El_C 07:50, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
You're assuming it's over. It will never be over. SlimVirgin (talk) 07:54, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
"It will never be over." Which is why discussion works and voting does not work. Some people want to end discussion with a "poll", not understanding that there is no finality to any wikipedia decision. WAS 4.250 11:07, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
I want to edit war over my version. Has it been 24 hrs yet? El_C 07:56, 31 March 2007 (UTC)

For major site wide/major policy matters/critical issue stuff we should just always use watchlist in the future. No harm in that. - Denny 07:52, 31 March 2007 (UTC)

Wiki's biggest problem is that many of its contributors do not adopt a consensus-based scientific approach - that is to say, accumulated factual contributions that together reflect a factual 'is' - but contrubute with an already-decided 'is' in mind in tailoring (choosing) the facts and explanations towards that conclusion. It's the same with articles - and rules.
There's simply too much of the 'my good idea' present here - the 'me' of contributors is both Wiki's boon and bane. THEPROMENADER 11:12, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
Well, thats what human life is like. If nothing else, this will expose the policy creation/change process to many, many, many more people, and now has set precedent for any major changes to have to be ran by the entire community for review in some (very advertised) fashion. No small minority should have control over the reigns ever again. No oligarchy. - Denny 16:07, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
That's my whole point - Wiki as it is risks more representing more a cross-section of humans themselves than a collection of encyclopedia-worthy content. THEPROMENADER 00:16, 1 April 2007 (UTC)
Very good point about the need for a content strategy, some effective leadership would be good as well.ALR 16:59, 31 March 2007 (UTC)

What will it mean?[edit]

How do you close a poll in which 500 users are in broad support and 500 users in broad oppose? What is consensus in this case? No consensus for the merge, and no consensus to undo the merge. Where is Solomon when we need him? ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 14:31, 31 March 2007 (UTC)

Hopefully that won't happen. There has been a slight but increasing numeric lead on the support side, with most of the qualified opinions being some form of support as well. It's not much, but the poll has only been open for one day and by my vote-counting there is about a 55/45% split already. If this keeps up for the rest of the week, then the closer(s) will probably decide the consensus is for some form of partial or qualified merge rather than the dreaded no consensus. --tjstrf talk 15:07, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
Hmm. Maybe 52/48%. And the little spike toward support is being clawed back. We're already close to 200 responses and I don't know how much it's going to deviate from ~50/50 from here on, given how close it's been to that with the sample so far. If you take the few opposes/neutrals that are only opposing one aspect and accepting the other as partial support you could tenuously argue for a minor support majority.
What to do if it is no consensus? A dictatorial decision will be in order, I suppose. Marskell 15:36, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
No consensus to merge? No consensus as policy? I would support salvaging much of the text by proposing it as amendments to the older pages - and listening to the objections, so it doesn't come across as changing policy. I agree it was not intended to. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 16:04, 31 March 2007 (UTC)

Remember too that the internet is quietest on the Weekend. When everyone gets to work at 8am Monday Eastern (since--correct me if wrong--most WP editors are North American?) time the poll will go bananas for days. - Denny 17:06, 31 March 2007 (UTC)

To my way of thinking the long established separate pages are the status quo ante. Consensus -- well over 60% I would think -- should be required to change this. No consensus would mean that the separate policy pages remain the guiding policy statements, until there is consensus on a merge or other change. 01:34, 1 April 2007 (UTC)

I know you guys have worked on this long and hard. I feel for your hearts as you watch the churning. Maybe this would be a good process for policies:
1.Policies should not be created by thousands of users. They should be created by members who have a demonstrated commitment to wikipedia. Numbers of edits and time on board should be used to cover that.
2.There should be a page like Request for Comment that is easy to remember and access that covers new policies being written.
3.When the first draft is written, the policy should be announced to logged in users, when they log in, as being available for comment. It should be a version that is locked to anons. Comment should be solicited.
4.A final version should be drafted from comments. Pro and con arguments for the proposed policy should be attached.
5.Arbcom should review and vote that it passes their muster. Arbcom may reject it by a 75% vote and that closes the matter. If Arbcom Approves it, it must go for a final vote to the population (like ATT did), with an Arbcom recommendation.
6.If passed for referendum, there must be at least 500 (or 1000) votes before the vote is closed (no matter how long that takes). At least 55% or 60% must clearly support for the vote to pass. The % may vary and get smaller as the size of the vote increases. The vote is up or down.
7.If at any point the proposal fails, it is not deleted but is made available with appropriate comments and talk pages with potential for resurrection and resubmission at a future date.--Blue Tie 02:31, 1 April 2007 (UTC)
8.Supporting bots and pages like those that deal with admin nominations should be created to help inform the wikipedia editor base of the progress on policies, including writing and votes.

--Blue Tie 02:31, 1 April 2007 (UTC)

The arbCom does not deal with policymaking and your proposal will only create mediocre policies. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 22:14, 1 April 2007 (UTC)

A slightly radical proposal to prevent any more policy confirmation polls ever being necessary[edit]

Jimbo's objection to the merger originally was that it was done without enough publicity, correct? The consensus principle here has always held that people who don't talk are choosing to abide by the decisions made by those that do talk, because anything else would be impossible and require we notify every single user. But this has now been challenged by Jimbo, who is claiming that more must be done to publicize these things before we can claim to have assent from all the passive users. As an attempt to satisfy his wishes, we have now begun the use of watchlist announcements for policy changes. This has been both criticized as annoying and praised, but if one thing is for sure, it's that it has been highly effective in getting a large numeric turnout.

I believe that regardless of the outcome of this poll and discussion, the discovery that watchlist messages work may have a more transformative change on future policy working than the WP:A merger ever would have.

What if in the future we notify everyone via watchlist for 2 weeks/a month (timeframe negotiable) whenever there is a major change proposed. We wouldn't have to do this for every single WP:VPR thread, of course, but once something has been hammered out to the working draft level at least, if it was a proposal that could have a real effect on the community, we would add it to the message. The message could come in the form of a show/hide box which hides by default, but which when expanded gives a brief overview of all the current major discussions, and maybe include links to RfA and the like if there was nothing major going on at the time. I believe people would get used to the box rather quickly, but to deal with the inevitable annoyance complaints it could be designed to be unobtrusive, and we could give clear directions on how to opt out using your monobook on the help page for the watchlist message feature.

If we adopted this, we could then avoid messy confirmation polls because everyone had been quite clearly informed of the discussion and those who didn't speak had quite clearly chosen not to do so. Would it be an increase in bureaucracy? Yes, it would. But a much smaller increase than that which will be required if we end up having to run these damned polls every time someone wants to change something. --tjstrf talk 08:00, 31 March 2007 (UTC)

Good idea. SlimVirgin (talk) 08:36, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
Ditto. cheers, Casliber | talk | contribs 08:42, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
I suppose I should mention Wikipedia:Centralized discussion here before somebody else does, since it is the current page that is supposed to act in the way I described (summary of current ongoing discussions). It's hardly effective for gathering broad community input in its current state though, because nobody but the meta-editors even know the page exists. If this proposal goes through, we might want to consider merging it with CENT. --tjstrf talk 08:14, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
Works for me. This entire fiasco could have been avoided with such a mechanism. Also think back to WP:N and the unbelievable state it was in ca. Oct. 2006 (guideline, yes, but still it would have been a good candidate given the enormous importance of notability in WP:AFD). I don't understand the "it's annoying" complaints, other than about the early "loud" and undismissable versions of the watchlist header. I would be delighted to be regularly notified of Important Things and Stuff that Need My Input on my watchlist. I would make it a kind of metawatchlist when I most needed it to be. — SMcCandlish [talk] [contrib] 08:06, 31 March 2007 (UTC)

We are not lacking a weekly pay attention to me device. Signpost. WAS 4.250 11:30, 31 March 2007 (UTC)

Anything that requires active action by the end users (editors!) to get it in the first place is wrong. People have to sign up for sign post, unless if we change it to make it mandatory for everyone to get it. - Denny 15:37, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
And I for one rarely find anything in the Signpost worth paying attention to (I don't mean that as a slam against its editors; there simply isn't enough "newsworthing" actually happening at WP on a weekly basis, so we gets lots of reports about the progress of ArbCom cases no one cares about but the disputing parties. — SMcCandlish [talk] [contrib] 21:16, 31 March 2007 (UTC)

One general comment - the level of notification ought to be in proportion to the level of the change. If you are suggesting a minor change to a policy of limited interest, that's one thing, but this is a major change to Wikipedia's fundamental content policies. I don't consider myself to be uninvolved, but the first I heard of it was in the last week or two before it went live and the merger was already said to be a done deal. --BigDT 13:56, 31 March 2007 (UTC)

I agree that such notifications should be saved for very major issues, anything else can go to Village Pump, CENT, or other venues. I don't see that it should be a tremendous source of annoyance with the "Dismiss" option added. Seraphimblade Talk to me 17:06, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
How is a merger a "major change to Wikipedia's fundamental content policies" ? WAS 4.250 23:44, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
Dunno, but some people sure seem to think it is. --tjstrf talk 04:48, 1 April 2007 (UTC)
I think this is a good idea, it's what's bringing attention to this poll now. If the fund raising program can do it, why not major policy changes? Darthgriz98 01:08, 2 April 2007 (UTC)

Refactoring responses[edit]

Would someone else like to take on the job of moving User:Slrubenstein's responses from the poll to the discussion page? There are one or two other users who have left responses, as well. CMummert · talk 15:03, 31 March 2007 (UTC)

Might I request of this honored assembly that we allow the honorable User:Slrubenstein the opportunity to highlight one of the huge inversions of prior policy that WP:ATT makes. Perhaps the most useful action would be to make a link to Wikipedia_talk:Attribution/Role of truth where the public discussion still continues. Of course, the honorable User:Slrubenstein is upside-down in his assertion, and that assertion is merely one of the huge changes in prior policy that WP:ATT makes. After wide public discussion, I am sure that the honorable User:Slrubenstein and I could design a public poll in which the whole community could express its feelings in this matter. The honorable User:Slrubenstein is very right in his analysis -- because if we make the implied correction to the Attribution policy text, much of the opposition to this huge change in policy would disappear, would it not? As a matter of form, I would like to include the honorable User:Slrubenstein's statement as part of my statement to highlight the question. Does that make sense? If there is consensus in this matter, I will think of some way to 1) include the honorable User:Slrubenstein's comment as part of my comment and 2) make the appropriate link to the Wikipedia_talk:Attribution/Role of truth page. What is next? --Rednblu 15:47, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
I don't understand what you just said. Every user has "opportunity to highlight one of the huge inversions of prior policy that WP:ATT makes" - in their comment at the poll. You are free to edit your comment as well. I think there is agreement that users should not respond to other users directly on the poll page, right? CMummert · talk 15:50, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
I will post here a draft of how I could amend my comment to include the honorable User:Slrubenstein's comment and make a link to Wikipedia_talk:Attribution/Role of truth and see if you think it would be acceptable. Give me about an hour, thanks. --Rednblu 16:03, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
Would the following amending of my comment be acceptable?

--- Begin amended comment

  1. No on WP:ATT. No on any merger idea at this time. Verifiability, ReliableSource, and No personal research are very independent components of high quality Wikipedia pages such as gravity and truth. That is, without a standard for "Verifiability" that is far higher than what mere Attributability requires, editors could not trim the gravity and truth pages to follow faithfully just the facts, not the mere attributions, as established by ReliableSources. Similarly, without a standard for "Verifiability" that is far higher than mere "Attributability," editors cannot trim pages on living persons to exclude fully attributable personal attacks that are baseless, false, and unfair. The honorable User:Slrubenstein poses the question before us quite succinctly.
    • You present your no vote as if you were defending verifiability, when in fact you are attacking verifiability, because verifiability explicitly makes editors' views as to what are facts, or factually accurate sources, irrelevant. If this is your reason your vote ought to be discounted. Slrubenstein | Talk 13:27, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
    • The public discussion continues at Wikipedia_talk:Attribution/Role of truth --Rednblu 01:21, 31 March 2007 (UTC)

--- End of amended comment

What is next? --Rednblu 16:31, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
It's your comment; amend it any way you like. — SMcCandlish [talk] [contrib] 22:40, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
Somebody reverted my above amendment. :(( But :)) you jogged my understanding to think of a next step, thank you. You made me realize: It might be a good idea if I would get permission from the honorable User:Slrubenstein to wrap his statement as I have in the above amendment. My preference would have been to have the honorable User:Slrubenstein's comment follow mine just the way it was made originally. But that could not be. So I going to leave a request for permission on the honorable User:Slrubenstein's TalkPage before I do anything further. Thanks for your koan of a reply. --Rednblu 06:56, 1 April 2007 (UTC)
No hurry. Let's leave it as it is for a few days -- unless someone is particularly concerned. Feel free to move my amendment to the PollPage if that would be useful and if I am away. --Rednblu 17:38, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
Sure, but there is some needless rhetoric involved. The standard for attributability is not lower, I could argue that it is higher than "mere verifiability". You can verify as true the statement "Charles Darwin wrote that evolution of the eye is absurd to the highest degree", but that's a case of false attribution. My point is not that previous policies could not handle such cases, but I'm asking you to not completely trivialize WP:ATT. It doesn't talk about mere attribution, it talks about attribution to reliable sources. In the end, we both actually want the same thing, this whole debate has been unnecessarily polarized. If you rephrase, more of the ATT supporters will take the whole "role of truth" discussion seriously. --Merzul 19:42, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
How would you "rephrase" it? --Rednblu 21:22, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
Very hard to say, I would stress more the positive aspect of your understanding of verifiability, and put less emphasis on straw man arguments like "mere attribution" ;) Your made your points more clearly on the Wikipedia_talk:Attribution/Role of truth page, that was when I began to understand what you mean. --Merzul 21:56, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
I start from the observation that many of us here conclude that the Attribution policy text is the inverse of the standard used in the gravity and truth pages. Would you agree with that as a place to start? --Rednblu 22:14, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
Yes, that's more like it. Attribution stresses the means instead of the goal, and in your view, I believe, loses the focus on information that has been verified by some experts as true in whatever sense their profession operationally defines truth to be, e.g. scientific peer review. Something along those lines. I personally still think your notion of verifiability is too sophisticated to work well on Wikipedia, and "attributability to reliable sources" is essentially trying to say the same thing, since reliable sources imply we rely on expert opinion. --Merzul 22:33, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
Ok. But "attributability to reliable sources" leads to all kinds of misunderstandings, does it not? You and I might use it right. The editors of the gravitation page do use it right. What is a reliable source for a quotation may not be a reliable source for whether the statement "Gravitation is a phenomenon through which all objects attract each other" has been Verified. I merely note that mere "attributability to reliable sources" is not enough to keep the junk attributions out of the gravitation page. The editors need a solid standard for Verifiability, not Attribution, to maintain the quality of the gravitation page. Is that a fair statement? --Rednblu 23:06, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
It is fair. To sum it up. We both want to guarantee that information comes from a source that "verifies it" according to the accepted practice of the field in question. That is essentially what you mean by verifiable information and that is exactly what I mean, when I say attributable to a reliable source. For me, a source is reliable whenever it satisfies your demands on verification. Thus, what is reliable depends on the context, and I'm putting all complications into the word "reliable", so your statement is fair. --Merzul 00:11, 1 April 2007 (UTC)

Rednblu, why do you keep calling me "honorable?" Slrubenstein | Talk 09:00, 3 April 2007 (UTC)


My !vote, and I believe a half-dozen others, support some merge, but not a merge to WP:ATT. This is a particular position, which should not be muted. Move people out again, if warranted, but don't give it a vague title. Septentrionalis PMAnderson

Adding categories while running live[edit]

I think adding or changing category names while the poll is ongoing is corrupting the poll process and its results. It is totally unacceptable. Crum375 15:31, 31 March 2007 (UTC)

None of these categories existed when the poll was started. If you misrepresent my !vote again, I will take stronger measures. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 15:33, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
The only categories that were added were 'full yes', 'full no' and, effectively 'other'. Perhaps the name for 'other' has to be modified, but we can't start micro-guessing people's votes by adding more categories and changing names after they voted. Crum375 15:36, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
I believe NedScott and SMcCandlish, now among the oppose votes, have stated the same position, but I don't have time to read all the votes now. Any imposition of categories on this mess will be chancy. I have notified all the voters I collected. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 15:44, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
I believe that the poll would have been better with more explicit options (see my rather angry note much higher up about the poll lauching without consensus as to time or wording), but I feel it is hazardous to try to alter it mid-stream and recategorize votes. I think we're just kind of stuck with the mess we have. — SMcCandlish [talk] [contrib] 22:44, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
Lest that come across as hypocritical (since I did the first refactor), I mean that doing it now with several hundred votes already in play and more people adding theirs all the time, with finer and finer grained meanings, could lead to some POV issues. I don't think the catchall third category is ideal, but I think it would be better than creating a bunch of new categories this long after the fact, if that is any clearer. — SMcCandlish [talk] [contrib] 22:46, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
Agree. Unacceptable. Leave it alone, please. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 23:51, 31 March 2007 (UTC)

SMcCandlish may ask you for something? Let go,nothing more to fo around here until the end poll. There are articles to edits, vandals to bet stopped, and many other useful things. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 23:56, 31 March 2007 (UTC)

It would be good if everyone could just leave everything alone now the poll is underway. As I said earlier, it's time to lie back and think of England. SlimVirgin (talk) 01:55, 1 April 2007 (UTC)

What to do after this concludes with "no consensus"[edit]

It looks like this poll will not end with a clear endorsement of the merger. Unless many of the oppose votes are discounted based on their clear misunderstandings of the issues (e.g., all the people who think "verifiability=truth"), we'll be back at square one, more or less. And ironically, those confused oppose votes are exactly the target audience in some respect. I think it is especially important to at least do something to reform the problematic title and language of "verifiability".--ragesoss 16:30, 31 March 2007 (UTC)

I do not think they can honorably be disqualified. I think WP:V badly needs to discuss whether they can continue with language supported by two groups of people who interpret it in diametrically opposite ways. For the record, I hold quite strongly that "verifiability" is not "truth" and that WP:V says so. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 16:36, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
It's really hard to say that something is a clear misunderstanding when people who have followed the issues still agree with it. And besides, we then have to discount all the support votes about how nothing was changed, because the essay in support of ATT makes it clear that things were changed. -Amarkov moo! 16:40, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
In any case, I have now understood the truth supporters.
  • Truth: Verifiable means it has been verified (as true) by experts in the relevant fields.
  • WP:V: verifiable means any user can check it is written somewhere in a reliable source; this is essentially what WP:ATT is saying.
Both positions are feasible and consistent. The only thing that is not consistent is having a policy called WP:VERIFY that actually means WP:ATTRIBUTE. --Merzul 17:29, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
What's frustrating about those opposes is that people seem to be opposing "not truth" as if it's a new concept that ATT is introducing. If that were the case it would be a logical oppose rationale, but it's not: "not truth" is something like 16 months old. Marskell 17:53, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
Of course, this is merely my opinion. There are many ways to interpret the "not truth" in the phrase "Verifiability, not truth." After all our own truth page reports accurately the five major worldwide methods for Verifying "truth." I would say the truth page demonstrates quite well the principle by using 1) "Verifiability" always and by using 2) "not truth" always. That is, the editors have carefully cut out any "truth" that has not been Verified. Check it out! --Rednblu 18:33, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
I believe that the "truth people" are being misinterpreted here. After reading many, many of their comments in and out of the poll over the last 2 weeks, I believe that what they are saying is that WP:ATT effectively encourages, because of subtleties of its working, and/or its very name, the inclusion of "attributable" outright bullshit in WP, while WP:V did not. I'm not certain I entirely agree or disagree or will partially agree with this; I'm still thinking about it. I do not however believe that the position can be fairly characterized as crazy, misguided or stupid; it's simply a range of different viewpoints and set of interrelating concerns (and it is a range; they are not all saying quite the same things) that need to be aired, and heard, and discussed. The past treatment of these people (e.g. labelling them disruptive which is an outright accusation of bad faith, the filing of AN/I reports against them for trying to get their views even acknowleged as existing, just plain yelling at them uncivilly to shut up and go away, and so forth) has been troubling enough, but proposing to discount their poll votes on the basis of not agreeing with or understanding their points just blows me away. It's like some kind of WikiPogrom. Just let them have their say like everyone else. — SMcCandlish [talk] [contrib] 23:09, 31 March 2007 (UTC)

This is an issue for those who compile the results and make their recommendaions to Jimbo. If it were up to me (and thankfully it isn't) I would start off by giving a straight count...

  • 1,344 (or what ever it actually is) clearly for the merger ...
  • 1,343 clearly against the merger...
  • 988 with qualified support of merger...
  • 987 with qualified disapproval of the merger...
  • 100 don't care...
  • 3 think Polling is Evil.

Then break break the results down further listing the more common comments...

  • Of those supporting, 700 stated X as the reason ... 200 gave Y as the reason
  • Of those voting against 900 stated A as the reason... 400 gave B as the reason

Etc. Etc. Etc. - it will be time consuming... but will let Jimbo (and the community at large) fully see where the consensus is or isn't.

It will be up to Jimbo to decide if he wants to discount the "Truth" votes or not. Blueboar 16:56, 31 March 2007 (UTC)

All of the votes will need to be read in their entirety. There are qualified supports in the broad support section, for example, and the neutral/compromise/qualified/other sections is of course quite mixed and, in my opinion, poorly refactored/reorganised. — Armed Blowfish (talk|mail) 17:20, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
Folks, let's just wait until the poll is closed before we analyze what it all means? I am not saying we cannot continue discussing the issues. But the meaning of the poll itself won't be ready for discussion until it has closed. Slrubenstein | Talk 09:07, 3 April 2007 (UTC)

If we're going to break up the Neutral/qualified/compromise/other section, we should do it all the way.[edit]

Right now, we have a "Support some merger, but not this one" subsection and a "Compromise/Neutral" subsection, with "other" apparently having gone poof! If we are going to break this up rather than lumping it all together, as it was originally, we should do it all the way, and have four subsections. However, since moving votes around can be a controversial issue, I suggest just adding new sections and encouraging people to move their votes into the new sections rather than the old lumped together ones. To make this more transitional, all should be subsections of the original lumped section, Neutral/qualified/compromise/other. Thanks, Armed Blowfish (talk|mail) 17:31, 31 March 2007 (UTC)

Note: I have started this process. — Armed Blowfish (talk|mail) 17:58, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
It's just creates a mess of overlap and illogic. Marskell 18:04, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
True. However, now that you've combined everything again, we need to put it back in chronological order. — Armed Blowfish (talk|mail) 18:38, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
Erm, I'm agreeing with the mess part, no the overlap and illogic part. — Armed Blowfish (talk|mail) 18:39, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
Given that they're are not supposed to be threaded points anyway, I don't see that it's a huge problem. Marskell 19:01, 31 March 2007 (UTC)

It is going fine. No need to fiddle with it. Le's leave it alone and let editors make their opinion known. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 23:58, 31 March 2007 (UTC)

Nonetheless, people do comment on other people's votes within their own votes, and often base their votes on the votes above theirs. Hence, the order is important. Don't worry, I've fixed it. While I was at it, I added refactoring notes after votes which were added to different sections than the current one, as it is important to the intent of the votes. — Armed Blowfish (talk|mail) 20:22, 31 March 2007 (UTC)

Commenting on Comments[edit]

A couple of editors seem to continue to comment on other persons' comments; in particular commenting on the "truth-vreifiability" issue in people's oppose votes. Is the warning about not starting a discussion on the poll page not strong enough? Could such "comments on the comments" be refactored out? It is not helpful to have the poll cluttered with such comments, nor is it appropriate for some editors to start such discussions on the poll page (there are plenty of other pages where that discussion in happenning). -- Pastordavid 18:29, 31 March 2007 (UTC)

They may be refactored out, but nobody seems to have done it yet, and its not clear to me what the best way is to do it. I don't see any recent such comments, though. CMummert · talk 18:41, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
In my opinion, there are getting to be too many of them now. I will go ahead and incorporate the honorable User:Slrubenstein's comment under my comment -- if there is no objection. --Rednblu 18:48, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
Between the discussion-comments on people's opinions (which the top of the page says should ALL be refactored out), and the "Other" sub-sections at the end, this is quickly becoming a mess. Unless the page is cleaned up, I don't know that it will be possible to see a recognizable outcome. -- Pastordavid 18:56, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
The I started putting in to practice last night when the first of these appeared is to ask the editorializing user to refactor their own reply commentary back into their comment/!vote. (Just with the first person to do this; I don't know if he/she complied with the request or not). I figure if they don't do that after 1 day, it is fair game to refactor for them, by moving their reply comment to underneath their !vote, and noting that it was moved and if necessary who it was in response to. Another option might be moving them here to the talk page with subject headings like "Response to User:UserName's comments". I agree that they are messy, and they seem to really be focusing on bashing a particular viewpoint. When we vote in the real world, we don't allow poll gangs to hang outside the ballot room and beat people up for voting Green or whatever or to put up posters advertising why a certain candidate sucks. — SMcCandlish [talk] [contrib] 20:53, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
Oh, half-nevermind - I see someone is refactoring them to the talk page already. However I think it might still be polite to let the party being refactored know about it on their talk page. — SMcCandlish [talk] [contrib] 20:54, 31 March 2007 (UTC)


Refactoring note: Many or all of these comments were originally placed as replies to votes on the poll page, and were moved here. To see a version of the page before the moving started, see here.Armed Blowfish (talk|mail) 21:17, 31 March 2007 (UTC)

List of removals from the poll page (add to this if something is missing): [7] [8] [9] [10] [11]

Why are comments being moved or removed? SlimVirgin (talk) 01:57, 1 April 2007 (UTC)
Please don't remove any comments unless it is vandalism or obvious disruption. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 02:03, 1 April 2007 (UTC)
That horse is already out of the barn and across the county, folks. — SMcCandlish [talk] [contrib] 02:26, 1 April 2007 (UTC)
See Wikipedia talk:Attribution/Poll#Commenting_on_Comments above. [12] If you want to replace the comments that's fine with me, as even with the notices it might be confusing for editors to see their comments go poof! — Armed Blowfish (mail) 17:20, 1 April 2007 (UTC)

I strongly oppose ATT, because it denigrates factuality and accuracy (i.e. truth). Attribution is very important, but not more important than accuracy. Ed Fitzgerald (unfutz) 02:33, 31 March 2007 (UTC)

Your reason for voting "no" is not really that you object to ATT but that you object to one of the prior core polciies that ATT subsumes: Verifiability (not truth). Our V policy explicitly makes editors' views as to what are facts, or factually accurate sources, irrelevant. If this is your reason your vote ought to be discounted. Slrubenstein | Talk 13:27, 31 March 2007 (UTC)

oppose Hopelessly naive, I can cite all kinds of controversial or even false things to generally 'reliable sources'. Truth matters, not just attribution. Verification and original research are not synonyms.[13] Derex 05:47, 31 March 2007 (UTC)

Your claim that the truth matters directly contradicts our earlier policy, verifiability, not truth. You are not really opposed to the new ATT policy, you are rather opposed to one of Wikipedia's oldest, most important policies. If this is your reason for voting no, your vote ought not to count. Slrubenstein | Talk 13:30, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
Your repeated comments to tell people that their "votes" shouldn't "count" are inappropriate, and are generally based on the same false premise. You ignore the fact that, to be "verifiable," something must also be "true." The change in language from "verifiable" to "attributed" is a weakening of policy, and the new wording seems to be more open to untrue but attributed statements being included in Wikipedia. MANY people see it this way, for a very good reason. They recognize that the words "verifiable" and "attributed" are NOT synonyms. The choice of language is significant, and several details from the combined policies have been omitted, further obscuring the meaning of the policies.zadignose 22:11, 1 April 2007 (UTC)

Oppose WP:V and WP:NOR are different things. Verifiability is merely that something can be has little if anything to do with NOR.--MONGO 06:38, 31 March 2007 (UTC)

This is not what "Verifiability" means - if you would just read the V policy page. Verifiability means that the view is included in Wikipedia not because it is true or because anyone thinks it is true, but because it reflects a point of view that can be verified i.e. attributed to an appropriate source. NOR means that editors should not present their own research and views but must instead rely on views of non-editors that come from appropriate sources. Two sides of the same coin Slrubenstein | Talk 13:39, 31 March 2007 (UTC)

Strong Oppose - Disgusted that attribution is seen as more important than truth. This needs to be remedied before any other changes are made. michael talk 06:58, 31 March 2007 (UTC)

Your claim that the truth matters directly contradicts our earlier policy, verifiability, not truth. You are not really opposed to the new ATT policy, you are rather opposed to one of Wikipedia's oldest, most important policies. If this is your reason for voting no, your vote ought not to count. Slrubenstein | Talk 13:39, 31 March 2007 (UTC)

Oppose. The existing policies were working, even though there were arguments. This is a huge policy change, not a combination of existing policies. For example, the "unpublished synthesis of published material" section is new policy, not in WP:RS. This "Attribution" page suddenly become policy, just from commentary on its own talk page, which is wierd. --John Nagle 15:15, 31 March 2007 (UTC)

Oh my, the poll has to be the worst idea Jimbo has ever had. This vote clearly shows that just because someone is a good wikipedia contributor, it doesn't make them particularly competent on policy decisions: WP:SYNT has been part of WP:NOR for how long? --Merzul 19:53, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
I second both the comments and the comments on comments and invite further comment. Marskell 20:52, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
Thank you for being open to further comment. I feel that we are up to our eyeballs in comments, and while that in itself is a comment, my main comment is that further comments here will only distract from the commenting at the poll, and possibly distract those trying to stop further commenting on comments at the poll from moving comments to this comment page. :) –Outriggr § 20:58, 31 March 2007 (UTC)

I oppose the proposed merging of pages, because I believe it's important to keep policy pages separate, in order to prevent the creation of one excessively large (and thus probably ignored) page. I believe it is best to keep the policies on their own separate pages. Philippe 01:27, 31 March 2007 (UTC)

Agree. It's already painfully clear that far too many WP editors have never bothered to fully read the relevant policy pages in the first place. Combining them into an omnibus will only increase the learning curve and serve no useful purpose. If the policy pages do wind up being merged, we should at least create sub-section link redirectors, such as WP:AOR linking directly to the Original Research section and WP:AV or WP:ARS linking directly to the verifiability / reliable sources section. Please don't make it even harder to explain fundamental WP policies to new users! Kasreyn 18:13, 31 March 2007 (UTC)

I support the concept of merging the articles, but I do not support putting attributability above truth. False content should not be included just because it is attributable. Jwolfe 05:41, 31 March 2007 (UTC)

Your claim that the truth matters directly contradicts our earlier policy, verifiability, not truth. You are not really opposed to the new ATT policy, you are rather opposed to one of Wikipedia's oldest, most important policies. If this is your reason for voting no, your vote ought not to count. Slrubenstein | Talk 13:43, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
I agree that WP:V is not intended to mean that truth matters, and I am surprised to find so much sentiment (also among the straight oppose !votes) that it does mean that. But disenfranchisement for that judgment is going rather far. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 15:17, 31 March 2007 (UTC)

Comment The comments by Slrubenstein replying directly to certain posts/editors above appear intimidatory and seem intended to force consensus by dumping on and hence discouraging less articulate editors from contributing their real concerns on these issues. I obviously dont want to strike them as I'm only a user myself and a fairly new one at that, but I think that in an open community poll someone replying with boilerplate text to a heap of posts should be taken into hand. Nothing against what has been said (although i disagree with it) but more the way in which it has been done. Just my thoughts. DanielT5 18:35, 31 March 2007 (UTC)

No on WP:ATT. No on any merger idea at this time. Verifiability, ReliableSource, and No personal research are very independent components of high quality Wikipedia pages such as gravity and truth. That is, without a standard for "Verifiability" that is far higher than what mere Attributability requires, editors could not trim the gravity and truth pages to follow faithfully just the facts, not the mere attributions, as established by ReliableSources. Similarly, without a standard for "Verifiability" that is far higher than mere "Attributability," editors cannot trim pages on living persons to exclude fully attributable personal attacks that are baseless, false, and unfair. In the following, the honorable User:Slrubenstein poses the question before us quite succinctly.

  • You present your no vote as if you were defending verifiability, when in fact you are attacking verifiability, because verifiability explicitly makes editors' views as to what are facts, or factually accurate sources, irrelevant. If this is your reason your vote ought to be discounted. Slrubenstein | Talk 13:27, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
  • The public discussion continues at Wikipedia_talk:Attribution/Role of truth --Rednblu 01:21, 31 March 2007 (UTC)

Record sigs?[edit]

Wiki being an introspective beast, I'm wondering if there's a known record for the number of sigs on any one question? This page will inevitably slow down after the first twenty-four, but it could easily go over a thousand after a week. Have we had a thousand comments on anything previously? Just an idle thought... Marskell 20:55, 31 March 2007 (UTC)

Check out [14]. They handled it pretty damn good. Jobjörn (Talk ° contribs) 20:59, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
WP:300. Probably will get blown away. WP:1000! - Denny 21:00, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
See Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Usability/Main_Page/Final archive. Looks like 687+46+213+43 sigs. Gimmetrow 21:10, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
Ewww... That one's so close to 1000. We'll beat it here! At least we'll have accomplished something :). Marskell 21:25, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
I think that the watchlist banner counts as canvassing... CMummert · talk 02:34, 1 April 2007 (UTC)
And for once it was a good idea. Xiner (talk, a promise) 20:06, 1 April 2007 (UTC)

Voting for voters[edit]

I remember reading a long time ago about a congressman who said that he had been careful to vote on bills in accordance with his district's wishes until he read a very emotional letter from a constituant pleading with him to not vote for daylight saving time because her flowers in her garden were not getting enough sun as it was. There is something to be said for representational democracy rather than mob rule. WAS 4.250 00:09, 1 April 2007 (UTC)

Yes, I did say something, but mob rule has neutralized it :) --Merzul 00:29, 1 April 2007 (UTC)
I support mob rule. Fewer forms to fill out. Marskell 07:21, 1 April 2007 (UTC)


I'm concerned about the refactoring. Can someone explain what has been done, please? It really would be best if we would just leave the page alone, and allow people to comment freely. SlimVirgin (talk) 01:59, 1 April 2007 (UTC)

There was discussion yesterday which seemd to have agreement that responses to poll opinions are inappropriate. The directions say:
Please do not directly respond on this page to opinions of other editors; discussion should take place on the designated talk page. Comments in the polling sections of this page should be limited to short statements (300 words or less ideally). Responses in the 'polling' section will be refactored and moved to the Talk page.
Per these directions, responses seem to be moving to this page. There is a page that is left alone: the "Community discussion" page. CMummert · talk 02:21, 1 April 2007 (UTC)
Given outright complaints of "intimidation" on the part of tendentious reply-commentators, I believe the refactoring is a very Good Thing. It isn't changing anyone's words, simply moving them. Which is nicer that simply deleting them, which would arguably also be a plausible response under the rules-of-order outlined in the poll's instructions. Since the refactoring began and notes were added about it, the number of such back-biting replies has dropped remarkably. — SMcCandlish [talk] [contrib] 02:25, 1 April 2007 (UTC)
I'm inclined just to leave things, unless the threaded comments are really getting out of hand, or are factually inaccurate, or personal attacks, whatever. Who is complaining of intimidation? SlimVirgin (talk) 02:28, 1 April 2007 (UTC)
I don't know anything about intimidation complaints. I do know that the poll is meant to be different than the discussion page, and that the instructions to the poll had apparent consensus when they were discussed. It does have a bad appearance to allow some editors to disparage or dispute other editors' comments on what is meant to be a poll. CMummert · talk 02:32, 1 April 2007 (UTC)
(edit conflict) The poster of the "intimidation" comment appears to have refactored away their own comment on that matter; I saw it ca. 3pm my time (it is now 8:31pm my time) to the best of my memory, possibly has late at 4pm my time, on the poll itself. Someone else objected as well, in different words (again on the poll around the same time; may or may not still be there, I'm not going to re-read the poll. Do your own research. ;-), and there have been pretty broad discussions for days (see archives above) about doing precisely this refactoring. The model was that of RfC. This isn't news at all, and doesn't seem to be opposed by anyone but you and Jossi. The comments were getting out of hand; one editor was seemingly just going down the list and replying negatively to every !vote he/she didn't like. NB: I revise my previous statement: Since the refactoring, this reply-commenting hasn't just dropped remarkably, it has stopped completely. It was a good, and effective plan. Yay. — SMcCandlish [talk] [contrib] 02:36, 1 April 2007 (UTC)
Okay, if they were getting out of hand, fair enough. SlimVirgin (talk) 02:41, 1 April 2007 (UTC)

How to close[edit]

What I think we need to do now is decide how we're going to close this poll. Given that it took us 14 days to choose the wording, and we only have seven days to decide how to close it, we'd do well to get going. :-)

There was a suggestion when the Brandt article was up for deletion the last time that we form a committee to close it. I wonder whether we should do that here. I would suggest five experienced admins: two who may be in favor of the merge; two against; and one who is neutral. They hold a discussion on a designated page, which others can see but can't edit. They reach a decision, and ask Jimbo to ratify it if people think that's necessary. Any thoughts? SlimVirgin (talk) 07:45, 31 March 2007 (UTC)

An ad hoc committee could work, providing I'm a member. El_C 07:53, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
Heh. I think 50 of us here will say that. >;-) — SMcCandlish [talk] [contrib] 07:53, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
Seems unnecessarily bureaucratic. Just a) arrive at a cut-off date (2 weeks?) or b) when votes slow to a trickle just close it. Close it early per WP:SNOWBALL if warranted, though I think that's unlikely. — SMcCandlish [talk] [contrib] 07:53, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
It won't be easy to close, because the admins will have to look at the comments and interpret them. I think it might be too much work for one admin. SlimVirgin (talk) 08:35, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
I get your point and support the proposal, since the particpants and their deliberations would be public. I first think we should have a poll about who... Uh, no. — SMcCandlish [talk] [contrib] 08:42, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
LOL!! See, El C? I told you it wasn't over. ;-D SlimVirgin (talk) 08:48, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
Lets absolutely not snowball any damn thing, ok? - Denny 07:58, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
It's running for seven days. SlimVirgin (talk) 08:34, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
I think any admin can close this, but not interpret the result: "The result of the discussion is to be determined by Jimbo Wales." What we could agree on beforehand is whether we want to flag people with less than 50 or 100 edits. Marskell 09:56, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
Alternatively, I think User:Marskell should close and interpret the result. I admire his work greatly. Marskell 10:08, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
We should let Willy on Wheels interpret them and close. ATT on Wheels? - Denny 15:34, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
Close the voting on the advertized date... not sooner, not later. Even if the voting all but dies out, we do not want some editor to come back and complain that they didn't get a chance to vote, or for another editor to claim that the results are biased because one side or the other kept the voting going longer than was stated. I like the idea of forming a committee of Admins, representing the different view points, who then compile and interpret the results. Yes, lots of arguments are possible about the interpretation... but I have faith that consensus can be reached. The results, analysis and interpretation would then get sent to Jimbo with a recommendation for his OK. As a non-admin, I would like to be able to follow the discussion of the committee... but I agree that such a discussion should not be open to the general editing public (far too chaotic) I support a viewable, but not edit-able page for this discussion. Blueboar 16:24, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
And an unprotected talk-page for comments on the process; which I trust the committee will respond to. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 16:45, 31 March 2007 (UTC)

When it closes on 4/6/07 00:00, we need to put a note up that says, "Poll is closed. ANY changes or edits to this page will be reverted," and then fully protect the page. Once 4/6/07 00:00 passes there is no need for a single person (including Jimbo) to be editing the poll. The only exception I could see would be if Jimbo himself asked us to reopen/extend the length. Nothing else. Any nonsense or political editing games after that need to be ruthlessly rv'd out to not mess with the community. - Denny 17:01, 31 March 2007 (UTC)

Agree with an immediate protection once it is closed. Also agree on an open talk page for general editors like me. Nice to have a place to complain about the "Evil Oligarchy" of Admins. :>) I trust the admins to compile the results accurately and fairly... but I could see how others wouldn't. Blueboar 17:16, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
We could have a fully protected page for all admins. Of course, I give myself an advantage as I suggest that, but the basic reason admins are made admins is because people trust them. Having a committee of four or six may be difficult. The very much involved or the totally uninvolved? What if it turns out more admins were supporting or opposing? Wouldn't the composition of the committee have to reflect that? It will be messy trying to work stuff like this out. Marskell 17:28, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
I see the administrator role as more janitorial. If we're going to have a discussion on how to interpret the results of the poll, it should be open to everyone. And there will probably not be consensus on that either. So, Jimbo might be the only person who will be able to interpret the results in a minimally controversial way. — Armed Blowfish (talk|mail) 17:37, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
What about asking a 'crat or three to close it? We trust them to close contentious RfAs, and to my knowledge the crats haven't been closely involved with the devlopment of this proposition. Get three uninvolved 'crats, ask them to make the call, and we're done with it. Philippe 19:31, 31 March 2007 (UTC)

Beside Jimbo, I imagine many, many editors will very actively and justifiably object to any one person determining concensus. Whomever does it, it needs to be multiple people. How about a couple admins, a couple crats, a couple regulars, and then Jimbo determines concensus based on THEIR findings? That is fair. Filtered. No one gets to decide this alone. - Denny 20:06, 31 March 2007 (UTC)

I have in mind a few people I'd like to invite to close this. We need experienced Wikipedians and people Jimbo can talk to, because the comments have to be evaluated. It's not a question of just counting. SlimVirgin (talk) 01:53, 1 April 2007 (UTC)
Such as whom? — SMcCandlish [talk] [contrib] 03:04, 1 April 2007 (UTC)
I was going to ask Jimbo first whether he thought it was a good idea, and then suggest some names, and ask him to suggest some. I'll do it within the next day or so, and if those people agree, I'll post the names here. Do people think that's an okay plan of action in principle? SlimVirgin (talk) 03:14, 1 April 2007 (UTC)
Sure. Two editors who support, two that oppose, one neutral. Do not have to be admins, though. Editors with good standing will do. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 03:19, 1 April 2007 (UTC)
  • I would strongly suggest that no editors with an interest in the outcome (either way) be party to the closure committee; by that, I mean no one who has taken a principal role in editing, promoting or advocating for the merged policy; nor any who has actively campaigned against it. By that token, for the sake of appearance of impartiality, I'd recommend that SlimVirgin not make nominations as to whom she believes should close/interpret the discussions-- as she is perhaps the strongest advocate for the pro-merger position. (Sorry, SV!)--LeflymanTalk 03:32, 1 April 2007 (UTC)
We could wait to see these nominations, instead of prejudging, no? We need to stop seeing this as a polarizing/political dispute... it is not. All editors, pro ATT and against ATT want the best for the project and that that should the premise: AGF is not cosmetics. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 05:03, 1 April 2007 (UTC)
I'm going to make suggestions, then it'll be up to Jimbo and those individuals, assuming he thinks this is a good idea in the first place. He may want to do it himself, or the poll may be clear enough that we don't need a closing committee. I'm just thinking we should prepare for a no-clear-consensus scenario. SlimVirgin (talk) 06:00, 1 April 2007 (UTC)
If anyone has suggestions for names, please say either here or by e-mail. SlimVirgin (talk) 06:03, 1 April 2007 (UTC)
Kim Bruning (talk · contribs) from the Mediation Cabal comes immediately to mind. He's approached the entire issue with neutrality and dispute resolution as the goal. — SMcCandlish [talk] [contrib] 08:28, 1 April 2007 (UTC)
  • Again, IMHO, the chief proponent of one position should not be suggesting names for closing a debate that she's involved in. That's not a matter of AGF; it's a matter of not having the appearance of a conflict of interest. I also think this sort of thing is precisely why we've gotten to this point-- individuals with good intentions speedily manoevering the process to get to a particular result, without taking heed of potential contrary positions. --LeflymanTalk 06:16, 1 April 2007 (UTC)
Who is manoeuvering the process to get to a particular result? SlimVirgin (talk) 06:18, 1 April 2007 (UTC)
  • Impatience is how such things as this occur: suggesting making a major change and asking for objections; then not giving adequate time for responses, and ten hours later deciding to follow your own suggestion.--LeflymanTalk 07:08, 1 April 2007 (UTC)
Surely Jimbo needs to close this himself. If I were him, I wouldn't do it in a hurry, and I'd first ask for reports from some of the people I consider to have been most sensible on all sides of the debate including some who've been pretty neutral - half a dozen people or so - on what the problems are and what the possibilities are for future action. I'd definitely include SlimVirgin, Septentrionalis, and some of the leading opponents of the process, or of ATT itself. But I'd also be looking for people are just outstanding and experienced editors in various ways, even if they've been uninvolved, or scarcely involved. I'm thinking of folks like MONGO, Anville, Giano, Raoul, and many others, who surely have thought deeply about these policies in the past, and applied them well in creating great content. But if I were Jimbo, there's no way I'd let someone else close it. Still, I'm not ... so we'll see what view he actually takes. Metamagician3000 06:36, 1 April 2007 (UTC)
Lets absolutely NOT discuss on IRC or email or back channels who closes. It needs to be 100% public and transparent. Any back dealings will be negatively viewed. Public only. - Denny 07:35, 1 April 2007 (UTC)
Again, still opposed to any small group. If one is to be appointed, Jimbo should do it. And I don't know how it will work in a "locked room" on Wiki. It'll just create a situation ripe for wheel-warring. If you've got six admins, and a seventh shows up and says "I've been on vacation but I've got something to say" will that person be reverted? That would obviously be very bad. Agree this should not be decided on IRC or the mailing list—unless, again, Jimbo decides to make his announcements in those channels. Marskell 07:53, 1 April 2007 (UTC)
Kind-of agree. I think we should suggest Jimbo appoints a committee for the purpose, and then they can decide how they want to approach the matter. JulesH 11:40, 1 April 2007 (UTC)

Just throwing a wild idea out (can't hurt, right?): since Jimbo will obviously have the final word, he'll obviously be the final judge - but how about letting the ArbCom make the final recommendation? (I forgot to mention: having interested parties be part of the panel is a very bad idea - they're very likely to have been deeply involved here, and there's a reason we have rules advising strongly against that in XfD's.) Xiner (talk, a promise) 20:00, 1 April 2007 (UTC)

This thread seems to mix up two topics: how to close, and the meaning of the poll. These are two separate issues. The poll closes at the end of April 6 - I imagine 23:59:59 UTC. At that time the page must be protected. The deadline for the poll was determined before the poll began; once the poll began, it is not right to change it. Now, topic two: what does it all mean? Let's wait until the poll has ended before we discuss the meaning. And by the way, even if Jimbo takes it upon himself to make any ultimate decision as to what it means, that can't stop anyone from weighing in. i am just suggesting we wait until it is over. Slrubenstein | Talk 09:11, 3 April 2007 (UTC)

What about new users voting?[edit]

I can see some votes from users that have just a dozen or so edits in less than 7 days. Not sure how to assess these, if they should be marked as such. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 03:31, 1 April 2007 (UTC)

How about users who might be on vacation, sick, or simply taking a wiki break the last week? I think if an edit count is to be taken, it should at least be something like the last six months or even the last year? I fully support Peregrine Fisher comment below: the nature of the comments should surely be more important than the nature of the commentator! Having said that, if some users should be excluded or put on a separate page, then the criteria for doing this should be both logical and fair, ie perhaps if they 1) registered after the debate started 2) appear to be single user accounts or sockpuppets, 3)have fewer than a certain no of edits in the last six months or year (I don't really support 3).Cheers Ivygohnair 09:02, 1 April 2007 (UTC)
Could we list these on a separate page, so that whomever closes will know, but we can avoid hurting any newbies? — Armed Blowfish (mail) 05:08, 1 April 2007 (UTC)
I don't think we should be judging editors by their number of edits. It the free encyclopedia that everone can edit, including this page. - Peregrine Fisher 05:20, 1 April 2007 (UTC)
A poll is only a sampling of users, and hopefully users who seem to have a good understanding of what's going on. With that in mind, yes, we should exclude those who do not seem to understand what the poll is about, or what the concerns are. We have enough users with a good amount of edits to give an accurate count without having to include those with five or six edits. We're not a democracy, so we don't have to count everyone. Sounds harsh, but it's easier and more accurate this way. -- Ned Scott 06:11, 1 April 2007 (UTC)
I was going to go through them at some point and list all the ones with fewer than a certain number of edits. I was thinking of doing it on a separate page. SlimVirgin (talk) 06:16, 1 April 2007 (UTC)
Both low number of edits, and accounts created after the idea of the poll was announced. SlimVirgin (talk) 06:17, 1 April 2007 (UTC)
I think that whoever closes this will be able to take such things into account, but will rely mainly on what concerns have been expressed by experienced users to see whether the degree of support for ATT amounts to a consensus, and if not what further action should be taken. Metamagician3000 06:20, 1 April 2007 (UTC)
Although, I think many of us would agree that even a brand new user with a very good point and rational could easily be just as impactive as others. In general, though, most of the responses from new and old don't go into much detail. -- Ned Scott 06:23, 1 April 2007 (UTC)
The closer should look at the comments, not some sort of edit count. If new users make unconvincing arguments, that's the only handicap they should have. - Peregrine Fisher 06:58, 1 April 2007 (UTC)
They don't have to be ignored, but they can definitely be flagged, especially accounts created after the poll was announced. Marskell 09:19, 1 April 2007 (UTC)
This poll has the unusual position of having been put in a public notice, which means inevitably there are going to be a different demographic of people coming here to what is normally involved in a "!"vote. Ansell 01:25, 2 April 2007 (UTC)

It doesn't matter what we do with them anymore. --Kim Bruning 01:48, 2 April 2007 (UTC)

refactored comment moved back as vote (v-man)[edit]

V-man voted as a reply to Jersyko--since he voted as a reply, it was moved here:

I, liked Armedblowfish, support Wikipedia:Attribution being kept as a summary with a status like WP:5P, but I do not have Armedblowfish's qualms about including WP:RS in the summary. Thus, I think WP:ATT should summarize WP:NOR, WP:V, and WP:RS but I'm unconvinced that it should replace any or all of them. · j e r s y k o talk · 05:05, 31 March 2007 (UTC)

I'm with Jersyko on that. WP:ATT can be used for general reference on the broad policies regarding attribution, while it will still be useful in the future to be able to refer to the individual WP:RS, WP:NOR, and WP:V. Even a brief mention of WP:CITE would keep it in context. Having this system will keep Wikipedia organized and familiar in the same style for those who are navigating WP:PAG for the first time. V-Man - T/C 05:20, 31 March 2007 (UTC)

V-man, while he may have stylized this as a comment is in fact providing his opinions here for this poll and he doesn't do it anywhere else. Kasreyn for example who voted and replied to Philippe's. She provided a comment when she replied to Philippe and a simple vote elsewhere and went back and added more to her vote when she saw here comment was moved, but at least she'd voted.

User:V-Man737 voted on the page earlier, saying, "I oppose opposition to this poll".

He commented less than an hour later on the actual subject of the matter, ATT, and because his comment was indented per replying, wheras his previous comment was per voting, it was considered a comment and not a vote and therefore it was moved.

This is a poll trying to get opinions from the community. V-man provided an opinion and because it was formatted differently, it was removed. He provided an opinion on the poll itself, and because it was formatted properly, it wasn't removed even though that comment probably didn't belong there.

I've moved his comment/vote/whatever you want to call it about ATT and what should happen to it back, and placed it directly after Jersyko's vote--I'm changing no content, just indenting it with a # instead of a :. Miss Mondegreen | Talk   10:18, 1 April 2007 (UTC)

Sounds good, thank you. SlimVirgin (talk) 12:38, 1 April 2007 (UTC)

A frightening issue[edit]

At this time, it looks like the community is closely divided over the merger. I imagine it will be a while before we sort out what this vote means, and how it will inform ongoing discussions about policy. Right now I want to call attention to a problem that this poll has highlighted, regardless of views about ATT. Rednblu, EdFitzgerald, Derex, Michael, terence, and JWolfe have justified their votes by insisting on the overriding importance of "truth." Of all the people who are voting this is a tiny minority which is why I say this problem is separate from the debate over ATT. But I find it very frightening for two reasons: first, the principle that representing different views - and the claim that the existence of such views is objective, and theirfore attributable or verifiable (meaning, one can find objective evidence that someone holds this view, e.g. a source) and not the "truth" is the concern of WIkipedia and the standard of inclusion of material in an article has been, in one form or another, the core principle of Wikipedia since its founding, and it has long been explained in different core policies. The fact that some active editors completely discount this principle is dangerous because the only things that hold together this incredibly heterogeneous and quasi-anarchic community is our agreement to work within these core policies. Second, this principle is enshrined in two longstanding policies independent of ATT: NPOV (our oldest policy) and Verifiability (which is several years old). To reject or question this principle is not to question ATT, it is to reject V and NPOV. It is disingenuous and dangerous to use a poll over ATT to reject V and NPOV. I ask fellow Wikipedians to take this problem seriously not because these views are shared by a large group of people - they are not, at least, based on this poll most people have other concerns that motivate their vote. Rather, it is a serious problem because it really gets to the very core of Wikipedia content policy. Slrubenstein | Talk 11:37, 1 April 2007 (UTC)

This is being discussed at Wikipedia talk:Attribution/Role of truth. Nobody disagrees about NPOV, and few about NOR. But whether verifiability is primarily about fact checking or solely about sourcing is a matter of dispute, and the emphasis of WP:V has been changed over the last two years (check the history). The question could have been raised explictly in this poll (see Wikipedia:Attribution/Poll/Questions) but was not. --Audiovideo 12:18, 1 April 2007 (UTC)

To argue that "truth" should be the principle governing inclusion in Wikipedia articles implicitly but necessarily involves a rejection of VPOV and V (even if the meaning of V has changed over the years, it certainly was never changed to contradict the dictum, verifiability not truth, nor to contradict our NPOV policy). Whatever other discussion is going on, comments made on the poll page indicate that some people either do reject NPOV (by elevating "truth") or fundamentally misunderstand it - I leave it to others do decide which is more frightening! Slrubenstein | Talk 12:33, 1 April 2007 (UTC)

No, it wasn't changed, and as Slrubenstein notes, the idea of attribution, or verifiability, as opposed to truth has been a cornerstone of NPOV and Wikipedia since its creation. That issue is a completely separate one from how many pages the policies should be on, which is what we're deciding here, and it's a great pity that some people tried to mix up the two issues. I hope they did it by accident, and not as a deliberate attempt to use the merge and poll as a Trojan horse to change the heart of the policy. They won't succeed no matter what they do, because the idea of finding reliable sources, rather than tracking down "the truth," is absolutely fundamental to Wikipedia. SlimVirgin (talk) 12:34, 1 April 2007 (UTC)
This is interesting. Can you provide an actual diff where anyone has argued that "'truth' should be the principle governing inclusion in Wikipedia articles"? If you would be so kind as to provide an actual diff of such an example, then perhaps we could get an idea of what on earth you are talking about. --Rednblu 21:04, 1 April 2007 (UTC)

It might be useful (pragmatic) to deal with wikipedia policy wording concerning "true" or "truth" as a semantic issue rather than as an opportunity to debate epistemology. WAS 4.250 20:47, 1 April 2007 (UTC)

Comments on voters' rationales[edit]

Resolved: Duplicate topic

If commenting on the poll page is discouraged, we should probably have a defined section for doing this on the talk page. So I'm starting one here. JulesH 11:50, 1 April 2007 (UTC)

141 I Oppose the replacement of No Original Research" and "Verifiability" by a single policy of "Attribution" if you want to keep your Attribution page, keep it, but don't crop the three into one lone page.--The Joke 11:29, 1 April 2007 (UTC)

Note that WP:ATT is only 200 words longer than WP:NOR is at the moment. Add the length of WP:V and it's substantially shorter. JulesH 11:50, 1 April 2007 (UTC)
That's "lone" page, not "long" page. --bainer (talk) 11:56, 1 April 2007 (UTC)
There is "a defined section for doing this": Wikipedia talk:Attribution/Poll#Comments. — SMcCandlish [talk] [contrib] 03:40, 2 April 2007 (UTC)

Percentage needed for decision[edit]

The percentages of support and oppose are pretty close. What percentage does this need to pass? 90%? 75%? 51%? I have a sick feeling that it's all going to stalemate into no consensus. The ikiroid (talk·desk·Advise me) 19:07, 1 April 2007 (UTC)

It was once asserted that we had consensus. Xiner (talk, a promise) 20:06, 1 April 2007 (UTC)
Does that simply mean that even if the vote is close, if more people say yay than nay, it will still pass? I think we should be using a proportional representation system personally, just my HO. Thor Malmjursson 20:10, 1 April 2007 (UTC)
Support is approaching 60% of the total votes if you count the qualified supports from the Other section, and it seems to be steadily increasing. So hopefully we'll hit supermajority by the end and can claim consensus. (How would proportional representation even work? We can't exactly divide Wikipedia into congressional districts.) --tjstrf talk 20:12, 1 April 2007 (UTC)
IMO 60% is on the low side for a change of this scope. I also question the assertion of prior consensus for this meerge. I think the clear status quo consensus is with the three existing pages, and a stong consensus ought to be needed to change that. 70% would be more like it, IMO. DES (talk) 20:16, 1 April 2007 (UTC)
We aren't going to claim consensus, with any percentage. It will be passed upwards. A super-super-majority of ~90% would likely keep even Jimbo quiet. But we aren't going to have that, and we'll have to wait and see how he, or some body like the ArbComm or other committee, interprets it. Marskell 20:22, 1 April 2007 (UTC)
I think the discussion above lent towards "Poke Jimbo and ask what he thinks this poll means", although I'm more in favor of "Okay, now that there isn't an overwhelming consensus towards either extreme, is there a happy middle ground and, if so, what is it?". The massive CSD expansion vote required 70% before being declared a supermajority, and I think we need something similar here to go forward without further consulting. Nifboy 20:23, 1 April 2007 (UTC)
As for the percentage, I've been led to believe, by existing policies, that this will not be decided by a vote, and no percentage either way will be deciding. A poll gathers opinions, allows them to be qualified and quantified, and is a decision making tool, not a vote. Though, like everyone else, I'm curious to see how that will play out in this case.zadignose 23:57, 1 April 2007 (UTC)

Guys, we're being premature. It's the weekend. Wait till a LOT more people see this on Monday/Tuesday. I expect many people edit from work, and will see the header, and swarm here to change things more in some direction. - Denny 20:24, 1 April 2007 (UTC)

I agree it's premature; I very much doubt responses will increase on Monday. I hope they don't so I can stop hitting watchlist all the time. Now, where did I put my beer?... Marskell 20:28, 1 April 2007 (UTC)
Next to my cup of chai, I think. - Denny 20:30, 1 April 2007 (UTC)
Definitely premature concerns; more of you should be Red Sox fans, used to 18 innings and waiting for the "fat lady to sing" :-)) (Pass that beer.) First, "polls" or "consensus" are not just a matter of a tally or percentage; some of the comments (thinking of the "truth" issue here) simply won't carry any weight. Second, Jimbo probably knows what he's/they're looking for anyway in terms of what is required to change policy. Given that there is some division, maybe we should stop poll-watching and start thinking how to address concerns. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 20:38, 1 April 2007 (UTC)
Slight point: of the 425 votes cast at the time of writing, 212 were support votes (with the remainder divided between oppose and neutral). Pretty much dead on half, which isn't a convincing majority by any means. Of course only 166 voted against too... Modest Genius talk 20:41, 1 April 2007 (UTC)

This simply means that there is no consensus. There is no such a thing as a status quo as we do in AfDs. What this means is that the community is divided and bridges need to be created. That will be left to the closing committee and Jimbo to decide. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 21:35, 1 April 2007 (UTC)

Are you sure there's no status quo, Jossi? I'd think status quo is that we don't change fundamental, core, bedrock policies without consensus, no? SandyGeorgia (Talk) 21:37, 1 April 2007 (UTC)
Yes, I am sure. If 1,000 editors participate in this poll (not unlikely) and there is a 60% for ATT and 40% against ATT as per the current results, the meaning is that there is no consensus in the community about this issue. This is not an AfD in which 10 editors participate for deleting an article, or an RfA in which 100 editors participate to comment on a nomination. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 21:56, 1 April 2007 (UTC)
I just did some quick calculations, removing votes that missed the point (such as those advocating for a change on WP:V) and factoring in these that have offered a partial support and one can see that the issues raised by ATT are not going to go away and that something will need to be done in this regard. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 22:05, 1 April 2007 (UTC)
This is an explicitly biased approach to "counting," though a count can not decide this in any case. You can't simply "remove votes that missed the point," as you seem to have a biased view as to what the "point" is, and it's your own perspective that tells you that certain people are advocating for a change on WP:V, rather than recognizing their claim that this merger is itself a change to WP:V.zadignose 23:36, 1 April 2007 (UTC)
Even though I am in favour of the Attribution merger, I feel the cause is lost. No one should count the neutral votes as in favour or against, however the comments are worded (if those people wanted to vote for or against, they would have done). The fact is that percentages for, against and neutral must be counted, so, technically, each neutral vote is a vote against consensus for the merge. Therefore I don't believe that the merger is likely to go ahead (I think we need 75%). As a supporter of the Attribution policy, I'm hoping, however, that it will be allowed to stand alongside the other pages: then I will happily use it, as I find it a convenient one-stop for all sourcing issues. I get the impression that most of the regular editors of V, OR, and RS support ATT, and so goodness knows who will have the stomach to go on keeping those three in shape (they need a lot of watching) in the future. I won't. qp10qp 22:11, 1 April 2007 (UTC)
Be ashamed of yourself! This is a collection of opinions, asked for free-form. My opinion certainly, and that of others, is more complex than Love ATT, Hate ATT, Neutral that you would impose on the !votes, and I went to some trouble to express exactly what I wanted to say. I guess I will now have to move it to "broad oppose" to have it counted at all, although in fact, and I said so, I support most of ATT. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 23:11, 1 April 2007 (UTC)
OK, I take it back. It's late. qp10qp 23:19, 1 April 2007 (UTC)
Neutral votes that are truly neutral won't be counted unless the numbers are on a knife's edge, as with RfAs. Therefore, the percentages to look at is the percentage of supports/opposes to total of supports and opposes. SlimVirgin (talk) 22:25, 1 April 2007 (UTC)
Some of the neutral votes are positive, and some of the oppose indicate they've not understood the issue; it's therefore pointless to start counting, because we don't know how the person or group closing will interpret those comments. I hope people will stop speculating and just allow the poll to continue. This is only day two. SlimVirgin (talk) 22:23, 1 April 2007 (UTC)
They all need to be evaluated on their own merits. The Support/Oppose/Neutral sections are principally for our convenience. Many of the compromise/conditionals are opposes in that they say "I would support if [something that would never happen]". Some of the opposes are, if you read them carefully, qualified/compromise votes. A great number of the support comments are too. The sections do nothing but give us a ball-park estimate; they shouldn't be taken as a ballot.  :-) What they do indicate is an overwhelming "no consensus". — SMcCandlish [talk] [contrib] 01:13, 2 April 2007 (UTC)
I didn't start the thread to propose an early close, I just wanted to know how it will close when it does. It's good that we are discussing it now instead of finding ourselves bickering over a closed poll. I agree with you, Slim, that we shouldn't be counting our eggs as chickens. The ikiroid (talk·desk·Advise me) 23:58, 1 April 2007 (UTC)

We have a WP:100 either way. That's no consensus, and that's that. That means you can close it as no consensus anytime today, you can close it no consensus tomorrow, or you can wait 'till the end of the week and close it no consensus then. The numbers are already sufficiently in, and the conclusion is that there is no (longer(!) any) consensus (whatsoever).

This is the most solid "no consensus" in the history of wikipedia.

It's also quite easy to tell you why we got this result. But that's for later, when we do post-mortem.

--Kim Bruning 01:03, 2 April 2007 (UTC) Remember that for there to be a consensus, there must be no opposition. For rough consensus we can sometimes drop a couple of opinions, so that we can get on with things. But at over 100 opposes, the opposition is considerable enough that anyone would conclude that consensus is absent. We also have over 100 supports, so there is also no consensus to terminate att. So the outcome is Pure No Consensus.

We decided when it started that we would let it run until the end, because it was never a question of numbers, but of comments. We also don't know what the closing admins/Jimbo will call consensus, or consensus for what (for the merge, for the overturning of the merge, for the merge of some but not all, etc). I wish people would just let it run without interference or comment. :-) SlimVirgin (talk) 01:15, 2 April 2007 (UTC)
Consensus is objectively measurable. Today we have measured it quite thoroughly indeed. --Kim Bruning 01:16, 2 April 2007 (UTC)
We said the poll would run for seven days, and we decided at the start not to end it early so that everyone who wants to can have their say. It's not a question of numbers, but of what people say about it. SlimVirgin (talk) 01:18, 2 April 2007 (UTC)
The comments are useful because they're showing us what the state of understanding is of the content policies. We've not had an opportunity before for this amount of feedback and it's been very enlightening. SlimVirgin (talk) 01:20, 2 April 2007 (UTC)
Oh----kay, if you say so. But that's orthogonal to the point I was trying to make.
Right about now, it would probably be a good idea to actually inform people that the case is that there's definitely no consensus today, but that we're still interested in comments now, fwiw. -) --Kim Bruning 01:51, 2 April 2007 (UTC)
That's senseless. You don't announce the results while still gathering comments. And we've all just decided Kim, Tim, or Slim are not in a position to have the last word anyway. Marskell 06:57, 2 April 2007 (UTC)
The outcome is what the outcome is. I can't help it! Please don't shoot the messenger here. :-/ --Kim Bruning 15:07, 2 April 2007 (UTC)
We have no idea what the outcome will be. For all we know, Jimbo will pick his favourite response of the lot and decide "this is the way forward." I'm not shooting the messanger—I'm suggesting no one is in a position to be the messanger. Marskell 15:46, 2 April 2007 (UTC)
Uh !? Well, at any rate there's no consensus for any particular outcome, if Jimbo doesn't get further involved. (that and none of this feels like Jwales' normal modus operandi... I so need to talk with him) --Kim Bruning 15:59, 2 April 2007 (UTC)

Simple closing idea, fair for all.[edit]

Recommendation for a closing committee? Five admins, five non-admins. Anyone who played a major or vocal role in developing this poll *or* ATT need not apply. Myself, Jossi, Marskell, Slim, Jayjg, WAS, El C, etc. need not or be allowed to apply. Jimbo acts on their recommendations. All work they do: in public, here, subpage. Wikipedia:Attribution/Poll/Closing- Denny 20:20, 1 April 2007 (UTC)

  • Sounds fair. How about four admins/four non-admins and a member of ArbCom? (Odd numbers reduce the likelihood of an entirely split opinion.)--LeflymanTalk 21:59, 1 April 2007 (UTC)
  • Addendum: Ultimately, I'd be fine with Jimbo or ArbCom certifying the results of the "consensus" if there is one; but I suspect there will be just as vibrant a debate about what the various community opinions actually mean. --LeflymanTalk 23:23, 1 April 2007 (UTC)
Please, not another poll about the poll about the poll. Admins, beaurocrats, and experienced editors know how to interpret poll results. Wouldn't time be better spent addressing concerns raised, and not worrying about more polls? SandyGeorgia (Talk) 20:39, 1 April 2007 (UTC)
I too fear instruction creep, though nice work all the same. We need to be prepared. The ikiroid (talk·desk·Advise me) 20:41, 1 April 2007 (UTC)

No, no, NOT a poll. Just ten new people interpret THIS result from the active poll. Jimbo decides based on the ten. - Denny 21:12, 1 April 2007 (UTC)

Well, I just think this one is funny :-) "All discourse related to this will and must be public (no email, IRC, back channel, phone, etc.). " Sure, that's how Wiki works—have you spent any time at WP:ANI lately? :-)) SandyGeorgia (Talk) 21:19, 1 April 2007 (UTC)

Jimbo doesn't need a committee of ten to make up his mind for him.

Nor, unless things change drastically, does anyone else. As of now, the |vote is 215-174-47. At least a dozen of 47 oppose merger, another dozen disendorse WP:ATT. Unless the bare yes/no ratio becomes more than 2:1, there will be little need even to discuss it: There is no WP:Consensus for this merger, so it should not happen; there is no wide agreement on WP:ATT, so it is not policy, whatever tags are on it. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 22:03, 1 April 2007 (UTC)

It'll likely be up to Jimbo to interpret it ultimately, unless the result ends up being obvious. SlimVirgin (talk) 22:18, 1 April 2007 (UTC)
How about just waiting until the time that the poll is supposed to close, and then let it be. Is there any real hurry here?Olin 22:27, 1 April 2007 (UTC)
You're right. There's been too much talk about this one way or another. It's time to relax and let the opinions roll in. :-) SlimVirgin (talk) 23:14, 1 April 2007 (UTC)

What role would the closing committee have? Just post "Closed, no consensus" at the top of the page at the end of your 7-day run or what have you. --Kim Bruning 01:54, 2 April 2007 (UTC)

That is ludicrous. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 05:14, 2 April 2007 (UTC)
It's what the outcome is going to be though. As anyone who thought about it for even a moment would have concluded before going to the trouble of having a poll, and would have had confirmed by the enormous bickering over what the poll would even include. Grace Note 05:38, 2 April 2007 (UTC)
Like Grace Note says, it's plain as day, sorry man. :-/ --Kim Bruning 15:10, 2 April 2007 (UTC)

Talk of flagging users with low edit counts.[edit]

I strongly oppose any move to flag or discount the views of users with low edit counts as has been suggested at several different points on this page. It's been mentioned above as a way of somehow tallying the results. I disagree with this on 3 principles and hope that others will see sense in my logic and offer thier support;

1. A user may have a low edit count because they, like me, submit artwork. It can take 20+ hours to draw artwork/maps etc. and only two edits (one to upload it and one to place it on a page) to actually add it to the pedia. Many of us could potentially lose our views to spellcheckers and vandalism reverters with high edit counts simply because their line of work involves heavier edit counts. Consider this as an example, a cartographer (map designer) could spend an average of 10 hours on a map. They may have only 50 edits (2 per map). That would mean they have contributed 250 hours of work to the pedia, yet their views would be flagged up to be taken with a pinch of salt. Also please consider people who do their work in a text editors and upload it in one go, they may only have 50 edits but if those 50 edits each equal one featured article their view hardly deserves to be flagged up as effectively 'inconsequential'.

2. Secondly this isn't a vote, its an opinion poll. Wikipedia isn't a bueracracy and if 499 people say merge but 500 say don't merge (as I expect is probably going to be the case one way or the other) the outcome is not going to be so straightforward and clear as to simply tally up the results, so to flag some peoples views would be senseless and a waste of time, because this isn't a voting process and enough experienced editors on either side of the river are going to add their opinions to make a consensus of opinion one way or the other apparent or (more likely) not apparent.

3. As with any WP opinion poll, everyone is entitled to an opinion. In an RfA non-admins can 'vote' for example, as they may have valuable points to add despite not being an admin themselves. It is especially poignagnt as the people most likely to encounter WP:ATT or WP:NOR, WP:V etc. are new editors, and so if they have an opinion on this new policy merge it should be heard just as loud as anyone else.

Thanks for considering this. I hope you will join my in stopping low edit counts being flagged. WikipedianProlific(Talk) 22:17, 1 April 2007 (UTC)

We'll be making a note of new accounts, particularly any created since the poll was first discussed; that's standard practise in high-profile AfDs and RfAs. It'll be up to whoever closes to decide whether to include or discount them. SlimVirgin (talk) 22:20, 1 April 2007 (UTC)
I can't really see why even that would be nessessary. This isn't a high profile AfD or RfA, it could very easily have over 1,000 votes, probably 500 either way. Thats enough people to know that even though there may be one or two sockpuppets either way, its still an accurate potrayal of how editors feel. Equally, whats to say a user hasn't been making anon edits and suddenly felt the need to join up and add their opinion. I stand by the principle that no editor has the right to decide how much another editor has contributed in the confines of an opinion poll. After all its an opinion poll and everyone is entitled to an opinion. Any discrediting of users based on edit counts is editcountitis taken to its extremes. WikipedianProlific(Talk) 22:26, 1 April 2007 (UTC)
SV is right, it is standard, and it must be done. Users can register new accounts to "stack the vote". It's not so much a matter of low edit count as it is accounts registered since the poll was announced. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 22:29, 1 April 2007 (UTC)
It is often done; but it is customary, for an important poll, to announce criteria in advance. In any case, I agree with Olin - unless matters change enormously, such measures will make no difference. There is no consensus here now, and there is unlikely to be one at 00:00 April 6. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 23:19, 1 April 2007 (UTC)

In defense of WikipedianProlific, unless the Support vs. Oppose numbers are horribly skewed one way, or there are a lot of new accounts, is this really necessary. I mean, go ahead, I suppose, but what a waste of time. Olin 22:41, 1 April 2007 (UTC) And, is that changing the rules mid-stream?Olin 22:44, 1 April 2007 (UTC)

I would also like to note that although there might be a few socks here and there, they won't affect the 1000+ votes that would likely be in place at the end of this poll.--Ed ¿Cómo estás? 23:26, 1 April 2007 (UTC)
While I think we should watch out for socks and one edit users, I feel that any registered user (with at least a few article edits) has a say in Wikipedia policy since it concerns them. If we told the newer users they couldn't have a say it wouldn't be right, it's not like you have to have 1,000 edits to have a say. Darthgriz98 01:05, 2 April 2007 (UTC)

Doesn't matter anymore, and WP:BITEs the newbies besides. So no need! :-) --Kim Bruning 01:55, 2 April 2007 (UTC)

Of course there is. New editors rarely, if ever, have a good understanding of policy, and so are unable to comment on it in a meaningful way. In addition, the risk of sockpuppets, meatpuppets, etc. is too high to ignore, which is why we take into account newness of accounts in most polls. Jayjg (talk) 02:00, 2 April 2007 (UTC)
Jayjg sd: "New editors rarely, if ever, have a good understanding of policy, and so are unable to comment on it in a meaningful way." I understand the premise but take huge issue with this (and it is an oft recurring comment used to disregard 'newbies' outright). I believe the worst thing for the policies of any organization (including WP) is when the old-timers seize dominion of 'what the policies mean'. It is the oligarchs disenfranchising the people at the benefit of the oligarchs and claiming it is for the benefit of the whole society. The worst instructor/teacher/coach is the one that forgets what it was like to be new and discounts the experience of new people. That lost perspective creates the attitude that there is only one way to do thing...the way the edit-vets say to do it. Sadly obtuse in that logic with a harmful effect on WP.
In more areas than not I have witnessed edit-vets proclaiming the newbies' input should be disregarded since they "don't know the culture" or "understand the policies" (iow, only those here for a long time understand that the vets determine when policies are followed by the letter and when to follow the spirit. The answer is simple...the alpha-edit-vet determines which way and what part of a policy is applied). It is a class that newbies will forever be excluded from and that alone is an undermining of the WP philosophy. Worse, is Groupthink, Tunnelvision, Thinking Inside the Box and every other similar cliche about myopic "always been that way" thinking prevents issues from being presented, heard, learned about and addressed or corrected.
WP must evolve in its policies and it culture simply because of the growing scope and size of the community. It will crash if the heirarchy of edit-vet vs newbies continues to permeate in the aspects of WP. This vote alone has brought out the following attitudes: Weight newbies input very, very lightly (a little more stringent than standard), discount the view/opinion of the newbies, newbies can't comment on policies in a meaningful way (by whose standard?), newbies votes should not count at all...that is just this one issue. That exclusionist attitude is rampant (albeit more subtle usually) throughout. If you really like WP, its premise and its purpose then you should be down right offended by this attitude. Newbies have a new perspective that warrants an ear and honest consideration at the minimum.
Understand that newbies may not know the history, all of the policies, etc (which also means they do not know the weasel-y ways to use them like some edit-vets do), but they do know the roadblocks they encounter and reasons that are pushing them from wanting to continue assisting. Don't bite the newbies...they are the people and know what the people want better than the oligarchs could know. -- Tony 21:16, 3 April 2007 (UTC)
Sockpuppets and meatpuppets won't influence the outcome much, today. --Kim Bruning 02:35, 2 April 2007 (UTC)
Kim Bruning, if this is a vote then which side has a majority is important. If this is a discussion then letting the discussion run for seven days is important. In no case does it make sense to say there are 100 or more !votes on either side so everyone should shut up and go away. WAS 4.250 03:38, 2 April 2007 (UTC)
I didn't see Kim say any such thing. Anyway, this isn't a vote like one has for a ballot measure or election. It is a straw poll to gauge relative support level (which has already been gauged quite well), and a request for comments, which have already expressed adequately all that they are likely to express, and in the rough ratios they are likely to be expressed whether the poll is closed today or in a month. No one's going to keel over and die if the poll runs full-length, but why bother? Who is actually going to read 1000 comments, or would want to when they'll ultimately say the same thing as 350 comments? — SMcCandlish [talk] [contrib] 04:03, 2 April 2007 (UTC)
We said we'd run it for seven days so that's what we must do. We want to see how much support there is, and what people say. It was never a question of numbers alone, ever. I can't understand why people are even considering trying to stop this. It would be a very bad end to what has been the worst bickerfest I think I've ever seen. Let's at least try to end it on a positive, constructive, collaborative note. SlimVirgin (talk) 04:09, 2 April 2007 (UTC)
I don't see anything negative, non/de/anti/whatever-constructive, or anti-collaborative about not wasting people's time, and getting on with analyzing the results, which are clearly in stable ratios already, and deciding together what to do next. It's an efficiency argument, nothing more. Again, I don't feel very strongly about this, I just want the reasoning understood. Let it run all week if that's what people want, but you'll hear me yawning all the way across the Atlantic.  :-) — SMcCandlish [talk] [contrib] 04:14, 2 April 2007 (UTC)
The whole point to this being a structured discussion and not just a poll or vote is that people can contribute more than just "yes" or "no" so what peope have to say over the next five days can be more than just yeses and noes but can provide actual insight and illumination into how we word policy. We want peple to speak their minds. I think it is terrible to suggest that the next five days can only be a carbon copy of the first two days. The point of discussion is to build on prior statements. When you structure the effort to preclude original thinking you turn discussion into a mere vote ... which is evil as we all know. WAS 4.250 04:28, 2 April 2007 (UTC)
Whatever you say. I don't see anything novel or synchretic about what has been posted today vs. yesterday. The poll is not a discussion. The Community discussion page is a discussion. The poll is a straw poll and a request for comments (that specifically discourages discussion on the poll page.) So I don't really see what your point is. I believe that discussion building on prior statements will certainly happen at the community discussion page, as it already has been. As I've already said, I don't consider the poll length to be an issue of particular importance, so I'm not going to argue about it any further. — SMcCandlish [talk] [contrib] 04:33, 2 April 2007 (UTC)
People are refering to prior comments on the page itself and further comments (discussion) are on this talk page. Are we not discussing right now as part of this structured discussion? WAS 4.250 04:48, 2 April 2007 (UTC)

If you wanted discussion, what teh hot hell are we having a vote for? Grace Note 05:40, 2 April 2007 (UTC)

Attempts to close this poll early?[edit]

There is no need to rush. There are still 4 days to go. Let the poll continue unencumbered. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 03:54, 2 April 2007 (UTC)

Neutral on the matter myself. I agree with Kim Bruning's rationale that the end result will necessarily be no consensus, and don't feel that the incoming additions are actually providing any reasoning that has not already been entered by previous voters. But I don't see any great evil in letting it continue, or anything. Just seems like a bit of a time-waste. — SMcCandlish [talk] [contrib] 03:58, 2 April 2007 (UTC)
PS: I think it would be a lot more productive to analyze the results so far and then figure out the next step (which may be another, different poll; previous policy processes of something like this nature have taken several straw polls to help guide them to consensus). — SMcCandlish [talk] [contrib] 04:06, 2 April 2007 (UTC)
What we do after this will probably be decided by Jimbo, the ArbCom, or whoever else he wants to involve. This process has been horrendous, and there's no way it should be allowed to continue into other poll. At some point we need to get back to writing an encyclopedia. SlimVirgin (talk) 04:11, 2 April 2007 (UTC)
That sounds like a good reason for closing the poll early and moving on. >;-) But, eh, I really honestly don't care. — SMcCandlish [talk] [contrib] 04:15, 2 April 2007 (UTC)
People are commenting on many different aspacts of ATT. It would not surprise me if there was a consensus for a merge that used Verify's wording on "truth" and a majority for merging RS but yet no clear data on distinguishing between "verify" and "no original research" as many clearly want the terms seperate while many feel they are two sides to one coin. WAS 4.250 04:41, 2 April 2007 (UTC)
Fine. If someone actually has a rationale other that "just because" for continuing the poll (and that sounds like one, whether I personally agree with it or not; I remain neutral on that as well for now), then be my guest. — SMcCandlish [talk] [contrib] 05:34, 2 April 2007 (UTC)

The poll was a announced widely and that includes the closing date of April 6. No going back from that. Leave it alone till then and let's go back to editing articles, shall we? ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 05:10, 2 April 2007 (UTC)

Many of us never stopped. :-) — SMcCandlish [talk] [contrib] 05:34, 2 April 2007 (UTC)
This probably doesn't need to be said, since everyone above seems to agree, but ... in six months' time it won't matter if "back then" we sat around wasting four days waiting for the poll's scheduled time to run out. In six months' time it might well matter - indeed, there might still be raging wars - if someone thinks that the process was foreclosed prematurely "back then". So, everyone please just be patient for a few days. :) Metamagician3000 06:42, 2 April 2007 (UTC)

A summary of salient points, table-style[edit]

Support arguments Oppose arguments
Sourcing is one issue V, OR, (RS) are separate issues
There is no change in policy There is change in policy
One page is easier to understand ATT encompasses too much ("cumbersome")
It's better for newcomers It's better to cite one page or the other
Stuff about RS here.
KISS; we have too many policies One page is easier to ignore
All three aspects are important
Process was ignored (voting is evil)
These policies have been successfully separate for a long time
Attribution vs. truth
Neutral point of View and No Original Research are better names than Atrribution; merely citing them makes the point.

(Disclaimer: I did not look at ALL the comments; only the first hundred on each side. Also, I make no claim of being a neutral party; I'm just trying to make sense of the whole conversation. If your argument isn't listed up here I didn't see it or considered it part of a larger argument (a few opposes based on ATT being less understandable I consider part of the "cumbersome" argument). If I'm wrong, trout me)

I'm actually a little surprised at it. Nifboy 05:48, 2 April 2007 (UTC)

The biggest positive is that "attributability" is actually the criterion we use, not "verifiability". We are not aiming at the truth but at beliefs about what the truth is. At an absolute minimum, WP:Verifiability needs rephrasing and renaming. Grace Note 06:13, 2 April 2007 (UTC)

In re "better for newcomers"/"better to cite specific page"--I think that needs to be more specific. What I noticed people saying was "better for newcomers"/"worse for newcomers", the specific reason being that it's better to site a specific page, it's easier to site a specific page, it's easier to pay attention to etc. And that this applied not only to newcomers, but especially to newcomers. I was personally, by the way one of the people who thought the opposite, that it was worse to have it in one page--for myself, for referencing others, for others (newcomers, whomever) understanding.
I think what you got with part of the table but didn't with part, and what you didn't entirely get at, is that there's a major break down, one opinion thinks it's easier to understand, due to x, y, and z and the other thinks it's harder due to x, y, and z. We may have been citing the particulars to support our statments, but the problem is that if you ask a person who supports it why it's good, and ask someone against it why it's bad, their statements, sans specifics are basically opposing statments straight down the line, issue for issue. Better/worse on each issue. I think a table breakdown is good, but it's slightly more complicated than the way you presented it here, and that doesn't get into the mud slinging. Miss Mondegreen | Talk   06:27, 2 April 2007 (UTC)
I have not yet begun to try and comprehend all this in a sane manner (I certainly glossed over the issue of RS). It moderately reminds me of the arguments that surface when merging, for example, an author and his book (this is certainly not the first time I heard "distinct concepts, different articles"). It's not so much a vital decision as it is a hefty stylistic preference (and good luck reconciling THAT). Nifboy 13:00, 2 April 2007 (UTC)

One of my biggest beefs isn't in the chart: in addition to the argument over whether policy changed, we have the issue of perception of a policy change. In spite of the crafters' intent, attributable but not attributed can be misinterpreted by "experts" and others who want to avoid citing content. Further, I'm kinda glad the poll is still running, as I'm still learning from comments, such as the person who posted this blog entry, which sorta/kinda expresses similar concerns to mine. My most serious reservations are in the emphasis on the wording of attributable but not attributed over verifiable, because it can be misinterpreted. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 14:59, 2 April 2007 (UTC)

That's a very good blog post, indeed. He has really got all the facts right, and even likes the name attribution, but has a different view of the role of NOR. I think all ATT supporters should read his post, it is well argued. SandyGeorgia's biggest beef, however, is in my opinion slightly under-cooked :) "Experts" will need to provide attribution for anything that is challenged or likely to be challenged just like anyone else, saying "oh it is attributable, but not attributed", won't help them. Ironically, while they could WP:VERIFY that ATT says "attributable but not attributed", it is however a false attribution because the "expert" is quoting out of context, something that happens a lot on Wikipedia. People merely verify that the text is in there and don't care much for fair and scholarly attribution. --Merzul 16:38, 2 April 2007 (UTC)
Won't help them? Not so. The argument has been successfully used already. I advocate we keep the emphasis on the semantic difference of verifiable, which means we assume any reader can verify that our content is published by a reliable source, without opening the door to what can remain unattributed. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 18:31, 2 April 2007 (UTC)
Is it still successful? Where? Post a talk page and that statement is very "likely to be challenged"! ;) I would also be very interested in seeing how it has been applied. --Merzul 20:10, 2 April 2007 (UTC)

breakdown? -- in re the closing committee idea[edit]

I don't think that a closing committee can determine the outcome of this, it's officially for Jimbo to decide, since basically he was the one who wanted this poll. But, I would like to see a breakdown. The votes have to be gone through anyway, people commented in more than one place, etc, but I'd really like to know some things about the votes and opinions--how many people voting each way had had any prior involvement in the project for example.

Unlike other users here, I don't particularly think that # of edits is, or # of recent edits, or # of recent article edits is a relevant qualifier or tells anything about the results, but I do think that other things are relevant when reading the results--not to discount votes, but to understand them. I'd like to see stats of the results in terms of how many users had made any contribution to ATT, or the other policy articles in question, or if they had major involvement with the creation of ATT, or whether they're an admin--these are just off the top of my head, but could create a list of relevant qualifiers, of things you'd want to know in terms of reading these statistics, and this closing comittee could go through, and look at the votes and provide these stats, and give us other helpful information, like what the biggest issues were.

This was supposed to be a poll to find out how the general wiki community felt. For example, if the majority of the users for or against the poll had a major involvement with the article, that tells us something. If the number one thing users who voted against ATT mentioned was that they didn't like the poll, or thought there was no consensus in the article, then we know that they might be voting based on emotions and haven't really looked at the articles. In that case, an ATT proposal might fare much better down the line when everyone on both sides could agree that their was consensus and users weren't scared away from editing etc. If they mention things that they like or don't like specifically--then we have an idea of what to do. A lot of users proposed ideas, or made suggestions about where to go from here. Maybe there's some sort of consensus in that, or at least something for good talk page discussion to get moving forward.

Just tagging the poll with the results and being done with it is foolish. There's a wealth of data there that hundreds of wiki users have gone to the trouble of providing, and given the enormous amount of time spent trying to get this article up as policy, and the time just spent trying to get this poll off the ground, it would be not only foolish to not take advantage of it, it would be a serious waste of everyone's time. What's the point in the community providing opinions if this is being treated like a raise-your-hands-and -tally vote? Miss Mondegreen | Talk   06:45, 2 April 2007 (UTC)

I totally agree. Especially because, although the meaning of a "Support" vote is quite clear, the meaning of an "Oppose" vote is not. Does this mean the voter prefers the status quo? If so, which status quo? The status quo of six months ago when there wasn't any ATT page at all?
Also, I would love to see if votes by "newbies", votes by experienced editors who weren't involved in the ATT project, and votes by editors who were involved in the ATT project line up differently. As I mentioned elsewhere, I am bothered by the claim -- asserted here -- that 300 editors worked on the ATT project. If that's true, why weren't there 300 Support votes on the first day? Either these 300 are mythical, or some of them turned against the project after working on it. I'd love to learn why. — Lawrence King (talk) 06:20, 4 April 2007 (UTC)

New user opinions are important--discounting is WP:BITE (reply to Jayjg)[edit]

ref: #Talk of flagging users with low edit counts

"New editors rarely, if ever, have a good understanding of policy, and so are unable to comment on it in a meaningful way.

Are you kidding Jayjg? I sometimes wonder why we have policies like WP:BITE when I see any new user who manages to find their way to AIN crucified instantly--they must be something suspcious, how could they know?

A new editor, makes a mistake, or gets a welcome message on their talk page and so they are pointed to WP:V, or WP:NOR and they find out about this poll. You think that new editors aren't capable of spending hours reading the old policy pages and the new policy pages and the poll page and voting? You think that they aren't capable of realizing that if this is one of the first things that they are pointed to, and it could be changed, they might want to pay attention? Or maybe, they became Wikipedians because they were outright curious. The click click disease. How are they any different from us? We came first, we came earlier and have some claim that they do not? You can't judge an opinion on it's merit anyway, it's an opinion. Why aren't we clammoring to throw out the opinions from the people who clearly didn't read the policies-who admitted as such, or who disregarded major things? Because we would have to drawn the line somewhere and we have no place to draw it, except at the cold hard facts of when a user created an account and how many edits they have. Even though you can see nothing of a user from those facts.

We're commenting right and left about how such and such is or isn't easier for newbies to understand. Why don't we listen to them instead? Oh, because they can't possibly have a good understand of policy or comment on it in a meaningful way. If that's true, then the whole arguement about what is and isn't easier for newbies to understand is bull, because by definition, newbies can't understand, and they can't even comment meaningfully of what they do or don't understand.

This poll needs newbies, because these are the policy pages we send newbies to. We send them to NOR and V and RS, and some editors have started sending them to ATT. During the time that this poll was and is going on, new users have been sent to these pages in droves and will continue to be. The more involved ones will end up here. We should be welcomming them, asking them, begging them for their opinions, instead of once again disregarding them as the lower class of Wikipedia. We cannot claim that these pages are for newbies, and be unwilling to listen to them. If we do, then these pages are not really for newbies, but for us, so that we can lecture and prescribe and prosthelytize without caring whether or not they understand or agree.

Also, this poll never says that users must have had a certain number of edits before the opening of the poll, or must be a -------- old. No requirements were placed beforehand, which means that discounting these opinions, especially since this is an OPINION POLL and NOT A VOTE, seems to me to be a serious violation of WP:BITE. New accounts that seem suspect in some other manner should be looked at in re various puppetries, but if they are not suspect for some other clearly definable reason, then punishing these accounts (for showing up here) in any way, including by ignoring their opinions here would be at least a violation of WP:BITE. Miss Mondegreen | Talk   08:18, 2 April 2007 (UTC)

Anyone who started an account after the poll started should have their comment flagged. End of story. It doesn't mean we need to ignore their comment; it's basic common sense. I removed two comments from the support section last night and started a SOCK report. I only noticed because they were red-linked. All the comments need to be checked. Marskell 08:27, 2 April 2007 (UTC)
WAIT A MINUTE! You've removed people's comments? That's completely inappropriate. Well, at least you told us, so they can be put back in.zadignose 10:39, 2 April 2007 (UTC)
Miss Mondegreen, even if you were correct that the NOR / V / RS / ATT pages were entirely "for newbies", it hardly follows that newbies should be voting on their content. Should college students vote on the content of college textbooks? I agree with you up to a point: it is very valuable for newbies to comment on whether these pages are understandable and clear. But that's not the same as having them alter their fundamental content. Should newbies be allowed to fundamentally alter the meaning of NPOV?
Moreover, I don't think it's really true that these pages are "for newbies". NPOV is a simple concept, although difficult to do in practice. But NOR is a very complicated concept. The article Anti-Masonic Party contains the sentence "The highest elected office ever held by a member of the party was that of a governor." How did the editor know this? If he or she found it in a book, then it's attributable. But if he or she discovered this fact by perusing a list of elected officials in American history, that would be original research.
So I submit that the fact that OR can be found in a huge fraction of Wikipedia articles proves that the NOR policy confounds and confuses even the most senior Wikipedians. Ergo, the debate about merging NOR into ATT is not just a newbie-related issue. — Lawrence King (talk) 08:40, 2 April 2007 (UTC)
I didn't say that these pages were just for newbies. But I'm concerned that a large section of people's openions etc. have been focused on these pages in terms of newbie usability, which quite frankely newbies should be commenting on.

While newbies may not be able to comment from experience about the details of policy, they are certainly capable of understanding it and arguing for or against something--only other users will take these comments with a grain of salt. Likewise, comments on how newbies will approach these pages should be taken with a very large grain of salt coming from non-newbies. I saw a lot of comments saying, "this will be better/worse for newbies", as though they had some data or insights on how newbies would deal, instead of speaking from their own experience. For the record, I commented on newbies being able to deal with ATT because I personally found ATT more confusing than the previous policies, and assumed that that wouldn't differ much with experience, especially less experience. I firmly believe that we should talk about what we know, and not automatically assume that newbies don't.

In re textbooks--students and professors do get consulted about textbooks. Students fill out professor evaluations. Think about all of the places where you are asked for or can offer your opinion. In re textbooks, professors can comment on their experience, and on differing student scores/student responses that they recieved, but past that, the student experience can be gotten from students, not teachers.

Also, the difference between recently created accounts and older accounts isn't the difference between student and professor. The range of knowledge, experience and everything else between these editors doesn't fall along account creation lines, but life experience, IQ and a million other things.

I'm not saying I have a problem with marking new editor comments as such--it's simply an additional piece of information to have when looking at the poll. But I do have an issue if that is the only marking of new editor comments that is going to be done. For starters, I would personally find it much more helpful if all of the users who had been involved in ATT were marked--it's data that's harder for me to quickly check, and data that in my opinion means something.

Only marking new editor votes/opinions does imply something about their validity, whereas if x, y, and z are marked, it becomes simply marking to provide additional data (to be interpreted by user), and presenting data as ____ yes, _______ no, _______ new editors voted, _________ editors involved in the project voted, etc is really providing people additional data to help understand the overall results, especially in terms of participation. Miss Mondegreen | Talk   10:08, 2 April 2007 (UTC)
It should imply something about their validity: de facto very new users don't understand policy application as well as experienced users. And very very new users may be sockpuppets. This is nothing new—it happens at RfA and AfD all the time.
What will marking ATT contributors prove beyond the obvious fact that most of them are likely to support? We could just as easily mark people who didn't contribute in order to suggest they don't understand the page as well. Marskell 10:16, 2 April 2007 (UTC)
Well, that's part of the point, to the extent of looking at percentages really. The poll is to get opinions from the community because the community wasn't involved in ATT. If the final numbers are 1000 voting either way, but 600 of the Yes votes had at least one ATT touch, and 100 of the No votes had at least one ATT touch, then the community that wasn't aware of ATT, that wasn't involved voted 400-900. To the extent of individual voting, we can see how people who were a part of the process perceived the process to have worked, and what they think of the end product.
If you mark everyone who did contribute, by default, you've marked everyone who hasn't, and if you need to have contributed to a page to understand it, then the page fails in entirety. 300 people is it contributed to the page, but that page would be used by the entire Wikipedia community. If only the 300 who contributed understand it, we need a different page for the rest of the community--those 300 can go on using it, that's fine, but the rest of the community needs something else. We write for readers, not writers. Keep that in mind.
Also, contributers to ATT is not the only thing I'm interested in. See #breakdown? -- in re the closing committee idea Miss Mondegreen | Talk   11:22, 3 April 2007 (UTC)
Miss M -- I see your point, and I agree with you that we mustn't ignore newbies. Here's an idea: This vote should be tallied, and then three separate vote counts should be publicized: The vote among newbies, the vote among experienced editors who weren't part of the ATT project, and the vote among the editors who were part of the ATT project. (It has been asserted that 300 editors worked on this project, but if that's true it seems odd that there weren't 300 Support votes on the first day!) — Lawrence King (talk) 21:54, 2 April 2007 (UTC)
You may be interested in reading my comment #breakdown? -- in re the closing committee idea. I think in particular the ATT breakdown of votes is really important--this opinion poll is to find out how the rest of the community feels. But, since vote tagging is going to be done, I think that only tagging newbie votes is WP:BITE, and I think that I'd gain a lot from being able to know if the person voting was a newbie or involved in ATT or an admin. I really don't understand the bizarre focus on newbies, especially here, at a poll so many newbies are going to find. Miss Mondegreen | Talk   11:22, 3 April 2007 (UTC)



Anyone who started an account after the poll started should have their comment flagged. End of story. It doesn't mean we need to ignore their comment; it's basic common sense. I removed two comments from the support section last night and started a SOCK report. I only noticed because they were red-linked. All the comments need to be checked. Marskell 08:27, 2 April 2007 (UTC)

WAIT A MINUTE! You've removed people's comments? That's completely inappropriate. Well, at least you told us, so they can be put back in.zadignose 10:39, 2 April 2007 (UTC)
I removed FunnyMunny (talk · contribs) and UnderTrade (talk · contribs). The former supported with his second ever edit, and the latter with his first ever edit five minutes later. It was not completely inappropriate. The suspected sock report can be found here. Marskell 10:48, 2 April 2007 (UTC)
I have removed again. Another person can review. First, they were the only red-linked editors to show up on this poll, and they did so one after another in the same section. Second, the only other edit that FunnyMunny had made prior was to inquire on the Help Desk about how many "hemmeroids" it is possible to have. There was obvious grounds for suspicion. Marskell 10:53, 2 April 2007 (UTC)

"Grounds for Suspicion" does not justify taking it upon yourself to unilaterally edit out other people's comments. You are corrupting the process, in the middle of a highly contentious dispute.zadignose 10:58, 2 April 2007 (UTC)

Generally, "flagging" the comments of new users, considering them of less value, discounting them, and especially editing them out are clearly against the spirit of Wikipedia, and seem to ignore that the purpose of a poll is to guage opinion. Saying "end of story" isn't a great justification for sabotaging a poll by aggressive edits and biased assertions.zadignose 10:58, 2 April 2007 (UTC)

Sigh. Please, everybody, just let the poll run. All of the analysis of who was a new user, who was a sock puppet, who put put good arguments ... whatever... can wait for a few days. That information won't disappear. It will be there to be analysed by whoever closes the poll, and their attention can be drawn to it if needed. There are plenty of people who are experienced with taking all this into account, but the thing to do now we've come so far is just let the data come in without any appearance of tampering with it. I suggest we go and edit some articles for a few days or do whatever we do in real life. Metamagician3000 11:12, 2 April 2007 (UTC)
I certainly hope that the information won't disappear. Though at least a bit of it has. Does anyone else favor putting back in the two removed comments? That is, the two that we know of recently? As I pointed out before, I'm opposed to the merge, but don't favor removing comments that disagree with my view, because it doesn't seem to serve the interests of fair play.zadignose 12:01, 2 April 2007 (UTC)

Please, noone remove people's comments. If you feel inclined to do so, then a block until the poll closes may be in order. --bainer (talk) 12:15, 2 April 2007 (UTC)

Scratch that, will be in order. --bainer (talk) 12:17, 2 April 2007 (UTC)
Please avoid making threats. If you'd like to place them back in, place them back in. Marskell 12:30, 2 April 2007 (UTC)
I have done so, with my initial flags. If you have any other comments on the two users you can post to the suspected sock report, linked above. Marskell 12:37, 2 April 2007 (UTC)
I agree that we should be concerned about sockpuppets, and puppet votes should indeed be checked and removed no matter how they voted. However, we should not remove any thing based on suspicion... We must have confirmation that a vote is indeed a puppet vote before removal. As for Newbies ... I don't see any reason to deny them a voice in this. When the Poll is over, I would love to see some statistical data on the results - what percent for or against were new editors, old editors, admins, etc. Blueboar 12:56, 2 April 2007 (UTC)

Guys, only thing that should be removed are comments threaded. We can flag new accounts... but nothing should be removed. Just change the *'s to #'s, tag ultra new accounts that snuck past the sprotection, and thats it. Oh, and use the unsigned template for those like I just did. - Denny 13:18, 2 April 2007 (UTC)

That sounds reasonable. Really, the less we do the better. Let it run, and I hope whoever closes it does so after plenty of discussion, analysis, and deliberation. Metamagician3000 13:41, 2 April 2007 (UTC)

There's also the issue of "sleeper accounts". I'm certain I saw an Oppose last night from an account that had six edits back in November, and then about 50 edits since the poll was announced. Hard to know how to interpret those, considering AGF. I thought it was red-linked at the time, but it may have changed, so I doubt I can find it again. Anyway, since the "poll" isn't a "vote" or "tally", I suppose it doesn't much matter; the comments have been instructive. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 15:04, 2 April 2007 (UTC)

Please monitor edits - some statements accidentally removed[edit]

I caught this and then fixed it over the next 3 edits. I really, really hope no one missed anything like this along the way... should the closers (multiple) audit afterwards? :( - Denny 16:04, 2 April 2007 (UTC)

Yeah, that's normal. The database is not robust under simultaneous edits, so sometimes one gets overwritten by the next (the diff hides this because they both start with "Support"). So yes, someone will have to go through all the diffs by hand to restore the deleted comments. CMummert · talk 17:17, 2 April 2007 (UTC)
Yep. Just to make sure no one thinks Spangineer (a serious editor) did that; it happened to me once before on AN/I, was quite embarrassing, as another editor accused me of removing his comments. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 17:23, 2 April 2007 (UTC)
Yeah, looked like a total accident. Just wanted to call it out to see if someone should audit to check for 'lost' entries. Is that worthwhile? - Denny 17:25, 2 April 2007 (UTC)
That's interesting--I had the edit window open for awhile, but before I posted I hit refresh, copy/pasted in my comment, and then clicked save. The contents of the edit box didn't change when I hit refresh, and I didn't get an edit conflict message, so I assumed that by some random chance no one added a support in the 50 minutes between my vote and the one that appeared above mine. Is there another way to check other than looking at the history? Would purging (instead of refresh) do the trick? Anyway, sorry for the trouble. --Spangineerws (háblame) 18:27, 2 April 2007 (UTC)
Yes, doing a cache purge is necessary depending on the browser you have. You can usually see the deletion from the "Show changes" button before you save; this compares your version with the latest version on the server. CMummert · talk 11:35, 3 April 2007 (UTC)

Day by day process (just something interesting) RUNNING COUNT BY DAY[edit]

Starting this simply for the 'interesting' factor, for those curious to watch this as it unfolds and see how many people actually contribute each day and how. Whens the last time this many people saw/got directed to one thing on Wikipedia to contribute? Ever? Basing this on the diff/version of the FIRST edit after that day's 00:00 UST passes by. - Denny 16:21, 2 April 2007 (UTC)

Day aggregate total daily increase total users percentages at close incl neutral/qualified/compromise/other percentages at close excl neutral/qualified/compromise/other
1 Saturday (3/30 to 4/1) 138 / 121 / 32 +138 +121 +32 / +291 291 47.4% / 41.6% / 11.0% 53.3% / 46.7%
2 Sunday (4/1 to 4/2) 224 / 174 / 49 +86 +53 +17 / +156 447 50.1% / 38.9% / 11.0% 56.3% / 43.7%
3 Monday (4/2 to 4/3) 281 / 219 / 60 +57 +45 +11 / +113 560 50.2% / 39.1% / 10.7% 56.2% / 43.8%
4 Tuesday (4/3 to 4/4) 330 / 262 / 71 +49 +43 +11 / +102 663 49.8% / 39.5% / 10.7% 55.7% / 44.3%
5 Wednesday (4/4 to 4/5) 356 / 298 / 83 +26 +36 +12 / +74 737 48.3% / 40.4% / 11.3% 54.4% / 45.6%
6 Thursday (4/5 to 4/6) 391 / 329 / 89 +35 +31 +6 / +72 809 48.3% / 40.7% / 11.0% 54.3% / 45.7%
7 Friday (final survey 'stats')

Actually, the fascinating thing is, unless one "group" gets a sudden consciousness, statistically speaking, it shouldn't change much, by the central limit theorem.Olin

There appears to have been a significant change in who was conscious yesterday. The support votes were only 35% and significantly trailed the oppose votes for the first time, unless my math is wrong. Dekimasuよ! 04:31, 5 April 2007 (UTC)

As for votes/polls that got a lot of input, see WP:200. The Main Page redesign vote had nearly 1000 participants, I believe, and some of the Wikipedia elections have had even larger numbers, and Wikimedia elections (involving editors in projects worldwide) have had even larger numbers. One day someone will write all this down properly... I'm rather shell-shocked to realise that I forgot all about this poll, and only rediscovered it when I stumbled across the MfD. Must pay more attention! Carcharoth 22:30, 2 April 2007 (UTC)

Unfortunately, this chart doesn't include votes that were cast by someone but then deleted by someone else. For example, these two votes: [15]. They were probably sock puppets, but I would think that puppets should be deleted after the poll is complete, not at the whim of individuals who think they are probably puppets. — Lawrence King (talk) 22:37, 2 April 2007 (UTC)
Good Christ, I put those votes back in. Read up. Marskell 09:29, 3 April 2007 (UTC)
My apologies! I was unfair to you, especially in the snide wording of my comment. Sorry about this. — Lawrence King (talk) 22:46, 3 April 2007 (UTC)
I disagree I think that deleting right away gives the people the time to respond to the deletion if they are not sockpuppets. Also, the people involved have done a great job of using the watchlist to promote it so the big response is no surprise. On the central limit theorem, I have to ask (rhetorically) why scientific polling is used instead of straw polling? A weak convergence theorem should not take precedence over important variables in practical polling as opposed to theoretical polling. A possible variable being that angry disenters are more driven to action than content defendents and thus vote earlier. It should however take away systematic advantages if we keep this poll open long enough.--Jorfer 23:06, 2 April 2007 (UTC)

Just FYI, my posting this is no bearing on much of anything. It was just a barely scientific idea to look at how (the biggest ever?) poll here unfolds a bit. - Denny 23:08, 2 April 2007 (UTC)

I would suggest you put it in your own userspace, then. Although people can obviously see how many support what when they go to vote, but this kind of stuff just gives the impression that a conclusion has already been reached. If we can, lets reduce focus on such numbers until people are done voting. -- Ned Scott 01:09, 3 April 2007 (UTC)

Refactoring note: I changed the headings to say "neutral/qualified/compromise/other", as in the poll, rather than "neutral". [16]Armed Blowfish (mail) 04:03, 6 April 2007 (UTC), 04:05, 6 April 2007 (UTC)


Can we sub-section the headings at each 100 for ease of editing? SandyGeorgia (Talk) 17:29, 2 April 2007 (UTC)

Never mind; that would probably break the counter. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 17:30, 2 April 2007 (UTC)
It would. - Denny 17:43, 2 April 2007 (UTC)

hmmm ... someone just sub-sectioned the neutrals, and it worked. But I think subs at 50 is too clunky. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 18:40, 2 April 2007 (UTC)

The code underneath was way too complex but clever... I undid it. It's working fine so far. - Denny 18:53, 2 April 2007 (UTC)

The problem with Wikipedia[edit]

And here with have a classic case of the problem with Wikipedia. There's no need for this policy clarification to even be discussed: combining these mutually overlapping policies into one clear statement should have been done years ago. There is no credible argument against it. But because Wikipedia has no competent editorial oversight, you get the hoi polloi all clamoring to be heard and tossing in their opinion just because they can. It's absurd. -- BBlackmoor (talk) • 2007-04-02 22:13Z

It's soul-destroying, but it's the nature of the beast, unfortunately. SlimVirgin (talk) 23:18, 2 April 2007 (UTC)
My dictionary defines "credible" as "able to be believed". I myself believe several of the arguments against it. This proves that these arguments are credible. Q.E.D. — Lawrence King (talk) 22:20, 2 April 2007 (UTC)
Much of a do about nothing. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 23:23, 2 April 2007 (UTC)
The funny thing is, those who were tidying up the encyclopedia before, and doing most of the improvement of the content, are still doing just that, despite this large community discussion over a matter of style (to merge or not to merge). Really, this goes to the heart of how to enculturate newcomers to the encyclopedia. How to teach people, and in particular those who don't know already, what encyclopedias in general find acceptable, and what Wikipedia specifically finds acceptable, as regards sources, verifiability, fact checking, etc. The real problem with Wikipedia is that minority views on how to write an encyclopedia can get a traction if not kept in check. A lot of people out there follow the herd. If they see things being done a particular way, they will copy it. Spreading good practice is great, but avoiding the spread of bad practice is just as important. The point raised a long way above about some active editors missing the point about "truth" and "verifiability" is a case in point. Somewhere along the line they got the wrong impression. The layout and structure of the policy pages, and more importantly the day-to-day interaction among editors, is a vital part of the enculturation process that makes sure we are all on the same page, and that we all 'get' the core policies. Carcharoth 00:28, 3 April 2007 (UTC)
Could not agree more, Carcharoth. This discussion has been an eye opener for me in that regard (and hope that for others as well). No matter how much we assume that our core policies are understood, the fact is that they aren't. So if anything, our policies need to be clarified in a active manner. Writing a policy and assuming that everybody understands it and applies it consistently is another matter altogether. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 00:33, 3 April 2007 (UTC)
It has certainly been an eye-opener regarding how many people misunderstand the policies. SlimVirgin (talk) 02:08, 3 April 2007 (UTC)
It's to be expected, I'm afraid. Back when I joined Wikipedia in 2003 the community was small enough to get agreement on things like this without too much trouble. We're orders of magnitude bigger now but our governance hasn't kept pace. Imagine how difficult it would be to get any legislation through Congress if you had to consult 300 million people! I'm seriously thinking we need to delegate this sort of decision-making - elect a council (WikiParliament?) of experienced users to take such decisions on the community's behalf. -- ChrisO 02:18, 3 April 2007 (UTC)
These things are normally self-selecting, in that the people who are interested in a certain policy tend to edit it, which means they learn about it, which means they learn how to express it better, and so on. The thing that made this different is that Jimbo turned up and asked for a poll, and that means people who have literally no idea (no disrespect, but I'm sorry, it's true) have turned up with opinions. In a way it's good, because it does show what we've been saying all along — that people are confused by NOR and V, the latter in particular. SlimVirgin (talk) 02:22, 3 April 2007 (UTC)
Self-selection only works up to a point, I think. It's actually still going on - nobody has been forced to vote on the poll because of Jimbo's intervention. The influx of new voters is due to people becoming interested in a policy they've taken for granted (and misunderstood!). The problem is that many people are voting on something that they don't understand or are doing so for political reasons. I've seen the same thing happen on many AfDs where people vote their POV rather than on the basis of actual policies. This is just a bigger example of the same thing. -- ChrisO 02:41, 3 April 2007 (UTC)

The real problem with Wikipedia is that minority views on how to write an encyclopedia can get a traction if not kept in check. Agreed. Although it might not really be such real problem now, but it will stifle future development. I am convinced that such minority views already have traction (especially with regard to “notability”). I would blame confusion on the excessive number of creepy policies/guidelines. There are too many. But cutting back on the core policies is the wrong thing to do. I would like to cut any rescriptive policy/guideline that even seems to conflict with WP:5P. SmokeyJoe 01:46, 3 April 2007 (UTC)

The minority views are just as important as the majority views. The minority represents a dissent in consensus. Shouldn't their concerns be heard as well?--Ed ¿Cómo estás? 02:22, 3 April 2007 (UTC)
Did I say otherwise? Absoutely, minority views are important. All views should be represented. But minorities shouldn’t be left alone to write new policies. With regards to WP:V and WP:NOR, while there are too many policies/guidelines, WP:V and WP:NOR are not the ones requiring pruning. If anything, they need expansion by the inclusion of illustrative examples. SmokeyJoe 07:13, 3 April 2007 (UTC)
You would like to cut any guideline/policy that conflicts with 5P? \o/ .That's one of the policy simplification committee's original aims we never managed to quite get around to (I'm willing to admit). How many people agree with you, do you think? --Kim Bruning 12:24, 3 April 2007 (UTC)
We're seeing interesting confirmation of how widely misun

derstood OR is. A lot of people are working with a simplistic view that leaves open all sorts of scope for OR by synthesis. Somehow we need to make clearer that the idea is not to present your own theory or narrative, even if you leave it implicit rather than joining the dots, and even if you cite all the facts on which it is based. You have to find someone who has actually joined the dots, say how they've done it, and cite that. Metamagician3000 02:30, 3 April 2007 (UTC)

And people who think that "verifiability" has something to do with truth (which the word does imply, but the policy explicitly rejects). SlimVirgin (talk) 02:34, 3 April 2007 (UTC)
I do believe that the problem with the word verifiable was pointed out at some length a while (12 months?) ago. [17] —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)
Indeed, it's been pointed out ad nauseam, which is why the change to "attribution" was much needed. It doesn't exactly make Wikipedia look good that we can't use a word correctly in the title of one of our core content policies. SlimVirgin (talk) 02:55, 3 April 2007 (UTC)
Which of course is a major factor in why Wikipedia's quality is so variable. And that's not to mention the people who simply don't accept the concept in the first place. -- ChrisO 02:41, 3 April 2007 (UTC)
I think that "attributability" does have advantages over "verifiabiity", though I'm surprised that so many people find the idea of "verifiability" so hard. It's obviously a term of art, and I think I picked up its specialised meaning fairly quickly when I started here. If the merger fails, I still think we should explore moving to the "attributability" language, rather than the "verifiability" language. I am, however, less keen on having "verifiability"/"attributability" in the same policy as NOR. For that purpose, I think "attributability" is worse, and it's even worse when the whole policy is called "attribution" - it just tends to suggest that NOR is merely a special case of attributability, or the flipside of it, i.e. NOR is just to rule out people putting in stuff that is not attributable. That is part of NOR, and where it overlaps with attributability, or verifiability, or whatever. But NOR is a very powerful concept in its own right with a different basis from verifiability/attributability. It's the powerful idea that we're not here to put forward our own "picture" of the world, as experienced or theorised by us, whether or not all the facts on which our theory is based can be cited individually. That concept really has to be understood in its own right, and of course it will often be a matter of judgment - and there are places where it's more critical than others because of BLP concerns.
I'm wondering whether we couldn't get the best of both worlds by keeping the more concise, and in some ways more clear, language of current-form-ATT, but dividing it across two documents - a new-ATT document (to replace the Verifiability policy) and a separate NOR document (with appropriate cross-references, since the two ideas do work together and have some overlap). It may be no easier to get consensus on this than on current-form-ATT - in fact it may be totally unrealistic, politically - but can anyone else see an attraction in it? Metamagician3000 05:28, 3 April 2007 (UTC)
I see what you're saying, but most of the point of ATT was to get those ideas on one page, in part so that people would be more likely to find and read it, and in part because it was felt that, in showing the close relationship of attribution to the concept of original research, we would actually help to highlight the difference — unattributed = unsourced; but unattributable = original research. Your vocabulary of us not being allowed to project our own picture of the world is very powerful and clear, but I felt we could explain that on the same page — there must be a source for that precise picture, not just sources for its individual components. It's a concept that huge numbers of editors struggle with, including experienced ones. SlimVirgin (talk) 08:07, 3 April 2007 (UTC)
I couldn't agree more with the sentiments in the last half of that. As for the first half, if I thought it would work that way, i.e. having just one page would help to highlight the difference, I'd be converted to supporting ATT strongly instead of being slightly iffy about it. Not that the change in my vote would make much difference. The way I see it, there is a lot of good work that's been done here, and a lot of good discussion has been triggered by Jimbo's actions (along with a lot of unhelpful statements and actions, of course, but that's life). ATT won't achieve consensus, but it will probably have some sort of majority support, maybe about 60:40 or more like 55:45. That should provide a mandate for thinking about what might sensibly be done with all the good work and comments so far. (All assuming no one is going to bite the bullet and declare ATT to be "home" with that sort of margin.) Metamagician3000 09:35, 3 April 2007 (UTC)
And the other reason for having it on one page was purely practical in that it would be easier to maintain and to answer questions on one talk page. SlimVirgin (talk) 08:09, 3 April 2007 (UTC)
(edit conflict) There's a lot I agree with in that (Metamagician's post). I saw some comment or other in the poll saying something like "Support, but rename it 'Verification'". I thought to myself, there's a germ of an idea in there, off-base as it was phrased. If they were to be merged, just call it Verifiability, WP:V, and redir WP:NOR to the NOR section of it. The problem with "attribution"/"attributability" is that if I invent a new theory that the Earth is trapezoidal, you can in fact attribute that theory to me. But no one anywhere is going to publish jack-squat about it, so it isn't verifiable even as a theory, much less the truth. Yes, yes, I know that ATT redefines the word attributable in-context to (attempt to? some have doubts...) be the same as what WP means by "verifiable", but that's beside the point. If anything, the many, many editors who will not read any policy in-depth if at all will mistake "verifiability" for meaning "demonstrability of truth" (i.e. a more stringent standard than we are actually applying), while the same people will mistake "attributabilty" to mean "ability to pin an originator's name on it, whether they are notable or not, whether there is any proof of this attribution or not", i.e. a less stringent standard that we are actually calling for. I think the latter spells massive trouble. This has been gnawing at me for some time, but really came into focus just now with what Metamagician said. In the minds of the average personage, material that is OR is "attributable", but it's not "verifiable". So, I don't agree particular with Metamagician's disagreement that V can subsume NOR, and instead posit that ATT can't subsume NOR with the intended effect, because of its name and terminology. Keep RS as an agument to the new-V (V+NOR), a guideline suggesting that if your sources aren't established, notability isn't established either, and your material will encounter resistance. — SMcCandlish [talk] [contrib] 08:10, 3 April 2007 (UTC)
Post-e.c. response to SV: But what if the main problem, much of the tooth gnashing, isn't really over the concept of the merge, but the fuzziness of the name? — SMcCandlish [talk] [contrib] 08:10, 3 April 2007 (UTC)
Well, it's explained clearly that we mean attributable to a reliable, published source, not just to any old person. I'm not clear how you're using the word "verify." You don't mean "attributable," but you also (I'm assuming) don't mean "to confirm as true," because that's not what we're about. You mean something in between, but I'm not quite grasping it.
I did consider other names. Wikipedia:Source was an option, as was Wikipedia:Information quality (which I liked because the shortcut could be WP:IQ, which would be appropriate. It's not so much the title that's the issue, as the core concept, and verifiability just isn't right, because we don't in fact go around confirming things as true, except in the sense that it's true that A says X, but that's attribution. SlimVirgin (talk) 08:18, 3 April 2007 (UTC)
I'm a bit befuddled by these questions, since what I said already answered them before they were asked. Hmm. The short version: I don't mean something in the middle, and am not talking about policy changes. ATT and V say the same thing (more or less). I personally don't mean anything by "verify". I'm not one of the "truth" camp; I'm simply observing the fact that they (along with the opposing "but my garage band is notable, since it was written up in the Podunk Times and my school newspaper!" and "my alien invasion theory is encyclopedic because the 50 copies of my self-published-at-Kinko's book says so" camps) exist, and factoring this into a psychological topography. My point was, given that we know that many active editors do not actually read and/or understand the policies, it is better to use a term that will be misinterpreted narrowly (verification - "Hmm, my neighbor's nutty theory hasn't actually be proven, maybe it's not 'verifiable'... [FUD]") than one that will be misinterpreted broadly (attribution - "this nutty theory can be "attributed" [not reliably, of course] to my neighbor, so it is good-to-go!") I'm talking about word meaning and interpretation, and their psychological effects on non-expert WP editors, not about what the policy really says or means. PS: I find "I did consider other names." to be rather unnerving. — SMcCandlish [talk] [contrib] 09:30, 3 April 2007 (UTC)
PS: At the very least (I haven't pored over the archives, I just ran into this one by accident) at least one other editor before me came up with the "keep the 'Verifiability' name" idea before me: Centrx did, on Feb. 18: Wikipedia talk:Attribution/Archive 13#It doesn't look to me as if there was a consensus. Credit where due. — SMcCandlish [talk] [contrib] 13:18, 3 April 2007 (UTC)
The problem is, one of the ways verifiability is misinterpreted broadens its scope: "Of course this is verifiable... here's an experiment you can perform to verify it yourself." I've seen this argument used several times. JulesH 08:11, 4 April 2007 (UTC)

Invert +/- for rest of poll[edit]

I have a theory (that anyone who knows anything about real-world polls can back) that the +/- order of the poll is skewing the results. If I'm right, then inverting the order in the poll of the Support/Oppose sections for the less-than-half of the poll remaining is only fair. If I'm wrong, then doing that inversion will have no effect whatsoever. I find it surprising that I'm being reverted on that minor twiddle, since reverting appears to imply that one supports bias in the poll, or that one is reflexively reverting simply to resist changes. I find that puzzling. — SMcCandlish [talk] [contrib] 08:21, 3 April 2007 (UTC)

Please leave the page alone. You've voted so there's no further need for you to post there, and I've voted so I similarly shouldn't have to touch it. Every day there's something being discussed about changing the order, changing the headers, closing early, or whatever. It's unseemly. SlimVirgin (talk) 08:23, 3 April 2007 (UTC)
Those arguments don't wash. If you "shouldn't have to touch it", then stop. No one is forcing to you revert anything, and you said you'd unwatchlisted this anyway. The fact that I've voted has nothing to do with whether I can and should address bias in the poll. A simple change of order is an apples and oranges comparison to altering the header text of the survey. Let's not be silly. Is there a more plausible reason for not making the poll a fair shake? What is seemly about preserving an order that either is biasing the poll, or doesn't matter at all? — SMcCandlish [talk] [contrib] 08:28, 3 April 2007 (UTC)
Once the poll has started, there can't be any changes to the questions, the form, the order, or the timetable. It must just be left alone. And if you make a change and someone reverts you, why make it again? It's pointless. If you want to discuss the substantive issues, why not stick to the thread above rather than engaging in this futile back and forth? SlimVirgin (talk) 08:32, 3 April 2007 (UTC)
Says who? Says what policy? I agree that the text of the questions can't change (or the early responses would be rendered non-responsive), and people's non-Y/N responses can't be refactored into 10 different iffy variants of "not Y/N", but I don't see anyone but you saying that the order can't change, and more than one have said that the timetable should change. You are not speaking for everyone here. Anyway, you are simply recycling the same "Every day there's something being discussed about changing the order, changing the headers, closing early, or whatever. It's unseemly." argument without adding anything new at all. Reiteration of an old argument does not make a proper response to an additional argument that refutes the old one.
Also, please keep in mind that this is not a !vote on a proposal, in which case keeping the Y vote at the top throughout might make sense (though I question even that). This poll does not advance (ostensibly) either a pro or con position; but its ordering has the effect of doing so. WP:ATT proponents effectively sabotaged the growing consensus on asking less "Yes, period!" or "No, period!" questions, so you all need to live with the fairer and more balanced version of the crop you've collectively reaped from that seed. — SMcCandlish [talk] [contrib] 08:38, 3 April 2007 (UTC)
I have been involved in what you term "the substantive issues...above". It is fallacious to suggest that no issues other than those can be substantive, or that raising other issues means that one's participation is somehow less substantive. — SMcCandlish [talk] [contrib] 08:40, 3 April 2007 (UTC)
Erm. Polls have since the beginning of time run yes/no/other and they probably will do so until the end of time. Yeah, that fuxxorz the noes but hey, tell you what, start another poll in which you are the yes, why not? People love polls here. The stupider the questions, the better. Or maybe you could just consider that if someone comes to this poll, and is swayed by the order of support and oppose into voting in a particular way, they probably should not be voting anyway! Grace Note 00:49, 5 April 2007 (UTC)
What would be one rational reason for keeping the sections in the same order throughout the poll? Each poll participant comes in to find the place to enter their comment only once. This is not a reference page where you would learn to expect a piece of information to be in the same place the next time you came to visit it. --Rednblu 08:43, 3 April 2007 (UTC)
Unless one is spending far too much time "managing" the page. — SMcCandlish [talk] [contrib] 08:48, 3 April 2007 (UTC)
Listen, there is no conversation here. Once a poll opens - and it doesn't matter what the pol is, this is a basic principle! - we do NOT screw with the format, wording, or process. There was ample time for discussion before the poll opened. Just so we are clear about bias, I personally dislike many aspects about the wording and format of the poll. It doesn't matter. People have already voted. You do not change things mid-course. Period. Once the poll closes we can discuss and debate the meaning of the results. But do not screw with the wording or format of the poll. Slrubenstein | Talk 08:57, 3 April 2007 (UTC)
There should have been, but was not. Starting the present poll was decided on in a sudden rush, two days early. Its present format was decided after the poll began. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 20:42, 3 April 2007 (UTC)
Given that there is self-evidently a conversation here, and coming from someone who spent all day after the poll opened gnashing at other voters on the poll despite the poll saying not to do that, that doesn't really mean much. I'm not "screwing with" the format, the wording or the process. There was not, by the way (this is a total side issue) ample time for discussion before the process; a handful of activitistic editors sabotaged consensus-building by launching the poll early with wording that had no consensus at all (i.e. a text-book example of "screwing with the process"). Of course people have already voted. That's the point. Nothing is being changed mid-course, other than balancing something that is skewed, in a way that has zero effect on the poll's wording, introduction, tagging, heading names, voting format, instructions, notes, fonts, colors, etc. (its "format" in your terms), zero effect on votes already cast, zero effect on people's willingness to vote (unlike your "bash every vote I disagree with" spree), zero effect on its "wording". Oh, and believe me, I intend to ensure that the closers of this are well aware "once the poll closes" and we "discuss and debate the meaning of the results" that ATT proponent resistance was tooth-and-nail and (so far) unjustifiable with any rational explanation, to a minor twiddle that could not possibly have any result other than more fairness or no effect at all. Count on that one. — SMcCandlish [talk] [contrib] 09:11, 3 April 2007 (UTC)
There's been too much twiddling, and arguments about twiddling, and arguments about arguments. Please leave the page alone from now on. SlimVirgin (talk) 09:17, 3 April 2007 (UTC)
If the poll had been designed so that the Oppose section used a small font, red text on black, and the Support section used a large font, green text on white, would you still say the same thing? "Leave the poll alone" is not a substantive (since we're using that word a lot) response to concerns raised about bias. — SMcCandlish [talk] [contrib] 09:57, 3 April 2007 (UTC)
Why not continue the discussion above, which was actually getting us somewhere? SlimVirgin (talk) 09:18, 3 April 2007 (UTC)
For the second time, this is totally nonresponsive. I am continuing the discussion above. That discussion has nothing whatsoever to do with this one, and we are all perfectly capable of dealing with more than one wikonversation at a time. — SMcCandlish [talk] [contrib] 09:57, 3 April 2007 (UTC)
(1)I was speaking idiomatically, I assumed most people would understand what I meant. (2) I was wrong to make comments on the poll page. When I was corrected (by being refactored/comments mored to talk page) I did not revert or argue, because I understood that I was mistaken. That said, the issue I raised was and is of great importance to Wikipedia and needed to be raised. Now have we dispensed with your ad hominem comments? Can we return to the issue at hand? You are screwing with the format, and that simply should not be done once the poll has begun. As I said, my position on this has nothing to do with my position on ATT. I would take this position about any poll. Slrubenstein | Talk 09:20, 3 April 2007 (UTC)
Pointing out (then-apparent) hipocrisy isn't fallacy ad hominem (though the line can be blurry), whereas "do what I say not as I do" is fallacious between mentally-capable adults (and often though not always between them and children or mentally-incompetent adults). It was not my intent to actually dismiss your arguments, just to say "get off the high horse"; I think you'll note I actually did address your arguments on their merits. I also realize you were speaking idiomatically, but the specific choice of wording ("conversation" rather than "real issue" or some other word or phrase) seemed intended to dissuage discussion. On to the issue at hand: I disagree with your definition of "format", then. "Simply shouldn't be done": I repeat my question for the third time: Says who? Says what policy? No one's even made an argument that there is a loose tradition to not balance polls by periodically inverting their voting order (in the real world this is of course handled by having polls and ballots printed in two batches of equal number, with opposite ordering). This is just your and SlimVirgin's personal opinion that things "shouldn't be screwed with", regardless what any reasons might be (I question the logical defensibility of that position). If you would, as you say, take this position about any poll, then I am skeptical that you understand how subtle bias in polls works. (NB: Since we've already had an "ad hominem" disagreement, I stress that I'm saying that you appear to me personally to be missing some information/experience/understanding in this area, not that you are stupid, intent on biasing the poll, or anthing else stronger that what I'm actually saying. Just to be clear.) — SMcCandlish [talk] [contrib] 09:51, 3 April 2007 (UTC)
See my comment to Miss Mondegreen, below. Slrubenstein | Talk 12:36, 3 April 2007 (UTC)
Just let it run. Metamagician3000 09:25, 3 April 2007 (UTC)
I haven't re-reverted. Right now it's 3-2. If that ratio is similar tomorrow night, I'll drop the matter. If it reverses itself, I won't. — SMcCandlish [talk] [contrib] 09:51, 3 April 2007 (UTC)
My first impression, when I came to the poll page, was that there is some implied bias in the wording (the background goes to lengths to describe how much work was put into the merger, by how many people, the fact that it's been given policy status, and it quotes JW as praising the "good work" that was done, without describing his reservations about the result). I also questioned the decision to put the Support comments and Support essay first in order, with the Oppose comments and Oppose essay following. I decided, never the less, to keep my hands off the page and its format, simply to avoid igniting a revert war. I think the idea to reverse the order is a fair one, but without wide support for such a decision, it will probably serve the process better to leave the page unedited, while vocally expressing your opposition to the chosen format.zadignose 09:40, 3 April 2007 (UTC)
Indeed. Of all the bias issues I could possibly have raised, I think this is tiniest of them. That said, I can see your point. I don't entirely yield it yet, but I've gone from 100% in favor of the inversion to 80%. — SMcCandlish [talk] [contrib] 09:57, 3 April 2007 (UTC)
SMc, I think the frustration that people are having is that you're looking for new topics to flood this talk page regarding. This is a non-issue, and post-hoc rearrangements are not a good idea. The poll is slowing down; let's let it finish and shut up as much as possible. Marskell 10:06, 3 April 2007 (UTC)
What a highly unusual set of things to say. This is the first new topic I've added to this page since March 31 (4 days ago), which was #Fix order of backgrounders, a totally neutral topic (and note that no one objected to "altering the format" then, even though the poll was well under way.) There is no "flood" of new topics here; this page, though a bit chatty, has a remarkable stability to it given the contentiousness of the issues. It doesn't even have a single post-poll-start archive page yet. If it were a non-issue, the response level thus far would not be 4-2 against, 1 neutral, and a long thread after only an hour or so. Of course the poll is slowing down; it's more than half over. The implication that the poll is radically slowing down (or perhaps that is just my inference from what you said, not your implication) is self-evidently false. The votes have been coming in, in droves (not in the last few of hours, but the vast majority of North America, which makes up the bulk of en.wikipedia editors, are fast asleep; it will pick up again in the morning on this side of the Pond). Let it finish? I've already conceded on that point, though I still think Kim Bruning is right that continuing is a waste of time; I really don't care though, and haven't commented further on that matter in over 24 hours. Why would we want the poll to shut up? Or do you mean me? If either of those were intended, I think that comment would be way out-of-line and pointlessly antagonistic. If you meant us all shut up, why? Others seem to think the topic immediately above this one is very good, and there are other active discussions on the page. Re: the post-hoc-rearrangements-are-bad idea, that is too categorical a statement. For the fourth time now, what authority, of any kind, says so, with regard to addressing bias in a poll, in a way that does not render any extant comments moot or otherwise @#$% with the poll's introduction, the wording of the questions, the wording of the categories, etc.? No one seems able or willing to address this incredibly simple question.
So, do you have anything responsive to say to the bias issue raised, or just more of this stuff? — SMcCandlish [talk] [contrib] 10:25, 3 April 2007 (UTC)
That came off as more testy than intended. It is very irritating to raise an issue of almost crystal-clear poll bias, only to receive (on the negative side) responses that do not address the bias at all, but handwave about imaginary "format sanctity", how fast the poll is moving, and other unrelated, insubstantial things. — SMcCandlish [talk] [contrib] 10:42, 3 April 2007 (UTC)
How about, don't solicit others to break the 3RR for you? Seraphimblade Talk to me 10:40, 3 April 2007 (UTC)
Why not? It's very clear that WP:ATT proponents will (again and again and again) tag-team revert anything that they don't agree with. I asked three editors who I know are frustated with that crap to look in and do their part if they agreed what I was doing, and did it on purpose in User talk instead of e-mail. What's your issue, other than I'm open about it? Note that this has jack to do with cavassing; I'm not doing anything with regard to what people should vote for, just asking deeply involved editors who feel that this lopsided poll is running off the rails to help do something about it. Surely you have something better to do. — SMcCandlish [talk] [contrib] 10:52, 3 April 2007 (UTC)
This thread is long because you're posting multiple 100 word responses to everything said. We don't need to make changes in medias res; it's bad methodology. And we certainly don't need to make a change on the supposition that people are so stupid they're going to choose support because it comes first on the page. Re bias in general, the whole idea of ATT was gravely handicapped because of Jimbo's intervention. Making a case for the merger is not tilting things—it's balancing them.
I'm sorry if I'm offending. I find your intervention here officious—amply demonstrated by Seraphim's links. Marskell 10:44, 3 April 2007 (UTC)
If people would answer the really simple questions raised instead of blowing smokescreens, repeating myself might not be necessary. Officious? In an evironment where about 5 people have been exerting ironclad control over the wording, timing and even nature of the poll? <sigh> I give up. — SMcCandlish [talk] [contrib] 10:52, 3 April 2007 (UTC)
PS: I do understand what you are saying about Jimbo's intervention, but don't fully agree with it. I don't entirely disagree either (I think even SV can attest to that, despite our disagreement on this poll ordering business.) — SMcCandlish [talk] [contrib] 10:55, 3 April 2007 (UTC)
I did answer your question: the supposition that people are so stupid as to choose the first header they see is inane. There's a TOC on the page: it offers broad support and broad opposition as choices. You click the link. You hit edit. You scroll to the bottom. You post your comment. Easy. Marskell 11:00, 3 April 2007 (UTC)
Given that people are submitting comments rather than just votes (and any bare votes probably won't be counted much anyway), I guess I fail to see the problem. Even if someone did accidentally post a comment like "ATT is a terrible idea because..." under the support section, it would be obvious they intended to oppose and would be counted as such. Seraphimblade Talk to me 11:09, 3 April 2007 (UTC)
I think it is very interesting that those who voted Support did not complain when the honorable User: SMcCandlish moved all of their votes to the top section as he did here, but now they show up en masse to beat him back when he moves their votes to the second section to be fair for the second half of the voting period as he did here. --Rednblu 11:58, 3 April 2007 (UTC)
This discussion continues in different terms and a much more constructive tone on all sides at #Control group below. — SMcCandlish [talk] [contrib] 13:02, 3 April 2007 (UTC)

Changing the order of the choices after the poll has started is simply bizarre. I've never seen that done anywhere. Even apart from the idea of changing, I've never seen a poll that had "no" before "yes". Think of the RfA votes, for example. ElinorD (talk) 13:14, 3 April 2007 (UTC)

There was a reason at the end of the discussion I was heck-bent to make the poll/survey just be, "Hey, what do YOU think?" with each person adding one new self-contained section with the new section function, and no one but that person being allowed to edit in each user's little box for the 7 days. ;) Who actually added the support/oppose/etc breakdown after launch? - Denny 13:22, 3 April 2007 (UTC)

Keeping support section first whole time is biasing poll. It suggests that voters are expected to vote for support in largest numbers, and for neutral (last option) in smallest. -- Vision Thing -- 21:11, 3 April 2007 (UTC)


What's the purpose of this exercise?

  • To run a majority vote? (not permitted).
  • To have a poll to determine consensus (determined. no consensus.)
  • Or to find out opinions from the community? (Consensus is against, see section above)

Ok, well, We've eliminated the impossible, So whatever remains must be the truth.

But before we start drawing premature conclusions, does anyone have a possible reasonable explanation that's missing from the above?

--Kim Bruning 12:09, 3 April 2007 (UTC)

I think the purpose of this exercise (as you call it) is to give Jimbo the answers to his questions. It is up to him to determine what it all means. Blueboar 12:25, 3 April 2007 (UTC)
What questions did Jimbo ask, according to you, and can you provide a link or diff to where he asked them? --Kim Bruning 12:42, 3 April 2007 (UTC)
The link is sitting in the Background section at the top of the page. Marskell 12:48, 3 April 2007 (UTC)
The necessity of this StrawPoll has nothing to do with Jimbo. In my opinion, an empirical measure of "consensus," such as in this StrawPoll is crucial to avoid the destructiveness of faction, as exemplified by the false claims of "consensus" for the so-called "merger" to WP:ATT. Such a StrawPoll may or may not have symbolic meaning in terms of fairness, regularity, or stability. We don't know how the community would assess "fairness" on closing this StrawPoll yet, do we? In any case, to be viewed as "legitimate" rather than "manipulated," it might be a good idea if the poll would remain open for the period of time it was announced and, in a sense, promised to be open. --Rednblu 12:37, 3 April 2007 (UTC)
The objective outcome of the poll is "no consensus", since we have >WP:100 people supporting each and every possible position. (see elsewhere on this page). I was then told that this poll was not meant to be a decision making poll at all (as summarised above), so that's eliminated in at least 2 different ways. Note that there is no motive to manipulate a poll when there are no stakes involved. --Kim Bruning 12:47, 3 April 2007 (UTC)
The question of "consensus" may be settled, I would agree. And perhaps you are correct in your assessment that most of the community would look at an early closing as entirely legitimate and fair. This would be the time for everyone to speak up. But there are only a few here to know that it is their turn to speak.  :) --Rednblu 12:56, 3 April 2007 (UTC)

What about Wikipedia:Attribution/FAQ[edit]

What about that page? It is presently listed as a "proposal", but depending on the outcome of this poll it probably isn't. >Radiant< 11:48, 3 April 2007 (UTC)

FYI, "Outcome" is no consensus, at any rate. Draw conclusions as appropriate. --Kim Bruning 12:09, 3 April 2007 (UTC)

Control group[edit]

When polling, it's customary to give half the polling population the questionaire with one option first and half with the other option first just in case that difference is not negligible. Believe it or not, people will vote based on order of questions.

Yes, this is an opinion poll, but not everyone who comes here will go and read all of the policies in question and both statements. Some users may rely on looking at other users votes--like looking at a talk page. When you get to the page, what you see in what order certainly affects your opinion--users have been commenting in reply or support or opposition of other users opinions and we know that they aren't reading all of the votes on the page. What a user sees has some effect. Whether it has any effect numerically, we don't know, and we won't know unless this poll is conducted properly.

No offence to the people at ATT, but the creation of ATT and the merge and this poll have been filled with controversy, and I don't understand why when this has come up, you aren't doing this simple thing to prevent additional controversy now. I read the replies and all I saw was mud-slinging and people saying that formatting shouldn't be changed post poll-start.

I'll be honest, I have problems with ATT and my biggest problem with this whole thing is how it's been done. You don't need to be a genuis to see that the background section on the poll page is POV, IMO, and this recent edit war is just another example of what I see as a major problem.

This issue--a legitimate one has been raised. No particular reason not to do it has been given in response. This is a chance for ATT editors to respond to the claims that they are pushing other editors out, and forcing their opinions by letting an edit that, unless they believe their votes come from people going "oooh, first" doesn't affect them. If ATT editors succeed in keeping this edit from going through, it's one more mark against ATT, the poll, and a mark against the poll results.

I think that the order of Yes and No, both sectionally and in re the essays should be switched. If you disagree, please say why--not just "leave it as is". I'm asking for a reason that we shouldn't do this, a reason important enough that it would take precedence over normal polling procedures.

There is a reason that we use control groups. It's so we know that the results we have are acurate. If we are going to purposefully avoid using one, we should have a good reason. I am very frustrated here--this isn't a big issue to me, but I'm annoyed at how the burden of proof for this edit taking place is somehow on the user(s) who want this edit to take place, when a user made an edit and provided a reason and now has editors who agree with the edit and the reasoning behind it, and while their are editors who disagree with the edit, no reasoning, other than "we shouldn't touch the page" has been provided. Miss Mondegreen | Talk   12:13, 3 April 2007 (UTC)

The largest prior Wiki poll was the main page redesign, and I don't recall the options changing order while it was ongoing. Gimmetrow 12:26, 3 April 2007 (UTC)
Wikipedia doesn't normally do polls like this at all. Typically all we do is short straw polls to get a quick idea about who thinks what, and then we get back to negotiating, so this is all rather unprecedented. I don't think this kind of experiment will be tried again, at any rate. --Kim Bruning 12:30, 3 April 2007 (UTC)
Edit conflict with Kim. But to respond to KB - it doesn't happen often, but any poll involving a policy is likely to be very long, so this is wroth discussing .... I suggest that this discussion be raised as a general point about how to run policy polls (I specify policy only because these are the polls that attract the largest number of voters; I wouldn't object to addressing all polls) and if it realy is as unobjectionable as some people think, we will henceforth have a new method for running polls. I just think in principle it is a bad idea to change "the rules" - any rules once the polling has started. To be clear, i am not objecting to your suggestion (or SMcCandish's) in principle. The only thing I object to is raising it now. If it had been raised prior to the poll, we could have discussed it and made a decision. And I won't object at all to you or McCandish raising this as a possible new standard of practice for all future polls. But we have talked this issue to death, we had a lot of talk prior to the poll. let this poll run. Wanna discuss better ways to poll? May I suggest that you and others work up a proposed guideline for polls? Perhaps others have good ideas. Let's learn from all sorts of mistakes that may have occured from the moment this particular poll was suggested until now. I am all for that. I just oppose instituting a new set of guidelines, procedures, anything, once a poll has started. Slrubenstein | Talk 12:35, 3 April 2007 (UTC)
I was, in fact, thinking of writing this one off as a case in point, and taking it up at WP:STRAW or RFC or the Pump or something for the future, actually. My main quibble about the above is "if it had been raised prior to the poll". We hadn't even gotten to that point, or even agreed on what the poll should say, when it was oligilaterally (if I can make up a word) started prematurely. There hasn't been any choice but to bring it up after-the-fact. I understand the "once it has started" objection, I just think this is an unusal case to which that rationale, which I would normally support, may not apply. — SMcCandlish [talk] [contrib] 12:53, 3 April 2007 (UTC)
I can attest to this particular point. I requested a wait so I could have some time to mediate and get people cooperating. There was no opposition to this proposal, and several people concurred. --Kim Bruning 13:03, 3 April 2007 (UTC) Note that I disagree with not being able to alter pages at any point in time, I hold the (apparent) minority view that wikipedia is a wiki ;-)
Strange how that last nutty idea of yours keeps cropping up around here. :-/ — SMcCandlish [talk] [contrib] 13:25, 3 April 2007 (UTC)
I would see a problem if there were no TOC—i.e., if people had to scroll past the supports before registering an oppose. But that's not the case here. In my experience writing them, polling options start with affirmatives first and are not altered mid-way. Marskell 12:41, 3 April 2007 (UTC)
Slrubenstein: Actually, I'm not entirely sure what the exact purpose of this poll is at the moment. (I may have missed a memo.) So I don't know either way.
In general, I'm not sure polling has ever really worked well wrt wikipedia guidelines at all. I'm certainly not being convinced of their utility at this moment in time. :-P
If we're going to try to use polls again as an experiment to see if things have changed, well, at least we should use the best practices we can think of. That way at least polls get a fair chance to prove themselves.
On the gripping hand, Marskell's argument above does seem compelling. --Kim Bruning 12:56, 3 April 2007 (UTC)
On the same hand I'm just feeling very tired by now. Metamagician3000 13:14, 3 April 2007 (UTC)
It was SMcCandlish who created these sections in the first place. [18] My idea was simply to have one list of comments/votes, which we could have split into random subheads for ease of editing, but SMcCandlish decided otherwise. SlimVirgin (talk) 13:10, 3 April 2007 (UTC)
History is being revised in the funniest way I've ever seen on WP. See next thread. — SMcCandlish [talk] [contrib] 14:05, 3 April 2007 (UTC)

I appreciate the comments, and for people mostly keeping a cool head, but my point remains--no one really has a reason not to do it.

The only things that were raised as objections are

  • no precedent
  • wasn't raised before polls start
  • unnecessary

Now I listed several reasons to do, only one of which had to with the actual affect on the outcome of the poll. The other issues have to do with pretending that there isn't serious conflict, and since this is a really minor issue and one which there's been no big reason not to do it--it's an easy issue to let go, an easy place to say, "we did x, y, and z, to make sure all was fair"

I'm worried that even the minor, easy issues where the only things that can be raised are quite frankly petty and irrelevant are being squashed.

One side had a content issue, was worried about the outcome of the poll, and the other side said, "well you should have said something earlier"--that's really troublesome.

Also, I wasn't aware about the poll before it started, because contrary to the wonderful description in the first paragraph on the poll page, this was not well publicized, and that's one of the big problems.

And, dividing things up by random sections for ease of use doesn't work well and makes no sense. These divisions work well, are the way polls are usually conducted, and give editors a chance to see what others are saying without wading through everything. This proposal isn't going through, and it's one of the least of the problems with this poll, but another problem wasn't necessary and something could have been done about it.

Just because it hasn't been done before, or things aren't going well anyway, doesn't mean we shouldn't do the best we can now. "I don't really think it's necessay"--"we didn't do it last time"--"there's no consensus anyway"--that's basically what most people were saying and that's a terrible attitude. Miss Mondegreen | Talk   00:27, 4 April 2007 (UTC)

Q to SMcCandlish[edit]

SMcCandlish, since YOU forked it off to three sections I see here, why are you complaining now...? Just curious. The format we launched it in was a generally commentary free-for-all survey that could be interpreted post-closing. What was your exact need to split it? What was your justification? - Denny 13:24, 3 April 2007 (UTC)

Well, his edit summary was "Sections, for sanity," which I can understand. It's done now—many people argued for a simple up-and-down question and we've basically got one. Marskell 13:38, 3 April 2007 (UTC)
And I want to AGF, but the insistence on changing the format NOW for being biased after he was the one HE instituted... it seems wrong with this wording. Why didn't he say, "Hey, I made a mistake, here, can we undo my mistake in formatting?" rather than, "Three of you stuck it up our Wiki butts with the poll formatting!" essentially. Its hurtful to me after all the hard work put in because it makes it out like we tried to do harm. The poll format we launched was literally: Hey, what do you think? Thats it. - Denny 13:41, 3 April 2007 (UTC)
WThuh? (edit conflict x3; I mean Denny, not Marskell). I am either losing my mind, am asleep and dreaming, or have phase-shifted into another dimension. The sectioning was Denny's idea, not mine: #Restart poll, Watchlist notification. I implemented it (in terms that have largely stayed as is, so I guess they were pretty reasonable; I think the only change has been "/other" being added to the end of the neutral/etc. section by Pmanderson[?]) because someone (you, Denny) requested it be done, and I didn't mind taking the heat if someone wanted to angrily revert me. No more, no less. This is just too absurd, in the deepest senses of that word, for me to participate here any longer today. Well, OK, to quickly respond to the Twilight Zone question before backing away warily: I thought everyone would play fair. I put the Support section first at that time as a show of good faith, because the ATT proponents were being WP:PANICky and were way too revert-happy. I never thought I'd meet armed resistance inverting it halfway(ish) through the poll to even things out. Goose, gander, and all 'at. Anyway, I'm outta here for a while. This bite-the-hand-that-feeds by DennyColt is a BJAODN candidate. PS: To SV: The fact that I installed the sections doesn't have anything to do with the issue of what order they are in at any given point in time. — SMcCandlish [talk] [contrib] 13:49, 3 April 2007 (UTC)
PS: Please stop it with the "change the format" stuff. This has nothing to do with formatting. Also you are engaging the straw man; I never said WP:ATT proponents chose the order of the sections; as Rednblu said, I did. What I did say is that the order staying the same biases the poll (Miss Mondegreen says this better than I do), and that the the poll's entire wording, launch time and process and other espects have been "stuck up our Wiki butts" in your, eh, colorful metaphor. Don't put words in my mouth please. At least not so blatantly. I made no "mistake in formatting"; I made a mistake in trusting that this poll would be handled in fairness and with a goal for balance and truth in its outcome. — SMcCandlish [talk] [contrib] 13:49, 3 April 2007 (UTC)
Denny suggested sections, but it was you who added support/oppose/neutral, which you're now complaining about. That's what we're finding confusing. We could have added random headers, and retained the comments/votes in a mix, but you chose otherwise. SlimVirgin (talk) 13:57, 3 April 2007 (UTC)
I really am in the Twilight Zone. "Random" headers? In a poll? What, like "Chicken" and "Snorkel" and "Mu"? READ THE ORIGINAL POST. Denny asked for the votes to be resorted into sections to avoid a free-for-all (i.e. to avoid, specifically, "retain[ing] the comments/votes in a mix".) You (SV) all along have advocated a Y/N simple poll. Numerous others wanted at least something other than Y/N. I compromised; you and Denny got what you wanted, people with compromise, neutral or qualified positions got (more or less) what they wanted. No one complained, other than much later after the fact someone wanted to make the not-Y/N section be umpteen sections and got reverted. Do you either of you two realize you are totally pantsing yourselves, repeatedly? Just stop, for everyone's sake. You've made a totally bogus accusation due to heat-of-the-moment short term memory loss. Own up, get over it, everyone will forgive you, and move on. And again, please actually read what I say; I am not "complaining about" the section names. I'm "complaining" about the fact that ATT proponents cannot tolerate the idea of two of the three sections trading places for a while to eliminate any chance of ordering being a bias. You ought to be embracing the idea. I really am signing off now. This is just unbelievable. — SMcCandlish [talk] [contrib] 14:16, 3 April 2007 (UTC)
Random section breaks as we do in DRV. People could still say yes or no or not sure, as they saw fit, but my idea was not to split those comments up into support/oppose sections. It was you who did that. And it is you who is now complaining about it. As I said above, this is what is confusing people. You seem to be willing to argue each and every point, and then argue about the arguments, and now you're even arguing against something you yourself implemented. SlimVirgin (talk) 14:26, 3 April 2007 (UTC)
Jeezey creezy, could you two please go have a beer or something? This bickering back and forth over semantics and microdetails of bad idea that was poorly implemented in too short a time is insane. There, have I offended everybody enough to get you on the same side, yet? If not, let me know. -- nae'blis 15:01, 3 April 2007 (UTC)
I could throw in a gratituous "Why do I surround myself with idiots, madmen and barbarians?!?!!?!!!!!111oneone1111eleven11", in case that might help? O:-) --Kim Bruning 15:43, 3 April 2007 (UTC)
Would you all stop micro-managing this poll! Just leave it alone until it closes! Let me tell you how making any kind of change will be viewed by the average editor... any changes will be seen as an attempt to skew the vote one way or the other. Your intentions may be good, but intentions do not matter... perceptions do. Just leave it alone. Blueboar 14:58, 3 April 2007 (UTC)
Hear, hear. SlimVirgin (talk) 15:24, 3 April 2007 (UTC)
Ouw. That's an interesting lesson learned. So you're saying that to prevent percieved skewness, we may in fact need to permit actual skewness? (leaving the actual question of whether we are indeed preventing or allowing actual skewness alone for a minute). :-/ --Kim Bruning 15:39, 3 April 2007 (UTC)

Good gracious!! *MY* suggestion was SECTIONS as in editable sections PER user. See this version. See the "Click here to submit your statement." button? That was my compromise--if you misinterpreted my sections bit to mean Oppose/Support/etc I'm sorry, thats genuinely not what I meant. All my talk of sections, native section function, etc. is how I thought of the "new section URL" such as:

action=edit&section=new -- *THAT* section. That's what I'm/was talking about... Specifically as seen in the idea that finally got the damn stupid poll, rolling, at Wikipedia_talk:Attribution/Poll/InsaneDennyIdea - Denny 15:03, 3 April 2007 (UTC)

Ladies and Gentlemen: we don't WP:OWN our edits. We are where we are now, and need to play the ball from where it lands --Kim Bruning 15:39, 3 April 2007 (UTC)

Oh I know, believe me I know. Ideas of OWN are sensitive to me, and I'm wary now due to all the accusations that we railroaded through some unfair poll. The poll "as launched" was basically as neutral as you can get, NO SIDE of the ATT debate got what they wanted--it was just a wide open speak your mind survey. Maybe thats the problem to some. :) - Denny 15:57, 3 April 2007 (UTC)
Winter Rules? Blueboar 15:46, 3 April 2007 (UTC)
What's Winter Rules? --Kim Bruning 16:24, 3 April 2007 (UTC)
after looking up Oooohhh, interesting concept. Could we play by winter rules today, somehow? O:-) --Kim Bruning 16:26, 3 April 2007 (UTC)
So what was it? I'm still not sure, but I want more Kim—Cat analogies, STAT! El_C 16:28, 3 April 2007 (UTC)
Short version, after reading google (real golfers please correct me! ;-) ): In golf, under winter rules, you get to pick up the ball and put it someplace nicer. There's actually solid rules for when that's allowed, typically set by the local organisations... but of course, actual golfers out for a day's recreation might go and just cry Winter Rules! when they're stuck in a bind ;-) --Kim Bruning 16:36, 3 April 2007 (UTC). We could try some Kim-Kat analogies, sometime, perhaps?
Hahh! El_C 16:44, 3 April 2007 (UTC)
Only one problem... while you can pick up your ball and give yourself a better lie under winter rules... you have to place it further away from your goal (the hole). I don't think anyone would be willing to move back an inch in this debate.  :>) Blueboar 16:50, 3 April 2007 (UTC)
Much ado about nothing!Ivygohnair 17:53, 3 April 2007 (UTC)
Exactly. Why does this matter? This is going to end with no consensus anyway, so the semantics of the poll are more or less moot. --Sable232 18:51, 3 April 2007 (UTC)

I dunno why you guys didn't just have a blank page and put at the top "State your views on WP:ATT". That's a wiki way to deal with it. You would have had the same result too, as anyone with the least bit of clue could have told you before you began. Grace Note 00:53, 5 April 2007 (UTC)

SlimVirgin's actions[edit]

I see that Slim Virgin is preventing me from changing my !vote to oppose, which it is (on the immediately pending issues). I will be changing it again now. If this happens again, I will take stronger measures. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 21:24, 3 April 2007 (UTC)

No, she's asking you to do it in a way that's not confusing. Seems like a good faith request to me. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 21:26, 3 April 2007 (UTC)
I was about to say the same thing. It seemed a reasonable request, and the edit summaries showed that she was not in any way trying to prevent you from changing your vote. ElinorD (talk) 21:33, 3 April 2007 (UTC)
You should strike your previous vote, and then vote again in a new section. -- Vision Thing -- 21:30, 3 April 2007 (UTC)
That's what I added a refactoring note for, both times. If anyone is still confused, they are free to add other notes, or a struck vote. No one is free to change my !vote from where I choose to place it; not if acting in good faith. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 21:34, 3 April 2007 (UTC)
The usual thing is to strike out a vote and then copy it elsewhere. I'd appreciate it if you'd do it that way, because your comments are long and the diff seemed confusing. SlimVirgin (talk) 22:00, 3 April 2007 (UTC)

Just remove the old opinion and place a new opinion in a new section (This is so not a vote). As long as this affects only the representation of your own opinion, whatever you do is fine. --Kim Bruning 22:03, 3 April 2007 (UTC)

But of course the best thing and most considerate thing is to do what other people will find least confusing, which is presumably striking through your vote and then voting elsewhere. ElinorD (talk) 22:46, 3 April 2007 (UTC)

This discussion is appalling. And, btw, because of the end result that was achieved through this, I would have never known that Pmanderson had changed his vote/added a new opinion, whatever you want to call it, had I not read the talk page. People do read others opinions and find them interesting/helpful/whatever, and so the fact that if I am reading one of the opinions, I don't know that there is an additional one does bother me. The fact that I don't know this because the formatting/placement/whatever of the vote/opinion was changed really bothers me. People should not need to be watching the poll page like hawks, and I shouldn't feel like I'm going to have the wool pulled over my eyes unless I go through the diffs myself. In re Elinor--striking through isn't necessary, IMO as long as refactoring notes exist, which they don't anymore. Also, strikethroughs are very hard for some people to read. Miss Mondegreen | Talk   00:05, 4 April 2007 (UTC)

If someone changes their mind, I think it's quite ok for them to change their mind, as long as they do so before the end date. (and the end date part is a concession, since this page is really abusing the wiki. On normal wiki-pages, you can just read the page history. You are the person responsible for using the tools provided to you! :-) ) --Kim Bruning 12:01, 4 April 2007 (UTC)

Purpose *2[edit]

See also the above section marked purpose. Certain people's words and actions seem contradictory, I'm trying to sort that out.

Could everyone please state what the (remaining) utility of this poll is, a least as far as they themselves are concerned? --Kim Bruning 22:08, 3 April 2007 (UTC)

The editors who worked on it for months would like to see what support there is for it. Jimbo wants to see what support there is, or otherwise. Comments are still coming in, and they're interesting; the arguments for and against are useful because they show where the common misunderstandings of policy lie. We could only guess at this before or extrapolate from talk page comments. Now we have a much larger sample. SlimVirgin (talk) 22:34, 3 April 2007 (UTC)
I must finally agree here. We should let this poll run out (it's only two more days), if only to seem to do right. In the process, we may find some interesting data; the latest oppose was another comment on the necessity of "truth". Septentrionalis PMAnderson 22:47, 3 April 2007 (UTC)
I sometimes see an RfA or an admin noticeboard issue that I intend to comment on, but don't want to comment on it immediately. That would be because I want to plan out what I'm going to say, not because I don't know which "side" I'm on. In the case of an RfA, I look to see the closing date; in the case of an admin noticeboard, I know that a bot can archive it if nobody has commented in that section for twenty-four hours. Quite frankly, it's annoying if I find I've forgotten about the RfA, or if someone comes along and unexpectedly archives the admin noticeboard thread before I have had a chance to participate. There could be people now who fully intend to add their voices to this poll, but who have worked out how long they have left to do so, and are still planning how exactly they are going to express their support or opposition. Plus, I endorse what SlimVirgin has just said. ElinorD (talk) 22:58, 3 April 2007 (UTC)
This was my objection to the precipitate start of the poll. Let's not make things worse. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 23:08, 3 April 2007 (UTC)
The point of a vote (which this is not) is to decide an issue. The point of a straw poll (which maybe this is) is to find which way the (political) wind is blowing (throw up the straw, see where it lands). The point of a discussion structured as a poll (which this is) is to ask everyone to give an opinion in a way that is structured to be helpful in the continuation of a previous dicussion that now needs clarity concerning who supports what to bring in new ideas and perspectives as well as to identify likely successful compromises and directions. WAS 4.250 23:12, 3 April 2007 (UTC)
Would survey be a better name for what this turned into? I.e., speak what you will on a given topic, but no threaded discourse on the 'survey' page itself? - Denny 23:39, 3 April 2007 (UTC)
"Survey" seems as good a word as any other. WAS 4.250 04:49, 4 April 2007 (UTC)
There's no way we should be changing anything that was said which someone just might be relying on. Somewhere out there is an editor planning to put in his/her magnum opus in support or opposition just before the announced time of closure. Let them do it. Why can't we just do what we say we'll do? This also applies to the early start, of course, but that's now water under the bridge. Metamagician3000 08:28, 4 April 2007 (UTC)

Abstain option?[edit]

Only partly tongue-in-cheek, is there an abstain option? I participated for a while on the talk page of WP:ATT when it was going through its growing pains, and I'm now wondering how the hell to vote here. Is two days enough time to read through even just the discussion here? I shouldn't start thinking my vote won't make any difference, but I hate casting an uninformed vote. Carcharoth 00:38, 4 April 2007 (UTC)

Actually, I found the neutral section and dumped my comments there, so that's OK. Carcharoth 00:53, 4 April 2007 (UTC)

WP:ATT linked in boilerplate edit window[edit]

Copied from my vote: "Oh, by the way, has anyone noticed that the bit under the edit window (you know, the bit no-one really reads) says "Content that violates any copyright will be deleted. Encyclopedic content must be attributable to a reliable source. You agree to license your contributions under the GFDL*." - yes, folks, there is a link to Wikipedia:Attribution sitting right there in the boilerplate Wikipedia framework! I wonder if we need a poll on how to word that bit of text?" Carcharoth 00:54, 4 April 2007 (UTC)

Hilarity ensues. --Kim Bruning 01:38, 4 April 2007 (UTC)
Those catch 22s! The supporters have it by design; there is no way the opponents can actually win. If they don't get the votes they need, they invalidate the opponents. Genius! (Evil laugh heard in background of the talk page)--Jorfer 02:04, 4 April 2007 (UTC)
Yeah, verification just isn't as catchy. Nifboy 02:39, 4 April 2007 (UTC)
Dog gone it! You are on to us. All anti-consolidation opinions will be discounted as in violation of the consolidated policy. WAS 4.250 04:56, 4 April 2007 (UTC)

And here I was thinking that it requires quite a decent amount of negotiated agreement to add something to the edit window boilerplate. (ok, keeping this for post-mortem) --Kim Bruning

A look at the "Neutral/qualified/compromise/other" section[edit]

Out of curiosity, I conducted my own breakdown of the opinions in the "Neutral/qualified/compromise/other" category (so far)... before I share this info, there are a few (perhaps four or five) comments that I think were placed in this section in error... Where they were either clearly for or clearly against. They should be noted, but I don't think we should move them (at least not without an OK from the editor who made the comment... and probably better if they moved their own comments).

Now... by my reading (and I understand that someone else might see this differently) the break down at this point in time is...

  • 19 editors express some sort of general support for the merger, with qualifications.
  • 9 editors express some sort of general opposition to the merger, with qualifications.
  • 19 editors express support for the idea of making ATT into a Summary page, but leaving V, NOR and RS as opperative policy/guidelines
  • 36 express the fact that they don't care ("neutral") or make comments that I put under "other" (such as having a unique idea that no one else supports).

Make of this info what you will... I don't think it really changes things all that much. Blueboar 13:09, 4 April 2007 (UTC)

Prevention, not interdiction[edit]

This topic reminds me of the war on drugs. With the rate of growth of WP and the large amount of existing uncited material, catching reference-challenged wikipedians and slapping them with attribution tags will never solve the problem. Every attribution/verifiability/NOR tag is a speck on WP's credibility. These days it seems like most articles, particularly on popular culture, are preceded by a banner headline proclaiming the article's potential inaccuracy.

A prevention approach would be to make adding references really easy. Right now it's very confusing for the occasional editor. A reference-creation wizard would help. Reference creation should be more foolproof and, most of all, readily available and apparent. H Bruthzoo

Some sort of wizard would be a great idea... but I don't know if the system would support such a thing. Why not suggest it at the Village Pump tech page? I agree that we should make adding references as easy as possible for the editor. Unfortunately, I don't think the real problem is with the ease or difficulty of adding references. I think the real problem is that many editors don't understand that references are required. I think we need to find a better way to explain this requirement to editors, old and new. Blueboar 14:38, 4 April 2007 (UTC)
See Magnus' MakeRef tool running on the toolserver. You fill in the form and it generates the necessary wikitext. At the moment it only handles three common types of references though. --bainer (talk) 14:55, 4 April 2007 (UTC)
That is a very handy tool, bainer, thanks for that. As for educating newcomers and those who never did 'get it', one thing to remember is the high turnover rate. Wikipedia doesn't want to put too much effort into educating someone who leaves after a few months. A lot of the untidy and unreferenced content is added in by a mixture of specialists (maybe), anon editors, fanboys and fangirls, people adding something about where they went on holiday, the book they've just read, the TV program they just watched, and so forth. Whether this is good or bad is debatable. But then this untidy content is improved by various grades of wikignomes. The problem tends to be finding sources. For that you need someone who has at least rudimentary knowledge of the area (I still recoil in horror when I recall seeing someone add references to an article after doing a series of Google searches and finding, in some cases, frankly unreliable websites that just regurgitated the same old, wrong, stuff). The rudimentary knowledge is required to attribute to judge which sources to use and which sources are reliable. It might help to remember that Wikipedia articles are not intended to spring, like Athena, fully formed from the head of Zeus. It helps if they do, but we shouldn't throw the baby out with the bathwater if they don't. What is really needed is for dedicated editors to make some inroads into the articles tagged as unsourced, while other help slow, or at least sort, the tide of unformed contributions coming in the other end. Like a sausage machine. A pulped mess in at one end, and nicely formed (and referenced) articles out the other end. Carcharoth 15:41, 4 April 2007 (UTC)


Mark Faraday (talk · contribs) (oppose vote #233) pointed to my !vote in support of WP:ATT, and the !votes of a few other editors, as evidence of "confusion". I don't think I'm confused, but perhaps I was confusing. I support the merger of WP:V, WP:NOR and WP:RS into a single policy, WP:ATT. I believe that it is accurate to view these three as different aspects of a single policy. I also think that there are times when emphasizing one aspect or another is useful. Therefore, I think that WP:ATT should be written in summary style, with WP:V, WP:NOR and WP:RS treated as sub-articles spun out from the parent, WP:ATT. I consider this to be "broad support" of the merger, but with a nuance. Is that confusing, or does it demonstrate confusion on my part? —Josiah Rowe (talkcontribs) 20:03, 4 April 2007 (UTC)

Well, it does not sound like you were confused, nor are your views all that confusing. If there is confusion, it comes from the fact that similar reasoning was used by other editors to place their "votes" in both the Opposed, and the Neutral/Other categories. Same reasoning... different conclusions. You placed your vote where you thought it belonged. We should respect that. Blueboar 20:15, 4 April 2007 (UTC)
It is confusing to imagine how WP:V and WP:ATT could exist at the same time. At a minimum ATT ought to replace V, given that they mimic one another. This idea of a condensed summary is really an idea completely removed from ATT, and should be treated separately. But the confusion isn't your problem; I think you placed your !vote in the correct spot. Marskell 21:35, 4 April 2007 (UTC)
On a rather different point, a number of editors seem to be placing, especially, Oppose votes in Neutral, presumably because they haven't realized there is a 3rd section & just shoot to the bottom. At least one has moved his vote subsequently. Johnbod 21:42, 4 April 2007 (UTC)
It isn't "neutral". It is "Neutral/qualified/compromise/other". So, anyone who felt there answer was more complex than a straight oppose or a straight support might choose to put their vote there without being confused about the sectioning. — Armed Blowfish (mail) 14:27, 6 April 2007 (UTC)

Timescale for voting[edit]

This vote seems to have been sprung on us from nowhere. I was not previously aware that these three core policies were in the process of being merged until the message appeared in my user space and I'm sure that most other Wikipedia editors must have been in a similar position. If there is going to be a vote on such an important matter surely the voting period should be extended. Has it been deliberately timed to coincide with the Easter holidays when many people will be away to ensure that Wikipidia Attribution is forced upon the community without a consensus? Dahliarose 22:50, 4 April 2007 (UTC)

Er, I don't think it was any sort of conspiracy. Easter I doubt had anything to do with it, and a week is a long time for people to see the information... - Denny (talk) 22:53, 4 April 2007 (UTC)

On the issue of timing, I corrected it once [19]. The poll started, roughly speaking at 04:39 on 31 March [20]. If it is to last for seven days then it should therefore end at, roughly speaking, 04:09 on 7 April (UTC), and not as the header says at the beginning of 6 April. -- zzuuzz(talk) 23:07, 4 April 2007 (UTC)

I see no problem extending for a few more days. Maybe until April 10th? ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 23:43, 4 April 2007 (UTC)
We're in no real rush anyway, why not just go a full 14 days? Won't Jimbo be back by then anyway? - Denny (talk) 23:45, 4 April 2007 (UTC)
Does the vote so far not show that ther is in fact no consensus one way or the other?

There's no good reason to ever close it. It's a straw poll, not an election. Why can't people turn up here five years hence and add their views? And Dahliarose, chill out, will you? Policies sum up how we do things. They are descriptive. No one has invented anything or composed anything new. It's just what we already have in a more digestible form. And slightly more slanted to a particular set of views, of course. But nothing all that major. Grace Note 00:56, 5 April 2007 (UTC)

  • The poll should not be extended. The originial rules should stay in place for the duration of the poll and then the poll should close. If you want more comments after that, design another method. Johntex\talk

The point of freezing this specific page is to allow first an evaluation by different people on data that is not in flux and secondly to act on this data and evaluations of it by structuring the relevant policy pages and their contents in a way that makes sense given the data and evaluations. Then we can discuss further how to better refine that. It really does never end. But we must close one chapter to begin the next. Modularity is useful. WAS 4.250 02:50, 5 April 2007 (UTC)

I think we should close it 23:59 07 April. One complete week. Marskell 07:21, 5 April 2007 (UTC)

Neutral attribution.
Reliable cabal.
No original evil.
There is no point of view.
Outriggr § 04:18, 5 April 2007 (UTC)

Dueling essays[edit]

I kinda suspect that a nontrivial number of the "support" votes come from people who have only a vague understanding of the issues involved. They scroll down the poll page, see repeated (and bolded) assertions of "Not a policy change," and assume (quite logically, actually) that merging three into one is WP:KISS, since "nothing substantive has actually been changed."

I have also seen "support" voters opining that many "oppose" voters were in fact ill-informed ;-).

I also saw a table above summarizing the reasons for support/oppose.

I propose two dueling essays for the enlightenment of the entire community. each should only be edited by a handful of people on either side of the issue: SandyGeorgia, SlimVirgin, etc. They should not be open to editing by others, to prevent chaotic sprawl. The essays should present very concise summaries of the reasons given in the table "is/is not a policy change" etc. The editors of each can consult with whomever they choose, including especially the editors of the essay that is the counterpart to theirs.

With these in hand, we the hoi polloi :-) will be somewhat better informed.

--Ling.Nut 04:02, 5 April 2007 (UTC)

We already have those, linked to at the top of the poll. I agree neither does an adequate job, but clearly its too late now. Johnbod 04:06, 5 April 2007 (UTC)
But that's kinda the point — the essays are obviously in need of serious revision, in light of the poll/discussion. Take all points raised in the poll/discussion, answer them in the same order in both essays. Dodge/elide/talk around no points whatsoever. Any debate point raised in one essay must be matched with a reply in the other. Etc etc. :-) --Ling.Nut 05:30, 5 April 2007 (UTC)
Yes, that would be ideal for the next phase, whatever that is. Don't expect it to happen quickly, or easily, though. Johnbod 12:40, 5 April 2007 (UTC)

With good faith, I submit that this poll is flawed, for at least two reasons[edit]

I submit that this poll is flawed in its presentation (not in its intention), for at least two reasons:

(a) since there were 300 editors working on the merge and enough of them now feel they have a consensus on the new version to suggest it replace the prior separate pages (and have agreed to proceed with this poll), that means there is likely a large portion of those 300 editors who are ready to support the merge (I could be missing something here since I wasn't involved in the editing process, but I see it as a concern). It could happen that they present a weighted presence supporting the poll, while those who oppose the merge could be more likely to be editors who did not work on the merged article and are not invested in advance in the outcome of the poll. To properly assess the community understanding and attitude towards this merge, it seems it would be appropriate for the creators of the new article to recuse themselves from the poll. (Please understand that I appreciate the hard work that went into this. All of what I am saying here is with assuming good faith, it's just that once that much effort has been put into something, it's hard to let go of it, as a matter of human nature, much as the way double-blind studies are needed to overcome the placebo effect... in any case, thanks for your hard work that was certainly sincere).
(b) the introduction of the poll to me seems biased towards requesting support of the merge rather than asking if it's a good idea or not. This is shown by the mention of so much work going into the new version by so many sincere editors, creating a sympathetic atmosphere (ie, one might feel guilty not to support the merge after so many have worked so hard on it), and also, Jimbo's name is invoked and used to tell us that the work on ATT has been "very good." Even if not intended that way, a quote from a person perceived (perhaps subconsciously) as an authority figure or mentor by many cannot help but influence some editors' responses. This is especially significant because in other places (as linked by SandyGeorgia in her comments: [21] [22]), Jimbo's comments imply that he maybe does not support this merge of policy pages. To fairly use Jimbo's name in the introduction of the poll, his balancing comments should also be included there, or else he should not be invoked, so as to avoid undue influence over the responses.

Thanks for reading my comments. I appreciate the hard work and community-building intentions of everyone who has contributed to the new ATT page and all related discussions and poll responses. This is truly an amazing new kind of social structure and I feel honored to be a part of the process . Parzival418 07:54, 5 April 2007 (UTC)

I am very skeptical about the myth of The 300. If it were accurate, then I would have expected that a huge portion of these editors would have voted Support very early on in this polling process. But as you can see from the daily tallies, this didn't happen: the early votes were not any more in support of this plan than the votes later on. So I suspect that there was a much smaller group of devoted ATT editors -- maybe only a few dozen.
Indeed, read this sentence carefully (it's quoted from here):
Wikipedia:Attribution was worked on over 5 months (more than 2,000 edits to the page itself, and more than 5,000 edits to the talk page by more than 300 editors) ....
The "300" figure refers to the number of editors who made comments on the Talk page, not to the ATT page itself. Were all of these comments supportive of the ATT project? Or did some of these 300 commenters oppose the project? or did some of them simply assume it was a 'fait accompli' and were simply discussing the details. Or, for all I know, the talk page degenerated into a number of flame wars unrelated to ATT. (Yes, I know this never happens on Wikipedia talk pages, but there's always a first time.)
Does anyone know if this sentence is the actual source of the myth of The 300? — Lawrence King (talk) 08:36, 5 April 2007 (UTC)
Good question, thanks! I have my own opinion and observations, but I am more interested in hearing what others have observed at this point so I hold the floor for them and hope to hear from them. --Rednblu 08:59, 5 April 2007 (UTC)
The myth of the 300? Surely not a film proposal? ;-) Carcharoth 12:21, 5 April 2007 (UTC)
All polls are flawed. Certainly the intro was weighted in favour of support, but quite a few editors are opposing "per Jimbo", which means that other comments by Jimbo have weighted the poll in the opposite direction. As a result, the poll is coming out fairly even, and so, flawed though it may be, it seems to be leading to a fair result.
I never made an edit to the Attribution page, but I made contributions to the talk page and consider myself party to the proposal's development. Most people contributing on the talk page were trying to develop the proposal, I think. However, quite a few of those people haven't voted at all, which I presume means they aren't visiting Wikipedia at the moment or haven't noticed this poll. Consensus shifts all the time on Wikipedia, and groups of interested editors vary from month to month on any page, according to whether indivuals have time for Wikipedia or not. qp10qp 12:32, 5 April 2007 (UTC)

Aristocracy versus Monarchy[edit]

As far as Jimmy Wales' influence, I think it biases people to vote No, not to vote Yes. His two famous (or infamous) quotes that led to this poll were clearly critical of the ATT project.

I find this very problematic, even though I myself voted No. My greatest fear is this:

  • Some of the Support votes might have been cast by people who think of Wikipedia as an aristocracy, where a small, "newbie-free" group of administrators can rewrite fundamental policies such as NOR and V and maybe even NPOV.
  • Some of the Oppose votes might have been cast by people who think of Wikipedia as a monarchy, where a quick comment by Jimmy Wales can overturn five months of hard work by a dedicated bunch of editors.

But then I see how this poll has been conducted, and I rest content in the realization that Wikipedia is, as always, a true anarchy! — Lawrence King (talk) 08:36, 5 April 2007 (UTC)

First, the conspiratorial angle here and above is a little overboard. But your point about Jimbo is correct, and I think informed the way this was constructed. Jimbo severely, probably fatally, wounded ATT as soon as he posted criticism of it. The support essay and the attempt to emphasize the "hard work" should be seen as an attempt to balance, not bias, the poll. Marskell 08:40, 5 April 2007 (UTC)
I'd also comment that the idea that the work to produce ATT was "newbie free" simply isn't true. When I started working on it, I'd been actively participating in Wikipedia for less than a year, and had very few edits in article space to my name. JulesH 08:49, 5 April 2007 (UTC)
I personally think of Wikipedia as a Hegelian dialectic process.  :D Armed Blowfish (mail) 08:53, 5 April 2007 (UTC)
I do too... but I don't think we're getting close to synthesis yet! Dekimasuよ! 08:56, 5 April 2007 (UTC)
Even when we do, the synthesis shall become the new thesis, to which a new antithesis shall arise, and we'll have to find another synthesis. chartArmed Blowfish (mail) 09:11, 5 April 2007 (UTC)

Comment on oppose voting rationales[edit]

It seems to me that a lot of the opposing votes aren't actually voting against having WP:ATT, but are voting against not having WP:V, WP:NOR and WP:RS. Also, a lot of them are voting 'per Jimbo', which seems to me to be the same position, as Jimbo hasn't stated his position on this page, but apparently agreed that WP:ATT is good in principal although he doesn't want to lose the original pages. A number of people in the third section also have taken this stance.

It strikes me that despite this poll not reaching a consensus (which to me it clearly will not), that the compromise situation (all pages are policy with WP:V et al expanding on the same principles applied at WP:ATT) would have consensus. Unfortunately, despite having been proposed in the early stages, this question wasn't asked.

I'd suggest that whoever ends up closing this thing keeps this possibility in mind when evaluating the oppose votes: sifting them into these two categories may cause a consensus to emerge that isn't obvious from the current categorisation. JulesH 08:46, 5 April 2007 (UTC)

This assumes people supporting the merger (1 page) would also support keeping ATT live without a merger (4 pages). These are opposed, not corresponding positions. Having four pages has always been the most radical (and terrible IMO) idea going—it's completely contrary to the intent of ATT and the many of the supports on the basis of KISS. At a minimum, ATT and V should not carry on live at the same time. That doesn't mean we can't work out a tally in that direction, of course. We should sift for a variety of positions—supporting some but not all of the merger etc. Marskell 08:53, 5 April 2007 (UTC)
Being live does not necessarily mean being policy. WP:5P is very much live, but is not policy, although it summarises policy. Guidelines are live, but they are not policy. — Armed Blowfish (mail) 09:19, 5 April 2007 (UTC)
In my opinion, an "Attributable" page is very useful to explain the process to beginners. However, Attributability is only the beginning of the editor's duty. Not only must Wikipedia content be Attributable, it must also be Verifiable, as in "Verifiability, not truth." And I refrain from stating my own opinion at this time as to exactly what "Verifiability, not truth" must mean, because it is not my opinion that matters. What matters is that we somehow capture an operational definition for Verifiability as it actually works in high quality Wikipedia pages such as gravity and truth, I would say. I and many others have several ideas how that might be done to simplify the various policy texts, but I would not want to shift the discussion in any particular direction at this point. --Rednblu 09:14, 5 April 2007 (UTC)
I'm so used to the Attribution page now that I will be sorry if I can't quote it in the future (I loathe trying to explain "Verifiability" and "No Original Research", which have specialised Wikipedia meanings, in my opinion). But I'm scratching my head about how it could sensibly remain in operation alongside the others. And though you could interpret this poll to give leeway for ATT to remain, I've a feeling that were a further poll to be held (please, no) on "keep or scrap", the vote might go towards "scrap", even from some who voted "support" in the present poll—if only because a keep would leave the policy situation slightly eccentric. If you had two gloves and a muff, where would you wear the muff? On your head? qp10qp 12:11, 5 April 2007 (UTC)