Wikipedia talk:Copying within Wikipedia

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Relevant pages[edit]

Existing description, explanation
How-tos to consolidate
Previous discussion

Users who have put their work in public domain[edit]

Some users, such as myself, agree to place their changes in the public domain. How does this affect attribution requirements? --Zzo38 (talk) 07:05, 10 November 2013 (UTC)

I am not familiar with handling public domain content. The lead of WP:Public domain requires "proper attribution", but the "relevant policies" do not include WP:Copying within Wikipedia, which covers CC-BY-SA/GFDL. Following this guideline would make it easier to identify the original and verify its release into the public domain. The reuser could also copy any attribution templates along with the text. (I looked in Category:Public domain copyright templates for an example, but they appear to be image templates.) Flatscan (talk) 05:34, 12 November 2013 (UTC)
Yeah if you release your content in to the public domain there's no legal requirement for attribution (so there's no copyvio if it doesn't happen), but it's still a good idea for practical reasons. In any case, unless you are the only contributor or someone makes sure all contributors have release their content in to the public domain or otherwise without an attribution requirement, we would need to attribute for the other contributors just in case. Nil Einne (talk) 23:31, 1 March 2014 (UTC)

Proposed change to Copying from other Wikimedia Projects section[edit]

I am proposing the wording of the Copying from other Wikimedia Projects section be changed to this:

If copying from another Wikimedia project that is licensed under CC-BY-SA (such as Wikimedia Commons, Wiktionary, and Wikispecies), you must satisfy the attribution requirement in the edit summary of your edit by either providing a complete list of the original content, or a direct link (such as an InterWikimedia link) to the original material.
Even if you satisfy the attribution requirement by providing a complete list of authors in the edit summary you are encouraged to include the direct link in case it becomes necessary to access that history in the future. The template {{Interwiki copy}} is available to provide additional notice on the article's talk page.
Although most Wikimedia projects are licensed under CC-BY-SA and require attribution consistent with the Foundation's Terms of Use, some projects are handled differently. For example, content from Wikinews is licensed under CC-BY and may be reused with attribution only to "Wikinews." (See Wikinews:Copyright.) It is the responsibility of the editor importing content to determine the license that applies and ensure that attribution is satisfied.

The changes are intended to make it clear that the attribution must be supplied in the edit summary, which makes the section consistent with the lede and the licenses. I have also removed the information about moving an article. According to the banner at Help:Transwiki transwiki is a "former standard procedure". If there is a current standard procedure it probably belongs in its own section since it presumably provides attribution in an entirely different way (by moving the entire history page over). ParacusForward (talk) 01:25, 4 March 2014 (UTC)

Is the proposed new wording contradicting itself? It says that the person adding the content must satisfy the attribution requirement, but it also says that the person adding the content only needs to provide attribution through the edit summary. Wikipedia distributes PDF versions of articles through the "Download as PDF" option in the "Print/export" section in the menu, and the PDF files do not contain edit summaries nor do they otherwise attribute users whose names only appear in edit summaries. Therefore, attribution through edit summaries would appear to be insufficient, as this doesn't give attribution in the PDF copies of pages. --Stefan2 (talk) 23:02, 6 March 2014 (UTC)
I think we've been sticking our heads in the sand a bit with that one, although it's something I've thought about over the last couple of weeks. I think the only really sensible answer I can come up with is to have a list of editors associated with a page, but aren't in the edit history, so that they could be added to PDFs etc. I suppose we could template the article itself but that could get quite messy. Of course the problem with such an idea is that it would involve a software change and probably some discussion about how it would work (who could edit the list etc). Of course the cynical me thinks we will never got the devs to agree to such a change as their only priority seems to be stuff that will "attract" new users and I doubt they'd put much priority on something as unimportant as meeting our legal requirements. Dpmuk (talk) 00:02, 7 March 2014 (UTC)
One way to associate editors to a page when content has been copied from elsewhere on English Wikipedia itself is to use Special:Import with XML files (requires user group "steward" or "importer"). However, this trick causes problems if multiple pages with concurrent history are merged (action=history becomes very messy), if content is copied from other Wikimedia projects (due to WP:SUL conflicts attributing edits to other people with the same user name, for example this edit was made by me on English Wikipedia but now attributed to another user on German Wikipedia) or if content is copied from external sources (the author must be attributed to a Wikipedia account which the author might not have). Therefore, this trick often only gives a satisfactory result when one Wikipedia article is split in two.
The PDF option is also broken when images are copied from another project to Commons, and here I don't see any solution. If I move an image from Wikipedia to Commons, then the PDF file attributes the image to me, although I don't have anything to do with the authorship of the image.
Big problem: If you use CC-BY-SA 3.0 content without proper attribution, then the CC-BY-SA 3.0 licence is automatically terminated, and you are no longer able to use the content. If reusers use PDF files with incorrect attribution, these reusers suddenly become unable to use certain Wikipedia articles, presumably without knowing it. Therefore, I think that this needs an urgent solution. --Stefan2 (talk) 00:29, 7 March 2014 (UTC)
It is my belief that a link to the to original article in the edit summary is all that is required to fulfill the license requirements. To support this position I will quote the lede of the article: "At minimum, this means a link to the source page in an edit summary at the destination page." I'm not sure how PDF exports figure into this. I had never tried to do one until just now. If providing attribution by edit summary is not sufficient to satisfy the attribution requirement then both the proposed wording and the current wording of the section are insufficient to direct behavior that is compliant with the license. ParacusForward (talk) 05:59, 7 March 2014 (UTC)
The PDF export function has some interesting attribution features. Try generating a PDF file for Wikipedia talk:Copyrights/Archive 15, for example. The PDF file says that all text was written by User:Manifestation, but it is obvious that this isn't the case. Therefore, I do not think that providing attribution in edit summaries is sufficient. It might be sufficient for the HTML version of Wikipedia, but it definitely doesn't seem to be sufficient for the PDF version of Wikipedia. Extensive use of history merging and Special:Import could fix this in some cases but not in all cases, and it would also have some unwanted side-effects (see e.g. WP:HM#Parallel versions). --Stefan2 (talk) 15:32, 8 March 2014 (UTC)
I generated the PDF as suggested. It contains – full URL for printing and hyper-linked for convenience – between the page name and the list of contributors. This method of attribution is described by Terms of Use 7.b.i.. Flatscan (talk) 05:07, 11 March 2014 (UTC) I see that ParacusForward and Stefan2 already covered this. Flatscan (talk) 05:15, 12 March 2014 (UTC)
Stefan, it is my intention to only clarify the existing guidelines, not to make any changes to the guideline. Do you agree that a link in an edit summary as attribution would be acceptable under both the existing and proposed guidelines? It seems backwards to try to retrofit guidelines to fit the style of attribution found in documents created by the PDF download functionality.
After some thought, I don't think the existence of the PDF download functionality necessitates any change to the guidelines or policy. I have found it difficult to interpret legal documents, but the CC-BY-SA 3.0 license requires satisfaction of the attribution requirements "be implemented in any reasonable manner." We do this by providing a link in an edit summary. So, when someone wants to see the credits on the Wikipedia website he or she clicks on History and is shown a list of pseudonyms along with, possibly, one or more links to other webpages. If he or she follows one of those links to another Wikipedia page, he or she can click on that page's history and see a list of pseudonyms, and possibly links to other webpages, etc...
The PDF created by PDF download contains a "Article Sources and Contributors" section with a list of pseudonyms along with an URL to a Wikipedia webpage where you can click on History to see a (possibly slightly larger) list of pseudonyms and, possibly, some links providing additional attribution.
I don't know that this is sufficient to satisfy the CC-BY-SA license, but I presume the style of attribution included in the document created by the PDF download functionality has been approved the WMF's lawyers who are more qualified to judge this than I am. The text in the PDF created by the PDF download functionality is certainly consistent with the Terms of Use which state that users have agreed to attribution "[t]hrough hyperlink (where possible) or URL to the article to which you contributed." ParacusForward (talk) 14:47, 9 March 2014 (UTC)
Attributing people by listing every author is permitted, but only as long as every author is listed. If some authors are missing, as is the case with the PDFs, then you have a problem. The wording in the PDF file suggests that the listed people are all authors, which is not the case. Attribution through links may be a problem if you have to click on links in multiple steps (first follow the link in the PDF file, then links from the linked article's history page). --Stefan2 (talk) 16:03, 10 March 2014 (UTC)
With this: "Attributing people by listing every author is permitted, but only as long as every author is listed. If some authors are missing, ... then you have a problem." You seem to be saying that any list of authors needs to be entirely complete, but I don't think this can be strictly true or we would not be able to provide attribution by link at all. Current policy allows the Wikipedia website to have a partial list of authors and additional attribution by link.
Regarding your statement that "[t]he wording in the PDF file suggests that the listed people are all [of the] authors," I will agree that there is certainly a difference between the website, which intermingles the links with the authors, and the PDF, which always contains one or more authors and exactly one URL. For the PDF, it is the case that loading the URL in the "Article Sources and Contributors" section may or may not lead you to more non-trivial authors. I don't know if this difference amounts to a legal problem. I've added this ping to @Mdennis (WMF): here to see of WMF has any input.
I also agree that "Attribution through links may be a problem if you have to click on links in multiple steps" (italics mine) because the license doesn't make it clear, and I am not aware of any relevant case law. However, since the Terms of Use allow re-users to provide attribution "[t]hrough ... URL to the page or pages that you are re-using (since each page has a history page that lists all authors and editors)" I am happy to assume this is not a problem. ParacusForward (talk) 02:28, 11 March 2014 (UTC)
Hi. Before I trot off with this to the legal team, let me be sure I have the list of questions you'd like answered -
  • Does the practice of attributing copies by placing a link to the article in edit summary create attribution issues for PDFs, which generate a list of contributors only to the local document?
  • While PDFs do include a link to the local document, would that alone be adequate attribution if the reader then must find the link to the other document in history?
Is that it? (Please ping me any replies - I fear I might miss them otherwise. :)) --Maggie Dennis (WMF) (talk) 10:23, 11 March 2014 (UTC)
Thanks, Mdennis. That sounds good to me, but I've added a ping to Stefan2 who also had some questions about images in PDF's (I may have been misunderstanding Stefan when I added "[of the]" to "listed people are all [of the] authors" in my last comment. He may have a question about crediting the wrong person/bot.) Also, a ping for Dpmuk who expressed skepticism with the current system above to see if he or she has anything to add. ParacusForward (talk) 13:59, 11 March 2014 (UTC)
Yes, Mdennis (WMF), I think that's what I was wondering about too. There is also one variant of the first question. When I generate a PDF file out of Wikipedia talk:Copyrights/Archive 15, then I see this:
This suggests that there are two pieces of information:
Is there a problem if there also are other contributors which you can only find by looking at the source? The use of the word "contributors" suggests to me that the list is complete, so I'm wondering if there is a problem if the list isn't fully complete.
The image problem appears if you try to generate a PDF file for the article Greta Hall, which contains File:Greta Hall.jpg. The PDF file lists the following:
That is, it says that the image was created by Jkadavoor and me. However, if you look at the file information page, you will find that this was made by William Westall (1781-1850). I merely moved the file from Wikipedia to Commons, while the other user made a minor edit to the file information page. The attribution given in the PDF file is, as you can see, completely wrong. PD images do not require attribution, so there is no big issue here, but what happens if an image which requires attribution is used with incorrect attribution? --Stefan2 (talk) 00:07, 12 March 2014 (UTC)
While the image issue is certainly of concern, I believe Stefan2 may be misreading the output of the archive pdf. If you look at the history of that talk page archive, Manifestation is indeed the only human contributor doing manual archiving. If you wanted to have a proper attribution record, you'd need to make a pdf of the talk page instead of its archive (the place where the contributions were made), which would retrieve from the history the name of all the contributors. The way we archive by copying content instead of moving pages makes it impossible to get a true record of contributions to an archive.
Now granted, that makes pretty much every single talk archive page technically in violation of the attribution requirement. It is, in my opinion, an utterly irrelevant issue, however. The two questions related to article PDFs is a more interesting one. MLauba (Talk) 00:41, 12 March 2014 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────(edit conflict)Having thought about this some I think my concerns go wider than that, although I do share your concerns. I also have concerns that about our "Printable version" option which seems to be even worse of than the PDF version. I'll list my concerns and whether they apply to print, PDF, or both print and PDF. Oh and then I've thought of a few general questions that apply across the board.

  1. Print. There is neither the text of the license or an URI to it which seems to be a clear breach of the CC-BY-SA license.
  2. Both. If there is any image that is under a different version of the CC licenses then again there is no text or a URI to it.
  3. Print. The Print version contains no information about the images. Once a user prints it then even the link to the image page will be lost. Although it could be argued that this a re-user problem I think describing it as a print version makes us somewhat at fault (at least morally).
  4. PDF. (Only not print as we don't have a list of image contributors). Unless I'm much mistaken the image problem is worse than just moves to commons, it's also going to apply to any image that was uploaded by anyone other than the author as I assume the software gets the author list from the uploaded not any license tag added to the description - anyone with more image experience want to confirm this.
  5. Both. Even if we have the URI of the article in the print/PDF version and that is deemed enough to include any comments in the edit history what happens if the article is later deleted - I assume already created books would be kept with the deleted article still in them. And that's without the issues for any re-users that may have kept a printed or PDF version (although again this could be argued to be an end-user problem).
  6. General One which I hope the legal bods have looked at before. It appears to me that when we modify other people's work that their "credit will appear, if a credit for all contributing authors of the Adaptation or Collection appears, then as part of these credits and in a manner at least as prominent as the credits for the other contributing authors." It's certainly debatable whether even a link in the edit summary does that given how hidden that can be. This gets worse in the PDF/Print version where we have a list of authors that modified the page but those for copied in work (either from wikipedia and sister projects or else where) get at best a link or URI to the article.
  7. General. Where do we stand with OTRS permission, especially when the person giving permission is not the person who added the material. I'm pretty sure the release we use means the copyright owner still has a right to attribution if they want but in most cases the most we end up is a template on the file/talk page. It's quite plausible that in those circumstances we won't end up with an author, or a link to somewhere the author is named, anywhere and certainly not in the list of any contributors.
  8. General. If we include information from an external site, link to the external site as attribution and the site goes away then we no longer even have a dubious round about link to a list of contributors.

Gone of on a bit of a tangent there but this who thing has got me thinking about it. Some of the answers may be in the licenses themselves but I've done my best to check. Oh and ping Maggie. Dpmuk (talk) 01:44, 12 March 2014 (UTC)

MLauba - why is it utterly irrelevant? Without getting too beansy a long term editor could certainly cause a LOT of problems based on that if they wanted to. Dpmuk (talk) 01:51, 12 March 2014 (UTC)
And, although not that important, for future reference I happily identify as a him. Dpmuk (talk) 04:16, 12 March 2014 (UTC)
Discussion archives generally comply with WP:Copying within Wikipedia, although its validity may be in question considering the path of this discussion. Continuing the examination of WT:Copyrights/Archive 15, the bots link back to WT:Copyrights in their edit summaries (history), the breadcrumb and {{talkarchive}} box also link, and the majority of edits are comments signed by their authors. See also #Signed comments in discussions above and WP:Village pump (policy)/Archive 83#talk page attribution question from February 2011. Flatscan (talk) 05:15, 12 March 2014 (UTC)
Dpmuk, would you consider replacing your * bullets with # numbers for ease of reference? Regarding your points about deleted or removed sources, #Peculiar deletion policy (March 2010) has some discussion of the case where an external re-user uses a Wikipedia article that is later deleted. I think that your last point can be addressed proactively by saving a list of authors to the talk page at the time of use. My impression is that CC-BY-SA content with many contributors tends to be from wikis, with the majority of usable content on other Wikimedia sites. Flatscan (talk) 05:15, 12 March 2014 (UTC)
Numbered points done - I didn't realise I'd have that many when I started! I'd agree that the last one may have a solution like that - assuming a solution like that is acceptable. I think, per point five, that the argument could easily be made that a list on the talk page doesn't meet the attribution requirements of the license. That said it is at least better than what we normally do at the moment. Dpmuk (talk) 12:45, 12 March 2014 (UTC)
  • Some comments about User:Dpmuk's numbered points above:
1 & 3: Strictly speaking, WMF only distributes an HTML page. That page contains clickable links both to the image pages and to the licence, so WMF might be covered. Of course, clickable links are useless in a printed copy of the article, so people who print out the article on paper may end up in trouble in a lot of situations, making the printable version useless.
4: Yes, I only picked that image as an example. Many other files are also affected. For example, Main Page contains File:Ruby Loftus screwing a Breech-ring (1943) (Art. IWM LD 2850)-detail.jpg which was made by the British government, but the PDF file credits it to Materialscientist and Orlady. Although I can't exclude the possibility that those two Commons users worked for the British government back in 1943, I do not find it likely that they are the artists of the image.
8: Under Swedish copyright law, you would normally be allowed to continue distributing a copy of a work, if the copyright holder previously allowed you to distribute the work. Therefore, I would guess that Swedish law would allow you to continue distributing already created copies even after the linked websites go down. However, you would probably not be able to print a new edition of a book containing the article, and you may have to immediately terminate any online distribution of the article. Reusers in other countries may be affected in other ways. I am also not sure if it is a good idea to do things in gray areas. If it turns out that some of the things aren't permitted, then it will suddenly affect a large number of users and reusers who have had their licence terminated for non-compliance with CC-BY-SA and who will no longer be able to use it. For this reason, it might also be a good idea to upgrade to CC-BY-SA 4.0.
Someone thought that the talk page archive was a bad example. Actually, the same problem occurs with every page where content is copied from somewhere else. I thought of looking for an example with {{translated}} on its talk page, but found that many pages were articles with lots of contributors and were hard to check, and I thought that it would be easier to use a page with few contributors as it is easier to see that something is wrong. The talk page archive was found to have very few contributors.
By the way, I have noticed that the PDF feature attempts to omit bots from the list of contributors. As you can see, the archive bots are not credited for making the talk archive. However, this also means that other people whose names contain the letter sequence "bot" are unattributed. For example, no PDFs will attribute Niabot. Try generating a PDF for his user page: he's not attributed for creating that page, although he has made lots of contributions to it. This looks like a violation of his right to attribution. --Stefan2 (talk) 16:10, 12 March 2014 (UTC)
Good point on 1 - I thought it was unclickable as it doesn't appear in any way to be a link so you're right we may not have a legal problem there, but morally I think we do. I'd also have a concern that we may be creating problems for ourselves by labelling it as a printable version and not explaining that if you did print it in it's current state you've broken the license conditions.
Wrt 8 I suspect the problem may be the termination clause in the licenses. Now I'm not a lawyer but I doubt they'd put that clause in if it were unenforceable like you suggest. We definitely need guidance on this!
If that's how they're deciding whether it's a bot or not that's terrible. The code needs to be updated to rely on the bot flag. Dpmuk (talk) 17:55, 12 March 2014 (UTC)

For legal team review[edit]

I started to put together a "How is this?" for legal, but this has gotten complex, and I can really use your help. :) Can we perhaps draft something for them together?

The English Wikipedia is discussing whether attribution generated by PDF and/or print versions of our content is legally sufficient.

PDF versions currently generate a "Article Sources and Contributors" section which includes a Wikipedia URL for the document which is being transformed into PDF and a (potentially partial) list of contributors to the document itself and to any images used in the document. However, this list does not take into account the following facts:

  • Content is often copied into articles from other articles or other compatibly licensed sources (whether Wikimedia Foundation properties or not). Currently Wikipedia policies require that copied/translated content be acknowledged in the edit summary so that the history includes (in edit summary) either a link to the original text or a list of authors. Because the "contributor" output of the PDF only lists those who have edited the local document, it doesn't acknowledge these contributions.
  • When articles are protected or editors have a conflict of interest, they are frequently encouraged to place proposed changes on the talk page of an article so other editors can evaluate these and place them in the article itself, if appropriate. The edit summary may attribute this content simply with a reference to the talk page or with the name of the editor. The "contributor" output cannot acknowledge these people.
  • Uploaders and editors of images may not be copyright holders of the images. These people may find compatibly licensed content elsewhere and attribute it at the image description, but the PDF output "contributors" for image list reflects only (@Stefan2:, I'm not sure exactly what it reflects. :) When I tried a PDF version of the article Sami Yusuf, which includes an image I uploaded after modification but did not create, it got it right. But clearly it doesn't Greta Hall. Do you know?)
  • Editors who have the sub-string "bot" as part of their pseudonym are not included in the credits whether they are truly a bot or not.

Print versions include the licensing information on the page, but no link to the license, and they offer no information at all on images - neither on licensing nor attribution.

The questions are this:

  • Given the above, is the attribution generated for pdf versions of articles legally sound?
    • If not, what form of attribution would satisfy our TOU and US copyright law? Would it, for instance, be better to acknowledge that the contributors list is partial? Should it be omitted altogether?
  • Does the license require that we include a license link or URL in print versions of the article?

Please, expand or change. (Specific shout-out via notification to Dpmuk, Flatscan, MLauba and ParacusForward, since i didn't mention them above. (DpmukFlatscanMLaubaParacusForward))

The legal team is generally very good about answering these kinds of questions (although they can't always directly advise and must often do meta:Wikilegal reports), but it's not a lightweight process where I can go easily go back in and add or change the question, so it's best to have a neatly wrapped inquiry from the start. :) --Maggie Dennis (WMF) (talk) 12:21, 14 March 2014 (UTC)

Thanks again Maggie, I have made a few clarifying changes. Mainly around the fact the PDF doesn't include a clickable link, but just a URL. I also added the fact that people with the substring "bot" are not attributed. That seems like a clear bug that should be fixed, but it might help to bring it to legal's attention? ParacusForward (talk) 14:14, 14 March 2014 (UTC)
User:Mdennis (WMF): I don't know exactly how file attribution works. I have noticed several different variants:
  • Greta Hall: The image is attributed to those who have edited the textual file information page.
  • Sami Yusuf: Both images are attributed by showing the contents of the "author" field in {{information}}.
  • Carnelli: The image is attributed to the correct person, but the namespace is included: "Contributors: User:Dtobias".
  • Microsoft Windows: File:Windows logo and wordmark - 2012.svg gets "License: unknown Contributors: -". Other images are attributed using the other three methods mentioned above. Also, several images of old versions of Microsoft Windows are skipped in the PDF. While removing some images shouldn't have any legal consequences, it could potentially be confusing for readers if the text ask you to look at an image which isn't there.
I can't figure out how the PDF tool decides which attribution method to use. --Stefan2 (talk) 16:31, 14 March 2014 (UTC)
I'm going to guess here that it tries to be clever and detect the author from the license template (I seem to remember reading that somewhere) but I assume it gets confused when different / new templates are used etc. This is why, if it is what happens, it's such a terrible idea to try to use templates, which are so easily changed for something like this. Looks like you may have to be talking to the devs as well Maggie. I'll try to give a longer reply about the questions etc in the next day or so. Dpmuk (talk) 00:54, 16 March 2014 (UTC)
Bump, User:Dpmuk. :) I want to communicate this to the legal team when I can, but don't want to rush you! --Maggie Dennis (WMF) (talk) 17:33, 26 March 2014 (UTC)
I think that I'm broadly happy with it. I'd try to leave it as general as possible. I know this isn't great for legal but with something as important as this I'd hope they realise they should probably go out and be proactive and find out what actually happens - a description from us is never going to be the same as them seeing the same thing - as an example the print version does have links, they just don't look like links. I have no idea if that's a problem legally. (As an aside, new notification, pretty good, shame it can't tell you when you've looked at something and forgot to reply!). Dpmuk (talk) 16:52, 28 March 2014 (UTC)

At m:User talk:Mdennis (WMF)#For your attention, there was a request for a review of the questions to send to Legal.

Bullet points 1-2 and 4 ("Content is often copied", "When articles are protected" and "Editors who have") look fine.

Bullet point 3 looks messy, and the PDF tool seems to use multiple methods to identify the contributors. The legal team needs examples of articles where each method is used. I propose this wording:

  • Uploaders and editors of images may not be copyright holders of the images. These people may find compatibly licensed content elsewhere and attribute it at the image description. The PDF output appears to use several methods to determine the contributors to an image. In some cases, the PDF output "contributors" for image list only reflects contributors to the text on the file information page. For example, the article Greta Hall contains an old public domain image from the mid-19th century, but the PDF output incorrectly credits the image to three Commons users.

However, I think that my wording also has problems: it would be better to give an example with a copyrighted image where attribution is required, and the text looks too long. Try to see if it can be improved somehow.

A couple of days ago, I was informed of this German court ruling, where a person was using a Commons image on an external website. Attribution was provided by linking to the file information page on Wikipedia (probably de:Datei:1986 Ulf Fink 800.jpg), and the court found that this didn't satisfy the attribution requirements in the GNU Free Documentation License. It seems that the image was used before {{cc-by-sa-3.0-migrated}} was added to the file, and it seems that the court therefore only evaluated licence compatibility with the GFDL. I may have misunderstood something in the court ruling as I do not speak German. It is unknown if courts in other countries would argue in the same way, and I'm not sure if {{cc-by-sa-3.0-migrated}} changes anything. According to the Terms of Use (wmf:Terms of Use#7. Licensing of Content), Wikimedia contributors agree that a link is sufficient attribution of text, but note that the terms of use list different rules for files. We import quite a lot of content from external sources (for example, images from Flickr or text from other freely licensed wiki projects), and old contributions predate the current terms of use. I would therefore like to add an extra question:

  • Is there any difference if the author of the content has or hasn't consented to the Terms of Use in its current wording?

The other questions look fine. --Stefan2 (talk) 14:22, 1 July 2014 (UTC)

Writing of identical articles in different wikipedias by same user[edit]


my question is if it is allowed to rewrite an article written by me in the German wikipedia (Liste der neo-hethitischen Könige) by using copy-paste to fill the same lack of information in the field of Neo-Hittites as existed in the other wikipedia before. When I would write it completely new I surely would use the same sources as I did before. So, is it allowed to do copy-paste and translation of an article written by me for such purposes?--Tarchunes (talk) 08:57, 11 August 2014 (UTC)

Looking at the article history, you have created everything there, except from some typographical modifications which are below the threshold of originality. You are therefore the copyright holder to the article, so you can use it in any way you wish. --Stefan2 (talk) 19:46, 11 August 2014 (UTC)

Suggested addition to the "Other reasons for attributing text" section[edit]

Mercifully implementing Thibbs' request for closure of a moribund discussion so he won't fret about it any more. Result of the extended discussion: original proposal was withdrawn, nothing resolved. If no one edits any of this the whole mess will eventually and automatically be archived. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 22:52, 23 December 2014 (UTC)

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

  This guideline is about Wikipedia's licensing requirement that attribution "be given to all users involved in creating and altering the content of a page." It is about tracking the authorship of Wikipedia text. It is not about verification of sources, which is a totally different topic, not even mentioned in this guideline. Thibbs has confused these different issues in the other discussion (regarding copying citations without verifying them), citing this policy in support. That this guideline does not support his position he is now attemping to fix by adding ... It arises from contested issues in another discussion, (regarding copying citations without verifying them), where this guideline has been invoked, and thus any changes here affect that current discussion. This proposal would add poorly formulated text that text is unneeded, unuseful, and even irrelevant to this guideline. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 22:18, 8 November 2014 (UTC)
Revised statement following clarification. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 22:30, 11 November 2014 (UTC)
There's no test involved [Sorry; see correction above. -JJ], and it was User:Prototime who cited this guideline. In fact what I said about this guideline is that "it's largely silent on the specific issue." This guideline is entitled "Copying within Wikipedia". The issue that underlies this question is one of copying within Wikipedia. It makes sense to discuss this issue in this guideline. It's true that this guideline currently focuses on copyright issues, but immediately following the "Attribution is required for copyright" subsection is a subsection titled "Other reasons for attributing text". My proposal is plainly about "Copying within Wikipedia" and it is an "other reason for attributing text". Regarding what you see as "poorly formulated text", J. Johnson perhaps you might consider proposing alterations to the text before rejecting it out of hand. -Thibbs (talk) 03:49, 9 November 2014 (UTC)
While I'm not sure I endorse this proposal--in large part because I think the line between "novel" and "not novel" is very difficult to ascertain--and I'm still mulling it over, I absolutely agree with Thibbs that this guideline is the appropriate place to incorporate such a proposal if it's accepted. The topic of this guideline is "Copying within Wikipedia", not "Copyright concerns of copying within Wikipedia"; regardless of this guideline's current focus on copyright issues, this is the logical place for editors seeking guidance on "copying within Wikipedia" to come, and it should cover all relevant aspects of the subject matter. –Prototime (talk · contribs) 19:06, 9 November 2014 (UTC)
Sorry, but this guideline is most definitely and solely about the copyright concerns (more particularly, copyright licensing concerns) of copying WP material. Note the lead sentence (emphasis added): "Wikipedia's licensing requires that attribution be given to all users involved in creating and altering the content of a page." Note also the title of first section: "Attribution is required for copyright". What is not clear about this?
That this guideline is about copyright licensing and not citation verification is also shown by the relative use of the key terms:
  • license/licensing: 16
  • copyright: 13
  • citation: 2
  • verify/verification: 0
That the title of this guideline encompasses more than the content actually covers can be fixed most easily by properly qualifying the title. Alternately, the content could be expanded. But there has been no showing here that any such expansion is needed or useful. The proposal is driven entirely by partisan concerns in a discussion elsewhere, not a good-faith concern arising from any issues in this guideline. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 22:14, 9 November 2014 (UTC)
@J. Johnson: can you please cool it with the assumptions of bad faith? I linked the "discussions elsewhere" in my original post here, and whatever partisanship you are associating with me is a figment of your imagination. [Struck as moot per J. Johnson's apology.] Let's just stick to discussing the content of this proposal. I agree that the lead sentence says Wikipedia's licensing requires that attribution be given. But that's completely compatible with my proposal. In fact my proposal is suggesting specific and potentially unintuitive examples of cases where attribution should be given. And yes the title of the first subsection is "Attribution is required for copyright", but that's not the subsection I was proposing to add the above text into. I would like to add it to the "Other reasons for attributing text" section.
You stated previously that you found the proposed text to be poorly formulated. Could you be a bit more specific about that? Is it unclear? Momentarily putting aside the fact that it has nothing to do with copyright, is there a way to improve the basic formulation of the text? Or is the poor formulation a direct result of the fact that it has nothing to do with copyright? To give some insight here, I modeled the text on the current first paragraph of the "Other reasons" subsection so even if this proposal fails it would be good to repair any poor formulation in the original that I used as a model. -Thibbs (talk) 23:02, 9 November 2014 (UTC)
I make no assumption of bad faith. But regardless of whether your intent was good, bad, or oblivious, the fact remains that this proposal did not arise from any disinterested consideration of this guideline. It arises directly from an on-going discussion in which you are a participant. Even if you were entirely innocent of any intent to sway that discussion, to change a guideline during a discussion where it has been invoked is akin to moving the goal posts during a scrimmage. This is bad in itself, even if your motivation was totally innocent. (And even if there is merit to the proposal.) I prefer to assume that you did act innocently, but without fully considering that this proposal, at this time, is ill-advised in that it affects the discussion. To persist in this error with awareness would be to embrace it, but hopefully you understand it would be best to drop the proposal. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 22:06, 10 November 2014 (UTC)
There are two issues here. Although everyone seems to agree that an editor who has no access to a source cannot base new claims on the source without reviewing it, there is apparently disagreement about what is meant by "new claims." The second issue is whether it is appropriate to address the first issue within this guideline or whether this guideline should be restricted to copyright issues.
As far as I know we have only ever discussed blatant circular ref situations and never purely mechanical copy&paste jobs (e.g. in the context of a WP:SPLIT or WP:MERGE), so I may have mispredicted your view. My guess was that it was something that we would all agree on so I had restricted the above proposed text to these simple copying and rearrangement instances. This was the rationale behind my starting this thread. I assure you that there was no vested partisan interests or underhanded goalpost shifting efforts involved. If you do believe that mere rearrangement or the verbatim copy&pastes I described just now constitute "new claims" then please indicate so and I will cease discussion of the text of the proposal and restrict my comments to the related issue of whether or not this guideline is the correct place to address the first issue once consensus is formed. Here I believe our differences run deeper as you're indicated a strong desire to limit this guideline to copyright issues alone. I would be interested in hearing from others whether they though this was necessary or a good idea. -Thibbs (talk) 00:05, 11 November 2014 (UTC)
  I do not question that the issues you raise (concerning re-verification) need some clarification. What I question is that this is the proper place. For sure, the title of this guideline (as I said above) is broad. But re-verification is only incidental to copying. And this guideline is fairly well focused on a specific aspect of that broad topic that has minimal overlap with issues of re-verification. To mix these separate topics would be to dilute and confuse them. Especially regarding citation, which is already splatted across too many topics to fully comprehend. WP:V would be more appropriate.
  Regardless of the merits or proper venue of this proposal, it is too closely related to a current discussion to be without impact. Therefore it should withdrawn until there is resolution of the other discussion. Even then it will need reformulation, and submission elsewhere. Withdrawing this proposal is the simplest and cleanest way of resolving this. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 22:34, 11 November 2014 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────The discussion at the talk page at WP:CITE appears to be petering out. I believe you are the only editor who is still maintaining the minority view that re-verification of sources is always required whenever they are moved from one article to another. I have repeatedly asked for clarification regarding whether this strict interpretation of mandatory re-verification also applies in the case of merges, splits, and other mechanical acts of verbatim copying, but as yet I've received no response. This puts me in a tough spot because the premise underlying this proposal is that you would in fact concede that simple splits and merges do not constitute the addition of novel claims into Wikipedia. Your silence on the issue means that there can be no resolution. I hope you address the question soon but I recognize that as long as you maintain silence on the accuracy of this key assumption, this proposal risks rendering what may possibly be your objection moot. And that simply wouldn't be fair to you. I also note that there has been very little discussion of the merits of the proposal here and that there has been no further explanation about its shortcomings in formulation. There have instead been long conversations about the motivations of the proposer, the finer points of Wikipedia's procedural technicalities, and the propriety of this venue. So for all of these reasons it has become apparent to me that the proposal must be temporarily withdrawn. I do so now. Below I have created a subsection for discussion of the unrelated topic of whether this is a proper venue for clarification of the basic issue (irrespective of whether splits, merges, etc. constitute novel claims). -Thibbs (talk) 06:41, 12 November 2014 (UTC)

Thank you. I believe this will be the easiest way to move forward. I have held off discussing merges, splits, and other details to avoid complicating the several discussions, and because I have been some what busy of late, but will try to give more attention to these, and to the other discussion, within a day or two. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 22:38, 12 November 2014 (UTC)

Is this even the correct venue in the first place?[edit]

  • This discussion has been isolated and continued from the above section. Please read above for further context.

I do not question that the issues you raise (concerning re-verification) need some clarification. What I question is that this is the proper place. For sure, the title of this guideline (as I said above) is broad. But re-verification is only incidental to copying. And this guideline is fairly well focused on a specific aspect of that broad topic that has minimal overlap with issues of re-verification. To mix these separate topics would be to dilute and confuse them. Especially regarding citation, which is already splatted across too many topics to fully comprehend. WP:V would be more appropriate. (quote from User:J. Johnson above)
By the same logic copyright matters (presented in detail where they would be expected - at WP:COPYRIGHT) are also merely incidental to copying. The thrust of this guideline is that attribution is required when copying within Wikipedia. There are several reasons given for this and naturally the most important one - copyright requirements - is listed first. But then shortly afterward, a number of other reasons are presented in the "Other reasons for attributing text" section. Examine the current second paragraph in that section, for instance. It has nothing to do with copyright issues. Rather it is strictly about verification issues. It is used to help expand on the thesis of the guideline (i.e. that attribution is required when copying within Wikipedia) by providing an example of an unrelated area where attribution is helpful outside the remit of copyright. I believe the fact that attribution may help identify an editor who provided hard-to-access sources in the context of re-verification is another useful example. Examples like these neither dilute the central message nor confuse careful readers. -Thibbs (talk) 06:41, 12 November 2014 (UTC)

To answer the question posed in the heading: yes, this is the correct venue. This page is the logical place for editors to come seeking guidance on "copying within Wikipedia". I'm not sure I agree with the proposal, but I would much prefer to discuss and consider its merits than continue to spin wheels about where it should go if adopted. –Prototime (talk · contribs) 14:48, 12 November 2014 (UTC)
Your logic depends on the title of this page (CWW) actually corresponding to the its topic. In fact it does not: this guideline is (as I have shown above) fairly well focused on attribution of authorship (as driven by licensing requirements). The issue here is about when citations must be re-verified (see Wikipedia talk:Citing sources#A related offense). Now I will allow that if someone wanted to "copy within Wikipedia" they should certainly be advised if re-verification might be required, and so I would agree that it should be mentioned here (perhaps as a "see also"). But verification has never before been addressed in this guideline; editors interested in this topic are not necessarily watching this page. I believe WP:V is the most appropriate venue for discussing this. When there is some resolution of the issue a suitable link can be added here. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 23:31, 14 November 2014 (UTC)
Verification is addressed directly in the second paragraph of Wikipedia:Copying within Wikipedia#Other reasons for attributing text. -Thibbs (talk) 06:42, 15 November 2014 (UTC)
Not all [should have been "not at all"]; please read that section more carefully. It is about copyright violation (mentioned twice, and "copyright" three more times), while there is still (just as I previously noted) zero mention of verify or verification. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 22:36, 15 November 2014 (UTC)
"Not all" is precisely the point. This isn't a guideline that only covers verification nor is it a guideline that only covers copyright. The first paragraph in that section emphasizes the tracking of editorial conduct in copyvio situations. The second paragraph (and the one I was talking about) emphasizes manifestly verification-based reasons for attribution. Concerning the statistics based on word counts, I can only say that it improper to use text searches as a proxy for trying to understand the meaning of the text. A commonsense reading of this guideline suggests that whereas copyright-related reasons for attributing text during an internal-to-Wikipedia copy are covered in the first section (entitled "Attribution is required for copyright"), other reasons for attribution including disclaimer and verification-related reasons are covered in the second section (entitled "Other reasons for attributing text"). -Thibbs (talk) 00:00, 16 November 2014 (UTC)
JJ, I couldn't care less how narrow the current material on this page is. It is the logical place for editors to look for information concerning copying within Wikipedia. If you're so convinced that this page should be limited to only copyright because that is its current focus, then I suggest you propose changing the name of this page to "Copyright concerns of copying within Wikipedia" (which I would likely oppose). Otherwise, I find this venue conversation to be a distraction, and I have no interest in continuing to discuss it. –Prototime (talk · contribs) 01:39, 16 November 2014 (UTC)
 "Not all" (implying "not 100%") is incorrect; the correct statement is "not at all", meaning zero. The plainly evident absence of any mention of verification in the referenced text (or anywhere else in this guideline) is prima facie evidence that it is not addressed, neither directly nor indirectly. Your reasoning that the "other reasons" section covers the "other reasons" for attribution is a naive expectation that the header is (or should be?) accurate, and that such reasons are in fact present. In fact, as has been manifestly demonstrated, "verfication" is not present. Which might be a further demonstration that no editor has ever considered verification to be a reason for attribution.
 And I rather resent your characterization of a basic, objective observation as "improper". Perhaps you favor numerological methods of finding phantom presences? ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 00:30, 18 November 2014 (UTC)
It's hard for me to believe we're looking at the same second paragraph. I reproduce it here so that there is no ambiguity about the paragraph that I believe covers a verification issue and that you believe doesn't:

If text with one or more short citations is copied from one or more parent articles into a child article, but the corresponding full reference in the parent's references section are not copied across, without appropriate attribution as specified below, it can be difficult to identify the full reference needed to support the short citations (see here for an example).

We will have to agree to disagree on whether "to identify the full reference needed to support the short citations" is a matter of verification or not. The comments about numerology and phantom hunting are needlessly insulting. -Thibbs (talk) 02:04, 18 November 2014 (UTC)
It is not a matter of differing opinions, but a matter of fact: is this paragraph — which is to say, any part of this guideline — about verification, or not? Is there even a mention of verification? There is not. Sure, citations are mentioned, which are the basis of verification, but that mention does reach verfication. Only your over-imaginative interpretation translates that into "emphasizes manifestly verification-based reasons for attribution." My objective demonstration of non-presence you denigrate as an "improper ... proxy for trying to understand the meaning of the text", though you offer no better proxy for something you evidently do not understand. Your obstinate persistence in a blatantly false position is a waste of time, and becomes disruptive. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 23:04, 20 November 2014 (UTC)
Please calm down, J. Johnson. When the purpose of "identif[ing] the full reference" is "to support the short citations" then in my view verification is quite obviously the basis. I understand that you are unable to see this connection, and I am sorry that my contrary view appears to be ruffling your feathers, but that's why I said that we will agree to disagree. I am not disrupting anything. -Thibbs (talk) 14:33, 21 November 2014 (UTC)
It is not a matter of connection, but of what this guideline, and even this particular paragarph, is about. The paragraph is about why full references should be copied with the short citations they support. It does not address verification, neither directly (as you explictly claimed) nor indirectly. Your connection is irrelevant. That I do not see "verification" here very simple: it is not present. The real question of interest here is why you see that which is not. To return to the larger question: this guideline does not address verification. The disruption is your continued insistence on that which is not. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 02:41, 23 November 2014 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────The use of longform citations instead of short form citations is not simply an aesthetic requirement or one that is done simply for the sake of doing it. The reason to provide a minimum set of details for any source is so that readers can verify that what the article claims is not something that some nobody just made up one day. To maintain that a requirement to provide full citations isn't even implicitly about verification is either the demonstration of a startlingly clouded understanding of why we provide sources or it's a legalistic hairsplitting of such assiduity that it has reduced the discussion to an absurdity. The same is true for a word-count based means of determining the meaning of a sentence. You may as well say that Guy Fawkes isn't an article about a human because that word isn't used in that article. Anyway at this stage the whole thing is pointless. The prior discussion has reached a total impasse and there is no longer any reason to discuss venue for a clarificatory text that will never come to be. Despite the fact that every single editor except J. Johnson (that's 9 out of 10 editors thus far) agrees at a minimum that splits and merges need not be reverified, consensus is impossible because Wikipedia is not a democracy and a zealously held singular perspective can bar changes to the guidelines. I now concede that J. Johnson was correct on the ripeness issue. I had hoped something fruitful would emerge from the discussion at WT:CITE, but I have been proven wrong. I'm withdrawing my proposal and closing this discussion now as it has outlived any possible potential for further use. My thanks to the three other editors who participated in this discussion here. -Thibbs (talk) 21:18, 25 November 2014 (UTC)

Thibbs, your statements are so far off-topic they become false. E.g., your comment re "10 editors" does not accord with the objective reality that in this section the only editors to be seen are you, me, Prototime, and PBS. What you probably meant was the CS discussion, which is where reverification itself, including application to splits and merges, was being discussed. But this thread is about whether this venue is the correct place to discuss reverification. I still maintain that the CWW guideline does not cover verification, as evidenced by the utter absence of any mention verification (as I have demonstrated), and that your best argument (that one paragraph mentions citations, which are used for verification, and that connection amounts to the guideline being about verification — is that a fair statement of your argument?), is fallacious. BTW, your name- calling ("legalistic hairsplitting of such assiduity") is entirely unwarranted and not conducive to any determination of the correct venue. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 00:09, 26 November 2014 (UTC)
J. Johnson, finding a proper venue for nothing (i.e. the outcome of the discussion at WT:CITE) is a waste of my time. That is why I closed this discussion. I understand that you think you've proved your case with indisputable facts. Congratulations to you. I don't think your word-count proof amounts to anything and there is really nothing more to say on the topic. I have previously suggested that we might "agree to disagree". You declined to agree to even this. That's where we'll have to leave it. We've had a lively and spirited discussion over this topic for close to a month but let's give the community a rest now, shall we? If you'd like to, you should feel free to come post further thoughts at my talk page. Nobody but the two of us have made any comment on this topic in 5 days. Considering that the entire thread is now moot, I don't think anyone else is likely to. With your permission I'd like to close the thread again right now instead of in four days. Do I have your permission to close the thread now? -Thibbs (talk) 00:31, 26 November 2014 (UTC)
  • The answer is apparently "no". See below. -Thibbs (talk) 15:44, 15 December 2014 (UTC)
Not really, but apparently you still want to discuss this, eh? Apparently you do not yet understand that any discussion (or clarification, annotation, comment; in fact, any edit) keeps the discussion open. Okay, I think no one else is interested in any of this, so I make an offer: if no one, including yourself, makes any edits here, after five days I will close this for you. It's irregular, but seems to be the merciful thing to do. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 22:45, 15 December 2014 (UTC)
Unless it's closed, the discussion remains open until it is archived (archiving details available here). Obviously I have no personal objections to anybody closing this thread at any time, JJ. I have had lingering doubts regarding the helpfulness of the discussion since it was re-opened. Regardless, you may want to run this plan by User:PBS first since he's expressed concern that a closure could be seen as deceptive. I leave it up to you. -Thibbs (talk) 02:21, 23 December 2014 (UTC)
You just can't sit tight. Well, you did wait a whole week, there has been no other participation, nor indication of interest, so as an act of mercy I will close this for you. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 22:21, 23 December 2014 (UTC)
OK. PBS' objections notwithstanding it seems like an eminently sensible move. -Thibbs (talk) 22:46, 23 December 2014 (UTC)

Other reasons for attributing text[edit]

@Thibbs I added the section "Other reasons for attributing text" on 26 August 2013. I did this because of my experiences of where attributing copies was useful.
I copied some text from one article to another (here]). The text was found to be a copyright infringement, but because I had attributed in the history of the article from whence I had copied it in good faith, I was free from accusations of breaching copyright and the earlier copyright infringement could be easily found and deleted as well. So article attribution in the history protected me from accusations of deliberately breaching copyright by copying from a third party source.
The second paragraph was introduced because of this: Unacknowledged internal copying and problems with citations.
So both of the paragraphs I introduced are also specifically about additional copyright problems. However for our own internal editorial reasons the edit history of an article is much more than just a log of copyright. Without attribution of internal copies the edit history is lost not only for copyright but for all the other things for which it is used. Perhaps we need an introductory sentence/paragraph in the section explaining that.
Your suggested additional text is one of the reasons that article history is useful for editors, but is it significantly different/unique from other reasons why one might wish to ask an editor something about their contribution to an article? -- PBS (talk) 11:23, 12 November 2014 (UTC)
Thanks for your clarification, PBS.
I guess my initial thought was that attribution as required for reasons of copyright problems would be covered in the "Attribution is required for copyright" section and that attribution seen as desirable for other reasons would be covered in the "Other reasons for attributing text" section. If both sections discussed attribution for reasons of copyright then I wonder what the difference between them is.
Honestly I'm still of the view that the second paragraph as written is not about copyright even though I now know that it originated from a copyright concern. Without the background story, the stated rationale for attribution given by the second "Other reasons" paragraph is "to identify the full reference needed to support [] short citations". This is squarely a verification issue. There is certainly overlap between verification and copyright in certain scenarios and your example (indeed the example that inspired the text) highlights how the two intersect. Of course it would be easy to construct a hypothetical scenario where failure to give proper attribution during a mechanical transfer (split, merge, etc.) would result in the merging or splitting editor being accused of deliberately breaching copyright by copying from a third party source, or where reverification of sources during an act of copying within Wikipedia resulted in the discovery of copyright problems, but that wouldn't transform these into copyright issues. -Thibbs (talk) 13:15, 12 November 2014 (UTC)
Concerning your question "is it significantly different/unique from other reasons why one might wish to ask an editor something about their contribution to an article?" I would say that it is likely to have rather more significant consequences than most cases where a previous editor would be sought. The failure to attribute text copied during a merge would be regarded as an addition of novel claims into Wikipedia. An editor who introduces novel claims without verifying the sources would not only risk the removal of all unverified sources (typically an NPOV-weakening removal of everything other than modern online sources), but the editor also opens himself to accusations of deliberately introducing unsupportable claims - an act that could lead to the imposition of editing restrictions. I may be thinking too narrowly in scope here, but I'm trying to imagine other reasons why one would wish to track down a previous editor who added a claim and all I can think of are cases where one is hoping to gain additional information on a source need to expand/create a new article. Are there other equally consequential reasons why one might wish to ask editors something about their contributions to an article? -Thibbs (talk) 13:38, 12 November 2014 (UTC)
I do not think that is more of a problem than it is for any other reason when copying text loosing the edit history for that section of text, and your "also opens himself to accusations of deliberately introducing unsupportable claims" is for the person making the accusation a breach of Assume Good Faith. -- PBS (talk)
What other reasons are you thinking of? In the only example I could come up with (i.e. "where one is hoping to gain additional information...") the problems amount to frustration of one's efforts to create or expand a new article whereas the problems attending a failure to attribute when copying material during a split or merge would be the removal of all offline sources and the garnering of possible editing restrictions. Those aren't really comparable consequences. Regarding the "accusations of deliberately introducing unsupportable claims": Didn't you say that it was the protection "from accusations of deliberately breaching copyright by copying from a third party source" that prompted you to add material to the guideline in the first place? Sometimes AGF is not practiced and then it's good to have attribution to fall back on. -Thibbs (talk) 06:40, 15 November 2014 (UTC)
The point about copying from Wikipedia when the text to be copied is a copyright violation, there is no way for someone to prove from whence it came. It could have come from an internal Wikipedia copy, or it could have been directly sourced from the third party source. However it gets worse if in the meantime the original copied source has been deleted from Wikipeida (as a copyright violation) and one can not remember from whence it came, then it would not be unreasonable for another person to assume that it was copied from the original copyright source, as one would not be able to show from where on Wikipeida it came. Wikipedia takes copyright violations very seriously (Wikipedia:Copyright problems). Above you write "I may be thinking too narrowly in scope here, but I'm trying to imagine other reasons why one would wish to track down a previous editor" a simple example might be some some information which is not supported with an in-line citation to ask the original author what source was used in its creation, just as one might do that by using WikiBlame on the edit history of an article to find the author of text in any article (this is a particularly common problem with older text when it was considered acceptable either not to include any sources or just a handful of general references). -- PBS (talk) 11:32, 17 November 2014 (UTC)
Likewise when someone copies over unverified material from another article without providing attribution then there is also no way to prove from whence it came, and it is also not unreasonable for another person to assume that the copying editor had written the text (possibly containing falsified sources) herself. And just as Wikipedia takes copyright seriously, it also takes the falsification of sources and similar trust-related violations of its policies and guidelines seriously. The example you give is a great reason why the original editor should include sources, but the consequences resulting from unattributed and unverified copying of unsupported claims (i.e. the appropriate deletion of the unsupported claim) are quite small compared to the consequences resulting from unattributed and unverified copying of properly sourced but difficult to access claims (described above). The consequences associated with your example exert at best a trivial deterrent effect on editors who fail to attribute copied text and thus provides a more trivial example of an "other reason for attributing text", whereas the consequences of failing to give attribution for the source of unverified material supported by hard-to-access claims (i.e. blame for falsified sources and/or the removal of sourced material from the encylcopedia) might be sufficient to provide a good example of why attribution is necessary in those cases. Anyway I wouldn't be opposed to adding a few words covering the example you give as an additional "other reason", but it isn't as pressing an issue. -Thibbs (talk) 13:11, 17 November 2014 (UTC)
I disagree. For lots of reasons, but primarily because I think you are making a distinction between "mechanical transfer (split, merge ..." and other types of copying between articles that I do not see as relevant. All of them should be attributed primarily for copyright reasons, but secondarily because there are editing advantages that can be obtained through having access to the edit history of the text and that is true for all types of inter Wikipedia copying whatever the reason. Also there is no "consequences resulting from unattributed and unverified copying of unsupported claims" any more than there is in "inserting unattributed and unverified claims" -- unless it is deleted from the article, in which case there is a WP:BURDEN before it can be reinserted. -- PBS (talk) 22:25, 17 November 2014 (UTC)
Well from the sound of it we're actually mostly in agreement. We're in agreement for example regarding the "consequences resulting from unattributed and unverified copying of unsupported claims". They are very minor compared to the consequences resulting from unattributed and unverified copying of properly sourced but difficult to access claims. That's the very distinction I was drawing. We're also in agreement that "All of them should be attributed primarily for copyright reasons, but secondarily because there are editing advantages that can be obtained through having access to the edit history of the text". The only difference between our views is whether the unverified copying of properly sourced but difficult to access claims should be offered as an example in the "other reasons" section just like the short citation example is offered in the second paragraph of "other reasons". You had asked why this issue should be offered as an example and I tried to explain that the gravity of the consequences is sufficient to elevate it to the status of a good example. -Thibbs (talk) 02:15, 18 November 2014 (UTC)
  • @PBS: - What would you think of the idea of covering the reasons for attribution during splits and merges within Wikipedia:COPYWITHIN#Merging and splitting? I still think the "Other reasons" section is the best place for this information but if the intention is to provide an alert to those conducting splits and merges then presumably they would go directly to the "Merging and splitting" section after reading the basic rule at the top. Recognizing that I'm interested in including coverage of this topic regardless of the details of the community consensus at WP:CITE, do you think this would work as a compromise location for this coverage, PBS? -Thibbs (talk) 14:31, 18 November 2014 (UTC)
    • @PBS: - Sorry to bother you, but I'd like to reach a resolution here. Would my above suggestion work? I won't ping you here again if you ignore this. -Thibbs (talk) 14:36, 21 November 2014 (UTC)
      • Oh well. This is now moot. I'm closing the thread. -Thibbs (talk) 21:18, 25 November 2014 (UTC)

Re-opening the closed discussion for additional comments[edit]

And I am re-opening the thread. I concur (and thank you) for withdrawing the proposal, and would agree to closing this discussion if there were no more comments. But you added comments that are not a neutral summary at the same time you closed, which looks like you are trying to make a statement, and then close discussion so no one else can reply. I will reply (above). If there are no further comments for three or four days then go ahead and close. But please don't be so quick to shut out any reply. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 23:28, 25 November 2014 (UTC)

  • I provided no summary at all. How long shall we continue to discuss this, J. Johnson? This thread is no longer serving any useful purpose. -Thibbs (talk) 23:51, 25 November 2014 (UTC)
Your addition of a partisan comment constituted a continuation of the discussion, so your simultaneous closing of the discussion was not only premature, but certainly looks like an attempt to preclude any reply. When there has been no further discussion for some period (I suggest at least three days), then it can be closed. But I would suggest you not do it. I will do it if that is okay with you. Alternately, I would suggest we ask @PBS: to close this at his discretion. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 00:26, 26 November 2014 (UTC)
It's just been the two of us talking back and forth without reaching any common understanding for the last five days by this point. I suggested that we could just agree to disagree a week ago already, but you didn't like that. I see no point to this conversation. PBS is welcome to close the thread. You are welcome to close it. It serves no purpose at all any more. -Thibbs (talk) 00:36, 26 November 2014 (UTC)
If you have nothing further to say, say nothing. After a suitable interval of non-discussion it can be closed. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 02:02, 26 November 2014 (UTC)
I strongly believe that now is a suitable time. There is likely nothing to be gained from keeping it open any longer. Do I have your permission to close it again? -Thibbs (talk) 03:24, 26 November 2014 (UTC)

I do not think that a template closing this conversation is necessary, and could be seen as deceptive making it appear to be a more formal conversation than it was. This was a conversation between a few editors which reached no clear consensus. I suggest that it is just left as is, and it will be archived in due course. -- PBS (talk) 12:59, 27 November 2014 (UTC)

I'm concerned that if it's not closed other well-intentioned editors will think it's still an active topic and may post comments designed to help achieve consensus. Because the proposal is founded on a predicted consensus that in fact failed to emerged at WP:CITE, there can be no possible benefit gained from continuing to discuss whether this guideline is the correct venue for the incorrectly predicted consensus. Closing the discussion either without a summary (as I did earlier) or with a short summary stating "No consensus." would prevent further wasting of the community's time. I really can't believe that closing the discussion at this point would be seen as deceptive. It has run its course and we've gotten to the point where further discussion has been described as disruptive. Can there possibly be a reason to continue discussing the topic of the thread? Does this page even have auto-archiving set up? -Thibbs (talk) 13:11, 27 November 2014 (UTC)
To make an incorrect, non-neutral "summary", and then immediately close off any response, smacks of trying to spin the result in your favor. If you think there is nothing more to be said, you can say so, but it is not for you to decide that no one else has anything to say. And as discussion of verification is not limited to either your proposal or the the discussion from CS, it is not inconceivable (though currently unlikely) that something else could be said on the matter. I don't know why you should be concerned about that, but "inactive" status follows from lack of activity, not any single edtior's fiat. If you are concerned about someone traipsing on by in the next several days, simply make a a statement that, in your opinion, there is nothing further to discuss. (Who knows, the rest of us might concur in that.) To force closure certainly looks like a deliberate attempt to deceive. If that is not your intent, the best approach would be not to continue in the suspect behavior, nor to argue about it, but to simply back off. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 00:06, 29 November 2014 (UTC)
This is the closure we are talking about, yes? No summary of any sort was given. If editors here would prefer to keep the thread open to allow others to comment on the moot topic then so be it. -Thibbs (talk) 04:06, 29 November 2014 (UTC)
That is correct, you did not do an actual summary (such as is typical for a closure). It seemed to me that you may have thought you were summarizing, and I presumed to credit you with that intent. That you were only commenting, well, the point is the same: making a non-neutral comment, and then immediately (or even simultaneously) precluding anyone else from commenting, just isn't good form. Also, please note: although in your first draft of your last comment you refer to "my [i.e., yours] deceptive efforts" neither PBS nor I have accused you of intentional deception; you have (once again) assumed what is not there. On the basis of WP:AGF I presume you were just caried away (hysterical??). But that does not excuse the behavior. If this presumption is correct then we might well expect you to state that it was not intended, and cease trying to persist in it. I have no clue why you will not do either, but your persistence serves no good, looks bad, and further delays when this thread would be automatically archived (which amounts to closoure). If you must comment, perhaps you would explain you think it is so urgent to close this immediately. Are you afraind of further comments? ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 23:35, 29 November 2014 (UTC)
You'll notice that I've already explained above, J. Johnson. This is a moot topic of discussion premised on my incorrect presumption that there was consensus over the needlessness of reverifying every offline source during a split or merge. Recall that this thread began life as a proposal to codify this presumed consensus in the COPYWITHIN guideline. You convinced me to temporarily withdraw the proposal in anticipation of your pronouncement on the issue, and in the meantime the discussion here continued over the propriety of this guideline as a venue for explanatory text arising from a presumed consensus of any sort on the issue. A week later, after you had provided your considered opinion and demonstrated your strength of conviction, it became obvious to all parties that a consensus would not be formed. The proposal which had been based on this presumed consensus was then fully withdrawn and the discussion of the venue was simultaneously rendered meaningless. Why, you ask, have I sought to immediately close the now-moot proposal over which two editors who have been disagreeing for several weeks are the only ones still bickering? Why, indeed? I don't see the value to it, but if you feel strongly about it then you can continue to go right ahead filling the thread with your good faith comments and objectively factual observations to enlighten the community. The automatic archiving of this thread won't take place until four more threads are created so we have plenty of time to wait for further thoughts on this moot topic. -Thibbs (talk) 05:56, 30 November 2014 (UTC)
You say "moot" a lot, but you should consider that one of its meanings is to open for discussion or debate. Sure, you seem to intend the opposite meaning ("no longer relevant"), but such ambiguous usage can lead to misinterpretation of what is meant.
Your concern that some editor will wander into this thread is touching, but fails to explain the strength of your need for immediate closure. By the way, if you were to agree that CWW is not the proper venue for discussing verification I would be please to close this thread for you. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 22:22, 1 December 2014 (UTC)
I'm surprised that you consider this apparent ambiguity worth raising. It's as if you hadn't read any of my comments since the 25th of last month... Does it make any sense to you at all that I would close the thread as moot if I really intended for it to serve as a moot courtroom for you? No, you have correctly guessed that my intention was the opposite. Since you re-opened the thread we have seen an excellent example of the kind of acrimonious time-wasting disruption that comes as a consequence of leaving a moot discussion open for an editor with an axe to grind to carry on disagreeing with his favorite target far beyond the point where it became apparent to all that the difference of opinion that initiated the discussion was in fact irreconcilable. Of course I won't agree with you that the guideline on Copying Within Wikipedia should fail to provide instruction on one of the most common forms of copying within Wikipedia. What nonsense. And I don't want to participate in further moot debates with you over the topic. It's a waste of my time and the time of every editor who has watchlisted this page and who, since the 25th of November, have been treated to regular doses of this nonsense. I maintain that this thread should have been closed when I closed it, but please notice that I have agreed to let it remain open because PBS, who I regard as a neutral party here, has opined that he believes closing is not necessary and because he worries that closing would be regarded as deceptive (a concern that you have expressed in even stronger terms, J. Johnson). We are now waiting for the thread to become archived, and I've now added this page to my watchlist in case others in the months prior to the archiving event should wish to comment on whether the text of a non-existent consensus should be added to this guideline or not. You have expressed your views on the topic. I have expressed mine. We all understand one another now. There is no need for you to continue belittling and pestering me to continue explaining to you over and over again why it was that I wanted to close the thread. If you are unable to understand my reasons by now then I don't think you ever will understand them. And frankly I don't care. We'll have to leave it there. -Thibbs (talk) 04:10, 2 December 2014 (UTC)
"By the way, if you were to agree that CWW is not the proper venue for discussing verification I would be please to close this thread for you." Fascinating that after all your moralizing about how this conversation should not be closed to other editors' participation, you're more than happy to give that up if someone else decides to agree with your view (which, by the way, I also participated in this conversation and continue to disagree with you). That said, it is well past the time for this useless conversation on thread-closing to end, and I will say no more. –Prototime (talk · contribs) 05:14, 2 December 2014 (UTC)
Prototime: I believe the gist of your position (without rehasing all the details) is that because editors who copy material within WP would be coming here, this is where they should be advised (among other things) about any re-verification requirements. As far as that goes, I am actually in agreement with you, at least to the extent of providing a link to (say) WP:V. Where I disagree is that this is the proper place to disucssion verification, in part because this is not where verification has been discussed before.
You are quite incorrect, and wrong, to say that I would be "more than happy to to give up" (i.e., preclude) "other editors' participation" if Thibbs agrees with me. I said I would be pleased to close the discussion, but you should not assume I would do so in as high-handed fashion as Thibbs did. (Don't forget WP:AGF.) Perhaps you would go so far as to clarify that was just a misunderstanding, and even retract your imputation. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 19:45, 2 December 2014 (UTC)

The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.