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New RFC on linking to Wikidata[edit]

Closure in progress.WBGconverse 07:58, 17 June 2018 (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.

Should we ban links to wikidata within the body of an article? --Rusf10 (talk) 00:50, 10 May 2018 (UTC)


Over two months ago we had an RFC on linking to Wikidata, the result of which was "no consensus". I initiated the RFC after a user was continually adding links to wikidata to replace articles that were deleted through AfD for notability concerns, here is an example. Unfortunately, I did not create the question that we voted on and it was worded with the extreme position of "Never link to Wikidata" which got mixed support. I think most people generally agree that the links are the sidebar are useful (in particular the inter-language links) and should not be removed. However, within the body of the article there was less support for using wikidata. Some people also indicated that inline interlanguage links (see WP:ILL) may also be appropriate. However, almost everyone agreed wikidata links should not be a substitute for a red-link (or a deleted article). While I agree that linking different language versions of wikipedia is a great feature, otherwise I find wikidata to be unreliable and directly linking to it would be confusing for the average user.--Rusf10 (talk) 00:50, 10 May 2018 (UTC)

NOTE- Since there is another RFC on using wikidata in infoboxes, none of the options below will apply to the usage of wikidata in infoboxes since that is being determined separately.

I'm providing three options:

  1. Support- Wikidata should not be linked to within the body of the article (this includes hidden text links). This will have no impact on the sidebar links nor Wikipedia:Authority control
  2. Support, but with exception for inline inter-language links- Same as above, but allows for exception for use of Template:Interlanguage link
  3. Oppose-Link to Wikidata if an article does not exist

I am adding an additional option to clarify: --RAN (talk) 03:16, 10 May 2018 (UTC)
        4.  Oppose- Allow hidden text links with Wikidata Q-numbers such as <!-Q1123456--> so that a duplicate Wikidata entry is not created in the future

And another, because the one above isn't an oppose rationale but another exception:
        5.  Support, with two exceptions: for inline inter-language links and hidden-text Q numbers, as described above.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  09:54, 18 May 2018 (UTC)


  • Support- full ban in body of article as proposer.--Rusf10 (talk) 00:50, 10 May 2018 (UTC)
  • exclamation mark- NOTE: Some !voters below may have arrived via partisan audience CANVASS. This RFC was posted & linked on the Wikidata central Project Chat at 01:52, 10 May 2018.[1] Alsee (talk) 01:33, 13 May 2018 (UTC)
    WP:Canvas says to post at the projects involved! Calling them a "partisan audience" is just silly. They have as many diverse opinions as there are here. --RAN (talk) 20:50, 18 May 2018 (UTC)
    RAN, WP:CANVASS says notifying WP:Wikiprojects here on EnWiki is appropriate. We have had RFCs relating Wikinews, Wikiversity, and others. For example whether we wanted those wikis to appear in local search results, and whether our policy pages direct users to go to those other wikis for various purposes. Those RFCs were not advertised on those other wikis, because it was a purely local EnWiki matter and EnWiki community decision. It would have been seriously inappropriate to canvass Wikinews or other communities trying to swamp the EnWiki RFC to promote external agendas. You do not want to win this argument. A canvassed mob from EnWiki could overwhelm any other community at will. A canvassed EnWiki mob could delete or re-write Wikidata polices any way we please. We could re-write Wikidata policy to require deletion of any unsourced claims, and even deletion of all sourced claims which don't comply with EnWiki WP:RS policy. The fact that Wikidata would cease to exist as an autonomous community would actually help resolve some of the issues with using Wikidata on EnWiki, all content on Wikidata would be subject to EnWiki policies and EnWiki administration. Alsee (talk) 04:18, 20 May 2018 (UTC)
    Yeah, notifying off-site (even WMF-related) groups who have a vested interest in the outcome is WP:MEATPUPPETRY, a particular form of canvassing.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  06:48, 9 June 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose - This appears to be about Rusf10 removing hidden links Q-numbers formatted as <!-Q123456--> to Wikidata from tables that list multiple people that do not currently have an entry in English Wikipedia. The Wikidata entry links to Wikipedia entries in other languages and links to Wiki Commons and Wiki Quote, even if they do not have an English Wikipedia entry. The hidden links will let an editor know that if an article is recreated or a new entry is created for this person, an entry at Wikidata already exists. This will hopefully reduce duplication of Wikidata entries. It also allows Wikipedia to disambiguate people that appear in articles and lists that currently do not have Wikipedia entries. This way a person can know that say "John Smith, Mayor of Yourtown<!-Q123456-->" in an article on Yourtown is the same person as "John Smith, President of BigCompany<!-Q123456-->" that appears in the article on BigCompany. It will allow someone who creates an article in the future to search for hidden text on the string "Q123456" and find both entries and create the properly disambiguated link to the article. Of course only someone actually editing an article will be able to see the hidden link Q-number. --RAN (talk) 02:06, 10 May 2018 (UTC)
    This will do absolutely nothing to prevent duplicate entries in wikidata for topics that already have articles in wikipedia, so it seems to me to just be an excuse, not a real solution to a problem. If duplicate entries is really a widespread problem in wikidata then why doesn't wikidata come up with its own solution for this that doesn't involve wikipedia?--Rusf10 (talk) 03:38, 10 May 2018 (UTC)
    Okay, to clarify what I think RAN is talking about: Suppose there is a redlink here. Somebody sees it, creates an article, and then creates a Wikidata entry for the new article. What I think RAN is suggesting is that any hint we can give here is useful, that a Wikidata item already exists, and so if/when a new article is created here, then it should be linked to the existing Wikidata item, rather than have a new one created for it.
    Wikidata users make quite an effort to try to hunt down and merge duplicates, eg trying to spot potential duplicates that matching birth/death dates, or the same value for an external ID, or apparent duplicates that come up organically in search. But all these are playing catch-up, and are never 100%. It's altogether better if the new article gets linked properly from the outset.
    Another reason (IMO) may also be worth considering why such references in comments might be useful, namely that if a wikidata item exists, it may have some useful information and references for basic facts like full names, dates, external identifiers, places of activity, birth, death, etc that all may be of use to somebody creating an article. Jheald (talk) 10:54, 10 May 2018 (UTC)
  • Support a ban, or at least strongly discourage them, similar to the language in WP:EXTLINKS. Pburka (talk) 02:38, 10 May 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose Such links should be allowed to be used where they can provide extra information to readers and editors about the topic. They are not completely external links, they are links within the Wikimedia movement. Thanks. Mike Peel (talk) 12:07, 10 May 2018 (UTC)
  • Support, but with exception for inline inter-language links. I oppose the concept of comments that point to Wikidata, because there is no unambiguous format to determine the exact meaning of such comments, or exactly how the comment would be associated with the text in the article. Such a situation is an invitation for people to write bots that screw things up. Jc3s5h (talk) 12:20, 10 May 2018 (UTC)
  • We should not link to wikidata at all. Inline interlanguage links have always been discouraged in practice (notice how few of them exist). There is no reason to add an exception for Wikidata about them. — Carl (CBM · talk) 12:40, 10 May 2018 (UTC)
  • Support with exception for interlanguage links per Jc3s5h. Ealdgyth - Talk 13:16, 10 May 2018 (UTC)
  • Support with exception for interlanguage links per Jc3s5h and Ealdgyth. ILLs may be rare due to the fact that the English Wiki is currently standing at 5,646,567 articles, well ahead of most other languages (wp:List of Wikipedias). (Indeed if you ignore those articles written by Lsjbot, well over double the size of any other Wiki.) Therefore few articles will appear in another language and not in English, except for small geographic features and locally notable persons. ILLs are invaluable for setting up a link that can be subsequently translated either full or as guidance. When I was working on Peter Harlan I used an ILL to get the basis of the article and there are still ILLs for Cornelia Schröder-Auerbach (de), Hanning Schröder (de) and Castle Sternberg (de) within it. It means the reader has at least the possibility of finding the information until someone has the time to create an English version. Martin of Sheffield (talk) 13:40, 10 May 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose any restriction per my comment in the previous RfC. This an utter baby-with-the-bathwater case, which would disallow links to Wikidata in tables, for example. Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 14:35, 10 May 2018 (UTC)
  • Mu I'm all for creating a policy to explain how and what sorts of links are useful. This sort of RFC, which is too restrictive and too ignorant of nuance, is not the way to do it. --Jayron32 14:51, 10 May 2018 (UTC)
  • I cannot choose any one of the four options, although the closest thing would probably be "support with exception" + "allow hidden comments". The status quo appears to be to discourage inline interwiki links in general, except for Wiktionary and Wikisource links and those generated by {{Interlanguage link}}. Regardless of whatever concerns there are with Wikidata at this juncture, I think the current Manual of Style guidance should be sufficient, although I would update it to explicitly permit {{ill}} links to the Wikidata item. Banning hidden comments based on innocuous material, if the proposer is indeed in support of this, is patently ridiculous and unnecessarily heavy-handed, especially since these are not actually links and readers aren't supposed to see them. I don't think it's necessary to lump them together with real working links. Aside from the issue with hidden comments, I think the RfC should be clarified to indicate that the proposer is, at least according to their own words, in support of the status quo that currently exists. Jc86035's alternate account (talk) 15:06, 10 May 2018 (UTC)
  • Support—there are far too many issues with WikiData's implementation and with WikiData-folk contemptuously imposing WikiData on articles beyond the control—or even awareness—of the custodians of Wikipedia articles. This shouldn't be re-opened for discussion until it can be clearly demonstrated that all the issues—both technical and behavioural—have been dealt with. Curly "JFC" Turkey 🍁 ¡gobble! 00:32, 11 May 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose A QID or URL in a comment is a good way to tip about the existence of the article in sister sites. At this stage practices are evolving and improving every day, but banning such info would just kill innovation. Syced (talk) 06:29, 11 May 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose. The only reasonable usage of linking to wikidata (as opposed to pulling data from Wikidata, which the topic starter explicitly excluded from this RfC by saying it has no impact on {{Authority control}}), is to indicate next to a redlink that a Wikidata item for this redlink exists. I can not envision a single rational argument ("Wikidata is evil" is not a rational argument) against connecting a redlink on Wikipedia with Wikidata in the case the Wikidata item exists (there are plenty of items on Wikidata which do not have any sitelinks and which would be notable by our standards). Whether it should be a link similar to {{ill}} or just a number commented out is debatable, but I am not looking forward for this debate, as this RfC is very badly organized (similarly to the previous one) and is very untimely (similarly to the previous one).--Ymblanter (talk) 07:01, 11 May 2018 (UTC)
  • Support- with the possible exception of interlanguage links. From what I've seen of WikiData, its content is confusing, often mostly empty, and frequently erroneous. As Curly points out, it feels lioke this junk is being inflicted on Wikipedia with minimal oversight. I'd put a moratorium on the use of WikiData until we can be satisfied that we're not just rubbishing our standards of accuracy. Reyk YO! 07:08, 11 May 2018 (UTC)
  • Support until such time as Wikidata develops a better reputation for fact-checking, referencing, and accuracy, especially for details such as citizenship of living people (often listed, rarely sourced). —David Eppstein (talk) 07:24, 11 May 2018 (UTC)
  • Support - not a community based here.--Moxy (talk) 11:56, 11 May 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose Banning comments is excessive, and doesn't seem to have had any justification given. Limited use of {{ill}}-style links in tabular material and lists could also be useful. Jheald (talk) 18:39, 11 May 2018 (UTC)
  • Support. Wikidata links are an inappropriate destination, except perhaps in the Wikidata article or other articles actually discussing Wikidata. In rare cases I could see a valid purpose for a hidden comment mentioning Wikidata. However hidden links are inappropriate without some unusual need in the specific case. Links to foreign language articles are generally a bad idea for a number of reasons, but sending a reader to Wikidata for interlanguage links is even worse. Alsee (talk) 02:56, 13 May 2018 (UTC)
  • Support. Sending readers to Wikidata is very rarely helpful, and if an editor believes that more information about a redlink or an unlinked term / name is needed, it would be better if they added a reliable source as a reference to it. The same applies to the vast majority of regular interlanguage links in our articles. Fram (talk) 13:33, 17 May 2018 (UTC)
  • Support. Rusf10, I'm not sure what "with exception for interlanguage links" has to do with the question "Should we ban links to wikidata within the body of an article?" SarahSV (talk) 14:13, 17 May 2018 (UTC)
    SarahSV I believe wikidata interlanguage links refers to replacing a redlink Jokery with Jokery (Wikidata), which sends the user to the bottom of a Wikidata page. In my opinion the typical reader will WTF when they see the link, and they'll be confused as hell if they click on it. Alsee (talk) 09:26, 18 May 2018 (UTC)
    That's really confusing. I was thinking more along the lines of Olena Chaplynska (uk; ru; ja). That could possibly have a use, but in my opinion, neither should be allowed. I just wanted to offer it as an option since some people had expressed support for these types of links in the past.--Rusf10 (talk) 14:24, 18 May 2018 (UTC)
    Rusf10, that's what I thought. It might be worth striking through that option, because those links have nothing to do with Wikidata that I know of, so it introduces a confusing tangent. SarahSV (talk) 16:08, 18 May 2018 (UTC)
    @SlimVirgin:Someone can correct me if I'm wrong, but I was under the impression that the ill links work by pulling information for the wikidata database.--Rusf10 (talk) 16:19, 18 May 2018 (UTC)
    Rusf10, you could be right, in which case it's a good idea to offer it as an option. SarahSV (talk) 17:21, 18 May 2018 (UTC)
  • Support. Disruptive without sufficient utility for almost all readers. Who actually uses Wikidata? My guess is a special type of reader. I have no objection if Wikidata links are added where they're easy to find and unobtrusive—in the "See also" section at the bottom, or some such. Tony (talk) 14:23, 17 May 2018 (UTC)
  • Support with the two exceptions. My reasoning is basically the same as that of David Eppstein who put it more succinctly than I would have. At some point, we can work-in an exception for WD material that is sourced to en.wp standards, when WD provides a means for us to be certain of this. WD-provided information would be useful for certain things, especially tabular data. But we're just not there yet. This project's core content policies are way more important that link-making convenience or data-provision centralization.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  10:04, 18 May 2018 (UTC)
    PS: I also agree with Tony1 that an "External links" entry (a regular line-item or a templated one) might be appropriate, as we'd use for a Wiktionary entry, etc. But we don't need any kind of policy change with regard to that, since it's already covered by WP:EL and MOS:LAYOUT as a general matter. I.e., this RfC isn't going to magically carve out a special exception to those rules, so people can stop wringing their hands about it and casting FUD at the RfC.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  12:56, 20 May 2018 (UTC)
@SMcCandlish:Here's the problem I have with the ILL template. It can be used to directly link to the wikidata entry rather than the different language articles. For example how it is being used here Take Paul Kiernan for example. He doesn't have any article on English wikipedia (It was deleted) and I'm near 100% sure no one is even going to attempt to create an article about him in another language, so why is an ILL being used here?--Rusf10 (talk) 04:12, 20 May 2018 (UTC)
Given what looks like an emerging consensus to not dump our readers into the middle of a WD page as if it's an article, I would expect that {{ILL}} would be changed to no longer do that, or to not do it when used in mainspace, or to put a red warning if done in mainspace (to permit the possibility in some circumstance we haven't accounted for, but which is rare), etc. I wouldn't dwell on this particular detail here and now.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  12:56, 20 May 2018 (UTC)
  • Support with the two exceptions. Wikidata links can be useful external links, when used with consensus, as in the {{Taxonbar}} template), but direct links to Wikidata are not appropriate in the body of an article any more than a link to any other external database would be. Peter coxhead (talk) 05:58, 19 May 2018 (UTC)
  • Support Wikidata links should not be allowed in either the Lead or the Body of the article. I'm agnostic on links in infoboxes, external links, etc. LK (talk) 06:53, 20 May 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose. I definitely support inline inter-language links and hidden-text Q numbers. That said, I support removing wikidata links from non-notable subjects where the sole purpose of the link is disambiguation. I'm not sure where the guideline is on this, but I believe inter-language Wikipedia links should always be required to meet WP:N. If there's debate, I expect the person arguing for the link to begin a draft on the subject. However, I think this blanket restriction on Wikidata links is too broad. Daask (talk) 20:27, 29 May 2018 (UTC)
  • Support with two exceptions - per SMcCandlish. Furthermore, Endorse SMcCandlish on not letting the ILL template dump a reader onto wikidata from mainspace easily. Tazerdadog (talk) 01:49, 1 June 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose. They're not often going to be useful but as exceptions to that are possible it doesn't make sense to ban it. For the same reasons we don't ban links to the Esperanto Wikipedia or the Daily Mail - just because they are not often helpful doesn't mean they never are. Thryduulf (talk) 09:28, 3 June 2018 (UTC)
  • Support, with possible exceptions by specific consensus after verifying the specific Wikidata entries. Links are almost always confusing to readers. Invisible comments are only helpful to editors if it is probable that Wikidata does not have multiple entities conflated with the same index and multiple indicies covering the same entity, which is, at best, not proven. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 05:35, 4 June 2018 (UTC)

*Support. Tony (talk) 06:25, 4 June 2018 (UTC) [Sorry, mistakenly posted support twice. Tony (talk) 03:34, 5 June 2018 (UTC)

  • Support I have just seen a horrendous example of circularity caused by this. Wikidata simply does not have the controls necessary to make it a worthwhile addition and it has the potential of allowing people to game en-WP's controls. - Sitush (talk) 13:44, 4 June 2018 (UTC)
  • Support ban, per others, and per my essay about the godawfulness of Wikidata for the accuracy of Wikipedia's articles. Outriggr (talk) 02:47, 6 June 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose – I've placed several-to-many inter-language links and find them helpful. I have no opinion on the other usages. However, the proposal makes no distinction, although several supporters of the ban do. Dhtwiki (talk) 19:03, 6 June 2018 (UTC)

Overlaps with another RFC[edit]

  • Please note - This RFC overlaps somewhat with another that is still ongoing (see Wikipedia:Wikidata/2018 Infobox RfC). I do not believe that there is any intentional forum shopping involved... but we do need people to know that similar questions are being discussed elsewhere. Blueboar (talk) 15:01, 10 May 2018 (UTC)
Thank for letting me know about this, I will add a statement above to clarify the proposal will not apply to infoboxes since that is being decided elsewhere.--Rusf10 (talk) 16:07, 10 May 2018 (UTC)
Fair enough. However, please note that the other RFC has grown beyond just discussing infoboxes. It may be better to put this discussion “on hold”... Until we see how the other closes. Blueboar (talk) 16:36, 10 May 2018 (UTC)
Disagree strongly. This RfC is straightforward and already looking like a WP:SNOWBALL. That other RfC is a sprawling mess of 1A, 3C, etc. options, from which obviously no consensus is going to emerge, other than possibly the one that points in the same direction this RfC is going. Virtually every single answer there conflicts with ever other answer, except that multiple respondents are arriving at the most-restrictive option (1A+2A+3A+4A). It's a textbook example of why to not structure RfCs that way. Ask one question, then do another RfC to ask another question. Also, as I commented over there, the excessively geeky structure and wording of that RfC basically makes it invalid: it's heavily skewed toward the input of IT professionals (few who are not in that camp will be able to parse it), and they have a strong bias in favor of data centralization and automation.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  10:27, 18 May 2018 (UTC)
I do not see it is straightforward, since different users are clearly addressing different issues, and the RfC question has been amended already during the RfC. I opened a proposal below to close it as invalid.--Ymblanter (talk) 20:19, 18 May 2018 (UTC)
That's not true! Since the day the RFC opened the question has been "Should wikidata be linked to in the body of the article?" as it is now. Stop trying to mislead people, just so you can shut down debate and get your way.--Rusf10 (talk) 20:30, 18 May 2018 (UTC)
No closer would shut this down as "invalid", because the course emerging is clear, as is the question, and that course matches the one at the other RfC (see the analysis I posted at bottom over there, to counter some similar snow-jobbing that was going on). The two discussions are in close synchrony. And whether some commenters choose to raise additional related issues that occur to them has nothing to do with the validity of an RfC; show me any RfC where this doesn't happen. What this all really comes down to: We all want WikiData to work, but the WD editors and their promoters on en.WP (to the extent they're not the exact same people, which may be 0%) have to do the work on the WD side to enable en.WP to filter WD data for en.WP policy compliance (and so on for other sites), or we simply can't use it, any more than we'd copy-paste content from any other website just because it was open-licensed, without also verifying the content and being able to control is appearance here. We'd never inline anything from another site where random people can change it and thereby instantly change what appears on Wikipedia, unless we can some way to control, undo, be alerted, etc. Even then it's a really, really iffy idea. The fact that WD in particular has received some WMF money doesn't change that. They fund all kinds of things that aren't pipelined directly through en.WP into readers eyes and brains.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  23:28, 18 May 2018 (UTC)
SMcCandlish, what you write demonstrates very clearly that the two of us, to start with, understand the question of this RfC very differently. For me, it has nothing to do with the reliability of Wikidata (whereas another one does). The RfC does not define what "links" mean. It does not specify what is its scope - are templates which are not infoboxes included? Are hidden comments included? Nobody directly links to Wikidata now in the articles (with the exception I guess the article Wikidata). It is pretty clear from the comments of the !voters that they understand the scope differently. The RfC was not properly prepared. And the RfC with an unclear scope must be, well, closed as invalid.--Ymblanter (talk) 05:32, 19 May 2018 (UTC)
None of that is a problem we're unfamiliar with or incapable of dealing with. Many RfCs involve later detail clarification and hashing-out. RfCs are not legalistic or robotic processes; they are calls for discussion. One discussion leads to another. We do not try to shut down discussions, unless they are disruptive for some reason. The more detailed RfC covers, well, the details. This more general RfC takes an overall pulse, and it's beating with the same heart as the leading cluster of responses to the more detailed RfC. This one demonstrates (in being neither dominated by WD boosters nor mired in complex details only understood by entrenched WD boosters and WD critics) that the consensus emerging at that one (despite the cluster of WD fans gathered there) isn't false. Next, when different respondents have differing but compatible and rational reasons for arriving at the same conclusion, this makes the conclusion stronger, not weaker. The fact that one person cares more about data verifiability (over time, not just once), while another cares about editorial complexity and confusion, and another about something else, doesn't invalidate anything at all. Any proposal can raise multiple concerns. If this RfC isn't limited to infoboxes, then it isn't. It's also clearly about pulling data directly from WD; so, no, it's not about HTML comments. We might end up not needing those, depending on how and if WD integration into en.WP proceeds, and how WD evolves to deal with the core policy problems being raised at multiple other sites. But for now, I've agreed with you that trying to expunge Q numbers in HTML comments is overkill and even a net negative.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  12:47, 20 May 2018 (UTC)

Proposal to close[edit]

Since the RfC so badly formulated that the participants do not really understand what is exactly asked, and one week after it was open new proposals appear (which are not reflected in the past votes), and the proposer says that they are thinking about adding new options, I propose to close this RfC as invalid. Any user in good standing can open a new one, formulating the options clearly and not changing them as the RfC runs its course. I would have also suggested to topic-ban Rusf10 from opening new RfCs about Wikidata, since the previous one was a disaster and this one is going to be a disaster, but this is clearly not an appropriate forum for such a proposal.--Ymblanter (talk) 20:17, 18 May 2018 (UTC)

@Ymblanter:Please strike your comment. You are making false statements. I have not changed any of the RFC options since the day the RFC opened. The only thing I changed on the second day was to add a note clarifying that the proposal would not apply to infoboxes since that is being determined elsewhere (and if you want to see a really bad RFC, take a look at that one). Also, where did I say I was "thinking about adding new options"? because I have not. The suggestion of a topic ban is uncalled for as I've done nothing wrong here. If you really want to pursue it though, I dare you. Wait until you see how quickly that will get shot down. The only reason the past RFC was a disaster is because your friend RAN worded the RFC options in a way to make the proposal more extreme so it would not pass. You obviously just want to shut down debate because the RFC is not going your way.--Rusf10 (talk) 20:27, 18 May 2018 (UTC)
[3]. The rest of your comment are baseless personal attacks. RAN is not "my friend", it is still not clear whether the proposal covers for example {{commonscat}} and other similar cases (and it is too late to clarify ot now), and I am not going to strike anything. It is up to administrators to listen or to not listen to my opinion in this section.--Ymblanter (talk) 20:41, 18 May 2018 (UTC)
People appear to be confusing a clickable link with a hidden annotation. There is no clickable link that Rusf10 is removing, he is removing hidden Wikidata Q-id annotations such as <!--Q1234567-->. They are used to properly disambiguate people that do not have Wikipedia articles, but have a Wikidata entry with more information on them. The annotation is only visible to someone editing the article. They let a future editor know that the person in the table of "Mayors of X" is the same guy appearing in the article on "X Township" and the article on "X Cemetery" and that the person has a photo in Wikimedia Commons. It lets a future editor know that the James Smith in one article is the same as the Jimmy Smith in another article and same person as the James Smith named in a quote in another article. People also seem to be confused about the !vote, it is not a binary support/oppose !vote. They are writing "support" without choosing one of the five mutually exclusive options, it is not clear what they are supporting. --RAN (talk) 20:46, 18 May 2018 (UTC)
Interpersonal venting aside, yes, the HTML-comment annotations should not be deleted since they're harmless, serve a useful function, don't cloud the code very much, and are invisible to readers. It would probably be preferable if there were another way to do it. Maybe the system being worked on to shunt CSS code for pages, and various metadata for templates, into special subpages could also be adapted to this purpose. I'm not really clear on the details of that work, and haven't looked into it all in months, so someone else should who understands it better can probably chime in about whether that's feasible.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  23:31, 18 May 2018 (UTC)
@Ymblanter: How does [4] change anything? my comment there is consistent with my original position that I support banning all wikidata links within the body of an article (including ILL). The rest of your comment are baseless personal attacks. Actually, it is a response to your personal attack. RAN is not "my friend" Good, at least we have something in common. it is still not clear whether the proposal covers for example {{commonscat}} and other similar cases (and it is too late to clarify ot now) It does not apply, the RFC is already clear that it applies only to the body of the article, of which categories are not a part of. and I am not going to strike anything. It is up to administrators to listen or to not listen to my opinion in this section. You are entitled to your own opinion, but if you are going to continue to make up facts (ie. the question has been changed or that I am thinking of changing the options), I will call you out on it.--Rusf10 (talk) 00:49, 19 May 2018 (UTC)
Call me out on what? On that you have opened a second RfC with an unclear scope? Is it exclusively about {{ill}}? Then it should have been in the RfC question, and it is not. If it is about anythong else, it should have been in the question. Nobody is linking the Wikidata from the body of the article directly. You opened another "Wikidata vs anti-Wikidata" shitstorm, and the result of the storm will be nothing because you could not even define the question properly.--Ymblanter (talk) 05:36, 19 May 2018 (UTC)
The RFC is crystal clear, it is about linking to wikidata in the body of the article. RFC questions are supposed to be short and simple, not complex. (read WP:RFC if you don't believe me)"Nobody is linking the Wikidata from the body of the article directly." You could not be more wrong! Go back and read the first RFC, that is what caused this issue to begin with. RAN was adding direct links to wikidata in the body of articles and insisting that he could do so because there was no rule specifically banning him from doing so. The reason the last RFC didn't work was RAN (not me) worded the position as "never link to wikidata" in hopes of getting more opposition and keeping the status quo (ie. there is no rule, so he can do whatever he wants). Now you're trying to paint this RFC as flawed, so debate can be shut down and nothing changes. Your obstructionist behavior, is not helping your cause. In both this RFC and the previous one, it has been clear that the consensus is wikidata has problems and its use must be limited. The only question is how exactly do we want to limit it? Its clear something need to be changed, so do you want to be part of the problem or the solution? I took the position that at least in the body of the article wikidata shouldn't be used at all (at least for now). If in the future, some major improvements are made to the reliability of wikidata, then we can revisit the best way to use it within articles. But if there are any really good uses of wikidata within the body of the article I'd like to hear about them. Although, I am not changing my vote as of now, I could certainly live with SMcCandlish's proposal. --Rusf10 (talk) 06:38, 19 May 2018 (UTC)
Again, the example you have given is linking to Wikidata next to a redlink which can not be a valid article. Red links which can not become valid articles are not allowed. Period. We do not need an RfC to establish this. Concerning possible Wikidata links next to valid redlinks, this has whatsoever no relation to reliability of Wikidata, because the function of such a link (which is next to a redlink) is not to provide information, but to facilitate future linking. If a Wikidata has an item about X, it stays forever an item about X, even if it gets vandalized or sourced to unreliable sources. If someone links to Wikidata from the body of the articles (not in templates), and these links are unrelated to Wikipedia redlinks, I would like to see an example. Instead, we have the whole rant again "Wikidata is not reliable, OMG". Just because of the way you formulated the question and because you did not care to discuss it with anybody before running it live. This is why we have supports which are actually opposes, and opposes which are actually supports.--Ymblanter (talk) 06:53, 19 May 2018 (UTC)
And please stop telling me such as "your cause" and "your case". My cause is to improve Wikimedia projects, including the English Wikipedia. I have been doing it for years, and I am currently one of 500 most active editors here of all times. If you believe I have a double agenda pls go to ANI, but stop saying it here.--Ymblanter (talk) 06:56, 19 May 2018 (UTC)
(1) I don't think there's any serious problem in relation to the other RFC. During the drafting of the other RFC, there was a deliberate decision to focus on infoboxes. This RFC focuses on the body of the article. There are wide-ranging discussions and arguments spilling over to both areas, but I don't see any inherent-or-likely conflict in allowing the RFCs to proceed in parallel.
(2) Concerns have also been raised about the formulation, scope, or intent of this RFC. I don't think it would be productive or appropriate to invalidate and restart the RFC. We've got substantial and productive examination of the issues invested from many people, and I believe participants have a reasonable understanding of at least the generalized topic. Either the !votes and discussion will be sufficient for the closer to sort out the issues, or the closer may may be able to provide a partial result and/or guidance on exactly what unresolved point(s) we need to focus on in any new RFC. Alsee (talk) 18:40, 20 May 2018 (UTC)
  • Note to closer If this is closed with no clear consensus, please restrict when it can be brought to RFC again. We really do not need to go through this every two months. It consumes a huge amount of time. The issue is complex, involving half a dozen permutations. The sister RFC on WIkidata and Infoboxes has over a dozen permutations. --RAN (talk) 20:17, 20 May 2018 (UTC)
    unfortunately, I think this is going to need further RFCs... we are going to have to explore each permutation separately (rather than all at once)... so we can better determine consensus on which permutations the community approves of, and which it does not. Blueboar (talk) 20:33, 20 May 2018 (UTC)
    @Richard Arthur Norton (1958- ):Restrict future RFCs so you can keep gaming the system, I think not. I'd actually be willing to support the ILL exception if the use of template wasn't being abused by yourself to do something it never was intended to do (that is, be used for topics that don't have an article in any language). If we don't deal with this, you're going to make hundreds of other pages into a complete mess, just like Mayor of Long Branch, New Jersey.--Rusf10 (talk) 23:30, 20 May 2018 (UTC)
    Is that what all this fuss is about? You wanting to remove links to Wikidata in a table that you have not contributed to, and have no interest in reading. It is kinda silly overkill. You can always just not look at what I am editing, have you tried that? --RAN (talk) 01:27, 21 May 2018 (UTC)
    So what is the intended audience for that article? yourself? Articles should be easy to read for the average person, not contain complex tables scattered with links to another website that is even more confusing. Wikipedia is an encyclopedia, not an extensive database for every person who has ever lived. If that what you want to do over at wikidata, by all means, I have no opinion on what goes on there, but I think I speak for most people on wikipedia when I say, I do not want that massive unreliable database spilling into the content here. Reliability issues aside, the fundamental question is does anyone want to see wikipedia get changed from an encyclopedia to a database full of every trivial bit of information that can be found.--Rusf10 (talk) 01:44, 21 May 2018 (UTC)
    "a table that you have not contributed to" is illegitimate reasoning here, Richard. See WP:OWN and WP:ENC. Everyone is here to work on content (and its presentation, categorization, policy compliance, and all other facets). It is never, ever required that one has to have previously been an editor at a page before one can have anything to do with its current and future direction. Otherwise WP would have no articles, because no one would have any standing to every write any in the first place. But this isn't about any particular articles anyway, it's about whether en.WP policies will be respected and enforceable on en.WP or whether WD editors can ignore them with impunity and inject their unvetted content into this site.
  • Or you can stop stalking my edits, and get the same effect. There are 5,650,219 articles in the English Wikipedia you still have not nominated for deletion. By concentrating on one article, you are neglecting all the other articles that can be deleted. Use better time management and maximize you deletions stats. --RAN (talk) 03:25, 21 May 2018 (UTC)
    You really don't want to go down that road, just think about the last ANI you opened, do I need to keep going? Back on topic, you still haven't explained the value of using the ILL template for articles that do not exist in another language.--Rusf10 (talk) 04:23, 21 May 2018 (UTC)
    It is irrelevant whether articles exist in another language or not. They may exist and be not notable for our standards, or they may not exist and be notable. What is important here is notability.--Ymblanter (talk) 07:16, 21 May 2018 (UTC)
  • I tend to support the moratorium idea (and have no idea where the suggester of it, Blueboar, stands with regard to which issues raised). This is tedious rehash, and the next round will be, too.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  23:42, 24 May 2018 (UTC)

Modified Proposal[edit]

In an effort to make the RFC come to a clear consensus, I'd like to purpose the following: Wikidata may not be linked to within the WP:BODY of an article with the exception of inline inter-language links (WP:ILL. Inline inter-language links may only be used when an article does not currently exist in en.wikipedia AND an article does exist in at least one other language. The ILL template will be modified to remove the Wikidata table of languages (ex. Jokery (Wikidata)) & Reasonator functions (ex. Jokery (Wikidata; Reasonator) ))--Rusf10 (talk) 06:25, 24 May 2018 (UTC)

Note: This still has no effect on infoboxes and would not impact other links that are not part of the body such as authority control templates, links on the sidebar, etc.

Survey on Modified Proposal[edit]

Support- I'm proposing this as a compromise to gain greater support. Although many have supported the complete ban of wikidata links, a sizable number had indicated they would support the ban if ILL were exempt. However, in order for me to accept ILL links there would have to be some restrictions on them to prevent pages like Mayor of Long Branch, New Jersey where the ILL is being used to link directly to wikidata even though no article exists in any other language and likely never will. I believe that it would not make sense to direct a reader to another language article if an one in English exists (after all this is an English encyclopedia and if they really wanted to find the article in another language all they would have to do is click the link and then look at the side bar). It only makes sense to me to link to another language if we currently do not offer an article about the subject, but another encyclopedia does. Furthermore, it seems most of us are in agreement that we do not want to "dump" the user into the middle of a wikidata page, so they why I proposing the phase-out of the table of languages and resonator links (I doubt many pages are using that function now anyway). I also dropped the ban on wikidata in hidden text from the proposal, although I still do question the wisdom of cluttering the editing screen with extra text that 99% of editors will find useless.--Rusf10 (talk) 06:25, 24 May 2018 (UTC)

What does everyone else think? @Alsee, Richard Arthur Norton (1958- ), Jheald, Pburka, Mike Peel, Jc3s5h, CBM, Ealdgyth, Pigsonthewing, Jayron32, Jc86035 (1), Curly Turkey, Syced, Ymblanter, Reyk, Moxy, Jheald, Fram, SlimVirgin, Tony1, SMcCandlish, Peter coxhead, Lawrencekhoo, Martin of Sheffield, and David Eppstein:--Rusf10 (talk) 06:25, 24 May 2018 (UTC)

  • I'm not a fan of any of the links being discussed. Even for interlanguage links to an existing article somwhere, I have concerns about clutter, few readers being able to read them, few readers understanding what the links are unless they blindly click on them, and the open door for promotional or policy-subverting ILLs to non-notable or otherwise problematical cases. If an article or redlinks or red-template-links are being deleted here, we don't want that user trying to manufacture an appearance of legitimacy with ILLs to an unpatrolled microwiki. Alsee (talk) 07:26, 24 May 2018 (UTC)
I agree with you, ILLs are a mess and ideally I'd like them banned but I'd prefer this compromise over keeping things the way they are. A majority of people above support restrictions on wikidata links, but what to do with ILLs is what no one seems to agree on.--Rusf10 (talk) 07:31, 24 May 2018 (UTC)
  • I tend to agree with Alsee. It's not actually helpful to our readers in the aggregate (only to some individual readers by the random accident of what other language they're fluent in) to put something like "albondigas (es)" in an English-language article. Driving them sideways to a WD page full of raw data that isn't subject to our (or any other Wikipedia's) verifiability policy seems even worse. If it came down to a choice between limiting the WD restrictions to just ILL and a few other exemptions, or having no restriction on WD's use at all at en.WP, I'd side with the former. But I don't think that's where this heading. The strongest showing for any option, at both RfCs, is in favor of not using WD here until WD has a way to ensure compliance with our policies for material that would be shoehorned into this site from that one.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  23:50, 24 May 2018 (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.

Towards or toward[edit]

Quick question... In a statement such as: “The media’s attitude toward(s) the military shifted during the war”, should we use “toward” or “towards”. Blueboar (talk) 17:42, 3 June 2018 (UTC) Blueboar (talk) 17:42, 3 June 2018 (UTC)

I believe "toward" is preferred for American English, and "towards" for British English. The same style generally applies to other directional words as well (e.g. forward/forwards). - adamstom97 (talk) 21:46, 3 June 2018 (UTC)

Isn't this a better question for the Refdesk? Primergrey (talk) 21:48, 3 June 2018 (UTC)

Yeah... but I knew I would get a quicker answer here. Thanks. Blueboar (talk) 13:44, 4 June 2018 (UTC)
Bryan Garner is my go-to guy for this, and he agrees with adamstom97 on AE/BE distinction. However, this may be the wrong word entirely in this situation. As Garner says, Misused for to. Toward implies movement. It shoudln't be used when the sentence would be served by to or against—e.g.,... followed by three bulleted examples. The examples include expressions like "objections toward" (use to), or "prejudice toward" (use against). Attitude isn't movement, so my guess would be that you should probably not be using toward here, maybe about? However a quick check of other online grammar resources seems to indicate a preference for toward/s with attitude. Ngrams shows the top ten prepositions after attitude, but doesn't include multi-word expressions like with respect to or vis-a-vis. Mathglot (talk) 04:06, 8 June 2018 (UTC)
An additional way we approach this, especially on WP, is MOS:COMMONALITY, which is more important than the argument to authority inherit in relying on a favorite style book. There is no intelligibility problem with toward, in any dialect, so it's preferable for concision. However, towards isn't an unencyclopedic colloquialism, even in American English, so MOS:RETAIN would suggest not going around changing it to toward just for the heck of it (especially not as a trivial edit unto itself), since the potential editorial kvetching would probably not be worth saving a character here or there. If I were writing a new article, or substantively overhauling an extant one, I would use toward (if it weren't better replaced by to, etc., as Mathglot says). Same goes for similar words like forward[s], amid[st], etc.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  06:41, 9 June 2018 (UTC)
This American finds the usage of "toward" in that construction to be extremely jarring. The point about movement sums up the usage I am familiar with. --Khajidha (talk) 04:13, 15 June 2018 (UTC)

If this isn't a suggestion to include some sort of guidance on this particular point to the MOS, then this entire discussion ought to be at the refdesk or a user's Primergrey (talk) 00:13, 13 June 2018 (UTC)

Agreed, this is not WP:RDL. But (to me) it isn't clear that the OP does not propose an MOS change. ―Mandruss  00:20, 13 June 2018 (UTC)
My bad, per I knew I would get a quicker answer here. Make that: This is not WP:RDL, speed of answer irrelevant. ―Mandruss  00:22, 13 June 2018 (UTC)

A whole lot of MoS-related WP:Redirects for discussion[edit]

FYI: Pointers to relevant discussions elsewhere.

Please see:

The "NOTES" one proposes that "MOS:" shortcuts should point to non-Manual of Style pages. The AMEN and BRIT ones are about ambiguity. The pseudo-namespace ones boil down to this: "MOS:" is a pseudo-namespace created, after a consensus discussion, to point to WP's Manual of Style and sections and subpages thereof, to deal with the decreasing availability of meaningful and memorable "WP:"-namespace shortcuts, and because there's often an MoS page and a content, naming, or other page about the same thing. However, pseudo-namespaces are actually in mainspace (articlespace). Some editors thus do not want to see a profusion of "typo redirects" like "MoS:CAPS", "mos:CAPS", "Wikipedia:MOS:CAPS", etc., while others are convinced that all redirects are necessarily "cheap" and always should be permitted even if only used by a handful of editors and of no use to readers.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  06:42, 10 June 2018 (UTC)

A move review to consider[edit]

FYI: Pointer to relevant discussion elsewhere.

Please see Wikipedia:Move review#List of Presidents of the United States. Some comments at WT:MOSCAPS has suggested there could be insufficient input so far to reach a clear consensus. Depending on how it turns out, MOS:JOBTITLES might require substantial revision, which could in turn affect the wording at the main MoS guideline. (That might or might not be a good idea, but people who watch this page should be aware of it either way.)  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  03:12, 14 June 2018 (UTC)

MoS section merge discussion[edit]

FYI: Pointer to relevant discussion elsewhere.

Please see Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Biographies#Merge MOS:JOBTITLES to this MoS page.

The proposal is to merge WP:Manual of Style/Capital letters#Titles of people (a.k.a. MOS:JOBTITLES) to WP:Manual of Style/Biographies, where the rest of the material about human titles is (academic, post-nominal, honorific, regnal, etc.). A short summary and hatnote pointer would be left behind in MOS:CAPS (about the same as those presently at found at MOS:CAPS#Occupational titles pointing to MOS:CAPS#Titles of people; the relationship would simply be reversed).  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  06:50, 14 June 2018 (UTC)

MOS:CONFORM and citation titles[edit]

In sourcing for most contemporary entertainment, sources generally omit italics or the like to format the name of the work being discussed in the title of their articles. So it seems that most of our citations/references generally end up presented these citation titles without italics/etc. for named works. Should MOS:CONFORM apply to citation titles, considering that these are technically quotations ? I do know we frequently removal allcaps and other unreadible aspects of titles in citations, so it would seem logical to apply appropriate MOS-elements like italics where they can apply. --Masem (t) 13:21, 16 June 2018 (UTC)

Yes. Any given written source will do any of at least 10 different things in presenting the title of a major published work inside the title one of that source's articles (e.g. giving a movie title in the title of a review of the movie): 1) italics, 2) double quotes, 3) single quotes, 4) bold-face, 5) ALL-CAPS, 6) SMALL-CAPS (rarely), 7) underline (rarely), 8) some other font tweaking (rarely), 9) some combination of more than one of these, 10) no markup at all. This is just farcically messy, and trying to mimic the other publication's style, under their stylesheet, in our citations is "reader-hateful" and just not what we would do in any other circumstance (e.g. we do not mimic logo stylization per MOS:TM, we do not over-capitalize job titles and do other "specialized-style fallacy" mimicry of other organization's house style quirks). We already routinely down-case any SCREAMING ALL-CAPS HEADLINES to title case (or to sentence case, if the citation style in question demands that for article titles), and do other font normalization in our citations (e.g., if a title looks boldface in the original publication, we do not ape that stylization here). This isn't any different. For over 12 years, I've been doing cleanup of this sort, especially italicizing the names of books and films in review articles' titles (per MOS:TITLES), and italicizing genus and species scientific names in biology journal article citations (per MOS:LIFE), and as far as I can tell not one single person has ever reverted me on it. It's completely normal do this sort of MOS:CONFORM tweaking.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  11:22, 17 June 2018 (UTC)
This clearly makes sense, but it should be qualified somewhere, as I ask from seeing a recent dispute on a video game article. (assuming this is the consensus). --Masem (t) 15:21, 17 June 2018 (UTC)
Meh. We should generally avoid adding redundant line-items that simply re-state what can already be intuited from the existing ones and from actual overall editorial behavior. At an infrequent and weird dispute at an article talk page, maybe just point people to this thread (here now, or later at its eventual archive location). If we kept adding "rules" we don't strictly need (i.e., ones that do not address an actually frequent dispute type), we'd have thousands more lines in MoS, a major WP:CREEP problem.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  20:14, 17 June 2018 (UTC)

Ellipses, capitalization, and whether an example of a common construction constitutes a quotation[edit]

FYI: Pointer to relevant discussion elsewhere.

Please see Talk:Ellipsis#"Save As..." style.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  05:14, 19 June 2018 (UTC)