Wikipedia talk:What Wikipedia is not

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Because of increasing problems with excessive statistics, I believe that the sentence "Any statistics should be accompanied by explanatory text providing context" needs stronger emphasis and so I've amended it to "Any statistics must be accompanied by explanatory text providing context" (i.e., "should" → "must"). I know several projects have the NOSTATS issue but it has become particularly bad at WP:CRIC and we have recently AFDed numerous "articles" that are nothing more than lists of bare statistics without any context other than perhaps a short intro that does nothing more than summarise the statistics.

WP:IINFO is a very important policy/guideline that if broken, as is it so often is, undermines the site's credibility. I am happy to discuss this change but I have been WP:BOLD at the outset and implemented it. It can always be reverted if there should be a WP:CONSENSUS against and I would accept that, but I strongly believe we must combat this growing trend of passing off a list of bare statistics as an article. I should add, with regard to cricket, that even for someone like me who has lived with the game all his life, it is a very complex sport indeed: certainly in terms of its tactics, terminology and statistics. The statistical lists we are deleting even confuse us and must be absolutely meaningless to non-cricket readers. Thank you. Jack | talk page 13:10, 4 December 2016 (UTC)

This seems like a good idea, but I wonder how practicable it is. Sometimes statistics don't need any explanation (e.g. 2016–17 Manchester United F.C. season#Squad statistics). – PeeJay 13:24, 4 December 2016 (UTC)
I'd argue very strongly that the example you give us absolutely needs at least a sentence (for now) before the table to place the table in context. At the end of the season I'd certainly like to see a prose summary written to highlight some of the more important statistics from the table - most goals, most appearances etc... at the very least. To leave it just as a table of statistics without any context would really worry me in the long term - especially bearing in mind that a non-specialist reader may well come to the article and be confused by the table. I'd argue the same is true for the transfers (which, frankly, I'd expect to see dealt with in prose as they happen). I understand completely that sticking a bunch of stuff in a table is easier and fulfils an urge to have everything written down for some people, but I can look up those sorts of stats elsewhere if you give me a link. What I really want to know is what's important in them. You need to write prose to tell me that. Blue Square Thing (talk) 20:03, 4 December 2016 (UTC)
I think making "should" to "must" can be problematic. I could see it taken that lists of stats that are written in summary style from a very large target, where there's minimal prose on the list, could be see as afoul. It is better to handle these case by case, rather than require something. --MASEM (t) 15:13, 4 December 2016 (UTC)
In my view, this change over-emphasizes the point. While WP is primarily factual information presented in a narrative style, there are many instances (and sports throw them up all the time) where the facts are most conveniently presented as stats, and the stats are most accessibly presented in tabular form. As WP:NOTSTATS currently reads, it warns against making factual information inaccessible in the form of impenetrable stats, and that strikes me as wise. I see no need for a change. Johnlp (talk) 18:38, 4 December 2016 (UTC)
  • My initial reaction is also to oppose the proposed change. For most statistics that appear in articles, a good table with proper section headings (and perhaps a key or legend) should provide a sufficient framework for the average reader to understand. Some additional accompanying explanatory text is preferable, of course, but the problem with turning should into must is that is gives license for the well-intentioned but over-zealous editor to remove tables that lack the "required" text.
I am interested, however, in learning more about the observations raised by User:BlackJack of the "increasing problems with excessive statistics" and "this growing trend of passing off a list of bare statistics as an article." I'm not aware of those problems on topics on which I regularly edit. Even if those observations are true, it is a problem that would be solved by changing the guidance here, or is the issue adequately addressing by enforcing existing guidelines and policies and using good editorial judgment? CUA 27 (talk) 02:54, 5 December 2016 (UTC)
@CUA 27: Hello, I can best refer you to WT:CRIC and the AfD invitation posts there about multiple articles which breach NOTSTATS. About thirty or more have already been deleted and there are still several in AfD. Thanks. Jack | talk page 13:30, 5 December 2016 (UTC)
  • I don't see why this is any different from any other failure of style and presentation, and I fear that this page is becoming something of a backdoor for stylistic policies that really belong in MOS, if they belong anywhere. EEng 07:46, 5 December 2016 (UTC)
  • a list of bare statistics as an article There are plenty of these in sports topics, such as 2013–14 Panionios B.C. season, 1985–86 Hibernian F.C. season, Governor Carlito S. Marquez Cup 2012. Maybe a "must" requirement for any statistics is too sweeping: but an entire article should start by telling us at least what sport it was, what country and who won. I trust the reconstituted new page patrol brigade won't be letting any more through in this condition: Noyster (talk), 11:03, 5 December 2016 (UTC)

Proposal withdrawn. I don't think there is going to be any clear consensus on this so I'm happy to withdraw my suggestion and retain the current proviso that "Any statistics should be accompanied by explanatory text providing context". We can, of course, continue to deal with the rogue cricket articles on an individual basis, especially as the bulk of the bare stats ones have now gone (I see in my watchlist that ha;f a dozen more were deleted overnight). Thanks to all for your contributions. And Merry Xmas Face-smile.svg. Jack | talk page 12:36, 10 December 2016 (UTC)

NOTSTATS (again)[edit]

The current explanation of NOTSTATS is internally inconsistent. The paragraph suggests that articles should not contain statistics that are "excessive" or "lengthy"; the paragraph then goes on to explain how best to present lengthy statistics, which is basically to follow WP:SPLIT and WP:SUMMARY, even those are not linked in the explanation. I propose revising the paragraph along the lines below. The proposed rewrite does not provide inconsistent advice, and gives the reader helpful links to split and summary.


Excessive listings of statistics. Any statistics should be accompanied by explanatory text providing context. Long recitations of statistics reduce readability and may be confusing. Where large quantities of statistics are appropriate (e.g. Nationwide opinion polling for the United States presidential election, 2012) consider placing them in tables to enhance readability; where large quantities are not appropriate (e.g. the main article United States presidential election, 2012) omit excess statistics and summarize.


Excessive listings of unexplained statistics. Statistics that lack context or explanation can reduce readability and may be confusing; accordingly, statistics should be accompanied by explanatory text providing context or placed in tables to enhance readability. Where statistics are so lengthy as to impede the readability of the article, the statistics can be split into a separate article and summarized in the main article. (e.g., statistics from the main article United States presidential election, 2012 have been moved to a related article Nationwide opinion polling for the United States presidential election, 2012).

CUA 27 (talk) 12:26, 25 December 2016 (UTC)

Just sending out another note to see if there were any objections to my proposal above to NOTSTATS. To recap, the proposed change would remove the internal inconsistency and add links to WP:SUMMARY and WP:SPLIT. CUA 27 (talk) 21:31, 29 December 2016 (UTC)
Seeing as how no opposition materialized over the past week, I have made the proposed change. Feel free to discuss here if anyone has any questions. Thanks. CUA 27 (talk) 17:02, 31 December 2016 (UTC)
I disagree with removing the guidance that long recitations of statistics reduce readability, which can be the case even with accompanying context or explanation. isaacl (talk) 05:57, 1 January 2017 (UTC)
Isaacl — I don't think I follow your comment. The revised version still acknowledges that length can reduce readability ("Where statistics are so lengthy as to impede the readability of the article ..."), and then gives guidance on how to deal with that situation. If I'm missing something, please take another shot at explaining. Thanks. CUA 27 (talk) 13:01, 1 January 2017 (UTC)
Your changes specified that "Statistics that lack context or explanation can reduce readability", whereas the previous guidance did not qualify this but simply said "Long recitations of statistics reduce readability". Context or explanation does not necessarily mitigate the issues with the inclusion of lengthy statistics in all cases. isaacl (talk) 19:48, 1 January 2017 (UTC)
If you read the very next sentence, you will find the language you are looking for. CUA 27 (talk) 22:01, 1 January 2017 (UTC)
You changed the bold heading to "Excessive listing of unexplained statistics" and the first sentence to qualify the type of statistics that reduce readability. Accordingly, the reference to "statistics" in the second sentence will be interpreted as a reference to "unexplained statistics" in the heading and the qualified "statistics" in the first sentence. This changes the meaning of the guidance. isaacl (talk) 15:52, 2 January 2017 (UTC)
The previous formulation of the guidance mentioned two possible issues with stats — the sheer length of stats, and stats that are unexplained. I changed the bold heading to reflect those two issues, as I thought the previous bold heading inadequately summarized the paragraph. In my formulation, the second sentence goes to the unexplained issue, and the third sentence goes to the length issue. They go to two different issues, not to be read in the way you are interpreting them. CUA 27 (talk) 22:25, 2 January 2017 (UTC)
The change to the heading only covers excessive listings that are not explained; it no longer covers excessive listings that are explained. Perhaps it would be better to separate these two into separate list items? isaacl (talk) 22:46, 2 January 2017 (UTC)
I'd prefer not to break it into two, as all the material in here applies to stats. To the extent you are bothered by a perceived increase in emphasis in unexplained stats vs lengthy stats, I must say I'm surprised; my my review of this and related talk pages, as well as various AfD discussions, it seems that it is unexplained stats is what drives wik editors batty. (See, eg, Noyster's comment below re sports stats that don't even tell you what sport is being discussed). CUA 27 (talk) 23:56, 5 January 2017 (UTC)
@CUA 27: Sorry for the delay in responding; I was unavailable for a bit and lost track of this thread. It comes up often with articles on sports figures: some people want to replicate the stats tables from the league web sites, while others think Wikipedia is better off letting third-party sites deal with this, particularly since they can use databases that are more suitable for this type of info. isaacl (talk) 03:23, 11 February 2017 (UTC)
Thanks for implementing this CUA 27. A slight problem I see is that the way it reads now suggests that any stats without attempt to give context are OK if formatted as a table. I'd want to change "or" to "and" in statistics should be accompanied by explanatory text providing context or placed in tables... The unadorned listings of results that are the sole content of many sport articles are mostly given as a table, but that's of no help to the reader who isn't even told which sport they were playing: Noyster (talk), 11:05, 1 January 2017 (UTC)
User:Noyster — Thanks for the feedback. I'd be happy to revise to improve further. One possible ambiguity I foresee: Would readers interpret this guidance to mean that (1) the article should have explanatory text or that (2) each table in the article should have explanatory text? The example given in the guidance Nationwide opinion polling for the United States presidential election, 2012 suggests that #1 is acceptable (maybe not preferable, but at least acceptable), but I wanted to check to make sure we are in agreement, and if so, whether there is a better way to word it or to make the change exactly as you propose. Thanks. CUA 27 (talk) 13:01, 1 January 2017 (UTC)
CUA 27 I wouldn't insist on every table having a piece of text nestling right up against it. What I would want to see is any article or section containing stats to tell the reader what the stats are about and what their main message is. How and where this is done will vary from case to case. Text is important but so are section headings, table titles, row & column headings, bolding, colour and links. Perhaps we could leave out the part about tables and say something like Where statistics are displayed, their context and meaning should be made clear to the general reader: Noyster (talk), 17:02, 1 January 2017 (UTC)
Re the sentence you have flagged, how about changing the second half of that sentence to read: "accordingly, statistics should be placed in tables to enhance readability and articles with statistics should include explanatory text providing context." This formulation addresses the and/or issue you flagged, while still hues quite closely to the language of the original formulation, and providing the reader with more clear guidance. CUA 27 (talk) 12:11, 2 January 2017 (UTC)
OK, we can go with that: Noyster (talk), 15:24, 2 January 2017 (UTC)
Thanks for your input in helping improve the guidance. CUA 27 (talk) 22:25, 2 January 2017 (UTC)


The line about WP:NOTGENEALOGY ("Genealogical entries. Family histories should be presented only where appropriate to support the reader's understanding of a notable topic.") is not very informative to me. Could somebody please explain, preferably with examples, what is ok and what is not? The article "Alids" is why I am asking this, if anyone wonders. --HyperGaruda (talk) 09:38, 24 December 2016 (UTC)

In general, you can tell if something is "appropriate" or not for inclusion by the amount and quality of reliable sources that cover it. In this case there is a substantial amount of reliable sources (because genealogy is important for monarchies) so it's fairly clear it's appropriate.
A different issue with the article is that there's very little context outside of the genealogy trees, so the reader (in this case, me) can't work out, for example, why the Safavids genealogy is important if "there is no independent documentation that supports it". In fact the Safavids article provides several reliable sources written by historians that the genealogy claims are unsubstantiated. This means the Alids article is probably giving undue weight to unsubstantiated claims under the justification of completeness. BrightRoundCircle (talk) 12:41, 24 December 2016 (UTC)
@BrightRoundCircle: Thanks, but I was actually looking for what a "genealogical entry" is and what sets it apart from an encyclopedic article. Perhaps I should have been more clear (the irony...). --HyperGaruda (talk) 05:23, 25 December 2016 (UTC)
Ah, that has to do with notability. If the article consists only of a non-notable person's genealogy and nothing else, it should be deleted. In this case the topic of Alids is clearly notable because of the abundant high-quality reliable sources about it. BrightRoundCircle (talk) 20:39, 25 December 2016 (UTC)

Proposal - instead of the vague "only where appropriate to support the reader's understanding of a notable topic", put "only in a balanced proportion to their overall significance to the article topic." BrightRoundCircle (talk) 12:49, 24 December 2016 (UTC)

@ BrightRoundCircle: Notability has a specific meaning on Wikipedia (WP:NOTABLE). I do not think that your suggestion an improvement. One only has to spend a few minutes looking at some of the entries for unimportant European continental nobility to see that. Wikipedia contains dozens of articles that only exist because of some geological connection with someone else who may nor may not be notable. In those cases the "only in a balanced proportion to their overall significance to the article topic." is true because there is nothing else "significant[snip] to the article topic." Some editors are notorious for creating such articles. Perhaps a good place to start would be with a now banned user User:LouisPhilippeCharles (articles created) and this biography: Charlotte de La Marck. She warrants a sentence in her father's, mother's or husband's biography (if any were notable enough to have an biography)! -- PBS (talk) 10:33, 8 February 2017 (UTC)
Of course I agree, this can't exempt articles from being notable. The important part is changing "appropriate" to "balanced proportion". If nothing else is significant other than a passing mention in a genealogy tree, then the topic isn't notable, or am I missing something? BrightRoundCircle (talk) 10:40, 8 February 2017 (UTC)


Having just left Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Lifespan timeline of Presidents of Ukraine, I propose changing the wording of this section from Photographs or media files with no accompanying text (emphasis mine) to Photographs or media files with no encyclopedic context per the following sentence in the guideline. The spirit of the standard is not met simply by providing any accompanying text whatsoever, but by incorporating an image into something resembling an encyclopedia entry. The purpose of the guidance is that a new Wikipedia entry shouldn't be created simply for the purpose of hosting a file, and done in a way that adds no value other than the existence of the file itself available for public use. TimothyJosephWood 20:46, 18 January 2017 (UTC)

This might be a case where we want positive examples of good articles that focus on an image but include needed encyclopedic text. For example, in the same vein as that timelien would be Periodic table (large cells) which not just presents the table but also explains rational for it. --MASEM (t) 21:49, 18 January 2017 (UTC)
I think it would help to focus discussion on the "best" case example rather than the worst examples. Lifespan timeline of Presidents of the United States has been getting a steady 100+ page views per day, and it peaked at over 2,300 page view per day around the US presidential election.[1] These don't really seem to be "articles". They seem to be Deletes under policy. They are basically images with a caption on top. I also find it very peculiar why anyone would care about these overlapping lifespan charts. However I would really hesitate before casting a delete on the US one. It seems a lot of people are finding it useful for some odd reason. If the US one is a delete, then clearly we delete all of the pages of this type. If the US one is considered acceptable, then we may have to tweak the definition of an acceptable "article". I'm not an inclusionist or a deletionist. I'm torn on what to do about the US version. Alsee (talk) 15:06, 19 January 2017 (UTC)
All that would need to be done is to augment that page to have a table of the data with more precision (month and day) that the image is too unresolved to display. It would still be the "lifespan timeline" but given sufficient context to be more useful. Same case with the Ukraine one as well. Pictorial data is good but if can also tabulated, that absolutely should be done. --MASEM (t) 15:11, 19 January 2017 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Wikipedia is not a business listing[edit]

The redirect Wikipedia:Wikipedia is not a business listing, which targets Wikipedia:What Wikipedia is not#Wikipedia is not a directory, has been nominated for deletion at Wikipedia:Redirects for discussion/Log/2017 January 22#Wikipedia:Wikipedia is not a business listing. Your comments in the discussion there, which partly centres on whether the targetted section (Wikipedia is not a directory) does or does not prohibit "business listings", are invited.

Related to the same topic is Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/List of businesses in Omaha, nominated on the grounds that a list of businesses is not encyclopaedic per the "Wikipedia is not a directory" section of WP:NOT. Your comments in that discussion would also be welcome. Thryduulf (talk) 13:15, 23 January 2017 (UTC)

Merely-verifiable listings[edit]

Informally closed; no action taken, consensus is that the proposed wording is not sufficiently clear. BrightRoundCircle (talk) 22:44, 27 February 2017 (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.

5. Merely-verifiable listings of information. Listings beside or within prose should be put in context with sourced explanations (navigational lists are excepted). Stand-alone lists should either have clear selection criteria that's unambiguous and supported by reliable sources, or inline citations for each item. Verifiability does not guarantee inclusion.
Should WP:INDISCRIMINATE be expanded to include the above? BrightRoundCircle (talk) 21:37, 29 January 2017 (UTC)


This addition to policy helps fix or remove listings that appear "indiscriminate": lacking context and sourced explanations. Readers are often faced with lists of information of questionable significance—such lists need context. Mere verifiability is not adequate context, which is why explanations backed by reliable sources should be provided. The addition emphasizes the existing policies, WP:NOT, WP:INDISCRIMINATE, WP:LISTN, and WP:ONUS, and its wording is taken almost verbatim from these policies—however, since they're spread apart, they're often overlooked, so this addition collects the parts relevant to listings into one short paragraph. They're joined by selection criteria for stand-alone lists (and only the selection criteria, not the entire SAL MOS page), which is already almost universally followed. Navigational lists such as "see also" sections are explicitly excluded from needing context and reliable sources because there's no current consensus that I could find. BrightRoundCircle (talk) 21:37, 29 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Yes, but the provided text is not clear enough — It would greatly benefit with the addition of this sort of clarification:

5. Merely-verifiable listings of information. Listings beside or within prose should be put in context with sourced explanations (navigational lists are excepted). Stand-alone lists should either have clear selection criteria that's unambiguous and supported by reliable sources, or inline citations for each item. Verifiability does not guarantee inclusion. If an article gives examples of something, the choice must be substantiated.

WP:MOS#Examples would then contain this elaboration:

Topics are limited to a certain level of detail, factoring in encyclopedic and topical relevance, not just verifiable existence. If an article gives examples of something, the choice must be substantiated. That someone simply listed them does not automatically mean that we must copy this list into Wikipedia. Examples must be the most prominent cases, of unique character, of defining contribution, or otherwise encyclopedically relevant. The remaining ones must be referred to in a "List of ..." article, if they meet the article's inclusion criteria. Reasonable exceptions may be found in many topics outside the realms of culture, aesthetics, or the humanities, where they depend on arbitrary examples in order to effectively illustrate their subject (i.e. Equation, Algorithm, Cryosphere, Mammal).

--Ilovetopaint (talk) 22:05, 30 January 2017 (UTC)
[2] [3] are problems. Some templates that address it are {{Specific}}, {{Refexample}}, {{Examplefarm}}, and {{Importance example}}. There is no one specific policy to reference with this issue — It's a combination of:
WP:BALASPS (An article should not give undue weight to minor aspects of its subject)
WP:ONUS (While information must be verifiable in order to be included in an article, this does not mean that all verifiable information must be included in an article.)
WP:DETAIL (Many readers need just a quick summary of the topic's most important points. Others need a moderate amount of information on the topic's more important points)
WP:LISTCRITERIA (Criteria for inclusion should factor in encyclopedic and topical relevance, not just verifiable existence. )
--Ilovetopaint (talk) 20:06, 30 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Support Ilovetopaint's version. This makes the existing criteria for lists clearer, which will lead to improvements to articles. Thryduulf (talk) 11:42, 30 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Comment: The above RfC is the result of the Wikipedia talk:Verifiability#"A self-sourcing example" addition discussion (a permalink is here). I agree that we shouldn't have indiscriminate lists. We already state that we shouldn't, but I'm not sold on the idea that every example of something needs to go beyond simply being a sentence that notes that it's an example. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 20:13, 30 January 2017 (UTC)
While Ilovetopaint is trying to broaden this RfC into a continuation of that discussion, the scope of this RfC is actually far narrower exactly for the reasons you give (among others). Framing it as a continuation of that discussion is inaccurate; I've been discussing this topic for at least six months, and this RfC specifically for over two months. BrightRoundCircle (talk) 20:26, 30 January 2017 (UTC)
My rationale is mainly with regards to topics of history, culture, or aesthetic, where there is (almost?) always a "prominent example" to cite.[1] I don't think this policy should be applied to fields of science or mathematics, like the example presented in the lead for Equation.--Ilovetopaint (talk) 20:49, 30 January 2017 (UTC)


  1. ^ See:
    • Deceptive cadence: "One of the most famous examples is in the coda of the Passacaglia and Fugue in C minor, BWV 582 by Johann Sebastian Bach."
    • Theremin: "The Beach Boys' 1966 single "Good Vibrations" – though it does not technically contain a theremin – is the most frequently cited example of the instrument in pop music."
    • Arthropods in film: "Arguably the most well-known animated insect is Jiminy Cricket."
    • French new wave: "Some of the most prominent pioneers among the group, including François Truffaut, Jean-Luc Godard, Éric Rohmer, Claude Chabrol, and Jacques Rivette, ..."
    • Experimental rock: " Author Doyle Greene identifies the Beatles, Frank Zappa, the Velvet Underground, Plastic Ono Band, Captain Beefheart, and Nico as "pioneers of avant-rock", though also noted "proto-prog" bands such as Pink Floyd and the Soft Machine as an influence."
  • Support shorter version. I utterly fail to see how the longer one clarifies the shorter one. Which lists does the longer text have in mind? Are Beatles listed in "concept album"? is "Concept album" listed in "Beatles"? If one has to clarify a policy item with an example, it must be taken from an existing or hypothetical WP article, as well as a comparison what is good and what is bad. But in this case the larger text belongs to MOS, rather than content policy. Staszek Lem (talk) 21:49, 30 January 2017 (UTC)
    • At the same time the shorter version does require clarification. Not only wikipedia, but "reliable sources" often produce "random" lists of examples, probably out of the writer's head: "1950s witnessed the popularity of AA, BB, CC, DD...". IMO MOS:LIST must have an advice of something like that:
    • If an article gives examples of something, the choice must be substantiated. That someone simply listed them does not automatically mean that we must copy this list into wikipedia. Examples must be e.g., most prominent cases, or of unique character, or of defining contribution, etc. The remaining ones must be referred to List of ....

      Staszek Lem (talk) 21:50, 30 January 2017 (UTC)
I prefer that wording.--Ilovetopaint (talk) 21:52, 30 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Enh, I dunno. So with "Listings beside or within prose should be put in context", you are proposing to disallow formations such as "An X is such-and-such. And here are some examples of X: Foo, Bar, Baz [refs]." While I guess this would be allowed: "An X is such-and-such. Foo is an emblematic example of X because such-and-such, and Bar is because such-and-such, and Baz is because such-and-such [refs]". I don't see what's so wrong with the first. I guess the second is better, but better is the enemy of good enough, and I'm leery of admonishing editors to not include somewhat useful information if they can't come up with very useful information right away. Examples, even stand-alone, can be useful to helping a person understand a concept. (If I'm misreading the intent of the passage, then the passage is poorly formed.) Herostratus (talk) 19:15, 8 February 2017 (UTC)
You're right, it's a lot like tagging unsourced information with {{cn}} versus removing that information. A contextless list can be better than nothing, though if the listings are relevant it should be easy enough to contextualize them. BrightRoundCircle (talk) 01:09, 9 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose (invited by the bot) I agree that some changes are needed regarding lists, but this is unworkable. Saying that one can never put in a list without a sourced explanation of that very list is absolutely unworkable. Sources do not write about Wikipedia articles, so an editor could never make even the smallest listing of items unless it is copied from elsewhere. North8000 (talk) 13:01, 9 February 2017 (UTC)
Can you give an example of an "unworkable" scenario? Is WP:LISTVERIFY also an "unworkable" policy?--Ilovetopaint (talk) 15:32, 9 February 2017 (UTC)
I just hit "Random article" and the first hit has an example, the second list (ones named after him) at Haydon_Warren-Gashwould be flat out illegal to put in under the above. Regarding WP:LISTVERIFY, there are hundreds of things in it and overall it looks workable. I don't know if there is a problematic item amongst those 100's. Did you have a particular item in mind with your question? Sincerely, North8000 (talk) 17:42, 9 February 2017 (UTC)
flat out illegal - thanks for the laugh! Indeed there is nothing wrong with this list and the policy needs to be worded to reflect that. BrightRoundCircle (talk) 20:42, 9 February 2017 (UTC)
I suppose the question is "does an article about a lepidopterist need context for a list of species that they described?" Some list items are so trivial that they don't require any context... BrightRoundCircle (talk) 21:14, 9 February 2017 (UTC)
Cool. I'm not sure exactly what context for a list would mean. There's criteria for inclusion which should of course be described. After that, a list might be used closely related to some text in the article, or it could be information itself, or, with expansions on each list item, it may be a way or organize content.North8000 (talk) 21:45, 9 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose although desirable, I don't think we need to have this in a policy. The proposal really relates to content found in an article, rather than what a whole article is. A bare list could be expanded as suggested, but the proposal does not really determine whether or not a list on the topic is something that we should NOT have. Instead for lists we need some other kinds of rules, eg that someone else has published something on the topic that this is a list of. examples could include List of black superheroes can exist because there is a Museum of black superheroes, but List of green superheroes does not exist because no one has written about it (or perhaps no Wikipedian want to make it up). Graeme Bartlett (talk) 12:37, 11 February 2017 (UTC)
You mean WP:LISTN? BrightRoundCircle (talk) 13:25, 11 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Support Ilovetopaint's version, but a) remove "of something" in "examples of something" (it's redundant), and b) with minor copyedits to the MOS#Examples addition: "Topics are limited to a certain level of detail, factoring in encyclopedic and topical relevance, not just verifiable existence. If an article gives examples of something, the choice must be substantiated. That someone simply listed them does not automatically mean that we must copy this list into Wikipedia. Examples must be the most prominent cases, of unique character, of defining contribution, or otherwise encyclopedically relevant. The remaining ones must be referred to in a "List of ..." article, if they meet the article's inclusion criteria. Reasonable exceptions may be found in many topics outside the realms of culture, aesthetics, or the humanities, where they depend on arbitrary examples in order to effectively illustrate their subject (i.e. Equation, Algorithm, Cryosphere, Mammal)."  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  11:55, 12 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Comment: Now at the halfway point of the traditional 30 days, support doesn't seem strong enough to change Wikipedia policy, and the issues raised by Herostratus and North8000 are not addressed by the current suggested wording. I believe with the correct wording, "merely-verifiable information" can be made part of Wikipedia polcy, and important progress was made in this RfC. BrightRoundCircle (talk) 23:40, 13 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Comment I'm sympathetic to the goal, but find the suggested wordings lacking. Coming up with the right wording can be a difficult task here; it reminds me of "I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material I understand to be embraced within that shorthand description, and perhaps I could never succeed in intelligibly doing so. But I know it when I see it". – Finnusertop (talkcontribs) 00:26, 14 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose, or perhaps more precisely, "unable to support at this time". It's not an unreasonable goal. However, (a) I question whether we actually need to document this, since editorial judgment and common sense can handle this, and (b) as currently written, it's unclear and will cause disputes. I don't know, for example, whether this is meant to include or exclude lists of famous alumni (very typical content for articles about universities), how to handle a {{main}} summary of a stand-alone list, or other things. For that matter, I'm not sure what exactly is supposed to count as "a sourced explanation". If I've got a source that says Disease X is portrayed in popular culture, then can I include several examples of it being portrayed in popular culture, or is this meant to prohibit inclusion of any examples except the ones that are named in that source (therefore excluding all examples that post-date that source, are in languages unknown or uninteresting to that source, etc.)? WhatamIdoing (talk) 18:23, 14 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose The current standards work, and their interpretation at AfD is consistent.As WhatamIdoing says, the exact language is critical--the current language has a known interpretation, & the new language could be interpreted in such a way as to remove a surprising number of lists. There's real problems with wording like m "Examples must be e.g., most prominent cases, or of unique character, or of defining contribution, etc." To first say "Must", then qualify it by "such as " and "etc." doesn't clarify anything--the debates will be over what fits into the etc. DGG ( talk ) 15:26, 15 February 2017 (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.

Thanks everybody, the input has been useful. Seems like it's back to the drawing board with this one. BrightRoundCircle (talk) 22:44, 27 February 2017 (UTC)

Wikinews in NOT#NEWS[edit]

I recognize that Wikinews is a very low-volume sister project that hasn't gained the same attention as, however, I dispute the notion that it is so dead as to not mention its existence. We have a serious problem with too many editors jumping to right about current events before there's any way that NEVENT can be properly applied that we need Wikinews visibility more than ever, and NOT#NEWS is exactly the place to have it. Until the Foundation shuts it down, we need to refer people towards that to maintain NOT#NEWS. --MASEM (t) 21:24, 3 February 2017 (UTC)

I have to disagree. I would agree it were a new striving project and we wanted to help it get more traction. However no point in beating a dead horse: the project had its time already. More then wikipedia, wikinews is prone to be a vehicle for fake news, because I seriously doubt it will ever have a rigorous oversight. Once it gets even 10% of wikipedia's visibility, it will become an easy prey of trolls and jokers (now they don't care there, because no seen, no glory). Staszek Lem (talk) 21:29, 3 February 2017 (UTC)
We would not include Wikinews if it was a "new" project just to help give it traction. It was created by the Foundation, and until the Foundation says its time to pull the plug, it should be considered a viable outlet. It may be prone to fake news, but so is, but that's also an issue addressed by the relative volume of the project - its much easier to patrol Wikinews with only a few editors while the same requires a massive undertaking on And it seems silly to deride a project on the basis that it will attract vandals when it gets large enough -- that's been the problem for any open wiki, much less those of the Foundation, from day one, and it is a problem that comes with the territory. --MASEM (t) 22:58, 3 February 2017 (UTC)
This is English Wikipedia, and WMF is not the final say unless it is a legal issue. I've just looked at its main page and already despise it. I am not Trump's fan, but the wikinews article title "U.S. federal judge halts Trump's ban on refugees, people from Muslim countries entering U.S." makes me cringe. Of course one can make it less partisan. But I don't like the idea of sending potential wikipedia contributors to some sinkhole of political debate. I say, let them debate here and make wikipedia more neutral. Why Wikipedia must worry about Wikinews? It is long been known that interests of Wikipedia and WMF diverge more and more. Staszek Lem (talk) 23:49, 3 February 2017 (UTC)
But we do not want people here writing like this is a newspaper, that's the whole point of NOT#NEWS. (And I would argue there's just as much problematic bias on if not more, it is just a matter of which stone you overturn. Wikinews may have its own problems, but we have just as many if not more). Get more people involved in Wikinews and you improve the quality of Wikinews, and help by offloading news events that have not yet shown clear NEVENT notability. If you hide that Wikinews exists in the most relevant places, you make the problems worse on both sides. --MASEM (t) 00:36, 4 February 2017 (UTC)
re: "But we do not want people here writing like this is a newspaper" -- Yes, but this does not mean "we don't want people here who are writing like this is a newspaper". We have to cherish people willing to write for free at all, and rather than sending them elsewhere, we must educate them. For example, if they like adding info from paint-fresh newspapers, tell them to dig and process "yesterday's news", do some research on whether the "old news" was not just a flick, and put the findings in a summarized, encyclopedic way. Staszek Lem (talk) 00:51, 4 February 2017 (UTC)
We've tried that, that's why NEVENTS was made to help provide the guidance a few years ago. It helped to stem the amount of current event articles but nowhere close to the effectiveness needed, and as of late there's more and more problems results from the current political cycle that generates a lot of sensational news topics that do not make for appropriate encyclopedic topics in the long run, but are perfectly suited for Wikinews. Yes, we want to retain editors here that can write both encyclopedically and journalistically even if they contribution to Wikinews, that's why the language in NOT#NEWS is based on the topic, not the editor "Timely news subjects not suitable for Wikipedia may be suitable for our sister project Wikinews". It is not written to drive the editor way. --MASEM (t) 01:01, 4 February 2017 (UTC)
I suspect a good deal of people who "write journalistically" simply like to write about events, and trying to direct them towards "retrojournalism" (see belo) before sending them off might be a better idea. Staszek Lem (talk) 01:10, 4 February 2017 (UTC)
Here is an algorithm for "retrojournalism":
  1. Pick a splashy headline from 5 years ago
  2. Check whether wikipedia covers it.
    1. If yes, expand the article
    2. If no, check whether it was still remembered 4 years ago
      1. If yes, write up a wikiarticle, since you already have at least two reliable independent referenced
      2. If no,
        1. If you are stubborn do more digging, rinse, and repeat.
        2. If you are not, have a beer.
I am sure this will satisfy lots of wikiholics. Staszek Lem (talk) 01:07, 4 February 2017 (UTC)
Again, the language of NOT#NEWS pointing to WikiNews is not saying "if you are journalisticly inclined, go there instead". It is based on the topic, if it is too "news-y" than encyclopedic, that they should use Wikinews write about it instead. (I do note we do say "WP is not written in news style" but that's more MOS advice, and still not meant to drive off jouranlistic writers). --MASEM (t) 01:25, 4 February 2017 (UTC)

It seems fairly evident that there is no apparent harm in promoting Wikinews, while there is the perhaps unlikely put potential harm of not doing so, in the case that the project, if actually dead, may one day be resurrected by, lord knows, the mountains of editors that are directed there from this page. So it appears that we have a solution with no problem. It's not as if the plug for Wikinews is a substantial burden that the readers have to overcome. TimothyJosephWood 23:37, 3 February 2017 (UTC)

Yes IMO there is some harm to wikipedia, see my 2nd answer to Masem. Staszek Lem (talk) 23:52, 3 February 2017 (UTC)
But if the harm you identify is a harm that would be solved by having more editors directed to the project, which it seems to be, then your objection makes no sense. TimothyJosephWood 00:47, 4 February 2017 (UTC)
OK, let me rephrase. The harm I see is sending editors away off our project, see news in Masem's thread. Staszek Lem (talk) 00:55, 4 February 2017 (UTC)
Agreed. In addition to inappropriateness of using our policy pages as advertising spaces for moribund projects. Gamaliel (talk) 01:07, 4 February 2017 (UTC)
I have no idea how active Wikinews is, but so long as it is at least somewhat live then I think we should unselfishly behave as a community-of-communities. It would be pretty obnoxious if sister projects started scrubbing links to Wikipedia because they were afraid of losing people to us. I say sister project links are fine where they are obviously relevant. Alsee (talk) 14:01, 5 February 2017 (UTC)

NOT SOCIAL MEDIA expansion?[edit]

We get a lot of people lately who come here as part of their job as social media people for companies or organizations, thinking WP is another platform to "get the word out" but this isn't really covered currently by this section. Before I just slapped soemthing in there I thought I'd look for some feedback/possible wording here first. Beeblebrox (talk) 00:20, 11 February 2017 (UTC)

I don't have an immediate answer but I would suggest looking at the "NOTWEBHOST" section currently at the top of this page , started by Jytdog in Oct 2016 (in case it goes to archives) as I think there's some elements of the same problem. I agree we should not be seen as promotional and there's a certain balance between encyclopedic and promotional information. --MASEM (t) 00:33, 11 February 2017 (UTC)
Should already be covered in guidelines for article namespace (Wikipedia:Conflict of interest) and for user pages (WP:UP#PROMO). Guidelines are less strict than policies, but I've seen plenty of user pages deleted under UP#PROMO, and COI edits to articles are usually very quickly spotted and reverted, many times resulting in lengthy bans. BrightRoundCircle (talk) 01:47, 11 February 2017 (UTC)
I think Wikipedia:What Wikipedia is not#Wikipedia is not a soapbox or means of promotion covers this. isaacl (talk) 03:15, 11 February 2017 (UTC)
This can be a problem, but also a source of useful edits. What about the pr/social media employee who corrects clear mistakes, updates the CEO, or expands the history section? All the faults such edits address are very characteristic of our articles. WP:COI certainly applies, and WP:UNDUE and WP:PROMO may do for burble about new products etc, but wording to catch the difference may be difficult. Johnbod (talk) 16:00, 15 February 2017 (UTC)
I believe WP:NOTPROMO adequately covers this already, as others have highlighted. Stickee (talk) 22:14, 16 February 2017 (UTC)

Meaning of "Wikipedia is not compulsory"?[edit]

I know that "WP:Wikipedia is not therapy". However, I was not familiar until a few months ago that Wikipedia is not compulsory. I have never seen one person asking about or discussing "compulsory". To me, it doesn't strike me as punitive or anything. Rather it's an attempt to tell a person to adjust to other real-life activities or something and not spend too much time on Wikipedia. If that's not it, what does "Wikipedia is not compulsory" mean, and what are examples? --George Ho (talk) 22:15, 27 February 2017 (UTC)

It means you can't force another Wikipedian to work on Wikipedia (i.e., this is not their job). I see this sometimes used when an editor says something like, "I expect an answer from you within 24 hours." --NeilN talk to me 22:34, 27 February 2017 (UTC)
Also, I'm free to leave or take a break anytime, like Wikipedia:You are not irreplaceable and other essays. Right? If so, how would my free time affect the quality of Wikipedia? --George Ho (talk) 22:39, 27 February 2017 (UTC)
I'm looking at wikt:compulsory and other definitions outside Wiktionary. What are examples of compulsive behavior? --George Ho (talk) 22:42, 27 February 2017 (UTC)
Compulsory does not equal compulsive for this context. --NeilN talk to me 22:45, 27 February 2017 (UTC)
What about the question above the "Wiktionary" comment/question? --George Ho (talk) 22:48, 27 February 2017 (UTC)
how would my free time affect the quality of Wikipedia? Mu. BrightRoundCircle (talk) 22:53, 27 February 2017 (UTC)
Caution: "I expect an answer from you within 24 hours" is a no, but I do expect an answer within 72 hours, even if WP:THEREISNODEADLINE, otherwise the whole work may grind to halt. Staszek Lem (talk) 23:58, 27 February 2017 (UTC)
Well, no. The only people expected to respond are admins per WP:ADMINACCT. If it's another scenario, and you don't get an answer, just move along. Anyways, I think we've answered George's question re: WP:NOTCOMPULSORY --NeilN talk to me 14:27, 28 February 2017 (UTC)
Well, yes and yes and no:-). There is a subtle difference in "I expect an answer" and "You are expected to answer <or else>". As for George's question, I believe the issue was not about policy, but rather his language comprehension and yes, we answered, but no we did not receive a confirmation that the answer was satisfactory (but we will be safe to assume this conclusion after about... <looking at my wristwatch> 52 hours :-) . (A funny quirk of English grammar makes me write "yes" both as a disagreement and as an agreement :-) Staszek Lem (talk) 20:30, 28 February 2017 (UTC)

Isn't Wikipedia not a dictatorship?[edit]

Wikipedia should have dictatorship listed at WP:NOT. UpsandDowns1234 18:25, 21 March 2017 (UTC)

It's also not a spaceship. Seriously, I don't understand what you are getting at. Doug Weller talk 19:25, 21 March 2017 (UTC)
It's also not a double negative. Beeblebrox (talk) 19:44, 21 March 2017 (UTC)

Subtle change to meaning[edit]

5 years ago, an editor changed the wording of the guideline on what not to do in a dispute - in good faith, it seems. That editor was later admonished and reverted for making changes to this page without consensus - but astonishingly, given its content, this earlier change was allowed to stand for 5 years!

This clause "do not try to advance your position in disagreements by making changes to content or policies" is (unintentionally, no doubt) the most absurd thing in a Wikipedia policy or guideline I've ever seen. It must be rewritten. Taken literally, it implies that if you steadfastly disagree with, say, a consensus to delete an article made based on a notability guideline, you are forever barred from trying to convince other editors to change that guideline in order to reverse that deletion decision on appeal. Directly contradicting what I was expressly told to do in a deletion discussion - try to convince other editors to change the guideline!

Not only that, it implies that if you think an article is notable, you should not add references to the article to demonstrate its notability while a deletion or other notability discussion is ongoing. Which is, of course, ridiculous.

Reverting the linked edit would be a substantial improvement.--greenrd (talk) 22:04, 21 March 2017 (UTC)

It doesn't say either of the things you seems to think it says. It isn't that you can't try to open a discussion to ask that something be changed, it's that you shouldn't just go ahead and change it yourself just to make a point. I don't think it even implies the meaning you are taking from it, but if you can think of a better phrasing that expresses the same idea, please propose it here. Beeblebrox (talk) 22:38, 21 March 2017 (UTC)
Actually the current text does constitute nonsense. The full phrase is " do not try to advance your position in disagreements by making changes to content or policies, and do not disrupt Wikipedia to illustrate a point." When your eye idly or tiredly scans the wikibuzzwords, you sometimes don't notice nonsense. In this case, the mentioned editor separated "making changes" from link to WP:POINT. In doing so it created nonsense statement: "do not try to advance your position in disagreements by making changes to content" (+ or policies). This plainly contradicts WP:BOLD. I admit when I was "scanning" this text, I read it "content of policies", which made sense to me. I fail to see how changing the content (not policies) can "advance someone's point" in disagreement. There is a well established policy that WP is not RS, hence WP article content in no way may an argument to advance a position other than to do something WP:POINTy; but in this case the whole sentence contains confusing redundancy. Staszek Lem (talk) 00:45, 22 March 2017 (UTC)
On the other hand, times and again people with agenda, when unhappy with opposition, jump right into policies to twist them to their like. Therefore I suggest the following minimalistic change:
Do not try to advance your position in disagreements by boldly making changes to policies. Do not disrupt Wikipedia just to illustrate your point.
Notice two edits: (a) split in two quite distinct pronouncements. (b) Wave a finger to boldly jumping the policies. Staszek Lem (talk) 00:51, 22 March 2017 (UTC)
I think that you analysis is well thought out and accurate, and that your proposed change is well thought out and a good one to make. North8000 (talk) 01:10, 22 March 2017 (UTC)
I suggest a slight change to your proposed first sentence: Do not try to advance your position in disagreements by making unilateral changes to policies. isaacl (talk) 06:48, 22 March 2017 (UTC)
The current wording added by the May 2012 change in the OP is fine. There is no reason to change it. The text has been accepted for several years because it highlights an issue which occurs occasionally, namely someone is involved in a dispute, usually spread over several pages, and the person tries to "clarify" a policy or guideline in a manner that supports their position in that dispute. What does adding "boldly" achieve? It does not matter whether the person is making timid or bold changes—they should not do it at all. If they are convinced the community has not wasted enough time on their dispute, they can propose a change on talk. There is always IAR as a fallback for the once-in-a-lifetime scenario when an undiscussed policy change by a participant in a related dispute would be desirable. Johnuniq (talk) 01:31, 22 March 2017 (UTC)
This is how I have always understood the clause in question. I've seen it happen a couple of times, so I think an admonition against doing so, even if it needs to be worded more cleanly, is appropriate. Jclemens (talk) 06:36, 22 March 2017 (UTC)
I think that there are two issues with the current wording. As written it also appears to forbid making changes in article content to advance a position. North8000 (talk) 12:45, 22 March 2017 (UTC)
The reality is that (a) many, if not most, serious policy changes, are motivated by what lawyers would call an "actual controversy" - indeed, editors are wont to disregard appeals to purely hypothetical situations. So, if this guideline can be and is interpreted by some (e.g. me) as meaning that people with strong opinions who wish to appeal against a deletion decision are not allowed to challenge policy, and only "dispassionate", "objective" observers are allowed to directly participate in setting policy, by posting on the appropriate Wikipedia talk namespace pages, it will lead to people like me leaving Wikipedia in disgust, and a fundamentally dysfunctional Wikipedia bureaucracy. (b) policy and guideline pages are not, in general, fully protected. If it was forbidden in general to change policy and guideline pages boldly, why are they not simply fully protected?--greenrd (talk) 21:24, 22 March 2017 (UTC)
You are allowed to change it boldly. This guideline does not forbid this. It advises do not go for it boldly amid a battle, because invariably your opponent will revert you, assuming that you are POV pushing in the heat of the fight. Not to say that a policy discussion amid a drama will only increase the drama. Staszek Lem (talk) 23:50, 22 March 2017 (UTC)