Wikipedia talk:Notability/Archive 22

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Notability of software (particularly FOSS)

The current WP:N guidelines appear to have encouraged some enthusiastic deletion and listing as AfD for (sometimes highly relevant, apposite, carefully researched) articles on software, particularly FOSS. A recent example is NoteEdit; according to an anonymous poster on the Talk page, who also decries the current policy, NoteEdit is "currently the best graphical score editor that runs on Linux". That's completely without validation, but perhaps indicates that there is a problem with the current process, if a tool that is regarded so highly by (presumably) a user of the software can be so easily flagged as "not notable" by a Wikipedian who has not indicated that they are familiar with the field.

Wikipedia administrators are not expected to be experts in every field, and certainly not to be familiar with the peculiar dynamics of FOSS, and yet with current guidelines they are flagging as AfD valuable encyclopedic information. In the case of NoteEdit, the software even has a full article in LinuxJournal, perhaps one of the very highest metrics of notability in this arena. That such software should be flagged as AfD suggests that other articles of slightly less notability, but still certainly enough for encyclopedic inclusion, may already have been removed.

In particular, using "Ghits" as a measure of notability, especially when blog posts are discounted, is a highly dubious practice for FOSS. Standard FOSS metrics, as determined by tools such as CIA or the Sourceforge Top 10, are the frequency of downloads/checkouts and the frequency of source code commits. Even these yardsticks, though, are insufficient for the task; for example, since NoteEdit is no longer actively maintained there are no commits to the source tree, development is now of the forked Canorus project (a page marked as AfD and deleted). Yet NoteEdit, although now inactive, is I suggest a page which should remain even after it has been eclipsed by its successor, Canorus, because of its historical relevance.

A couple of solutions spring to mind. Firstly, Wikipedia could declare that it is uninterested in FOSS and does not intend to provide an information resource for this community (upon which it depends, by the way, for MediaWiki, PHP, Linux et al that power it). I don't believe any of us want this. A much more appealing option would be to accept that the current measures of notability for software and FOSS are inapplicable. To qualify for deletion, an article would need to fail one of the other WP:DEL guidelines, or an article could be submitted to a team of specialist administrators who would look into project activity, including mailing list and source commit activity, and would email project leads / mailing lists advising them of the planned deletion. Only projects showing no activity, failing to respond to requests and having no viable packages available for download should truly be considered "not at all notable".

I humbly suggest that should this proposal meet with approval, it might be apposite to review deletions made over the past few months of software-related articles on WP:N grounds, and to consider them for undeletion.

I remain,

Your humble servant, ThomasNichols (talk) 15:17, 8 May 2008 (UTC)

It may well be that NoteEdit is notable; certainly coverage in LinuxJournal might suggest such, as it's not like every piece of linux software is covered therein. However, the article as it stands does not indicate and reason that it be considered notable, and basically gives no evidence of notability. SamBC(talk) 15:56, 8 May 2008 (UTC)
I agree with ThomasNichols completely. It seems that the principle of consensus may be forgotten here. First, articles, notable or not, unless they are obvious candidates for deletion, (you know, spam, advertisements, etc) then consensus is supposed to have as much of an impact on notability as anything else. Fundamentally, non-notable topics will not generate controversy, interest, edits, or anything else, which means that this problem is self-correcting. If an admin flags an article for deletion and leaves it up for, say 30 days, and there is no activity on the article, then it is the fault of the community that it got deleted. And nothing says that the article can't be recreated by a better or more dedicated editor with more evidence of notability later. We have two principles at work here; 1) Good articles in their infancy will sometimes be deleted and have to be restarted from scratch. 2) More often I would hope, non-notable junk lingers for a while while community disinterest demonstrates lack of notability.

HatlessAtless (talk) 20:22, 8 May 2008 (UTC)

Re comment by SamBC - I had understood that notability applies to the subject, not the content, and that whilst this may be determined by the article content it need not necessarily be. I've updated the talk page re NoteEdit with further discussion about this particular issue.

Please could a Wikipedia administrator advise whether there is a process, other than discussion here, by which the FOSS community may address the deletion of FOSS-related articles? Administrators are acting in good faith and applying WP:N to subjects (and WP:V and WP:RS to content) in a manner that may be inappropriate for FOSS. The issue is not with the actions of administrators, but with guidelines that discriminate against the metrics of notability, verifiability and reliability of sources (blog activity, commit frequency, inclusion as a dependency by other FOSS projects) used by this community.

Re comment by HatlessAtlas - If no request to keep a page flagged for deletion is received after 30 days, this would suggest the page is suitable for deletion. However, current examples of deleted FOSS articles show that the current guidelines, strictly interpreted, are used successfully by Wikipedians to argue for deletion even where there are requests to keep a page; a 30-day grace period sounds an excellent plan, once the questions of how to assess FOSS WP:N, WP:V and WP:RS have been addressed.

ThomasNichols (talk) 11:59, 9 May 2008 (UTC)

I don't think HatlessAtlas is describing how the process actually works in practice. Wikipedians' interest in a topic has no real bearing on whether it is considered notable. Notability is generally determined by outside interest -- coverage of a topic in the media, in academic or professional circles, and the like. However, the deck is somewhat stacked against FOSS because it's a little harder to find reliable sources dealing with the topic. Most FOSS simply isn't in the public awareness in a society where commercialism is everything. Most people firmly believe that if you want a piece of software, WalMart or Office Depot is the best place to get it. The best chance of preserving WP articles about FOSS is to have references from widely-published computing magazines demonstrating wide coverage of the software within the community. I voted keep on the NoteEdit AfD, citing coverage in Linux Journal as evidence of notability. I hope this and other reasonable arguments are sufficient to keep the article, but this may not be the case. If the NoteEdit article had cited the Linux Journal article as a source, it may have helped. Best of luck, Aylad ['ɑɪlæd] 12:39, 9 May 2008 (UTC)
Notability does apply to article topics, rather than content, but the content of an article must demonstrate the notability of the topic. If there are facts that indicate notability, those are (almost always) facts that belong in the article for good coverage. It kinda goes along with the WP:V/WP:NOR combination; all information must be sourced, analysis must be sourced to secondary sources, so if we want to include analysis (which we always do) we have to refer to secondary sources, and these then (usually) demonstrate notability. SamBC(talk) 14:18, 9 May 2008 (UTC)
Right - so the issue then is that the criteria used for establishing notability are currently, as Aylad expressed it, "somewhat stacked against FOSS". A "notable" FOSS project is shown by high rankings on digg.com, technorati.com, sourceforge.net, rubyforge.org and others - and a project may become notable by this measure without any coverage in more mainstream media. Does this mean that Wikipedia cannot be used to document the evolution of FOSS software in an encyclopedic manner until such software has been deemed notable by the established press? If that is your view, may I ask whether that is also the consensus view of the Wikipedia admins? If so, I shall consider this a sad day for Wikipedia, as well as a lost opportunity for strengthening a collaboration between the two largely disparate communities which has so far proved highly fruitful, with much of Wikipedia powered by FOSS and many FOSS projects documenting their progress on Wikipedia. I do hope that the WP:N suggestions about common sense will be deemed to apply here.

ThomasNichols (talk) 15:17, 9 May 2008 (UTC)

I'm not sure, but you may be making some assumptions that are unwarranted. Ideally (the way I understand it), the admins don't make consensus by themselves; the entire community (which includes admins) and admins help enforce it. The idea that WP guidelines are "stacked against FOSS" is my opinion, based on observation and on your comments. That doesn't mean I'm right or that this is the result of established consensus. In special cases, there have been separate guidelines established for broad areas which warrant slightly different consideration for notability; perhaps software in general and FOSS in particular might benefit from this. You'd need consensus to do so... try going to the various software-related wikiprojects and asking for support. Aylad ['ɑɪlæd] 15:39, 9 May 2008 (UTC)
You might also want to look into redrafting the rejected notability guidelines for software, and it might be worth reading up the reasons why they were rejected. Percy Snoodle (talk) 15:42, 9 May 2008 (UTC)
Aha, I didn't know there was one. Not surprising, I guess. Aylad ['ɑɪlæd] 16:09, 9 May 2008 (UTC)
Thanks very much, that makes it plain - the question of specific notability criteria for FOSS has already been debated at length. If I'm able to come up with a sufficiently cogent and concise proposal for alternative metrics I'll return to this discussion, until then I'll accept with some sadness that definitions of notability by Wikipedia and by the various FOSS communities are poorly aligned. Thanks to everyone for the explanations, and for the considerate politeness - a marked contrast to many FOSS discussions! ThomasNichols (talk) 09:05, 10 May 2008 (UTC)

What Do You Think Of My Revision?

It was- "WP:NOTE" redirects here. You may also be looking for WP:CITE, WP:NOT or WP:FOOT.

And is-"WP:NOTE" redirects here. You may also be looking for citation style guidelines (WP:CITE), what Wikipedia is not (WP:NOT) or footnote style guidelines (WP:FOOT).

I just got irritated. Feel free to revert.

Just alerting you all to my changes.

Lunakeet 18:44, 12 May 2008 (UTC)

Aha. Probably could be very useful changes, good job. Aylad ['ɑɪlæd] 19:29, 12 May 2008 (UTC)

Improvements Needed

Wikipedia been around for a while now. It is time that the notability guidelines are either revised or eliminated. Notability is the weakest excuse for deleting an article. Just because "the big guys" haven't said anything about a subject, that does not mean that it should be deleted. I still can't believe hot-headed and arrogant everyone here is. This encyclopedia is meant to be the most complete encyclopedia in the world. If we go around deleting things just because we haven't heard of it, nothing will ever be accomplished. There is a distinct difference from "nonsense" articles and articles that contain little-known material. Use your brains people! Notability is self-fulfilling. That means that if we put little-known material on Wikipedia, then in a few month's time it will become more "notable" on it's own. I won't go as far as to say that the guidelines are nonsense and useless. For a printed, physical encyclopedia, they are very important. But Wikipedia does not have the limitation of cost due to ink and paper expenses -- electronic format is much cheaper. Therefore, notability guidelines should be just that, guidelines -- NOT RULES! Recall the movie, Pirates of the Caribbean, and the how the pirates regarded the code at the end. Please, no replies saying that I'm an idiot and I don't know what I talking about or anything like that. Respond in an objective, and polite manner. I know that my statement here will anger people. So let us remain calm and sort this out.--Mjr162006 (talk) 12:36, 17 May 2008 (UTC)

Your statements appear to be directed toward a strawman guideline that doesn't exist; it certainly misses the mark when applies to the attached page, what it actually says and how it's actually applied. We don't "go around deleting things just because we haven't heard of it." Wikipedia is a tertiary source, which by definition only contains information culled from already published material, and on subjects already published about. You would be hard pressed to state an idea more inimical to an encyclopedia then that it should publish new, unknown material and make it notable through that self-same publishing. That's the opposite of how a tertiary source functions and directly in conflict with our core policy against original research.--Fuhghettaboutit (talk) 13:09, 17 May 2008 (UTC)
See Wikipedia_talk:Notability/Archive_21#Notability_policy_is_stupid. I'm sure contributions to those "other mediawiki sites" would be greatly appreciated by them, even (or especially) if the material has been deleted from Wikipedia. Aylad ['ɑɪlæd] 15:33, 17 May 2008 (UTC)
Oh, and your request for polite responses is slightly ironic, considering that "use your brains people" clearly and directly suggests that acceptance of WP:N is ignorant or foolish... not exactly polite. Aylad ['ɑɪlæd] 15:37, 17 May 2008 (UTC)
It was rather blunt, but it was the truth. Honesty is the best policy. Always tell people the truth. If you lie to protect their feelings, you are actually hurting them in the long run. No, I didn't mean that Wikipedia would be its own source. I meant that having the material on Wikipedia would arouse interest in the subject and encourage further research in other sources. And no I don't think notability is stupid. It just does not apply to an electronic encyclopedia. It is that simple. I know that not every one "goes around deleting things just because they haven't heard of it." But quite a few really do, at least marking for deletion anyway. That cannot be denied.--Mjr162006 (talk) 00:00, 18 May 2008 (UTC)
I already said it once and I'll say it again. "Please, no replies saying that I'm an idiot and I don't know what I am talking about or anything like that." Saying that I'm wrong is not constructive and only wastes time. The goal here is to improve the quality of Wikipedia. If something is not notable enough, the deleting it does not help at all. The responsible thing to do would be to merge it with other, similar articles that are also not notable enough. The purpose of this discussion is to come up with solutions, not to debate who is right and wrong.--Mjr162006 (talk) 00:17, 18 May 2008 (UTC)

Also, there will always be garbage for us to spot and eliminate. I am a "vandal hunter" (see my userpage) after all. It know when something is nonsense and should be removed. But there is a huge difference from low-notability articles and nonsense articles. Low-notability articles cover topics that are not that well know. Deleting them will not help in changing that. That is fact, beyond argument. These notability "guidelines" are currently being treated as rules. However that is contradictory to the goal of making Wikipedia the most complete encyclopedia in the world. You can not argue your way out of that. So don't try. It will just waste time. You people need to stop being so argumentative, judging on what happened when this issue was brought up before, and actually try to solve this problem. No matter how much people try to sugarcoat it, it is still a problem. It is time to fix it, not to "beat down" every person to suggest that notability guidelines are not appropriate for Wikipedia.--Mjr162006 (talk) 00:42, 18 May 2008 (UTC)

Wikipedia requires that article sources be verifiable and reliable. Our principles also insist that we stick to the sources and present the information in roughly the same proportion as it appears in the body of reliable sources. There are also clearly approaches and articles not suitable for Wikipedia. Notability is simply these principles as applied to topics. If a subject is not reliably documented, it's simply not suitable for Wikipedia, as such an article can never met the requirements of our core content principles. We need enough good sources to create a complete, well-sourced article. While Wikipedia is certainly not paper, allowing for a very broad array of topics and subtopics, what you suggest essentially runs counter to a lot of the basic content principles and core perceptions of Wikipedia. That is likely the source of much of the poor response you've perceived. There are numerous other wiki projects that do not have the same principles and requirements that may be better suited to what you are trying to achieve. I hope this helps clarify where at least some people may be coming from in opposing your idea. Vassyana (talk) 05:07, 18 May 2008 (UTC)
  • It's generally seen as bad form to tell other people what they "can" and "cannot" argue with, deny, question, debate, or reason against. However, Mjr, in one of your statements you are quite correct. Our goal is to make Wikipedia the most complete encyclopedia in the world. Your mistake is in placing so much emphasis on "complete" that you virtually ignore the connotations of "encyclopedia." I will not repeat Fuhghettaboutit's definition of what that word means – he/she explained it far more eloquently than I could.
  • Another mistake you make (remember, "honesty is the best policy") is to assume that WP editors blindly follow WP:N as an absolute truth rather than as a guideline. A guideline, as you point out with your Disney movie analogy, is a strong, general recommendation that allows for exceptions. Exceptions to WP:N may be allowed on Wikipedia. Who decides when such an exception is appropriate? Community consensus. If a topic lacks adequate secondary sources notability but is clearly notable worthy of inclusion anyway, the community will form a consensus to defend its inclusion here.
  • A final thought (for now): Wikipedia is meant, above all else, to be useful. If we include large amounts of information which has no reliable secondary sources, and which is therefore difficult to verify as accurate or significant in any way, Wikipedia becomes very slightly more useful than a Google search.
Aylad ['ɑɪlæd] 17:27, 18 May 2008 (UTC)
My train of thought got sidetracked a bit. Please ignore the strikethrough in favor of the phrases that follow it. Aylad ['ɑɪlæd] 20:21, 18 May 2008 (UTC)
I am very annoyed with wiki and go on it less. verifiable and reliable sources mean jack all when it comes to AFD just as long as somebody can say the two words "not notable" or "nn" and I'm not kidding.
For example let's take a major soap character with verifiable and reliable sources, how can you say that they are not notable based on WP:FICT when they've been a) been watched by 50 mill people b) beign on storylines that have featured in the tv press and have verifiable and reliable to back it up. They purely get deleted based on whether they've made a notable IMPACT on the world, in which case nearly everytime they haven't as they're not real and WP:FICT GETS side tracked a bit.
It applies to other things as well. Motivational theories that are taught at uni, not notable? There are sources from textbooks and the business websites on the net explaining them but nothing shows their notability and whether people listen to them so they get deleted based on the famous initials of "nn".
I think the reason these things get deleted it because people get more a buzz from deletion things then they do keeping things so they are more likely to vote delete and will find any reason possible to delete. I am also fairly convinced people don't read the articles before voting.
This is why I am annoyed with wiki at the moment. Englishrose (talk) 21:32, 18 May 2008 (UTC)
Thanks for sharing, just please assume good faith in your fellow editors. --ZimZalaBim talk 21:54, 18 May 2008 (UTC)
If the sources are about the television show in general, then they are less reliable for subordinate parts of the show. If the character is never mentioned out of the show's context, then what compelling reason there is to have a separate article for the character? There would already be an article on the show, which can include the information about that character. —Centrxtalk • 21:55, 18 May 2008 (UTC)
Take Morag Bellingham for example, one of the longest running characters on soap. There are things that are notable for the character progression but not the soap and vise versa. I'm not saying that we should have the long pointless bios that we often see but preferably we should have pages about a) what role the character plays b) background info about the character, who plays them etc. c) brief character progression. All can be backed up with independent sources. But when it becomes what notability that character has outside the soap then it gets deleted for being "nn". At the end of the day it comes down to is wikipedia an encyclopedia (an encyclopedia being something that contains a body of knowledge and information). Is an article on Morag Bellingham useful? Does it show the progession of a relevant character in a major tv show? Yes. Would a character article be more useful than a redirect? Yes. It's all opinions. NN should be used for things that have no notability not for things that do. Englishrose (talk) 22:27, 18 May 2008 (UTC)
Wikipedia is not a fansite; all that information is properly included with the other information about the show, in its main article. This argument has been hashed out many times before, and been proven wanting. Wikipedia does not contain dictionary definitions, which are useful and have sources; nor does it contain how-to guides, which are useful and have sources. If even magazines specifically about television do not see fit to have independent articles about the fictional character, Wikipedia does not warrant such an independent article either, and could not have one that is reliably sourced or maintained. —Centrxtalk • 22:42, 18 May 2008 (UTC)
English, what you are describing is exactly why we need objective notability guidelines. If Morag is significant enough to be the subject matter in articles or books from independent verifiable sources, then an article about her makes sense. If you just want to write an interesting article based on your opinions and primary research, then Wikipedia is the wrong place for that. I'd be happy to help you with that article as a test of our standards. My interpretation of the notablility criteria is fairly liberal and I consider myself to be an inclusionist. --Kevin Murray (talk) 22:49, 18 May 2008 (UTC)
I see pros and cons to both sides of the arguement. If we simply regurgitate material provided by primary sources without any sort of secondary sources to back it up, as Centrx puts it, Wikipedia becomes little more than a fansite in some areas. However, I'm inclined to agree with Englishrose. If we dismiss content because it's only notable within a particular community, we might as well break Wikipedia up into hundreds of sub-wikis (i.e. a medical wiki, a fiction wiki, a politics wiki, etc). There are millions of people (and possibly more) who couldn't care less about American Football. So why does player X get an article because he's all over the newspapers but character Y in a soap opera who's notable and important to countless fans is written off as non-notable because there isn't sufficient coverage of him? As far as I can tell, the arguement is most often applied to fictional characters, however I've seen articles about small-town schools and local DJ's nominated for deletion as well because the Small Town Times doesn't count as a reliable source for an article, even though the school or the person may be very important parts of the community that they serve. That's just my observation. Skiguy330 (talk) 03:37, 19 May 2008 (UTC)
It's possible that the reason live celebrities have priority over fictional characters is that analyzing a live person's accomplishments – the number of touchdowns made in a season, for example – is documented by multiple secondary sources. A fictional character's arc, on the other hand, must be interpreted based on the material within the fictional work, so unless this is documented by independent secondary sources, it amounts to original research. This is why other websites have fan wikis for fictional material (including one of my favorites, the StargateWiki). There is a common practice on the Internet: if a particular website does not meet your needs because of fundamental content policies, try visiting a different website. Aylad ['ɑɪlæd] 12:41, 19 May 2008 (UTC)
I think you just hit on the biggest problem with the notability policy (at least in my opinion). Certain topics have significantly more secondary sources available than other topics. In other words, some topics can more easily establish notability simply because they're popular. Every day I pick up the newspaper, throw away the sports section, and search in vain for the RPG section. Obviously it's never there. Sports have a section in every newspaper, a reporter at every news station, even a whole network for reporting on sports (ESPN), thus ensuring that nearly every single player on every single team has been the center of some discussion. On the other hand, there's no RPGN, no Fantasy/Adventure reporters, etc.
To take a real-world example, there is an article for every member of the Portland Trail Blazers, and not one of them is marked with a notability tag (obviously, because there is significant "real-world" coverage). However, several deities from the default Dungeons & Dragons pantheon are marked with the notability tag, including Pelor, one of the primary and most well-known deities. The Portland Trail Blazers average roughly 19,000 attendees per game, and most of their games are only available to watch on TV to Comcast subscribers in Oregon and Southwest Washington (roughly 590,000 possible viewers). In contrast, D&D has been played by over 20 million people world-wide, translated into 16 languages, and is played by roughly 5.5 million people each month. That's more than twice the population of Portland, Oregon and 2 million more than the entire population of Oregon, yet the Portland Trail Blazers are somehow more notable than the D&D pantheon because they have their own section in the news? Skiguy330 (talk) 17:41, 19 May 2008 (UTC)
Don't misunderstand me – I do not consider myself a deletionist, and I am partly sympathetic to what you say. There are several points that you just made, however, that could use some closer scrutiny. First, I agree that in the industrial and post-industrial world, media coverage is significantly biased against certain topics, and this will always have an impact on Wikipedia. We need those independent sources for our information to be trustworthy. What separates WP from any random blog? Sources.
Second, newspapers are not the only sources. Content-related magazines, as long as they're independent and reliable, are fine. Thus roleplaying games may pass WP:N thanks to coverage by unaffiliated magazines and similar publications. Pelor may well have sources out there that establish his(?) notability independent of the game; they just need to be found and cited. See the recent deletion debate for the open-source NoteEdit, which was only rescued because a few intrepid editors threw up our hands and said "Fine! We'll find sources!" On the other hand, such sources which talk about Pelor only as one of many semi-notable elements of D&D may not satisfy all editors. I was recently shocked to see that the Grey Havens of Tolkien's mythos have been identified as questionably notable. Of course the location is notable... but few sources deal directly with its intrinsic notability; most assume it inherits notability from the longer, definitely-notable LotR saga.
Unfortunately, there is a fallacy in your comparison of American football to D&D. You compare the average number of per-game viewers to the millions of people who have played D&D... which is a total accumulated number. The per-game viewership of any one particular team should be compared to the number of players who use any one D&D expansion (or whatever terminology D&D uses) per game. The number of players who have played D&D on a regular basis should be compared to the number of viewers who have witnessed any American football games on a regular basis, disregarding which teams were playing.
I believe that many topics which earn a delete consensus on AfD could have been saved if only their supporters had worked harder to find independent reliable sources which document the primary (inherent, intrinsic, whatever) notability of the topic in question. It is better to light a candle than to rage against the darkness, although it's far less satisfying to some. I believe the solution is not to remove WP:N, nor even to revise it significantly. I believe the solution is to work harder within the framework that it provides. Good luck in saving notable topics! Aylad ['ɑɪlæd] 19:08, 19 May 2008 (UTC)
I agree Aylad on this point. There are dozens of published sources which come up on Google Books about the Grey Havens. The real problem is not so much the notability guideline; the problem is the fact that too many Wikipedia editors are too lazy, ignorant, or incompetent to expend the tiny bit of time and energy necessary to find reliable, verifiable sources that easily demonstrate notability, verifiability, not original research, etc. And it's not that hard nowadays to find good sources, either through Google Books or other sources like LexisNexis, ProQuest, InfoTrac, EBSCO, etc. which one can access at any decent public library. I found half the resources which I cited in Lawyer through such databases from home (most North American public libraries have proxy servers to support home database access).--Coolcaesar (talk) 05:17, 20 May 2008 (UTC)
No, the real problem is the notability guideline. Years ago people would say "not notable" in AFD debates, and that was their personal opinion. Then that got twisted into WP:N, which says all topics should be notable and here's how to show evidence of that. If someone had nominated the Guile article for deletion before N was a guideline, would people have said that character is non-notable? I don't think so. But now if you nominated the Guile (Street Fighter) article for deletion, people would say "Fails WP:N." So the term "nn" got transformed into "Fails WP:N", completely ignoring that "notability" — whether a topic is worthy of notice, worthy of attention — is a totally subjective concept. WP:N completely ignores the concepts notable for, notable where, and notable among. For example. Bill Gates is notable for being the chairman of Microsoft. Do survivors of Cyclone Nargis in Myanmar think Bill Gates is worthy of notice? Probably not. Do people in Redmond think Bill Gates is worthy of notice? Probably. Is Bill Gates notable among people who are Microsoft Certified Professionals? Probably. "Notability" is not some trait that things have. Notability is a perception by outside observers. Where different people choose to focus their attention is not some thing that can be universally categorized as N or NN. If people want to say that a topic needs outside coverage before Wikipedia can have an article on it, that's fine, but coverage does not make a topic notable. Otherwise we'd have an article titled Angelina Jolie's lips. If people want to insist on outside coverage, that's fine — but then Wikipedia:Notability should be renamed Wikipedia:Coverage. --Pixelface (talk) 09:11, 22 May 2008 (UTC)
Once upon a time, the GNC given in WP:N was a fallback. The phrasing of the guideline, in fact, says it still is: meet the GNC or a more specific guideline. Not and. However, the flawed logic soon spread that "well, if it doesn't meet the GNC we can't write about it without breaking WP:V or WP:NOR anyway, so everything should meet it, and attitudes (and guidelines) changed. It used to be that a lot of notability guidelines (such as WP:PROF and WP:ATHLETE) said that awards, say, or playing in a top division of a professional sport, were enough for notability. Now they say that you need coverage and one of those things, which renders them meaningless as WP:N says that a topic is considered notable if it meets the GNC or one or more subject-specific guidelines. Say we have an academic who used to be an athlete; they are covered by WP:BIO, specifically WP:PROF and WP:ATHLETE, and by WP:N. They only have to meet one of them. However, it seems to make sense to me (and to others I've spoken to) that notability doesn't require coverage that satisfies the GNC, and information can be verified from the kinds of sources that the GNC doesn't accept (like directories, for instance). There's a strangely persistent and widespread idea that the GNC is a natural corollary of WP:V and WP:NOR, which in terms of logic it isn't. SamBC(talk) 10:01, 22 May 2008 (UTC)
If this is true, it indicates (in my mind, at least) that the real real problem is perception of the GNC, not the existence or the wording (because, if I understand you, the wording still seems to reflect the point you make). However, I'm still not sure that I understand how the corollary of WP:V and WP:NOR with WP:N is "flawed logic." Can you elaborate? Aylad ['ɑɪlæd] 12:27, 22 May 2008 (UTC)

(outdent) Basically, AIUI, and AIU the purposes, WP:V and WP:NOR talk about how we talk about things and what we can say. Notability doesn't determine this, and is a disjoint concept. The question Notability asks is "is this worth talking about". The question of "is there anything we can actually say within policy" is a separate one. People assume a logical link between V and N because they both talk about multiple independent sources, but they want multiple independent source for different reasons, and those sources have to say different things. A subject can be notable (worthy of notice) and still not be able to have more information sourced than a stub. So be it; nothing wrong with short articles, and if there's no prospect of expanding then maybe they should be consolidated by theme, and if they aren't they should be labelled as stub as that implies potential for expansion. Pick up a copy of brittanica, or really any encyclopaedia, and there's plenty of articles that are one short paragraph. The point of what I'm saying is that notability, while sharing concepts with verifiability, is a distinct concept, not a corollary. Our requirement for notability, be it the GNC or subject-specific guidelines, is not a natural consequence of verifiability. It's a separate thing. Just a lot of people don't seem to agree with that. However, if it weren't the case, why did we (until recently) allow professional sports people to be considered notable as long as one reliable source said they played in a top division of their sport? Why do we (per WP:BK) accept books as notable as long as one reliable source says that it won an award. These aren't mistakes, they make perfect sense when you see V and N as disjoint. SamBC(talk) 12:44, 22 May 2008 (UTC)

Aha, I see. That explains the abundance of stub articles on species and other topics (I've decided the "random article" link should be renamed to "random stub")... I think I understand your point, now. Thank you. Aylad ['ɑɪlæd] 14:10, 22 May 2008 (UTC)
Well, not exactly... that's more to do with the eternally-debated idea of inherent notability for certain topics. However, those are good examples of things that would perfectly acceptably stay at stub-length and yet still be encyclopaedic. There's not really a minimum length for an article to be encyclopaedic, to me, it depends on content and style. SamBC(talk) 15:20, 22 May 2008 (UTC)
I don't see the disjoint that you perceive. If someone is a top tier athelete or if a book has won a prominent award, it is not that we have an article simply because they are a top tier athelete or award winning book. Rather, we consider it a reasonable presumption that sufficient sources are available to support a full encyclopedic article. The permanent stub nature of many clearly notable topics is a result of inattention or laziness, rather than an actual lack of sources. Vassyana (talk) 05:18, 23 May 2008 (UTC)

Quite a few of those against changing the notability guidelines wasted quite a bit of time attacking my intelligence and my intent. Even after I told you twice not to do so. Even after the instructions at the top of the page told you not to. Stick to the issue and stay professional. My ACT score was among the top three in my graduating class. I am not stupid. No more wasting time on that point. We must ask ourselves what content should be here and what should be covered by a dedicated Wiki. There are not enough inter-wiki links on Wikipedia. For example: The most comprehensive Wiki of material relating to The Legend of Zelda series is ZeldaWiki.org. Therefore, if content relating to the series is deemed too trivial to be included on Wikipedia, then more links to ZeldaWiki should be added. Similar inter-wiki links should be established on other topics. As for fictional characters, it is not that difficult to create a page of characters for one show. This has already be done on countless occasions. We are here to come up with ways to improve the notability guidelines of Wikipedia. So, again, stay on topic. No attacking the intelligence of either myself or anyone else for that matter.--Mjr162006 (talk) 03:04, 20 May 2008 (UTC)

I'm quite puzzled by your post above as your opening post nests preemptive ad hominems and yet no one that I've seen has been rude or attacked your intelligence. Pointing out the failings of your arguments is not the same as attacking you or your intelligence. In short, I think you've received better treatment than you've given.--Fuhghettaboutit (talk) 03:22, 20 May 2008 (UTC)
I strongly concur with this point too. Mjr162006 is engaging in straw man games. --Coolcaesar (talk) 05:17, 20 May 2008 (UTC)
Congratulations on your high score. No one called you stupid. No one attacked your intent. We explained how your goals, good intentions, and proposed methods are not aligned with the goals, good intentions, and practiced methods of the Wikipedia community. The fact that consensus does not agree with you should not be construed as an insult, nor as a statement that you are wrong, nor as evidence that the community is any more or less intelligent than you. I have been there, too. Would I be wrong to say that good-faith discussion depends on mutual respect for the each other's ideas? I do respect your ideas, I simply believe that they are not aligned with the WP community's ideas and therefore should probably be put into practice elsewhere. Aylad ['ɑɪlæd] 15:44, 20 May 2008 (UTC)

"Presumed," again

Not too long ago, I asked about why we use this word in the guideline. I never really got an answer. Could someone explain the reason that the guideline uses this word? Is there a difference saying that we "presume notability" and just saying that a topic "is notable"? As it stands, I don't see one described in the text. Croctotheface (talk) 20:23, 10 May 2008 (UTC)

The reason is that the wording was part of a compromise to resolve a long running dispute over the wording of the guideline between, at the risk of some oversimplification, deletionist and inclusionist editors.
Simply saying "is notable" creates a simpler line, but it was controversial to those who believe that there are many notable topics that come up short of this single test. So, the compromise was that we have a presumption (an assumption of truth in the absence of contradictory evidence) that topics with multiple sources are notable. If the topic falls short of that standard, then other evidence of notability is needed. If the topic exceeds the standard, then it may yet be unsuitable for inclusion if there is evidence that it runs afoul of policy or guidline (usually WP:NOT or WP:BLP).--Kubigula (talk) 20:48, 10 May 2008 (UTC)
OK, I can understand that. However, when I made an edit that defined "presumed" as something almost exactly like what you said, where it would be possible to "rebut" the presumption, it was somehow extremely unpopular. It sounds to me that, if you're correct, the definition is something like, "'Presumed' means that, absent contradictory evidence, topics that meet this guideline should be considered notable. Also, topics that do not meet this guideline may still be worthy of conclusion because their importance can be demonstrated another way." I'm going to boldly change the article to say this, but I fully expect that I'll get reverted. I think that, for some reason, editors prefer for the guideline to basically say nothing, as that way it can be interpreted to support a wide range of contradictory opinions. Right now, I contend that the way it's defined, "presumed" has no meaning at all that can help editors figure out if a topic should be included or excluded from the encyclopedia. Croctotheface (talk) 21:10, 10 May 2008 (UTC)
I have no problem with more explicitely defining "presumed" along the lines you suggest (except say inclusion rather than conclusion). However, you may well be right that there will be pushback. This guideline is a delicate compromise.--Kubigula (talk) 21:52, 10 May 2008 (UTC)
I obviously have no issues with delicate compromises, I just feel that, at present, the word "presumed," as it's being used, has no meaning. Whatever it is that the consensus behind this guideline says we mean by "presumed" is fine with me, so long as it's something that the word can actually mean. At present, the text says absolutely nothing about why "presumed to be notable" is different from flat out "is notable." Croctotheface (talk) 07:12, 11 May 2008 (UTC)
I undid your bold change. It was unpopular before and in such a short time it is unlikely that consensus has changed. The word "presumed" is link to its Wikitionary entry and is used according to its primary definition. It's hardly as meaningless as you'd indicate. Vassyana (talk) 14:01, 11 May 2008 (UTC)
The footnote then contradicts that use of "presumed", as it suggests that there's no way to demonstrate non-notability, rendering "presume" meaningless in that context. It can't mean "until contrary demonstration" when you have a note saying there can't be contrary demonstration. Maybe we just need to lose the footnote. SamBC(talk) 15:24, 11 May 2008 (UTC)
Wiktionary's first definition is "to assume true in the absence of contrary proof." I don't see any description of the ability to offer "contrary proof" anywhere in the definition we use here. If there were some reference to that, I would not consider it meaningless. The only reason the current version has any support is because it doesn't say anything, so people can read in completely contradictory ideas. Croctotheface (talk) 16:22, 11 May 2008 (UTC)
The people who changed the guideline to this "presumed" stance do not want articles excluded for notability; "General notability guideline" is written so that topics may be positively confirmed (or "presumed") to be notable, but they may not be positively confirmed non-notable. —Centrxtalk • 16:50, 11 May 2008 (UTC)
But "presumed" doesn't mean "positively confirmed." It means "assumed true in the absence of contrary proof." This is why I contend that the current guideline is meaningless. Centrx, what distinction does your understanding make between "presumed notable" and "is notable"? Croctotheface (talk) 17:31, 11 May 2008 (UTC)
I'm curious, because I don't really keep track of AfD discussions or other disputes on Wikipedia: Has a situation or dispute come up where changing "presumed to be" to "is" actually would make a difference? Or are we trying to fix something that ain't broken? Aylad ['ɑɪlæd] 20:18, 11 May 2008 (UTC)
I've never understood it, what it means, or why it is important. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 22:55, 11 May 2008 (UTC)
Well, if we're using "presumed" when we mean "is," then the guideline IS broken because having a term with no meaning can only create confusion. Even if there is no actual problem, I could certainly envision one. Someone could want to make an argument that, for instance, despite meeting notability guidelines, there's nothing worthwhile to say about a certain topic, so the article shouldn't exist. This guideline should be able to answer the question of whether that argument is valid or not. If we mean "presumed" when we say presumed, then I think that a person could make that argument. If we just mean "is" when we say presumed, then I don't think that argument would be valid. Croctotheface (talk) 00:53, 12 May 2008 (UTC)
  • "Presumed" means: if a topic satisfies these criteria, it is therefore (=>) notable, unless it violates one of the subject-specific notability guidelines, and it may or may not be notable if it fails the criteria.
  • "Is" implies: 1) if a topic fails these criteria, it is therefore not notable (<=>), a topic may only be notable if it satisfies these criteria; and 2) a satisfying topic is notable regardless of the subject-specific criteria. —Centrxtalk • 01:48, 12 May 2008 (UTC)
I changed the guideline to say more or less what you said here. I think that if that is indeed what the guideline means, it's a valid way to use "presumed." Croctotheface (talk) 02:22, 12 May 2008 (UTC)
That contradicts the intro to the guideline, which says (quite clearly) that a topic is notable if it satisfies WP:N or an appropriate specific guideline, not that it is required to satisfy all applicable ones. SamBC(talk) 11:40, 12 May 2008 (UTC)
I have a feeling this suggestion will be ignored, since so many edits have already taken place, but... I really don't see an overwhelming need to change this until we have a concrete problem that requires it. How many policies and guidelines contain language which might lead to a problem sometime in the future? Every last one of them. Do we try to imagine every possible scenario which might arise as the result of this language? No... that way lies madness. To answer Croctotheface's comment that someone could want to delete an article just because there is nothing worthwhile to say about it, which notability guidelines could possibly support the article if there is nothing worthwhile to say about it?
Finally, there are topics for which multiple reliable secondary sources exist which are, I believe, not notable. Take virtually any YouTube meme that made the evening news nation-wide and was most likely also mentioned in newspapers and computer/internet-related magazines (I'm writing from a U.S.-centric perspective; I don't know if other countries' news services waste time on YouTube memes). Does each of those have an article? A few months later, they're forgotten (I can't even remember the last one). I believe the WP:N guideline says "presumed" as a way of saying "just because a topic meets every single one of these criteria doesn't guarantee its notability." Aylad ['ɑɪlæd] 12:56, 12 May 2008 (UTC)
This is not a case where a guideline has language that may not recommend the best possible practice. This is a case where a guideline has language that is UTTERLY MEANINGLESS. Right now, that definition of "presumed" may as well be a recipe for rice pudding because it doesn't say anything and nobody agrees about what it actually does say. The reason people don't have a "problem" with the current version is that it basically says that "presumed" has no meaning at all, so they can read in completely contradictory ideas. This is not some sort of minor deal. Croctotheface (talk) 17:08, 12 May 2008 (UTC)
I also want to recap what's happened here. I asked what the "presumed" language means. When I saw what looked like a mini-consensus, I changed the guideline to reflect that. Every single time, those changes were undone. That tells me that nobody actually knows what we mean by "presumed notable". There is no consensus regarding that at all. Croctotheface (talk) 17:13, 12 May 2008 (UTC)
If I may interpret the words of the other editors here (and I will be quite ok if they edit this posting to fix any misrepresentation), Kubigula's first response to your original question seems to be essentially the same definition I gave above, merely phrased differently. Vassyana and Centrx both indicated that, to their understandings, the word "presumed" is not "as meaningless as you'd indicate" (Vassyana's words), and nothing they say contradicts either Kubigula or myself. I really think that most of the few people involved in this discussion, as well as the people who achieved the previous consensus to insert the word "presumed" in the first place, do understand what it means. I do not believe that it was put in with either the intent or the effect of making the guideline meaningless. Aylad ['ɑɪlæd] 19:45, 12 May 2008 (UTC)
Well, right now, the definition says, "'Presumed' means...we presume the topic is notable." It defines "presumed" as "we presume" and never says what it actually means to "presume the topic is notable." It may have meaning, but that meaning is not articulated. At one point or another, I've changed that section to say some variation on every definition that someone provided in response to my questions here. Each time, my change was reverted within a day. That tells me that none of those definitions are supported by a consensus of editors. What's your definition of "presumed"? I am confident that if you provide it, and then I put it in the article, it'll get reverted within a day. That tells me that there's no consensus here, and we don't know what the word is supposed to mean for this guideline. Croctotheface (talk) 19:55, 12 May 2008 (UTC)
You're probably right about my version being reverted as well. :) But if you're serious about trying it, it's something like:
If the topic of an article meets the criteria in this guideline, it may be presumed notable in the absence of a consensus to the contrary.
I may have phrased it poorly. My intention is the replace the fallacious "unless it is proven non-notable" qualification with the idea that the community can reach a consensus about non-notability, even though a negative cannot be proven. Aylad ['ɑɪlæd] 20:24, 12 May 2008 (UTC)
I'd certainly be fine with that change, if that's what the guideline means. Croctotheface (talk) 02:27, 13 May 2008 (UTC)
However, I don't like the recent change to "typically sufficient evidence." That's not what "presumed" means at all. Croctotheface (talk) 04:29, 13 May 2008 (UTC)
According to the wiktionary definition[1], the second definition is to "give some evidence of". I thought this clarification of the meaning of presumed was one that nobody could argue with, even if some might like it to go further one way or another. If we find that no-one can argue with at least this much, then at least this has consensus.--Kubigula (talk) 16:04, 13 May 2008 (UTC)
This is back to the basic question again, of whether the general notability guideline means that it supersedes the other notability guidelines or supplements it. There are several possible meanings, and, quite frankly, I dont like any one of them.
I. anything which meets a specific notability guideline, or that has two references according to the definition of WP:RS -- unless, it either case it fails WP:NOT. or
II. anything which meets a specific notability guideline, regardless of WP:NOT, or that has two references according to the definition of WP:RS -- unless it fails WP:NOT.
III. Anything that meets the general guideline and avoids WP:NOT--with the only role of the specific guideline being to simplify the search for the two references as a convenience,
IV. Anything that meets the general notability guideline-- two references according to the definition of WP:RS-- unless there is a specific notability guideline, in which case it has to meet that one instead. And, unless, in either case, it fails WP NOT. this is equivalent to
IVA. If there is a specific notability guideline, then the article must meet it, and also have some way of verifying the material and must also avoid falling under WP:NOT. If there isnt, it must have two RSs for notability, in which case it inherently meets WP:V--but it must still avoid falling under WP:NOT.
In my opinion. the first step in clarifying it is to try to reword WP:NOT in a positive way with respect to notability. Having done that, I think it will be clear that the correct meaning is some variant of IV--if there is an applicable specific guideline, thats the one that must be met. And the way forward is to obtain consensus on as many such guidelines as possible. DGG (talk) 04:44, 13 May 2008 (UTC)
Well, the lead of WP:N currently says that it's a case of "meet any one (or more) applicable guidelines, and the GNC is always applicable" (GNC being 'General Notability Criterion', as some have taken to referring to the criterion in "General Notability Guideline"); WP:V and WP:RS are separate concerns, and not all sources that could satisfy WP:V (and WP:NOR) are suitable evidence by the standard laid out (and generally accepted) for WP:N. I'm not terribly clear where WP:NOT comes into it; NOT concerns are sometimes related to NOTE ones, but always distinct, AIUI.
By way of reasoning, I don't think anyone would deny that, say, a book that never won an award but has been massively written about is notable. Most subject-specific guidelines include the GNC in themselves, but by the current wording of WP:N, that's not necessary. Further, it would be silly to require topics to meet every applicable subject-specific guideline; consider a famous professor who was, in his or her youth, a vaguely-successful athlete, but not enough to meet the athlete-specific guideline. Should they be excluded altogether? Of course not. Should anything but a passing mention of their athletics career be excluded? Again, no, but not quite as blatantly. Meet one applicable guideline, and then be careful of WP:NPOV (especially WP:UNDUE), WP:V, WP:NOR, and WP:NOT. SamBC(talk) 09:26, 13 May 2008 (UTC)
Let me offer the way I've always taken "presumed" to be read which is this: "Presumed" means "As we are using a different connotation of the word 'notable' when we talk about the inclusion of a topic, a topic is considered as "wp-notable" if is should meet the GNC or any subject-specific guidelines, regardless of how "real world notable" the topic may be". This is in contrary to arguments I've seen where it's claimed that a topic is notable if and only if a reliable source says a topic is notable. The "presumed" part is there because the definition of "wp-notable" is not exact and likely can't be written down; it's a concept we all know is there and has a certain form, but just has lots of vague points to it at times, and as long as a topic fits the GNC or the more specific guidelines, we, by consensus, assert that the topic fits inside what we call "wp-notable". --MASEM 13:56, 13 May 2008 (UTC)
Well, that's not any definition of "presumed" that I've ever seen. It may be that "presumed" is not the right word to use, but so long as we use it, I don't see how we can get away from the notion that presumed means some variation on "assumed to be true absent contrary proof." If your definition is supported by the consensus, the guideline should not say "presumed." Rather, we should take out the "presumed" and put everything you discuss in the definition of "notable" so as to distinguish the particular definition we use here from the other plain language definitions that we do not mean to employ. Croctotheface (talk) 16:30, 13 May 2008 (UTC)
I only said that that's how I read it, not necessarily the definition of presumed. However, "assumed to be true absent contrary proof" still works in this approach; since we cannot exactly define what we mean by "wp-notable", we can say that if a topic has significant secondary coverage that we "assume" it then to be wp-notable "absent contrary proof" is still in line with that definition of "presumed". A lot of confusion on notability is the redefinitions that we sometimes use. --MASEM 17:13, 13 May 2008 (UTC)
I still think "proving non-notability" is fallacious (proving a negative and whatnot). I would prefer "absent contrary consensus" over "absent contrary proof." Aylad ['ɑɪlæd] 17:30, 13 May 2008 (UTC)
I don't like the idea of using "proof" in the guideline, either, and I'm fine with consensus. I just use "proof" in the discussion because it's a a more straightforward concept to discuss. I would be completely fine with saying that it's "consensus" that can defeat the presumption. My main concern is that for us to use "presume" correctly, there needs to be some kind of means for "defeating" a presumption. Croctotheface (talk) 17:44, 13 May 2008 (UTC)
To me, "presumed" always meant that it's likely secondary sources have covered the subject in detail. I've supported the use of "presumed" for certain types of articles, especially geographical or infrastructure topics, so that work can begin on the article (using primary/official sources) while the search for newspaper articles is pending. For instance, I would presume that an international airport that's been in operation for thirty years would have enough secondary-source articles written about it to establish notability. Squidfryerchef (talk) 17:29, 13 May 2008 (UTC)
But that's not what this guideline says. It doesn't say that if X has happened, we should presume that there exist sources. It says that if the sources exist, we should presume notability. Croctotheface (talk) 17:44, 13 May 2008 (UTC)
Oh, OK, this debate was originally about a different usage of "presumed" than I was answering. Some notability guidelines for various topics use a concept of "presumed notability" to avoid the controversial idea of inherent notability. Squidfryerchef (talk) 18:00, 13 May 2008 (UTC)

Necessary or sufficient condition?

The question here really is: Is significant coverage in secondary sources a sufficient condition for inclusion or a necessary condition for inclusion?

"Presumed" seems to me to imply that it is a sufficient condition, i.e. a subject that hasn't had significant coverage may be notable. However, the first point of the explanation indicates that it is actually a necessary condition, i.e. that a subject that hasn't had significant coverage will not be considered notable.

Which is the correct interpretation? Vquex (talk) 13:33, 23 May 2008 (UTC)

My thoughts: it is sufficient unless consensus agrees otherwise. Aylad ['ɑɪlæd] 14:51, 23 May 2008 (UTC)
That means it is not a sufficient condition. (See Necessary and sufficient conditions.) Vquex (talk) 23:24, 23 May 2008 (UTC)
Well, if you mean "what does the current guideline say", it's definitely not necessary; it would appear that the guideline says that it's usually sufficient (hence presumption), but the fact that it's only necessary to satisfy the GNC or a subject-specific guideline means it is not necessary. SamBC(talk) 18:04, 23 May 2008 (UTC)
If you mean "should the guideline say", I would say that as well, partly because the requirement isn't just for "significant coverage in secondary sources"; it's really to sources independent of the subject (third-party sources), and there are times when third-party primary sources are fine for indicating notability as well, IMO. The thing is, sources (preferably third party, preferably secondary) are needed to write an article, generally. However, there are some such sources that aren't considered as speaking to notability (such as directories) but still provide verifiability. So, sufficient sources of sufficient quality is a necessary condition for an article, but that's a matter of verifiability, not notability. The two will often coincide, but not necessarily. For example, pretty much every limited company has reliable source information for a lot of information, from details submitted to the relevant body (companies house, the SEC, whatever). That doesn't make them worthy of inclusion in wikipedia. Similarly, consensus is that books that have received major awards are worthy of inclusion; of course you still need information from reliable sources to write an article from, but those sources may be ones that aren't considered as inferring notability. SamBC(talk) 18:04, 23 May 2008 (UTC)
I'm talking about what the guideline actually says and how it is worked out in practice.
  • Necessary condition => without reliable sources, an article should always be deleted. With reliable sources, it may be either kept or deleted as consensus dictates.
  • Sufficient condition => with reliable sources, an article should always be kept. Without reliable sources it may either be kept or deleted as consensus dictates.
Personally, my thoughts are that it's a necessary condition, rather than a sufficient one -- this is a logical conclusion of the requirement that the content of the article should be verifiable. Vquex (talk) 23:24, 23 May 2008 (UTC)

I believe both. Independent secondary sources are both necessary and sufficient. However..., give editors time, read WP:EP, and then realise that the debate shifts to slightly more refined questions of the degree of independence and the degree of significance of secondary-source type coverage. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 00:54, 24 May 2008 (UTC)

The Google Test

I'm a bit new here and I've got a question about notability that I'm hoping someone can answer for me. Especially on the AfD pages, I see a lot of references to Google hits or even "the Google Test." This can't be an official way to discount an article as non-notable, can it? I mean, if a topic became notable for a few years but then fell out of popularity, all before the internet was invented, it would still be notable but there would be little reference to it on the internet, correct? Am I misunderstanding something? Skiguy330 (talk) 22:53, 12 May 2008 (UTC)

Welcome to WP, SG. Your instincts are correct: the Google test is certainly NOT a determinor of the notability of an article's subject, for precisely the reason you identify: many notable things do not have internet sources. (Of course, this does not prevent people from invoking it in deletion discussions). See the essay on Arguments to avoid in deletion discussions for further discussion of it and other "arguments." UnitedStatesian (talk) 23:03, 12 May 2008 (UTC)
The Internet documents an amazing number of things that you'd think wouldn't show up on the net... do a search for anything and you'll likely find Google hits ranging from the thousands to the millions. This makes it an appealing "quick-check" for notability. Any editor who really knows policy, though, only uses the Google test as weak support for an argument which should have far stronger rationale. Aylad ['ɑɪlæd] 23:51, 12 May 2008 (UTC)
I'm not disagreeing with any of you guys, but a GoogSearch Engine Test can still, sometimes, be very useful in determining how much notability the topic might have, in a few cases. Case one: if it is suspected that an article is an elaborately designed hoax, a GooSearch Engine Test will easily determine that there is no such famous movie star/cutting-edge scientist/striker for Man United. Case two: if it is being asserted that an article on some guy's indie-rock band should be kept, a GSearch Engine Test will give you a very good hint as to whether or not the band has even the slightest level of notability.
At the same time, a search engine test may not be appropriate to establish the notability of, say, a 19th-century Latvian author.
I'd say a search engine test doesn't prove or disprove notability, in the general case; but it does suggest strongly how much notability a topic has when that topic is contemporary and pop-culture-related. No indie band/movie star/striker for Man United is going to come back with 9 results unless he's either a fabrication or completely non-notable. AllGloryToTheHypnotoad (talk) 22:39, 14 May 2008 (UTC)
You can't tell dip from the quantity of hits that Google reports at the top of the search (not least because it's a guesstimate at best and wildly inaccurate at worst). However, you can tell a lot from the quality of hits -- for example, if something turns up a MySpace profile on the first page, chances are pretty high that it's non-notable. Vquex (talk) 14:22, 25 May 2008 (UTC)
While I agree with your statements regarding quantity and quality, I think the particular example that you provide may be misleading in some cases. For instance, for (relatively) recently-formed musicians or musical groups, the MySpace profile is generally among the top 10 results even when the band is very notable. –Black Falcon (Talk) 18:03, 25 May 2008 (UTC)

Notability of video game sub-articles

Hello! Some editors from Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Video games/Article guidelines#Weapons... have suggested that that discussion continue here instead. Per their suggestion I reiterate my concerns expressed on that page and hope to generate a more clear consensus. Best, --Le Grand Roi des CitrouillesTally-ho! 03:19, 27 May 2008 (UTC)

To repeat the argument... doesn't the sheer number of people who ignore the notability requirement invalidate it? (Not to say that everyone ignores it outright, but many assess notability in a much looser sense. Rather than looking for reliable sources that are independent of the subject, it is enough to look for popularity, or merely something that people have heard of.) If so many editors ignore it, how can that policy have real consensus? On what basis does this notability requirement stand up? Randomran (talk) 03:48, 27 May 2008 (UTC)

No, the fact that a lot of people want or try to ignore the notability requirement does not invalidate it, just as the fact that a lot of people want to revert-war does not invalidate 3RR rule, just as the fact that a lot of people want to write articles without providing sources does not invalidate the necessity of sourcing, just as the fact that a lot of people want to use Wikipedia to promote themselves or their businesses does not invalidate the policy against advertising, and just as the fact that a lot of people want to publish personal essays does not invalidate the policies against original and soapboxing. The notability requirement has its basis in the principle that Wikipedia is a general-reference encyclopedia. As such, it does not and should not include distinct coverage of every person, object, location, event, or idea.
Note that notability does not restrict the content of articles; rather, it is used to determine whether a topic merits its own article. There are different ways we could determine what is and is not included. We could leave it up to the subjective personal judgments of editors, but that would pose two problems: (1) it would make deletion discussions completely arbitrary; (2) it would require us to make original judgments regarding the "importance" of topics. We could use the low standard of verifiability, but that can only really tell us what content to include in the encyclopedia, rather than what topics deserve individual articles. The criterion of verifiability alone would justify an article titled Date of birth of Angela Merkel containing no content other than "July 17, 1954" and a source (it's an extreme example, but it would qualify for inclusion if we applied only the standard of verifiability). Or, we could use the relatively objective inclusion standard of notability, which defers judgment to the of the world at large (i.e. sources) rather than to our personal opinions.
Is notability misused in some cases and by some editors? Yes. Do some editors over-interpret the requirements of notability? Yes. Do we sometimes delete articles on notable topics, while at the same time citing WP:N, due to laziness, carelessness, or over-application of the guideline? Yes. Are these problems rooted in the principle of notability? No. The problems (when they surface) are rooted in gaps and inefficiencies in existing Wikipedia structures and processes, and sometimes in the attitude of editors.
We have hundreds of thousands of articles on notable topics in desperate need of attention and improvement. In addition, there are hundreds of thousands of notable topics on which we have no articles. We should be focusing our attention on these topics and articles, rather than on those topics which aggressively test the fringes of the notability requirements or fall well below them. (FYI: I am not a deletionist (a precisionist maybe -- I have a hard time keeping up with all the new "ism"s to describe editors), at least when it comes to the mainspace, and am a dedicated eventualist (WP:TIND, WP:POTENTIAL).) –Black Falcon (Talk) 04:56, 27 May 2008 (UTC)
people will work on what they want to work on--we are a volunteer project. the only way of getting more attention on the more traditional topics is to recruit editors who want to work there. Actually, there's another way--there are people like myself who would much rather work on these, if we didn't have to continually defend content at AfD. Why do we do this, on topics that we dont care about ourselves? speaking for myself, it's because there are many here who don't think the sort of things that interest be to be very important, and the only practical way to get this in is to establish a pattern of tolerance for each others ideas of important fields of content. DGG (talk) 21:59, 27 May 2008 (UTC)
I don't mean that we should shift attention to the more "traditional" or "important" topics of the hard sciences, but rather to notable topics across fields. (A video game is inherently more likely to be notable than a lone item, such as a weapon, in a video game.) That said, I also don't think we should allow individual judgments of importance to override requirements for sourcing and real-world coverage. However, I largely agree with you regarding AfD: the environment there is too ..... frantic. –Black Falcon (Talk) 22:17, 27 May 2008 (UTC)
I consider myself a precisionist as well. Your reasoning is good enough for me. I'm pretty comfortable with the general notability criteria that we don't include any article that cannot be referenced by reliable resources that are independent of the subject. Randomran (talk) 05:01, 27 May 2008 (UTC)

Notability within articles?

I removed a lengthy list of faculty from Brentwood High School (Brentwood, New York) the other day stating in the edit summary: "unless the faculty is notable for something other than being a teacher at this high school (and can be shown with reliable sources), you can't have a list of every faculty member ever." It was reverted with this edit summary: "rv - items in an article are not all req to be notable, obviously."

I've been around Wikipedia for quite some time and I've always thought that notability is not limited to the actual topic and must extend through the article content as well. Listing every faculty member that has ever worked there seems rather unnecessary, especially considering none of them are notable for anything other than being a teacher there and the only sources cited are from the school itself. It seems a bit superfluous. Could someone please clarify whether or not notability should extend through article content? Thanks in advance. --74.137.224.33 (talk) 15:11, 27 May 2008 (UTC)

To go further, the article also has a list of "Notable Alumni," most of which aren't really notable (war casualties, members of the marines, school board members, college athletes, etc.). Would these also fall into my question above? I just sort of feel like all this information is pushing a bias in the article. --74.137.224.33 (talk) 15:17, 27 May 2008 (UTC)
It's not quite notability: the school, presumably, is notable, and notability doesn't restrict the content of such topics. However what you are probably looking for is WP is not a collection of indiscriminate information and WP is not a directory. Simply listing cumulative staff at a school would fall easily under both of these. On the other hand, if there are notable persons (denoted by having a WP article on them) that are alumni of the school, including a list of these is not unreasonable as it's not indiscriminate (they have to be notable). --MASEM 15:20, 27 May 2008 (UTC)
(e/c) See WP:WPSCH#WNTI. This sort of notability falls under WP:NOT#DIRECTORY rather than the policy WP:NOTABILITY. siℓℓy rabbit (talk) 15:21, 27 May 2008 (UTC)
For alumni, the standard for inclusion is whether they have a Wikipedia article, (or are obviously qualified for one, such as being a member of a state legislature). It's the only way to keep the content reasonable. DGG (talk) 21:54, 27 May 2008 (UTC)
DGG, I agree with that standard, but is it included somewhere in a guidline. I have this problem at my home town's article, where the notable citizen section gets filled with vanity spam. They usually give in to my assertion that there must be an article at WP to justify the entry, but so far it has been pure bluff. --Kevin Murray (talk) 03:11, 28 May 2008 (UTC)
I think that you could easily use WP:NOT#DIRECTORY for support. In fact, Wikipedia:Lists (stand-alone lists) contains explicit guidance that "selected lists of people should be selected for importance/notability in that category and should have Wikipedia articles (or the reasonable expectation of an article in the future)". –Black Falcon (Talk) 04:04, 28 May 2008 (UTC)
This may unnecessarily complicate the answer, but... some of the examples mentioned above are embedded lists, rather than standalone. WP:NOTDIRECTORY still applies, of course. Some embedded lists might have headings like "Notable citizens of..." or "Notable alumni of..." in which case you can insist on a reliable source for the assertion of notability. This is an important distinction: Article content doesn't usually have to pass the Notability guideline, but if the article claims someone is notable then verifiablity requires that the claim be sourced. For embedded lists where, for example, the entire faculty of a school is included, WP:NOTDIRECTORY is probably your only solid guideline. ...If my answer seems long-winded and confusing, ignore me and stick with Black Falcon's reply. Aylad ['ɑɪlæd] 04:25, 28 May 2008 (UTC)

New criterion for notability?

We've got various guidelines to the effect that one thing, event, activity, or manner of death do not make one notable. Nevertheless, the media blitz that goes on when someone dies, famous or not (especially with syndication on the Net), seems to lead to justification for a WP article, ignoring the fact that after a week, there's no further coverage (Kristi Yamaoka is a good example of this; there's no more info in that article now than there was when it was created the day after she got inot her accident years ago).

Therefore, only somewhat facetiusly (because it might work!) I suggest that something be put in place as a guideline to the effect of "without this one incident, and not being a personal acquaintance of the individual in question, would you care to know who this person was?" I think it would cut down on a lot of articles; we'd no longer have articles on dead professional athletes who had recorded games played but no stat lines, one-hit wonders, and so on. With osme rephrasing it might be workable. MSJapan (talk) 18:22, 28 May 2008 (UTC)

I think it should be pointed out that the example you gave (Kristi Yamaoka) has been proposed for deletion and retained five times. From a more general perspective, while I agree with the content of WP:NOT#NEWS, I think that the criterion of "without this one incident..." is counter-productive and can be highly misleading. No one would care to know about Lee Harvey Oswald had he not assassinated John F. Kennedy. No one would care to know about Timothy McVeigh had he not bombed the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building. No one would care to know (or, indeed, know) about Valerie Plame had it not been for the Plame affair. –Black Falcon (Talk) 18:47, 28 May 2008 (UTC)
I once saw an explanation of systemic bias that mentioned the fact that recent media frenzies often lead to unnecessary numbers of articles being created on WP. Witness the Virginia Tech massacre a while back: immediately after the shooting, practically every victim had his or her own article (I might be exaggerating due to imperfect memory, but only a little). After things had cooled down and hearts had stopped bleeding, many of those articles were deleted. Some survived because the subjects were notable for other events.
I suspect that the Yamaoka article might have been deleted already if not for the fact that you were the one to nominate it several times. Don't take that the wrong way! I believe that you had good intentions, but in the only one of the AfD discussions I actually read, I saw that Alansohn had used what seemed to be a poorly-constructed ad hominem argument to distract editors with the idea that you were on some evil vendetta. Obviously, it worked. (Disclaimer: I only read one AfD page; therefore, I am not fully aware of the context of Alansohn's arguments and may have missed some valid point he/she was trying to make.) And, truthfully, you did appear to be violating the WP:CONSENSUS quote Alansohn repeatedly brought up.
I'm not telling you what to do, but if I were in your shoes, I'd probably give up on Yamaoka. I agree that she's almost as non-notable as it gets, but another editor should be the one to pursue further AfD nominations. If you do, Alansohn or someone similar will once again accuse you of being on a vendetta or a disruptive joyride or whatever.
As far as comparing Yamaoka with other single-event notables, I think the important distinction is how notable is the event with which the person is connected. The Plame affair, the Oklahoma City bombing, the assassination of John F. Kennedy, the O.J. Simpson murder trial, and other notable events all have their own articles. Did I somehow miss seeing an article about the fall of Yamaoka? ...but I digress. Aylad ['ɑɪlæd] 20:59, 28 May 2008 (UTC)
The notability of the event is definitely a factor, and I should have made my comment clearer with regard to that point. (To be honest, after reading the Yamaoka article in full, I'm amazed it survived even one AfD.) However, MSJapan's formulation ("without this one incident, and not being a personal acquaintance of the individual in question, would you care to know who this person was?"), to which my comment was a response, did not focus on the notability of the event(s) for which a person is know, but rather on the number of events for which s/he is known. It is the latter approach that I believe may produce undesirable results in a number of cases. (Olympic medal winners, who are often known for little other than their medals, are another example of people who are notable for only one event--admittedly, the Olympics are notable and medal winners would qualify for inclusion per the distinction that you identify.) –Black Falcon (Talk) 21:27, 28 May 2008 (UTC)
I understood you... I used your examples because they were convenient, not because I thought you were mistaken. Aylad ['ɑɪlæd] 22:07, 28 May 2008 (UTC)
It's too opinionated. If they've made senior appearances in a notalbe sporting event then they should be kept, period. From a personal point of view, people research their teams etc and what may not be notable to some may be notable to others. Englishrose (talk) 22:45, 28 May 2008 (UTC)

New temporary status: Notability is unclear

When the subject of an article is "in the news" we need to acknowledge the reality that his long-term notability may be unclear. For example, Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Rob Knox, about a young actor with several minor but possibly notable roles whose sudden death clouded any discussion of his notability. It will be months or years before this article can be soberly assessed against notability criteria.

Unclear notability is NOT a grounds for keeping or deleting an article, rather, the determination of unclear notability is made after the fact when an AfD fails as "keep" or "no consensus" and a significant number of "keep" arguments are related to current events.

I would like to add the following as a subsection to Wikipedia:Notability#Notability is not temporary:

--begin--

===Events may make notability unclear===

When a marginally notable subject of an article is also the subject of a news event, it may be impossible to achieve a consensus about the subject's notability. Wikipedia is not a newspaper, but the fact that a subject is in the news for a specific event may provide a wealth of verifiable information about the subject, making it hard to determine which if any information is encyclopedic and which is not. In a deletion discussion, the claim of "he's in the news, his notability is unclear, speedy-keep" should not be made. Rather, the outcome of the AfD discussion itself is evidence that the person's notability status is clouded by current press coverage.

A few months after the subject is no longer in the news is a good time to re-assess the subject's real notability.

--end--

davidwr/(talk)/(contribs)/(e-mail) 17:50, 30 May 2008 (UTC)

I think what we are getting at here is that, while notability is not temporary, notoriety can be temporary. A person who is currently in the news is going to gain a great deal of notoriety (especially if the event being reported on happens during a slow news day). Sometimes this evolves into true notability, and sometimes it does not. Only time can tell which will be the case. Perhaps we need to distinguish between these two concepts and address temporary notoriety. Blueboar (talk) 21:06, 30 May 2008 (UTC)
I like the concept of temporary notoriety. I'll rewrite it to fit. davidwr/(talk)/(contribs)/(e-mail) 21:12, 30 May 2008 (UTC)


Try #2
--begin--
===Notability isn't temporary but notoriety may be===
Just because a subject is in the news doesn't make it notable. A subject may have notoriety that will fade with time. Whether or not a subject's current notoriety will turn into long-lasting notability or not may take time to determine. With a "pure" notability requirement, such articles would be treated the same as other non-notable articles: Deleted now and re-created later when notability is established. However, editors drive policy and many editors want such articles in Wikipedia as evidenced by AfD failures of subjects currently in the news. With this in mind, articles which are not clearly notable but which have obvious notoriety should not be speedy-deleted merely for lack of a claim of actual notability. Instead, they can be discussed through the AfD process. Even if they pass WP:AfD, AfD contributors who say "keep" may use the current press as a claim of notability, while a future AfD may result in a unanimous delete if it turns out the subject wasn't really notable after all. This is a special case of ignore all rules and bowing to the will of the editors over stated policy.
In general, the difference between notoriety and notability is after a period of time, nobody remembers the non-notable: They are less than a footnote in history.
--end--
davidwr/(talk)/(contribs)/(e-mail) 22:47, 30 May 2008 (UTC)
I have a feeling "notoriety" is going to be a controversial word, since it often has negative connotations. Headline: firefighter saves construction worker from attempted suicide... the construction worker has notoriety, sure, but many people would be offended if you called the firefighter "notorious" for his actions. Is there a better term we could use? Aylad ['ɑɪlæd] 21:09, 31 May 2008 (UTC)

Does notability have geographical boundries?

Similar to the idea that notability is not temporary, I would like to suggest that notability, unlike fame, does not have geographical limits. For example, this person is notable enough to have an article in Indonesian Wikipedia. Assuming the existance of this article is correct notability-wise, and it probably is, considering he has won a Global 500 Award and the Order of the Golden Ark, surely he must be considered to be 'globally' notable. English Wikipedia, as with all wikipedia and encyclopedia should surely be willing to reflect notability of any subject that has been deemed notable elsewhere, rather than slant itself to notable persons who are more well known to the English speaking community. I'd really like to hear others' views on this. Regards, Mannafredo (talk) 13:09, 23 May 2008 (UTC)

Notability is not necessarily universal. While someone like George W. Bush has almost universal recognition, Jefferson Peres has recognition in Portuguese Wikipedia but not in English Wikipedia. Therefore the editors of Wikipedia do believe that fame is related to nationality. Having said that, if an English language article is written about Jefferson Peres, and if it survives any nominations for deletion, then it has met the criterion for notability in the English-speaking community. WWGB (talk) 13:36, 23 May 2008 (UTC)
Update: this has now happened. WWGB (talk) 02:03, 24 May 2008 (UTC)
Dang, I was gonna do it as soon as I had time. ;) I speak no Portuguese, but I know just enough Spanish and have just enough imagination that extremely simple Portuguese is barely legible to me. Aylad ['ɑɪlæd] 02:31, 24 May 2008 (UTC)
I missed this before my last edit. Maybe this shows us something. There is an editor, two of them I think (I can't remember who they are and can't find them again), who has umpteen dozen red links on their user page, all for people in the death pages, and slowly, bit by bit, they are creating articles for them. If nothing else, these red links provide a stepping stone to that user. Please stop deleting them just because they're red. (That 'please' has a begging emphasis on it, it's not supposed to sound like a command:-)). Regards, Mannafredo (talk) 11:11, 24 May 2008 (UTC)
How do we balance this with an effort to avoid systemic bias, though? I think notability is universal, but that this should definitely not be made a part of policy. That would just invite "asking the other Wiki" in deletion and content disputes. I have already seen interwikis come up in deletion discussions, and I don't necessarily object to this. But I am wary of any policy that mandates a comparison between English Wikipedia and foreign language Wikipedias. We have our own standards and set of policies at English Wikipedia, and material needs first and foremost to meet those standards before it is suitable for inclusion. siℓℓy rabbit (talk) 13:46, 23 May 2008 (UTC)
WWGB, I must respectfully disagree. Jefferson Peres has no article in English Wikipedia because no one has created it yet (probably because few English-proficient editors know enough about him). This does not indicate lack of notability in English or in any other language; it merely indicates that we need more translators on Wikipedia.
I asked pretty much the same questions (although based on language, not geography) not long ago and got what I thought was a very good answer. You can read up on it in this archive. Aylad ['ɑɪlæd] 14:14, 23 May 2008 (UTC)
That could be the case, but on the other hand, do you think that American state senators, who aren't even too significant in english Wikipedia, should have twenty articles in other languages? I don't think so. Star Garnet (talk) 22:30, 23 May 2008 (UTC)
I also disagree with the opinion expressed by WWGB. Notability is not bounded by geography; however, different Wikipedia projects may have different notability criteria. On the whole, I do not think that the presence or absence of articles in other-language Wikipedias should have much (if any) effect on our judgments about the notability of topics. –Black Falcon (Talk) 22:39, 23 May 2008 (UTC)
Star Garnet, why on Earth not? Granted, articles for U.S. state senators might not be high-priority in other languages' Wikipedias, but priority is mostly subjective to individual editors anyway (which is why there are so many factual species with stubs while so few Pokemon lack detailed articles). Aylad ['ɑɪlæd] 22:50, 23 May 2008 (UTC)
I think the word 'recognition' as WWGB uses it above is pretty much interchangeable with 'fame', and as such, must remain completely distinct from notability. I agree totally with Aylad's view that Peres does not have an article, simply because no one has created it. That fact can not possibly be a criteria to 'prove' non-notability. The logic there is that no new article could ever be created for wikipedia simply because one doesn't already exist, i.e. It doesn't exist, so it's not notable, so it mustn't exist. We are not here to determine notability, but simply reflect it, if it is there. Whilst I would never suggest that each wikipedia should be a clone of every other, but for the language, as policy, I'm not at all of the opinion that 'asking the other wiki' is in any way a bad thing when questions of notability/deletion arise. We must ask the other wikis and the newspapers and the internet etc, before, hopefully, reaching a consensus. Ignoring the consensus of other 'foreign' wikipedia on the basis that 'we' (whoever that is) 'have our own standards' is just getting a bit, eh, xenophobic's not the word I'm looking for - too harsh, but you know what I mean - it's a bit arrogant let's say. I would agree with Black Falcon that, per se, the existence of articles on one wikipedia should not affect what is on any other wikipedia, but would argue that all wikipedia should indeed have the same criteria for determining notability. An encyclopedia is what it is, irrelevant of who's writing it and who's reading it.
Just to be completely open about the reason I brought this subject up; as WWGB probably knows already, I have a bit of a problem with the deletion of some red links from old death pages. He and, especially, Star Garnet seem to be on a, in my opinion a slightly hell-bent, mission to delete all red links from all death pages that are over a month or so old. Apart from the red-link-deletion thing, WWGB's and Star Garnet's 'patrolling' of the death pages is brilliant and I have the utmost respect for their most excellent efforts. However, to my mind, the last three sentences of WWGB's argument above, and Star Garnet's whole edit above, is evidence of a misunderstanding of notability and shows a misplaced over-reliance on wikipedia as a self-referencing entity. It may be inappropriate to bring up a personal issue that I have with these two editors on what should be an abstract discussion on 'unwritten policy', but to provide a context of why I'm arguing this point; if you look at the red link deletions here, you'll see what I consider to be a misguided and over-zealous red-penning of other editors' valid and good faith contributions to English wikipedia. Regards, Mannafredo (talk) 10:58, 24 May 2008 (UTC)

I have stated my position before, and I believe it is consistent with Wikipedia guidelines, but I will state it again. Notability is tested when an article is written. That testing may be (1) an administrator considering a request for speedy deletion, (2) a proposed deletion, or (3) an article for deletion being considered by the Wikipedia community. When a redlink is introduced into the Deaths in 2008 page, NONE of these checks is available. A questionable, possibly non-notable, death entry can remain on Wikipedia forever unless physically removed. When I took an interest in those pages some time ago, I was very concerned at the poor editorial standard. If you compare Deaths in March 2006 with Deaths in March 2008 you may see the point I am making. The recent page is accurate, attractive and consistent. Recent Deaths is a high-traffic page in Wikipedia and it should demonstrate the qualities of the project. I support the efforts being made by editors such as w guice and Star Garnet. To me, the answer is simple: if a redlink is added, then write a stub article. If it "survives", then notability is confirmed and the entry stays. I am not stating that a redlink is not notable; rather, I am asserting that notability is only tested and confirmed when a Wikipedia article is written. Thanks for reading, WWGB (talk) 15:31, 24 May 2008 (UTC)

This is an interesting issue which I have not encountered before. WWGB, at first glance I agree with your statements at the end of that post: that at least a stub article (with, I assume, an assertion of notability) should be created before adding a redlink to the death pages. However, this depends on the editor adding a redlink being familiar enough with WP to create that stub page and assert notability. What if a well-meaning newcomer adds the link but (due to unfamiliarity with WP policies, guidelines, and practices) doesn't create the article? Do you delete redlinks as soon as you see them, or wait a day or two to give editors who are more experienced than the newcomer a chance to research and create new articles? Aylad ['ɑɪlæd] 00:14, 25 May 2008 (UTC)
No, the "convention" amongst some experienced editors at Recent deaths is to allow one month for an article to appear. Only then is the "redlink" deleted. Quite often those same editors will write the article themselves. WWGB (talk) 01:02, 25 May 2008 (UTC)
Hmm, that seems pretty reasonable to me. Thanks. Aylad ['ɑɪlæd] 01:58, 25 May 2008 (UTC)

(unindent)Ok, but how about something like a school. I saw recently the statement every high school is notable. I don't believe that is true, but if it was, and assuming we are talking about American high school, does that mean that ever similar school in the world is notable enough for the English Wikipedia? The same might be asked about places I think. Oops, forgot to sign, sorry. Doug Weller (talk) 09:02, 26 May 2008 (UTC)

The claim that every high school is notable is an opinion only, and many editors disagree with it. However, any high school that "has received significant coverage in reliable sources that are independent of the subject" is presumed to be notable, regardless of where it is located. After all, the English Wikipedia is just the "English-language Wikipedia", not the Wikipedia for the Anglosphere, however it is defined. –Black Falcon (Talk) 18:00, 25 May 2008 (UTC)
I get the impression that some Wikipedias in different languages have adopted different notability guidelines (which is only to be expected; guidelines are arrived at by consensus, and it's hard for most editors to participate in discussions held in languages they don't speak). This might mean that some topics are not accepted on some Wikipedias despite being accepted on others. Beyond that possible limitation, I think Black Falcon's comment was very well said. I feel that all topics share equal notability in all languages and geographical regions; the only question then would be "how much notability is enough notability"... and then you get people debating whether notability is a binary state (it either is or isn't notable) or a quantifiable attribute (topic A is more or less notable than topic B). Aylad ['ɑɪlæd] 18:52, 25 May 2008 (UTC)
Whoops... sorry, Black Falcon, I just realized that I re-stated something you'd said earlier in this discussion: "different Wikipedia projects may have different notability criteria." Sorry about that. :) Aylad ['ɑɪlæd] 18:55, 25 May 2008 (UTC)
Yep, but you did explain why different projects may have different notability guidelines. :) By the way, I like your fomulation: "equal notability" across languages and geographical regions. It's succinct. –Black Falcon (Talk) 14:21, 26 May 2008 (UTC)
WWGB's position as described above, is relevant to the creation of articles. That is not the matter I raised. As it happens, I suspect an article on Otto Soemarwoto would survive without question. Whilst good housekeeping is admirable, it cannot take precedence over content. I would suggest that Deaths in March 2008, although more attractive and consistent than Deaths in March 2006, is actually less 'accurate' in that, possibly, several notable people have been removed from this list, simply because no article exists for them in English WP. WWGB says:
"I am not stating that a red-link is not notable; rather, I am asserting that notability is only tested and confirmed when a WP article is written."
A WP article has been written, just not on English WP - that's my whole point. The consensus on whether notability is universal seemed to be swaying very much towards "yes" before we seemed to tangent off into aesthetic conventions, practices. I appreciate that arguments on a persons notability will never be identical on other WP, simply because different editors took part in the discussion. I'm not at all convinced that notability being binary or quantifiable are mutually exclusive. Binary may relate to whether they have a link (even a red-link) or not, quantifiability may relate to length of article, if any. I would suggest we take extreme caution when considering deleting a red-link for an article that exists on another WP - we're effectively telling them they're wrong. If we assume that Otto Soemarwoto is notable, it is much more likely for him to eventually have a deserved article written for him in English WP if his name stays red-linked on the pages of English WP, rather than just disappear for ever. As I've said before, I consider red-links to be initial stepping-stones to new articles, or maybe "highlighters to missing articles" is a nicer way to put it. One month is not a long time to wait for an article to be written. WP is a big place and will be here for a long time. One day, when WP is almost "full", and no one can think of stuff to add, they might just go looking for those old red-links and create articles for them in an effort to make WP the wholly encompassing entity that we all hope it to one day be. Regards, Mannafredo (talk) 13:24, 28 May 2008 (UTC)
I very much like your point about notability being binary and quantifiable. I didn't think of that, but I agree with you.
Regarding the one-month time frame: one month is not much time at all to create a full article, especially when most of the sources are in another language. However, one month is plenty of time to create a stub article, which makes the redlink not red anymore. All you really need is to clearly identify the person, give barely enough information to indicate their notability, and cite adequate sources to back up your claims. The article can then be expanded at leisure, whether that takes a month or a year. The sources need not even be in English... some editors will object, but other editors should back you up, and there may be members of wikiprojects who can help find sources in English. Best of luck, Aylad ['ɑɪlæd] 16:21, 28 May 2008 (UTC)
Indeed, hunting out appropriate red-links and creating articles for them would be a noble cause, and as I said somewhere further back, there are a couple of editors on just such a mission. However, unless I was a 'full-time' editor, totally focused on red-link stub creation, I suspect I would be hard pushed to create stubs at the rate at which some editors are deleting the red-links. Either way, that's all beside the issue; laziness on my part or time constraints on the part of other editors to not create these articles does not make that person any less notable or any less worthy of their red link or their 'potential' stub. My question remains - If these individuals have been deemed notable elsewhere (on other WPs), are they deemed notable here? If so, their names should not be deleted from a 'list of notable people who have died', which is what the death pages are. It is not a 'list of people with wikipedia articles who have died' - now that would be a difficult list to keep correct. Regards, Mannafredo (talk) 19:33, 28 May 2008 (UTC)
I seem to be long-winded today (I just drastically shortened this post), so here are the points I want to make:
  • If individuals are deemed notable on other WPs, they pretty much always are notable here.
  • Many editors strive for completion (sometimes at the expense of quality).
  • Other editors strive for quality (sometimes at the expense of completion).
  • The Death pages (indeed, any very large list or group of lists) may be expected to have the same level of completion and quality as the encyclopedia as a whole.
  • The date of a person's death is (perhaps) (usually) the least important thing about them.
  • If a person is notable enough to warrant an article, he/she is notable enough to be listed on the Deaths page.
  • If a person does not have an article right now, adding his/her death date right now seems trivial.
  • In spirit I agree with Mannafredo, but for reasons of practicality I find myself supporting WWGB.
  • Here's the kicker (I guess): we will find notable people to write about not because they've been listed on the Deaths page, but because they were notable in life... and then their addition to the Deaths page will be the natural second step after creating an article about them. Is this perfect? Heck, no. Do we sometimes learn about a person because that person was on the Deaths page? Sure. For practical reasons, though, the Deaths page isn't the best way to identify or "discover" a notable person. Aylad ['ɑɪlæd] 21:41, 28 May 2008 (UTC)
Not long winded at all; a difficult question benefits from pointed answers. I'll try to address them as they come.
  • So, they are notable. Good start. I like it.
  • Yes, and those articles should be reworded and improved into quality articles, not deleted.
  • A quality article should be close to 'complete'. If it's not, then it can be added to, not deleted.
  • We either have death pages or we don't. If we do, as we do, my point is about who appears on them. You mention other lists; Otto also appears here. Do we delete him from here? I hope no one thinks so. Why? Because he is part of the 'list of people who are on the Global 500 Roll of Honour', just like he is a notable guy who died on April fool's day, 2008.
  • Deleting that persons red-links is then also trivial, but, I would suggest, a somewhat more negative approach.
  • I personally see no impracticality in having a couple of dozen red links spattered about any given month's death page. In spirit, my concerns lie with guys like Otto, who are swept away from this WP by, to my mind, some slightly over-zealous road sweeping.
  • And now we're back to point one - this is not to do with the death pages or the writing of articles, it is do do with universal recognition of notability. I'm really sorry Aylad, but to me your 'kicker' seems at odds with your very first point.
I'm probably going to leave off this page for a good while now, I've said my bit, and it's giving me a headache. Thanks for listening. Regards, Mannafredo (talk) 22:38, 28 May 2008 (UTC)
This is interesting. Mannafredo (talk) 08:59, 2 June 2008 (UTC)
I raised this point a while ago with WWGB, and I got the same response. It doesn't mean that someone is non-notable if they don't have an article; rather, it means no one really cared enough about Otto here to create one. Just because it has an article in another language does not make something automatically notable as it may be a speedy or an afd that no one noticed. However, someone who did something somewhere is just as notable as someone who did the same somewhere else. And the concensus that WWGB is referring to is Star Garnet and themselves deleting entries after a while that they deem non-notable. I'm an Editorofthewiki[citation needed] 01:19, 3 June 2008 (UTC)

I cared enough about Otto Soemarwoto to create one. I'm an Editorofthewiki[citation needed] 01:41, 3 June 2008 (UTC)

It's not just StarGarnet and myself. Others support this position. See, for example, Talk:Deaths in 2007#Redlinks. Regards, WWGB (talk) 02:52, 3 June 2008 (UTC)
I cared enough about Otto Soemarwoto to expand on User:Editorofthewiki's good start. I make a note of this because, although it took some searching, I found that adequate references exist in English to establish Soemarwoto's notability. No matter what perspective any of you have on redlink deletion/retention, there are three points that I want to make:
  • The absence of a Wikipedia article doesn't mean someone isn't notable.
  • A topic has equal notability in all languages and geographical regions (I've said it before, and Soemarwoto is as good an example as any).
  • It is far better to find sources and write the article than it is to complain that an article doesn't exist.
And just for good measure, because too many people forget it, a bonus point:
  • I have never heard of this Soemarwoto person, nor am I likely to ever hear of him again, but that doesn't mean he's not notable. It just means I'm not omniscient... yet.
Best regards to all, Aylad ['ɑɪlæd] 04:15, 3 June 2008 (UTC)

Notability guidelines DO affect article content

Even if they don't limit them. The consensus on undue weight:

"An article should not give undue weight to any aspects of the subject, but should strive to treat each aspect with a weight appropriate to its significance to the subject. Note that undue weight can be given in several ways, including, but not limited to, depth of detail, quantity of text, prominence of placement, and juxtaposition of statements." (emphasis added)

This is clearly a statement about notability. I copied and pasted this concise guideline into the notability article. I would like to edit the lead and the heading "notability guidelines do not directly limit article content" to be more reflective of this guideline. But I also want to be cautious that I'm not raising the standard beyond what the quote above actually means. Does anyone have any advice on how to re-word this sub-section and the lead? Randomran (talk) 21:32, 30 May 2008 (UTC)

There's some wiggle-room here. In the minds of some, "limiting content" means "saying X in article Y is prohibited because of guideline Z." UNDUE WEIGHT says "Saying A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, and I about article Y where it is sufficient to only mention one of them, or saying A in the lead of article Y, should not be done because it gives undue weight. However, you may say A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, or I in the main body of the article." Now, some people may quibble that X=A+B+C+D+E+F+G+H+I and removing any of them - usually someone's favorite one - and citing undue weight is the same as saying "X in article Y is prohibited because of guideline Z" and therefore limiting article content.
UNDUE WEIGHT also applies in controversial subjects where A, B, and C lean to one point of view, D, E, and F lean to another, and A, B, and C are in the article but only one of D, E, or F is in the article. The solution then is to pick an appropriate number of examples from A/B/C and a roughly equal set of examples from D/E/F and present them collectively with NPOV. The size of the set should be reasonable given the overall size of the article and the importance of the controversy as it relates to the subject.
davidwr/(talk)/(contribs)/(e-mail) 22:34, 30 May 2008 (UTC)
I totally agree. The notability or significant of the facts have an impact on their proportion within the article. (As well as the reputation of the viewpoint, which is more of a POV issue.) My question is how we communicate that. Just as a strawman, how does "content should be treated in proportion to its notability?" Or how about something simpler like "Notability guidelines for article content" and let people actually read the guideline as has been developed by consensus? Randomran (talk) 22:38, 30 May 2008 (UTC)
I think content should be treated in proportion to its importance, which is distinct from its notability. This applies both within articles and to articles themselves. Ideally, articles about very important topics like England (105KB) would be much larger than articles about somewhat less important topics such as Scientology (120KB). To be fair, the sum total of all England-related articles probably dwarfs Scientology-related articles. In reality, that's never going to happen. Controversial topics are an edit-magnet. Whether an entire article is controversial or not or just part of it, the controversial parts will be heavily edited and usually heavily expanded beyond what they should be compared to other articles or other parts of the same article. Compare Baptist and Methodist, both under 50KB, to Scientology to see what I mean. davidwr/(talk)/(contribs)/(e-mail) 22:58, 30 May 2008 (UTC)
Oh by no means am I saying we should be able to apply this test across articles. That would just be a nightmare. But within an article there's a sense of proportion based on relative notability. You think notability is distinct from importance? I'm not sure I catch the distinction. Randomran (talk) 23:03, 30 May 2008 (UTC)
To quote WP:N: Within Wikipedia, notability is an inclusion criterion based on encyclopedic suitability of a topic for a Wikipedia article. The topic of an article should be notable, or "worthy of notice". Notability is distinct from "fame", "importance", or "popularity", although these may positively correlate with it.
davidwr/(talk)/(contribs)/(e-mail) 23:11, 30 May 2008 (UTC)
I agree with that there is a difference between the significance or importance of a piece of information and the notability of that information. There are many fringe or pseudoscientific theories out there which have not been shown to merit an article to themselves here on Wikipedia – see the ancient astronaut theories for examples – because they are not, in and of themselves, particularly notable. A discussion of the mystery of the Nazca lines, however, cannot be thorough without mentioning the ancient astronaut theories, many of which are grouped together into a single article. WP:UNDUE provides the guidelines necessary to make sure that ancient astronaut theorists get due consideration without overwhelming more mainstream (read: realistic) interpretations.
I don't know how much sense that made (short on sleep)... in brief, notability determines whether it gets an article to itself, while WP:UNDUE determines how much discussion of it is included in related articles. Aylad ['ɑɪlæd] 14:08, 31 May 2008 (UTC)

Interesting. I'm not sure I grasp the distinction yet, but I guess I see that there is a distinction. Do people think that it's inappropriate that I copied over the 2-3 sentences from WP:UNDUE that are relevant to factual content, not just point of view? I feel like those are important guidelines that are buried in a place where many people will not see it. They had more to do with giving due weight based on notability (or importance, which is related to notability), rather than how many people hold that point of view. (That is, we spend more time talking about Lincoln's presidency than describing his representations in fiction.) Randomran (talk) 16:39, 31 May 2008 (UTC)

You mean this edit? Personally, I'm fine with it, although I just corrected a minor oversight you made. :) Aylad ['ɑɪlæd] 20:59, 31 May 2008 (UTC)
Oh, and Abraham Lincoln in fiction is a topic which probably passes notability (although clearly the article needs work) but we don't include much reference to it in Abraham Lincoln because that would be a violation of WP:UNDUE. Does this make the distinction clearer? Aylad ['ɑɪlæd] 21:04, 31 May 2008 (UTC)
Haha, funny coincidence that I used that example then. And thanks for the clean-up. My only remaining question: should we change the part where it says "notability guidelines do not directly limit article content"? I know this is still basically true, but it's just the slightest bit misleading because it suggests that content can totally disregard importance, or that it's entirely subjective. Randomran (talk) 16:54, 1 June 2008 (UTC)

Notability Is Temporary

I find the idea that "Notability is not temporary" utterly ridiculous. I think it is especially so in application to contemporary figures. "Not temporary" means "lasts forever", and forever is a very long time.

The idea that notability lasts forever suggests that if an article appeared in the first edition of a traditional printed encyclopedia, it should in all cases be justifiable that it remain in the second, fifth, or 25th edition. Who are we to pretend we know who or what will still be considered notable 10, 100, 200 or 1000 years from now?

Does anyone actually believe that every one of the performers listed on Top-selling American Idol alumni will be considered notable by objective standards even 20 years from now? I could find loads of "List of..." type pages in WP for which the same question applies, and definitely not just amongst the entertainment-related lists. Even outside contemporary figures, there is a copious supply of biographical articles in WP for people who are notable because they held a particular public office, but they are not equally notable. Some are notable only because they held an office for a short time. Some are possibly notable only for their lack of notability in comparison to other holders of the same office. With no disrespect intended to the man, I point out Horatio King, who held the office of Postmaster General of the United States for less than 1 month. There have now been 72 Postmasters General of the United States. Will they all still be notable when there have been 144? Or 720?

And outside of biographies, e.g., in pure academic areas, technology or business, how can we possibly pretend to know what article subjects will still be notable forever? We can't. In a huge number of cases, we can only answer the question "is this notable today?", and anything beyond that is merely an educated guess. Will Zune or MSN TV be notable in 100 years? How about all the firms listed in Category:Defunct_computer_hardware_companies?

It seems to me that somewhere between now and forever, the notability of many, many subjects of WP articles will prove itself to be temporary.Rhsatrhs (talk) 02:42, 7 June 2008 (UTC)

We can define notability to include only things of lasting significance. However, if we do, for many things you have to wait a generation to see if it was really of lasting significance or whether it was just a heavily-discussed topic for a few days, weeks, years, or decades. The question becomes, what do we do with such topics between the time they first hit the papers and the time we have the sober view of history? Do we include them now and remove them in a few years or decades, or do we wait until they are a few decades past before inserting them? davidwr/(talk)/(contribs)/(e-mail) 03:41, 7 June 2008 (UTC)
I think this is just a matter of the policy name and/or phrasing being a bit confusing. Essentially, notability is not much more or less than verifying that there are enough independent sources available to make a complete article. All the extra window dressing, such as asking if the subject has won major awards or is the subject of university study, is just a method of judging whether it is reasonable to presume enough sources exist. If there are enough reputable independent sources now, then in ten years there will still be enough reliable third-party references. Hence, the sentiment that notability is not temporary. (It's worth noting that notability does not exist in a vacuum and many topics that fit the technical standards of notability may run afoul of exclusion standards or fail to fulfill our biography standards.) Vassyana (talk) 03:52, 7 June 2008 (UTC)
My thoughts: Electronic storage media in general and Wikipedia in particular are too young to have had a chance to really put any of this theory into practice. Regarding semi- or pseudo-notable historical figures from, say, 150 years ago, we assume that if multiple sources about those figures still exist, they must have been notable. Now, however, there is a reasonable chance that any information put into an electronic storage medium – especially on the Internet, where it's likely to be copied, plagiarized, mirrored, archived, cached, and who knows what else – might be around in 500 years, notable or not. Somewhere out there on the Internet are at least three websites giving the birthdate of my youngest niece – once on my primary website, once on a mirrored website, and probably at least once on the Wayback Machine. Someday she'll end up listed at Genealogy.com, if she isn't already. She may never be notable for any reason, but some enterprising great-great-grandchild of hers will probably be able to find at least one of those references somewhere.
My point to this is that in a generation or three... once people have realized that WP:NOTPAPER isn't all that some editors would crack it up to be, that while Wikipedia doesn't rely on dead trees, it does rely on many other finite resources and cannot store an infinite amount of information... WP:N will be much, much stricter. Multiple reliable secondary sources will not be enough to guarantee inclusion. For now, however, we're a long way from that, and in response to the question posed by Davidwr, I would usually (in reasonable circumstances) lean toward including topics that seem to be notable, even if they might not be after I'm dead and gone. Aylad ['ɑɪlæd] 06:28, 7 June 2008 (UTC)
Long-term notability vs. long-term triviality: Vassyana, I like your summary, unfortunately there is a problem. You said: If there are enough reputable independent sources now, then in ten years there will still be enough reliable third-party references. The real fact is that "reputable, independent" isn't good enough to say whether something will be considered notable or trivial 100 years from now. When Babe Ruth hit his 400th home run, it was probably in the fine print of reports about the game in every major city newspaper, probably in at least 3 independently-written stories. With the aid of a subscription newspaper-search service, I could find those articles today. However, decades later, we consider that event to be trivia and not worth of an article called Babe Ruth's 400th Home Run. I'm not even sure if the fact is in Babe Ruth, I didn't check. What is considered notable in the days, months, or years after an event may be considered trivial by society decades or centuries after an event. Such disputes of trival vs. notable should be hashed out on article talk pages and/or deletion discussions. Policy should acknowledge that the border between well-cited, once-notable trivia and what is still considered notable exists for many topics, is fluid, and is not set by policy. There should be guidelines for various topics. For example, a guideline on biological species would say "all confirmed species are notable, now and forevermore," while an guideline on sports-related articles would say something completely different. davidwr/(talk)/(contribs)/(e-mail) 13:49, 7 June 2008 (UTC)
  • Question: are articles about topics which may one day be notable published on Wikipedia before they achieve notability?
  • Answer: no, of course not.
  • Question: are articles about topics which may one day be non-notable deleted from Wikipedia before they achieve non-notability?
  • Answer...
Aylad ['ɑɪlæd] 14:00, 7 June 2008 (UTC)
My reply: Question: Have articles been deleted by speedy or AfD for "lack of notability" or "marginal notability" which, if they had occurred recently and had the same amount of press coverage they got at the time never would have been nominated for AfD and/or speedy-kept under WP:SNOW? Answer: Very likely. Question: Have authors chosen not to create such articles in the first place knowing they would be deleted? Answer: I have and I suspect thousands of other editors have too. davidwr/(talk)/(contribs)/(e-mail) 14:08, 7 June 2008 (UTC)
Both points are correct. It's a shame when editors choose not to create an article about a notable topic (no matter how temporary that notability) but I expect it happens more often than we'd like to admit. Regarding your first question, some articles lose notability more quickly than others. Public interest is fickle. I don't think that means these articles shouldn't be created, though, and deleting an article due to "marginal notability" should only be done after much careful consideration. A marginally notable topic is one that is very nearly notable enough to stay, and there might be a better fate for that information (e.g. merging). Question: how often do people treat AfD as though delete and keep are the only two options? Answer: very frequently. Aylad ['ɑɪlæd] 14:21, 7 June 2008 (UTC)

(outdent) davidwr, I don't believe that topic was ever notable. Notability requires in-depth coverage. Sources verifying that something exists is simply not sufficient to establish notability. As I mention above, we're looking for enough quality sources for a complete article. Vassyana (talk) 16:36, 7 June 2008 (UTC)

WP:FICT

I should note (in case it was not seen) that WP:FICT is looking to seek global consensus for the updated guideline at this RFC. I should note there have been suggestions of challenging WP:N as a result of it that might creep into here. --MASEM 14:01, 7 June 2008 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Attribution

It appears that after a long but failed effort to adopt Wikipedia:Attribution the proponents have devised a new and confusing custom tag to legitimize the instructions as a "summary" of other processes. This lacks the consensus to be anything other than Essay status and should be so tagged. While I don't specifically oppose or support ATT, I don't think that we need to confuse the issue with a new process category which is not described at WP:Policy. --Kevin Murray (talk) 14:17, 10 June 2008 (UTC)

I would support its current tag plus an essay tag, but why are you bringing this up here? SamBC(talk) 14:49, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
I'm bringing this up here, because ATT was first proposed as a replacement for WP:N and promotion of that essay to psuedo-policy can effect the application of this guideline. --Kevin Murray (talk) 14:54, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
Not clear on the second part of that, but certainly that history makes it relevant, thanks. SamBC(talk) 15:04, 10 June 2008 (UTC)

Um... no it isn't relevant... WP:ATT was originaly written to be a merger of WP:V and WP:NOR ... WP:N was not part of the mix. However, as long as the subject has been raised... there is a debate going on at that page as to what its status should be (with opinions ranging from "failed" or "historical", through "summary" or "essay", and on to "Policy" or "guideline".) There are a lot of "there is no consensus for that" type statements, but no demonstration of what the consensus actually IS. Please pop over and opine so we can actually determine a consensus (whatever the status ends up being). Blueboar (talk) 20:56, 12 June 2008 (UTC)


Creep

Many among us are concerned about instruction creep and there is much discussion of the topic, but proposals for further creep within the notability concept is at an all time high. There are eight active proposals now, most of which have attracted little scrutiny, but in some cases proponents are claiming that these are ready to implement. --Kevin Murray (talk) 18:20, 16 June 2008 (UTC)

Since I proposed it but it never got legs, I've gone ahead and "rejected" serial works, as to get it out of the way.
The question of whether we need the other guidelines (particularly fiction) I think hinges much on the above discussion: are there more possibly objective ways to demonstrate notability than just through secondary sources. If there aren't, there's not much else for subguidelines, and further advise can be written to MOS and guidelines per appropriate project. If there are other possible ways to show notability, the subguidelines have good reason to exist, but we need to avoid this much division, and the overall subguidelines need to be as generic as possible, along the lines WP:BIO is creating. "Schools" and "Streets and roads" and "Places and transportaton" can probably be combined into a "Notability (places)" or some other name; "Criminal acts" can likely be moved under BIO, and so forth. If anything, if there are subguidelines, we should encourge WP to write out more fully how to implement notability from those guidelines within their projects, with the cavaet that by going past the global notability guidelines will still result in article deletion despite them saying its the case; the wikiproject specific guidelines should further outline is approprite within the context of global ones. --MASEM 18:43, 16 June 2008 (UTC)

Notability - a free pass, or an indication?

Quite often on contentious AFDs for POV forks, there is often a few keep votes which will say "notable", overlooking other reasons for deletion (BLP, constant POV, etc). My question is: is notability a free pass for a Wikipedia article, or should it only be taken as an indication of suitability, and notable topics may actually be deleted if they fall under a criteria for deletion? Sceptre (talk) 00:18, 10 June 2008 (UTC)

My common answer to so many questions is that AfD is broken. It sounds like either: "drive-by" voters, biased driven non sequitur, or just plain ignorance. As long as we encourage wannabee Admins to get notches on their guns at AfD (etc.), it will remain a broken system. --Kevin Murray (talk) 00:26, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
Two cases that I can consider: notability may be shown, but the article content fails NOT. Say, I write a catalog-style article about the notably-excellent line of digital cameras from a company. The way I wrote it is questionable, however, by rewriting, with a "Reception"-type section, the content stays. Another possibility is say I find a topic which is clearly notable, but per NOT, all you can write about it is maybe a paragraph; in this case, it may be easier to present it in the context of a larger work that is also notable and possibly even to explain the context better. I don't, however, want to say that notability is a free pass, only because off the top of my head, there's no clear indication this is the case. --MASEM 00:55, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
Those are grounds for a {{cleanup}} tag, not deletion. Ford MF (talk) 01:18, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
I agree, these are grounds for cleanup not deletion. --Kevin Murray (talk) 01:59, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
Exactly what I meant if it wasn't clear. --MASEM 02:13, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
Notability is an interpretation of WP:NOR, WP:V and WP:RS. It is historically, and perhaps unchangeably, the key inclusion criteria. Its origin seems as old as Wikipedia, certainly predating WP:N. “Notability” is itself highly debatable. When someone says “notable” or N“not notable” you should ask them why, because criteria for notability vary widely among wikipedians, sometimes notwithstanding what WP:N says. Often “notable” is used loosely in an ill-defined way. Alternative philosophies in the notability sub-guidelines don’t help. WP:BLP trumps WP:N, easily. Contant POV-pushing is a pretty poor deletion criterion in my opinion; I believe that behavioural issues should debated elsewhere than at AfD. POV forks, and other forks can easily satisfy WP:N. WP:FORK is independent of WP:N. I also don’t believe that forks should be debated at AfD because forks are almost always best merged or just redirected, and I currently trying to get WP:FORK changed to this effect. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 03:26, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
I did a google book search on Ego the Living Planet and the only general rule that I can think of that would allow for "objective" decisions in AfD and allow that article to survive would be to allow a large number (10?, 20?) of passing references in secondary sources to count towards notability. Small sections on production and reception could be combined with a first party sources history section to create a nice little article. I'm also finding a number of second party comic encyclopedias that could be used to establish notability for comic characters. Maybe instead of FICT, we could add a line like "10 or more passing references that in combination allow for an encyclopedic treatment of a fictional subject make an article presumed worthy of notice." - Peregrine Fisher (talk) (contributions) 05:13, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
Passing references are trivial, effectively a "name drop". Zero plus zero any number of times still equals zero, we'd need something substantive. A critical part of substantive sourcing is that the substantial parts are of a single piece, and a coherent whole. Seraphimblade Talk to me 05:31, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
Defining notability by having "x" mentions or the like basically makes it a game that shouldn't be played on WP. I mean, the idea of what else could be used for notability is great, and objective standards are great, but just say "x" mentions means that people will be scraping the barrel to get the numbers they need. A key point to remember is that notability should not prevent the topic from being covered, just that if it's not notable itself, it should be covered in a larger point. --MASEM 05:32, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
What's another objective standard that will produce results similar to AfD? Or are we back to NOTE works just fine for fiction? - Peregrine Fisher (talk) (contributions) 05:46, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
Just throwing out an idea / straw man: what if it was still significant coverage in sources independent of the subject, but what was considered a reliable authority on the subject could be defined by individual wikiprojects? A history article might adhere more strictly to the GNG, but a comic book article might be more inclined to rely on a reputable website on the subject that might not otherwise qualify as a reliable source. Randomran (talk) 05:52, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
If the website is actually reputable (as in, professional, editorially controlled, etc.), there's no problem, it's reliable regardless. If it just happens to be a well-liked fansite, it's still a fansite. But I would trust very few Wikiprojects with the ability to "set the bar" as to what constitutes a reliable source. Seraphimblade Talk to me 05:56, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
Keep in mind that a self-published fansite, or an editorial site with no peer review may actually be considered a good source of information for certain specialized topics. I have maybe just a bit more faith in the individual wikiprojects, but maybe that's because I've seen the WP:VG wikiproject as making some good attempts to have some kind of standards. If not the individual wikiprojects, then perhaps the bar for a reliable source could be set slightly lower in the WP:FICT guideline? Randomran (talk) 06:01, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
Do you have any ideas on how to do it Seraphimblade? - Peregrine Fisher (talk) (contributions) 06:09, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
Sure, I certainly have an idea how to do it. Cover to the depth reliable, independent sources do. If they cover each character of a work in depth, so will we. If they cover the work in general in depth and briefly mention the characters, we'll do it that way. If they don't even really cover the work, we won't either. Let the writers of sources decide, and then we don't even have to (that aside from the fact we shouldn't be in the first place). Seraphimblade Talk to me 06:13, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
And you see no problem with this? - Peregrine Fisher (talk) (contributions) 06:33, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
For what it's worth, the consensus has been this way (more or less) for months, if not longer. If there's something wrong with it, you'll have to make the case that there's something wrong with it to build a new consensus. Randomran (talk) 06:41, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
I'd take issue with the statement that "consensus has been this way", when this article, and similar fictional articles of obvious notability, pass through AfD as uncontentious "keeps". Ford MF (talk) 11:20, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
I'm not saying anything that isn't true. This is what the consensus has been on the notability guideline for a long long time. People have finally read it and are challenging it. This discussion is to try to articulate what the new consensus should be. Randomran (talk) 16:04, 10 June 2008 (UTC)

(undent)The problem is at FICT. Something like 50% ignore NOTE a little bit, 25% follow NOTE strictly, and 25% ignore NOTE a lot. - Peregrine Fisher (talk) (contributions) 06:46, 10 June 2008 (UTC)

And we're about to find out if there's a consensus that NOTE should be ignored at all, and to what degree. This will inform how WP:FICT is written. Either WP:NOTE will adapt, WP:FICT will adapt, or both. Randomran (talk) 06:51, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
It will be interesting. One other scenario though, we keep things the way they are. FICT is proposed (permanently I guess) and arguments that should take place here (if it's always proposed) keep taking place there. - Peregrine Fisher (talk) (contributions) 07:02, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
Whatever the consensus on NOTE ends up being, we'd end up giving less weight to people who ignore the new consensus. After all, we can't create contradictory guidelines. Randomran (talk) 07:11, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
It seems like 50% ignore a bit + 25% ignore a bunch might just be a consensus at the NOTE level to ignore a bit, but at the FICT level it isn't a consensus. It takes more than 75% at a lower level (in my opinion) to effect a higher level. - Peregrine Fisher (talk) (contributions) 07:21, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
Well, we'll follow the discussion over WP:NOTE to its logical conclusion and proceed from there. I'm prepared to accept whatever conclusion is reached here. Randomran (talk) 07:25, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
(@SmokeyJoe)If WP:N in general, and the WP:GNG in particular, are an interpretation of those policies, how does it have requirements that are not in any of them. None of those policies individually, nor the composition of them, gives any requirement for sources that are both secondary and independent, nor do they exclude directories and suchlike. They make it clear that sources that are secondary and independent (third party) are preferable, but they don't require it by any stretch of the imagination. SamBC(talk) 10:51, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
Well, certainly verifiability does require third-party sources, and state that secondary ones are preferable. The guidelines on reliable sources also speak to that matter. Our requirement for a neutral point of view means that it's tremendously helpful to have multiple sources available so that we can ensure neutrality, and avoid giving weight where sources have decided not to give weight, and the prohibition on personal research and original synthesis means that to write anything besides bland factual statements, someone else must have performed such synthesis or analysis in secondary reliable sources. And finally, our core policy most certainly does bar directory entries and the like. So, while perhaps NOTE does not quote such policies word for word, it does support those policies and follows logically from them. Seraphimblade Talk to me 13:56, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
That logic is valid, I'll admit, but requires one unstated (and to me invalid) assumption: that there's something wrong with articles that are just bland statements of fact. Allow those, but require meaningful notability, and we're not simply a directory because we're very selective in terms of inclusion. Pick up any paper encyclopaedia, and there'll be plenty of entries that are bland statements of fact; even more when you include almanacs. SamBC(talk) 14:51, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
  • When it comes to fiction, there is no such thing as a bland statement of fact. Since works of fiction are based on the viewpoint of the work's author, a statement based on a primary source alone is basically a reguritation of that viewpoint, and is basically an endorsement. I think the same principal applies to scientific subjects: there are "Lies — damned lies — and statistics". Reliable secondary sources are directly or indirectly the key to providing evidence of notability and there is no getting away from this principal. --Gavin Collins (talk) 15:53, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
I may be misunderstanding, but there's a difference between a "bland statement of fact" and a "bland statement of what is asserted to be fact within this fictional universe." Thus, a particular superhero might wear different costumes depending on the artist, but no one can reasonably argue with the number of comic issues that hero has appeared in. Also, please keep in mind that some fictional topics depend on the work of multiple authors, not all of whom might share the same viewpoint. That doesn't negate your comment, but it does add a different dimension to it, I think. Aylad ['ɑɪlæd] 16:05, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
  • I think that is where precisely you can fall into the trap of original reseach. If you use primary sources alone to count the number of commic issues in which a certain character was in, and that count was not not subject to some sort of peer review, I would expect mistakes to be made. Even bland statement of facts need to be backed up by reliable secondary sources for Wikipedia purposes. --Gavin Collins (talk) 16:15, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
    • Well, policy seems to indicate that "bland statements of fact", which is to say content with no analytic (etc) element, is absolutely fine to source from (reliable) primary sources. A "bland statement of fact" about fiction isn't "there is a Stargate under Cheyenne Mountain", it's "the show depicts yadda yadda a Stargate under Cheyenne Mountain", which is most certainly a bland statement of fact. "Pip lives with his sister", given context to indicate that you are talking about the content of a particular novel, is a bland statement of fact; with that context, you aren't saying there's a real person called Pip who lives with his sister, you're saying that, in this novel the character Pip lives with his sister (and apologies if I mis-remembered my Dickens). It is a fact (if I recall correctly) that, in the novel Great Expectations, the character Pip lives with his sister (at a particular point in the story). No analysis, and entirely verifiable. SamBC(talk) 19:52, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
      • You don't need a secondary source to say a certain article was published in the New York Times on January 1, 2001. That's not WP:OR, that's a simple, bland fact observable to all. Likewise, you don't need a secondary source to say that something happened in Captain America #1, because the comic is the source. Ford MF (talk) 20:08, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
      • Summarizing is allowed, whether it's summarizing a primary of secondary source. Every bit of text that isn't a direct quote would suspect in your view. - Peregrine Fisher (talk) (contributions) 20:30, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
  • My biggest concern with the use of "notability" in AfDs comes from my job as educator and historian and it is that a lot of what I see is in effect the electronic equivalent of book burning. To suggest that some knowledge is somehow not important is just unacademic and unencyclopedic. I am of course not talking about hoaxes, how tos, libel, copy vios, essays, etc., all of which I think we can agree should be deleted, but I see articles that do have reliable sources deleted under this bizarre idea that only things that pass a handful of editors' ideas of what's notable per an encyclopedic. Now those wanting to delete "in popular culture" articles, fictional characters, video game weapons, television episodes, family members of celebrities and politicians, etc. may think they are doing a good thing and have honest intentions, but the fact is that it is saying some knowledge is unimportant, which goes against everything any scholar and any encyclopedist should stand for. We discriminate against nonsense and lies, but there is no really good, logical, or valid reason why we cannot or should not cover some of these other items that a half dozen odd of the same editors in AfDs want deleted when others in the same AfDs argue to keep, plus maybe hundreds who created and worked on the article, and thousands who come here looking for the article. Some seem to think that Wikipedia will be better maintainable, but so then some just self-appoint themselves as the determiners of what knowledge is worthwhile, which is itself suspect. Some seem to think that if they delete articles that they don't like, then the editors will instead work on articles that the noms and per noms do like, which is naive and wrong. Article creators and contributors whose articles keep getting deleted will just leave the project. If we humor them, maybe they will branch off onto other "more important" articles, but if we keep insulting them authoritatively and paternalistically, they won't. As far as comedians or blogsters whose job is to be sarcastic and critical, who cares what they say about our inclusion of certain topics; after all, some of the sites I can't link to here actually mock us for deletionism. It baffles me as to why anyone would rather devote his or her energy to deleting articles that are not hoaxes, libel, essays, how tos, or copy vios, rather than trying to build up those articles he or she does believe are worthwhile. Imagine how much time spent on AfDs that end in no consensus or keep could have been spent cleaning up an article to bring it to good or featured status or protecting articles from vandalism! Sincerely, --Le Grand Roi des CitrouillesTally-ho! 16:43, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
  • Your list doesn't include vanity spam and blatant advertising, but otherwise I agree with your statement. --Kevin Murray (talk) 16:57, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
  • In those instances, I think we need to keep in mind if we can change a vanity article to be a neutral and referenced article and the same with advertising, i.e. if reviews, consumer alerts, etc. exist that can make the article be about the product in a straightforward manner that does not read like an advertisement. So, it's about potential as well. My main thesis is that if we are not running out of disk space or editors, we should work to be as comprehensive as possible as that is how we will contribute to humanity, not by being a mere repeat of Britannica that just has more editors. Best, --Le Grand Roi des CitrouillesTally-ho! 17:09, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
Nicely put. Ford MF (talk) 16:50, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
Thanks! Sincerely, --Le Grand Roi des CitrouillesTally-ho! 16:55, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
I'm all for having any reasonably important/popular/notable topic somewhere in WP as long as it meets NOT; in most examples that LGRdC gives, these are the case, but lets take for the moment that they all do. What we need to balance is to the degree these topics are covered; one-time cameo characters should not be covered in as much detail given to major characters of the same work, for example, and major characters of a show that got canceled after 3 episodes in less detail than continuing 10 season work. Giving a topic its own article is creating a new glass to be filled up, and while this is generally good to get editors to write, the quality of what they write is always a concern. Articles still need to meet the core policies such as V, NOR, and NPOV, all three which are generally helped by the presence of secondary/independent sources for the topic, but also should be clear that these are suggested but not necessarily requirements. If someone can write an article on a singular character that uses the sources well, stays neutral and avoids original research, and generally written from the approach of being encyclopedic - not a full character bio, not a retelling of plot points, but instead a well-rounded description and why someone reading would understand why the character is important to the work - I would find a hard time to argue for deletion except the question of if GNC is a hard fact or not. The problem right now is that a large percentage of the coverage of fictional elements is nowhere close to this level of being acceptable, and does read like a fan guide. Understandably, failure to met the above save for GNC is a reason for deletion, but I know that there's a general feeling that the existence of such articles propagates more articles of the same level of quality, and thus trying to get rid of them makes sense to those editors. What I felt I was trying to do with FICT was to have these topics still covered but in more manageable lists as support for a notable work of fiction, which, yes, would reduce how much is written about each character or element, but would make it easy to keep the article quality high, all in lieu of the fact that the GNC seemed like it was being treated as absolute.
That said, it seems completely reasonable to find a way to try to allow for the inclusion of well written non-notable articles on important topics that cannot show notably via GNC when this is the usual norm for that field or area, if we start with the assumption that the GNC should not be the end-all for inclusion. By the italicized clause, one needs to consider if secondary sources are readily available for articles of the similar type. Little Timmy's 3rd grade creative writing assignment cannot be a notable published work when compared to Harry Potter, Tom Clancy, and others because books generally have GNC. A comic book character, however, is very likely to not have significant secondary sources (Superman and Batman tend to be the exceptions), so in this case, a standard based on number of appearances or impact on an overall story could be helpful. (It should be noted that these is almost what the sub-notability guidelines do already - they outline cases where secondary source may not or ever exist but can be sourced and written comprehensively). We still need practical limits as someone could easily write a good comprehensive article on Mr. Sparkle as they can on Homer Simpson, a case I don't believe we want. We would also want editors to be sensible to keep in mind that while they may have the ability to write a separate article for a non-notable topic that falls into set limits, it may make more sense to provide the coverage in a list, particularly if all you can say about the topic is one paragraph. Or even sometimes, the topic can be moved to one that meets notability guidelines (GNC or this version) (This aspect should also be driven by the typical need to add images to articles - we have to watch our non-free content policies there, but this is a minor point to the overall discussion). Coverage is still there, redirects help with that, and it may help to paint a more comprehensive picture to the end reader when put in context with other information than if they had to flip back and forth between pages. And of course, we're still looking to make sure content meets NOT, so that will also drive some of that. --MASEM 17:34, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
  • Why stop at ridiculous analogies to book burning? Why not compare AFDs to the Nazis? No information is being destroyed. Non-notable bands can have a page at myspace. Non-notable game characters get plenty of information in their instruction manual and official game guides, which are available at your local Electronics Boutique. Non-notable neologisms and terminology can be found by googling or asking around in a forum.
    Listen, you're welcome to take the view that the notability constraint should be abolished completely. But at a certain point you have to concede that there is no consensus to do so. Sincerely, I welcome you to try and delete a guideline that is intimately tied to WP:NOT, WP:V, WP:OR, and WP:NPOV. A guideline that has been in place for months, maybe longer. I say this with 100% honesty and in good faith. The worst thing that happens is you reinforce the existing consensus. I'm pretty certain the notability requirement will have to continue to exist in some form or another, but we can't be certain until you actually try build the consensus to change it, instead of insisting that you only have to follow guidelines you agree with.
    As for improving the encyclopdia, most of us do that. Deleting non-notable cruft is effortless, and saving a notable article doesn't really take much: find the appropriate resources, or offer a tangible reason why you're certain the resources are out there. You don't even need to build a consensus to keep it. A deadlock defaults to keep. Numerous votes for deletion can be persuaded to merge or redirect if you actually stop pushing keep. I'd be all for having a rule against AFDs that are too soon, or without warning, to prevent the system from being gamed. But likening the notability requirement to totalitarianism doesn't persuade or befriend anyone, in spite of good manners and pleasantries. Love, Randomran (talk) 17:46, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
    Saying "information still exists, somewhere" doesn't make it any less destruction of information. You can't point to the fact that you haven't destroyed the last book as proof that no information is being destroyed. Ford MF (talk) 17:59, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
    • Because it is electronic book burning. Whether that's what people want to hear or what they believe. It's the truth. We, as in Wikipedia, is something that the mainstream media and the public at large uses and knows about. We can provide a real service to humanity if we catalog as much of human knowledge as possible. All of these ridiculous notability restrictions determined by a minority of our community stifles that venture. ANY topic you can cite gets coverage somewhere else. Should you reason that because German shepherds can be covered in books on those dogs, we don't need to cover them here? That's the same thing as saying video game characters are covered elsewhere, but because a handful of editors here don't like articles on video game characters we shouldn't cover them. There is no consensus in practice to delete these things. There is a vocal minority against them and so somehow a half dozen editors in a five day AfD on any given topic is supposed to represent consensus?! Overly restrictive notability requirements go against what makes Wikipedia a genuine contribution to human learning. Argument that use nonsense words like "cruft" cnanot be taken seriously. Deadlocks should default to keep, but I increasingly see instance like Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Pizza delivery in popular culture where the discussion was clearly moving in the keep direction after the article was improved still somehow close as "delete". Those wanting to delete may think what they are doing is right and may be doing so in good faith, but sometimes things done in good faith are still wrong. Sincerely, --Le Grand Roi des CitrouillesTally-ho! 17:55, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
      • Ridiculous analogies aside, non-notable information can be covered elsewhere. AFDs are not a vote and Wikipedia is not a democracy. There are rules here, soft and flexible as they may be. Jimbo Wales is the ultimate minority stakeholder in Wikipedia, but he defines policies that send a ripple effect through the project. The notability requirement is based on those policies and has consensus. If you believe it doesn't, change it. But you're not allowed to just make up guidelines because you disagree with the ones we have written down. Randomran (talk) 18:08, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
        • If they actually had consensus, discussions such as these would not be so consensus and with others besides myself sharply challenging them. I suppose at the same time you are not allowed to just nominate articles for deletion because you don't like them and are usually unwilling to inform the article creators and writers of the AfD, because as you put earlier you'd rather focus on "efficiency" than courtesy. Sincerely, --Le Grand Roi des CitrouillesTally-ho! 18:12, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
          • My time is valuable, and I'll do what I want with it. I use AfDs to enforce guidelines, not what I like or don't like. If you don't like the guidelines, change them. I'm telling you right now, that there is no consensus to delete the notability requirement. But I invite you in good faith to prove me wrong. If it disappears, I'll stop enforcing it. Until then, stop ignoring it. Randomran (talk) 18:19, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
            • Editors who create and contribute articles' time is valuable as well and it would much more respectful to make a greater effort getting them to participate in these discussions. There is no consensus regarding notability and so that reality should not be ignored. Sincerely, --Le Grand Roi des CitrouillesTally-ho! 18:31, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
              • See WP:CONSENSUS. If you don't like the notability guideline, you have to document your proposal to change or recalibrate it and then build a consensus for your proposal. People have tried to get rid of the notability requirement before. This failed to achieve consensus and so we continue to have a notability requirement. But you're welcome to try that again, or any other number of compromises. Until then, the guidelines should be enforced as they exist, not as you wish them to be. Randomran (talk) 19:05, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
                • Do you have any links to when people tried to get rid of it before? I am curious to see how those discussions went and what arguments were used. I would greatly appreciate if you could provide those links. Thanks! Sincerely, --Le Grand Roi des CitrouillesTally-ho! 19:11, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
                  • Sincerely, I don't know. The best bet would be to see what links to that failed proposal. I suspect you'll have more success if you work towards a compromise, rather than retrying a failed proposal to abolish the notability requirement. Randomran (talk) 19:13, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
                  • There were some major contests around November 2006 and February 2007 I think. You could also look at WP:AI which was a proposal to replace WP:N, but it failed. --Kevin Murray (talk) 01:03, 19 June 2008 (UTC)

(Comments) I sincerely believe that most of the objections to notability are founded (directly or indirectly) in a lack of willingness or ability to research real sources. Comic books are a common example. There are plenty of industry and mass market periodicals available (such as the very prominent Wizard magazine). There are tons of books and articles that cover comic books in both broad and specific detail, even including scholarly literature. There are independent fiction and comic book "encyclopedias". Taking television as another common example, there plentiful periodicals that cover television in some serious depth that even include plot summaries. Any series of any reasonable popularity can unquestionably be sourced to reliable independent publications with minimal effort. Just as people complain that some editors should put more effort into improving articles instead of deleting them, some editors could devote their energy into research and sourcing instead of arguing against notability.

Wikipedia is about documenting and summarizing the topics covered by the general body of reliable sources. It's sensible, reinforces the basic content principles and is not an undue burden to set our bar for inclusion at independent reliable sources finding the topic notable (as evidenced by substantive coverage). It may require an amount of effort and research that most active editors in certain areas are unwilling or unable to devote, but that is not a problem with the policies and guidelines of Wikipedia (to be very polite). Vassyana (talk) 02:39, 11 June 2008 (UTC)

Saying sources exist and sources are easily accessible are two extremely different things. Because people act like there's a ticking time bomb under articles when they get to AfD. Citing articles from obscure publications (there's no internet archive for Wizard or the Comic Shop News yannow) is difficult and time consuming. Nominating articles for deletion is easy as you please, and things get dogpiled from the peanut gallery, a distressing percentage of whom, let's face it, spend exponentially more time sitting in judgment rather than putting in the elbow grease to ref difficult articles (or any articles, for that matter). And I don't see you on AfD calling any of the drive-by deleters "lazy", which is essentially what you just said about the editors of articles about fictional subjects. Ford MF (talk) 03:51, 11 June 2008 (UTC)
The first result of a web search for Wizard Magazine: Wizard's website, which includes a plethora of freely accessible articles. The first result of a web search for Comic Shop News links to one of their pages and another of their pages, both of which link prominently to another easily accessible source. As an added bonus yet another reliable source pops up in the top results of the CSN search. Vassyana (talk) 06:48, 11 June 2008 (UTC) (Addendum: Someone was even kind enough to compile a list of comics periodicals at WorldCat.)
Addressing your comments more directly, it's quite ridiculous to call Wizard (or anything other periodical commonly available at magazine racks and newsstands) "obscure". Yes, researching sources requires effort. Yes, researching sources can be time-consuming. You make it sound like trips to the library, purchasing books, paying for a subscription library service, etc is a massive undue burden, when it's exactly what people generally do on other topics to acquire reputable sources. If an article is deleted for lack of notability or sources, there's nothing stopping you (or anyone else who wants to take the effort) from asking an admin to undelete and move the article into a userspace sandbox where it can be improved with some leisure. Vassyana (talk) 09:30, 11 June 2008 (UTC)
It sounds like thousands of comic characters are notable, if one has the right resources. The difficulty in finding sources is still dispraportionate to the difficulty in starting an AfD. Notability is supposed to determine which subjects are worthy of an article. Notability is not working for fiction if I have to drive around town and spend hundreds of dollars on books and subscription services vs. someone else spending 10 minutes applying some templates on WP. The difference between fiction and other topics is that no one is going around mass AfDing and redirecting those topics. - Peregrine Fisher (talk) (contribs) 18:30, 11 June 2008 (UTC)
I'm sorry, but it's perfectly appropriate to insist upon the same sourcing and notability standards that we use for every other topic area. I find assertions to the contrary simply fallacious. Touching on your point about distinctions, pop culture fiction articles also differ in the depth and amount of subarticles (compared to other topics). This, at least in large part, leads to the attention and perceptions that drive the majority of those AfD nominations, redirects, merges, and so on. You're unlikely to see a List of minor characters in the Icelandic Sagas any time soon (let alone such a list for each saga). Similarly, you are also unlikely to witness the rise of articles for all the characters of Sartre, for the minor points of Husserl's phenomenology, for the numerous individual strains of influenza or for lists of minor figures in Taoist tradition. That is a fundamental distinction between pop culture fiction and other subjects, and bears no small relation to the number of AfDs (and so on) in the area of fiction. Vassyana (talk) 19:50, 11 June 2008 (UTC)
If the same sourcing was insisted upon, the articles would be allowed to survive until they're sourced, regardless of how long it takes. Popular fiction has deadline, whereas the rest of WP does not. - Peregrine Fisher (talk) (contribs) 20:25, 11 June 2008 (UTC)
Your assertion about fiction doesn't hold under examination. Plenty of articles outside of pop culture get deleted in the same span of time (the length of an AfD). I've seen topics in history, philosophy and religion get deleted when sufficient sources could not be mustered and no reasonable indication that sources are available was put forth. On the flip side, I've seen plenty of pop culture articles survive AfD because the prominence of the topic and/or likelihood of sources was clearly established or convincingly argued. Additionally, most articles deleted at AfD (notably barring BLP-issue deletions and POV forks) can easily be undeleted and moved to userspace where the article can be built up (and notability established) at leisure. The situation is not nearly as dire or unfair as you'd present it. On the contrary, pop culture receives a measure of leeway unthinkable in other areas of the wiki (due to a very vocal and dedicated minority). I could not imagine, for example, a series of subarticles lacking independent sources detailing all of the minor figures in the history of a church without it being labeled a "walled garden" or something similar. (And indeed, I have see far less trigger such reactions.) Vassyana (talk) 21:33, 11 June 2008 (UTC)
  • In answer to Masem arguement that Wikipedia should "allow for the inclusion of well written non-notable articles", I must disagree. Notability is Wikipedia's best defence against bad content. WP:V says that if no reliable, third-party sources can be found for an article topic, Wikipedia should not have an article on it. There is a good reason for this: articles that do not meet the requirements of GNC will probably have content and style issues as a result, such as being based on original research, or being over reliant on an in universe perspective. Following on from what Vassyana has said, not only should editors be citing reliable secondary sources in articles on fictional topics, but also there is no valid excuse for not doing so. Because fiction is catered for in a wide range of academic publications, and is also the mainstay of newspapers, magazines and the internet, there is a lot of well sourced content out there just waiting to be harvested, more so that probably any other subject area. Now that museums and universities are being asked to make their archives available to the general public, more and more reliable secondary sourced content is coming online than ever before. I don't think we need to change WP:NOTE to allow more non-notable content; on the contrary, I think notable content is becoming the norm, not just the ideal. --Gavin Collins (talk) 10:07, 11 June 2008 (UTC)