Wikipedia talk:Notability/Archive 29

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This is not a vote

Votes are evil. However: it is probably worth gathering some thoughts under the two general threads evident above.

Proposal A: That "Wikipedia:Notability" be renamed

Supporting reasons given thus far:

  • Wikipedia's definition does not match the usual real world definition
  • The term has pejorative overtones for those subjects which are not appropriate for inclusion, implying a judegment of the merit of the subject
  • Confusion between notable-as-in-significant and notable-as-in-encyclopaedic, leading to circular arguments in deletion debates and elsewhere

Opposing reasons given thus far:

  • If the wrong name is chosen, the scope of the page will increase
  • Potential for obscuring the difference between this (guideline) and formal policy
Supportive of renaming to something
  1. For the reasons stated, especially Phil Sandifer's comment: the word notability is indeed widely perceived as toxic. Guy (Help!) 19:31, 18 September 2008 (UTC)
  2. Agree with rename, if scope is preserved and clarity is improved. "Notability" carries with it real world baggage which is misleading. We're not judging an article's importance or value, but whether it has met our source requirements. Randomran (talk)
  3. Fully agree for the reasons outlined here. Everyme 13:30, 19 September 2008 (UTC)
  4. Agree to rename. This also reflects it's opposition to WP:DP. This is what gets in and WP:DP is what gets taken out, they should match. padillaH (review me)(help me) 13:21, 22 September 2008 (UTC)
  5. I'd support renaming. The common understanding of "notable" - and it is the one expressed here - is "worthy of notice". That's fine, but it doesn't say "has been noticed". This guideline uses a much narrower definition than elsewhere, which leads to a degree of confusion. When told that the topic isn't notable, a common response seems to be to argue that it is, based on many of the reasons (fame, popularity, google hits) that this guideline specifically denies. But being famous does make something notable, as does being popular - just not in our terms. I think the guidline would be better summarized as "worthy of inclusion", simply because that's what the guideline determines - not if it is important, or popular, or famous, but if it has been covered in sufficient reliable sources to make it possible to write an encyclopedic article. - Bilby (talk) 14:03, 22 September 2008 (UTC)
  6. Support. I think that the common English notion of notability is a subjective judgment, which seems to lead to people ignoring what WP:N actually says. --❨Ṩtruthious ℬandersnatch❩ 08:25, 28 September 2008 (UTC)
Opposed to renaming, Notability is good enough
  1. I disagree that renaming to any name would remove the office people are taking at us presuming to judge others for worthiness of inclusion. The only things that can solve ignorance is education and that takes active participation on the one who is ignorant. ---J.S (T/C/WRE) 23:53, 18 September 2008 (UTC)
  2. This proposal is meaningless. You cannot compare one thing. It only makes sense to consider proposals that actually offer an alternative. VasileGaburici (talk) 02:20, 19 September 2008 (UTC)
    This is "Part A" with a tied-in "Part B". It isn't meant for you to take this part in isolation. ---J.S (T/C/WRE) 04:12, 19 September 2008 (UTC)
  3. I think there's a larger problem that a simple "feel good" renaming solution can provide; that's not to say we shouldn't aim to make inclusion/notability/whatever be a more positive turn, but such an approach needs to be married with a strong look at the content of the guideline (currently in progress at the RFC) and not just name alone. --MASEM 04:36, 19 September 2008 (UTC)
  4. This proposal incurs disadvantages without solving a problem. Does this proposal stem from a desire to make the page name speak for itself? If so, designing a name with little common meaning goes against this purpose. WP:N notability speaks for itself plenty because it uses a real-world word. It would be fantastic if we could find an article name that helps the reader understand it, and at the same time avoids conflating the article name with colloquial meanings, but that hope is absurd. Besides, notability is not an easy concept to master, and we can only expect so much from an article name. —KanodinVENT— 07:32, 19 September 2008 (UTC)
    It uses a real-world word in an almost completely made-up and unrealistic meaning. One of the biggest issues with "Notability" is it doesn't mean "Notability" in Wikipedia. You are right when you say notability is not an easy concept to master, because editors on WP have completely made-up the definition. How much clearer can you get than "Inclusion Policy"? Do you know what "Inclusion Policy would cover? I can tell just from the name. And to tell someone that "this article needs to go, it does not meet inclusion policy" is a dead giveaway. padillaH (review me)(help me) 13:30, 22 September 2008 (UTC)
    That is correct. The ordinary meaning of notability does not cover the inclusion criterion. That is an ad hoc addition to WP:N. —KanodinVENT— 01:08, 23 September 2008 (UTC)
  5. Relatively useless. We have severe problems with getting special interests to accept the contents of this policy, not the name. Does anyone really think that being told "I'm sorry, you can't be included" or "I'm sorry, your favorite local band is unincludable" is going to go down easier that "non-notable."?Kww (talk) 13:45, 19 September 2008 (UTC)
    It may not be more favorable but it will be a lot more understandable. The alternative is the current "I'm sorry your band that has headlined at your bar for three years is not notable. Well, not 'Notable' the way you think of using 'Notable' but another use for notable that we made up as a means of keeping things that don't have enough..." No one is listening by the end of that. "Inclusion Policy" doesn't have a conflicting real-world deffinition that we hav to overcome first. It takes at least one step out of the argument. padillaH (review me)(help me) 13:30, 22 September 2008 (UTC)
    We can and should always point out the difference between subjective concepts like "fame" or "importance" and the decision process we have in place to help us determine what will be included. "Notability" does a horrible job in that respect because it still implies a value judgement, or at least a normative outlook — even though most experienced users know the difference, that makes it a poor choice of word in most discussions. "Inclusion" or "Inclusion guideline" clearly and straightforwardly focuses on our decision process as such. If some ass curtly told a newbie "I'm sorry, you can't be included" or "I'm sorry, your favorite local band is unincludable", I'd warn them against biting and ask them to explain their position instead. Actually I think the title "inclusion" in itself would direct a clearer appeal to all sides to make their point instead of simply name-dropping the name of the guideline. Imho, "WP:Notability" sounds like an assuming statement, namely that "we can decide what is notable" — while "WP:Inclusion guideline" simply says "we're here, having ongoing discussions about what will be included" (mind the big difference to "what should be included"). Everyme 15:23, 19 September 2008 (UTC)
    So, the fact taht it does not fix every single problem is a reason for not fixing one of the worse ones? Guy (Help!) 22:23, 19 September 2008 (UTC)
  6. I most heartily disagree with your contention that the word notable implies a value judgement. Our use of it here on Wikipedia is in it's most literal sense, that is that someone has "taken note" of the subject. In a single word notable sums up the fact that subjects need to be non-trivially mentioned in multiple reliable sources that are independent of the subject. I don't see that any other term would serve as well. I think that any other term would, in fact, make things worse.—Elipongo (Talk contribs) 15:26, 21 September 2008 (UTC)
    And I would support this outlook, except for the fact that it's not true at all. You had to defend it before you even completed your statement. "Non-trivial". What part of the word "Notable" means non-trivial? You say "it's most literal sense, that is that someone has "taken note" of the subject." But then are forced to qualify that in the very next sentence. Not that literal a use, is it? Even it's explanation has to be qualified. If I tell you it doesn't meet the "Inclusion Guideline", I don't have to argue my way out of that. I don't have to redefine "Inclusion" or "Guideline". I just have to list the guidelines and have them met. No arguments about "it's noted in the Cedar Rapids Picyune, isn't that a note?" The guidelines are what they are, I don't have to start the conversation with a defense of the definition of "Guidelines". padillaH (review me)(help me) 13:38, 22 September 2008 (UTC)
    In looking up 'notability' in various dictionaries, it is plain that there is always going to be a subjective element to many pieces of nominated information. In the end, we are dealing with human beings, not web spiders, and people are going to agree or disagree. It really does not matter what we call it; the essential fact is that we have a mechanism in place already to have the discussions. In the end, these healthy dialogues generally resolve the issue (and educate us all in the process). I say, leave it as is.SunTzuGuy (talk) 21:06, 3 October 2008 (UTC)

Proposal B: If renamed, then...

Potential titles suggested thus far:

Inclusion guideline

Notability is (explicitly) just a guideline, but some feel that adding guideline to the title will encourage wikilawyering.

  1. See also Inclusion below. Guy (Help!) 19:30, 18 September 2008 (UTC)
  2. Both WP:Inclusion and WP:Inclusion guideline are fine by me. I think I favour the latter especially since there's no harm in naming the page in a straightforward and descriptive way: the inclusion guideline page which outlines the basics about our ongoing negotiations over what will be included and what will not. Everyme 13:46, 19 September 2008 (UTC)
  1. With both inclusion and inclusion guideline we have an opportunity to roll back some of the creep which has happened over time with notability. The value of this page is primarily in determining what merits inclusion, its major use is in deciding the marginal cases at deletion debates. This may offer the opportunity to prune back on the proliferation of rules and be much more explicit about what the guideline is for, and thus what is expected in an appropriate article subject. As a means fo reducing confusion, that would seem to me to have merit. Guy (Help!) 19:30, 18 September 2008 (UTC)
  2. Oppose. Having a policy and an guideline with the same name would be very confusing. This was pointed out by many others above: Seresin, Kanodin, Hut 8.5 to name a few. VasileGaburici (talk) 01:48, 19 September 2008 (UTC)
    Please don't take this too personal, but I think you may be confusing things. Where does anyone say anything about a guideline and a policy? This entire discussion is merely about whether we rename the page "WP:Notability" to something different. Everyme 15:50, 19 September 2008 (UTC)
  3. I support focusing the issue from being about notability to being about inclusion as that is really the measure, but as I comment above, this is not just replacing the word notability with inclusion - notability is one factor for inclusion, but the verdict is still out if we include topics in some manner if not notable, and thus there may be more than just notability that makes up inclusion. --MASEM 04:39, 19 September 2008 (UTC)
  1. Not a meaningful name as pointed out by several editor above. Would increase the confusion. VasileGaburici (talk) 01:49, 19 September 2008 (UTC)
Minimum sources
  1. The guideline is a subjective assessment of value, but an objective requirement for a minimum amount of sources: significant coverage in reliable third-party sources. This also sums up a key part of WP:V: If no reliable, third-party sources can be found for an article topic, Wikipedia should not have an article on it. It also helps the guideline to maintain its current scope, rather than turning it into a general inclusion guideline. Randomran (talk) 20:09, 18 September 2008 (UTC)
  2. Weak oppose - This could be workable, but I have a similar suggestion below that may work better. Consensus on notability is less strict than the policy quoted policy on sources (from WP:RS, not WP:V) by considering "whether it readily could be." ~ Ningauble (talk) 22:05, 19 September 2008 (UTC)
Wikipedia:Your worth as a human being is not tied to having an article on Wikipedia.
  1. Is that what this all about? If the complaint is that people are getting offended by the non-pejorative term, lets make it even more clear. ---J.S (T/C/WRE) 23:44, 18 September 2008 (UTC)
  2. I'm all for adding a "consolation" paragraph to WP:N or even link from WP:N to separate essay should someone endeavor to write it. VasileGaburici (talk) 02:24, 19 September 2008 (UTC)
    Someone has. ---J.S (T/C/WRE) 04:10, 19 September 2008 (UTC)
Inclusion Threshold
  1. Why not? That's exactly what N is, the threshold upon which you can have an article. Spartaz Humbug! 14:57, 19 September 2008 (UTC)
  2. The term "threshold" is not categorically different from "notability" in that both have an entirely unuseful normative ring to it. Why not throw all of that overboard and give the page a title that highlights simply what the page really is about? Everyme 15:06, 19 September 2008 (UTC)
    I disagree. "Inclusion" alone is too normative in my opinion; adding "threshold" suggests that it is not a value judgment but rather an analytical process. However, it looks moot as this whole discussion appears to be heading nowhere.--Kubigula (talk) 16:17, 20 September 2008 (UTC)
Independent coverage threshold
  1. This characterizes the nature of the criterion in terms that could hardly be taken as characterization of the subject itself, and emphasizes that Wikipedia coverage is not arbitrary, but is determined by third-party coverage. Within the guideline, expunge such toxic phrases as "worthy of notice" and replace with such phrases as "within the scope of Wikipedia coverage." Replace other references to "notable" with "within scope," "well covered," "suitable," "appropriate," etc., as fits the context. Obliterate reference to "merit." ~ Ningauble (talk) 22:10, 19 September 2008 (UTC)
  2. Support as informative and consistent with what notability currently describes. Too many other proposals offer no additional clarity, and change the scope completely. Randomran (talk) 22:24, 19 September 2008 (UTC)
  3. God no. Everyme 22:37, 19 September 2008 (UTC)
Overview of inclusion guidelines
  1. This seems to me to be the intent of Wikipedia:Notability when Radiant! edited it in September 2006[1]. The "GNG" seems to me to have been an attempt to summarize the various subject-specific notability guidelines (which weren't actually "notability" guidelines until this requested move] in December 2005. --Pixelface (talk) 03:39, 20 September 2008 (UTC)
Adequate standard for topic inclusion
  1. I know this name is long, but it's based on this sentence in WP:NA topic is presumed to be sufficiently notable to merit an article if it meets the general notability guidelines below, or if it meets an accepted subject-specific standard listed in the table at the right. Basically, the GNG is meant to provide a standard that makes any topic suitable for inclusion. The subject-specific "notability" guidelines are meant to provide a standard that makes specific categories of topics suitable for inclusion. Neither are meant to make editor's arguments in AFDs irrelevant. The standard, GNG, is adequate, not required. --Pixelface (talk) 03:39, 20 September 2008 (UTC)
  1. If "coverage" of a topic is what editors want, perhaps Wikipedia:Coverage would be the most appropriate title for this page. --Pixelface (talk) 03:39, 20 September 2008 (UTC)
  1. (There is not enough information available from reliable sources to write a verifiable, neutral, encyclopaedia article which is free of original research.) Guest9999 (talk) 02:24, 21 September 2008 (UTC)
I like it. ---J.S (T/C/WRE) 20:33, 21 September 2008 (UTC)
Me too. If we decide to stick to describing a treshold in the title, this is the most straightforward description and should be it. Everyme 10:42, 22 September 2008 (UTC)
right idea, ... but it does not spell an easily remembered (and preferably witty) word ... all good acronyms should do that. Think in terms of military acronyms such as REMF (rear eschelon mother fucker), SNAFU (situation normal, all fucked up) and CINCUS (Comander in Chief, United States). Can we come up with a title that sings when you make an acronym of it? Blueboar (talk) 20:17, 29 September 2008 (UTC)

General notability guideline

  1. Lets call a spade a spade. WP:N is the general notability guideline.--Gavin Collins (talk) 15:24, 3 October 2008 (UTC)
  1. This is the quality of having substance or being substantial. This indicates that the topic of an article should be essential, distinct and of some weight. As a recent example of where this concept might improve our project, consider Defense (military) which is a poor article currently at AFD. It is likely to survive because the word defense is used widely and so it seems that the subject is notable. However I feel that the article has failed because it does not have a clear topic and the subject matter is covered better in other articles such as Warfare. Colonel Warden (talk) 13:33, 10 October 2008 (UTC)
add more here

Purpose of Notability

Hi. In trying to follow the various debates here and on the RFC I must admit that I'm a tad confused. Mostly because I'm not 100% certain about the purpose of the notability guideline. I thought I knew, but I'm concerned that either I was wrong, or that there are two (of three?) different perspectives, of which mine is one. So I was wondering if it was possible to clarify something here? It seems to me that there are three possibilities as to why WP:Notability exists:

a) The guideline's purpose is to make sure that all articles in Wikipedia have sufficient independent reliable sources so as to allow an article to be written to an encyclopedic standard.
b) The purpose of the guideline is to make sure that only articles that are sufficiently significant (eg "notable") to warrant an article are included.
c) A combination of a) and b) - the guideline exists to make sure that only significant articles which can be referenced from independent reliable sources are kept in Wikipedia.

I'm curious, as it seems to me that all three views can be supported by the guidelines as they stand to the exclusion of the others. Yet b) and c) involve value judgments of worthiness, (even though we don't make those judgments ourselves), and are therefore radically different to a).

Anyway, if this has been gone over countless times before just point out that I'm an idiot - I tried finding something, but nothing turned up that answered this with the clarity I was hoping for, but the way we run discussions doesn't make searching easy, I'm afraid. - Bilby (talk) 05:30, 7 October 2008 (UTC)

For me it's more about (a). But I think other people might disagree. WP:N is just an extrapolation of WP:BURDEN, that we remove information that isn't supported by reliable third-party sources. Randomran (talk) 05:33, 7 October 2008 (UTC)
One other reason for notability: it helps to prevent WP from being an indiscriminate collection of information; we simply cannot reasonably contain all knowledge while achieving WP's mission. --MASEM 05:35, 7 October 2008 (UTC)
Would I be right in assuming that this placed the guideline in c)? That it is about what "should" be in Wikipedia as much as what could be written about to WP's standards? - Bilby (talk) 05:51, 7 October 2008 (UTC)
Why not? Why would verifyable knowledge intervene against mission? What's the point of added constraints? What's the point of a mission (quote please) if it can't get along with knowledge? NVO (talk) 18:59, 8 October 2008 (UTC)
b) is the most accurate description of NOTE. It's hoped that a) follows from b). - Peregrine Fisher (talk) (contribs) 19:14, 8 October 2008 (UTC)
I tend to disagree; Wikipedia "notability" has nothing to do with real-world importance anymore, if it ever did. The main use for WP:N is as an explanatory page for new editors, that we point to when they have created an article for which there are no reliable sources whatsoever. — Carl (CBM · talk) 19:35, 8 October 2008 (UTC)
Historically speaking, notability was a concept raised as justification for deleting articles back in the wild and wooly days when we were not that big on citing sources. Over time, verifiability and lack of references stepped up as deletion reasons, and notability started to evolve, and to do so controversially. We had several stuttering attempts at a general notability guideline, most of which failed. The general goal, in all cases, was to set a threshold of importance to be in Wikipedia.
Eventually we came to create subject notability guides that sorted this out in specific areas. The problem was that this led to decisions that were jarring - porn stars and academics had similarly permissive guidelines, despite the fact that this led to a glut of porn star articles, and led to lots of exclusion of pretty significant academic topics. The legacy of this can be found in some specific areas - the decision to include all high schools is an old one that remains basically unchallenged, even as topics that actually have wider support on the whole (episodes and characters, academics, professional athletes) become controversial, just because the high schools decision was made back when subject notability was the main approach.
In any case, eventually someone created this page as an attempt to create a general case, which led to a significant transition as notability became about sources instead of importance - at least on the policy issue.
But a lot of the problem is that various previous versions of the debate - including a debate on whether exclusion for unimportance is even appropriate, the subject-level notability decisions, and now whether importance or sourcing is the central issue - have remain entrenched in the dialogue. So notability has, basically, become a steadily worsening area of discussion within Wikipedia as the issues get progressively more confused and esoteric. Phil Sandifer (talk) 19:42, 8 October 2008 (UTC)
  • I am suprised that someone with education such as Phil should disparage the concept of notability. I think that sourcing articles by Standing on the shoulders of giants is the best method of writing encyclopdic articles. --Gavin Collins (talk) 21:59, 8 October 2008 (UTC)
  • Where did I disparage notability? I disparaged the process by which we developed the current guideline, but it's a sausage factory. I am not an "include everything" sort. Phil Sandifer (talk) 23:41, 8 October 2008 (UTC)
Adding to what Phil said, and I think agreeing with him, I see it as also the original concentration on "article" left over from the printed encyclopedias we are all familiar with. (actually its not even that sharp--the Brittanica has experimented in the direction of both long and short & the major French & German encyclopedia have been in every possible variation--from short entries for everything to one article per volume.) There is a basic difference between articles as a measure of importance and articles as a matter of convenient arrangement. It is no longer, as in the print days,a a matter of trying to give direct access without needing an index--automatic cross references have solved at least that one. The "articles as importance view" is fortified by Google's use of placement in a title as a major factor in ranking (not a bad idea from their point of view, but not necessarily helpful to us.) There is another factor, equally unfortunate and equally inescapable--the tendency of people o read only the first screen. Not that most non-academics actually liked long print texts, but that they are even less willing to read long texts on the web. I see no immediate solution between these different ways of looking at it. I certainly do se a long range solution--a database, in which we would write about,say,each fictional character once, and the material could be rearranged as either separate articles, or a long combination one for the work, or perhaps a very long combination one for the series or even the author, or as short one sentence mentions in a list. There should be no great difficulty either in letting the user choose the presentation and the amount of detail. This applies to other factors too--the reader should be able to choose either as a default or a one time setting, to see full bibliographies, or a few basic references, or none at all; to see links or not to see links or to see full word by word hypertext; to see lede paragraphs and pictures only, or to see all the content; to see an editable view, or to see a fixed view, as well as such trivial things as date and number preferences. (I'd prefer for my own reader, for example, to see all number except the word 'one' transcribed into figures, as in some technical styles. xml can do all this, and it's an open format. whether a volunteer community can organise the necessary controlled rewriting remains to be seen.
The 2RS =N formulation, in particular, is an admission of incompetence at decision making. An arbitrary standard, whose usefulness depends entirely upon an increasingly complicated interpretation of RS. We can and in practice do, adjust it to meet whatever subjective notions of notability we have. Gavin's idea of sourcing relies on the giants being there on a consistent basis, and inherently makes us dependent on the limitations of conventional works and web searching, neither of which = notability, just media limitations. We should be more than the old idea, I think expressed by JW , of "a filter on the web." -- a mere enriched Internet directory, with selected excepts as well as plain links. DGG (talk) 22:20, 8 October 2008 (UTC)
Hear hear. Phil Sandifer (talk) 23:41, 8 October 2008 (UTC)

If we focus on notability as importance, we get into an off track discussion about what's worth covering. But when we start from such policies as "If no reliable, third-party sources can be found for an article topic, Wikipedia should not have an article on it" and "Wikipedia articles should rely mainly on published reliable secondary sources", we invariably end up with something like "if a topic has received significant coverage in reliable secondary sources that are independent of the subject, it is presumed to satisfy the inclusion criteria for a stand-alone article". Calling that rule "notability" might come across as too judgmental. But the idea that we actually back up our assertions with sources of a high standard is a basic credibility and quality issue. But if you want to talk about what is or isn't worth covering, that's really a discussion for WP:NOT. Randomran (talk) 22:56, 8 October 2008 (UTC)

You can't unfocus notability as importance. It's A) what the term basically means, B) what our usage of the term evolved out of concerns about, and C) how it's still widely used on AfD. Phil Sandifer (talk) 23:41, 8 October 2008 (UTC)
Why not? I happen to think it's a good guideline that's been given an inaccurate name, which las led to numerous misunderstandings at AFDs. After all, when you look at it in the context of WP:V and WP:OR, the guideline itself is a necessary conclusion -- regardless of what nickname we give it. "If a topic has received significant coverage in reliable secondary sources that are independent of the subject, it is presumed to satisfy the inclusion criteria for a stand-alone article". Randomran (talk) 05:49, 9 October 2008 (UTC)
  • In answer to DGG, the argument that WP:N makes us "dependent on the limitations of conventional works and web searching" is a spurious arguement. The fact is that over the ages, people have gathered knowledge from a multitude of sources, and have always relied on secondary sources for analysis, criticism and context for the purposes of interpretation. In the absence of any other source of guidance (other than POV) as to what topics should or should not be included in Wikipedia, I suggest we continue to follow this tradition. --Gavin Collins (talk) 09:08, 9 October 2008 (UTC)

Looks like I was wrong, then. :) I pictured it as a), and feared c), but b) seems to be far more likely than I thought, or at least to carry more weight than I expected. As an aside on this, I have an insane love/hate relationship with discourse analysis techniques, (love the rigour, hate the work involved), so I was messing about with analyzing the RfC, and in the first proposal there was a clear distinction in support votes between "has reliable sources" and "is notable", which would seem to support b). (It's one of the first and most obvious patterns to emerge). If something can be sourced and not notable, then presumably it might not fit a), even though it may fit b). Although I guess that also runs into the "sourced to an encyclopedic level" issue. My concern on this is on two levels - personally, I was worried I had it wrong (and the jury is out on that), but more generally one of my collegues is fond of arguing that you can't understand, modify or build a system unless you understand its purpose. So in discussions she'd be the one asking "why", while I was the one begging for definitions. I'm still not sure what this discussion means in this case, but it looks like there is a pattern present. - Bilby (talk) 14:56, 9 October 2008 (UTC)

For me, the closest answer given there is b, but the explaination's not exactly why I support it; it's a combination that WP is not an indiscriminate collection of information, and that we have to have something that is scalable and maintainable as information grows; it is about what is appropriate to include as well as part of WP's broad coverage allowances to make us relevant yet trustworthy. It just so happens that when topics are covered by secondary sources, we nicely meet V, OR, and NPOV, but my read of the past is that notability was not designed to be for that purpose, it just is a great and quite usable happenstance that WP:N can be used for that purpose. --MASEM 15:10, 9 October 2008 (UTC)

Inclusion of user subpage on "essays related to notability"

If the user subpage User:Hiding/What notability is not, presumably one person's view, hasn't merited posting to the Wikipedia namespace, then should it be advertised as a reference on a Wikipedia guidelines article?—Largo Plazo (talk) 17:51, 6 October 2008 (UTC)

  • In my view, no personal essay should be advertised as a reference on Wikipedia guidelines. --Gavin Collins (talk) 08:26, 13 October 2008 (UTC)

WP:NPF conflicts with WP:NNC?

WP:NPF: "Wikipedia also contains biographies of people who, while notable enough for an entry, are not generally well known. In such cases, editors should exercise restraint and include only material relevant to their notability, while omitting information that is irrelevant to the subject's notability."

WP:NNC: "The notability guidelines determine whether a topic is notable enough to be a separate article in Wikipedia. They do not regulate the content of articles, except for lists of people[10]. Instead, various content policies govern article content."

Yes, BLP is a content policy, and NPV is a section of BLP, but I think it's worth discussing. --Ronz (talk) 17:23, 13 October 2008 (UTC)

Doesn't NNC say go look at NPF for content advice? - Peregrine Fisher (talk) (contribs) 17:47, 13 October 2008 (UTC)
There's not much to discuss. Just practice good sense: BLP (NPF included) does not prescribe reduction of an article to just one line. The article should still aspire to FA level, i.e. to comprehensive coverage. There are plenty of FAs on obscure living personalities (Lee Smith (baseball), Marcus Trescothick, J. R. Richard etc.) and they contain plenty of info irrelevant to their notability. This information, however, is properly referenced per RS and BLP and is relevant in providing a well-rounded presentation of each personality. Problem is, for most "not generally well-known" people it's not available. NVO (talk) 18:54, 13 October 2008 (UTC)

Notability of journalism articles

Is there a guideline on notability of journalism articles (articles published in newspapers, magazines etc.)? I am debating a merge of Is Google Making Us Stupid? and a notability guideline on the subject would be useful. --Cyclopia (talk) 12:18, 10 October 2008 (UTC)

There's no exact guideline, so it would fall to the general notability guideline: that there need to be reliable secondary sources about it. This means the article itself and its author are primary sources, and there would need to be critical commentary about the article itself (not just used as a source elsewhere) to qualify. Looking at the article, I see such sources do exist, so the topic is notable; this doesn't mean you can't suggest merging it if you it can be discussed better in a larger context. I also didn't look at the text, but this is also the type of case where original research could abound, so it's a caution just to avoid. --MASEM 12:27, 10 October 2008 (UTC)
Yes, but I am also concerned about WP:NTEMP. In the cited article (but probably also in general) a newspaper article is likely to induce some short-term commentary, but then to fade into obscurity. The comparison is, for example, with The Thriving Cult of Greed and Power: this article generated lawsuits etc. and it represents an historical landmark on the media coverage and public opinion of Scientology. While in the case of the article I am suggesting the merge of, I am unsure (there is indeed evidence of higher-than-average discussion), it seems the discussion is more on the concerns raised by the sources cited in the article, than the article itself. But I don't want to delve too much into that peculiar case. I just would like a discussion on a guideline about journalism articles. What is the process to start such a discussion? Is this talk page enough? --Cyclopia (talk) 12:55, 10 October 2008 (UTC)
In in some cases writing an article here focused around a newspaper or magazine article is the best way of discussing a subject. In the case you mention, I too have have been trying to think what to do: the magazine article is not yet a classic, but a merge to internet seems impossibly broad, while I cannot think of a good more specific title. If you can, perhaps you should suggest moving, not merging the existing article. If not, I'd suggest we leave it, and add to it until someone has something better to suggest. We are not bound by any formal notability guideline, and can decide for ourselves Wikipedia article by Wikipedia article what we want to call "notable" enough for a separate article. Some people call this IAR--I don;, for aI don't consider ntability a principal or a rule, just a convention to use when appropriate. We decide first what we want to do, & then find or interpret the guidelines. DGG (talk) 03:42, 11 October 2008 (UTC)

I am trying to survey the Category:Magazine articles and Category:Journal articles to understand a bit the situation. So far, that's my POV on the magazine articles:

Well sourced and of established notability:

Potentially notable but maybe better merged somewhere:

Mostly unsourced /of dubious notability:

Having a look to all those article in my opinion makes clear that a guideline on the notability of such articles is needed. Magazine articles suffer issues due to high WP:NTEMP concerns and often sources about their notability are self-referential. My own impression is that each "probably notable" article is surrounded by a brief burst of debate about itself but its general notability and long-term impact are questionable. They contain content that deserves to be mentioned or discussed on WP, but not in an article of its own -for example, Tribal Rites of the New Saturday Night could well be merged within Saturday Night Fever. However it is also true that the cultural impact of magazine/journal articles will follow different patterns from that of books or other subjects. In my opinion the survey shows that such articles need a consensual notability guideline. --Cyclopia (talk) 11:01, 11 October 2008 (UTC)

I don't think they do (we're trying to avoid rule creep wrt to notability as much as possible. NTEMP definitely is more important for these works than for other areas The standards for references also fall under what we need from RS and secondary sources. There's really no other major criteria that a separate guideline could go into. --MASEM 11:15, 11 October 2008 (UTC)
I agree with WP:CREEP but in this case is not adding rulesets on rulesets on the same kind of articles: it's about having a well definite, separate guideline for this kind of articles. It's something that would substitute the general notability guideline. As for major criteria, the problem is that I don't know that much about journalism to fully understand if there are separate criteria that may be of concern, and I'm bringing here the issue to discuss. However thank you to remind me of rule creep, I will keep it in the back of my mind. --Cyclopia (talk) 11:19, 11 October 2008 (UTC)
What's wrong with WP:N that can be cured with local micro-rules? Why not perfect the upper-level guideline? The problem with uber-narrow notability guidelines is that they are compiled/discussed/consensused by a very small group of users; a small group is inevitably short-sighted and cannot take care of all possible situations. This limitation is normally noticed at the discussion stages, the project is marked an essay and goes to the trashbin. See the graveyard of notability exercises. NVO (talk) 13:11, 11 October 2008 (UTC)
Also: there is Wikipedia:Notability (books). What's wrong with it that makes WP:Notability (journal articles) necessary? NVO (talk) 13:11, 11 October 2008 (UTC)

The survey above missed out the articles in the subcategories, the Wired articles and the Hunter S. Thompson essays:

What should be done with those? The survey above also omitted journal articles. I'll list those below in a new section. Carcharoth (talk) 13:42, 14 October 2008 (UTC)

Journal papers

Someone above mentioned "magazine/journal articles". What was discussed and surveyed above are magazine articles. Academic papers published in journals are a different matter, and have a different category: Category:Journal articles. The Wikipedia articles are:

Extended content

Where should the line be drawn here? Annus Mirabilis papers exists but was not in this category for some reason. I've added it, along with Sokal affair. Carcharoth (talk) 13:42, 14 October 2008 (UTC)

Ehm, I was perfectly aware of all these articles. I just posted that category as a short example. I don't understand the point of this list, unless you are going to look up them for quality/notability and evidence dubious examples. --Cyclopia (talk) 13:56, 14 October 2008 (UTC)
Ah. I saw that you posted the entire content of one category (articles) but not the other (journals). I assumed you had got side-tracked and forgotten to addreess the issue of journal articles. Apologies. Still, while the list is there, I went through it, and there are interesting ones. Would you have time to say which ones you think are clearly notable and clearly dubious (ignoring the mass of other articles in between). I'll do a preliminary re-organisation now. Carcharoth (talk) 14:00, 14 October 2008 (UTC)
I believe strongly that any academic who has first-author on a paper in a peer-reviewed journal should have an article that, at the very least, summarizes their work. (I'm open to the form this could take - for some academics it may be easiest to consolidate their coverage into the articles on the topics they've written on, for instance. My lone first-authored publication at present is on Calvin and Hobbes, and my paper is covered adequately in Calvin and Hobbes). I recognize that this runs into problems with WP:N, but to my mind, here in particular we are running into an issue of our mandate. An encyclopedia encompasses all knowledge and teachings - that's what the word means. Absolutely ground zero for that - the single most useful resource we could provide - would be thorough coverage of academic research and knowledge. Nobody will ever fault an encyclopedia for being too thorough in its coverage of academic research. Phil Sandifer (talk) 14:00, 14 October 2008 (UTC)
As an academic who has more than one first-author papers in peer-reviewed journals, I strongly oppose this proposal. There is ISI Web of Science, PubMed or Google Scholar if one is interested on such things. I would welcome however a notability criteria based for example on the h-index -giving default notability to people with, say, h-indexes > 20. --Cyclopia (talk) 16:01, 14 October 2008 (UTC)
None of those resources duplicate the functionality of a free (as in libre) resource summarizing academic research. I am not particularly picky on the means by which we obtain this depth of coverage - articles on academics, on articles, or just extended, detailed sections on any article about academic coverage of the topic. I'm flexible. But I think it is clearly the case that this is something that encyclopedias should do. Phil Sandifer (talk) 16:08, 14 October 2008 (UTC)
Well, you are free to create a wiki about that (for example at Wikia) and hey, I would happily help you on that! But thousands of articles on every Ph.D. student who roamed the Earth is, in my opinion, cleary something that a generic encyclopedia should not do. --Cyclopia (talk) 16:14, 14 October 2008 (UTC)
Given the trouble we have getting even minimally adequate coverage of academia on Wikipedia, I do not see Wikia as a viable option. Again, I'm not saying articles on every PhD student who roamed the earth - quite the contrary. I think, for instance, that my work is, at present, best covered in articles on the subjects of my work - Calvin and Hobbes, for instance. My point is that we should have some coverage of any peer-reviewed piece of scholarship. Somewhere. In some article. Phil Sandifer (talk) 16:19, 14 October 2008 (UTC)
Do you have an idea of the sheer size of the peer-reviewed scientific literature? I think the current rate of peer reviewed articles coming out every day greatly exceeds 1 Hz -that is, there is more than one peer reviewed paper out every second. Such an attempt of coverage is impossible. Moreover, Wikipedia is not a directory; Wikipedia is not an indiscriminate collection. Wikipedia covers relevant facts that can be of general interest. --Cyclopia (talk) 16:31, 14 October 2008 (UTC)
I would hope that Wikipedia would not be so blatantly anti-intellectual as to replace "general interest" for "academic interest" in defining the scope of the "human knowledge" it purports to cover. Phil Sandifer (talk) 16:54, 14 October 2008 (UTC)
There is not so much to hope. General interest in this context is of course in a very wide and stretchable sense. However what you are proposing turns notability upside-down, and this is one of the fundamental tenets of WP. You are free to make some formal proposal and request comment on it, but don't hold your breath. We're not here to cover all human knowledge: we're here to have a decent summary of it. If you want a mirror of human knowledge, use Google and databases. I personally think that a separate wiki covering peer reviewed research and academics would be an interesting and exciting project (again:I will be happy to help you on that! Why don't you contact me to discuss it privately?), but I also think that polluting WP with a mention of every peer reviewed paper ever published is ridicolous. Go write an article on DNA having to reference every paper ever published on DNA and let me know when you have finished. The result would not be an encyclopedia article, nor a book: it will be more akin to a decent size library. Really, it makes no sense here. --Cyclopia (talk) 17:27, 14 October 2008 (UTC)
Ah, but is that article on DNA helped by having Molecular Structure of Nucleic Acids: A Structure for Deoxyribose Nucleic Acid? It's not the first ever paper, but it is the most important. Have a look here at the number of articles linking to this article. Sorry, retract that. Most of those links are due to use of Template:History of biology, not links from the main article text. <sigh> Template-link-cruft, I call it. Carcharoth (talk) 18:47, 14 October 2008 (UTC)
I must confess I don't understand what did you mean to convey; in any case Molecular Structure of Nucleic Acids: A Structure for Deoxyribose Nucleic Acid is a relevant exception in the context of academic papers to be covered. It is by itself a landmark of scientific discovery and communication, it has been the center of a controversy and it is among the most known biology papers in the world -it is for molecular biology what De Revolutionibus has been for astronomy, say. The fact that paper is notable on its merits (and probably also less known ones) does not mean every paper is notable -just like the fact some people are notable does not mean every human being is notable. --Cyclopia (talk) 19:16, 14 October 2008 (UTC)
Yes, I agree. But I thought your use of DNA as an example was interesting, seeing as one of the articles mentioned earlier was this one. If you had used astronomy as an example, I would have used De Revolutionibus as my example. In some obscure fields, or where there is little information, we genuinely do need to aim to mention every paper published on a particular topic. But obviously not for the broader topics. Sometimes taking an article and thinking "how can I improve this - which of these thousands of papers and books are suitable as reliable sources" is one strategy. Taking an academic paper or book and thinking "can I use this as a source to help improve Wikipedia, and which article would be appropriate" is another strategy. Both approaches have their advantages and disadvantages. Primary versus secondary literature also comes into play here. Carcharoth (talk) 20:07, 14 October 2008 (UTC)
I don't think we're talking about academics - we're talking about specific published articles, regardless if the academic is notable or not. Also, "first-author" may or may not really represent who is the critical mind or minds behind the work. I've seen certain authors who place themselves last but are the ones that make up the body of the work. Also, this would lead to a lot to implying that nearly all graduate students in any field are notable since very likely they will have at least one published work with their name first (you can even consider their thesis as a reviewed work) before they leave college, and that's too loose a requirement for notability. (However, this is getting off track from the discussion on articles). --MASEM 14:05, 14 October 2008 (UTC)
My point is more "all peer-reviewed articles should be covered in some fashion," whether in articles on themselves, their authors, or their subjects. This should be a goal of Wikipedia. We should be careful and prudent in how we try to achieve it, but in general I think that supporting more detailed coverage of academic research in Wikipedia is almost always the right move. Phil Sandifer (talk) 16:08, 14 October 2008 (UTC)
I strongly disagree - not every peer-reviewed article (which there are a lot of, thus this edges on indiscriminate, as well as being a directory) nor author of such is notable. Yes, we should make sure that notable academics and their fields and contributions to research are recognized which can include authored papers, but without any other qualification, every published peer-review article, and every person that ever contributed to such, is not notable. --MASEM 16:17, 14 October 2008 (UTC)
But they are, at a minimum, reliable sources of the sort we consider optimal for our use. Which is why I say we should have some coverage of them. Furthermore, we have to think about what an encyclopedia is. I'm all for our coverage of popular culture, but in the end, academic scholarship is closer to the core mission of an encyclopedia than anything else, and we need to make sure that our notability policies do not prevent us from performing the basic function of providing an account of human knowledge.
But again, I am not picky here. I am happy to see them covered in sizable sections of subject articles, as my research is. To me, the most crucial point is that some coverage should take place. Phil Sandifer (talk) 16:29, 14 October 2008 (UTC)
Journal articles being used as references in topics is completely reasonable, but what you write sounds like you want to take PUBMED, Chemical Abstracts, and numerous other cataloging indexes and have WP serve that purpose as well, and will be a PITA to maintain in the first place. By the same logic, any referenced work would need to have an article about it, and due to WP:V, there will be more sources for those new articles, that would also demand the same treatment. Yes, I agree our coverage of academics is low, but this not due to notability holding back any notable academic, notable field or topic, or the like, from being covered, simply a matter of volunteerism and getting people to work in articles in these areas that are actually good experts in the fields, so they can bring in the proper journal sources to improve such articles. --MASEM 16:37, 14 October 2008 (UTC)
2,581,960 articles is already a PITA to maintain in the first place. But yes - given that every peer reviewed article is a reliable source with what we would consider a significant viewpoint, our goal should be to have some coverage of all of them. Yes, this is a pain in the ass, and probably an unachievable goal. C'est la vie.
But I disagree even more strongly with your claim that notability is not a factor in our lack of coverage of articles. I point you toward Peggy Kamuf - a top scholar in her field - nearly getting deleted on notability grounds. People are perfectly happy to unthinkingly scour coverage of academic research as much as anything else. The problem is, with the paucity of people actually writing articles in this area, it is even more fragile than other areas, and more in need of explicit protection, and, frankly, encouragement. It baffles me that one of the earliest SNGs was the academics guideline - as though that were a major area of cruft that needs to be cleared. We should not have guidelines restricting our coverage of academic topics. We should have guidelines called "Please beg any professor you know to add paragraphs describing scholarly publications to relevant articles." Phil Sandifer (talk) 16:54, 14 October 2008 (UTC)
It may seem weird, but there are times where how academics are treated fall in the same way that pop culture fandom are treated. I'm personally am in a certain scientific field, and I know there a good dozen or so names that are the best minds in the field, published numerous papers, books, etc. But, because of how this field interacts with other major fields, these people and what they write have minimal, if any, notability (per WP definition) in the larger context. They are important, but they are not notable. That doesn't mean that we can't cover them in an article about the field, but to give them more credit than what sources external to the field and those involved is the same problem when people want to have deep coverage of fictional topics when the topic is not covered well outside of that area of fiction. (the same problem exists in any topic field on WP). --MASEM 18:10, 14 October 2008 (UTC)
I agree with Phil's last comment above. However, and not to lose sight of what he is saying, which probably applies mostly to contemporary research, there is a need for things to settle, for a historical verdict to be rendered. Sometimes Wikipedia has to wait for the history books to be written, for notability to become apparent, rather than assessing on current notability. Have a look at Sir Robert Muir. When I first came across him, he was a redlink at Royal Medal. Stayed like that for about 20 months. Then I noticed the link had turned blue. I was not unduly surprised to see that Robert Muir (a Canadian politician) had been created. So I threw a few sources together to get a start at an article. See here. At the time, I wasn't really paying close attention, but when I returned to it later, with some prompting and questions from others, I tracked down several biographies (including this one), and it turns out he was a really big cheese in early immunology and pathology. One of the leading lights of Scottish medical science in the early 20th century. There is a bust of him in Glasgow's main hospital, and I'm going to try and get someone to go and take a photo (or track down a free photo of him). My point here is that genuinely notable people will endure in the historical record and the articles will get written eventually. The danger with writing on contemporary research is that Wikipedia will distort this historical record. The other point, to get back to journal articles and similar stuff, is that Muir was the author of a pathology textbook in 1924. His magnum opus, if you like, and (in revised form) it is still being published today. It is in its 14th edition and still going strong. I'm not suggesting we need an article on it, but this 80-year publication history of this textbook (called Muir's Textbook of Pathology) can form a solid part of the article on Muir. Carcharoth (talk) 18:18, 14 October 2008 (UTC)
Wow! I love Calvin and Hobbes. :-) When Real Things Happen to Imaginary Tigers. As Masem said, its the articles themselves that the notability of which is being discussed, and I've never heard of Jacques Lacan and the Lacanian Real, but I've bookmarked that paper to read. Carcharoth (talk) 14:09, 14 October 2008 (UTC)
I hope you enjoy it. :)
There's definitely a few on this list that need to go: How Long Is the Coast of Britain? Statistical Self-Similarity and Fractional Dimension has no other references beyond the paper itself, thus non-notable. On the other hand, Equation of State Calculations by Fast Computing Machines has a pretty good evidence of being notable and thus should stay. Basically, the threshold is the same as any other topic: are there other reliable secondary sources that provide significant coverage of the magazine or journal article? This is not just using the article in question as a reference in another article, but an actual discussion and analysis of the article. --MASEM 14:05, 14 October 2008 (UTC)
It's going to be a tad tricky to discount many journal articles, though. It isn't exactly uncommon for journal articles to be discussed - often in depth - in other journal articles. Anything (relatively) significant should be easy enough to justify by the general notability guideline. So common sense should probably prevail. That aside, three in that list leap out at me: Computing Machinery and Intelligence, On Formally Undecidable Propositions of Principia Mathematica and Related Systems and The Magical Number Seven, Plus or Minus Two. I haven't worked on any of the three (although I spotted one of my diagrams in one), but all are major and influential papers in their respective fields. I'm not sure how WP:Note can help exclude anything more borderline, though, in terms of the paper's general influence. - Bilby (talk) 14:23, 14 October 2008 (UTC)
(response to Masem) Well, I'm not so sure. Some papers are absolutely critical to the history of a science and mark a revolution in scientific thought, but the articles or papers are not discussed so much as the ideas presented in the papers. Sometimes an article on the paper is a good starting point for explaining the history of a science, and the Wikipedia article can then branch off from that point. Sometimes the articles on journal articles are more a vehicle for explanation, than for demonstrating notability. Having said that, the best ones I found above (the stubs I've listed here are ones I consider notable even though they haven't been expanded yet) are:
To any historian of science, some of those papers leap off the page and are instantly recognisable as landmark papers in their field, kick-starting decades and centuries of work by other scientists, and in some cases changing the entire paradigm on which a science is based. A good start at a standard for absolute notability, for historical papers journals and books, is if they are still being discussed and republished and analysed centuries later, let alone if first editions are being traded for thousands of dollars, or preserved in museums. Some examples of this are:
OK, I got a bit away from journal articles and into historical books and manuscripts, but my point is that modern-day papers are the equivalent of these books that were published in previous centuries, so it should be perfectly acceptable to have articles on the landmark journal articles when reliable sources confirm that they are considered landmark papers. Carcharoth (talk) 14:40, 14 October 2008 (UTC)
We need to make a distinction between concepts, which are first initially discussed in these papers, which go on to be significant in their fields, and papers that are actually more significant than just a concept and actually have notability in other means. If a paper is the first to introduce a critical concept, that concept being worthy of an article on WP, then I'm thinking that the better approach is to incorporate the discussion of that paper into that concept article to help avoid duplication of content (as likely the paper article and the concept article will discuss the same material) So, for example Equation of State Calculations by Fast Computing Machines is better discussed in Metropolis–Hastings algorithm as a subsection; it is not that I don't consider the paper notable, but I think that you will end up with a better quality, single article than two articles that may maintain different quality but have strongly overlapping content. I'm not sure how well one can find an example of the other case at least for journal articles (maybe Ars Conjectandi, but that's a maybe); it will more likely be true for magazine articles, that an article will have more coverage than just about the content or concept itself. --MASEM 15:10, 14 October 2008 (UTC)
It depends whether you want one article discussing the concept, and one discussing the history. Compare Special Relativity and General Relativity with History of special relativity and History of general relativity. And what would you do with ones like Annus mirabilis papers? Carcharoth (talk) 15:15, 14 October 2008 (UTC)
That's more related to a size issue: I would think any concept that is covered by peer-reviewed journals can have some backstory to how it came about before or after delving into the details. If the article becomes too large per WP:SIZE (a concept that I think is more the exception than the rule for such concept articles), a history spinoff (which will be well sourced by its nature) can be made as the case of Relativity; likely the history section will not overlap with the main concept article to as much an extent as the article on a groundbreaking paper would with its concept article.. Regardless, save for a few exemplary papers, I think most groundbreaking papers on a concept can show notability, but just out of improvement of WP in general (I can't point to any specific policy, guideline, or MOS that says otherwise - it is just common sense), such papers are better covered as part of the concept article. Even Ars Conjectandi may be better covered in Bernoulli's article, even though its notability is more than just the science but also due to being the pinnacle of his life's work and being published after he died. Again, I'm being more pragmatic here, not trying to deny that notability exists in these cases.
As for the Annus mirabilis papers, it is the collection itself that has confirmed notability, the discussion of the papers and the concepts they provide a necessary part of the grouping's coverage (each is likely notable on its own, but I would expect that individually should be part of both this article and the concept article they are about). --MASEM 15:29, 14 October 2008 (UTC)
I was about to carry out one such merge, but I checked the history and found this. The discussion here appeared to start in October 2006, and wasn't ended (by the removal of the merge tag) until June 2007. BTW, I just noticed that your non-notable article (How Long Is the Coast of Britain? Statistical Self-Similarity and Fractional Dimension) was about a seminal paper by Benoit Mandelbrot. Someone has just told me that there "a third-party source as the second Google hit". Go figure. :-) Carcharoth (talk) 15:37, 14 October 2008 (UTC)
Sure, there's probably more sources for it - the article presently doesn't have any as a spot-check and appears non-notable. But, again, the same logic on being pragmatic applies: this is a good article to be covered under fractal (which I note, is already listed there) as well as Mandlebrot's bio-article to simply avoid duplication of material, not because of the article's notability or the like. --MASEM 15:43, 14 October 2008 (UTC)
Ah, but why not have the separate article, and a link from Mandelbrot and a link from fractal. That way you avoid duplicating stuff in both Mandelbrot and fractal. I suppose it depends what degree of fractal interlinking dimensionality you want in Wikipedia. Lots of merges, or lots of links to separate articles. It's probably a balance between the two. Carcharoth (talk) 15:52, 14 October 2008 (UTC)
I know it has no meaning now without proof, but I can guarantee the article by Mandelbrot is definitely notable (I even remember reading it discussed on Scientific American when I was a child!). However merging it in the article about fractal could make a lot of sense. --Cyclopia (talk) 16:04, 14 October 2008 (UTC)
First, regardless of how things are merged, there is definitely cause to discuss the Mandlebrot article somewhere, and if not its own article, a redirection is fine. The reason I suggested that the content of the article to be merged to fractal is that the article as it presently stands, is a good example of what a fractal is and thus can be nicely added to fractal to expand the content there. If fractal pointed to the article, saying "See (this page) for an example of a fractal" it is much less useful for a reader than if it was on the page. Again, I cannot point to any policy that says what I say, I'm just thinking what makes a better end-reader experience. --MASEM 16:21, 14 October 2008 (UTC)

I think the issue is still reliable third-party coverage. You need that independent criticism/review -- and a significant amount -- to support a Wikipedia article about a journal article. If a journal article hasn't been significant enough to prompt any scholarly reaction, then the only thing we'd include is a summary of the article: which means we'd really just summarize that viewpoint in the relevant topic. We wouldn't write an article about "Billy Bob's journal article on the right to equality". We'd just incorporate Billy Bob's viewpoint into the article about egalitarianism, assuming that the point of view is significant and held by a number of scholars. And even if it did prompt a reaction, it would have to be a reaction to the article to make that article notable, rather than an ongoing debate about egalitarianism. Again, it's whatever the secondary sources cover: are they reacting to the article, or are they reacting to the viewpoint? It's a really subtle distinction. But it's why we have an article about the reaction to On the Origin of Species, while other journal articles about evolution are simply incorporated into the Wikipedia article on evolution. Randomran (talk) 17:18, 14 October 2008 (UTC)

The problem with that is that, by their very nature, journal articles are designed to be referenced by other articles. An article could become extensively referenced within its field, but not get noticed outside of it. There are classes of things that people don't talk about, but which are noticed. This was mentioned over at the Wikipedia:WikiProject Academic Journals talk page, in two discussions here and here. I'm going to quote what someone over there said, and then leave a note over there to get some more views. What someone over there said was: "Most mathematicians would probably gladly give up half a year salary to have a paper published in Inventiones, but they don't actually write this in public." Carcharoth (talk) 18:32, 14 October 2008 (UTC)
  • I have currently no time to contribute to this discussion in detail, therefore just this little tidbit of information to those arguing that each and every peer-reviewed article needs an entry in WP: over 70% of all published peer-reviewed articles are not even cited once, not even by their own authors. That doesn't really sound like notability to me. As for first authors, in life sciences it's the last author who's the "senior author" of a paper. Grad students fight who becomes first, faculty fight who gets to be last :-) --Crusio (talk) 21:39, 14 October 2008 (UTC)
If it really is referenced a hell of a lot in its field, then it might be notable. But I think there are some journal articles that might stir a reaction that isn't notable. This is just normal scholarly debate about a topic. For example, the history of chaos theory. It requires a very special kind of critical reaction to an article for the article itself to be notable. Perhaps On the Origin of Species is notable enough for a Wikipedia article because secondary sources aren't just debating Darwin's viewpoint, but secondary sources are getting into a meta-discussion about why this article itself is important and how it has changed the world we live in. It has done more than just stimulate scholarly debate about biology, and thus it can't be simply covered in an article about evolution. Randomran (talk) 22:50, 14 October 2008 (UTC)

And it's still there...

I keep seeing this thing, and it keeps bugging me:

""Presumed" means that substantive coverage in reliable sources establishes a presumption, not a guarantee, of notability. Editors may reach a consensus that although a topic meets this criterion, it is not suitable for inclusion. For example, it may violate what Wikipedia is not." (emphasis on "notability" mine)

But it does not explicitly and objectively say what type of evidence rebuts the preesumption. Plus, it seems also to be suggesting that "notability" is somehow determined by things like WP:NOT, which does not make sense. Taking this further, we could say that WP:NOT, WP:NPOV, WP:V, WP:NOR, etc. all would fall under this all-inclusive umbrella of "notability", as conflicts with any of these could render material unsuitable for inclusion, and here it seems we are equating "suitability for inclusion" with "notability", which I'm not sure is good. To do that, we'd have to make "notability" the underlying and ultimate Wikipedia principle, which is just silly. The rub here is "suitability for inclusion". Notability is not a guarantee of inclusion. One could have a "guarantee" of "notability" yet that would not be a guarantee of inclusion. The bar for inclusion is not set by one single policy or guideline, but by the sum of all content policies and guidelines. Notability is just one part of that.

This only serves, as I've said, to bring subjectivity into play and muddies the definition of just what on Earth is notability supposed to be?! And what is it, anyway? mike4ty4 (talk) 06:20, 14 October 2008 (UTC)

  • WP:N is an inclusion criterion based on encyclopedic "suitability". Although suitability is not explicity stated, this means that an article's content should comply with Wikipedia content policies, e.g. it does not fail WP:NOT.
    The reason why substantive coverage in reliable sources establishes a presumption, not a guarantee, of a topic's notability is that the coverage may fail Wikipedia's content policies. In short the presumption can be made that a topic is notable (and therefore have its own article) if it is also encyclopedic. I hope this make this point clear. --Gavin Collins (talk) 09:49, 14 October 2008 (UTC)
That's poor phrasing, though - we can square that way by just saying that notability is necessary, but not sufficient for inclusion, instead of the "presumption" of notability, which does not appear to mean anything like what you are describing. Phil Sandifer (talk) 16:30, 14 October 2008 (UTC)
I would support that phrasing change. "Necessary but not sufficient" -- pending compliance with other policies such as WP:NOT. I think it's much more clear that way. Randomran (talk) 17:05, 14 October 2008 (UTC)
This is a problem, because it doesn't seem to fit the conception of "notability". To me at least, it seems notability is a guideline for what sort of material will be able to satisfy the policies sufficiently enough that an encyclopedic article can be written. As a guideline, it may not always guarantee that result (e.g. the WP:NOT thing just mentioned), so "notable" material (i.e. that which satisfies the guideline) may still not satisfy the policies. Lumping WP:NOT, WP:NOR, WP:V, WP:NPOV, etc. all under the same heading of "notability" seems odd. It suggests the underlying unifying principle here is "notability", with the common goal of all the policies being to determine it, when that is not in fact the case. I've never heard someone calling a NOT/NOR/V/NPOV/etc. violation an N violation. So I'd say ""presumed" means that notability establishes a presumption, not a guarantee, of suitability for inclusion" and that other policies may still point against it, e.g. WP:NOT. mike4ty4 (talk) 20:03, 14 October 2008 (UTC)

Moving forward on "notability" of non-notable lists

From the RFC it is clear (Prop A.4) there are limited cases where lists of non-notable elements, together non-table, but all verifiable to first/third-party primary sources, are appropriate for inclusion to WP. The key is that what are limited cases needs to be strongly defined.

User:Erachima/Inclusion (stand-alone lists) is a good starting point in outline the general case of such lists, but I would like to move a bit more specific than this. Specifically, the "related to a notable topic" is a good metric but it is still open for abuse. While I think that ultimately outlining specific topics that can be included as lists/tables is an approach via an inclusion guideline, details left to specific field guidelines, at the present time I think it's better to provide the more specific details as a section under Erachima's guide to be the quickest way to get this up to a point that we can present for consensus and get in place to end that issue once and for all.

The way I see it, the addition to Erachima's inclusion guides would be a table that is broken down by major field (fiction, people, athletics, etc.), and then for each, a whitelist and blacklist of topics; whitelists are those that clearly are allowable from AFD or merge discussions, and blacklists that are not allowable from AFD discussions. For purposes of building this list at this time, I think any suggested white or black list needs to include 3 AFD/XfDs that clearly (eg no "no consensus" ones) support why that general list approach is allowed or disallowed. (eg, for me to show a list of episodes is allowable, I need to find 3 AFDs that either are "keep" for an existing list of episodes, or "redirect" of an episode article to a list. This is only meant to help make sure that we have good discussion on these topics and that we can point to existing consensus why these exist. Once we have decided that we have something presentable, we can file the validation as a subpage, and then seek global consensus on the provided lists.

Mind you, I expect this list of white/blacklisted lists (gah!) to be a living document: any type of list can be suggested to be added or even removed from this when one can show 3 XfD results in favor of that, with appropriate discussion to continue on the talk page.

Ultimately, I would like to see inclusion criteria for topics to fall out of this, but that's a much longer term goal: this is something we can do without touching any other policy or guideline and should strongly help to resolve some of the conflict between inclusionists and deletionists. --MASEM 16:23, 16 October 2008 (UTC)

Are you looking for WP:OUTCOMES#Lists? --Pixelface (talk) 04:05, 21 October 2008 (UTC)

How do we list something in wikipedia

just wondering I have a website that is lucrative and that I am the owner of that I would like to list on wikipedia. —Preceding unsigned comment added by DiggCrunch (talkcontribs) 07:39, 18 October 2008 (UTC)

Short answer, no. Long answer, not without a really good reason, due to conflict of interest. Nifboy (talk) 14:17, 22 October 2008 (UTC)

Bringing WP:NNC into alignment with WP:BLP

WP:NNC does not seem to be fully aligned with WP:BLP#Presumption in favor of privacy: "Wikipedia articles that present material about living people can affect their subjects' lives. Wikipedia editors who deal with these articles have a responsibility to consider the legal and ethical implications of their actions when doing so. It is not Wikipedia's purpose to be sensationalist, or to be the primary vehicle for the spread of titillating claims about people's lives. Biographies of living persons must be written conservatively, with regard for the subject's privacy.

When writing:: about a person notable only for one or two events, including every detail can lead to problems, even when the material is well-sourced. In the best case, it can lead to an unencyclopedic article. In the worst case, it can be a serious violation of our policies on neutrality. When in doubt, biographies should be pared back to a version that is completely sourced, neutral, and on-topic."

I would like to suggest that NNC be modified to read:

"The notability guidelines determine whether a topic is notable enough to be a separate article in Wikipedia. They do not regulate the content of articles, except articles about people notable for only one or two events and for articles which are lists of people[1]."

Is there any objection or modification that people would like to discuss? -- The Red Pen of Doom 12:50, 24 October 2008 (UTC)

There's no real contradiction because we generally we do not have article like that. The keywords are "one or two events". Persons notable for only one event seldom have a biography article of their own, per WP:BIO1E. The provisions in the BLP that you quoted prevent making WP:COATRACK statements about living persons that are not notable enough for biographies. For WP:WELLKNOWN individuals, a slightly more inclusionist approach is taken. Example from the BLP policy:
That's it. VG 13:21, 24 October 2008 (UTC)
As VG points out, it AINT broke, so don't bother fixing it. The notability guideline is correct as it is: it doesn't regulate the content of articles. That's why we have WP:BLP.--Aervanath lives in the Orphanage 15:10, 24 October 2008 (UTC)
It may be broke. At Joe the Plumber NNC has been at times placed as a counterargument to BLP1 event.-- The Red Pen of Doom 13:07, 25 October 2008 (UTC)
I don't see an issue here looking at the talk page. Notability is only a factor about a topic gaining its own article on WP; once its shown that (which Joe certainly has), content is limited by other policies such as NOR, NPOV, NOT, and in this case BLP. As long as the content passes all of these, there's no conflict with NNC. --MASEM 13:24, 25 October 2008 (UTC)
Notability and BLP are separate things . BLP is policy, and primarily content, though some of it also is relevant to how we title articles, and in some cases whether we write them at all. They are both complicated rules, which, although accepted in general, have lots of tricky bits where there is not full agreement. Trying to harmonize them at this point would greatly complicated discussions. And its not really necessary, for the restrictions of WP:BLP are basic policy here, and in a conflict with WP:N, or any other guideline, they would trump it. This is a non-issue. DGG (talk) 15:27, 24 October 2008 (UTC)
Yep, privacy has nothing to do with notability. I think we can clarify that content is still regulated by what wikipedia is not, though. Randomran (talk) 15:57, 24 October 2008 (UTC)
I think the NCC section already includes a sentence to that effect: "Instead, various content policies govern article content." The category linked includes WP:NOT and WP:BLP. VG 16:09, 24 October 2008 (UTC)
I know there's a balance between clarity and instruction creep... but maybe it could help to say "Instead, various content policies govern article content, such as what Wikipedia is not." At least, I see no harm in adding it. Randomran (talk) 23:25, 24 October 2008 (UTC)
various policies govern lot of things. Many policies relate to article content, many to the existence of an article; the more we cross reference them the more confusing it will get. This page is about the notability guideline and is complicated enough. Calling out one in particular here can give it undue importance by implication. DGG (talk)

notability guidlines for clothing?

Is there a notability guideline for clothing? If not do we just default to the general guidelines? Thanks Soundvisions1 (talk) 16:03, 25 October 2008 (UTC)

General articles of clothes (aka "business suit", "parka", etc.) probably default to general notability guidelines. Brand name clothing companies and specific clothing items fall under WP:ORG. --MASEM 16:07, 25 October 2008 (UTC)

Once again, there is a difference between non-notable and non-referenced.

There seems to be a growing body of users who are getting confused on this point, as I've had it three times in the last two months. So let me be clear:

As I understand it, A lack of references is evidence of nothing other than a lack of references. A lack of references does not imply that the topic is non-notable.

In spite of this being obvious to me, as I said, I've had three people claim the opposite in the last two months. Let's FIX THE DEFINITION to make this clear.

Maury Markowitz (talk) 19:55, 9 October 2008 (UTC)

A lack of references can mean a lack of effort on the part of editors, or truly something truly un-reference-able. And I think the AFD process does a decent job of tackling that: no consensus defaults to keep, and you need a consensus that there's no references to delete. Among the editors who chime in, it's really not hard to find one or two reliable third-party sources -- it's a pretty low standard. And even if an article is wrongfully deleted, there's WP:DRV, and there's the ability to WP:USERFY the article until the sources can be found. I agree this is worth clarifying though. This guideline already says that "notability is distinct from fame or importance", so maybe we can expand on that. Randomran (talk) 20:03, 9 October 2008 (UTC)
Keep definition as is. No RS - no topic to discuss. NVO (talk) 20:28, 9 October 2008 (UTC)
You're right that a lack of references is not an indication that something is non-notable, but it's also difficult to assess notability without references either. (And its also important to note that having references does not immediately confer notability). Users, across policy and guidelines, are strongly encouraged to reference articles from the point of creation; they don't have to be immaculate or in the correct format, but at least some indication that there's verifiable information. --MASEM 20:51, 9 October 2008 (UTC)
Agreed. I haven't found it becoming when an author loudly insists on the notability of his article's topic, while treating it as everyone else's responsibility to search for the evidence that will corroborate his position. The motivation for creating an article should be helpfulness, so an author's refusal to help others make a valid determination of the topic's notability when doubt has been expressed indicates that something other than helpfulness was in play—self-interest, use of Wikipedia as a personal blog or website, promotion of the topic, just thinking it's cool to have written a Wikipedia article. In any event, it leads me to doubt even further the notability of the topic.—Largo Plazo (talk) 12:56, 10 October 2008 (UTC)
The guideline already addresses this, "If an article currently does not cite reliable secondary sources, that does not necessarily mean that its topic is not notable." I suppose "reliable secondary sources" could be changed to "references" though. --Pixelface (talk) 10:09, 14 October 2008 (UTC)
Not true; references are already supposed to be in articles per WP:V, but to show something is notable, it needs to be more than just references, but "reliable secondary sources". Again, a lack of secondary sources is not an indication that something is non-notable, but it is impossible to judge if something is notable without them. --MASEM 12:28, 14 October 2008 (UTC)
Not impossible, really. Notability is about the theoretical existence of reliable secondary sources on a topic, not about those sources actually being listed in the article. If I know from personal experience there are many reliable secondary sources on a topic (e.g., the country of Spain), then I can judge that the topic is notable without actually seeing any of those sources. — Carl (CBM · talk) 13:42, 14 October 2008 (UTC)
You're wrong. WP:V says information should be verifiable. "Material that is challenged or likely to be challenged" should be sourced. If an article has no sources, it is not impossible to judge if the topic is "significant, interesting, or unusual enough to deserve attention or to be recorded." The article Human skeleton (which was created January 14, 2003} had zero references as of December 7, 2007[2]. The article Skeleton (which was created July 5, 2001) had zero references as of May 8, 2008.[3] People don't need to see secondary sources in order to realize that the human skeleton, skeletons, and thousands of other topics are obviously notable and that Wikipedia should have articles about them. --Pixelface (talk) 06:22, 22 October 2008 (UTC)
There are going to be topics, like "Skeleton", that pure common sense says that sources have to exist, even if the article doesn't have them. An AFD challenge of one of these will likely be speedily closed as keep, and the AFD'r being accused of not assuming good faith. Virtually everyone knows these topics, and it doesn't take much to recognize there are bound to be endless secondary sources to validate that - not having them in the article at a present time is not a good thing and needs to be improved. However, once you get into any specialized field, the amount of people that "know" the topic starts shrinking at a drastic rate, and now you do not have the assurance of something being well-known and understood to likely have sources. Maybe someone in the field is sure it is going to be sourced ok, but that can't be assured of others reading the page. In this case, sources need to be provided to show that there it notability.
Or to put it another way. An article without secondary sources can be interpreted in two ways: Either the article is completely lacking references and fails WP:V, or it has no notability that can be shown or qualifies under presumptions of notability per SNGs, failing WP:N. In either case, the article needs to be fixed, because neither state is acceptable. That doesn't need it needs to be fixed immediately, but if the article is not fixed, it can be challenged at AFD at any time, requiring whoever wants the article to seek sources. There are cases of common sense and WP:IAR, such as "skeleton" above, where it is pretty patently obvious the topic can be verified and notable, but this is the exception, not the rule. --MASEM 14:14, 22 October 2008 (UTC)
Interesting comment about "pure common sense", Masem. "Common sense" is notoriously undefinable and contentious, as well as fallible - e.g. the Earth is not flat, and time depends on relative velocity. I'd have said it was "common sense" that 4X was notable in computer games, but I remember all too well that someone else thought otherwise. Perhaps WP:N needs to use a less stringent and "academic" version of WP:RS, e.g. if something gets metioned in N blogs that are not obviously axe-grinding, hate-peddling or libellous, then it's probably notable. -- Philcha (talk) 14:30, 22 October 2008 (UTC)
Re Masem: AFD is not intended as a mechanism for forcing other people to add sources. If someone really wants to see a source in an article, the best thing is just to add one, rather than nominating it at AFD in an effort to get someone else to add one. Only if there really are no sources to add is an AFD warranted.
Re Philcha: something that has only been mentioned in blogs is typically not notable, since blogs are not typically not reliable secondary sources. — Carl (CBM · talk) 14:49, 22 October 2008 (UTC)
@CBM: Prodding and AFD are valid methods for challenging articles that lack sources - they are not the most friendly way, as it is better to tag articles or drop talk page notes about the like, or as you say, do it yourself, but there is nothing stopping an editor from being bold and requesting the removal of an article without such, and the burden on keeping information is those that want to keep it. (See TTN's latest actions, and the fact that a request for ArbCom sees nothing that they can enforce over, when TTN puts articles up for AFD without discussion). The ideal situation is to make sure articles are sourced from the start, but that's a that's a tough nut to crack.
@Philcha: 4X is certainly notable in the field of video games, but that's what I mean, its a specialized topic, and difficult to justify that "virtually everyone" knows about it, thus it is not an exemption - if the 4X article was challenged (it has been , I think) for lack of sources, it would not be a speedy close and sources would have to be added to keep it(*). There is, based on the RFC, the possibility of adding qualifications on what types of sources qualify as those showing notability for specific fields when "reliable, secondary sources" are not easy to determine for that field, but we still have to keep in mind we can't fall back to self-published sources or the like per WP:RS.
(*)I still think we do need a case for WP:POSTPONE, the idea of when an AFD is called on an article to give the article time (2-4 wks) to develop if a contributor feels they can improve it to meet the AFD concerns. Cases like 4X, which require more than hitting google for sources, would be perfect qualifiers for that. --MASEM 15:07, 22 October 2008 (UTC)
Hi, Carl. Re "Only if there really are no sources to add is an AFD warranted," on whom does the burden of proof lie? WP:N says it's on the article.
Re level of WP:RS required, see Talk:4X/Archive_1, where the deletionist claimed that most of the sources did not qualify - and see the heated response from some of the participants. WP:RS as currently formulated is OK for academic subjects where peer-reviewed journals are the norms, but very quickly runs into difficulties in non-academic subjects, for reasons I've summarised at least once at Wikipedia_talk:Reliable_sources. For that reason I take a liberal view of sources in the context of WP:N, although I might be more critical at GA review. -- Philcha (talk) 15:14, 22 October 2008 (UTC)
So your claim that "it is impossible to judge if something is notable" without secondary sources is false. An article without secondary sources can be interpreted in many ways, not merely two ways. The information is Andrey Nikolayevich Bolkonsky is verifiable by checking the novel War and Peace (you can read it all on WikiSource if you'd like). And Andrey Nikolayevich Bolkonsky is a notable fictional character. I think topics that are obviously notable are more numerous than you think. The term "non-notable" in VFDs usually meant "I've never heard of this", not "This article doesn't cite significant coverage in reliable secondary sources that are independent of the subject!" That criterion is merely Uncle G's primary notability criterion, which he added to WP:N on November 20, 2006. Nothing more. And it's certainly not the only way to evaluate whether a topic is notable or not. --Pixelface (talk) 11:49, 27 October 2008 (UTC)

Is this podcast notable enough to be written up?

I've gone through one guideline after another and I'm hardly any closer to determining if SpaceVidcast is notable enough to have a Wikipedia article written about it. It has had guests like John D. Carmack, Ken Davidian (Program Manager, NASA Centennial Challenges), William Pomerantz (Director, X-Prize Space Projects), Blair Allen (NASA Edge co-host), teams competing for both the Google Lunar X-Prize or the Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander Challenge X-Prize take part in the web-cast as guests. A local TV program called Twin Cities Live did a segment about SpaceVidcast where it interviewed the hosts. The Star Tribune did an article about SpaceVidcast as well. The hosts were also guests on Flak Radio. I will be grateful for any help you can offer. Thank you.U5K0 (talk) 20:10, 27 October 2008 (UTC)

we've never been able to agree on criteria for these unless they happen to be covered by conventional Reliable sources, (which in my opinion is more a matter of chance than of notability). In this case chance favors you because of the newspaper story you cite. DGG (talk) 00:13, 28 October 2008 (UTC)

RfC results

This was copied here from Wikipedia talk:Notability/RFC:compromise#Results. I'm unclear on whether discussion should continue here or there. I would guess there.--Aervanath lives in the Orphanage 06:08, 23 October 2008 (UTC)

Here's the results table:

Proposal Supported Opposed Neutral Support % Result Proposal was
A.1 61 130 18 29% Failed Every spin-out is notable
A.1.2 75 69 6 50% No consensus Spin-out articles are treated as sections of a larger work
A.2 82 59 2 57% Majority, but no consensus Every spin-out must prove notability
A.3 51 49 8 47% No consensus SNGs can define that some spin-outs are notable
A.4 51 35 6 55% Majority, but no consensus Lists may be exempted from the GNG
B.1 26 65 6 27% Failed Articles must meet the GNG and SNGs
B.2 66 17 3 76% Passed SNGs can outline sources that assert notability
B.3 23 31 19 31% Failed SNGs can define when sources probably exist
B.4 14 63 6 17% Failed SNGs are not needed
B.5 14 54 5 19% Failed SNGs override GNG
B.6 40 22 9 56% Majority, but no consensus SNG criteria support reasonable presumptions of notability
B.7 5 1 2 62% Not enough input SNGs (only) provide subject area interpretation of the GNG
Proposal Supported Opposed Neutral Support % Result Proposal was

My general interpretation of the results:

  1. Consensus seems to be pretty clear on a few points:
  1. SNGs are necessary
  2. SNGs can never override Wikipedia:Notability
  3. SNGs can describe what kinds of sources are useful for proving notability
  1. Consensus can probably be achieved on:
  1. What kind of notability criteria are needed for articles which are spun out from a larger article. There was little support for allowing any spin-out to be notable, but the opposite proposal, requiring that all spin-outs require independent notability, didn't achieve consensus either. It is likely that proposal A.2 could achieve consensus with some tweaks to the wording to address some of the objections given.
  2. What kind of lists can be exempted from the GNG. This is also something that could probably achieve consensus with some careful rewording.
  3. Whether SNGs can create a reasonable presumption of notability. There were 9 neutral !votes on this proposal (B.6), so if those could be convinced to move to support, this would probably reach consensus.

Y'all play nice, now.--Aervanath lives in the Orphanage 06:03, 23 October 2008 (UTC)

Once again, this is really just a quick summary without actually reading the discussion. "By the numbers" treats it as a ballot. I think the picture will be slightly different once you factor in qualified support, qualified opposition, and so on. Something that was raised earlier was getting a detached third-party to review the comments and try to summarize the discussion. We'll be moving forward on that soon. Randomran (talk) 13:30, 23 October 2008 (UTC)
I'm still progressing on my version of this - A4 alone ended up with over 300 "speech acts" to be categorised, but that's coming along nicely. - Bilby (talk) 13:41, 23 October 2008 (UTC)
Just as a disclaimer, I hadn't intended my effort to be much more than a rough analysis. I'm glad there are people out there doing a more in-depth study. The issues do really warrant one. I can't wait to see your results!--Aervanath lives in the Orphanage 14:14, 23 October 2008 (UTC)
Actually, your analysis looks similar to what I've been getting as initial results - so as a rough sketch it is pretty good. :) Mostly I hope to pull out more detail that can be used. As you say, some may be able to achieve consensus with rewording, the trick being to work out what the words should be. - Bilby (talk) 14:24, 23 October 2008 (UTC)
Working on the presumption that the above analysis is correct , this already provides us with a necessary reworking of the first section of WP:N (the line "GNG or SNG" seems to no longer be the case); the majority w/o consensus issues are the ones that will take a bit more work to craft around the language of a new guideline to be presented later for further consensus so it helps to know where the wiggle room is. --MASEM 14:30, 23 October 2008 (UTC)
Bullshit Masem. That RFC didn't even ask about the WP:N sentence "A topic is presumed to be sufficiently notable to merit an article if it meets the general notability guidelines below, or if it meets an accepted subject-specific standard listed in the table at the right." or whether it should be removed or not. Template:Notabilityguide has been present in this guideline since it was rewritten by Radiant! in September 2006. And since then, this guideline has always referred to that table. Why was there no question regarding whether the GNG overrides SNGs? I don't see support for some "The GNG overrides SNGs" proposal. Of course SNGs don't "override" the GNG. There is no overriding taking place. The main idea of this guideline is that topics should be notable. And that was written down because people were saying "Delete, non-notable" in VFDs. If a topic meet a SNG or the GNG, it is presumed to be notable. Why is the word "or" so difficult for some people to understand? --Pixelface (talk) 12:04, 27 October 2008 (UTC)
And for proposal B1, "Articles must meet the GNG and SNGs", there was 27% support (in other words, 73% opposition). If there was a proposal like "All SNGs need to be marked historical" and it had clear support, I might believe you when you say "the line "GNG or SNG" seems to no longer be the case", but there wasn't, and it didn't. --Pixelface (talk) 12:11, 27 October 2008 (UTC)
Yes it did (it was one of the basic points that the discussion leading to the RFC wanted to hit): it asked the question "can an SNG override the GNG", because that would have to be true for "GNG or SNG" to be case. It clearly didn't pass by the above unbiased review of the RFC. Thus, a topic cannot be notable because it meets an SNG and fails the GNG. That's not to say that the SNG can be looser with what are appropriate sources or what may be the likelihood of sources for notability, but in the end (from the RFC) an SNG still must clearly provide criteria that a topic will end up meeting the GNG. The entire basis of the RFC was to remove preconceived ideas on what WP:N meant with the possible likelihood that WP:N may have to be rewritten when it was all said and done. Based on the above analysis, there does need to be a change. --MASEM 12:32, 27 October 2008 (UTC)

(outdent) Just because some people had a discussion and wanted to hit a certain point, that does not mean the RFC actually addressed that point. You said "SNGs override GNG" would have to be true in order for "GNG or SNG" to be valid. I could not disagree more. I don't think such a conclusion can be made from that RFC. Judging from the proposals that exist in that RFC, I think you would need support for the proposal "SNGs are not needed" in order to claim that "GNG or SNG" is invalid, but that proposal only had 17% support. And the proposal "Articles must meet the GNG and SNGs" only had 27% support. If Randomran wanted to address the "GNG or SNG" issue in that RFC, then there should have been a proposal that stated "If a topic meets either the GNG or an SNG, then the topic is presumed to be notable." Or a proposal that stated "Topics must meet the GNG and GNG alone. SNGs are to all be marked historical." Or a proposal that stated "Every SNG is to be merged into WP:N." But there weren't such proposals. And asking people what they think Wikipedia:Notability means, as the intro of the RFC does, is different than asking people what they think Wikipedia:Notability should say.

There was 19% support for B.5: SNGs override GNG. I can believe that, because guidelines don't "override" other guidelines. But also read the comments in the oppose section. Many people objected to the poorly worded proposal — specifically this particular sentence: That is, if an article on a topic covered by a specific notability guideline passes WP:N but does not pass the specific notability guideline in question, the topic is deemed not notable. BIO doesn't "override" N — if a person meets BIO or N, then they are presumed to be notable. If a person meets BIO and thus is presumed to be notable, yet that person does not meet the GNG, that doesn't mean BIO "overrides" the GNG. I can't think of any person that has passed the GNG, yet did not pass BIO, and was therefore deemed not notable for not passing BIO. That's because BIO itself says "Should a person fail to meet these additional criteria, they may still be notable under Wikipedia:Notability."

Consider these responses in the oppose and neutral section of B.5: SNGs override GNG:

  • "If a topic meets the GNG we should be able to have an article on it"
  • "His failure to advance in his career should never be a reason to delete his article if he still passes the GNG"
  • "Oppose - per what the sub-guidelines and N say, which is the opposite. The SNG are designed to allow in more articles, not less. The SNG allow for the overcoming of biases inherent in the GNG, but if an article passes GNG then you never need to go any farther as it is presumed notable."
  • "If something meets WP:N then it should be included, regardless of what the SNGs say."
  • "While I might support the part about a subject meeting SNG criteria overriding GNG, the notion that a subject which meets GNG criteria could be rejected based on failure to meet SNG criteria is nonsense."
  • "If something meets WP:N then it should be included, regardless of what the SNGs say."
  • "While I'm strongly in favor of SNGs, if a topic passes WP:N, it's notable. End of discussion."
  • "GNG should apply if is applicable."
  • "I would say that if a subject passes either one of the GNG or the SNG, it is deemed notable."
  • "Guidelines do not exist to overrule each other."
  • "SNGs should complement, not overrule."
  • "This proposal would exclude material that would be okay for inclusion according to the global guidelines and this I consider unacceptable."
  • "I do believe that there will be times when something can pass a SNG and not the GNG and be appropriate for Wikipedia, but that is a (very?) rare situation."
  • "Articles should meet either of the standards."

All of those are statements reflecting and supporting the "GNG or SNG" language in WP:N. And those are just from people discussing B5. The proposal with the most support (and also the only one Aervanath said passed), "Proposal B.2: SNGs can outline sources that assert notability" (which some people suggested should read "SNGs can outline indicators that assert notability") also reflects the "GNG or SNG" language in WP:N (although "assert" is a stronger word than the GNG uses). The rationale given for that proposal was "This reflects and cements the current practice" and "This would clarify the relationship between the general notability guideline and specific notability guidelines, which is not explicitly stated as of yet", but like I've explained again and again and again, the relationship between the GNG and SNGs is already stated in WP:N itself, in the sentence referring to the table Template:Notabilityguide (the SNGs) a sentence which has existed in WP:N, in one form or another since it's rewrite by Radiant!.

Your claim that "a topic cannot be notable because it meets an SNG and fails the GNG" is false, and directly contradicts what WP:N says and what most editors think. If you want to remove the sentence "A topic is presumed to be sufficiently notable to merit an article if it meets the general notability guidelines below, or if it meets an accepted subject-specific standard listed in the table at the right" from WP:N, then say so and start a new thread. But don't say the RFC supports the removal or alteration of that sentence, because it doesn't. WP:N was not written to replace WP:BIO, or WP:MUSIC, or any other subject-specific notability guideline. WP:BIO was an inclusion criteria before anyone had ever even heard of "notability" guidelines. WP:N in its current form was created to refer to notability guidelines that had been created already, give an overview of them, and summarize the overall idea of "notability" as a criteria for keeping or deleting articles. A topic does not have to eventually meet the GNG in order to have an article on Wikipedia. The core of WP:N, which is still just a guideline and not a policy, is the claim that topics should be "notable." This was deduced by Radiant!, who looked at AFDs and noticed that the reason "non-notable" was commonly used. As a description of common practice, I think the phrase "topics considered non-notable are often deleted at AFD" is true, but that does not therefore mean that every topic on Wikipedia must meet the GNG. The definition of "non-notable" is not "has not received significant coverage in reliable sources that are independent of the subject" so the ideas should not be used interchangeably. That's not what people meant when they said "nn" in AFDs before WP:N was written by Radiant!. The GNG does not state that a lack of "significant coverage in reliable secondary sources that are independent of the subject" means that a topic is not notable.

The GNG (previously known as the "PNC", by Uncle G, who wrote it) states what is currently considered, by most people, evidence of notability for any conceivable topic. But the absence of that evidence is not evidence of absence. The SNGs also state what is currently considered evidence of notability, but for specific categories of topics. The question "can an SNG override the GNG" is borne out of ignorance of how the GNG came about, as if SNGs were created by splinter groups after the GNG was created, and some strange belief that some guidelines override other guidelines. It is the GNG that came after SNGs. Please note these edits to WP:N and notice the sentences that begin with "Several guidelines." [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] Also notice when the "PNC" was added to WP:N [9], "One notability criterion that nearly all of the guidelines, as well as Wikipedia:What Wikipedia is not, share is..."

I don't think any change to N will come out of the RFC. That's because the RFC was not about proposed changes to WP:N — but rather "how this guideline should be interpreted." While there are Wikipedia essays on what certain Wikipedia: pages mean (WP:IAR? comes to mind), we don't make guidelines on what guidelines mean. If the RFC was meant to determine how people interpret Wikipedia:Notability, I can see how someone could use the RFC to write an essay on what Wikipedia:Notability means, but not as a means to change the contents of WP:N (or any SNG) itself — and certainly not as a reason to remove the "GNG or SNG" line (A topic is presumed to be sufficiently notable to merit an article if it meets the general notability guidelines below, or if it meets an accepted subject-specific standard listed in the table at the right.) from WP:N. I do think that much of WP:N needs to be rewritten. Some parts need to be removed, like "Notability requires objective evidence." Notability is not objective. And the GNG itself is also not objective, containing the words "significant" and "reliable." And one does not "establish" the notability of a topic. Whether a topic is "worthy of notice" or "significant, interesting, or unusual enough to deserve attention or to be recorded" is a subjective opinion, and has always been an opinion. By the way, do you think the topic of opinion is notable? --Pixelface (talk) 07:07, 2 November 2008 (UTC)

Draft proposal

Based on comments at the RfC, and looking at trends on AfD, I've worked out a draft of a new notability guideline for fiction. The goal of the guideline is pragmatic - instead of establishing hard and fast distinctions, or a general principle, it attempts to identify factors that garner de facto consensus, and to describe what will and will not be included. Thus it includes statements that, taken as general principles, are likely to be controversial, but that, in practice, seem to accurately predict outcomes.

The earliest draft is up at User:Phil Sandifer/Fiction proposal. I welcome thoughts on it - does this seem to be a useful way forward? Are there sections that need work? Phil Sandifer (talk) 16:37, 29 October 2008 (UTC)

  • Whilst disagree with parts of the proposal, I applaude Phil for addressing the issue of non-notable topics in an honest way. I think what is particularly clever about this proposal is that it goes some way to addressing the problem that articles about topics which fail WP:N also tend to fail Wikipedia content policies such as WP:NOT.--Gavin Collins (talk) 16:53, 29 October 2008 (UTC)
  • I think it's a good starting point, and I want to congratulate you on your efforts. I think it's a very pragmatic, reality-based summary of which fictional topics survive AFD and which don't. I think this reflects the RFC as well: that we might allow notability to be asserted by sources or indicators that aren't strictly reliable/independent in the most pure sense. I'm taking a look at the fourth factor -- the availability of a real-world perspective -- and this is tied very much into what WP:PLOT says and what WP:N tries to accomplish by demanding independent sources. It strikes me as though we can say "a fictional topic is notable if there is significant out-of-universe coverage in reliable third-party sources, or in DVD commentary or production blogs", and this would be highly consistent with what the RFC revealed about the SNGs. I'd like to think we can (loosely) quantify some of the other factors too: a list of episodes is more likely to be notable if there are more than two seasons, or something to that effect. A character is more likely to be notable if they are in substantially all of the episodes. Again, not to focus on the specifics of what I'm saying, but I'd like to think we can go to the next step of actually quantifying the test. Maybe not right away, but maybe with some discussion and by looking towards precedent. Randomran (talk) 17:11, 29 October 2008 (UTC)
    • I am generally cautious about quantification, and so lean against that move, at least for now. But I'm open to being overruled on this point. Phil Sandifer (talk) 17:21, 29 October 2008 (UTC)
      • I would emphasize "loose". Maybe quantification is the wrong word. But I take a look at WP:N and it says "significant coverage in reliable third-party sources". It says "more than trivial, but not necessarily exclusive". That offers some guidance, without being stubborn about exact numbers. I think that would be a fair standard to apply to DVD commentary too: more than trivial, but not necessarily exclusive. Randomran (talk) 17:34, 29 October 2008 (UTC)
Fair enough - any suggestions on language? Phil Sandifer (talk) 20:26, 29 October 2008 (UTC)
The standard could be "significant out-of-universe coverage in reliable sources, regardless of independence." You could then list examples, such as developer/producer blogs, DVD commentary, and so on. But this would only get us half of what WP:N usually gets us: the "reception" part of WP:PLOT that's traditionally found in reliable third-party sources. There would still need to be something to assert importance, to raise the standard beyond just any old thing that a few people WP:MADEUP. But I think we can come up with some loose metrics for that too. Randomran (talk) 20:44, 29 October 2008 (UTC)
I've strengthened the wording in the sourcing section along these lines. Thoughts? Phil Sandifer (talk) 21:06, 29 October 2008 (UTC)
        • I'd move "If it is possible to improve an article, it is always better to do so than to try to delete it" to the top and emphasise it. See how this AfD changed after I improved the article. It was not particularly difficult, as Google was throwing sources at me - any of those who intially voted "delete" could just as easily have made a similar improvment. -- Philcha (talk) 18:08, 29 October 2008 (UTC)
I agree wholeheartedly, but I think that should go at a higher level than this - that should be a rule for all articles, not just fiction ones. Phil Sandifer (talk) 20:25, 29 October 2008 (UTC)
  • This looks like a very good starting point, Phil, and I commend you for developing it. It's refreshing to see a policy proposal which is descriptive of practice, instead of prescriptive of what policy-active editors think should be best practice. I especially like the part about "semi-independent sources": when dealing with works of fiction which are under copyright, often the most informative sources are "officially authorized", which, as you say, would make them fail the strictest interpretation of "independent of the subject". —Josiah Rowe (talkcontribs) 07:41, 2 November 2008 (UTC)
Surely thats the wrong way to go about it? There are bad practices on wikipedia that are very unhelpful to maintaining a good encyclopedia. The first problem with this proposal is that it cannot achieve guideline status if there is no wide consensus, it can only be an essay, maybe a useful one but with little weight. There is an incredible amount of instruction creep there too, it's far too long and wording for a guideline. --neon white talk 12:00, 2 November 2008 (UTC)
The history of the handling of fictional elements on WP is rather convoluted and given that, I don't see this guideline's current length to be CREEPy. First and foremost, the guideline points to the GNG, and says "look, really, follow the GNG and you'll be ok, but the way fiction is handled in general on WP creates unique situations.", which is completely fair assessment and agrees along the lines of the notability RFC (as we know them now). --MASEM 12:11, 2 November 2008 (UTC)
On the other hand, I am notoriously wordy. I'm a PhD student in English, and we have the conciseness beaten out of us. I'm sure that the length of the proposal can be cut by 25% without sacrificing meaning or clarity. Phil Sandifer (talk) 14:45, 2 November 2008 (UTC)
In proposal form, it *will* take a lot of effort to explain *why* this is the standard: to explain the guideline in terms of practice, and even in terms of what the RFC said. But really, we can distill it down to a few basic principles that would each be as concise as the first line in WP:GNG. Randomran (talk) 16:35, 2 November 2008 (UTC)
Fair enough. I'll work on getting a bullet pointed list of nutshells of the four pronged test in there. But someone should still go through and cut out my verbiage. :) Phil Sandifer (talk) 15:32, 3 November 2008 (UTC)
Overall, a fairly neutral representation of reality. I have one overarching objection: it comes very close to endorsing relaxed standards, as opposed to simply noting that they are sometimes relaxed by a sense of pragmatism. I think that aspect needs to be worked on.—Kww(talk) 22:37, 2 November 2008 (UTC)
My only fear with that is that it would keep the proposal from having its most desired effect, which is ending the ugly and destructive fight on these issues. It is not so much an endorsement of relaxed standards as an observation that there is a real disagreement on the standards to use, but that these standards don't seem to offend anybody too much. Phil Sandifer (talk) 23:43, 2 November 2008 (UTC)
I know I'm only speaking for myself. But as a precisionist I don't mind relaxed standards (so long as there is still a standard), I just want something a little more prescriptive. I think the description is a good place to start, but hopefully we can come up with a real guideline for people to interpret/follow. Randomran (talk) 23:50, 2 November 2008 (UTC)
Yeah. I mean, one thing I tried to do in phrasing it was to find a standard that fit the available data. So it's true, the page goes beyond simply cataloguing reasons for keeping that have been expressed in AfDs that close keep, and reasons for deleting that have been expressed in AfDs that close delete. I did try to craft a guideline that is defensible on principle - that is, a guideline that theoretically could be the product of debate on principles - as well as one that matches empirical reality. And so in that regard it does, in some fashion, "endorse" relaxed standards, inasmuch as it sets the bar somewhere south of strict reliance on the GNG. But I think the RFC showed us that any proposal that garners consensus on this area is going to be somewhere south of strict reliance on the GNG, and somewhere north of "all episodes and characters are notable." What I tried to do was come up with a general principle that would both be defensible on its own merits (that is, one can argue for why on any point in the guideline with justification beyond "because that's the way it's always been") but that also is calibrated to produce the same result as the anarchic process we have now.
There's clearly more to debate in the area, but I think that there's a realism to this proposal that usefully makes it so that everybody is on the same page, instead of the previous problem where we tended to have two sides of a debate that shared very few premises and had minimal common ground. Phil Sandifer (talk) 15:39, 3 November 2008 (UTC)

Insert header here

If a topic isn't notable enough to have an article then why does it still have an article in terms of it's changes history and deletion notice page? I mean I know why those exist of course but that's kind of a paradox none the less. Bigbigbigbigbigbackground (talk) 03:56, 2 November 2008 (UTC)

Well, the history is deleted along with the page, so it's only visible by admins. The deletion discussion is kept visible for reference by the community as to why the article was deleted. If the article is later re-created, we can go back and cite the earlier discussion when considering whether or not to re-delete the article. Also, because of the WP:SPEEDY and WP:PROD deletion processes, there isn't always a deletion discussion page. We only keep the ones requiring discussion, so hopefully we don't have to have the same discussions over and over (although we generally do anyway).--Aervanath lives in the Orphanage 04:48, 2 November 2008 (UTC)
lol at (although generally we do anyway) Bigbigbigbigbigbackground (talk) 19:03, 2 November 2008 (UTC)
Bigbigbigbigbigbackground seems to be a vandal that's just trolling here. See his talk page. VG 19:25, 2 November 2008 (UTC)

NNC: Randomran/Phil Sandifer

I figure it's better to discuss this than to edit war. (I wouldn't object if Phil felt the need to revert me again, or anyone else. But we do need to get to the bottom of this. I know I've appreciated Phil's efforts to try to find a cgompromise on the bigger issue of the notability of articles.)

  • The second paragraph explains how notability affects article content. It refers to an arbcom decision saying, basically, "we don't include every detail", and it's reinforced by a few other guidelines that ask what kinds of factual content are important enough to merit inclusion.
  • The first paragraph contradicts the second. It says "notability doesn't affect article content". It's not really substantiated. It betrays common sense, and the arb com decision. And in terms of actual practice, I do see a lot of people saying "that's not really notable" when they remove a little excessive detail and try to produce better summaries.

So I removed the first paragraph. It seems to be the only way to reconcile these two statements. But if someone has another argument or concern, I'm willing to hear it. Randomran (talk) 00:39, 8 November 2008 (UTC)

The arbcom case predates this policy page, so I'm inclined to say that it is clear that this policy page is not what was being employed in that arbcom case. Indeed, "notable" does not appear anywhere in the case. The relevant principle in the arbcom case is "An encyclopedia article is a summary of accepted knowledge regarding its subject, not a complete exposition of all possible details." But that is a matter of undue weight, and drew primarily from our other content policies. To quote the arbitrator reasoning given: "To do otherwise would be an invitation for crackpots and POV pushers." The second paragraph should thus be rephrased noting that concerns related to notability govern inclusion and exclusion of points of view, but that this is primarily covered by WP:NPOV. Phil Sandifer (talk) 00:57, 8 November 2008 (UTC)
Arbcom never indicated that this was limited to points of view. When they said "summary, not exposition", I think it would be odd if they meant "summarize points of view, but complete exposition of all verifiable facts". I think the arbcom was only expressing common sense when we "summary of accepted knowledge, not complete exposition". In fact, "summary of accepted knowledge" sounds like it covers facts (facts==knowledge), not just points of view. What is an encyclopedia, if not a summary of accepted knowledge, rather than a complete exposition of all possible details? Plus it's an accepted policy that we treat all content with due weight, not just viewpoints. Randomran (talk) 01:45, 8 November 2008 (UTC)
Meh. We're dealing with a four year old arbcom case from an era where the arbcom was explicitly not in the business of setting precedents. I'm really uncomfortable with suggesting that that case establishes an application for a policy page that post-dates the case. Phil Sandifer (talk) 02:30, 8 November 2008 (UTC)
Arbcom seemed to be very cautious to craft their language so they were stating a good general principle going forward. I think you're getting hung up on the guideline page, and ignoring the arbcom guideline itself. I'm sure we could spin the ruling off into its own guideline instead of putting it here -- I'd be okay doing that, even though I think it involves judging the importance (notability) of content. It's kind of a common sense view of what an encyclopedia is: a summary of knowledge, not an exposition. You see people removing or summarizing information on that basis all the time. This isn't particularly controversial, IMO. Randomran (talk) 02:36, 8 November 2008 (UTC)
Well, that's fine - mostly I'd like to sever the issue of topical importance from the sort of hard white-line source counting that marks WP:N. Especially since WP:N has tried to detach itself from importance so actively. Phil Sandifer (talk) 03:32, 8 November 2008 (UTC)
You know, I wouldn't object to that. To me, WP:N is very much about sources, and judging the importance of a topic is secondary (although still a part of it). But it might be hard to tackle both issues at the same time, and pull them apart. A little bit of redundancy between the guidelines gives people a sense of comfort. Randomran (talk) 03:38, 8 November 2008 (UTC)
So perhaps reinsert the first paragraph with a transition about how we still judge article content based on importance? Phil Sandifer (talk) 03:43, 8 November 2008 (UTC)
If we reinsert the first paragraph, we'd have to modify it so it doesn't create this weird contradiction of "1: notability doesn't guide article content ... 2: but it still does affect article content." Randomran (talk) 03:44, 8 November 2008 (UTC)
"Notability, in the sense used to determine article inclusion, does not directly affect article content, but the term is still used in the sense of "importance" to describe..."Phil Sandifer (talk) 03:56, 8 November 2008 (UTC)
I'd actually be comfortable with that. Let me give it a try, and we can refine it from there? Randomran (talk) 03:59, 8 November 2008 (UTC)

I gave it a shot. My main concern is keeping the substance of the second paragraph while avoiding any contradictions or confusion. If you have any concerns with what I've done, I'm sure we can refine it. Randomran (talk) 04:06, 8 November 2008 (UTC)

Randomran, I don't agree with your edits to the WP:NNC section. I've given my preferred version. I believe it's fairly similar to the NNC secton that existed in early March. Here is a diff between that version and my version.
I changed from this to this:
  • "Notability guidelines give guidance on whether a topic is notable enough to be included in Wikipedia as a separate article"
  • "Notability guidelines give guidance on whether the community is likely to agree that a topic is notable enough to be included in Wikipedia as a separate article."
I changed from this to this:
  • "The particular topics and facts within an article are not each required to meet the standards of the notability guidelines;"
  • "Information within an article is not required to meet any notability guideline (with the exception of lists of people);"
And I changed from this to this:
  • "instead, article content is governed by other policies and guidelines, such as the policy requiring Verifiability and the guidelines covering the use of reliable sources and of trivia sections."
  • "instead, article content is governed by other policies and guidelines, such as the policies that information must be verifiable and presented in a neutral fashion, and the guideline advising the citation of reliable sources."
I don't believe inserting text from WP:UNDUE is beneficial, because Wikipedia has over 300 policies and guidelines and they change all the time. --Pixelface (talk) 22:55, 10 November 2008 (UTC)
Like I said, my goal isn't to debate substance but to improve clarity. We should compare to the current consensus, rather than the consensus that existed in March. Removing guidelines about the arbcom decision is unhelpful. Removing guidelines about the undue weight of factual information is unhelpful (and hiding it at our policy on points of view is misleading and unclear). Myself and Phil Sandifer were focused on fixing a contradiction. What you're talking about is a substantial change in meaning, and would scrub out important guidelines that have exited for a while. Randomran (talk) 23:04, 10 November 2008 (UTC)
I see nothing in Pixelface's changes that are really any radical differences, if not to make the language friendlier, that only serve to improve the guideline. I do think the point that notability guidelines point to community acceptance is important that emphasis this as a guideline and not a hard and fast rule. --MASEM 23:07, 10 November 2008 (UTC)
I don't mind changes in wording to improve clarity and friendliness. But Pixelface is comparing his changes to an old version of WP:N from half a year ago. Randomran (talk) 23:10, 10 November 2008 (UTC)

I think that the less said the better, but have no objection to Random's latest [10]. Notability should not pertain to content (my opinion). However, I have long advocated that we pull the bulk of content related guidelines into one manageble place and prune the number of policy and process pages at WP. Cheers to all the hard workers at this page! We are lucky to have such dedication to the project. --Kevin Murray (talk) 23:12, 10 November 2008 (UTC)

Randomran, to be blunt, the current "NNC" section is wrong. It says "The notability guidelines determine whether a topic is notable enough to be a separate article in Wikipedia." Wrong. The notability guidelines don't determine anything. Editors do. Editors decide whether a subject has an article on Wikipedia or not. If many editors give their opinion that a subject is not notable, it's likely the article will be deleted. The notabililty guidelines describe what is considered evidence of notability by the community. Information in an article does not have to be "notable." That is a truth. The current section says "But the term "notability" is still used in the sense of "importance" to describe the level of detail that is appropriate for an encyclopedic summary." No, it isn't. If someone thinks a particular fact is not "important", they will say it's not important, they will not say the fact is "non-notable." There is no importance policy. There is no importance guideline. Then the NNC section contains text from WP:UNDUE, but that assumes that Marskell had the notability of information in mind when he changed WP:UNDUE on May 14, 2006 to "Undue weight applies to more than just viewpoints." This is how a bureaucracy grows, and Wikipedia is not a bureaucracy. If readers want to know what "undue weight" means, we can link to WP:UNDUE and they can read about it. But when you copy and paste text from a policy to a guideline, you assume that the text in the policy had wide consensus to begin with. That is not always the case. Policies can be edited by anyone. I will repeat: information in an article does not have to be "notable" in order to stay in an article. That is why the section heading was "Notability guidelines do not directly limit article content" until you changed it on November 8. And I haven't seen anyone that agreed to change the heading. You said the "first paragraph contradicts the second." That could be because there have been 20 edits to the NNC section since March 14. If you want to argue that information in an article *does* have to be "notable", present your argument. --Pixelface (talk) 23:37, 12 November 2008 (UTC)

The discussion between me and Phil wasn't about substantive changes. We were trying to clear up a contradiction, and we did. You're talking about something much more drastic. I'm willing to give you the benefit of the doubt on whether this is an honest effort to build consensus, or playing WP:IDIDNTHEARTHAT by reverting/disputing policies that have been around for months, even years. Just remember that there's a right way to make a substantive policy change, and there's a wrong way. Randomran (talk) 00:11, 13 November 2008 (UTC)
First of all, this is a guideline, not a policy. Second of all, nobody agreed to rename the heading like you did on November 8. I've shown what I think the NNC section should look like. What do you think it should look like? That ANI thread (which resulted in no action by the way) has nothing to do with anything here. If you want to argue that information in an article has to be "notable", present your argument. If you want to argue that this guideline should be based on a ruling by the arbitration committee, present your argument. And go write an article on the subject of notability while you're at it, you might learn something. --Pixelface (talk) 00:24, 13 November 2008 (UTC)
And it appears to me that the discussion between you and Phil *was* about substantive changes. Phil reverted your November 8 edit, saying "That's a rather substantial change." You basically flipped the NNC section around, from saying "Notability guidelines do not directly limit article content" to "Because of the nature of an encyclopedia, the concept of notability affects article content." You "cleaned up" a contradiction without even considering if the "contradicting" second paragraph should have been added in the first place. --Pixelface (talk) 01:45, 13 November 2008 (UTC)
Myself and Phil were able to reach a consensus when I suggested he copy-edit for clarity, without changing the essential meaning. I can live with the result. But you can't use a copy-edit for clarity as an opportunity to remove parts of a policy (or guideline) that have had a consensus for half a year. That's not the right way to propose a substantial change in a policy (or guideline). This behavior is becoming a troubling pattern. Randomran (talk) 01:55, 13 November 2008 (UTC)
Randomran, the talk pages of a guideline is for discussing how to improve the guideline. If you and Phil Sandifer agreed on something, great. You made an edit to WP:N and Phil Sandifer reverted you, saying "That's a rather substantial change." Phil Sandifer presented some language, you said you'd give it a try, and you added that language to WP:N.
I disagree with the changes you made to WP:N. On November 8, you changed "Notability guidelines do not directly limit article content" to "Notability of article content." I also disagree with many of the changes to NNC since March.
I put in language that I think would be the best. It's extremely similar to the language that existed in NNC before it was known as NNC, before the text from WP:UNDUE was added, etc. The "NNC" shortcut refers to "Notability does not limit article content."
Guidelines can be edited by anyone and one does not have to propose their changes on the talk page first. That's why you could make the edit you did. The diffs of me editing WP:NOT you've given have nothing to do with how to improve this guideline. You're the one who changed "Notability guidelines do not directly limit article content." How does that improve Wikipedia:Notability? --Pixelface (talk) 02:25, 13 November 2008 (UTC)
See below. If you disagree with many of the changes since March, then be 100% explicit and start a discussion on that. (I disagree, and basically support the changes since March.) That's a very different discussion than disagreeing with edits since November 4th, which is what I thought you initially stated. I feel that embedding a discussion about a mass revert over half a year in a smaller discussion about fixes since November 4th is confusing, and confounds the issue. Randomran (talk) 02:30, 13 November 2008 (UTC)

I think we're going down an unproductive line of discussion. The way I see it, there are a few options to resolve the wording:

We're talking about two different things, because we're focusing on a wording issue, while you're proposing to revert half a year worth of consensus. I don't want to confound the two issues. If you want to propose a much bigger change, I want you to be 100% explicit about it. Start a new discussion. Randomran (talk) 02:18, 13 November 2008 (UTC)

Or, the language having to do with undue weight, which was introduced in March, could be removed, which would remove the "contradiction" you were trying to clear up. These are the edits to the NNC section since March 14, the edits that introduced the contradiction. [11] [12] [13] [14] [15] [16] [17] [18] [19] [20] [21] [22] [23] [24] [25] [26] [27] [28] [29] [30] [31] [32] [33] [34] [35] [36] [37] --Pixelface (talk) 02:34, 13 November 2008 (UTC)
And like I said, I disagree with that, as do the numerous editors who added and refined that part of the guideline. You're going to need to build a consensus for that. The other issue is that I think it's misleading to characterize this as completely my doing, when I've only been trying to clarify the contradiction. I'm not saying that because I'm accusing you of bad faith. I'm only mentioning it because it misled Masem into thinking that you were making a modest change. That makes this discussion really unclear, and prevents us from getting to the root problem. The best place to start is to create a new section for a new discussion. Randomran (talk) 02:44, 13 November 2008 (UTC)
I think there needs to be consensus to change "Notability guidelines do not directly limit article content" before it is changed. I don't think I've characterized the changes to NNC as all your doing. When I said "I don't agree with your edits to the WP:NNC section", perhaps I should have been more specific — I was referring to these 2 edits by you. [38] [39] I think my wording of NNC is an improvement.
You said "The second paragraph explains how notability affects article content." You said "The first paragraph contradicts the second." You said "So I removed the first paragraph."[40] Instead of figuring out when the "contradiction" came about, I looked at a previous version of NNC that I knew had no such contradiction. I based my wording of NNC on the language that existed before the stuff about "undue weight" was added. Dorftrottel added a link to WP:UNDUE in March. After that, the paragraph about undue weight was added by you. I see that another editor removed it. You re-added it. "Undue weight" is not about notability.
On September 23, Kanodin "overhauled" NNC. I disagree with that edit as well. If Masem was misled by what I said, I apologize. I said "I've given my preferred version. I believe it's fairly similar to the NNC secton that existed in early March." The root of this is that information does not have to be notable to stay in an article. The notability guidelines list evidence that the community considers evidence of notability. The notability guidelines have to do with article topics. The notability guidelines don't place limits on the information that an article can contain (except when it comes to lists of people). --Pixelface (talk) 03:46, 13 November 2008 (UTC)
Listen, I'm not trying to lay blame here, so you don't need to defend yourself. I'm just trying to explain how this discussion is unclear, because you've mashed together a bunch of topics (intentionally or not). Starting the discussion over will be more clear, as we can talk about actual changes to the guideline rather than copy-edits. It will probably be clearer to other participants what the heck we're talking about as well, which is maybe why nobody else is eager to weigh in. Randomran (talk) 04:35, 13 November 2008 (UTC)

Okay, these are my questions:

  • 1) Should the NNC section link to WP:UNDUE?[41]
  • 2) Should the NNC section contain language from WP:UNDUE?[42]
  • 3) Should the heading "Notability guidelines do not directly limit article content" be changed?[43]
  • 4) Should the NNC section contain "However, because of the nature of an encyclopedia, the concept of notability nonetheless affects article content."[44]
  • 5) Should the NNC section contain "But the term "notability" is still used in the sense of "importance" to describe the level of detail that is appropriate for an encyclopedic summary"[45]
  • 6) Should the NNC section contain "Because of the nature of an encyclopedia, the concept of notability affects article content."?[46]

My answers are:

  • 1) No, "undue weight" does not have to do with the notability of topics.
  • 2) No, "undue weight" does not have to do with the notability of topics. I guess this thread from May is relevant to this.
  • 3) No, because notability guidelines don't limit article content (except when speaking of lists of people).
  • 4) No. There may be editors who remove information from an article because they think the information is "non-notable", but no policy or guideline should condone such a practice. I suppose that sentence came out of this thread in September.
  • 5) No, notability does not equal importance. That editors classify details as "important" and "unimportant" is troublesome already. We shouldn't encourage editors to classify details as "notable" and "non-notable."
  • 6) No. Information does not have to be notable in order to remain in an article.

I'm willing to maybe budge on 1). I suppose the NNC section could mention undue weight, but I really think that linking to WP:UNDUE in a notability guideline will only confuse editors — that is why I wrote "information must be verifiable and presented in a neutral fashion" and linked to WP:NPOV in general. --Pixelface (talk) 05:45, 13 November 2008 (UTC)

You're suggesting that we scrub "treat factual information with due weight" from WP:N and hide it in a policy about points of view and neutrality -- which is confusing and even misleading. Your proposed changes would also remove the guideline that an encyclopedia is not about "complete exposition". These are statements that have stuck around in WP:N for a while because they're good rules, and carry a lot of common sense. One of them is even a decision from the arbitration committee. Randomran (talk) 06:40, 13 November 2008 (UTC)
Pixel has a point here, however. The primary issue of concern here are coverage of topics which highly favor one aspect over another. This is presently best spelled out in WP:NPOV, even though there it is a sore thumb. Regardless, however, WP:WEIGHT does not specifically call in WP:N; any part of a topic coverage that is given too much weight is to be balanced out, and that can include parts that are notable. To the strict letter, notability does not directly affect WEIGHT, it is more the case that WEIGHT should take into account how much information is gleaned from primary sources relative to what is taken from secondary sources. Thus, to the purest sense, all WP:N should state is that notability does not limit the content of a topic's coverage - we do not require every subtopic to be notable on its own as long as its part of the notable topic coverage. We should state that other policies and guidelines may require a balance the notable aspects of a topic verses other details, but that is outside the realm of WP:N. We should still link to WP:WEIGHT in this, however, as the primary policy for this, but again, notability is one consideration of that. --MASEM 15:10, 13 November 2008 (UTC)
Perhaps the real solution here is to spin off an aspect of UNDUE from NPOV. Part of the problem here is that NPOV is a Foundation Issue policy, and undue weight in the sense that we're describing it here isn't. What happened was that the NPOV aspect of undue weight - excessive attention given to obscure minority viewpoints - bloated to cover things that have nothing to do with NPOV. Were those aspects of UNDUE to be spun off elsewhere, perhaps along with these aspects of notability, both pages might be improved. Phil Sandifer (talk) 17:00, 13 November 2008 (UTC)
I was going to suggest that, as this argument runs similar in course with what's happening in PLOT. I think it is some type of policy, as good topic coverage should balance every aspect of the coverage, but it's not a statement you can rework as a NOT statement. I would almost consider flipping NPOV around, with the actually part about being a neutral POV being one aspect of balanced coverage, but that would be difficult to align with the pillars. There is something to be said about that. --MASEM 17:15, 13 November 2008 (UTC)
If we look at the history of the section, Pixelface is right that this section grew from the "rib" of WP:NPOV. There was stuff about due weight of factual information that really didn't fit with the policy on points of view. It ended up here, and it grew here because it makes sense here. Nobody really disputes the guideline, and it has consensus: we treat topics in accordance with their significance. People *do* talk about aspects of articles being non-notable, and clean-up sections that are just too detailed and "weighty". I mean, the guideline does describe actual practice, common sense, and even an arbitration committee ruling. It's a good guideline. We're really just arguing as to whether we should bury it in the jungle of our standards, at arbcom, and at WP:NPOV, or whether we should put it here. So where does this really belong?
Again, I have to maintain that burying it is a bad idea. It's unclear, it's misleading, it's unhelpful. And when you look at the guideline -- today's version or the version from early November -- words like "importance" and "significance" indicate that this *is* related to notability. Where do WP:IMPORTANCE and WP:SIGNIFICANCE link? To this guideline! And a useful measuring stick for how much information we draw out from our sources -- primary and secondary -- is what reliable third-party sources have covered. That makes the relationship to WP:N strong. (Although it's indirect. This definitely doesn't mean that every fact needs coverage in reliable third-party sources. Again, it's just a measuring stick.)
I'm all for changes in wording to make it more clear. But scrubbing it is a bad idea. It flies in the face of practice, common sense, and even an arbitration committee ruling. And it hides a useful guideline that generally has consensus in spirit, even if there may be some debate over the wording. Randomran (talk) 19:25, 13 November 2008 (UTC)