Wikipedia talk:Notability/Archive 41

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I think this needs to made clear under the section Notability requires verifiable evidence. Something along the lines of "Verifiable evidence cannot be infered, nor can it be seen through a crystal ball, nor is it inherited in the absence of significant coverage". --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 18:21, 8 February 2010 (UTC)

This goes against the SNGs consensus-agreed purpose. You will need to invalidate those first before this can be added. --MASEM (t) 18:28, 8 February 2010 (UTC)
Again, no, it doesn't. Dlabtot (talk) 18:32, 8 February 2010 (UTC)
I think even Masem would agree this proposal makes some sense. We know substituting the sourcing requirements of WP:GNG for weaker sourcing criteria that might be implied from the SNG's is self-defeating, since Wikipedia's content policies go to great lengths to explain why some forms of content that are not sourced from reliable secondary sources are problematic. Other policies, like WP:BLP are very clear about this indeed: verifiable evidence of notability is required in the event of a content dispute; in such circumstances, "placeholders", such as awards, would be judged on the merits as sources, not as indicators that sources may or may not exist. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 18:41, 8 February 2010 (UTC)
  • Support I support this proposal, or wording to the same effect. "My business gets an article now because some day it will be famous; WP:IKNOWIT because I have a WP:CRYSTALBALL" is not okay with me. Nothing is notable until someone has actually noticed it. WhatamIdoing (talk) 03:39, 9 February 2010 (UTC)
  • Oppose "Verifiable evidence" != "significant coverage" as it's commonly understood here, meaning "high word count". Someone or something winning a significant award may deserve a stub even if the news coverage is brief. Also, practically very village or commune in the developed world has a stub here, usually sourced from verifiable but brief coverage in government sources; pick a random commune from France, and you'll see what I mean. Pcap ping 15:47, 9 February 2010 (UTC)
  • I don't understand how routine reporting of awards are exceptions to WP:NTEMP and WP:NOT#NEWS. Routine news reports are not evidence of notability unless the associated coverage is significant. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 15:55, 9 February 2010 (UTC)
  • Phota, I'm not sure that the context is clear. This proposal is an addition to the guideline, not a replacement for it. Significant coverage would still be required; the point is only to strengthen the guideline's requirement that you produce verifiable evidence of significant coverage on demand, rather than saying, "Sure, of course there's significant coverage.... somewhere or another. Don't you believe me?" WhatamIdoing (talk) 20:40, 9 February 2010 (UTC)
  • Strong Oppose There is something to be said that, for a general case, assertion that something will be notable based on the assumption future sources will exist is violating CRYSTAL, and as such is true for most topics. But for the specific cases that are outlined in the SNGs, these are community-agreed upon exceptions to that rule, based on two factors:
    • The criteria met is verifible from reliable sources as an indication of the significance of the topic (though this need not be a secondary source)
    • Topics in the past that meet those criteria either are already notable but simply have articles where editors have yet to bring in the secondary sources to expand it, or that the criteria has led nearly all of the time (with rare exception) to the generation of secondary sources based on meeting that criteria. While this last part can be seen as abusing CRYSTAL, this is where community consensus has agreed that since (nearly) all previous cases of topics in a field meeting criteria X before has led to secondary sources, it is a safe bet and good faith assumption that all future topics of that field meeting X will also lead to secondary sources. Again, the SNGs outline these limited exceptions to CRYSTAL; this is not presumed to be true for any topic or field that falls outside of the SNGs without further community discussion to create the new exception.
  • Again it is important to note that the SNG criteria are cases of showing some type of notability that exists now for a topic even if it is not yet fleshed out in secondary sources. There is no CRYSTAL in this aspect. It is not the case that the SNGs propose topics that lack any evidence of possible notability, thus making us having to guess about their notability in the first place and thus violating CRYSTAL. --MASEM (t) 16:14, 9 February 2010 (UTC)
  • I would have to challenge your view of consensus. My understanding of consensus comes from WP:ATA#CRYSTAL: Notability is based on objective evidence of whether sufficient reliable sources have taken notice already, not on subjective judgments of whether people should take notice in the future. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 16:33, 9 February 2010 (UTC)
  • Again, that's not what the SNGs are saying. They are saying that because of meeting the limited criteria, it has gained notice, but maybe not yet written out in immediately-available secondary sources. --MASEM (t) 16:46, 9 February 2010 (UTC)
Your assertions are false. Dlabtot (talk) 17:36, 9 February 2010 (UTC)
That is how they are written towards and used in practice. --MASEM (t) 18:45, 9 February 2010 (UTC)
Then maybe some of the SNGs are wrong. Maybe they don't actually line up with the community's view, and maybe if, instead of talking about it at the SNGs (which have a vested interest in themselves), we went to WT:NOT or the village pump and asked a direct question, like:

"Given a subject for which there is absolutely no evidence that any secondary sources exist, anywhere in the world, at this moment, but someone has asserted that it's highly likely that such sources will be created in the future -- because, for example, every (or nearly every) previous winner of a major award eventually has a book written about him or her -- is the subject notable right now, despite the complete lack of verifiable evidence to support the notability claim? Can we guess that sources exist rather than showing that they do exist? Can we guess that sources will exist in the future, rather than showing that they do exist right now?"

then we could find out whether the community supports Masem's oft-repeated, and equally oft-rejected, claims about SNGs allowing editors to bypass the production of actual, extant secondary sources when challenged. WhatamIdoing (talk) 20:37, 9 February 2010 (UTC)
What you say above is missing what the purpose of WP:N is on WP. It is guideline for inclusion based on the concept of wikt:notable topics. Notable topics are ones that have been noted, and while "significant coverage in secondary sources" is an indication that something has been noted, it is by far not the only means. Furthermore, because we are more than an encyclopedia, WP:N is not the only metric used to judge if material should be included or not. Don't get me wrong, WP:N is an effective inclusion metric for most topics, but taken as to the extreme suggested (effectively, "show secondary sources now or gtfo"), it fails to allow for the inclusion of topics that consensus and common sense say we should cover regardless of what the present sourcing issues are for the topic today. The SNGs is the stuff that fills the cracks between what WP:N allows and what we want to include but still meeting all other policies without allowing any old topic to come along. And again, I need to stress this: WP:N is a guideline and will likely always remain a guideline unless there is major change in consensus. It is meant to be used with common sense and reasonable exceptions, and not as a hard tool to say what's in or what's out. What is being proposed here throws out that common sense allowances for an objective rule, which is not how WP operates. --MASEM (t) 21:24, 9 February 2010 (UTC)
Yes, this is a guideline for how to implement the verifiability policy with respect to the inclusion of articles on Wikipedia. The verifiability policy in a nutshell? Any material challenged or likely to be challenged, and all quotations, must be attributed to a reliable, published source using an inline citation. This applies to all articles, lists, and sections of articles, without exception. Note the last two words: without exception. That is our policy. If you want to change it, the place to attempt to do so would be WP:V. Dlabtot (talk) 21:53, 9 February 2010 (UTC)
Verification from reliable sources is required, yes. But this is different from showing notability from secondary sources. There is a huge difference between those two considerations of sources. Note that the SNGs do not avoid WP:V - they require reliable sourced evidence that the criteria is met, so there's no policy issue there. --MASEM (t) 22:12, 9 February 2010 (UTC)
But this is different from showing notability from secondary sources. Not sure what this has to do with the current discussion about the alleged presumption that sources exist or will exist. Dlabtot (talk) 22:23, 9 February 2010 (UTC)
Because you are arguing that verification is proven by notability. Many times, this is true, but it is not a truism. It is important to recognize what we require from sources for verification, and what we look for from sources to show notability (which either is through secondary sources, or otherwise reliable sources to show meeting a SNG). --MASEM (t) 22:32, 9 February 2010 (UTC)
"Because you are arguing that verification is proven by notability." I don't even know what that is supposed to mean, so it's certainly not my argument. Rather my argument consists of the things I actually said. Dlabtot (talk) 22:42, 9 February 2010 (UTC)
At any rate, this discussion is pointless and unproductive, and I'm done with it. Dlabtot (talk) 22:46, 9 February 2010 (UTC)
I think we will have to agree to disagree. Clearly there are two schools of thought; Masem that believes that whether or not a topic is notable is a matter of subjective opinion, while this guideline says that that notability must be supported by veriable evidence. The difference between the two is the idea that topic must be the subject of significant coverage in the form of commentary, criticism or analysis. Significant coverage is the key to substantiating any claim that a topic being notable; while it is possible to verfify the existence of virtually everything under the sun in terms of inference or personal belief supported by trivial coverage, notability can only be presumed if a topic has been truely noted if it has been the subject of significant coverage. This is an important distinction that needs to be considered when deciding which school of thought is the correct one. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 23:11, 9 February 2010 (UTC)
Please stop putting words in my mouth. I never said anything about "subjective" evidence. To meet the SNGs, one is required to provide a reliable source to show the criteria has been met; that's still an objective measure to avoid "but I said so!" arguments. --MASEM (t) 05:35, 10 February 2010 (UTC)
  • Support- there should be no substitute for coverage in reliable sources. Reyk YO! 23:55, 9 February 2010 (UTC)
  • Oppose, I'm not following the intent. If the intent is to say "we shouldn't have an article on someone for whom we have no secondary, third-party sources", I strongly object. Primary sources are perfectly fine for determining what articles should be included, and first-party sources are fine for sourcing information in the article (as long as there's no reason to doubt their content). Certainly, secondary, third-party sources are preferred, but as long as a primary source is reliable and indicates a fact that means that secondary sources are likely to exist, there's no reason we can't have an article on the topic even before such secondary sources are found. Powers T 01:39, 11 February 2010 (UTC)
    I think if you oppose Gavin's suggestion, you should probably address what he is actually talking about, which redounds to the (non-negotiable) issues aid out WP:V. Eusebeus (talk) 15:35, 11 February 2010 (UTC)
    As I said, I'm not following what he's actually talking about; I thus oppose the wording because it's opaque. I'm also not clear what you mean by "redounds" in this context. Powers T 17:29, 11 February 2010 (UTC)
  • Oppose for the reasons Masem has already laid out.Jinnai 01:47, 11 February 2010 (UTC)
  • Support A reasonable and common sense suggestion. Eusebeus (talk) 15:35, 11 February 2010 (UTC)
  • Support Existing policy, ie WP:V and WP:NOT already prohibit crystal balling, or building a subject off of primary sources alone. I see no reason why this page should not reflect that existing policy. I wonder if those opposing know that this is already the case and has been for years? Chillum (Need help? Ask me) 15:42, 11 February 2010 (UTC)
    • There is a difference between 1) the case where I insist a topic is notable without providing any sources and assert that sources will be coming later (that itself is purely WP:CRYSTAL and certainly something we don't want to promote) and 2) the case where I show that there is a notable facet of a topic (e.g. winning a notable award) via a reliable source and that one can expect, within reason and common sense, that this implies there are more secondary sources that already exist (but that may not be immediately accessible) or will be forthcoming because of the demonstrative notable aspect. The language offered is what is at odds with the second case and basically what the SNGs promote. --MASEM (t) 17:44, 11 February 2010 (UTC)
      • An award given by an independent organization would be a secondary source regarding the subjects notability. That is fine, the problem comes when only primary and non-independent sources are used. For example if the only evidence of the award was the subjects resume then it would not be enough to show notability. Chillum (Need help? Ask me) 20:29, 11 February 2010 (UTC)
        • Not necessarily. A secondary source is one that analyzes and evaluates and critiques the topic, as opposed to just the factual reporting of the topic per primary sources. The announcement of an award being won may not give any secondary information about why that award was given, for example. For this purpose, knowing that we can rely on third-party reliable primary sources to evidence the notable aspect is necessary per the SNG, which is contrary to what is suggested here. --MASEM (t) 20:33, 11 February 2010 (UTC)
      • Masem, can you show me where the word "secondary" appears in Gavin's proposal? I like to think that I'm pretty good at reading my native language, and I'm not finding it.
        At some level, the proposed sentence is a tautology. Surely we could agree, for example, that in plain language, "verifiable evidence" requires the evidence to exist. WhatamIdoing (talk) 20:23, 11 February 2010 (UTC)
        • It's the phrase "significant coverage", which would be contrary to having one source that outlines the notable facet of the topic described in case 2. It's also implied in WP:N that "significant coverage" is that which comes from secondary sources (e.g. routine news stories get significant coverage from primary sources, but this is not what we want). But it comes back to the point that this proposal is against how the SNGs are used, to show via a non-secondary but reliable source that notability does exist, just not immediately spelled out in significant coverage via secondary sources. --MASEM (t) 20:33, 11 February 2010 (UTC)
Not so, as the SNG's specifically disallow forms of coverage which are not significant or are trivial in nature, such as flap copy, rountine announcements, advertisements as well as tertiary sources like directories and databases. To say that notability can be confered by "a non-secondary but reliable source" is entirely incorrect, since the SNG's specifically prohibit this approach - see these footnotes[1][2] for evidence of this.--Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 09:17, 12 February 2010 (UTC)
To a point, yes, not simply any source will work to show the verification of the notable facet in the SNGs. That's why "reliable source" is still important; this would likely dismiss flap copy and routine announcements, but that does not dismiss tertiary sources which can be reliable. The two footnotes you point out are footnoting sections of the respective SNGs which describe that one criteria is always meeting the GNG, with non-triviality of sources being the same required here. But that only applies to that GNG-like criteria, not to the other ones. Reliability and appropriate sourcing is still required, but it does not have to be secondary. --MASEM (t) 13:08, 12 February 2010 (UTC)
Significant coverage is a requirement in every case, as being trivialised is nowhere near the same as being notable. For instance, none of the SNG's say that crappy coverage is admissible, even if routine announcement or a mention in passing is related to an award or "placeholder". In order to presume that a topic is notable, there has to be signficant coverage to show that world at large has given significant thought to noting it. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 15:37, 12 February 2010 (UTC)
No, none of the SNGs state that except in the clause/criteria that reiterates the GNG standard that is true for all cases. Take WP:BK: A book is generally notable if it verifiably meets through reliable sources, one or more of the following criteria: WP:BIO: A person is generally notable if they meet any of the following standards. Verified but need not be significant or secondary. Prime example is the one given above by Jim Miller: the actor Timothy Hutton was basically unknown until he got awarded the Golden Globes and Academy Awards for his role in the 1980. If we apply our notability approach to that now, we would likely never have included an article on him prior to his awards, but those awards now suddenly indicate this person is notable. There probably would not be sources immediately available, but the verification of him winning the award by a reliable news outlet is sufficient to show this person was notable. Now, time's passed, and there are at least a few secondary sources to describe the person in more detail, and this is because, significant coverage will likely come as a result of a topic being notable, but significant coverage is not a defining property of notability. The SNGs, in the criteria that requires meeting the need for verification, are simply defining how to tell if something is notable in lieu of having significant coverage, which handles cases exactly like the Hutton case above. --MASEM (t) 16:09, 12 February 2010 (UTC)
Masem, I think you have misunderstood. For one thing, a thousand-page autobiography certainly provides "significant coverage", even though it is a primary source. Examples of secondary sources that provide only trivial coverage are easily found. The two are completely separate considerations.
Additionally, some of the SNGs explicitly require "significant coverage"; see the very first sentence of WP:ORG as an example. WhatamIdoing (talk) 02:30, 13 February 2010 (UTC)
An autobiography can be considered, depending on several factors, a first-person, secondary source, because it is usually reporting more than just facts. The first/third-person and the primary/secondary/tertiary axis we use to evaluate sources are two separate things.
But, as to WP:ORG, that first line sets the stage. It is repeating the GNG as a starting point, as a failsafe for any organization that does not meet the criteria otherwise set forth in the section WP:ORG#Alternate criteria for specific types of organizations. The fact that it repeats the GNG is good, again as the GNG represents a good baseline for presumption of notability where it is otherwise impossible to jusge. But then WP:ORG goes out to the "Alternate criteria" section and outlines additional cases which notability is provided by showing the criteria is met through appropriate reliable sources. Nearly every SNG (BIO, BK, MUSIC) all have this approach, providing alternative, verified means of showing notability in lieu of significant coverage. --MASEM (t) 02:54, 13 February 2010 (UTC)
I think that you need to go look at the "alternate criteria" at WP:ORG again, paying attention to sentences like "In other words, they must satisfy the primary criterion for all organizations as described above." WP:ORG does not support notability for any organization for which no secondary sources exist, nor for any organization for which the available independent sources are limited to a small geographic area. The "alternate criteria" are largely an exercise in defining non-notability. WhatamIdoing (talk) 03:05, 13 February 2010 (UTC)
...and that clause is only applying to the subsection about non-commercial entities, and it still allows for non-significant coverage as listed in the "Additional criteria are:" section. Now granted, there is very little wiggle room in ORG outside of the GNG and likely for good reason - most of the guideline is written as to clarification that not all organizations that would meet the GNG would be appropriate for an article (there's the whole local coverage issue that started this whole thread for example). This is necessary to avoid the vanity issue. But there is still allowance for showing notability without immediately available significant coverage within ORG. Other SNGs, however, have a much wider range of criteria, and thus why it is important that we have these types of allowances. -- —Preceding unsigned comment added by Masem (talkcontribs) 01:19, 13 February 2010
I don't think so, and I think this confusion may be a serious source of disruption for this conversation.
There is nothing in WP:ORG that permits a claim of notability on the grounds of trivial coverage. It is explicitly banned, as a matter of fact. "Trivial coverage" is the opposite of "significant coverage". Wikipedia does not write articles about anything if all the sources together amount to trivial coverage. "Significant coverage" (which may or may not mean "lots of words") is required, and this fact is repeated three separate times on WP:ORG, with not merely "little" but "zero" 'wiggle room' on the point (See "Trivial or incidental coverage of a subject by secondary sources is not sufficient to establish notability", for example).
Whether the coverage is "significant" or "trivial" does not tell us anything about whether the coverage is "primary" or "secondary". These are independent issues. WhatamIdoing (talk) 06:49, 13 February 2010 (UTC)
Ok, now I do agree that none of the SNGs in their criteria to show notability are allowing for "trivial coverage" as you are trying to spell out above. The problem here is that the phrase "significant coverage", out of context, is used to imply breadth and depth of coverage from (any type of) sources, which further implies a certain number of sources, and a certain level of detail within those sources that typically only comes about from secondary coverage. There's also the fact that there's levels of coverage that fall between significant and trivial - these are extremes and opposites of each other but don't cover the middle, and the type of coverage that the SNGs allow for falls in that space. If a person wins a previously-acknowledged notable award, a new article about that person that includes some primary source that validates winning that award, but otherwise cannot go into more depth due to immediate lack of sources, is not "trivial coverage", nor is it "significant coverage", but it is covered in a manner to meet WP:V, and is showing a facet of notability, and thus considered acceptable per the BIO SNG. I acknowledge not every SNG has such - again, ORG is more preventative due to vanity issues, which is fine - but it is important that many SNGs do have these criteria and allowances for coverage that is less than "significant" but more than "trivial". Of course, we hope (and expect?) that such articles will be expanded once available to existing sources and generation of new sources comes around to push the coverage clearly to "significant", but that's not required to satisfy the initial demonstration of notability to meet the SNG. --MASEM (t) 13:47, 13 February 2010 (UTC)
I don't think so. Certainly in the real world, there's a broad range of coverage, from "massive" to "significant" to "moderate" and on down past "trivial" to "practically nothing", but within the narrow world of Wikipedia's notability discussions, everything ultimately gets classified as one or the other: either it's enough coverage to support a notability claim -- which we call "significant coverage" -- or it's not.
The single sentence "<Name of unknown person> won <name of some exceedingly famous prize>" might well be considered "significant coverage" for notability purposes. There is nothing in this proposed sentence that would prohibit a bid for notability on the basis of that source. WhatamIdoing (talk) 19:19, 13 February 2010 (UTC)
I would love to assume that is the case (your second para above) and thus remove the general opposition I have to this, but given how this entire idea started (following from the previous section of this page), I would believe some that favor this propose would also call that sentence (presuming the only statement towards notability in the article) as being "insignificant coverage" and thus fail per this comment. This extends from the fact that it seems hard to get past the idea that only secondary sources can confer notability, which is not true. --MASEM (t) 21:53, 13 February 2010 (UTC)
That would almost certainly not be considered "significant coverage" under the accepted use of that phrase in notability discussions. "Significant coverage" refers not to the significance of the fact reported, but to the extent (i.e., depth) of facts reported. One simple statement about winning an award is clearly not "significant" in that sense. Powers T 23:36, 13 February 2010 (UTC)
Masem has to accept that LtPowers point is generally accepted everywhere. One simple statement about winning an award is not so much a "facet" of notability as Masem describes, its more like a tiny shard or insubstantial splinter, too insignificant to support a presumption of notability. This principle is the basis for other sections of this guideline: insubstantial coverage, such as a short burst of news stories or routine announcements (which a simple statement about winning an award would be a prime example) are specifically disallowed as evidence of notability, since "articles should not be written based on speculation that the topic may meet the criteria in the future". The SNGs do not contain any guidance that enables this principle to be overrulled, and if Masem think they do, then he should be forgiven for doing so if the SNG's are not entirely clear on this matter. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 00:32, 14 February 2010 (UTC)
(←) I hope people see the contradictions here. As I suggested, if an article contained only a statement of fact that conferred an aspect of notability from a reliable but non-secondary source, among other aspects (mostly from primary sources), it is not considered "significant coverage" (at least, as argued by Lt. Powers and Gavin, while WhatAmIDoing suggested otherwise), and we fail the GNG and the proposed addition. However, the SNGs have been used and continue to be used, and, for the purposes of being a summary of human knowledge in whatever form it may be in, are used to allow limited exceptions for cases where a facet of notability can be shown reliability and where one can reasonably expect more sources to be found due to this notable aspect. Until those sources are found, the article will fail the GNG, but not the SNGs. This is the reason we have an article for every recorded civilized town and village, and why (perhaps not appropriate, but this is the reasoning behind it) why there's 10,000s of articles on every professional international soccer player in the world, even if it is just an infobox and a source to confirm their team membership. This is how the SNGs are used, this is how the last RFC for WP:N found them to be used, and why the suggested change is completely against the SNGs' typical usage on WP. This is exactly how the SNGs are used in practice and unless you can convince the community to change that practice, the suggested language will conflict with that, nor does it support the development of a encyclopedia that is attempting to summarize human knowledge in a community-derived standard. --MASEM (t) 01:50, 14 February 2010 (UTC)
You're absolutely correct, of course, even if Gavin's refactoring of my comment above makes it appear I disagree. I find it astonishing that Gavin believes that an article about a notable award winner would not be kept even if all we have is that the person won that notable award. Powers T 02:53, 14 February 2010 (UTC)
I think you will find that awards that are subject of trivial coverage ("Four star hotel") get deleted all the time. Articles like La Trompette have no encyclopedic value at all, even if has won a Michelin star. It might be suitable for inclusion for a list, but as a standalone article, its crap. The fact that it fails WP:NTEMP and WP:NOT#NEWS must surely indicate that there is something fundamentally wrong with your interpretation of the SNGs. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 13:39, 14 February 2010 (UTC)
It is clear no one is saying any award is immediately a sign of notability. When the SNGs mention awards, they all mention "notable" ones, so we're talking things like Oscars, Emmys, Nobel, Pulitzer, etc. Were one to create an article based on a topic being awarded a non-notable, trivial, or routine award and attempts no other demonstration of notability, it would likely be deleted for failure of meeting the given criteria. --MASEM (t) 13:51, 14 February 2010 (UTC)
Right, I agree Gavin's example probably doesn't meet any SNG. I'm not even sure a three-star Michelin establishment would. Powers T 18:53, 14 February 2010 (UTC)
Enough of the backtracking, already. The fact is that even notable awards, such as Michelin stars, do not provide prima facie evidence of notability. They are the same as any other source: they have to provide or be accompanied by significant coverage. Whist some awards provide or are accompanied by more coverage than others, that is not the same as saying that significant covergage can be infered to exist when in fact it is entirely absent. There are many Oscar winners that are not the subject of significant coverage (e.g. for sound mixing. You can't say some awards are good, some are bad or some are important - that is the same old subjective importance argument dressed up with a bit of tinsel. We can't just make up relationships between notability and awards that are not supported by evidence. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 21:40, 14 February 2010 (UTC)
When a global consensus of WP editors believe something is worth including, we include it. That's what the SNGs represent. That's why we cannot be objective save in those few areas that the Foundations has told us to be (BLP, copyvio, and NFC); global (not local, importantly) consensus is king. Since there is global consensus and continuing practice for inclusion of topics based on verified information that specific criteria have been met, then that's what we need to reflect in the guideline. --MASEM (t) 22:48, 14 February 2010 (UTC)
Totally wrong. The global consensus of WP editors is that notability requries verifiable evidence in the form of significant coverage, because it is not possible to write an article without it. Anything less will fail WP:NOT, or more specifically, in the case of La Trompette, it will fail WP:NOT#TRAVEL. Wikipedia is not a directory of Michelin starred eateries, nor is it a directory of Four-star hotels. Merely being verifiable information is not an automatic inclusion criteria, and none of the SNGs say they exist to over rule any of Wikipedia's content policies on which notability is based. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 01:45, 15 February 2010 (UTC)
For one, no one had said the GNG is no longer valid as an inclusion metric. That still applies and the most general inclusion metric by consensus, but the consensus has also stated the SNGs are limited exemptions where there is verifyable evidence of a facet of notability, previously determined by consensus. Secondly, we have already dismissed the "routine" aspects like Michelin awards as not the "notable awards" that the SNGs cover, and presume that in questionable situations, it will be appropriately determined on talk pages or AFD if the award is truly notable to serve as a facet of notability, but it's also important to realize there's many other criteria that are not just award-based (for example, WP:MUSIC accounts for artists that meet specific sales numbers). Also, the statement, it is not possible to write an article without [significant coverage] is not entirely correct. It is very likely not possible to write a complete article on a specific topic without significant coverage (I'll be careful to say it is always impossible, as I bet there's something out there that will prove that wrong), but it is always possible to write an article-in-progress of the type that will attract more editors to work on it with the basic facet of notability asserted. WP is a work in progress. No article needs to be complete upon creation or even days, months, weeks later, though to assure avoiding indiscriminate topics, we require some aspect of notability to be given rather earlier on in the process, whether through the GNG or respective SNGs. If sufficient time (years?) have passed and no new information develops beyond a slim bit of notability, then deletion is a reasonable step, but to assume this any earlier in the process (as suggested by this change) is destructive and not assuming good faith from a volunteer project attempting to summarize all of human knowledge. --MASEM (t) 03:15, 15 February 2010 (UTC)
Wikipedia is a project attempting to summarize all of human knowledge, but it can't do so unless the the topic is the subject of significant coverage from reliable sources to avoid original reserch and provide a rationale for inclusion based on external validation. It may be true that no article needs to be complete upon its creation, but it does need to meet WP:N in the first instance, otherwise the is no ratioanle for its inclusion at this time. We still need rules to decide which topics are viable, and which ones should be merged or deleted, and that is why verifiable evidence of notability is required to demonstrate that the topic can meet Wikipedia content policies, particularly those about living persons who must be protected from unsourced commentary and criticism. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 09:22, 15 February 2010 (UTC)
Yes, but secondary sources providing significant coverage are not the only source of verifiable evidence of notability. Powers T 19:23, 15 February 2010 (UTC)
Other notability guidelines list alternate criteria that indicate notability, criteria that this guideline does not mention. If alternate criteria were unacceptable, the other notability guidelines would not exist. And this guideline says that meeting the criteria in the other notability guidelines is acceptable: "A topic is presumed to be notable enough to merit an article if it meets the general notability guidelines below. A topic can also be considered notable if it meets the criteria outlined in one of the more subject specific guidelines listed on the right." Your opinion that something must be accompanied by significant coverage contradicts this guideline. Your next hitchhiker (talk) 10:54, 21 February 2010 (UTC)
  • Opposeand very strongly so. The relationship of the SNGs to the GNG can be different in every instance--we can have whatever relationship we decide as a community makes sense, and it should not be prejudged in theory. This is basically a proposal to eliminate the SNGs altogether, and that would require r=very wide consensus indeed. WP:N is a guideline, and meant to be flexible--this is an attempt to destroy the flexibility. Contra Gavin, when he says " One simple statement about winning an award is not so much a "facet" of notability as Masem describes, its more like a tiny shard or insubstantial splinter, too insignificant to support a presumption of notability, " he has it backwards. If the award is accepted as being sufficiently important, which is for the community to decide in every case, then not only is it more than a splinter, its more than a facet: it is the actual evidence of notability, and if proven is much stronger evidence than the indirect implication from the person or whatever being covered by any number of sources. The GNG is a surrogate, for when we do not have such standards. Rather than subject notability to the vagaries of the googles, specific guidelines establish actual criteria and standards which make much more sense in terms of the outside world--with awards, that's the very purpose of awards, to establish RW notability. People who are not wanting to be over-inclusive need to realise that as g books in particular starts approaching universal coverage, everything, no matter how insignificant, is very likely to have two sources. Its what the sources say that matters. Requiring abstract standards rather than the GNG is not inclusionism, it's what I might better call selectivism. DGG ( talk ) 03:52, 14 February 2010 (UTC)
    • DGG, your opposition doesn't seem to line up with my experience of your practice. The proposed statement opposes, for example, a notability claim that amounts to "I see in my magic crystal ball that some day, there will be sources published about this subject". Do you actually oppose this fairly basic re-statement of WP:CRYSTAL? WhatamIdoing (talk) 04:01, 14 February 2010 (UTC)
  • Oppose Unnecessary and harmful, an attempt to combat non-existent problems. Nobody defends articles with no evidence of source-ability in any way whatsoever, and the SNGs are not more "subjective" than the GNG, which itself is a choice made by our (inter)"subjective" consensus. Like it or not, practice and the guidelines say that brief coverage that demonstrates notability, say by satisfying a SNG, is enough.John Z (talk) 19:57, 14 February 2010 (UTC)
  • Oppose No reason given for the proposal. 'I think this needs to be made clear' followed by some obfusticated language for addition. A good reason and wide acceptance is needed if accepted and established practice is to be changed. It is not just 'being made clear' if it changes accepted practice. Seems like a totally unnecessary instruction creep to me. Dmcq (talk) 07:30, 15 February 2010 (UTC)
  • Comment - I'd be fine with an addition like this, which actually adds something: "News and other matters that are very likely to imminently gain substantial attention may be created based on early sources, but Wikipedia is not a crystal ball; if the expected coverage needed to evidence notability does not materialize in a very short time the article may be proposed to be deleted.". But a throwaway reference to CRYSTAL isn't likely to help as much. FT2 (Talk | email) 07:48, 15 February 2010 (UTC)
    • I will point out that some people have started WP:EVENT to cover notability of breaking-news items (after the balloon boy incident); not that the above language is against it, though it might be good to help align them a bit better. --MASEM (t) 20:59, 15 February 2010 (UTC)
  • The difference is, WP:EVENT would presumably cover breaking news events, their notability criteria, and handling. This sentence would focus on use of WP:CRYSTAL generally, which is slightly different. So far as I understand this section that's what was being discussed. FT2 (Talk | email) 23:13, 15 February 2010 (UTC)
  • Strong support for FT2's revised wording, as I think it ties in well with the sections that follow, but also it is underpined by WP:GNG and Wikipedia's content policies. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 09:26, 15 February 2010 (UTC)
  • Somewhat support on the presumption we are talking about things that are understandably short-term effects. Current events make sense to fall under there, but when notability is given by one of the SNGs that is due to a recent event (eg. winning an award of critical acclaim), this should not fall under what this language is attempting to do. That is, there's a different between a the reporting of a current event that will not have lasting impact until proven otherwise, and a reporting of a notable facet via a current event. --MASEM (t) 21:02, 15 February 2010 (UTC)
  • Oppose I've no idea how people are getting that wording to imply something about the SNGs, but if it is claiming that SNGs can't be an alternative way to meet WP:N I've got an issue. I think they can't be a way to meet WP:V, but that's not where we are. In all cases, I oppose because the wording is unclear to me. Hobit (talk) 02:02, 28 February 2010 (UTC)

RfC to apply notability to article contents

There is a current RfC at Talk:Incidents_at_SeaWorld_parks#RFC:_including_or_excluding_victim_names regarding applying notability standards to article contents. Gigs (talk) 18:40, 28 February 2010 (UTC)

Railway incidents guideline

A guideline was been written for railway incidents, but its status as an approved guideline is disputed. See Wikipedia:Notability (railway incidents). Fences&Windows 14:37, 2 March 2010 (UTC)

Word to avoid

Regarding this new addition to the guideline: I do question whether we should be mentioning this in this guideline. Or maybe at all. With lists especially, it can be useful to use the word "notable" in the title or elsewhere to signify that it's not a list of all-possible-whatevers: [3]. This kind of issue comes up at AfD, where people often look at the article title and nothing else and assume "List of aborigines? That's going to be millions of people!" Plus, there are no doubt times where it has appropriate use in prose.

These objections were raised in the original VP thread. I would say this addition requires more discussion before it goes into the guideline, not before it's removed. I'm also doubtful of whether it belongs in this guideline, because, as was pointed out in the VP thread, there's a difference between WP:Notable and wikt:notable.--Father Goose (talk) 21:34, 27 February 2010 (UTC)

I think it's not needed, as in general, we're supposed to keep the backstage of WP off what happens on the main article space. A singular topic article does not need a statement like "Person X is notable because of this.". But that's true for all policy and guideline (We don't say "According to the unbiased reliable source the New York Times, the age of Person X is verified..." obviously). However, that doesn't mean we avoid the word when it is necessary to use. It just shouldn't be used when its meaning to tied to this guideline in main space. --MASEM (t) 21:52, 27 February 2010 (UTC)
Normally I'd agree, but we have some lists that are by design limited to "entries that have their own Wikipedia article". It's good to note that inclusion criterion, either in the lead or even in the title, and I think sometimes the word "notable" -- more in the wikt: sense than the WP: sense -- is the best way to express it. (It's certainly better than "important".)--Father Goose (talk) 22:11, 27 February 2010 (UTC)
Re-reading, I'm now realizing that your "I think it's not needed" was in reference to the new addition to the guideline, not in reference to "using the word 'notability' in articles is not needed". Still, my followup comment wasn't entirely off the mark; sometimes wikt:notability and WP:notability coincide.--Father Goose (talk) 08:23, 28 February 2010 (UTC)
This guideline, which explicitly says that it does not limit the contents of articles, is definitely not the right place for advice about the contents of an article.
It happens that I also don't think that the advice is necessary or helpful or anything other than WP:CREEPy -- in articles. In discussions, I'm perfectly willing to nudge people into avoiding word choices that might leave someone confused about whether they are discussing the plain-English concept or the policy-based wikijargon, but the average reader won't notice or care whether we describe a subject as being wikt:notable or wikt:reliable or so forth.
It also seems to have been rejected by WP:WTA. WhatamIdoing (talk) 00:27, 28 February 2010 (UTC)
I agree: Misplaced instruction creep. Hans Adler 07:56, 28 February 2010 (UTC)

As the person who added the text, I feel I should offer some kind of explanation. Firstly, the issue identified at the village pump was that the word notable appears too often, especially in fairly new articles and this often comes from people wanting to show that notability requirements are met. The point we are trying to make is that you don't do that by using the word notable in an article.

I can see that this is partly a matter of style, and hence it looks like instruction creep to bring it up in a content guideline. However, the problem does stem directly from a misunderstanding of this policy so the edit was intended to kill the problem at source.

Yaris678 (talk) 14:01, 28 February 2010 (UTC)

This could be rewritten to addresses the perceived conflict between notable as a reference to the word, and notable as a self-reference to our notability guidelines. Something like:

Notability of a subject is not advanced by describing the subject of an article as "notable". Notability is decided on the basis of facts stated and references provided in an article. Thus, though the word "notable" may be used for its vernacular meaning where appropriate, asserting that a topic is "notable" in an attempt to meet Wikipedia's notability requirements has no value.

--Fuhghettaboutit (talk) 16:19, 28 February 2010 (UTC)
Menh. If we say it at all, we should do so very briefly: "Describing a subject as 'notable' in an article does not make it 'notable' by the terms of this guideline" -- but I suspect people who are making that error are not bothering to read this page in the first place, so adding more instruction to it will not reach them anyway. I respect the intent here but doubt its usefulness.--Father Goose (talk) 01:21, 1 March 2010 (UTC)
I agree that we should try to say this as concisely as possible. However, I think that we should say that using the word can be a bad thing, rather than just having no effect. Perhaps we should say "Describing a subject as 'notable' in an article does not make it 'notable' by the terms of this guideline. Indeed, the word 'notable' is considered to be a peacock term." Yaris678 (talk) 08:31, 3 March 2010 (UTC)
I'm not convinced that this is necessary, but WP:NRVE might be a better place for such a sentence than the lead. WhatamIdoing (talk) 20:01, 4 March 2010 (UTC)
WP:NRVE seems to be a good place for it. I've put it in there - let's see if anyone else has an opinion on it. Yaris678 (talk) 09:40, 9 March 2010 (UTC)

Respectfully disagreed with an addition. While I undersgtand and sympathise woth the porpose, there are two issues: (1) The first part is redundant: per policy notability requires WP:CITE, and (2) the last part is incorrect, if the word "notable" or synonyms or any other peacock terms are attributed to WP:RS, then they are legal in the article. Mukadderat (talk) 22:10, 9 March 2010 (UTC)

P.S. BTW, there are many other words, like "the best", "prominent", "outstanding", "world renowned", etc. Why "notable" is an exception? All claims of notability must be referenced. Period. Mukadderat (talk) 22:14, 9 March 2010 (UTC)
P.P.S. At the same time, I would see reasonable to include an example of the usage of a peacokk term in this section, with the purpose of introduction of the link to WP:PEACOCK, which is indeed a relevant additional reading for the subject of this policy. Mukadderat (talk) 22:19, 9 March 2010 (UTC)
Hi Mukadderat, I'm not sure what your complaint is. The text said "the word 'notable' is considered to be a peacock term." It didn't say "never use the word 'notable'". Indeed, a link is provided to WP:PEACOCK where it is explained when such terms can and can't be used. Yaris678 (talk) 07:57, 10 March 2010 (UTC)
<by accidental glitch, I lost my explanation of #2 (a bit of misunderstanding), so for the moment please ignore it> The main objection is #1: any claims require references to be available upon request, so singling out the word "notable" is redundant. What is more, WP:V does not immediately require refs: only in contested cases. Therefore It would be perfectly legal to write , say, "Albert Einstein is notable [bla-bla-bla...]" Yes, writing "AE is notable" does not make him notable. Just as "the sky is blue" does not make it blue. However in both cases we can readily deliver references, and I fail to see why the phrase "Lil Pigsty Gangsta is notable in Winchestertonfieldville rap scene" is not a potential claim for notability. Just as with any claims, if you drop {{fact}} on it and someone comes with a ref from Winchestertonfieldville Daily and from Iowa Moonshine Nightly and so on, we are good even the authors are lazy to explain why exactly he is notable (so the article itself may be bad, but we have always been having undercooked texts). In other words, I disagree with Fuhghettaboutit's phrase above: "asserting that a topic is "notable" in an attempt to meet Wikipedia's notability requirements has no value:" if the assertion verifiably comes from a reliable source, the article cannot be prodded or speedied: the source must be judged by AfD or article talk page. Mukadderat (talk) 04:51, 13 March 2010 (UTC)
OK. Thanks for clearing up what you meant.
To say that 'any claims require references to be available upon request, so singling out the word "notable" is redundant.' is basically arguing that WP:PEACOCK is redundant. It is a long standing guideline so I suggest you have missed something. Peacock terms can be used but the requirements are stricter than WP:V. The requirements are explained in WP:PEACOCK.
Yaris678 (talk) 08:05, 13 March 2010 (UTC)

I received no response to the above post so I stuck the text back in. But it has now been reverted. If people disagree with the text can they please explain why. Much of the disagreement above was about an earlier wording that was quite different to the current wording. The earlier wording was also in the lead whereas the current location seems much more appropriate. So far the only person who has objected to the current wording on the talk page is Mukadderat, and he has stopped talking. Yaris678 (talk) 18:24, 18 March 2010 (UTC)

It's process creep, based on the above comments. It is not that your concept is wrong, but the opinion above suggests there is no perceived need to include this. If there is strong evidence of an "epidemic" of people saying "this topic is notable because..." then maybe, but as noted, it's already a peacock term. --MASEM (t) 18:40, 18 March 2010 (UTC)
Agree with Masem, and his latest removal. Yaris678's text is correct, but this page is not a collection of everything that is correct. There is a frequent tendency for well meaning users to conflate WP:N with aspects of many other important things, and so we have to be firm in keeping the page focuses on it's purpose. WP:N is about whether articles should be stand alone articles. It is not about offering editorial advice. There are other pages (usually essays) for that, or if not, write a new one. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 23:14, 18 March 2010 (UTC)
OK. Thanks guys. It's nice to have a response that actually makes sense! I personally am not that bothered either way but it was rather annoying being reverted without a decent explanation. I think the person who originally brought up the issue at the village pump was perceiving some kind of epidemic but I guess it depends on what sort of article you often look at. I've seen a few of the "X is a notable Y" type in Wikipedia:Requests for feedback but I think most articles eventually have that sort of language trimmed. Yaris678 (talk) 13:46, 19 March 2010 (UTC)

It used to be that new articles which didn't assert the notability of their subject were automatically speedily deleted. Is that still the case? Stephen B Streater (talk) 23:17, 19 March 2010 (UTC)

I don't believe there was ever a speedy for non-notable articles. There is a speedy criteria for articles of specific types (people, bands, companies, and a few others) that typically fall prey to vanity creation that we require that some type of importance is shown. But the same idea of what the discussion above is applies here: we don't need people to write as if to prove to the people reviewing articles for notability or importance of the topic's notability, but just to include it to explain to the regular reader. EG: "John Q. Public is notable because is the CEO of ACME Corp." is not needed when it can just be said "John Q. Public is CEO of ACME Corp.". --MASEM (t) 23:24, 19 March 2010 (UTC)
Yes, there is a relevant speedy deletion line, but it only applies to certain subjects. See WP:CSD's A7 and A9. Some kinds of articles need to have some indication or assertion of notability to avoid speedy deletion. "X is notable because..." is a common way of avoiding a speedy deletion in these subjects. WhatamIdoing (talk) 00:16, 20 March 2010 (UTC)

There may not be an "epidemic" but I certainly have seen this scenario play out numerous times: Article is marked with {{notability}}, prodded or taken to AfD on the basis of notability; the next edit is for creator to add to the article that the person/thing "is notable" without any facts being added substantiating that assertion. I have seen the analogous result play out with A7 tagging; e.g, the creator removes the db-bio/corp etc. tag and adds to the article solely that the person/thing "is important" or "is significant". These are relatively common misunderstandings, and I think we should have some text addressing it as the prior text did, if imperfectly. Whether it is a peacock terms is entirely beside the point.--Fuhghettaboutit (talk) 23:28, 19 March 2010 (UTC)

If the sentence provides some credible explanation of how the subject is important, significant, or notable, then the article no longer qualifies for speedy deletion. (It may still qualify for all other forms of deletion.) Merely saying "It's important" is not enough to avoid a speedy deletion. WhatamIdoing (talk) 00:16, 20 March 2010 (UTC)
This tag is an example of what I was referring to. If you don't assert notability, you risk your article being deleted. Stephen B Streater (talk) 07:33, 20 March 2010 (UTC)
That's probably a bad example, since the tagger removed the CSD tag within a few minutes (possibly a mistake?) and in any case, the available sources at that point for that article would never cause it to be deleted.
All we're seeing here is likely novice or new editors that have seen one of their articles deleted, or have read through starting documentation, either case where the advice "show that your topic is notable or it will be deleted" - so far so good. But then they write their new article towards Wikipedia admins and reviewers to address that specific instruction (adding "this topic is notable because of X" language) instead of simply writing towards the readership ("This topic is X"). This is just simply poor writing that can usually easily be fixed and certainly, presuming that notability is there, would never cause the article to be deleted. In otherwords, I think that the better place for this advice is in our instructions for creating new pages where notability or importance is discussed, since this is mostly a failing of the novice editor. --MASEM (t) 12:14, 20 March 2010 (UTC)
A reaction to notability being discussed in instruction pages is not where this usually arises. It arises from a direct claim of lack of notability through a prod, an AfD or from a {{notability}} tag (or an article issues tag with notability as a parameter). The one thing all these processes have in common is a link to this policy. This policy page is thus the only place where the vast majority of the audience who does this will receive instruction. I don't think it should be included to address those who say in response "x is notable because he/she (fact)(source)" You're right that that's just poor writing, and those people already understand that it is the "(fact)(source)" that evidences notability. It is the people who misunderstand that taking something which says "x is a y" and changing it only insofar as "x is a notable y", that this would be instructive for. It is not an uncommon misunderstanding.--Fuhghettaboutit (talk) 13:15, 20 March 2010 (UTC)
Given that the problem is really with two small subsections in WP:CSD, perhaps the A7 and A9 descriptions, or the templates, should be where we address this problem. It seems a little silly to address it on the page that doesn't require any assertion of notability, but to leave it off the page that is apparently the source of the problem. WhatamIdoing (talk) 18:58, 20 March 2010 (UTC)
It's not a given because neither A7 nor A9 are directly about notability, though they arise from the same underlying concern, and do not link to the notability policy (for very good reason). When notability is at issue, we see people adding "is notable" to articles. As I've said above, this typically is a reaction to prods, AfDs and {{notability}} or {{article issues}} tags that link this policy, and not any form of speedy deletion. We do see an analogous mistake when A7/A9 is at issue, but it is as to that standard, and not notability, i.e., we see people adding "is important/significant" to articles.--Fuhghettaboutit (talk) 02:02, 21 March 2010 (UTC)
Fugettaboutit, I think you need to go read the CSD page before we get any further. Here's a quotation that you'll want to be looking for: "This is distinct from verifiability and reliability of sources, and is a lower standard than notability." This quotation is taken from A7, but a remarkably similar sentence is present in A9. The bolded text highlights a link to WP:N; you falsely assert above that neither A7 nor A9 link to the notability "policy" (note that this page is actually a guideline, not a policy). WhatamIdoing (talk) 02:25, 21 March 2010 (UTC)
Yes, I misspoke in loosely saying a link wasn't present; a link is present in the policy but only to point out that A7 is not the same standard as notability. Of course where most people actually learn of the speedy standard and react is from the speedy tag for db-A7/bio/corp/web which don't contain this note about N). You're missing the point. As someone who has reviewed and deleted about 5,000 articles and tagged as many, I am telling you that we do not see this as a reaction to any speedy criteria, we see this as a reaction to the processes I've stated above, and we see the "is important/significant" mistake when a speedy is in the offing. Talking about A9/A9 is a red herring here.---Fuhghettaboutit (talk) 02:43, 21 March 2010 (UTC)

A reliable source for open source

Actually I think the problem is not that there aren't any reliable sources, but more that people don't agree on what constitutes a reliable source in the case of open source.

Obviously, dead tree media is relatively useless (With one or two great exceptions, such as the books by O'Reilly Media) . The canonical sources of information are all online. Typically full souce code for an oss application can be found online, so verifiability is a fairly trivial exercise. But such sources don't tell us anything about notability.

So we need to think of what kinds of sources we can use to establish notability for OSS, that have similar properties to other sources we already use to establish notability.

How about this: could we count "Included in a major distribution", as a solid notability claim? I guess you could say that being published in a distribution would be (roughly!) the F/L/OSS analogue to being published in a peer reviewed journal. Distributions typically test a package, edit it to make it play nice with other packages, sometimes do some reviewing, etc. Also, the major distributions are fairly notable in themselves. And you could say they are a kind of media, just not traditional or dead tree media.

Within the framework of WP:N, a Distribution has the following properties:

  • Significant Coverage : A distribution like Ubuntu, Debian, Fedora_(operating_system), Novell openSUSE, etc includes the entire source code, one or more compiled versions, a short summary or review, a screenshot, etc.
  • Reliable : WP:RS only lists news organisations and academic journals to be reliable by default. Argh! %-) However, WP:V has a definition. "Articles should be based on reliable, third-party, published sources with a reputation for fact-checking and accuracy. ". Distributions are:
    • Reliable : You could self-assess this, by simply running one and seeing if it crashes... but for several of the top distributions, I'm pretty sure we can point to 3rd party reliable sources attesting to their reliability, insofar we haven't done so yet.
    • third-party: A distribution is a 3rd party
    • reputation for fact checking and accuracy: W're using these sources specifically for assessing notability. A distro maintainer won't spend their time on something they don't think is worth the effort. The time a distribution maintainer spends on a subject is somewhere in between that spent by a journalist(hours/days) and time spent by an academic (months/years).
    • published: distributions typically publish work in physical form, on CD-ROM, DVD, etc. Some also print manuals, reviews, and other documents.
  • Sources: In this context, a distribution is a secondary source.
  • Independant of the subject: Distribution maintainers definitely qualify here. In fact, the occasional acerbic criticism of "upstream" often makes for entertaining sunday morning reading O:-)
  • Presumed, We're mostly using a distro to establish notability. We'll need other sources (possibly the primary source :-/) for other aspects to ensure we don't violate WP:NOT

There is also a separate definition at verifiability: "In general, the best sources have a professional structure in place for checking or analyzing facts, legal issues, evidence, and arguments." In the framework of WP:V , distributions have the following properties:

  • professional structure. Some distributions have people working for pay. The large distribution providers typically have employees or volunteers who apply professional standards at or above the industry norm.
  • checking and analysing facts: they're more concerned with source code and bugs, which they check, analyze, critique, often very thoroughly indeed. (I'm arguing on the basis that [[Source code#Legal issues in the United States|code is (free) speech)
  • checking and analysing legal issues: Some distributions are more thorough about this than others. Debian is well known for being very strict on licensing issues of all forms (you can compare their policy to our own non-free media policy. Ours is probably somewhat modeled on theirs, albeit unconsciously) .
  • checking and analysing evidence: in the context of distributions would mostly be bug reports, feature requests, or legal issues. This is the core business of a distribution, and a good distribution will maintain their issue-trackers religiously. incidentally, open source projects themselves also often run issue trackers. If you'd like to see one: wikipedia has an issue tracker too :-)
  • checking and analysing arguments: distributions are not often in the business of analysing natural language texts, of course. In the case where we use a distribution to assess notability: they asses the overall quality of a project, and the likelihood that their users will want to use it, and decide whether it is worth the effort to support.

TL;DR: We should consider inclusion in a distribution as a reliable (bright-line) indicator of notability, because -in the context of notability- distributions appear to meet or exceed the relevant requirements set by WP:RS, WP:N, WP:V

On that basis, shall we add a clarification to the relevant policy page(s)? --Kim Bruning (talk) 13:07, 6 March 2010 (UTC) clarification in response to below: Distributions meet or exceed the relevant requirements to be considered a good publisher, and thus a reliable source on the notability of the subjects they publish. 13:52, 6 March 2010 (UTC)

Does being a low-level employee of a major corporation imply notability? Aside from the fact that notability is not inherited, this approach wouldonly apply to the kind of software that can get included in major OS distributions. Many open source projects are written for proprietary systems like MS Windows and most (open source games, specialized utilities, etc) have nothing to do with operating systems. Again, what you're suggesting is a double standard. — Rankiri (talk) 13:34, 6 March 2010 (UTC)
I think a low-level employee fails the requirements for RS, N and V.
Open Source projects do not inherit notability from the distribution. Rather, the distribution acts as an editor and makes statements about the projects in a manner that is valid within our RS/V/N framework; as I have just documented.
I agree that not all open source projects are covered by distributions. But not all open source projects are covered by the New York Times either. My argument is merely that the major distributions should be used as a source for determining whether a project is notable, all else being equal.
TL;DR: IMCO[*] Distributions count as publishers, just like newspapers or tv stations, and should be treated as such.
--Kim Bruning (talk) 13:46, 6 March 2010 (UTC) [*] In My Considered Opinion
I have no objections to this, the maintainer aspect ensures that there is some 'editorial control' as it were, someone checked that this program functioned as expected. There is a selection and vetting process in place. Unomi (talk) 13:52, 6 March 2010 (UTC)
  • See my earlier comment about low-level employees. There is a selection and vetting process in place in every major corporation as well. As for the claim that major OS distributions act like investigative reporters and always provide some sort of independent coverage for all their components, it's just untrue. For example, Debian's package description for dwm is practically a copy-paste from dwm's homepage: compare [4] and [5]. — Rankiri (talk) 14:18, 6 March 2010 (UTC)
  • I saw your earlier comment and I don't accept the analogy. As for the package description, that could simply be because it is correct. Surely you wouldn't argue against peer-review simply because the submitted paper was identical with the published one? Unomi (talk) 14:36, 6 March 2010 (UTC)
  • When such reviews provide any independent analysis of the software, they probably already satisfy WP:RS and WP:N as it is. Fedora's description for ack only states that it's a "Grep-like text finder" and that "Ack is designed as a replacement for grep" [6]. Does that constitute significant coverage by reliable sources in your view? — Rankiri (talk) 14:46, 6 March 2010 (UTC)
Fedora also lists bug reports and publication dates etc, so a bit more than you claim. Debian does a better job, including some active bug reports, developer information, changelogs, legal information in the form of a copyright file, details about patches that the debian developer found necessary related packages, packages with similar functionality, and (the important one for notability criteria) they have a named developer who is in charge of keeping the package maintained. --Kim Bruning (talk) 15:50, 6 March 2010 (UTC)
(ec) The vetting process at a major corporation is not public or transparent. Corporations are not publishers per-se. They do not meet the requirements of RS/V/N. Apart from the occasional wanted ad, HR don't even try to be a publication, reliable or otherwise. I'll rate that argument 1 cuil. ;-)
I have already argued that distributions concern themselves with code, and discussions of code, and why this is sufficient to be considered a valid publisher. Natural language statements are ancillary, although they may be taken account where useful.
--Kim Bruning (talk) 14:39, 6 March 2010 (UTC)
  • This position is even less valid. Just because a publisher publishes a book, it doesn't automatically mean that this book is notable. See WP:Notability (books). — Rankiri (talk) 14:46, 6 March 2010 (UTC)
Well, at least we're down from the lofty heights of cuil theory, and are merely comparing apples and oranges now. :-/
The overarching concept in all our notability criteria is that we rely on some sort of selection taking place by a reliable 3rd party source.
You are correct, if you pay a publisher enough money, then they may publish your book, regardless of merit. However this immediately invalidates the comparison with distributors, many of whom won't distribute your software -no matter how much you pay-, unless it meets their criteria.
--Kim Bruning (talk) 15:37, 6 March 2010 (UTC)
  • What is it with you and this ludicrous money aspect? Once again, paid advertising and mere acts of publishing have never been considered indicative of notability. And for the nth time, whether the distributors' reasons for including this piece of software were personal, professional, practical or corrupt, their inclusion criteria are still their own. Wikipedia's concept of notability should be based on verifiable evidence and not some supposed authority figures who don't seem to be all that reliable or independent to begin with. — Rankiri (talk) 16:42, 6 March 2010 (UTC)
Yes, paid advertising and mere publishing are not indicative of notability. We agree exactly.
Yes, wikipedia's concept of notability should be based on verifiable evidence. We agree exactly.
No, we should not base ourselves on supposed authority figures. We agree exactly.
There's no discussion there. This is wikipedia, we do things the wikipedia way. You can assume that as a baseline fact.
The open question is how to apply wikipedia's standards in a more challenging way that we're used to. Can we meet the above criteria (and others) when using electronic sources only, and if so, how? That question was the starting point for this section.
As a quick recap: moving forward from *that* starting point, I pointed out that distributions meet some of our criteria, and thus might be useful. Can you think of further sources or methods? --Kim Bruning (talk) 20:00, 6 March 2010 (UTC)
  • Nearly all noteworthy FOSS gets covered by WP:RS press these days. Some less significant packages may occasionally fall through the cracks, but I really don't think that the problem is nowhere near as dire and apocalyptic as some of the FOSS defenders suggest. — Rankiri (talk) 14:34, 8 March 2010 (UTC)
We're trying to cooperate to make an encyclopedia together. Dividing people into attackers and defenders isn't very helpful. :-)
Nothing is ever dire or apocalyptic. Sometimes we can figure ways to improve our process, however.
I think that it would be illogical to assume that noteworthy OSS is covered by the press, reliable or otherwise; because the canonical source of information is online. For instance, if I want to understand how to operate aspects of X11, I would not turn to -say- Wired_(magazine) for my information. That would be silly. --Kim Bruning (talk) 15:26, 8 March 2010 (UTC)
  • Red Hat Magazine, Linux Magazine, Open Source Magazine, Free Software Magazine, Linux Format, Linux-Magazin, etcetera, etcetera. Contrary to popular opinion, open source software is one of the most well-sourced subjects on Wikipedia. Not every minor open source utility deserves to have its own encyclopedia article. If dozens of similar publications and hundreds of books and WP:RS-compliant websites in various languages all around the world don't already cover it, it probably means that the software in question is not as notable as one may think.
Also, by "some of the FOSS defenders", I mainly meant those from the previously mentioned AfD discussion who see the fact of being ranked 5724th in a self-selected, non-scientific popularity contest as an undeniable sign of significant notability that raises some interesting questions about the validity of WP:N and WP:RS. This preconceived line of argument isn't very helpful either. — Rankiri (talk) 16:39, 8 March 2010 (UTC)
I don't read any of those magazines, and I don't accept them as sources, personally. I once won a year-long free subscription to one such magazine; I turned it down even at that price.
I'm not talking about DWM. I'm trying to think of ways to determine reliability of online sources and to determine which sources are reliable and how. F/L/OSS is a good starting point. We're going to have to figure that out sooner or later anyway, as more publishing and documentation moves online.
--Kim Bruning (talk) 02:19, 9 March 2010 (UTC)

Web sources

I disagree with the above.
Whether a distribution includes source code and/or binaries is not by itself relevant, because that's what software is: the sum of source and binaries. The code itself is, therefore, comparable to a quotation from a novel in a book review — it is a part of the primary source, but is not itself a secondary source that is needed to qualify for notability.
However, a distribution might also serve as a secondary source, if it included commentary on the program in the form of the reviews or descriptions mentioned above. The obvious question is whether those reviews would count as reliable secondary sources. I think some distributions might count as reliable sources, but it would need to be determined on a case-by-case basis. The reliability of the software, however, is not the same as the reliability of the distribution when it is acting as a secondary source. Conceivably, a distribution might be rock solid as software but might have a reputation for poor-quality documentation.
I think that the right approach is to a) identify the specific secondary source(s) that are regarded as having significant coverage, and then b) assess whether they are of sufficient reliabilty. I believe it is a mistake to try to bypass this process. Jakew (talk) 14:33, 6 March 2010 (UTC)
(ec)The idea of finding the right sources to justify OSS is the right path to better inclusion, but having an OSS software piece in a big distro is not significant coverage. (Some distros may have a software spotlight of the month, however, which is usable as a source) My suggestion is that people need to identify reliable sources and experts in the OSS community - even if these are blogs or similar websites, but established as OSS experts. (eg the first name that comes to mind is Eric S. Raymond, but I'm sure there's many others.) You just have to look. The situation is not as dire as those worried about OSS articles suggest it is. --MASEM (t) 14:34, 6 March 2010 (UTC)
I think that that is a useful position. :-) I am pretty sure distributions definitely meet several of our criteria, so can be useful as a starting point. And notable blogs work. It might be useful to put together a set of things we can use as sources up on a notability page. "here's sources we know are acceptable/ work for OSS notability and RS questions" --Kim Bruning (talk) 20:04, 6 March 2010 (UTC)
Kim, you seem to claim above that Wikipedia has a strictly "dead tree" notion of notability -- that sources like these e-pub scholarly journals are somehow insufficient. This is simply not true: Online-only sources are certainly acceptable in determining notability. WhatamIdoing (talk) 23:25, 8 March 2010 (UTC)
Some of our current pages appear to suggest that. I agree with common sense though. :-) Can you point out where our use of electronic-published documents has has been documented? Maybe we can link to that from here, for instance. --Kim Bruning (talk) 22:27, 11 March 2010 (UTC)
GNG itself says "Sources may encompass published works in all forms and media" -- and has for several years now.
I'm curious about your assertion that other pages make a distinction between, say, a dead-tree magazine like The New Yorker and an online magazine like; I'm not aware of any such distinction for any purpose. WhatamIdoing (talk) 22:46, 11 March 2010 (UTC)
Another angle to look at it is through WP:WEB notability guidelines. Specifically, FOSS is "web content" since it is solely distributed on the internet (except for shipping CD/DVD releases by mail, which is also allowed). Therefore this criteria for notability applies:
  • The content is distributed via a medium which is both respected and independent of the creators, either through an online newspaper or magazine, an online publisher, or an online broadcaster; except for trivial distribution including content being hosted on sites without editorial oversight.
So the question is whether Linux distributions (BSDs, whatever) are respected publishers and provide editorial oversight. Let's say there are respected distributions; what about editorial oversight, do they provide it?
-- MagV (talk) 17:17, 13 March 2010 (UTC)
Let's make sure that I know how that rule works.
Is an online magazine that falls within this rule? If it links to an online-only story at, is it independent of the creator? Does such a link constitute "distribution" for the purpose of WEB? WhatamIdoing (talk) 18:21, 13 March 2010 (UTC)
I'm only briefly familiar with Slate, but if it links to a NYTimes article indicating that it's a part of Slate's main content (as opposed to just a link from within another article), then I think yes, Slate is distributing that NYTimes article. And unless there's a hidden motive skewing editorial judgment, Slate is independent. MagV (talk) 20:39, 13 March 2010 (UTC)
Okay, so it's not good enough to merely link to the content; it has to 'transclude' the content (e.g., get a license from to 'reprint' it). But transcluding the content would make the transcluded content notable under this provision of WEB? WhatamIdoing (talk) 20:46, 13 March 2010 (UTC)
I think this policy is about how much of editorial selection is applied to the content; e.g. if Slate's editors deem some content worthy of inclusion in their magazine, and we trust their judgment (i.e. Slate is respectable), then we conclude notability from that. So a particular method of inclusion is not what's important; indication of editorial approval is. MagV (talk) 22:30, 13 March 2010 (UTC)
Application of WEB to FOSS via the distribution analogy basically falters when one considers that most distros do not place any reps or warranties on FOSS outside of anything they specifically have developed for the platform. In otherwords, they have not editorially reviewed the content for inclusion, simply have included it because it is FOSS. Now, if a distro's blog or website talks about why they included software X, or something similar, then that's a starting point, but just the presence in the distro grants the FOSS software no special privileges per WEB to be notable. --MASEM (t) 22:37, 13 March 2010 (UTC)
Thanks for the explanation. I think, unfortunately, that provision of WEB needs to be scrapped or dramatically re-written.
As it stands -- looking at what it says, which I believe is seriously different from what the author meant -- every single wire services article qualifies for a separate Wikipedia article, as of the moment that it gets picked up by a newspaper or magazine. Wire services articles are clearly "content" and they are "distributed via a medium which is both respected and independent of the creators," most usually through newspapers, and their inclusion in the newspaper is the very definition of "editorial oversight", so the trivial-distribution exception doesn't apply.
Again, I'm sure that the people who wrote WEB didn't mean for "Pelosi: Confident House will pass health care bill" to end up with an 'encyclopedia article' about the existence of this simple news story, but they apparently didn't write down what they actually meant, because a plain-language reading of that rule indicates that this little bit of content clearly does meet the standard. WhatamIdoing (talk) 01:08, 14 March 2010 (UTC)
I think that the concept that WP is not a news source would override this aspect of WEB - that is, just because a story is propagated many times over due to being a wire story, we still would not have an article on it because it's just news. If you need to be exact, the duplication of a story on multiple news sites can be considered "trivial" - I would expect an AP story to be duplicated multiple times, for example. Or to put it another way - I don't think anyone's attempted to use this aspect of WEB to push forward notability of news topics, and I don't think we need to worry about this aspect of WEB unless we start seeing that. Basically, it's still common sense at the end of the day. If we don't regularly allow common news, WEB's not going to allow for it either. --MASEM (t) 01:15, 14 March 2010 (UTC)
No, the scenario I laid out has significant editorial control. The decision of a newspaper editor to include, or not include, an article in his (or her) paper is practically the definition of "editorial control". (Note that I didn't cite a news aggregator: the link takes you to a real, live, newspaper, with real, live humans deciding which wire services articles they'll run. is trivial distribution; a story chosen by the editor of the national news desk at a proper newspaper is not.)
If we don't believe that any piece of online content that was independently selected by a respectable editor is notable, then we shouldn't say that any piece of online content that was independently selected by a respectable editor is notable.
I agree that WEB shouldn't authorize such a scenario. I believe that WEB's authors didn't intend to authorize such a scenario. But that's what they said, and they consequently need to fix it. Guidelines are not written for the convenience of people who already know the answers: They must be intelligible to new editors -- including new editors who think that their YouTube video, which was featured by their local newspaper, deserves a Wikipedia article.
There are several methods for fixing this problem: WEB's editors could define journalism as not being "content" for their purposes. They could exclude anything that is also distributed offline. They could eliminate the provision entirely. Doubtless there are more alternatives. But they really need to fix this problem. WhatamIdoing (talk) 02:08, 14 March 2010 (UTC)
See, I don't call a newspaper editor taking a wire story and including it the type of "editorial oversight" that we look for from reliable sources or creating notability; in the case of a wire story, I would expect that AP or whatever newsservice had done the editorial oversight - validating sources and content - that we're looking for from a reliable source. The choice of what stories to run when that wire story comes down the line is not the same type of editorial oversight we want. I think we're speaking to the same thing, but again, I haven't seen again abuse of WEB written in this fashion to require us to reconsider writing it. That's not say that doing what you suggest can't hurt, but there also may be unforeseen consequences if we're too hasty in that. --MASEM (t) 02:20, 14 March 2010 (UTC)
So what would you call it? I can assure you that anyone who has worked his (or her) way up to national desk editor would be very unhappy to have their professional skills dismissed as 'trivial distribution' or not really editor-level work.
And how would you differentiate 'picking the best news story (produced by a third-party service) for my major newspaper' from 'picking the best widget (produced by a third-party service) for my software distribution'? WEB says that the action that suggests notability is the action of the person choosing to distribute the content. WhatamIdoing (talk) 01:23, 15 March 2010 (UTC)
It is not dismissing the job of the desk editor, but what you're suggesting that is at issue is that stories that are selected by desk editors are suddenly "notable" because the same story is published on multiple websites. News events fall under WP:EVENT, regardless what WEB or other guidelines may attempt to say - it is not how the event is published but whether it receives more attention than just primary, near-term coverage. --MASEM (t) 03:03, 15 March 2010 (UTC)
Again, the fact that any editor could reasonably interpret WEB as meaning that any editor-chosen "content" included in any reputable source is notable -- which is no less than exactly what WEB says -- is a problem that must be fixed. I do not defend this sorry state of affairs: I condemn it as a sloppy failure. WhatamIdoing (talk) 05:11, 15 March 2010 (UTC)
You're right; that rule, if applied literally, suggest that such article itself (and not the topic of that article) is notable. I don't think that was the intent, so yes, WP:WEB needs clarification on this part. On the other hand WP:WEP provides an example: Ricky Gervais' podcast distributed by The Guardian. I am not entirely sure how to differentiate between distributing an article from distributing a podcast in this case. Also, going back to the original topic, is software a podcast or an article?
Anyone care to move this discussion to WP:WEB talk?
-- MagV (talk) 10:21, 15 March 2010 (UTC)
I agree the Rick Gervais example in WP:WEB is misleading; if his podcast were transcribed, I think it would be quickly recognised that his podcasts are effectively Op-ed, which is a type of trivial coverage disallowed as evidence of notability by WP:NTEMP. Just because an opinion piece is carried by a respected newspaper or website, it does not mean that its subject matter or authors are notable in accordance with WP:GNG. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 10:57, 15 March 2010 (UTC)
What I understood from that example is that WEB has declared Podcast (by Ricky Gervais) to be a notable, separate-article-deserving subject. Now perhaps it is -- I don't know anything about this podcast -- but that is what I understood the example to mean. WhatamIdoing (talk) 23:35, 15 March 2010 (UTC)
His podcast is notable - per GNG and WEB - but the content of his podcasts are not immediately notable. Same is true for things like New York Times or Scientific American - the publication is notable, but the contents are not immediately so. --MASEM (t) 23:49, 15 March 2010 (UTC)

Difference between policy and practice

Is it just me, or does anyone else see a big gap between policy and practices concerning notability? Maurreen (talk) 14:46, 8 March 2010 (UTC)

Can you be more specific? Angryapathy (talk) 15:39, 8 March 2010 (UTC)
A couple that make no claim to importance: Jamie Owens and Merryland.
A couple for which any claim of notability is in a gray area, at most: Mary Ann Akers and Al Yarmouk. Maurreen (talk) 17:44, 8 March 2010 (UTC)
As no one has appeared to call these articles up for lack of notability (beyond tagging), there's nothing wrong here. If these articles were kept after an AFD, started based on the claim for lack of notability, and remained as in this state, I would say there's a problem. But with 3million articles, we can't patrol every one every day to verify notability; thats just impossible. You're free, if you desire, to suggest these articles for AFD for lack of notability, but you should check out WP:BEFORE to see if you can help the articles first before deleting them. --MASEM (t) 17:50, 8 March 2010 (UTC)
I'm not saying that there is a problem with the articles. I'm saying there is a curious gap between our policy and our practice. Maurreen (talk) 18:03, 8 March 2010 (UTC)
Many newer editors are not aware of what notability guidelines are, which is why these exist. there's no gap here that we can deal with without biting these editors too hard (eg we have a CSD criteria that states that if an article doesn't state why a person or the like is important (NOT notable!) we can delete this article, typically on the recommendation of New Page Patrol - but this can be bitey if we applied it to these articles which do not fail that CSD criteria). So it goes back again that it is impossible to patrol every article all the time, thus many will slip through the cracks of things like notability and the like. (Much of the recent troubles over unreferenced BLPs is exactly this - they slip through cracks that are expected of volunteer editing group). In other words, there is nothing we can do about this, beyond accept it that it occurs. --MASEM (t) 18:08, 8 March 2010 (UTC)
  • Jamie Ownens -- The article is two and a half years old and has had eight editors.
  • Merryland -- Going on four years old, has had more than 10 editors.
  • Mary Ann Akers -- More than two years old, has had eight editors.
  • Al Yarmouk -- Going on two years old, has had nine editors.

These are all in disparate subjects. We have some wide cracks. Maurreen (talk) 18:18, 8 March 2010 (UTC)

Again: volunteer project that errs on avoiding scaring off newbies. We are going to have wide cracks. WP will never be perfect. --MASEM (t) 18:22, 8 March 2010 (UTC)
Sofixit. We know that a lot of our articles are substandard and that many may be on non-notable topics, but editors do work their way through the backlog. Do you have a proposal here, or are you just pointing out what we knew already? Fences&Windows 22:38, 8 March 2010 (UTC)
F&W, I was doing neither of those. I was seeking information.
My original question was, "Is it just me, or does anyone else see a big gap between policy and practices concerning notability?"
Your reply included, "We know that a lot of our articles are substandard and that many may be on non-notable topics." That was the first response that actually answered my question. That did the most to answer my question.
As far as "fixing it," that would give rise to a question of whether to seek to change the policy or to seek to change the practice. I am not pursuing that question.
Although your response was informative, you seem to have an underlying tone that I don't understand. Maurreen (talk) 22:52, 8 March 2010 (UTC)
Wikipedia is a volunteer community. That something doesn't happen, usually means no volunteer has noticed or acted upon it yet. For example, you or I right now, could nominate any of those articles for deletion, citing non-notability. My excuse is I'm working on other areas of the wiki right now (one DYK, and a half dozen policies guidelines and articles, plus a number of dispute resolution cases), and I also have a busy non-wiki life right now. If everyone bypasses it then it could remain for some time. That's how volunteer communities work. The same happens at other projects, such as the Firefox browser and Miranda IM - well known issues can and do persist for years simply because nobody yet had space or got round to taking them in hand. if we had a guideline on notability, and when AFD came round it was routinelycontradicted or ignored, then one might say theory and practice diverged. But here the "theory" is that Wikipedia is a volunteer community and sometimes not everything happens. The practice is the same. FT2 (Talk | email) 19:48, 10 March 2010 (UTC)
I do not see a great gap between policy and practices concerning notabilit.y If you see one you are probably not unique so you are probably not the only one to see a great gap between policy and practices concerning notability. I believe that answers your question as stated. I'm pretty sure also it is an uninformative answer, that is why others have tried to make something useful out of it, they're trying to be helpful. If you have something to say you should try saying it clearly and directly rather than trying to get people to think or whatever it is you might be trying to do. I haven't the foggiest what if anything is the motive for your question. Dmcq (talk) 20:09, 10 March 2010 (UTC)

Delete the non-notable, but save the knowledge

As a thought on something that has long bothered me about wikipedia: If something is not notable enough to have its own article, would it not be trivial to at least move the most important information to a more notable parent article? Clutter is reduced but the growth of the wiki is not stunted; the wholesale loss of knowledge is rather unsettling to me. --WCarter (talk) 05:33, 18 March 2010 (UTC)

Merging information if the sub-topic is not notable into the larger, more notable is always preferred if it can be done. Not necessarily wholesale verbatim text of the sub-topic, but at least some aspects can be covered. Merging also allows a redirect to be left, keeping the history of the non-notable sub-topic article per the GFDL. --MASEM (t) 05:42, 18 March 2010 (UTC)
That is addressed by WP:PRESERVE. Many AfDs close as 'merge'.
I add that there are occasionally good reasons not to retain information, but they largely amount to "bad" information (e.g., unsourceable libel, outright errors, trivial details, hopelessly unencyclopedic content). WhatamIdoing (talk) 05:58, 18 March 2010 (UTC)
I would propose then that perhaps a new category of deletion be created: Merge and Redirect. Instead of proposing that an article be outright deleted, propose that important information be merged into another article and a redirect set up. The whole system is currently set up around the concept of removing and never again creating information that while perhaps not important or notable enough to warrant its own article, is certainly worth retaining as a part of the encyclopedia. --WCarter (talk) 23:45, 20 March 2010 (UTC)
You mean as detailed in WP:MERGE? -- AnmaFinotera (talk · contribs) 23:47, 20 March 2010 (UTC)
WCarter, there's no need for a 'new category of deletion', because there's no deletion involved. Any editor can merge and redirect articles. You don't need an AfD for this process. WhatamIdoing (talk) 01:04, 21 March 2010 (UTC)
Then why is the AfD page so busy all the time? Any given day can have over a hundred delete nominations. More effort and focus should be put into trying to find this information a more appropriate home instead of outright removing it. Looking at Merge vs Delete pages it's clear that all the effort is being put into removing information, not relocating it. The AfD page has a DAILY accounting of information to be removed, while the AfM page only has a monthly accounting of knowledge to be relocated. The default mentality is "this doesnt belong, it must be removed from the wikipedia" and not "this information would fit better in another article" --WCarter (talk) 09:55, 21 March 2010 (UTC)
Wikipedia's policies do not require WP:AFD to be as busy as it is; editors could (individually, with collectively substantial results) choose to use AFD far less (and to use WP:MERGE, WP:PROD, and other alternatives far more). WhatamIdoing (talk) 05:12, 22 March 2010 (UTC)
Also, WP:AFM is a new proposal. Nobody's actually using it, and very few editors know it exists. WhatamIdoing (talk) 05:44, 22 March 2010 (UTC)
what would it take to get this used by more people who patrol for articles to delete? Is there a project page where those who propose a high number of AfDs can be found? --WCarter (talk) 02:28, 23 March 2010 (UTC)
The first question is: Do we actually have a problem?
I don't know the answer to this. Spam about somebody's new multi-level marketing project, essays about some kid's feelings, cheat codes for video games, articles about someone's favorite song, autobiographies, or that kind of thing, should WP:NOT normally be preserved.
A good deal of what gets deleted simply does not belong in an encyclopedia. Only verifiable, encyclopedic information should be preserved. An AfD doesn't have to close explicitly as 'merge' to preserve information. Editors looking at the AfD will often (and often silently) do partial merges of good information. Between one thing and another, I'm not convinced that we're really losing that much appropriate information.
As for advertising it: It's already in the instructions at AFD. "4. Consider turning the page into a useful redirect or proposing it be merged. Uncontested mergers do not require an AfD." WhatamIdoing (talk) 03:05, 23 March 2010 (UTC)
Regarding silent mergers, users copying content should make sure that it is properly attributed as described in WP:Copying within Wikipedia. According to WP:Guide to deletion#You may edit the article during the discussion (last bullet), copying or merging during an open AfD should be avoided. Flatscan (talk) 04:33, 28 March 2010 (UTC)

One reason articles sometimes need to be nominated at AfD is when someone isn't happy with a merge, e.g. because it would involve a loss of information. This happens quite often, and we need a forum where a consensus of the wider community (not just those who are watching the article) can be formed, which can later be enforced. Unless something was changed recently, that's not one of AfD's official purposes. As a result, when you go to AfD asking for a merge it may happen that some pedant sends you away, insisting that as far as AfD is concerned "merge" is the same as "keep". So people don't do it. They ask for deletion. From the proposer's point of view that also has the advantage that the editors who object to the merge, once they realise that it's the only thing that prevents wholesale deletion, may accept this as a compromise. Hans Adler 09:28, 27 March 2010 (UTC)

Consensus was formed for a scope change and rename (WT:Articles for discussion/Proposal 1), but implementing them has stalled. Flatscan (talk) 04:33, 28 March 2010 (UTC)

Notability of open source software

There is a huge and somewhat entertaining fight going on at the moment regarding Dwm, and the deletion discussion has just been restarted. I'm not involved, but there was one point made which seems relevant to this page. This software is currently included in 10 major Linux distributions, and hence in my opinion is notable by the fact that many organizations companies have made the decision that it should be installed on millions of computers. Should some guidelines be added for what makes OSS notable? cojoco (talk) 04:49, 4 March 2010 (UTC)

I've just noticed that there are a bunch of notability guidelines for various subjects, but software is not in the list. Would it be worth having some guidelines as to what makes software notable? cojoco (talk) 10:02, 4 March 2010 (UTC)
I think this would make sense. Currently we have the strange situation that the German Wikipedia is much more inclusive for open source projects than the English one. In general I am opposed to relaxing notability criteria because it generally means that we get unverifiable articles. With open source software it's different because there is usually plenty of verifiable information to use for the article, just not of the kind that establishes notability per WP:GNG. Computer-related information is more likely to be found in not formally reliable online sources such as blogs, and less likely to be found in formally reliable offline sources. I believe similar problems even exist in parts of computer science.
Dwm is not the first case where we have come to a problematic deletion decision, and it is not the first time that we had the following problem (Foswiki was another recent case):
  • A piece of software is widely known as an important representative of its respective category. It is widely distributed as part of Linux distributions or such and is regularly and extensively discussed in "unreliable" sources.
  • An article exists uncontroversially in the German Wikipedia.
  • The English article is nominated for deletion.
  • A fan of the software who is not an experienced Wikipedia editor suspects evil machinations (e.g. Microsoft sockpuppets trying to keep the competition down) and mobilises other users or developers of the software. Many of these are also not familiar with our processes and arrive in large numbers at the AfD, disrupting our processes.
  • A number of Wikipedia editors close ranks to "defend the wiki" against the intrusion.
  • Due to the ensuing disruption, all arguments as to actual relevance, such as press articles about the software, are basically ignored. The article is deleted based on sociological problems, not notability problems.
To fix this problem, we should do two things:
  • Make sure that the special situation of free software (it's not just open source software that is affected, but also software that is free as in free beer) is taken into account when its notability is measured.
  • Prevent as much as possible that some of those people most likely to become productive Wikipedia editors disrupt our processes in good faith and are alienated as a result.
For the second point, a special deletion template warning about the effects of off-site canvassing might help. Moreover, we probably need a variant of Template:Not a ballot that addresses the specific situation of open source software.
Regarding notability itself, here is how the German Wikipedia does it:

Judgement of software articles according to notability of its subject is often proposed, but is hardly every possible since the market is dominated by non-commercial programs (and pirated copies, which has the same effect on number of sold units). Therefore, whether an article is appropriate for Wikipedia is decided according to the article's quality.

However, there is software that really should not have an article, not even a good one, due to its lack of circulation. Indispensable for an article is media attention, e.g. in the form of literature, detailed test reports/reviews, serious comparisons or rankings, attention at professional symposia or non-trivial press coverage. All of these provide neutral content and indicate that the software is noticed.

Download or sales numbers or Google hits, however, are of limited value for judging recognition; very high numbers (> 1 million) can be an indication.
— Approximate translation from de:WP:Richtlinien Software
It's important to note that the German Wikipedia has explicit advice about what makes a good article on software, which this notability criterion is relying on. Hans Adler 11:02, 4 March 2010 (UTC)
This doesn't seem that different to the GNG. "Indispensable for an article is media attention, e.g. in the form of literature, detailed test reports/reviews, serious comparisons or rankings, attention at professional symposia or non-trivial press coverage." Are you saying that some people are treating the listed examples of media attention as not reliable? Yaris678 (talk) 12:55, 4 March 2010 (UTC)
I agree it's very similar. Formally it's almost equivalent to what we have. But it also says specifically that the GNG should not be strictly applied to software in the usual way, and that the more important question is whether a good article can be written. One key difference is that it says "media attention, e.g.". In the case of Foswiki we have numerous short reports on releases of new versions in online media sources. IMO they would qualify as media attention, but not for establishing notability per the GNG. Of course they are no help in writing a neutral article, but for open source project we usually have plenty reliable, uncensored/unbiased primary sources such as the source code itself, documentation, a bug database or a public developers' mailing list, and in contrast to obscure historical topics we have lots of editors who are skilled to interpret them accurately.
This reminds me of WP:Articles for deletion/Sam Blacketer controversy where we had similar problems with fundamentalist interpretations of a rule that ignored the motivation behind the rule. The problem wasn't so much notability but some people's claim that in a situation where the press got the situation at Wikipedia totally wrong, we had to report what the press said even though we knew perfectly well that it was false. IMO the opposite is true: So long as the article existed, we would have been under an obligation to correct the errors of the press based on our original research of our primary sources. Because it was one of the few situations where we have a highly effective process in place for evaluating primary sources (Wikipedia server logs). Hans Adler 13:19, 4 March 2010 (UTC)
I feel obligated to point out WP:Notability (software) was apparently unable to get favorable consensus. --Cybercobra (talk) 16:38, 4 March 2010 (UTC)

There should be some exception for open source software because by definition the commercial world is not interested (with some exceptions), yet OSS is important and its bazaar quality means that many forks are required to support a notable hierarchy like Linux, Apache, PHP, MediaWiki. People can quote puff-piece "reviews" to justify keeping an article on yet-another variety of a commercial program, yet these reviews are often written only to fill space and attract adverts – the only review an OSS program is going to get is in a blog or other site that fails WP:IRS. Currently, any rule-bound editor could go through examples like List of text editors and have over half of the items deleted: it looks like only common sense would save even Emacs since I can't see a reliable source that would satisfy someone raised in a Microsoft world that Emacs is notable. Johnuniq (talk) 01:11, 5 March 2010 (UTC)

What utter rot. People will write about things whether they're "commercial" or not (I would note that "commercial" is not the opposite of "open source"); I'd yet to see a single good argument for FOSS exceptionalism here. The problem with the dwm article is simply that the number of people genuinely interested in improving WP's coverage of FOSS (as opposed to using Wikipedia as an advocacy platform, or an advertising tool) is too low to properly maintain all WP's high-profile FOSS articles. If the energy which had gone into the utterly puerile canvassing campaign here had been redirected at improving articles then dwm could be FA-class by now. The argument that no reliable source covers FOSS is completely baseless; the problem is that for historic reasons Wikipedia has been far more permissive of FOSS (and indeed of the Free Software Foundation's opinions in general) than it is of other software, and as such random people on the Internet have the impression that their bits of software are exempt from the notability guidelines used everywhere else on the project. I can assure you that there are plenty of articles on "commercial" software which are deleted every week; the difference there is that you don't get prominent Internet personalities making comments in ignorance about the result. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 09:14, 5 March 2010 (UTC)
No one on this page is associated with canvassing, and the fact that the dwm deletion discussion has got out of hand is not relevant to whether OSS articles deserve some special definition of "notable". I am not here to discus dwm but since you mentioned it, I do not see how it could be saved given the current notability guidelines. Presumably your FA-class remark was just to illustrate the degree of (wasted) effort expended at the AfD, but I would like to hear how you think the article could be brought into line with WP:N: what's needed is a couple of reliable sources focusing on dwm, and that is not going to happen because the trade publications and magazines cannot pay their bills by writing about OSS (with odd exceptions for general-interest things like describing Google's platform). Also, what would save the articles listed at List of text editors? Johnuniq (talk) 10:35, 5 March 2010 (UTC)

Emacs is pretty old, so there are plenty of publications. But Nano could be in trouble. Hmmm, I'm guessing there are probably several books that mention it. Though the canonical source of information is online, of course. --Kim Bruning (talk) 20:38, 5 March 2010 (UTC)

  • Oh, they do. I happen to be one of them. — Rankiri (talk) 00:03, 6 March 2010 (UTC)
Has anyone else noticed the same pattern of argument that bugs me? It runs like this:
  • Open source software doesn't have a marketing budget [NB: a demonstrably false overgeneralization].
  • Therefore OSS can't buy attention from independent media sources [making you wonder what "independent" means].
  • Therefore, OSS should get a free pass on proving that someone noticed it.
Paid advertising (whether that payment is direct or indirect) and press releases don't count towards notability claims. If a source is so beholden to its advertisers that it refuses to review or discuss non-proprietary/free/open software, then that source will (and should be) rejected as non-independent by this guideline.
The fact is that if nobody has noticed something, Wikipedia should not have an article about it -- because Wikipedia cannot, without independent sources, write a fair article, and no article is preferable to an unfair one. WhatamIdoing (talk) 01:22, 6 March 2010 (UTC)
Where do you get that the arguments want to give a free pass on proving notability to Free/Open Source Software? It seems like we just want different guidelines for what constitute notability for FOSS projects. I think we can all agree that a project like mine, Humm and Strumm with two contributors and no working program yet, doesn't deserve a page (actually, as a new member under a different user name, related to the project, I tried creating one...luckily, the editors I ran into were quite nice and pointed me to the appropriate policies without any bad feelings or nastiness. ^_^). Also, I think we can all agree that a project like Firefox or Emacs can be granted an entry. It's the ones like dwm that the controversy is over. These projects may have many users or have had a unique feature that is notable one way or another... The point is, these projects can be notable, just not as defined under our current notability guidelines using secondary sources in print. Free/Open Source Software is largely circulated through the blogosphere. While these are not always verifiable, there are usually enough of them that research can be done. Also, by nature of the FOSS projects, you can double check most of this information yourself. It is unlikely that a major print source would have much more than a mention of the d-bus message system, but it is one of the cornerstones of the modern GNU/Linux desktop. We only have a single Linux Journal reference for it, and a *blog*.
In my opinion, the rules need to be changed to be more forgiving to Free/Open Source Software (and as mentioned somewhere above, freeware, too), because they by nature have a different set of notability guidelines than most other topics, yet calling a lot of them not notable is definitely false, as common sense would say. By no means should we ignore the need for notability, but we need to change it such that notable FOSS projects and freeware can be on Wikipedia. I say, the spirit of the rule is the most important part. Remember, they are just guidelines. And it would seem that even Wikipedia pillars (WP:NOTLAW) agree with me. Cheers, PatrickNiedzielski (talk) 04:25, 22 March 2010 (UTC)
And just how do you figure out that 'this' is notable and 'that' is not?
My method, which is Wikipedia's current standard, is to look at what reliable sources wrote about it, but you seem to object to this. WhatamIdoing (talk) 04:40, 22 March 2010 (UTC)
BTW, you'll need to find a new example. I just left eight links at Talk:D-bus, and there seem to be many more sources available to anyone that is actually willing to search for ten minutes. IMO the dead-tree sources alone are sufficient to demonstrate notability for D-bus -- and, I repeat, there is no rule against using online-only sources for notability (whether in combination with paper sources or not). WhatamIdoing (talk) 05:05, 22 March 2010 (UTC)
(edit conflict) From what I've seen, they either want to use sources that we don't currently normally consider reliable (e.g. wikis, blogs, download statistics) or think notability is a flawed concept that should be ignored/abolished. --Cybercobra (talk) 05:08, 22 March 2010 (UTC)
I still have a problem understanding why it's so important for every minor open source utility to have its own encyclopedia article. Is it for attracting more attention and manpower to FOSS projects? If it is, WP:NOTADVERTISING is pretty clear on this point. Many existing FOSS articles already reek of self-promotion and really don't see how loosening the notability requirements to include additional thousands of unremarkable projects would benefit this encyclopedia or any of its readers and editors. Then there's also the issue of double standards. If I recall correctly, all secondary notability guidelines (WP:WEB, WP:MUSIC, etc.) include all the basic criteria of WP:N and then some. This RFC, however, is essentially a proposal to disregard all major Wikipedia policies and guidelines in all deletion discussions related to FOSS. My question, again, is: why? What makes open source software so special and fragile that it must receive preferential treatment over other subjects? I'd give you my version of the answer to this question but you probably already know it. — Rankiri (talk) 01:45, 6 March 2010 (UTC)
"If I recall correctly, all secondary notability guidelines (WP:WEB, WP:MUSIC, etc.) include all the basic criteria of WP:N and then some." That's incorrect. Wikipedia has several notability guidelines, and they each list different sets of criteria that qualify as evidence that the topic is notable. Other notability guidelines could not contain the criteria of this guideline along with additional requirements, since meeting this guideline is enough to be considered notable. If meeting the criteria in this guideline is not enough to be considered notable, this guideline serves no purpose. Other notability guidelines could only contain alternate criteria or they wouldn't exist.
This guideline says "A topic is presumed to be notable enough to merit an article if it meets the general notability guidelines below. A topic can also be considered notable if it meets the criteria outlined in one of the more subject specific guidelines listed on the right." If software "has received significant coverage in reliable sources that are independent of the subject" then according to this guideline, no further requirement must be met. The software is notable. If the software has not, it might meet some criteria in the Web content guideline or another guideline.
I don't know who makes Wikipedia notability guidelines, but if people want another one for software, why not? Perhaps notability guidelines could even be thought of as software that people on Wikipedia execute. (Why have people and not computers executing it? is another question altogether.) I don't think Wikipedia has other notability guidelines (like for Academics, Books, Criminal acts, Events, etc) because people think those topics are "special and fragile" and "must receive preferential treatment." They just list other criteria, for particular topics. This notability guideline lists general criteria, not specialized or limited to one class of things. Your next hitchhiker (talk) 03:33, 9 March 2010 (UTC)
  • I should have been more accurate with my wording. What I was trying to say is that even though the additional guidelines offer some secondary criteria for inclusion, most of these criteria are rather redundant to WP:GNG since they still require some sort of verification or affirmation from independent reliable sources. For example, if a subject has won a major national award, it's just a clear indication that significant coverage by WP:RS sources is likely to exist. This guideline doesn't try to circumvent WP:N in the way the above RFC does. — Rankiri (talk) 13:59, 9 March 2010 (UTC)
WP:WEB or the GNG is sufficient to cover any project (software or otherwise) created by users that otherwise does not necessary get universal coverage. Now, to those that challenge this, my suggestion is to find reliable sources that cover OSS better (the various Linux magazines, O'Reilly publications, and so forth) to provide that software to be important. --MASEM (t) 01:58, 6 March 2010 (UTC)
Well, we could use stats from popcon, , to measure how notable it is 'in the field'. Unomi (talk) 02:20, 6 March 2010 (UTC)

Just some random, unrelated thoughts:

  • I think it is not necessary for every little piece of open source software to have its own article. E.g. sometimes it's better to discuss several genetically related projects together in a single article. An example for this is the recent TWiki/Foswiki split. But when we do that we get organisational problems. TWiki, a project with doubtless notability (large sections of books have been dedicated to it) has split in two projects of roughly equal importance. Only one of them has an article. The article does discuss the other project, but it has only one infobox. That's a serious POV problem since there is an actual conflict between the two communities.
  • Of course some open source software has no problems establishing its significance. Since Emacs was mentioned: O'Reilly has published "Learning GNU Emacs, Third Edition", "GNU Emacs Pocket Reference" and "Writing GNU Emacs Extensions"; there is also an Addison-Wesley book. So there is no doubt about notability in this case.
  • (copied from a post of mine elsewhere) The General notability guideline is an approximation for identifying articles that (1) are worth having in an encyclopedia because enough people are interested in them, and (2) can be written neutrally. It's good for most purposes, but in the case of open source software there are special circumstances that make it harder to prove that enough people are interested and easier to write a neutral article without significant third-party coverage. (The article Dwm gets 100 hits/day, Foswiki gets 50 hits/day. That's not so much less than e.g. MediaWiki and significantly more than Erwig and Naman Keïta or any other random article which has no notability problems at all.) The German Wikipedia takes them into account, we don't.
  • Some numbers illustrating the problem:
I would have listed more software articles, but whereas it is trivial to find featured articles with few page views, I had trouble locating threatened or deleted software articles that are really worth keeping.
  • I am not proposing to use page view statistics as a criterion for keeping an individual article. For that purpose they are even more problematic than Google hit counts. I am proposing to let them guide us when we try to find out whether/how to address the discrepancy between the GNG and its ultimate purpose. This is only relevant to the tiny number of articles that are not notable per GNG but that we can nevertheless write about uncontroversially, neutrally and reliably by using primary sources and trivial mentions in reliable secondary sources. Hans Adler 11:46, 6 March 2010 (UTC)
    • This arguments been done before: if we went by page views, which tell us what the reader wants, as opposed to what we're really trying to achieve, then WP would be about porn and DragonBall Z and boy bands, with little academic coverage. The inclusion for WP is the ability to show that a topic is notable, not just that it is factually true or interesting to a certain number of people. --MASEM (t) 14:29, 6 March 2010 (UTC)
      • That's a good point. It seems to me that there are at least three categories of topics that are less notable in terms of GNG than their popularity suggests:
  1. Taboo parts of culture such as porn
  2. Adolescent culture such as DragonBall Z and boy bands
  3. Software.
I think software is different from the other two, but I can't give a good reason for that right now. Hans Adler 15:11, 6 March 2010 (UTC)
        • You're missing the point if you're thinking they're taboo. None of these are, we have porn and pop culture articles all over the place. But they are more difficult to show appropriateness in WP due to the lack of traditional coverage in academic journals or published sources, despite the fact they may be popular. But again, I stress the way to get "around that" is to look to non-traditional but reliable sources to assert that the topic is infact notable and work from there (as I describe below). --MASEM (t) 15:15, 6 March 2010 (UTC)

Interestingly, even articles on Wikimedia's own projects can fall foul of the WP:GNG. Have a look at Wikisource. Yaris678 (talk) 13:08, 15 March 2010 (UTC)

My thought on such problems is that wikieditors need to adopt a "merge first, delete second" way of thinking. In as many cases as possible an article should not be deleted, but have the meat of its content merged into a more appropriate article and a redirect set up. This (1) Preserves the history of the original article and (2) preserves the information from that article. From what I understand the main problem was that wikieditors wanted to wipe dwm from existence as far as wikipedia would be concerned, and that just doesn't seem like a justifiable position. My hope is that by getting dialogue going on more information-retentive policies such negative events might be avoided in the future without compromising the quality of wikipedia. --WCarter (talk) 10:08, 21 March 2010 (UTC)

Actually, what makes a real difference is not chatting here or "raising awareness", but getting the merge-supporting editors to actually do the merges. "Somebody else should do the boring work of merging these articles" is an endless problem. If you support merging articles, then please go to WP:Proposed mergers#Automatically_generated_log and get busy. There are currently more than 16,000 articles waiting for your help. WhatamIdoing (talk) 05:03, 1 April 2010 (UTC)

Infinite Wisdom

This talk page is for discussing the guideline, not other editors.

Whelp, Gavin Collins is here spreading his infinite wisdom. Later folks, when I come back and complain about something again in a few months. - Norse Am Legend (talk) 18:57, 25 March 2010 (UTC)

I for one would question how much this person has actually contributed to the growth of wikipedia, for the last three years most of his contributions seem to have been motions to delete articles, going back to within a month of creating an account. I find this campaign against knowledge disturbing, to the say the least.-- (talk) 16:38, 26 March 2010 (UTC)
At least GC has made constructive edits to Wikipedia. You've made exactly one edit to the mainspace, and that was vandalism. Reyk YO! 01:29, 27 March 2010 (UTC)
I dunno, man. Petty vandalism isn't quite as bad as years of obsessive, fringe-opinionated deconstructionism. - Norse Am Legend (talk) 04:25, 27 March 2010 (UTC)

This is only a guideline

This guideline claims that it overrides WP:ISNOT, and isn't bound by the five pillars. This is not correct.- Wolfkeeper 00:09, 28 March 2010 (UTC)

I saw your changes but I'm not seeing how the present language suggests that this overrides NOT (or that it is a policy). The language you attempt to add (necessary but not sufficient) if anything makes the claim that notability is required (aka a policy) even stronger. If, based on your revert, that its being used at AFD incorrectly, please link to some so we can see if it is a language issue. --MASEM (t) 00:13, 28 March 2010 (UTC)

It says Within Wikipedia, notability determines whether a topic merits its own article. and A topic is presumed to be notable enough to merit an article if it meets the general notability guidelines below. I read that as a topic definitely gets its own article if it meets this guideline. There doesn't seem to be any other way to read it.- Wolfkeeper 00:23, 28 March 2010 (UTC)

I disagree with that interpretation:
  1. It uses guarded language: presumed and merit. In other words: Even a topic that passes the rules established in the guideline need not necessarily be notable, it is merely presumed to be. Under certain unspecified conditions it may still be proved non-notable. Moreover [edited, as I may have guessed your intended application incorrectly], even a notable topic only merits an article. That does not necessarily mean that it gets one. E.g. if nobody bothers to write it, it won't get one. And obviously if a policy makes it impossible, it also won't get one.
    NO, because it says if it is presumed notable it MERITs an article. According to that I would have to prove that it was not notable to avoid it getting one!
    But the reality is it can be 100% notable and still not be allowed an article under the policies if it's not in any way encyclopedic or violate any ISNOT. Right? But that's not what it said!- Wolfkeeper 00:55, 28 March 2010 (UTC)
  2. All of Wikipedia's rules must be read in context, and when they contradict each other, as is often the case, we must decide which one is more important. If something is notable but a policy prevents creation of an article about it, then we have such a conflict, and the policy, being a policy, has somewhat better cards anyway.
Hans Adler 00:33, 28 March 2010 (UTC)
That's a total cop-out. Writing the language of the guideline so that the guideline makes it sound like it entirely controls something that it doesn't simply isn't on. If nothing else it assumes that the people reading it know all of the other policies and guidelines and which ones override it. That's totally unreasonable.- Wolfkeeper 01:00, 28 March 2010 (UTC)
And I am still waiting for these examples. Hans Adler 00:36, 28 March 2010 (UTC)
I agree with Hans here - policies and guidelines are not legal documents but descriptive practices and common sense should be used to resolve conflicts. I'm willing to think that a footnote, along the lines that "While a topic may presumed to be notable and merit a page, other policies and guidelines may suggest otherwise" to be clear this is not the last place to look on that issue. --MASEM (t) 00:46, 28 March 2010 (UTC)
Policies don't suggest, they say should not or even, in practice, ISNOT. Guidelines suggest. And here it's even worse because you're already mentioning the relevant policies like WP:ISNOT- Wolfkeeper 01:13, 28 March 2010 (UTC)
Both policies and guidelines are descriptions of best practices only with policies being more expected of being adhered too but within common sense. The concept that you're trying to get across - that other policies can nullify the merit granted by presumption of notability for a topic to have an article - is true, but you're reading too much literally into the text and not the larger picture. Now, if its the case that people at AFD are quoting word for word from here, point that out, and that's reason to adjust the text to make it clearer. I will note that a similar discussion occurred here about.. 3-4 months ago? and I think ultimately we rejected adding something to this effect because it wasn't needed because it is an implicit understanding, but if it needs to be explicit, that can change. --MASEM (t) 01:48, 28 March 2010 (UTC)
How can I put this any more clearly? According to this guideline, every single f*ing word in the entire English language and every other language as well, including every form of every word is presumed notable, and is determined to merit its own article! Absolutely every single blessed last one of them. You've successfully create a guideline, which claims itself, for all intents and purposes to invert the very first maxim of the Wikipedia; namely that it's an encyclopedia (and the second that it's not a dictionary). I am completely certain I can justify that every single word in every language that has dictionaries has significant coverage in reliable sources. Congratulations! That takes extreme skill!- Wolfkeeper 20:21, 29 March 2010 (UTC)
Yeah, take Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Prithee, even if you happen to think that that particular (non nounal) word is acceptable (I don't) then the closing administrator said: "Current guidelines do not preclude the inclusion of articles about words, whether the article discusses the word itself of the idea represented by the word. As long as a particular topic can be verifiably shown, with reliable sources, to be notable, then it is acceptable for inclusion.". Yeah, right, along with every single other word. This isn't just a simple thing that new people get occasionally wrong (he's on 70,825 edits today). Even if you agree that word should be kept, he's still wrong, according to the policies, singly and in aggregate, and the 5P principles; (and the number of words covered in the Wikipedia is very small, so I don't accept that the community buys this theory.)- Wolfkeeper 20:21, 29 March 2010 (UTC)
And I'd like you to show me how the community agrees that this overrides all and every policy; because that's how you have knowingly written the guideline, I don't see the community clamouring for this feature in guidelines.- Wolfkeeper 20:21, 29 March 2010 (UTC)
How do you read that every word is notable per WP:N? Not every word gets coverage in secondary sources, the key part of this guideline. If it didn't get secondary coverage, and its just a definition, it fails WP:NAD and should be at Wikitionary. On the other hand, as Wikitionary doesn't cover deep entamology of words, a word that has more information about it, as Prithee, seems to be an appropriate article per WP:NAD.
Because dictionaries are clearly secondary sources, they're used all the time in the Encyclopedia to reference term meanings (we do have words, phrases and terms in the Wikipedia, they're just not supposed to be the entire article topic).- Wolfkeeper 23:29, 29 March 2010 (UTC)
Dictionaries are primary sources - they simply define a word. And even with that, that's neither significant coverage that WP:N looks for. They can be used for references, but an article sourced only to a dictionary entry would fail notability. (Prithee doesn't, btw - its got plenty of secondary sources that are not dictionaries). --23:33, 29 March 2010 (UTC)
Dictionaries (like encyclopedias) are usually considered tertiary sources. WhatamIdoing (talk) 23:49, 29 March 2010 (UTC)
I stand corrected, but that doesn't change the point that an article only sourced to a dictionary would fail the GNG. --MASEM (t) 23:57, 29 March 2010 (UTC)
No one is stating that WP:N overrides other policies, in part because it is a guideline. However, that example is not a case where there is an applicable overriding policy on WP:N. --MASEM (t) 23:01, 29 March 2010 (UTC)
The administrator is saying that it says exactly that, as does the literal text of the guideline. Also many people that vote at other AFDs say exactly the same thing. How many different ways and times do I have to explain this to you?- Wolfkeeper 23:29, 29 March 2010 (UTC)
The admin doesn't bring up notability. I believe you're reading way too much into that decision for the vigor of your arguments to consider anything actionable. --MASEM (t) 23:33, 29 March 2010 (UTC)
Uh huh. What colour is the sky in your world?- Wolfkeeper 16:18, 30 March 2010 (UTC)
It seems that your motivation for this change is even more silly than I thought. Do you seriously think that a policy that clearly says "In some cases, a word or phrase itself may be an encyclopedic subject" overrides WP:N to the extent that a word that otherwise satisfies the conditions for notability doesn't deserve an article just because it's a word? It seems to me that prithee is roughly in the same class of words as truthiness, an example in the policy. Hans Adler 00:00, 30 March 2010 (UTC)
No, it's completely the other way around, it's not the same thing. This guideline, here, effectively says it overrides every other policy, guideline and principle in the Wikipedia. Let's take another example, want to run advertisement on the Wikipedia? That's fine if it's a notable advert! When it comes to the AFD, in practice it's a perfect defence that it's NOTABLE. What's that, other policies say something different? But the NOTABLE 'policy' says it's OK in black and white!! With care, you may be front page in no time!- Wolfkeeper 16:18, 30 March 2010 (UTC)
Perhaps you may think that doesn't matter (as you don't care about word articles) but that means that you've got advertising into the Wikipedia by the back door. Perhaps long after the advertising campaign is over that's fine, but earlier than that?- Wolfkeeper 16:18, 30 March 2010 (UTC)
Basically you're playing with live hand-grenades here. Sure you might argue that this is all theoretical, but I've never, ever, seen a theoretical problem like this, stay theoretical. And we've already seen this explicitly happen with word articles.- Wolfkeeper 16:18, 30 March 2010 (UTC)
There would be absolutely nothing wrong with an article United Colors of Benetton, provided it was written professionally and focused on the mechanics and success of the campaign. Wikipedia explicitly incorporates subject-specific encyclopedias, and that includes encyclopedias for advertising professionals. If an advertising campaign is notable for ground-breaking new ideas, then of course we need to cover it in one way or another. Hans Adler 16:48, 30 March 2010 (UTC)
Possibly, or not. If there's nothing wrong with it, why is there no article there?- Wolfkeeper 22:51, 31 March 2010 (UTC)
Because WP:There is no deadline, and nobody WP:VOLUNTEERed to write more than the summary you'll find on the corporate page -- so far. "Hasn't been written yet" does not mean "Is ineligible for an article." WhatamIdoing (talk) 05:44, 1 April 2010 (UTC)
1. You said "rv: no-quite a few people have read this and think that this means exactly what it says, nothing more or less- they're voting in AFDs and altering the Wikipedia article to make it say this." Please link to the diffs at Wikipedia that you are talking about. (This one? what else?)
2. Regarding afds, you are presumably talking about the dispute over how to interpret WP:NOTDICT. (ie. Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Prithee and Wikipedia talk:Wikipedia is not a dictionary#So... um 'wikipedia is not a usage guide' and all of the rest) Why don't you create an RfC for all this? You've surely got the most comprehensive selection of "examples" in your watchlist, from afds past. If not, someone else will eventually do so, and you'll end up with vastly less input... -- Quiddity (talk) 03:43, 28 March 2010 (UTC)