Wikipedia talk:Notability/Archive 63

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Notability is geared towards the white male perspective

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

“Notability is a challenge when you are doing any wiki work because of the way it’s structured, it’s geared towards the white male perspective.”

Wikimedia policies replicate the systemic biases of the larger culture. Consequently, social groups negatively impacted by these biases–including non-males and other marginalized groups–are obstructed from full and accurate representation in Wikipedia articles.

— Preceding unsigned comment added by Tomruen (talkcontribs) 20:47, 21 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]

  • What would you call "full and accurate," just out of curiosity? Is your sole definition a density of articles that faithfully replicate demographic percentages? And does this hold through all walks of life? If it is "full and accurate," for instance, to have as many articles on female politicians or African-American physicists, for instance, surely there can also be no more articles on male gridiron football players than female gridiron football players, or more articles on female nurses than on male ones, and we must likewise limit articles on the overrepresented social group until the ratios balance. (By the bye, who defines "social group," as to that? Do we do so ethnically? Linguistically? Gender? Nationality? Chronologically? Combinations of the lot? Do we define Barack Obama as a "black" politician when he has just as much Caucasian blood in him as otherwise?)

    Wikipedia's remit, for good or ill, is still not social engineering. Ravenswing 05:11, 22 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]

    • Ravenswing, sorry, but "Want to blow off steam? Go join a gym." --as a wise man, or woman, once said. Please don't exercise "curiosity" in this condescending way. Plus, you're totally missing the point--even Masem understands it better than you. Drmies (talk) 00:13, 25 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]
      • Bit late on the return, I admit, but while we're talking about condescension, you might want to work on conflating "I don't agree with your point" with not understanding your point. Ravenswing 06:31, 28 November 2018 (UTC)[reply]
  • There is a clearly a bias that as a volunteer project, WP is going to draw more white males that will want to work on "white male"-dominated topics. Thats a culture issue but that itself is not preventing more coverage of women, minorities, and other marginalized groups. What is limiting there is sourcing. Until the last century, these groups did not get the coverage, and while I would argue the media bias on people today is almost evaporated (not completely, but getting there), we can't enjoy revisionist history that I have seen argued for (such as weakening notability for female academics/scientists of days past because they didn't get any recognizition so we should recognize that, as the logic goes). We have to follow the sources, and only hope that newer sources pay more attention to these groups from the past for us to write articles about them. --Masem (t) 21:44, 22 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]
  • The words above from Tomruen are not his, they are a quote from the news release he linked to, Wikimedia Foundation releases gender equity report, put out yesterday by the WMF. The report, Advancing Gender Equity: Conversations with movement leaders is worth reading. It highlights Notability policies as a barrier editors find working in this area. With the release of this report we are going to hear more about this. Women editors are coming in and working on articles about women, so the issue here isn't that the male editors don't work in this area. The issue is sources. I agree with Masem; as an encyclopedia we need to follow the published sources. That often means waiting until newly uncovered material gets written about and published. There is however room to broaden recognition of what constitutes coverage, as was done with WP:ACADEMIC and has been done in many areas of men's interest. StarryGrandma (talk) 00:27, 23 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]
  • Requiring so-called "notability" creates severe and unnecessary systematic bias against anything that is not part of contemporary popular culture in wealthy English speaking countries, especially the United States during the last decade or two. This bias is unnecessary because requiring so-called "notability" causes the unnecessary exclusion from the encyclopedia of accurate verifiable information from perfectly good sources. James500 (talk) 17:24, 23 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]
    • User:James500, so we have WP:NOT which the community created as kind of our mission (and "not-mission") statement. WP:N was the result of the community working out what belongs and what doesn't belong in Wikipedia, per WP:NOTINDISCRIMINATE. We (the editing community) need some criteria to define what belongs in WP and what doesn't belong. People can and do show up and write about all kinds of things - from clearly encyclopedic things to clearly unencyclopedic things, and a whole range of stuff in the middle. What do we (the editing community) keep, and what do we not keep? What should we all aim for? Those are the important questions that N grew out of. Those questions matter. Please rethink what you wrote. You also write as though WP:V is the only content policy. It isn't. Jytdog (talk) 17:43, 23 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]
      • A more pertinent question would be: does a requirement for notability add anything useful to all the other exclusionary criteria we have, such as CSD, V, NOR, NOT, BLP and so forth? It is not clear to me that it does in its present form. James500 (talk) 18:37, 23 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]
        • The questions "should I create this or not?" and "should we keep this or not?" will never go away. N and the field-specific essays are the products of a lot of consensus-distilling work over the years. Jytdog (talk) 18:44, 23 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]
Can we see some concrete example of this problem in action. something that clearly exists and is clearly notable but fails our notability criteria? Without some idea of what we are talking about "well the international society of what a great person I am (membership me and a small dachshund called Colin (Yes that Colin, long lived isn't he?)) thinks I am notable, so I should get an article" I cannot see if this is a real problem of gender or race bias or simply that fact that far too many people think their local thing is important.Slatersteven (talk) 18:14, 23 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]
I don't have time at the moment to explain everything that is wrong with the notability guidelines, so I will just give the worst problem as an example for now. The concept of "significant coverage" is so vague that it can presently be used to delete almost anything because it does not supply a useful maximum. One large book is not a useful example. Most topics that ought to be included don't have and should not be required to have anything like that level of coverage, and they especially don't have that coverage online, searchable with Google, not behind a paywall, and written in English (yes, I know that the guidelines say that things are not required, but that is not the reality that exists at AfD). And certain types of topics are disproportionately affected, particularly those relating to the less recent past (recentism), poor countries, countries where they do not speak English, and topics that are above the level of the lowest common denominator. James500 (talk) 19:06, 23 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]
Our AFD processes do give benefit of doubt to topics that are not easily searchable by Google if they were more relevant before 2000 - that's the whole point of WP:BEFORE. If someone nom's a 14th century scientist on the basis that they got no Google hits, that AFD nom is going to be shut down hard. My observation of AFD closures show this is being followed appropriately - we simply can't stop bad noms that haven't done the work outlined in BEFORE. --Masem (t) 19:24, 23 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]
You see, there's no requirement that sources be free to access, online, or in English. I've written literally hundreds of articles based entirely on offline, Japanese-language sources that, if anyone without real-world access to a Japanese library wanted to read, even if they could read Japanese, would need to pay at least around 100 USD just to access (by buying the book), but no one has ever tried to delete them (the closest was this) because I write good articles that clearly cite their sources and make a visible and easily comprehensible claim to notability. I know that the guidelines say that things are not required, but that is not the reality that exists at AfD turns the problem completely on its head, because all the so-called "deletionists" at AFD are happy to accept all of those kinds of sources; the problem is the frequently-thrown-out claim that such sources probably exist even though you or I or anyone else have not managed to find them, and whoever wrote the articles in question was careless enough not to cite them. A good example is this "article" recently abandoned in the mainspace by a friend of yours: it consisted of nothing but unsourced/unverifiable nonsense, blatant OR and bad (machine?) translations from languages he doesn't read, and leaving it to me, Shadowowl and Northamerica1000 to fix it. Setting aside the question of whether the project is better off after the work the rest of us put into the article, it definitely would have been better with the page simply deleted than with the page as Andrew originally published it. And when AFDs are overrun with supposed citations of sources the citers clearly have not read, it becomes increasingly difficult to take seriously the claims nonsense sub-stubs could possibly be improved with sources whose names can't even be determined. If more editors had the revelation I had when Yunshui told me (I think by email...?) that he would have done the same thing as this guy to my original Utsunomiya Yoritsuna draft, more because it was a nonsense one-sentence sub-stub that did the project no good by its existence than because of any hint of a belief that I created an article on a "non-notable" topic, the project would be much better for it. Hijiri 88 (やや) 02:17, 24 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]
I have to say that is my take on this. We do not need 100 one line stubs about subjects just because "we cannot find the sources right now but they are there".Slatersteven (talk) 09:06, 24 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]
Yep, and unfortunately I have to agree that both of those editors are notorious for dumping sources they haven't read on the AfDs of articles they haven't read, in response to a deletion nomination they haven't read. Reyk YO! 09:25, 24 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]
Reyk, that is nonsense. James500 (talk) 14:13, 24 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]
I am not sure if you read the source being cited? It says that WP is based on the existing base of reliable sources (as we define RS), which itself has excluded women, people of color, the history of indigenous peoples, etc. We end up with systemic bias because the base of sources is the product of systemic bias. This is what Masem responded to above. Jytdog (talk) 18:27, 23 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]
Importantly, that should be less of a problem today (since at least 2000), and any apparent bias towards women or other disadvantaged groups is likely more a problem with volunteer involvement than source issue. But historically, the exclusion of these people from sources is a problem we know exists and have little way to fix that since we can't make such information magically appear. --Masem (t) 18:31, 23 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]
Masem, there's still a bias problem after 2000. Media (news, etc) still favors coverage of men. Check out these reports from Women's Media Center. Megalibrarygirl (talk) 23:46, 24 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]
We need to be clear we're talking that before 2000, there were still attitudes like "You are a woman, get in the kitchen" rampant in Western society, which purposely undercut women's contributions to history. Same with racial and sexual-orientation description, which are not yet quite there but in progress. Our society rejects these types of arguments now (thank goodness), so we're not going to see mainstream sourcing treating achievements and successes by women/disadvantaged groups with disdain or ignorance. The issue moreso today is an external bias, that there remains a pipeline problem that the movers and shakers of society are still white male dominated, and that's not going to change overnight. We should not be forcing policies to "correct" this, but only to make sure we can be as reasonable inclusive as possible for topics and notability across the board (gender, race, etc.) that doesn't otherwise erode core content policies like WP:V and WP:NOT. We cannot magically make coverage appear to balance the coverage of genders (for example) when there's still the imbalance in the real world. --Masem (t) 00:05, 25 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]
Correct, because we can't change history, as written. Yes, lots of bias does exist--in the world at large or in any society one cares to name. I read through the gender report, and I saw no specifics explaining how N, RS, etc are biased. I think the people who are aggrieved are targeting the fundamental policies here, not because the policies themselves have a discernable bias, but because those policies have resulted in a published product in the English Wikipedia that is a reasonably accurate reflection of the actual history of white male dominion in Western society. Certainly, the policies are always subject to change and improvement, and people are working to make the product more diverse, which is good, but attacking the policies which are intended to make the encyclopedia reliable and non-original does not seem like the right approach. DonFB (talk) 22:42, 23 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]

  • Abandoning notability would make the systemic bias worse rather than better. We'd be flooded relentlessly with intricately detailed but poorly sourced articles about cartoon characters, the CVs of self-important business executives, self-promotions of crap garage bands, and so on. All of which can be expected to lean heavily towards the interests of white dudes in first world countries. Reyk YO! 09:22, 24 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]
    • All of those things are excluded by CSD and NOT. Notability is actually redundant to other policies in respect of those. I don't see any reason to assume that business executives and garage bands are "white dudes in first world companies", either. There are businesses and musicians in Africa, for example. James500 (talk) 14:21, 24 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]
All of those things are excluded by CSD and NOT. We have an article on Snorlax, though: and what's worse, Snorlax was created by non-white people and is much better-known in its country of origin than in English-speaking countries, which would perhaps explain why we don't have an article on Munchlax but we have articles on both Thunderstrike (Eric Masterson) and Thunderstrike (Kevin Masterson). Open the floodgates and we'll not only have an article on Munchlax but separate articles on the MC2 and Earth-616 versions of Kevin Masterson! (Note that both characters called "Thunderstrike" essentially originated as variations of the character Thor, and were meant solely to create more marketable characters and lucrative "#1" issues during the comic book speculator bubble in the 1990s.) Hijiri 88 (やや) 07:11, 25 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]
  • The report talks of perspective. In dealing with this issue, it may help to get a balanced perspective about this WP:N guideline. Here are some helpful facts and tips:
1. Notability is not a policy, it's just a guideline. This means that it is "best treated with common sense, and occasional exceptions may apply"
2. Notability is not a core principle or policy, as it was not conceived until 2006, after Wikipedia had been running successfully for over 5 years.
3. Wikipedia was started to rescue the project Nupedia which failed because of its restrictive policies and procedures for article creation which stifled its growth. Wikipedia was successful because it was more open and it completely replaced the closed, restrictive model.
4. Wikipedias which reintroduce severe restrictions will tend to suffer and die in the same way as Nupedia. For example,

The German-language Wikipedia lost both financial and content contributors due to unchecked Löschtroll (Purging trolls) activity. As a result, many German-language Internet magazines now insted link just to the English-language Wikipedia because they can't be reasonably sure if a de:WP article or section they link to today will still be there next week. Searches that end up in a "has been deleted" page on de:WP, but yield a valid result on en:WP, drive yet more German-language readers in this direction.

5. On the English Wikipedia, the notability guidelines are notoriously subjective and inconsistent, being mostly constructed by the incumbent demographic to suit their personal preferences. My favourite example is Chitty who was "recorded in one first-class match in 1796, totalling 0 runs with a highest score of 0." If we can have an article about this person, then we can have an article about anyone.
6.The policy WP:NOTPAPER states that "Other than verifiability and the other points presented on this page, there is no practical limit to the number of topics Wikipedia can cover or the total amount of content." Policies are stronger than guidelines.
7. The chief executive of the WMF, Katherine Maher, has declared that she is an inclusionist. The numbers, power and resources of the WMF continue to grow and the OP cited a WMF report. It is prudent to go with the flow.
8. The deletion function doesn't actually delete anything; it just flags the content so that it can only be seen by admins. We have thousands of admins and they are created on a "no big deal" basis. Admins can readily restore content at WP:REFUND and, in any case, you will usually find the content elsewhere in a mirror or cache. The internet was designed to survive nuclear war by having lots of redundancy and Wikipedia CC content has a similar property of being largely indestructible. So, why spend time worrying about whether content is on this page or that? The future probably belongs to Wikidata, which has a more generic structure for storing facts and is being built as a superset of all the Wikiprojects.
Andrew D. (talk) 11:26, 24 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]
There's so much wrong with the above I don't even know where to start. Point 6 is probably the worst: claiming that a policy makes the factual statement that there's no limit on the amount of content we can include being a policy rather than a guideline has anything whatsoever to with the matter at hand, if it is sincere and not just wikilawyering/trolling, raises serious competency questions. 7 is a close second, using tricks of language to try to put famous authorities on your "side". The simple fact is that the wider culture is on the side of Wikipedia becoming an increasingly reputable, verifiable source of information, which it definitely wasn't in the mid-2000s when we were overrun by "in popular culture" sections and standalone articles on Pokémon characters -- and I say that as an unapologetic fan of Pokémon. Hijiri 88 (やや) 11:38, 24 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]
In regards to #5, a thing to keep in mind is that we work off presumed notability. We want to have people create articles on topics that are likely to be notable (but with verified info from the start) but that we may later deem as non-notable and delete; it favors inclusion over omission. We have the subject-specific notability guidelines designed to propose tests of a topic's notability that gives us enough presumption to allow a stand-alone article (as the case of Chitty). But if someone goes through the proper effort and shows that there are no further sources for that topic out there (and that most often requires trips to libraries to read print materials), and demonstrates the lack of sources, then deletion is possible. Chitty probably hasn't been checked as that requires looking at 18th century newspapers from Surray, which is not exactly going to be easily found.
Connecting that to the original point, we can use these subject-specific notability guidelines to provide better methods of trying to capture women/other disadvantaged groups that haven't been as widely discussed as males. WP:NPROF is one such case, but that also recognizes that academics, a key part of society, as a whole class generally go unnoticed. I am sure that some could come up with similar achievements of note that could be applied universally to any person regardless of gender, race, etc. so that we could be more inclusive to these, giving those topics the benefit of doubt via presumed notability, to hopefully encourage editors to expand on them. --Masem (t) 14:22, 24 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]
I think subject-specific notability guidelines are preferable to more general guidelines for notability. I think notability should be geared to the entity under consideration as a general principle. Therefore I think females should be regarded differently than males as concerns their suitability as subjects for biographies. Bus stop (talk) 14:49, 24 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]
That's rather a problematic approach, and that's going to lead to a whole bunch of issues around the current culture wars and identity culture that we should be avoiding.
But I am all for identifying areas where the contribution of women and other disadvantaged groups is known, but the specific accomplishing of any individuals have generally been poorly covered due to the media bias, and finding ways to make the subject-specific guidelines better inclusive for any person, particularly from an historical perspective. We should want to include broader classes of people that are likely to be able to prove out to be notable, but not necessary because they are women or minority, or whatnot. That is: we have NSPORT, and while sports is geared towards males (historical and current bias to most professional sports being male-dominated), it does not go out of its way to include female athletes, it attempts to describe broad classes that would apply to any sport regardless of the genders that participate in it. NPROF is clearly also gender-neutral, it ends up only favoring males due to the historical bias in the area. A subject-specific notability guideline specifically written with the intent to be inclusive for women/minorities/etc. is going to be problematic, and instead we should be asking how to make current notability guidelines as gender/race/etc-neutral as possible, being fully aware that we cannot change the "numbers" in terms of historical bias that our reliable sources give. --Masem (t) 15:07, 24 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]
"That's rather a problematic approach" It is equally problematic to, in effect, exclude from eligibility those entities that don't fit neatly within more general notability guidelines. My point is that it is problematic either way and there is no sense in using policy and guidelines against the project's best interests. It is often in our interests to cover certain entities that may fall outside of more general notability guidelines. In those instances that such problems can be identified it behooves us to to alter our policies and guidelines to accommodate a category of entities worthy of representation in the form of stand-alone articles. Bus stop (talk) 15:46, 24 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]
There are plenty of ways to add/modify the guidelines to be more specific and inclusive without throwing away standards. A simple line inserted in guidelines that context matters, as the time and place can severely effect sourcing would go a long way. I have noticed a trend gearing guidelines to recent/current events, to eliminate promotionalism, BLP issues, etc., which is usually a moot point for historical subjects. Another trend that limits inclusion is the insistence by a large group of editors that local sources are somehow flawed or unreliable. While that may be true since the advent of the internet, pre-1990 publications had to be more wary of cost for print media. Circulation numbers absolutely have nothing to do with reliability, though I have oft-seen an argument that larger publications are more likely to print notable stories. (In actuality, all that it means is that they are likely to print stories of interest to mainstream audiences.)
A small local newspaper, which has won multiple Pulitzer Prizes can be just as reliable, sometimes even moreso than a nationally known journal. Regional journals in the Global South may be just as reliable as huge conglomerate publications, but may have a small circulation due to the cost of publication. These are the types of materials that historically are likely to mention women and minorities' activities, as mainstream media biases excluded them. Even if a woman was involved internationally, it is likely that her home town paper, or a journal published by an association with which she was affiliated will have written about her, but mainstream sources would not. Historically, racial minorities were excluded from mainstream publications as well and founded their own press organs. Doesn't make them unreliable, instead calls into question the reliability of mainstream media which omitted them.
Add to that the perception that if they haven't been written about currently, historical women/minorities are not notable. Considering that until 1970 there were few comprehensive studies on race, gender, women, it is clear that much of our collective history has been ignored and many significant figures are still coming to light. The stories of many have been routinely omitted from academic study and certainly historical textbooks. If historical sourcing shows that there was significant coverage in reliable sources, over time, it doesn't really matter if a current academic or textbook has written about a person. Notability is not something that diminishes over time, though it might become obscured. We can never overcome the biases in the historical record and will never reach a place where there is historical equity, but we can and should, evaluate our guidelines to eliminate perpetuating biases. SusunW (talk) 16:39, 24 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]
One thing to keep in mind that there is nothing wrong with very localized sources to build out these articles; we just need to have some type of coverage at a higher level to assure this isn't a random "local hero" that really wasn't a local hero. I would not be surprised for example that with some effort, nearly every American soldier that was shipped out to fight in the Gulf War would have hometown newspaper in-depth articles about them but this doesn't make all of them notable people. (This is related to the discussion above about local sources). We shouldn't exclude local sources for these types of articles, but they just simply can't be the only sources given. --Masem (t) 20:49, 24 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]
Because that would mean that someone who was noted as significant in local sources to the development of say the Solomon Islands, lacking coverage in international press or scholarly material by international sources couldn't possibly be notable enough to include in a global encyclopedia? I truly do fail to grasp how that can possibly be a valid argument. SusunW (talk) 23:32, 24 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]
Exactly, SusunW! There's no reason whatsoever to exclude local sources as a measure for establishing notability. If we do, then we are creating an encyclopedia that has rather limited scope and won't cover the "smaller" areas of the globe. I've been seeing a lot of "local sources don't contribute to notability" talk recently and it's nonsense. We can safely tell the difference between a true local hero, as brought up by Masem from a one time "local hero" based on the amount of coverage over time in the local sources. In addition, having information about "local" notable people and places is a true goldmine to travelers. You get to a spot, look it up, find out the history on Wikipedia and the notable people in that area. It really adds to a vacation and it's truly valuable. Megalibrarygirl (talk) 23:42, 24 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]
Well, keep in mind for "local" we're talking sources that cover a town or village, not local to a country. If the Solomon Star (the island's national newspaper) reported on this person, that would be national coverage and definitely reasonable. We don't need international coverage, but something more than the hometown newspaper.
Also I will point out that we strongly encourage the use of redirects of reasonable search terms so that topics that cannot support a full article but are well-connected to a topic can still be documents. Say a small town was founded by a frontier women during America's expansion. Her role in the larger scope of history has gone unnoticed but the town has documented as much of her story as they could. That easily serves to have a redirect to a section on the town's history, so she can be found and read about.
I'll also concern that there is the facet that more historical woman/disadvantaged groups that only have local sources, but those source are recent, or stay updated, then there's a good chance for that to be notable. What we don't want is local "celebrity" to be promoted on WP, and trying to define a line between a local "celebrity" and a local "historical figure" can be hard. --Masem (t) 23:48, 24 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]
The clincher for that is pretty simple, really. Is the same single event being reported or is the person being reported for multiple accomplishments over a lifetime? Clearly WP editors and historians evaluate impact differently. If someone over time, was involved at a state, national, regional or international level and their contributions are reported for decades, that's a pretty clear indication that they are not a local celebrity. SusunW (talk) 00:10, 25 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]
We do want to make sure these are reasonable accomplishments. Founding a town, yes, but keep in mind that we don't consider even local mayors (who might serve multiple terms) notable. It's probably where as suggested, we're talking people deceased or long retired, where their influence on a local town remains of coverage in the local sources. I don't think that solves the larger issue, but it does bring to light how some could see the "no local sources" can get in the way of notable people. --Masem (t) 00:34, 25 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]
  • Could someone please provide a few concrete examples of the bias being discussed... potential article subjects that are actually excluded due to our current policies? Blueboar (talk) 16:48, 24 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]
Blueboar Bess Adams. SusunW (talk) 17:05, 24 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]
@SusunW: But the problem there was that you couldn't find enough reliably-sourced information on her to build an article: she never was a "potential article subject" precisely for that reason, and if she had been you wouldn't be able to cite her here. Hijiri 88 (やや) 20:33, 24 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]
That's a pretty circular argument, Hijiri88. She wasn't a "potential article subject" because you couldn't find sources, highlights the exact difficulty of mindset. She is a potential article if sourcing which meets WP consensus can be found. I can assure you that there are hundreds of articles that could be written on notable people in the Caribbean, in the Pacific and numerous other global locations where there are sources that indicate notability, but the mindset that they have to be included in national or international media, and that the coverage has to be recent, precludes the articles from ever being written. SusunW (talk) 23:32, 24 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]
Blueboar, Hijiri88, y'all serious? We started with "Wikimedia policies replicate the systemic biases of the larger culture"--so obviously we're talking about the material that is available to us for writing Wikipedia articles, and that this material is skewed toward those in power, those whom our history has chosen to value, is hardly in doubt. Drmies (talk) 00:16, 25 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]
I simply read the linked discussion and found SusunW essentially arguing for an article on a topic on which, apparently, not enough reliable sources were available to actually write the article. I don't generally edit a whole lot of BLPs, which seem to be the main "problem area" when it comes to this, and virtually all the articles I put a lot of work into are on topics that already have standalone articles in print encyclopedias (and whether or not their perspective is male, it's certainly no more "white" than would be expected for an English-language encyclopedia's coverage of Japanese and Chinese literature). This might mean I'm somewhat out of the loop when it comes to what is "enough" coverage when it comes to topics that don't have standalone articles in any print encyclopedias, but it is an undeniable fact that this article, for example, should not have been put in the mainspace in the state it was in, and it was apparently an attempt to address systemic bias by creating an article on a Chinese or Japanese (the sources conflict) food that wasn't already covered.
The notability guidelines are interpreted far too liberally already, and weakening them further would only make systemic bias worse, as we would be overrun with more articles on the kind of things editors of English Wikipedia tend to like. (And FWIW, I picked up my "Why do we even have articles on fictional characters?" view from you.)
Hijiri 88 (やや) 01:54, 25 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]
What you get from that thread,Hijiri88, is that one editor's opinion was there was insufficient sourcing and another said they did not find the person in a textbook. Did you look at the sources? Weight them in historical context? Evaluate what her impact was? (and by the by, I am not one who would ever write about a fictional character and rarely write about living persons, so the dismissal of the problem as being in that only effects BLPs is erroneous). In fact, I stated above one of the big problems with the guidelines is that the language used regarding sourcing tends treat every citation as if it were for a BLP, when that is not the case. SusunW (talk) 02:41, 25 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]
We have a much lower threshold for notability among historical figures whose names can be verified than for BLPs for whom the same is true, which is probably why the notability guidelines for people tend to focus on living or recently-deceased people. I don't want to talk about fictional characters, and only brought that up because I'm pretty sure Drmies shares my view on the matter, which is probably much more on-topic than any biographical article of a woman or minority, since a weakening of our notability standards would be much more likely to lead to an even greater overflow of articles on video game characters (or "intricately detailed but poorly sourced articles about cartoon characters", to use Reyk's words -- these are already the beneficiaries of's systemic bias) than we have already, than to any greater freedom to write about tenth-centure Japanese women poets or the like. Hijiri 88 (

やや) 03:23, 25 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]

Seems to me Miss Adams is a good example of why this is cobblers. This is a woman no more notable then virtually every minor public official (who is male) we do not have articles on.Slatersteven (talk) 10:32, 25 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]
Which is precisely why time and place are important considerations. Given the time frame, given the lack of women working at the time, given that she was a director of a state office, she was unique and a pioneer. A male public official would not be either unique or pioneering in the era. Context absolutely matters. SusunW (talk) 16:09, 25 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]
@SusunW: Sorry to be several days late, but I just noticed this: if you can find a reliable secondary source that specifies that "X was the first female Y", then you're already free to write the article, and most would likely agree being the first female anything (as long as the anything itself has a standalone Wikipedia article) makes her notable, as long as you have a secondary source; saying X was the first female anything based on original research (looking at a list of anything and picking out the first female name on the list, or whatever you did), then you can't add that claim to any article in the encyclopedia, stand-alone bio or no. Hijiri 88 (やや) 10:02, 29 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]
Which is precisely why this conversation is needed Hijiri88. If a curated secondary source says that, but is from a feminist journal, local paper, professional association, it is challenged as not meeting our reliability criteria because it is not a mainstream publication with wide distribution. (And Adams came from a list of pioneers created by the National Association of Social Workers). I would never question that they know who their first members were, but I would try to confirm that that single claim could be backed up with evidence of such a career that had more than local impact. In this case, there was plenty of evidence over a 50 year period, and yet, you saw the response. There are far too many women left out of the historic record for it to be worth creating the article and having to fight for it at AfD. My time is better spent creating other articles, but it is a telling example of why we need to review our guidelines. What we think happens (" being the first female anything (as long as the anything itself has a standalone Wikipedia article) makes her notable") and what does happen are different. SusunW (talk) 15:03, 29 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]

I am afraid the discussion is grosly misplaced: the proper place is WP:BIO. The the very top WP:GNG explicitly says:

"A topic is presumed to merit an article if:
It meets either the general notability guideline below, or the criteria outlined in a subject-specific guideline listed in the box on the right; and..."

If a person is recognized as notable for whatever reason, the GNG no longer matters, as long as there is no reason to question local sources. Staszek Lem (talk) 00:26, 25 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]

P.S. See eg Wikipedia talk:Notability (people)#Local sources, again going on now. Staszek Lem (talk) 01:53, 25 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]
Could you explain how, as this does not seem a "female" issue?Slatersteven (talk) 15:08, 25 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]
In the case of the Mariposa Trust, I believe that miscarriages and topics related to pregnancy and childbirth are not very well covered on the encyclopedia, as the stereotypical single white male Wikipedian probably doesn't have parenting on their mind. Ritchie333 (talk) (cont) 15:15, 25 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]
Seriously? Why the hell not? Also you do not need to have a child of your own to care about (say) your sisters or nephews. Sorry but that is the kind of (well no lets not go there now)... frankly I find the above pretty damn offensive, and it makes it too poisonous to even continue with this reply... I really am having difficulty keeping this polite.Slatersteven (talk) 15:22, 25 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]
I don't understand why, as I wasn't talking about you; however when I was about 23 I wanted nothing to do with kids, and neither did any of my friends or relatives (of that generation). Perhaps it was the company I kept. In any case, a number of editors were very keen to speedy delete the article, despite several objections. Ritchie333 (talk) (cont) 15:29, 25 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]
Maybe you do not, and many women do not as well (its called wanting a career). Not all 23 years olds (of any sex) want kids, or care about them. This is a gross assumption about any person, male or female (and I note you in essence are saying woman care more about having kids then men, mmmmm).Slatersteven (talk) 15:38, 25 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]
I'm sorry you feel like that, but please note I'm talking about general trends towards wanting to edit the topic on Wikipedia. That's it. Ritchie333 (talk) (cont) 16:17, 25 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]
Ritchie333's comments are consistent with my experience on wiki. Surveys of editors have shown that relatively few editors have children living at home, so parents probably are under-represented, especially among high-volume editors. We have some fathers with children in the home, but very few in the mother-of-small-children category. When I've found problems with child-related subjects, it's almost always been older women editors who have helped fix them. I think we have to just accept the fact that the people most connected to subjects such as Breastfeeding and Baby food realistically don't have time to fix those articles. (And even if they managed to get a few minutes free to edit, they might want to edit something else. I imagine that thinking about baby-baby-baby-baby-baby around the clock could really drive a person to edit articles on any other subject at all.) WhatamIdoing (talk) 01:47, 3 October 2018 (UTC)[reply]
To Ritchie's list - please keep in mind that with living persons, we have higher standards of sourcing to both avoid BLP-type problems and to avoid self-promotion which unfortunately runs rampant that makes it difficult to distinguish between an earnest attempt to start an article about a person but not including sources, and those that are simply to get Google hits. The Naomi Sager looks like the latter, as it started with a huge block of copy-paste text that was removed as a copyvio, leaving no sources. That is 100% a candidate for tagging CSD. That approach to new articles on BLP can't really change at this point without harming efforts to eliminate self-promotion, though we've got more people using draft space and the like to build better articles before they go into mainspace. --Masem (t) 15:21, 25 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]
The article as tagged included a citation to the Computer Science Department, New York University confirming the post. Anyone deleting that as CSD A7 can expect short shrift. Ritchie333 (talk) (cont) 15:24, 25 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]
At the time (2015 IIRC?) NPROF was not as allowing as it is today, and thus showing no indication of notability besides holding a position at NYU, CSD was reasonable given the self-promotion issue that was still a problem then. To take a more immediate example, Sarah Frey's state at CSD [1] 100% looks like self-promotion, so CSD is fully appropriate too. This is an issue that is blind to gender, race, etc - articles on BLP that appear to be self-promotion are going to treated as self-promotion. --Masem (t) 15:52, 25 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]
    • Just a note about Mariposa Trust, based on the history of that page I would guess that somebody at that organization has the mistaken notion that Wikipedia is a vital platform for promotion -- to gain visibility so they can get donations and try to influence the discussion on whatever issue they care about. Just like that notion is out there for companies and people, it is out there too for nonprofits and I delete horribly promotional content about nonprofits every day. And within the world of digital marketing companies, there is a niche of such companies just for nonprofits. Here is one- they write there "Wikipedia is consistently in the top results for the vast majority of Google searches. As such, Revunami works with clients to ensure their information on Wikipedia is accurate and up to date. We navigate Wikipedia’s policies and work within its guidelines to help you establish your organization as a trustworthy and authoritative source on the topics that are important to you and your mission. Our Wikipedia work is fact-based and follows the best practices established by the Wikipedia volunteer community. Please see our Wikipedia Policy for further details." (emphasis added) Just horrible. PROMO is PROMO, and abuse of WP is abuse of WP, no matter what the mission of the abuser is. Jytdog (talk) 15:39, 25 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]

It seems to me that all of this comes down to asking one question: What do we do when we think someone is notable, but can not demonstrate that notability through sourcing? Blueboar (talk) 15:33, 25 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]

A key I would add is that in considering this question, we should be asking the question blind of any gender, race, or the like. I really would hope all editors recognize that nowadays and this shouldn't have to be said. --Masem (t) 17:15, 25 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]
  • The perspective is, unquestionably, skewed toward a "white male" perspective, but it is also skewed toward STEM over the arts and sometimes conflates status with notability. So while women's accomplishments are routinely belittled, the first thing that has to be slapped down is the idea that the notability criteria needs to be "weakened" or "softened" or (worse yet) "dumbed down." The problem is the criteria applied. Take two equally accomplished professors, one in English Literature and one in a hard science like, say, chemistry. The NPROF criteria will include the scientist with far fewer accomplishments than the literature professor based on things like the evaluation of publications in peer-reviewed journals, h-index and other rubrics. Similarly, let's take two members of an English Department. The Full Professor who is a Department head is going to get the benefit of the doubt over a non-tenure track Assistant or Adjunct Professor who may have published even more, but was so focused on their actual research and study that they didn't bother to play the political game that we all know is required for administrative advancement. That is just one wholly neutral example of why the notability criteria is messed up. Montanabw(talk) 18:04, 25 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]
    • There's a whole separate issue with academics: as a whole, academics do not brag, and there is little contemplation of who the person is doing the work, only on what the work produces. And of course, mainstream media does not pick up on any of these people until the work they have done actually gains merit for the layperson. This is contrast to politics, sports, and entertainment venues where the people are foremost and well covered. We have to make some unique rules to actually give creditable coverage to academic to start with due to this lack of bibliographical introspective. --Masem (t) 18:13, 25 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]
Which takes us back to social workers, not activists, people who actually work in social work and the betterment of society. Discounting their accomplishments and pioneering efforts because they aren't famous is inherently discounting a whole segment of society, mostly female. We do not need to create more rules, we need stress that the existing rules must be applied considering the context. And yes, Montanabw exactly what you said! SusunW (talk) 18:22, 25 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]
Which again comes back to trying to distinguish between earnest attempts to create articles on important but seemingly non-notable activists, and self-promotion of one's advocacy. It is very hard to tell the difference at times. We are better prepared to do this for more historical figures as retired/deceased people are not looking for self-promotion, but we have to be very wary about active, living persons in this regard. --Masem (t) 18:29, 25 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]
Sometimes an article that looks like promotional / spam is simply down to inexperience with the creator, who has never tried to write anything from a dispassionate neutral point of view. It's a better result (though harder to achieve) to clean up the article so the promotional content is scrubbed, than just hit the delete button. Ritchie333 (talk) (cont) 18:31, 25 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]
Unfortunately, our new-page patrollers tend to err on the side of caution against paid editing; COI-influenced editing on WP has only gotten worse hence why WP:NORG has been bolstered to that end. That's a wholly separate problem from notability aspects. --Masem (t) 18:39, 25 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]
I can't speak for others, but all of my work here is aimed at providing the public with high quality content, to give them knowledge. When I add content that is what I am doing, and when I remove spammy or media-circus-driven crap, it is so that people who come to us trying to learn stuff aren't met with content that is bad - either because somebody came added actually thinking that it was appropriate (good faith but aiming for the very wrong mission) or was more cynically just throwing up a billboard in our beautiful project. The motivation doesn't matter - the content matters. Promotional crap is promotional crap and gossip is gossip. Retaining bad content harms our readers and harms our reputation. Jytdog (talk) 18:46, 25 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]
Simone de Beauvoir said, "It is not women's inferiority that has determined their historical insignificance; it is their historical insignificance that has doomed them to inferiority." If you believe this, and I do, then you'll support what SusunW said above: "We can never overcome the biases in the historical record and will never reach a place where there is historical equity, but we can and should, evaluate our guidelines to eliminate perpetuating biases." --Rosiestep (talk) 18:59, 25 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]
The question isn't about what anyone believes or who one stands with. The question is what we do about that here. What are actionable policies/guidelines that open new important new territory for WP without allowing a torrent of horrible? Jytdog (talk) 19:13, 25 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]

so what could we do?

  • so, do we need some new notability essay for .... people under-represented in WP:RS? If so, what? This conversation would be more productive if it were aimed at proposing solutions.
I thought about this for a few hours back when WMF was doing its ten year mission thing and I couldn't come up with anything. (See the big strategic plan, in this section. There are aspirations there that I am not sure en-WP can achieve, since we -- by definitions very deep in our guts against original research here in WP - cannot create or validate knowledge here. The plan strains and fumbles at that boudary with We will continue to build the partnerships that enable us to develop knowledge we can't create ourselves.....We will build the technical infrastructures that enable us to collect free knowledge in all forms and languages. We will use our position as a leader in the ecosystem of knowledge to advance our ideals of freedom and fairness. We will build the technical structures and the social agreements that enable us to trust the new knowledge we compile..... none of that stuff is really what we do here, and that last sentence is really a doozy.
Our project is built on what we call "reliable sources", not the authority of any editor. Those are really the only two possible sources of authority for content.
i don't think the community would welcome the idea of "authorized editors" who can add content based on their say-so. Maybe.
The other option would be to allow some other kinds of sources, but I can't imagine a definition more flexible than what we have now. it needs to be something published somewhere, so that other people can find it to verify the content and learn more.. and the publisher needs to be considered "good" (as we define that too)...
I really don't see a viable way for this project to do what folks seem to want us to do.... Not at this point anyway... I am open to ideas, of course. Jytdog (talk) 18:52, 25 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]
I repeat, a simple sentence that historical context of time, place and world events must be analyzed to assist in evaluating notability would do far more than drafting new rules. All things are not equal, all sources are not equal or applicable in historical context and we should quit pretending that they are. SusunW (talk) 19:12, 25 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]
Without something actionable (i.e. new "rules"), or moving toward something actionable, this is just soapboxing. Jytdog (talk) 19:18, 25 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]
It is actionable. Insert a statement, such as "context, such as geographical location and era, should be weighed when applying the criteria" in all existing guidelines. And I object to your characterization. SusunW (talk) 19:35, 25 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]
That is so vague as to be unhelpful, and opens a host of other problems. Identifying specific topics, and what other criteria should be considered that aren't usually considered, would allow people to have rational discussions. Otherwise it would just be shouting. Jytdog (talk) 20:01, 25 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]
One would hope that if people are contributing to an encyclopedia, they would be focused on scholarship and able to analyze information. Expand it, change it, modify it ... "Context such as geographical location and era should be weighed when applying the criteria. For example, if a large segment of society because of gender, ethnic origin, belief, colonization, etc. at a particular time was prohibited from participating in certain activities, their participation might be notable, whereas for mainstream subjects the activity would be routine. Likewise, media biases which have historically excluded certain people may affect available sourcing. Alternative sources with limited distribution may be acceptable in these situations, which might otherwise not meet our guidelines, if the source is known for quality control." SusunW (talk) 21:01, 25 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]
But keep in mind, we don't want to wear away at WP:V and WP:RS policies. This is not saying that we can't use primary sources but these sources should still be reasonably good quality.
Also we don't need to always have a standalone article to note these people. Redirects are cheap and encouraged if the person is better discussed in larger context of a clearly notable topic. I know some editors feel redirects "cheapen" a person but it is a valid workable solution that avoids the notability question and makes the person a searchable topic on WP. --Masem (t) 21:35, 25 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]
SusunW, you seem to be working under the assumption that our notability guidelines only recognize free-to-access, online sources, and so "historical context of time, place and world events" should be taken into account when determining whether a page should be kept based solely on those kinds of sources, but our notability criteria don't only recognize a certain type of reliable source in that manner. If a reasonable argument is made at AFD that sources exist but may be difficult to locate or access, the odds are very good that the article could be moved to the draft or user space rather than being deleted. The problem is when "keepist" editors argue, vociferously, that articles that do not presently include such sources must be kept in the mainspace even without improvement, sometimes even going so far as to prevent blanking of content that is not only currently unsourced but is probably untrue and unverifiable, on mere principle. Yeah, it sucks that articles on topics against which English Wikipedia has a systemic bias are more likely to fall through the cracks than others, but weakening the notability guidelines would hurt this problem rather than helping it: an argument could easily be made that since most sources discussing Pokémon are in Japanese, and since the property itself (along with most of the video games, cartoons, etc. by whose fancruft we are presently overrun) was not the creation of "white males", Munchlax is covered by your proposal at least as much as Bess Adams. And yes, if you find an article on a white male civil servant as minor as Adams, you are free to propose it be deleted/merged. Hijiri 88 (やや) 01:09, 26 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]
No, the problem is when "deletionist" editors argue, vociferously, that a cited verifiable source is "not lengthy enough". That is the number one cause of systematic bias. James500 (talk) 01:51, 26 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]
Hijiri88 truly, where you got that assumption I have no idea, since I did not specify anything at all about free-to-access sourcing. I use all manner of sourcing behind paywalls, from archival records, etc. I am 100% certain as well that Pokémon was not created in the pre-internet age nor is a game, likely to be subjected to bias due to human characteristics or sourcing. SusunW (talk) 01:59, 26 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]
@James500: Why do you put "deletionist" in scare-quotes? I've seen you use that word unironically quite a lot, and indeed you appear to be doing so right here. Also, could you link to a specific discussion where so-called "deletionists" argued that a source wasn't "lengthy" enough? And how does any of this relate to the present discussion anyway? You don't seem to be arguing about the systemic bias of our predominantly white male editorship, but just attacking "deletionists" because you saw an opportunity to do so while looking progressive and "woke".
@SusunW: I got it from the post of yours to which I was responding. You have now reiterated that you use offline sources and sources behind paywalls, apparently arguing that there is some bias against such sources at AFD (you don't directly say that, but why would you bring it up otherwise?). Anyway, your ignorance of the history of Pokémon aside (yes, it does technically postdate the world-wide web, but not by enough that the latter's use was already widespread, but it is in fact, first and foremost, a series of video games), the simple fact is that your proposed change to the guideline's wording would be much more frequently invoked in defense of crufty articles like this one than in defense of articles on real people who are notable but your average AFD contributor doesn't have access to the sources on them.
Hijiri 88 (やや) 02:10, 26 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]
For my part, this just seems like a thinly veiled and entirely subjective way to ignore any rule or guideline that gets in the way of saving the articles you want to save. Ravenswing 07:53, 26 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]
Agree. I'm not sure I'm entirely sold on the "equality means preferential treatment" rhetoric, I have to say. Reyk YO! 08:07, 26 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]
A crucial distinction is involved. Is the person notable or is the person important but not notable under existing policy/guidelines? SusunW gets to the heart of the matter in her suggested wording: "if a large segment of society because of gender, ethnic origin, belief, colonization, etc. at a particular time was prohibited from participating in certain activities, their participation might be notable." If a person's participation did not generate contemporaneous and/or modern coverage that meets either the GNG or subject-specific guidelines, that person is not notable under the rules. On the other hand, is SusunW's suggestion actually intended to create an exception to current notability guidelines by recognizing importance and/or pioneering even if the person does not qualify under existing notability rules? The question, it seems to me, is whether it's possible to craft such an exception with sufficiently careful wording so as not to make either the GNG or the subject-specific guidelines irrelevant and generate even more borderline or undeserving articles about all kinds of subjects and people. On the third hand, when I look at the amazing list of articles by SusunW alone, and consider that a cadre of editors in the Women In Red project is adding numerous articles on women, I am inclined to think that, as someone mentioned above, the issue hinges fundamentally on editor participation and motivation, not some undefined fatal flaw in the policies and guidelines. DonFB (talk) 09:46, 26 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]
Thank you DonFB I think you understand most of what I am saying. With "with sufficiently careful wording" we can make the encyclopedia more inclusive, recognizing pioneers and cultural importance. We aren't asking for the guidelines to be dumbed down, as Montanabw said far more eloquently than I could. Nor are we asking to attain equal representation; it isn't possible. Victuallers said somewhere, and it is apt (though I am paraphrasing), that in writing about Waterloo there is mention of a lot of white blokes because there were a lot of white blokes there. We cannot change centuries of omission. I work on historical women and minorities from around the world, so it is very clear that the situation is universal and global. Typically there are contemporaneous sources, though as Masem rightly notes, they are often more primary in nature, such as alumni journals, association bulletins, oral history interviews, etc. As also noted, newspapers, which tend to be local, or non-mainstream press like the Associated Negro Press, feminist journals, the Hispanic Media Coalition are typically the best sources for documenting the history of society's non-mainstream peoples and their organizations. As scholarship is still emerging on women and minorities, (or in the case of colonized people, not necessarily minorities but suppressed people) there are few textbooks and journals which tell their history. In the Caribbean and many parts of Africa, for example, most press runs are very small and difficult to access, newspapers tend to be local, though there are a few regional and national journals/newspapers. Published accounts tend to focus on society of the colonizers, but that does not mean that there aren't people or things that were significant to the colonized. GNG typically is where these types of biographies and articles about their organizations fall, as subject specific guides tend to deal with irrelevant BLP issues or are crafted in too narrow a way to recognize the historic biases which omitted huge segments of society from our collective history. The question becomes is there sufficient evidence over time to give a full biography (or historical account of an organization, work, etc.) from curated sources, to identify the unique contributions for inclusion in the encyclopedia. SusunW (talk) 15:23, 26 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]
An issue that I worry about is that if we relax standards a bit (eg allowing notability to weigh more on primary/local sources of historical record) as to be able to document more women and disadvantaged groups, that same allowance will likely allow more white males to also be considered, which doesn't seen to necessary correct the issue. We do want to aim to be including women and other disadvantaged people that have accomplished similar achievements as white males that have already been deemed notable, what we don't want is to drive more inclusion for women/disadvantaged groups by taking in standards of importance that we would reject for a white male. This implies part of the solution is at AFD: if we are presented with a challenge to an article about a woman/disadvantaged person, where the sourcing is only local/primary and thus appears to fail the GNG, we should as if there exists articles on white males that have similar accomplishments that have been deemed notable, and thus keep the article on that basis, a type of "equivalent achievement" notability, and giving benefit of doubt towards keeping if there are questions.
(This principally only applies to "historical" figures, those long retired or deceased. Anyone still alive and active, that's a different matter altogether as to avoid the promotional issues). --Masem (t) 15:51, 26 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]
Exactly, Masem, historical figures and the organizations with which they were involved, not contemporary. The problem with AfD being "the arbitration venue" is that it a contentious venue and has an aggressive overtone which often lacks respectful dialogue. It also seems that it is regularly monitored by groups of people who are ideologically opposed, i.e. inclusionists vs. deletionists, rather than representing a broad spectrum of participation. I tend to avoid it, as if it were the plague and know many other women editors who view it similarly. Is there a better suited venue, in which broader input could be attained? SusunW (talk) 16:15, 26 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]
There used to be a notability noticeboard, Wikipedia:Notability/Noticeboard but that was closed basically because AFD is basically the venue for notability discussions. What I'm suggesting does require a change of thinking of practice (not procedure) at AFD, which would be reflected in guidelines like WP:BEFORE (eg: "Before nominating an historical person who does not appear to meet notability guides due to primary/local sourcing, consider if they have meet similar accomplishments as others who have been shown notable. If they have, they too are likely notable and we should err on the side of retention than deletion.") --Masem (t) 16:20, 26 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]
To your other point Masem "that same allowance will likely allow more white males to also be considered", seems to me is not problematic nor a distortion of history. What it will not do, if we word it well, will be to allow slews of articles to be written on mainstream figures. The sourcing would have to confirm that the accomplishments of the person were somehow unique or culturally significant. If indeed the historical sourcing shows a white male did something unique and culturally significant, then I would argue that that person would qualify for inclusion as well. Again, this would only apply to historical figures, not contemporary figures. SusunW (talk) 18:48, 26 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]
This is a good point, SusunW and also speaks to something that gets left unsaid in these kinds of discussions. When we talk about bias and about parity, we do understand, as SusunW pointed out earlier, that true historical parity is impossible. People talking about diversity (of any kind) on Wikipedia sometimes get strawmanned with this idea that we want some impossible standard of representation. That's impossible due to the way things have taken place in history, both with what people in marginalized groups could do and how much they were noticed by the majority. We don't care if policies that will help us with biographies about marginalized groups will also help white men. That doesn't matter: we know white men are notable and we want everyone who is notable to be written about no matter their background. However, being part of a marginalized group does mean that there are barriers in dealing with notability that the majority population doesn't face and also takes for granted. To emphasize SusunW above: we should all desire an encyclopedia that is broad in scope and that can reflect the contributions of individuals who are not just the most popular. Megalibrarygirl (talk) 19:55, 26 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]
What we absolutely want to happen is to find cases of women/disadvantaged groups who can be at least minimally documented to have a similar level of accomplishment as white males, of whom we already have presumed notable, and thus presume similar notability for the women/disadvantaged groups. That it, I can see a case of a white male 19th century mathematician who is know to have contributed to a key theory but otherwise little else, but because of the bias at the time, had a reasonably detailed bio published about them. And contrary to that, a female mathematician of the same period with a similar contribution, but her name is only a footnote and no one really focused on her in a seconddary-source manner. In such a case, we absolutely should have a article on the female mathematician on the presumption that we could potential expand upon her with more research and time. That's the safest way to correct the bias of the past. This does not harm the work while increasing the number of articles on female/disadvantaged groups.
What we don't want to do is to weaken notability to include people that we wouldn't have included before regardless of their gender/race just to improve the count of articles on women/disadvantaged groups. We don't routinely have articles on mayors of small towns and villages if that's the highest accomplishment in life, but I am 100% sure that if we did include them, we'd increase the # of articles on the disadvantaged groups - but as well as increasing those on white males. But this weakens WP's goal of WP:NOT#IINFO - details of small town politics rarely have long term impact. So while this achieves the goal, it harms the work this way.
To me, this all comes down to giving a better benefit-of-doubt to articles on historical women/disadvantage persons if we can meet the minimum verification that their highest achievement is something that many white males have had as their highest achievement that we routing document through stand-alone articles. That means if the only source for an article on a woman is a single primary or local source, that's better than nothing, and gives reason to try to find ways to improvement to that article. --Masem (t) 22:02, 26 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]
FWIW, I agree with pretty much everything DonFB said, as well as everything SusunW and Masem have said since Don's comment. I just don't think it's a "notability" problem: if the sources can be found, they can be found, if they can't, then the article can't stay in the mainspace until they can be. I think SusunW is here for the right reasons, but I don't think "here" is where this conversation should be happening, not least because it's at least as hostile as AFD and has already attracted comment from at least two editors who couldn't care less about systemic bias and if SusunW took my advice and AFD-nominated an article on a very minor civil servant who only got an article because he was a white male, they would likely defend them. (And while I haven't analyzed the very small number of AFDs in which they themselve !voted "delete", they have historically come to the defense of an editor who only !voted "delete" in articles that paint the Black Lives Matter movement in a positive light.) As long as we can't stop such users from hijacking proposals to treat articles on disadvantaged groups appropriately given context in order to push a general "anti-deletion" message, we have to be very careful not to hold the discussions of such proposals in venues they are likely to show up and hijack. Hijiri 88 (やや) 22:33, 26 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]
Hijiri88, the accusations you make about "at least two editors" are nonsense, as far as I can tell. James500 (talk) 23:23, 26 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]
What accusations, exactly? It's clear you know which editors I'm talking about, but I said a few different things: (1) that you both defended an editor from WP:HARASS and WP:NPA charges based on said editor's background of !voting a particular way in AFDs; (2) that you defended said editor despite the fact that among the very few AFDs on which they did !vote "delete" were related to the Black Lives Matter movement; (3) that you would likely not !vote "delete" on the hypothetical AFDs I recommended SusunW make above, of articles on civil servants who are just as non-notable as Adams but who were white males and so already have articles due to the systemic bias that I don't think anyone here is arguing doesn't exist. None of these three are "nonsense" on their face, and as for why I didn't provide direct evidence: doing so for (1) and (2) would border on WP:GRAVEDANCE at this point, and as for (3), I'm not going to trawl through either of your entire edit histories looking for articles you defended, on specifically non-notable white male civil servants, but Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Richard de Morville (Conquest) is a pretty good example of an article on a non-notable white male who, if systemic bias didn't exist in the first place, would almost certainly not have had an article to begin with, but which you recently defended nonetheless. Hijiri 88 (やや) 23:47, 26 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]
Partial response, partly because I have neither the time nor the patience nor the energy to respond to all of the above in detail, partly because I have already denied some of these claims before, partly other reasons: If any editor !voted to delete Black Lives Matter articles, I was not aware of those !votes at any material time, and I am not aware of any reason to think that anyone else whom you might be accusing was aware of such !votes at any material time. James500 (talk) 00:34, 27 September 2018 (UTC) As far as Richard de Moreville is concerned, to begin with, we have a severe systematic bias against the medieval period and much of the less recent past as a whole. That systematic bias is called "recentism". He is not a good example for the argument you are trying to make. James500 (talk) 00:54, 27 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]
The relative lack of information we (English Wikipedia) have on the European middle ages, at least relative to ancient Greece or Rome, and possibly even relative to the Chinese and Japanese middle ages, is a reflection of the lack of primary sources for the European middle ages and the resulting lack of knowledge among the scholarly community. The fact that my original article on Utsunomiya Yoritsuna was speedy-deleted, and the speedy deletion supported by an admin who examined it later, while the Moreville article had to go through AFD where deletion was supported by a narrow majority, is almost certainly a reflection of our systemic bias toward white men of European origin. As for BLM, this.
(Admittedly, the specifically BLM nature of it became inflated in my memory; it's actually easier to read as anti-Hispanic, especially in light of this, or perhaps conservative hot-button issues in general, given this.)
Hijiri 88 (やや) 01:25, 27 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]
Utsunomiya Yoritsuna should not have been speedily deleted if his article asserted that he lived during or before the thirteenth century (an assertion that should prompt an admin to search for sources even if none are cited, which in this case would have led quickly to sources). I suggest the solution is to modify CSD A7 so that it expressly cannot be used on medieval people (say, people who died before the introduction of printing in 1450), if only on grounds that admins cannot be assumed to be capable of assessing the notability of such persons. It is worth bearing in mind that the CSD deletion took place in 2013, whereas the AfD was very recent. My view is that the CSD deletion should simply not have happened. James500 (talk) 03:38, 27 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]
At the time it was deleted, this is all that was in the article "Utsunomiya Yoritsuna (宇都宮頼綱) was a warrior in the late-Heian period in Japan.". Not one single source. WP:V is non-negotiable. That was a proper deletion. --Masem (t) 03:47, 27 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]
The rubric of CSD A7 says "This is distinct from verifiability" (WP:A7). Likewise the non-criteria say there is no consensus that "Unsourced articles" are eligible for CSD ("Commonly denied CSD reasons" in WP:NOTCSD). James500 (talk) 04:43, 27 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]
James: One-sentence sub-stubs that are not in the process of expansion and were just left in the mainspace should be deleted or redirected. This was what I learned from the experience, and it made me a better editor (and resulted in a better article being written on the same subject two years later). I don't think CSD technically applied, as I was pretty sure I connected him with the commissioning of the Hyakunin Isshu in that one sentence (until reading Masem's reply to you above), and it's an indisputable fact that the editor who posted it for speedy deletion was a sock of a site-banned troll, but the fault was still mine for not doing a better job of writing articles that such troll-hounds can't get deleted.
Masem: Thank you for preemptively, and probably accidentally, correcting me about what I was going to write the above. (I'm being sincere; it's good to have the text on here to be certain.) That said, an argument could be made that being a warrior (or, rather, a bushō, which I clumsily translated with a word that implies "run-of-the-mill" status) in the Heian period (actually more Kamakura, but still) whose name is known makes him "probably notable" by default, A7 (which I think was the criterion invoked) has no direct relationship to verifiability, and a quick Googling would have quickly brought up sources for it, which means we're getting into the difference between verifiable and verified: at the time I wrote that article, I had just recently come off a 4-year wikibreak, and the Wikipedia I remembered had much lower sourcing standards than now, or even 2012/2013 (in fact 2005-2008 was a time when English Wikipedia looked like Japanese Wikipedia looks now).
Hijiri 88 (やや) 04:21, 27 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]
I don't have a big issue with saying that we give a much larger benefit of doubt if the person lived before the 14th century to keep, but WP:V must still be met. There must be an RS that assures this was a legitimate person. Least I could post "Mr. Miyagi was a 12th century ninja in feudal Japan." without a source, and we'd be bound to keep that. A point here is that that source doesn't have to be secondary but should be reasonable reliable. Even if it is a link to a different encyclopedia, that would be fine. --Masem (t) 04:27, 27 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]
Well, you're not going to find a lot of sources on a quick Googling that verify that "Mr. Miyagi was a 12th century ninja in feudal Japan" (actually Japanese feudalism came about beginning at the very end of the 12th century, so I would argue that was anachronistic and could easily be assumed false, and ventures somewhat into G3 territory) :P On a more serious note, I'm not sure if your admin magic will allow you to see, but did my original version of the article include an interwiki link to the article, which at the time of the speedy deletion looked like this: a lot more detailed, but without any citations, and actually a lot of our longer articles, even on real people, don't include any sources; I'm pretty sure the reason INeverCry deleted the page, and Yunshui, who was aware of the bad-faith sliminess of the tagging, still backed up the deletion, was that it was a garbage, one-sentence junk-stub that didn't properly assert the subject's importance, not because of a concern that articles that don't cite any sources might constitute hoaxes like your Miyagi example. (Actually, I suspect we may not need admin magic to check that the original article did include a link to another encyclopedia, as a bot automatically added a link on the article here. I think I've just discovered another reason to resent the fact that this stuff is handled on Wikidata.) Hijiri 88 (やや) 04:48, 27 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]
  • Notability often boils down to sources: what exists, how many, and how reliable. The second of these factors (how many sources) is problematic as women's pages — especially for historical figures — often have to be built of multiple sources, none of them very extensive, to create a full picture. This can lead the sources to be dismissed as not substantial enough, and the person as consequently non-notable. We need language that expands "significant independent coverage" to embrace the idea that this can be not just one or two big-deal write-ups in big-deal sources but a pyramid of smaller sources. The third factor (how reliable) is problematic because, while there is some agreement on what are likely reliable sources (eg NY Times), there are clearly a lot of editors who don't like 'local' sources or most blogs, even though some of these are excellent. It seems to me that what we are scanting in all of this is the importance of good editorial judgment: that determination one makes on the fly as to whether a source is good enough to use, which can involve assessing such matters as the prose style, choice of language, evident biases, and degree to which a source's 'facts' do or do not jibe with others. We shouldn't be trying to eliminate these kinds of judgments by creating too many a priori assumptions about categorically good and bad sources. Any local newspaper, for instance, can have both careful writers and sloppy hacks. So my suggestion is to add language on sourcing that supports this point: careful editorial judgment about the specific sources one finds matters more than broad generalizations about good/bad sources. I also strongly support SusunW and Masem's points about the importance of giving the benefit of doubt to kinds of subjects who have historically been ignored (Masem's example was 19th century women mathematicians), especially when it's clear their white male counterparts are already in Wikipedia. Alafarge (talk) 17:02, 29 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]
So true Alafarge it is about being able to assess and analyze and compile evidence to give weight and authority. SusunW (talk) 17:22, 29 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]
Yes this proposal is about being able to use sources that lack "Significant coverage" of the subject. That is not something we want to loosen generally at all but that we are considering loosening for a specific group of people. I urge folks supporting doing this to always be careful to state that this is limited - if we do an RfC and people talk about this loosely, others will react negatively and take this as though it is more general than what the proposal is actually calling for. Jytdog (talk) 17:28, 29 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]

concrete language for WP:BIO

So something like:

With regard to members of large segments of society that, because of gender, ethnic origin or race, belief, colonization, etc. that have been subjects of discrimination or exclusion:

  • If such a person participated in activities from which members of the segment were generally excluded, and this participation is documented in a reliable source, the person may be notable.
  • If such a person achieved things that have not been the subject of substantial discussion in secondary sources, but similar achievements by people who have not been subject to discrimination have been the subject of substantial discussion in secondary sources, and the achievements are documented in a reliable source, the person may be notable.

That is a bit clunky but these are the two ideas I see discussed above. Thoughts? Jytdog (talk) 22:16, 26 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]

  • You can add class, caste and absolute and relative poverty to that list for a start. I am under the impression that chartists might be an example of this. James500 (talk) 22:46, 26 September 2018 (UTC) You can add disability to that list as well, since disability discrimination exists. James500 (talk) 00:42, 27 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]
  • The first statement is a problem. If a class of people were purposely excluded from an activity, we shouldn't be expecting to find coverage of that. I think it is meant that "for which coverage about members of that segment generally did not exist...." Also, I don't think should be a change at BIO but at BEFORE or similar guidelines on AFD. We're still talking presumed notability. If we have a standalone article on a 19th century female professors based on a single, primary source (such as a faculty list), based on the fact we've kept other professors - but at the end of the day, someone goes through to try to find any other sources and completely exhausts all those that would be reasonable to search through (local and school papers, etc.) and no other source comes up, that's a reason to delete. But that would be the same for a male professor too under the same conditions. --Masem (t) 22:53, 26 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]
I'd be very reluctant to touch BEFORE with this. The AFD instructions (as well as the instructions for other processes such as GAR) are already difficult enough to work through as it is, without asking editors who by and large are not themselves members of disadvantaged groups (again, no one is arguing that systemic bias doesn't exist, but we must remember the reason it does: most of our editors are white males) to consider whether the subjects of articles, as members of such groups, might be difficult to find sources to verify for that reason, regardless of whether sources exist. Even if AFD nominators engage in due diligence and do that anyway, unless they say they did it's just going to provide more ammo to AFD !voters who want to say that the nominator didn't follow every provision of BEFORE. And given the fact that oftentimes it's editors who are from said minorities ("people from India", for example) who !vote "delete" because they know more about the topics in question, granting white male editors an excuse to say that said minority editors are contributing to systemic bias ... just seems icky, let alone counterproductive. Hijiri 88 (やや) 01:28, 27 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]
  • I appreciate the start, but I don't think it's quite there yet. My interpretation of the discussion would be somehow expanding WP:NEXIST/WP:PRIMARY to give the benefit of the doubt to historical biographical articles for groups which faced historical discrimination. It also needs to be as specific as possible. (On a tangent, I'm personally frustrated with the number of living female sports biographies which get deleted for not passing a random sports notability guideline.) SportingFlyer talk 23:52, 26 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]
  • I think it's a good start too. My first reaction when looking at the WMF gender report was that it made an unwarranted and very broad brush attack on Wikipedia policy, blaming it and little else (like history and social/cultural reality) for under representation of women and minorities in encyclopedia articles. The discussion in this thread is showing a possible way to modify the Notability guideline in a very specific manner to address the issue. The ideas here sound like the familiar concepts of affirmative action and comparable worth. I believe modification like the one proposed by Jytdog would, de facto, weaken the Notability guideline as now conceived, but I don't say that as a pejorative. The uncertainty--and the debate--will be whether such a change, even if very carefully written, would hurt the project by opening it to a wave of questionable articles that increase the burden at AFD. I see the phrase "may be notable" as too open-ended and an invitation to argument. My thought is that "may be used to establish Notability" ( or: "can be used") would provide firmer ground for editors. DonFB (talk) 00:24, 27 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]
  • This discussion is quite a wall of text, but I think that the idea of creating "rules for when to ignore the rules" such as what Jytdog suggested (though the language does need some refinement) might be useful. I want to once again point out that we are NOT "weakening" the guidelines on notability, we MODIFY the guidelines so that they do not conflate fame with importance; so they do not confuse recognition with accomplishment; so they recognize that a topic or individual well worth covering may nonetheless have sparse or mostly local coverage because of factors related to history, geography, class, gender, and so on. In some cases, a greater reliance on primary sources is also necessary. My personal take is that this will be easier for non-BLP articles because of the paid editing problem we have with some of those. Montanabw(talk) 04:12, 27 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]
It's the middle of the night here in Mexico and I have had some real world commitments to attend to. I will review this tomorrow in more depth with a less sleepy head and more coffee, but appreciate the efforts. Thank you all for your input and actual consideration of the topic. It is a difficult discussion, as it is important that we weigh the value to the project of modifying the guidelines for a net benefit. My initial reaction is that it needs to state that it is not applicable for BLPs. That requires a much higher standard to my mind's eye and obviously to others who have posted here. SusunW (talk) 04:30, 27 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]
I agree with Susun that we are progressing along the right lines. In order to safeguard existing criteria aimed at preventing promotional BLPs, etc., I would suggest that any new guidelines should cover first and foremost people (both women and men) whose main achievements occurred before the 1980s (as they are less likely to be covered on the internet). I also think that we should make special provision not just for non-white males but for non-English speakers in general as many valid biographies are dismissed on the grounds that Google does not turn up relevant sources. (In fact, relevant sources can frequently be accessed on other language-versions of Google and in foreign-language lexica and data bases.) Perhaps these considerations can be worked into the evolving formulations.--Ipigott (talk) 09:15, 27 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose has fundamental issues with meeting WP:V: notability cannot be based on primary sourcing if Wikipedia is to retain its value as a tertiary source. We must have some indication that secondary sourcing exists. TonyBallioni (talk) 13:57, 27 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]
I have similar reservations but the idea is that this is going towards "presumed notability", which does not require secondary sources to start with to have a standalone, only sufficient sourcing so that WP:V is met and shown the conditions outlined in an SNG for presumed notability. (We do that to err on caution, giving editors the benefit of time and effort to locate print sources, and while BEFORE is written to strongly encourage such searching before deeming the topic non-notable).
I think this is better stated as the approach of "equivalent accomplish notability" I've described above. Let's say there's was a notable literary award that's been given over the last century so that we have 100+ winners of it. Of those winners more than 90 of them have their own articles that are clearly notable, but perhaps there was a early female winner that we don't have an article on due to the nature of biased coverage at the time. On this principle, it would reasonable that we should expect that we could have an article on that woman knowing that she did win the award but would take time to find sources. Now, I realize that BIO has some clauses of this type, but this is a generic application of that: as long as we know that we can show clear notability for a near-majority of members of a group that have done some specific type of accomplishment that is otherwise not documented at BIO, then we presume notability of the minority part of the group that don't have that. --Masem (t) 14:13, 27 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]
I think you know that I dislike the GNG and would prefer to move towards SNGs with objective criteria. My issue here is that this isn’t a step in that direction: it’s taking the already next-to-impossible not to meet GNG and saying that we should throw it out the window. We need some indication that secondary sourcing would exist, and this new standard is saying “if someone is from a group where secondary sourcing is unlikely to exist, they should still be here.” I’m the most SNG-friendly person around, but that’s because I believe in clearer standards that address issues of systemic bias. I don’t believe in getting rid of the single most important standard that gives this project value: being a tertiary source. TonyBallioni (talk) 14:23, 27 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]
(edit conflict)Very often what one finds is small mentions in RS to confirm unique or pioneering efforts of non-mainstream subjects. To detail their biographies, as the published secondary sources are few, one must rely on sources which are more primary in nature, as described above. It is not, as Tony alleges that there are no secondary sources, but because of media biases, the sourcing is different than mainstream sourcing. That difference, small local papers, feminist and ethnic journals, etc. are often challenged, but in reality can be reliable secondary sources. Particularly on biographies, (again we are speaking only of non-BLPs), if actual primary sources are used, simply repeating the information in a source, i.e. like a birth date or death date, does not constitute original research. The problem comes in when one draws conclusions from those sources. I would point out, Masem, that while situations like you describe definitely exist, there are far greater instances where women and minorities had a cultural impact in fields which white men did not regularly engage. In those cases—fields typically dominated by women included nursing, domestic sciences, juvenile justice systems, social work, etc.—there are typically not historical male equivalents, thus we do have to rely on curated sourcing to confirm the significance of a person's contributions, rather than the situation you describe. As for the preference for SNGs the objections to those in historical context have already been stated, they are too narrow to address historical biases, which is what this discussion is all about. SusunW (talk) 14:40, 27 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]
I’ve been supportive of using limited primary sourcing on the presumption that secondary sourcing can be found. My issue with the proposed language is that it would take the already insanely low barrier of the GNG for historical personages and make it non-existent, which does cause issues with our status as a tertiary source: at some point we must have secondary sourcing, even under a merit-based criteria. TonyBallioni (talk) 14:46, 27 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]
Fully agree on these points, which is why I'm suggesting it be more this "equivalent accomplish" concept. If we can show 95+% of a class of people are individually notable with clear secondary sourcing, there's no reason not to presume notability for the other 5%, with awareness this is still a rebuttable presumption and can be challenged if no secondary sources can be found at all. --Masem (t) 14:55, 27 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]
Yes, if a merit-based criteria could be established for historical persons, I would support it. I suppose my point is that for historical figures, our standard tends to be (correctly in my opinion) “one sentence in any secondary source==presumed notability” simply because of how difficult sourcing is to find. I’m really not sure how you can get much lower than that from a sourcing perspective, but if people want to find a merit criteria as an alternative like you describe, I’d get behind it as a step in the right direction. TonyBallioni (talk) 15:04, 27 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]
This is not an actual proposal where "oppose" or "support" are relevant. This is just an effort to start to try to develop concrete language which would then be put up for an RfC. Jytdog (talk) 14:59, 27 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]
I’m aware. I’m opposed to holding an RfC if only for the practical reason that changing the location of a comma on this page takes 90 days of consensus building: getting the objections out in the open early is helpful to see if an RfC would even be viable (which 99/100 it isn’t in WT:N). TonyBallioni (talk) 15:04, 27 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]
I would respectfully ask that you remove your oppose, Tony. While your stated reasoning is logical to you, it is premature as Jytdog said. While we are still actively discussing what should/not be included it introduces a rallying point before the concept has solidified. Whether you acknowledge it or not, you have followers who will support what you say because you have authority with certain editors. Knowing that, there are other editors who might become intimidated and not participate in the discussion. Sure, state your objections, but !voting now is not a net positive. SusunW (talk) 15:25, 27 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]

IMO this would be a mess. There are hundreds of attributes that have been the reason for the discrimination in the amount of coverage. Starting with the dozen already noted in this thread. Some idea where there is a whole new rulebook when someone says one of them occurred would make quite a mess. Similarly, just selecting 1 or 2 of those hundreds would be even worse. Sincerely, North8000 (talk) 16:43, 27 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]

    • You may be right, since we have a huge number of multifaceted biases. How about something more general, such as: "Topics that have received less coverage due to any form of systematic bias need proportionately less coverage in order to be notable". That avoids specifying the nature of the systematic bias (though my drafting might be improved on). I would suggest that such a clause be included in WP:N itself, rather than BIO. James500 (talk) 04:38, 28 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]
  • Comment It's worth noting that, in the subthread above this one, an editor has already been trying to interpret the proposed change as covering our articles on dead white men even before the change has been implemented, and no one seems to have noticed. So anyone who tries to say it doesn't have the potential to make systemic bias worse, not better, is either being disingenuous or is only seeing what they want to see. Hijiri 88 (やや) 22:23, 27 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]
    • We do not merely have a systematic bias towards white men. We have on top of that a further systematic bias towards a small subset of white men. Failure to accept that such a bias exists will make the systematic bias problem worse. We do have problems with recentism and with systematic bias that results from the effects of what might be called class privilege. Evidence of recentism: The total number of people who have lived is estimated to be about 108 billion, of which about 7.6 billion were alive in 2018, which is about 7% (Population Reference Bureau). A short time ago we had about 1,547,678 biography articles according to WikiProject Biography, of which about 878,140 are BLPs according to the living people category, which is about 56.7%, or more than eight times the 7% you would expect from population statistics. This would seem to indicate a strong bias towards the living. James500 (talk) 04:38, 28 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]
If we have a systemic bias against people in centuries past, it's probably not something that can be addressed by creating more articles on dead people, since there's an absolute upper limit (read: one sentence, tops) on verifiable content can be written about virtually everyone who lived before the modern era. Yes, we do have a systemic bias in favour of modern pop culture personalities, politicians, etc., but the way to address that is by writing better, properly sourced articles on that tiny minority of the 100,400,000,000 people from the past about whom anything can be written, as I eventually did on Utsunomiya Yoritsuna, not by weakening our guidelines to allow standalone articles on people about whom nothing is known. (And of course sometimes the way to address it is by deleting the articles on topics that benefit from that systemic bias, as at Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Samuell Benta, which despite not being notable already have articles where folks like the eighth-century Japanese poetess Meko don't.) Hijiri 88 (やや) 11:52, 28 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]
Systematic bias has certainly resulted in the under representation of certain topics. We know this because we can point to examples of such topics. But I have yet to see any statistical evidence of actual over representation of any kind of topic on this project. At this point I see no reason to believe that it is not possible to create enough articles on under represented topics to address any imbalance that exists. As far as I can see, the present situation is that almost everything is under represented, but some things are more under represented than others. James500 (talk) 04:40, 30 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]
That comment shows that you don't actually understand (or believe in) systemic bias, and that you therefore are not acting under the same good-faith motives demonstrated by SusunW and others in this discussion. Hijiri 88 (やや) 04:55, 30 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]
That is nonsense. Taking the example that I gave, if we have about 840 thousand BLPs then we would expect to have at least about 12 million biographies of dead people, based on population statistics that 93% of people are dead. I can't see any evidence that 12 million biographies of dead people is actually impossible (Caveat: I think that articles on archaeological sites and artefacts etc are an adequate proxy for biographies of pre-historic people). If you have actual statistical proof, please produce it. James500 (talk) 05:13, 30 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]
That is nonsense. You've used that word twice in this discussion to describe my comments and once to describe those of another editor, but in none of these cases did your description make ... sense. Taking the example that you gave, the problem could only be explained by overrepresentation of living people, not underrepresentation of dead people; I'd find it hard to believe that, excluding census statistics of clearly non-notable individuals, we can't even verify the names of 12 million dead people. And of course I can't prove this negative claim, but I don't need to because you can't even prove your positive one. Hijiri 88 (やや) 07:14, 30 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]
Some time ago, it was estimated that 130 million books [2] had been published and that there were more than 1 billion websites,[3] up to 1.5 million extant papyri [4] and many millions of extant manuscripts [5]. On top of that there are a huge number of other records of all kinds and large quantities of archaeological sites and artefacts etc etc etc. It would be astonishing if all those sources did not contain enough material to write biographies of 12 million dead people (or suitable equivalents), bearing in mind that the number of sources vastly exceeds the target number of articles, and our encyclopedia is so obviously incomplete that we have so far embarrassingly failed to include a large number of the very famous dead people in the leading biographical dictionaries. James500 (talk) 21:41, 30 September 2018 (UTC) Sources added to the preceding upon request. James500 (talk) 00:00, 1 October 2018 (UTC)[reply]
You haven't cited a source for any of the above, and given that the vast majority of, for example, our manuscripts from medieval Europe are copies of the same books over and over again, and most of our older papyrus manuscripts of the same are tiny scraps, I would be very surprised if the situation for that supposed 1.5 million papyri was much different and provided us with enough information to write encyclopedic biographies of 12 million people. Also, this is unrelated, but could you please use standard indentation when replying to me? It's very frustrating when someone responds to me but it looks from their indentation like they are replying to something else. Hijiri 88 (やや) 22:07, 30 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]
About 90% of papyri consist of private and official documents, rather than literature: [6]. You would expect those sort of documents to contain a lot of biographical information, and you would not expect them to be copied many times. James500 (talk) 01:57, 1 October 2018 (UTC)[reply]
Jeez. I hope you don't write articles with clumsy sourcing like that. The source's "nine out of ten published papyri" clearly doesn't refer to 90% of the "1.5 million extant papyri figure" you cited above -- in fact the source you cite for that specifically says they are "unpublished", and that many "but by no means all" of the substantial texts have been published. The vast majority of those million or so are scraps found in garbage heaps, that contain hardly any "substantial" text to begin with, let alone unique information that would be of any interest to our readers. Seriously, read Ehrman's Did Jesus Exist? and he'll tell you that we know very little about random commoners from the Greco-Roman world because there were very few detailed records written down to begin with, and even fewer surviving to the present; the only reason we know the names of Jesus and his followers (the only such peasants from rural Palestine for whom we have such information in the first century) is that Christian scribes copied the NT texts more than anything else. Hijiri 88 (やや) 09:54, 1 October 2018 (UTC)[reply]
I am unable to agree with your argument. The first problem is your failure to define "very little" in a meaningful way. To write biographies of 1 in 8367 dead people (or some suitable proxy for a biography), we may not need to know more than "very little" (whatever "very little" really means, since "very little" is not a number and is a relative concept). 1 in 8367 people could be described as a "very little" proportion of the total population in ordinary language. So can you provide an actual number for you mean by "very little"? If you are going to invoke Ehrman's book, it would also be helpful if you could at least provide page numbers. James500 (talk) 21:09, 1 October 2018 (UTC) Fifty Years of Prosography says "more substantial", not "substantial". That completely changes the meaning from what you wrote. It does not imply that the other texts are useless. James500 (talk) 21:20, 1 October 2018 (UTC)[reply]
You're wikilawyering. I defined what I meant by that so many times that I actually suspect I've said exactly what I mean more than I've actually used the words "very little" (presently that phrase appears six times in this thread, all written by you). It means all we know is a name, if even that. We have no archaeological evidence whatsoever of most of the ancient people whose names we know, and we don't know the names of most of the ancients for whom we have archaeological evidence (I would guess you consider Lucy (Australopithecus) to be a "suitable proxy for a biography"?).
Well, you don't actually need to read the book, just watch any of the lectures or interviews he gave promoting it, or search an e-book for "archeolog-". It's one of the most basic facts (or rather refutations of common mythicist misconceptions) he establishes in the introduction, if I recall.
Neither you nor I are paleographers or text critics. You're citing a specialist work that you Googled up and took a passage out of its context, probably without even knowing that was what you were doing. General readership introductions to the field like Ehrman's Misquoting Jesus say the majority of ancient papyri we have are minuscule scraps, that cannot be interpreted as providing information useful for standalone Wikipedia biographies., and are primarily of interest because they tell us that texts existed at one point, or help in dating the texts we already have in their entirety.
Hijiri 88 (やや) 08:23, 2 October 2018 (UTC)[reply]
I am not going to continue to comment on this unless you provide page numbers for the books you are citing, and precise numerical estimates. "The majority of ancient papyri" to which you refer to could mean anything from 50% plus 1 to 100% minus 1. A minority of 1.5 million could be anything 1 to 749,999 (which latter is not a small number for our purposes). If you can't give a more precise number than "majority", this conversation is a waste of time. I tried searching the Google Books preview of "Misquoting Jesus" for "papyri" and "papyrus", and it told me there were no results (which I suppose might possibly be due to a limited preview or some problem with the search engine). I had the same problems with "Did Jesus Exist?". I cannot see anything in the first 12 pages of the introduction to Misquoting Jesus (Google Books did not allow more pages to be read), or in the whole introduction to "Did Jesus Exist?" plus as much of chapter 1 as Google Books allowed to be read (there were a few pages that said they were loading, but took so long to do so that I gave up waiting), that would support the argument that it is impossible to write the target number of articles. In fact, I saw no numbers at all in as much of either of them as I could see. I did, with difficulty, find some statistics on the length of a sample of a certain type of papyri [7]. I don't think those numbers support your argument that writing the target number of articles is impossible. The two books you cited are not general introductions to papyri and papyrology as far as I can tell as they seem to be primarily about Jesus of Nazareth and the Bible. For a general introduction to papyrology, I suspect you would probably be better reading a book that is primarily about papyrology, such as The Oxford Handbook of Papyrology [8]. And if you want to know about the use of papyri to write history, I suspect you would probably be better reading a book that is primarily about that such as Reading Papyri, Writing Ancient History [9]. The author evidently thinks it can be done. James500 (talk) 00:32, 4 October 2018 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose proposal to date. It is likely to lead to a plethora of inadequately sourced articles. Xxanthippe (talk) 22:44, 27 September 2018 (UTC).[reply]
  • I would oppose this, because it still seems to encourage doing things in the wrong order. There's a "BEFORE" for deletion, but we need a complementary "BEFORE" for creation: BEFORE creating an article, have the references in hand to demonstrate the subject's notability, and cite them. Don't handwave that they're probably out there in the great somewhere because of this or that SNG. Go actually find out if such references exist. If you find them, great! Then, and only then, write the article. Of course if you want to start before you have sufficient sources, you can always use a sandbox or a draft. Seraphimblade Talk to me 07:53, 28 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]
    • At least with a proper draft space we have a way to vet new articles and not lose their contributions by having NPP move new articles w/o sources and/or without clear demonstration of notability off to Draft: space (if the new user didn't start them there). --Masem (t) 14:28, 28 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]
    • User:Seraphimblade I don't see where you are coming from. The proposed language is would be a change to BIO - and what one should indeed think about when considering creating a page. If the person is of the kind described (and we are probably going to add something about "historical" as opposed to contemporary) there is a green light to go ahead if the criteria named there are met. Yes it would also come into play at AfD. But this is meant to address the systemic bias in our sourcing base. Jytdog (talk) 14:34, 28 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]
      • Jytdog, where I'm coming from is simple. Articles should be written from sources. Instead of trying to go back and forth about "We should presume something notable if X, or Y, or" (we ran out of alphabet long ago, we've made such a confusing morass of SNGs), we should fall back on the simple rule there's actually a good reason for: We can only write articles if we have references from which to write them, and that reference material needs to be independent and reliable. So, the one question we should ask is whether or not there exists enough source material of that type exists to support a full article on the subject. Right now, we have a bunch of SNGs to handwave that, oh, it's probably out there somewhere, but before starting the article, the expectation should be that the editor starting it finds those sources, rather than handwaving that someone might find them someday, if they exist, which of course they certainly do, because I said so. Find the sources first. If you can't, refrain from writing the article. We do not need to do even more to encourage people to write unreferenced or underreferenced "articles"; we should be doing more to discourage it. If a subject's existence is verifiable, but there's not enough reference material for a full article, that doesn't mean we have to leave it out of the encyclopedia entirely—we can always mention it in an appropriate relevant article and use redirects. But we do not need more permastubs, not even for noble reasons. Seraphimblade Talk to me 15:19, 28 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]
        • User:Seraphimblade there is nothing in the proposal about "other people finding sources". I understand completely where you are coming from with regard to having sufficient sources from which to write an article. The proposal is an effort to deal with the part of systemic bias in WP that stems from systemic bias in our sourcing. I am not sure we will be able to get consensus for a proposal along these lines, but I do feel it is worth trying to see if anything concrete can be developed. Please don't continue to misrepresent the proposal. Jytdog (talk) 15:29, 28 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]
  • Weighing in on this: I support this discussion, even if the final wording of any proposed change has not yet become concrete. Wikipedia notability guidelines have evolved over time, and they should continue to evolve over time — particularly as our understanding of marginalized historical figures changes. My thoughts, in accordance with what I've been able to extract from the behemoth discussion above: (1) I agree that these ideas for changing the notability guidelines should not apply to BLP articles. (2) I don't think anyone is suggesting that we encourage unsourced or inadequately sourced articles about historical figures; only that we allow for a wider variety of sources and a broader understanding of what makes a MARGINALIZED historical figure notable, both of which seem very reasonable to me. (3) Marking yourself as officially opposed to the mere possibility of a change (before that change is even officially proposed) seems a little premature and pessimistic. I think this discussion has the potential to create something genuinely useful (there has clearly been lots of effort contributed already), and I think it's worthwhile continuing to shape it into something more fully-formed. Alanna the Brave (talk) 14:32, 28 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]

James500's idea above responding to my post above made me do a 180. With a tweak by me making it 2 way: "Topics that have received less or more coverage due to any form of systematic bias need proportionately less or more coverage in order to be notable". They also suggested putting it in wp:gng. This would provide the much-needed calibration to wp:GNG to make it much more universal. A problem that our huge patchwork of SNG's has been trying to compensate for. North8000 (talk) 18:12, 28 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]

  • Oppose What we are in essence saying is that notability for "excluded" groups should be doing something that would not be notable for the "included" group. I can understand taking issue with a person who would be notable if they were X but is not notable because they are Y, but do we really need "the fist slatersteven to cross the Atlantic" type article on a myriad of subjects? As had been pointed out traditional all kinds of classes of people have been excluded from many activities, including white working class men. Moreover (as I said in the discussion above) I would find it odd (and telling) if (for example) feminist writers do not consider a female notable. If someone had a notable achievement someone today would have noticed it.Slatersteven (talk) 10:17, 8 October 2018 (UTC)[reply]

Revised proposal

Having spent a couple of days pondering this, and stating emphatically that I am not a policy writer, but tried to take into account points made above, is this clearer language?:

Considerations for non-living historical persons:
  • If the person lived prior to the advent of the internet (pre-1990) and if a claim that the person contributed in a unique or significant way to cultural development can be documented in standard reliable sourcing, the statement may be used to establish notability IF:
    1. The claim of notability is made in a source which meets WP RS guidelines.
    2. There are adequate curated sources, regardless of whether the source is in the English language, to document the achievements of the person.
    3. Such a person was a member of a segment of society which because of class, gender, ethnic origin or race, belief, colonization, or other systemic bias was subjected to discrimination or exclusion, for which limited traditional sourcing exists, if:
    A. Their participation was excluded from traditional mainstream media, academic journals and textbooks, but can be documented with alternative sourcing which has been editorially reviewed or transcribed. Examples of such sourcing include, but are not limited to, contemporaneous local and ethnic newspapers, magazines, alumni journals, association bulletins, oral history interviews, etc. (Modern sourcing which does not meet the policy of reliable sourcing, may not be used).
    B. The person achieved a merit-based award or recognition for which similar achievements by people, who have not been subject to discrimination are recognized and for which secondary documentation exists. For example, if a notable award has been given over the last century and its honorees include members of a marginalized segment of society whose history may be obscured, weight of the evidence based on clear documented notability of other recipients, can be accepted as an indicator of notability. SusunW (talk) 18:36, 28 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]

  • I think that he more universal one which James500 started has a lot fewer problems. North8000 (talk) 18:40, 28 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]
While James500's statement, "Topics that have received less coverage due to any form of systematic bias need proportionately less coverage in order to be notable" may address the interpretation of significant coverage it is not specific enough, IMO to give adequate direction or clarify how implementation should/can be attained. SusunW (talk) 19:21, 28 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]

General discussion and examples of concrete wording seem to be boiling down to two concepts:
1) "similar achievement" or recognition to compensate for insufficient sourcing under standards now used.
2) (More) use of unconventional sources, which could include liberalized use of local/regional sourcing, to establish Notability.

It might be useful to try to ascertain, as a baseline, if editors are amenable, in principle, to either or both of those two approaches, even as concrete wording is massaged. In terms of concrete wording, although many groups could be named as marginalized, my preference is to keep the definition simplified as: "gender/minority". DonFB (talk) 04:30, 29 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]

DonFB I think minority is problematic. In colonized countries, the colonizers were the minority, but they oppressed the majority. Maybe we use marginalized? SusunW (talk) 05:18, 29 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]
  • I think SusunW has made an extremely good proposal here, based on the lengthy discussions we have had over the past few days. She has taken fully into account the wording suggested by James. I therefore suggest that any further discussion should be limited to proposals for changes to SusunW's wording. The emphasis on people who are no longer living makes things much easier, ditto those whose achievements predated the internet in the 1990s.--Ipigott (talk) 18:36, 29 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]
  • This is already the case. No need to add instruction creep: no one is seriously looking to go out and delete articles on people from 1753, and when they do, they tend to get let into for wasting community time. Since there is nothing objective here (which I would support per my always supporting a move to objective standards), I don’t see how this actually accomplishes anything at all. In particular, 3B is just restating WP:ANYBIO with buzzwords.TonyBallioni (talk) 18:43, 29 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]
  • I'm conflicted. I think there are some good ideas here. Ultimately, however, I'm reluctant to support any proposal that facilitates the creation of articles about subjects based only on a presumption of notability, without basing the article on those sources that establish notability (i.e. I'm generally not a fan of adding/expanding presumptions or assumptions of notability). To the extent our current guidelines exacerbate systemic bias, I'd rather see it addressed through tightening of those guidelines (NSPORT has been given as an example of where this could be done), and by better enforcing our deletion-related rules to make it harder to nominate things for deletion (by that I don't mean making more things notable, but rather more actively placing sanctions on editors who don't do a thorough BEFORE, and maybe even doing something like requiring and anyone who wants to nominate an article for deletion has to add sources to some other article... I can't imagine that would fly, but that's where my head is anyway). — Rhododendrites talk \\ 19:48, 29 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]
  • Still dislike this, and pretty much for the same reason, I find it impossible to believe that "the first slatersteven" to achieve something has not been (by now) noticed and pick up on by any number of "slaterstevenest" writers who would pass RS (such as academics, or politicians). I really cannot see why someone who is not considered notable by the very people who should be making a big noise about them should be considered notable by us.Slatersteven (talk) 10:23, 8 October 2018 (UTC)[reply]

The nature of notability, to consider here

I have tried to stress in the pass that there's an ultimate level of notability that we would never delete a topic once it has met that - eg we would never ever question if World War II is notable - we can clearly write a detailed, comprehensive article well-based by numerous secondary + other sources. It is important to recognize that this is the goal we want but because we are an open wiki, we can't expect that goal to happen immediately, and that's the role notability serves - whether the GNG or an SNG, we use those to guide when we think there's enough possible sourcing out there or likely to be found or to be generated in the future to allow the article to exist in mainspace and draw more editors to help improve it, until one can prove otherwise that there is no more sourcing coming.

What this means towards the problem at hand - notability getting in the way of better representation of women or disadvantaged groups that historically were not recognized for their contributions - is that we want to establish the same fair allowance that these people should get when their contributions are par for par with men that we already have documented. What this doesn't mean is that is a free ride indefinitely for no further expansion. The same presumption of notability applies - if someone does a thorough search for sources and cannot get an article past that start that we would never call into account notability ala WWII, then we'd likely look for deletion, regardless of gender, etc. All that's core to recognize that others have explained that in terms of historical figures, the GNG and other SNG may limit sources that would exclude these people while men of the same achieve are included. When we know that's the case, we should still be allowing for them as we would men, but that's only is establishing presumption that can be disproven later. We want people to try to figure out how to contribute more to WP and by having these articles that could be potentially expanded on in the open, that's a better situation than not. The key is to make sure this only applies to people that are no longer active, simply to avoid the promotion aspects that could come into play. --Masem (t) 23:44, 29 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]

I want to try to zero in on this idea of "similar" (or "equivalent" or "comparable") that's been under discussion. Point blank: are editors participating in this discussion--and editors generally--willing to accept an article about a historical person in a marginalized group when the sourcing is deficient under GNG or SNG, but the person's achievement is deemed by editors' consensus as "similar/equivalent/comparable" to that of a Notable (white) man, or any person not seen as marginalized--even if there are no prospects for future improvement of the sourcing? The concept signifies, I believe, a fundamental shift: that in addition to whatever (insufficient) Notability sourcing exists, editors will use their judgement of "similar"/etc to permit inclusion of an article about a person for whom conventional Notability sourcing requirements may never be met. As I mentioned earlier, this approach seems analogous to the concept of "comparable worth". Is the approach a fair way to combat systemic bias? Or does it constitute unacceptable weakening of the Notability guidelines, or unacceptable editorial judgement in place of reliable sources? DonFB (talk) 03:52, 30 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]
The whole point of SNGs is that they decrease systemic bias vs. the GNG because they are merit based and take into account stuff such as the fact that a Burmese woman from the 17th century who received a significant honour is likely going to be difficult to immediately find sourcing on: as I said above, WP:ANYBIO already exists and says the exact same thing as the proposed text above in terms of standards.
What you are getting at is verifiability/WP:DEL7. And to answer your string of questions: no, we will not tolerate an article where it is impossible to source, even if it is 100% without a doubt notable. Seraphimblade hints at this point above, but I’ll say it a bit more bluntly: sourcing is the most fundamental principle of Wikipedia and nothing can have an article if it is impossible to verify through secondary sources. This is because WP:V is infinitely more important than WP:N, which is just a guideline that tries to synthesize WP:NOT, WP:V, and WP:OR, each of which is a policy that has substantially more weight.
I’ve argued before that the GNG itself is at the core of our issues with notability: it’s a meaningless sentence that literally anyone can meet and is only approximating verifiability not significance. What we need is a robust set of SNGs that address the issue of systemic bias but also have a GVG instead of GNG that tests compliance with WP:V. This is in my view the best way to counter systemic bias that the GNG forces on us, while also holding true to our obligations as the world’s default first stop for information. The community isn’t ready for that yet, but eventually we will need to be for a variety of reasons.
All that to say: failure of WP:V is recognized in deletion policy as a valid reason to delete an article on a notable subject and that’s never going to change, even if the notability guidelines are loosened to account for things such as belonging to an oppressed group. TonyBallioni (talk) 07:24, 30 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]
TonyBallioni, I'm not sure why you mentioned me here. I have no truck with "marginalized" or otherwise, nor do I care for buzzwords like that. We follow the sources, and we do not permit permastubs. We do not do "quotas" or "affirmative action" or anything of the like. We just reflect our sources. If those sources were biased, then, well, that sucks, but we will be too. We are not here to right great wrongs, just to write an encyclopedia. If, and only if, a subject was covered in depth by multiple reliable sources so we can write a complete article about it, we write that article. If not, we don't. We don't write a permastub on the basis of a few marginal sources that name dropped a subject without covering it in depth, and we routinely delete such "articles". We should never encourage permastubs. If a subject wasn't covered in depth but is verifiable, write about it in an appropriate parent, sibling, etc., article, and use redirects. But don't pretend something is an "article" when it isn't and never could be from the available material. We've got enough junky permastubs from misinterpretation that "SNG makes something notable!"; just take a look at sports figures. Most of those should be on a list or mentioned in an appropriate parent or sibling article, not have a separate, garbage "article" that can't go beyond a permastub. "Populated places" and other "gazetteer" crap is another scourge in that regard. We don't need more of that, we need far less of it, and to delete or redirect a lot of what already exists. No expansion of "SNGs". Seraphimblade Talk to me 07:51, 30 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]
  • Yes, we do create permastubs and here's my favourite example: Chitty. Note that permastub is an essay and that means that it's just someone's personal opinion and so has no force. Note also that print encyclopedias often have brief entries for their topics. There is likewise no requirement for every topic here to be developed into a bloated essay. "Enough is as good as a feast". Andrew D. (talk) 08:25, 30 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]
Umm ... yeah, it's "someone's" personal opinion, but that someone could be almost any long-term contributor to the project, and probably almost anyone who regular reads Wikipedia. Hijiri 88 (やや) 09:18, 30 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]
There seems to be a whole lot of misconception in the posts above. No one has advocated for anything that cannot be sourced. To the point of permanent stub, who is to say that sourcing will not be found as studies of marginalized people progress. When women began the 1960's liberation movement, time after time, the participants said that they did not know other women in the past had protested, because the suffrage movement and those who participated in it had not yet been widely written about. Heck, there is a current BBC program airing on factory workers in Wales, in which the people participating had no idea that women had struck for equal pay in the 1970s. The point is academic study in these historical marginalized communities is emerging, there is no reason to assume that more sourcing will not at some point exist, just as the history of women's suffrage is now well documented in traditional sourcing. Considering that decolonization and women's citizenship barely started in the 19th century and mostly occurred in the 20th century, we aren't necessarily talking about ancient history, as has been portrayed above. In the United States, women lost their citizenship and control of their own assets upon marriage. Until 1936, not ancient history clearly, they did not have citizenship in their own right. In many parts of the globe, their agency was granted even later. As non-citizens, many were barred from education, various employment fields and forced to give up jobs upon marriage. There are a few women who may have comparable notability, but for the great majority of notable women, they did not compete in the same fields that men did. The fields that they were allowed access on broad scale—domestic science, social work, writing, arts—have not been equally weighted with hard sciences, business development, public administration, etc. as notable. Developing SNGs for these segments of other fields is impractical, as they were fractions of larger fields. The point is not that the accomplishments of marginalized people cannot be documented, but that the perception of significant coverage may be different, as may the types of sources available to document their history. That and the recognition that pioneering in any field that contributes to the culture is in and of itself notable.SusunW (talk) 16:03, 30 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]
If they can be sourced and meet our guidelines for inclusion, then they should be included. If they can't, then they shouldn't be. The best place for the discussion you are trying to have is at individual AfDs: the existing guidelines already take into account everything you are saying both in this guideline (WP:NPOSSIBLE) and in WP:BIO (WP:ANYBIO). Individual AfDs are the best places to make the arguments you are trying to make about the interpretation of existing guidelines, not the guideline talk pages. TonyBallioni (talk) 18:18, 30 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]
No Tony, it is a systemic problem and becomes a time sink to the project to repeatedly have the same discussions at different AfDs, which then obscure the depth of the problem as it is so fragmented that it becomes impossible to assess the scope. SusunW (talk) 18:36, 30 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]
That’s unfortunately how Wikipedia works: our policies and guidelines reflect practice, and the project is highly decentralized and fragmented. The only successful systematic notability reform of the last few years (the new and improved WP:NCORP) came about because people had been arguing in AfDs using what essentially was the new criteria there for 18+ months, and it had achieved such a level of use in practice that the rewrite was accepted when put to RfC. Centralized discussions on major reform initiatives on Wikipedia are usually doomed to fail because even if they pass, people will likely ignore them if it wasn’t already the community’s practice before. You see this in the aftermath of the school and sports notability RfCs: you had sweeping closes that didn’t accomplish anything immediately because there wasn’t consensus, and the fight has had to take place in individual AfDs anyway despite the centralized process. TonyBallioni (talk) 19:09, 30 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]
User:TonyBallioni nobody has said anything about adding content that fails V. Nobody. I understand not wanting to address our systemic bias along the lines being proposed here and wanting to stick with GNG or BIO, but enough with the misrepresentations. Jytdog (talk) 18:05, 30 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]
There are no misrepresentations: the whole point of the proposals above is to make it so that more people who would ordinarily fail our sourcing requirements because they are in marginalized groups can be considered notable so there is a chance to find sourcing. We already have such a guideline: WP:ANYBIO. Any loosening of the guidelines beyond the ANYBIO standard would effectively be saying that V doesn't matter or that we should allow unlimited time to source beyond primary sourcing. That is unacceptable. We simply have to have sourcing, and making a guideline that exists to help us deal with the concerns that have been raised even more liberal than it already is on sourcing requirements is a huge negative for our credibility. TonyBallioni (talk) 18:13, 30 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]
User:TonyBallioni. What you wrote: sourcing is the most fundamental principle of Wikipedia and nothing can have an article if it is impossible to verify through secondary sources. Again, nobody has advocated adding content that violates V. What you are writing here is terribly sloppy. I will not be responding to you further on this matter, and please don't reply to me.Jytdog (talk) 20:04, 30 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]
User:Masem would something like a provision for automatic revisitation for notability after say 5 years, as an addition to the proposal, address what you bring up in your OP? The literature base is developing; how long do we give? Jytdog (talk) 18:12, 30 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]
Exactly how long to wait is impossible to answer. The way I speak to notability above, it is meant to balance the development of high quality articles with lots of good sourcing to document topics with the open wiki/wisdom of the masses approach, with the fact that we do not have a magic button we can hit to have every possible source on a topic delivered to us immediately. If we had that, we'd know immediately if we should have a standalone article on a topic. We can't, and because the open wiki encourages no deadlines, we need to give allowance towards creation and retention as long we have a reasonable likely case of potential future expansion. That creates this bind that we end up with one line/one source stubs that we can't remove that I know past attempts to do so have been met with a lot of resentment.
If we are going to be more open to allowing these cases of dealing with disadvantaged groups that have been biased by sources of the past, we need to simulateously talk about these short stubs that are very much unlikely to be improved by anyone unless serious effect is put into them - this means getting accept to local print sources and that likely means costly research and travel. We have to admit that if we can't merge these to lists, then deletion should be reasonable fair game with recreation allowed if sourcing can be shown later. But we need to give a fair amount of time from the point we institute such a policy - at lest 2 years if not longer. But that's a larger and separate issue. --Masem (t) 18:28, 30 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]
Or another way of putting this: if someone has spent the time to use multiple local sources to do a good job of a quality article about a notable women from the past, we should not be punishing that while fiercing retaining a single line stub that is based on a tertiary source that simply justifies a fact and with no attempt to improve in years. There's a balance needed here. --Masem (t) 18:36, 30 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]
Insofar as what SusunW said above: Sure, new sources are already being developed, but we can't just presume they will be. If enough sources don't exist today to write an article, we don't write it today. If tomorrow there is enough sourcing, great! We create the article tomorrow. But sources first, article after. We can't just handwave that there might be better references in the future, that needs to actually happen first. Seraphimblade Talk to me 18:52, 30 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]
Seraphimblade No one has said create articles without sourcing. We have said recognize that in limited cases, the types of sourcing may need to be expanded, while still using curation or editorial control as pillars. SusunW (talk) 19:17, 30 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]
SusunW, as long as the reference material is substantial, independent, and reliable, that already works under our standards right now today. But no "expansion". That requirement should be absolute, and we shouldn't say "But we really want to write about X, so we'll just loosen it a little there...". I'm not against having an article on every single notable subject, but let's first make sure it is notable, by making sure it was substantially, in-depth, by reliable references, noted. That doesn't mean "cobble together some primary and largely unreliable sources, because I really really think we should have an article about...". Seraphimblade Talk to me 19:22, 30 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]
No one has said to use unreliable sources either. It has repeatedly been stressed that sources should be curated, but that recognition and notability of non-mainstream people may well need to be sourced in non-mainstream publications. SusunW (talk) 19:57, 30 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]
Seraphimblade you have made it clear that you oppose a proposal along these lines. I understand that. If this gets developed to the point of an RfC you will have the opportunity to "oppose" there. But if you have no suggestions for improving the proposal, please don't continue to generate friction as it is developed. There are folks here who want to try to develop it and the "no and it will remain no" just distracts from the work of developing the proposal. You are of course free to keep commenting; I am just asking you to reconsider doing so during this phase. Thanks. Jytdog (talk) 20:09, 30 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]
The best place for the type of discussion you want is a userspace draft of an RfC, not an existing guideline talk page. The issue here is not that I’m writing sloppily as you claim above but that the proposals make no actual changes to the substance of any existing guidelines and so people think they’re responding to something they aren’t on the talk page of an existing guideline.
Now that it’s been explained what is actually being proposed, I don’t disagree with any of it, but that’s because it is already exists as the current stable guidelines. When you’re discussing having an RfC to add buzzwords to a guideline but make no actual changes to what the guideline says to do, people are going to be confused, and any future RfC will have the same issues. TonyBallioni (talk) 20:21, 30 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]
Tony, top of the page says: "This is the talk page for discussing improvements to the Notability page." I think we're doing that. Earlier, we jumped to some possible RFC wording, but the discussion at present seems to be faithfully following the quoted instruction. DonFB (talk) 21:38, 30 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]
I agree, but I was responding to the idea that those who don’t like any of these proposals shouldn’t comment here opposing it but should wait for an actual RfC: of course we should comment here, especially if we think it’s a bad idea to even have an RfC. The place to workshop a proposal with limited eyes and mainly supporters is userspace: I do that all the time. If you workshop it on a project talk, you can expect opposition to explain why they oppose it. TonyBallioni (talk) 22:02, 30 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]
Since you referred to what I wrote, I will respond to you. What you are doing here is one of the most irritating things that people do, when changes to P&G are under discussion. You have made it clear several times (see WP:BLUDGEON) that you are fundamentally opposed to the idea that we are trying to develop a proposal for. You have offered nothing to improve the proposal. So please be collegial and step away, so that people who want to try to develop a proposal can do so without all this unproductive friction. You will have the opportunity to !vote oppose if we ever get done with the work of generating a concrete proposal. (and perhaps the wider community will agree that it is a bad or unworkable idea, fundamentally. It would be useful for everyone, to find out.) It is a request to be collegial, which you are of course free to ignore. Jytdog (talk) 23:30, 30 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]
No, I’ve engaged in good faith discourse, pointed out how confusing the current proposal is and how it is likely to fail and be extremely divisive if actually put to an RfC and proposed a simple alternative below that is clearer and gets to the point much more easily than a large reform proposal that has about as good a chance of becoming a guideline as I have of being elected Queen of Mars. Pointing out that this proposal is severely flawed and is all but dead on arrival and then trying to explain why is hard to hear, but it’s a useful thing to point out: if you don’t want people doing that, take it to your user space.
Also, as an aside, I can appreciate why people advocating this proposal are frustrated with the process: WT:N is one of the most difficult pages to achieve anything on, and it tends to be inhabited by a small number of individuals with very strong views who can’t agree on much (I count myself in that number). In my past experience, proposals here tend to generate a lot of heat and rarely come to any conclusion unless they are small and managable, which is part of what I’ve been trying to point out. As a piece of advice if you do take this to an RfC: I’d suggest holding it at VPP: it’s muvh more conducive to discussing a proposal with less back and forth on the nature of notability than here, especially for large changes. I still think that a small, narrow, change that just solidified what existing guidelines already say to address this problem is the easiest way forward, but you’ve probably picked the most frustrating talk page on Wikipedia to workshop a proposal on, having tried it several times in the past. TonyBallioni (talk)
Masem (talk · contribs), I appreciate what you are saying about permastubs and resentment. Good project guidance should help everybody manage expectations and help us all avoid resentment. That is a good point. So... we could perhaps deal with the one-line stubs by adding some minimum requirement to this? Say, an article created or retained under this provision needs to have at least three facts supported by at least three sources, or something.  ? Do you see where I'm going? That, and something like a two-year "leeway" period could together provide both a minimum threshold as well as some "protection"... Jytdog (talk) 20:17, 30 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]
First point would be that if a stub has been a stub for more than X years, all efforts should be made to relocate the content to an appropriate list that itself already figured notable, so that we still have an appropriate redirect and search term. But barring that ability, and if the stub has only been a stub for its entire period of existence on WP (that it, it was not a stub that resulted from mass removal of inappropriate content), then we are really not losing anything by deletion, which is where nearly all arguments for retention fail. I can fully understand not wanting to delete short but nonstubby articles, but a 1-2 sentence stub that always been a stub is not a massive loss of content that we should be tearing our hair out to keep. This is starting to get a bit off this topic, but again, if we are going to be more inclusive to try to help get more articles on historical women/etc., we need a better backend process to clear out stubs that never could be expanded. --Masem (t) 22:05, 30 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]
Yep we can't deal with the larger permastub issue but we can deal with it for topics in the field under discussion. So how can we further modify the proposal to manage everyone's expectations about minimal requirements in the context of lowering N thresholds. I suggested something - would you please respond to that and offer something else concrete, if you don't like that? thx Jytdog (talk) 23:16, 30 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]
I'm not sure if counting sources is necessary the best thing for this. There should be some reasonable metric that says that a stub can be deleted even if a GNG/SNG is met if it is too short, the sourcing is not good enough, and no one has worked on it.
The elephant in the room here is understanding the source of why we have so many stubs on bios, particularly weighted towards men, and that's stemming from WP:NSPORT's allowance that any person having played a single pro game is presumed notable. Sports is inherently biased to men to start, moreso the farther back in time you go. And the farther back you go, while there's plenty of tertiary sources in terms of stats, there's far less secondary sourcing. While I understand the editors' point that justifies NSPORT (they nearly always have proven on push comes to shove they can find local sources to build out an article), at the same time, we're not a Who's Who, which is what NSPORT encourages, and what this overall discussion also seems to head towards. But again, we have to balance this need to be more selective with the nature of of the open wiki. Maybe now that we have official policies on Draft: space, we can adjust things - articles that may meet an SNG but are 1-2 sentence stubs should be put in Draft space before main space, for example. --Masem (t) 15:43, 1 October 2018 (UTC)[reply]
I guess my only question here is if the articles are sent to draft, will the names be picked up in a search so that people can improve them? For the most part, I never write stubs, as I generally find them to be unhelpful. If I want to know about someone, a couple of sentences leaves me and anyone else still having to search for information, so it seems pointless. But, I get that a lot of stubs have been created by well-meaning editors. I would definitely be in favor of putting in place a way to manage those stubs that are never improved with dated tagging perhaps. But I still see a problem with the understanding and application we now have of sourcing as it applies to historical subjects. As Masem points out, fleshing out secondary sourcing typically requires use of local and tertiary sourcing on historical figures, even if they are not from marginalized groups. SusunW (talk) 19:23, 1 October 2018 (UTC)[reply]
Drafts are not indexes for things like external Google searches; they can be searched for with WP's advanced search.
I will note that there is a far difference between a single-sentence stub with only one primary/tertiary source, and a 3-5 sentence or ever two paragraph stub using 3 or more sources, at least indicating secondary coverage, even if it is local. The latter we'd want to keep in mainspace, the former is not helpful to us until it can be expanded. --Masem (t) 13:54, 2 October 2018 (UTC)[reply]

Jytdog, I'm responding to you here because the rest has gotten rather tangled. I'm not trying to "improve" your suggestion because we've already weakened notability guidelines before, and the result has inevitably been the same: Junky permastubs. I am not required to make a suggestion for "improvement" of your proposal. My suggestion is to not propose it at all. You proposed it on a highly watched and highly visible page. So since you've tried twice to tell me to shut up and go away, let me be clear that the answer to that is an unequivocal no. Seraphimblade Talk to me 03:09, 1 October 2018 (UTC)[reply]

I am not trying to tell you to shut up and go away; I am saying that you have made it clear several times over that you will oppose anything along these lines and you have explained why. By now you are just being disruptive. If that how you want to spend your time, that is your deal, but I will not be responding to you further in this discussion, as you are not adding any value any longer. I will be thinking about the proposal in light of your objections and I appreciate you raising them. But as you will, of course. Of course. Jytdog (talk) 03:20, 1 October 2018 (UTC)[reply]

Simplified idea

Since this appears just to be trying to remind people to consider niche sourcing, I’d suggest the following would be much simpler and accomplish the same thing: add the following text to the end of the first paragraph of NPOSSIBLE:

[...] especially when the subject is from a group or region where finding online sources in English might be difficult.

I think this is a lot more clear than the above proposals, stays with the spirit of existing policies and guidelines, and can be easily implemented. TonyBallioni (talk) 20:45, 30 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]

@TonyBallioni: This certainly seems to be a step in the right direction. Perhaps we could add "time period", i.e "especially when the subject is from a group, region or time period..."--Ipigott (talk) 10:42, 1 October 2018 (UTC)[reply]
I'm not buying that. We have far too many shit articles about names that appear in ancient/medieval lists, about whose referents nothing is known, and it's difficult enough to get those pages deleted/merged already without people claiming systemic bias. And remember, I'm probably one of the strongest advocates for more emphasis on medieval history and less on modern entertainers and politicians; I just don't think "sources probably exist" is a valid defense for articles like this. Hijiri 88 (やや) 13:25, 1 October 2018 (UTC)[reply]
I also find the wording difficult as it implies that it only refers to places where English is not the typical language. Clearly that is not the case for many parts of Africa or the Caribbean, and certainly women live in English-speaking countries where there are abundant sources, just not mainstream sources that focus on them in significant detail. It also implies that in languages other than English, there might be lots of resources, but again, for marginalized groups, limited sourcing exists in a broad spectrum of languages. SusunW (talk) 16:29, 1 October 2018 (UTC)[reply]
I’m fine with removing “English”, though I think ignoring non-English sourcing of notable historical figures is likely a larger problem for marginalized groups than finding niche sourcing. It would mean the same thing, just without the emphasis on non-English sources. TonyBallioni (talk) 17:05, 1 October 2018 (UTC)[reply]
I still think it doesn't resolve the problems and would argue that language isn't the biggest problem. The major issue that people do not understand niche sourcing. There are problems with weighing evidence and what the preponderance of evidence says. DonFB suggested that I give examples of the types of sourcing we are talking about. Take for example the discussion of the social worker above. We have a statement from the National Association of Social Workers, that Bess Adams was a pioneer—the first field services director of the Alabama Department of Social Welfare, who established the network of county offices throughout the state in 67 counties. We have multiple local newspaper accounts which detail her biography and her career, but must rely on a primary source to ascertain her birth date. From the discussion, it is clear that were the article created, she would be nominated for deletion, not because there aren't sufficient sources to confirm the claim of notability but because those sources are not in a national newspaper.
On an article like Mary Hayley, I could find no published biography of her. What we have instead is fairly detailed information of her in her brother and husband's biographies and one 21st century article about her. I found a blog post written by a historian which corrected facts in the recent source. To fill in the gaps of her history, local newspaper articles, commercial trading reports and marriage records were used. Her claim to fame per the recent source was that she supplied the ships for the Boston Tea Party, which was easily refuted in reliable sources, so the question became was she notable in some other way. Based on the blog article, she supplied the tea for the ships and successfully recouped her losses from the American Revolution, which very few British merchants did. Thus, the blog was critical sourcing and notability. The GA reviewer challenged the blog source, but it was evident that removing the sources would perpetuate incorrect information on Hayley and put her notability into question. By evaluating the author, I was able to prove that he was per WP:RSSELF an "established expert on the subject matter, whose work in the relevant field has previously been published by reliable third-party publications."
On articles like Margarita Argúas and Esilda Villa the primary claim of notability came from one sentence in a current published secondary source. The majority of the biographical information for each came from their alma maters. In the case of Argúas, a book, published by the Faculty of Law of the University of Buenos Aires in 2016 and in the case of Villa, from a memorial booklet published by her colleagues on the one year anniversary of her death in 1944, giving her biography. Neither are traditional arms-length sources, but using local newspapers and association journals with which they were involved, the information in the biographical records can be confirmed. If we adhere to the guideline that sources must be arms-length, even on historical subjects like these, pioneering accomplishment would be omitted from the encyclopedia.
There are thousands of examples I could give, but the problem is that editors in general are not historians. If someone they respect says local sourcing is bad, they accept that. If someone they look to as an authority says substantial coverage means 1000 pages in a book dedicated to the subject, they ignore the guidance that multiple sources can be combined to meet substantial coverage. I think we need to eliminate vagueness where we can and give some concrete guidance on what is acceptable and not when dealing in a historic context. SusunW (talk) 18:22, 1 October 2018 (UTC)[reply]
If someone from the 1800s has coverage in the sources you describe, it is exceptionally unlikely they will be deleted. I’ve written articles even on living people based on similar coverage and they qualify because of WP:ANYBIO (See Amanda Swimmer). The issue is that you haven’t actually proposed a single substantive change to any guideline. You’ve suggested emphasizing margianilized groups and discussing how it can be hard to find sourcing, which as this page shows, confuses even admins who have been involved in notability discussions into thinking you basically want to eliminate the requirement that Wikipedia articles be sourced to secondary sources in the majority of cases. I’m also not convinced that some of the more radical inclussionists wouldn’t run with such a change to actually claim the BIO says census records can establish notability.
I think the change I proposed above gets at the core of what you are saying without any risk of misinterpretation on either side of the question. It’s simple, drives home the point, and wouldn’t have nearly as difficult a time getting approved (though no promises. Adding a comma to this page can take months of discussion...) TonyBallioni (talk) 19:12, 1 October 2018 (UTC)[reply]
I disagree that your proposal regarding the difficulty of finding online English sources gets at the core of what SusunW and others have been discussing. I think the key issue is that for some topics, adequacy of reliable source coverage for determining notability in the English Wikipedia sense is best evaluated by specialists versed in the domain. (This is akin to your desire to move to more specific standards of having an article, such as achievement-based ones.) English Wikipedia, for good or bad (there are arguments on both sides), isn't willing at this point to defer to domain specialists, at least in part because there is no good way to validate any credentials. Thus the stalemate: trying to replace individual judgment with a system of rules for generalists to apply can only go so far. isaacl (talk) 19:30, 1 October 2018 (UTC)[reply]
The proposal is looking at WP:ANYBIO and saying it may take time to find adequate sourcing, and that it may be in non-mainstream press. At least as I read it and as it has been explained. I suspect you are right that what they want is moving towards allowing individuals to be evaluated for significance, and if were being honest, that would likely include primary sourcing (indeed, this is how I originally read it), but it’s been explained that isn’t what they’re looking for. TonyBallioni (talk) 20:16, 1 October 2018 (UTC)[reply]
"Non-mainstream press", however, isn't the same as sources that aren't online English sources. Thus I feel your proposal is addressing a different problem. This might be helpful in other ways, but I don't think it "gets at the core" of the originally stated concern. (On a side note, I don't think relying on primary sources is required to try to reach a better determination of whether or not a subject should have an article in Wikipedia. It may be desirable, though, to bring one's personal knowledge of the best quality reliable secondary sources into the discussion.) isaacl (talk) 21:00, 1 October 2018 (UTC)[reply]
I was working under the impression that the reason this sourcing was difficult to find was because it wasn't easily accessible online. I'd be fine finding another wording if this is not the case. I don't like "non-mainstream" as it doesn't really mean anything and could include self-published materials, but I'd be fine with something like reliable sourcing that may be difficult to acquire without knowledge of the subject area. SusunW, what are your thoughts on something like that? TonyBallioni (talk) 21:24, 1 October 2018 (UTC)[reply]
My honest answer is that I am at a loss. I believe we are both trying hard to communicate, we just are not speaking the same language. Nuance of speaking is lost in the written word, so I totally get that how we read what others write is colored by our own perception of what we think they meant and how it was meant to be delivered. In my experience on WP, I would say that a large portion of editors would take exception to it, as it has an implied meaning that they may not be an expert. Maybe not if you propose it, but if I did, it would result in a rain of aggressive comments thrown my way from a wide spectrum. I get that the whale is that no one wants to mention bias and that if we do so, any proposal will probably be defeated. I respect that you are trying to avoid mentioning bias for that reason. But to me, it would simply be easier to say who the people are and what types of sourcing would meet our guidelines. (I am confused about your statement of self-published, as I already explained in the Mary Hayley example how that could indeed be possible and meet our guidelines.) The only thing I can come up with to cover the breadth of the problem without mentioning who or what is Historical figures and events, especially when the subject is from a group or region for which scholarship is emerging, may require niche or foreign language sourcing to meet significant coverage requirements, which is acceptable provided those sources indicate editorial control was used in their creation or transcription. SusunW (talk) 22:40, 1 October 2018 (UTC)[reply]
SusunW, I think that is excellent wording. I’m trying to find another way of saying “emerging scholarship”, but can’t think of one. Anyway, I’d support adding that to NPOSSIBLE, and let the specifics of applying the principle be sorted out case-by-case. TonyBallioni (talk) 00:23, 2 October 2018 (UTC)[reply]
If possible, I'd recommend avoiding introducing yet another term of English Wikipedia art, "niche sourcing", as it'll just lead to a lot of arguments about if source X is "niche", rather than if source X is appropriate for determining that an article should be present. I would prefer something more along the lines of "may require a closer examination of sources to judge if they are sufficiently independent, non-promotional, and reliable, based on the expertise of their authors and editors". Regarding foreign-language sources, personally I don't like lumping them into the same clause, because the language of the source should already not be a concern when determining if an article should exist (other than needing editors who can adequately understand it). isaacl (talk) 00:50, 2 October 2018 (UTC)[reply]
I think, for all this effort to find a good way to modify Notability, we really should make an attempt to speak directly to the issue that prompted the discussion in the first place. So, in that spirit, I offer the following suggested edit to Susun's wording:
Historical figures and events, especially when the subject is from a group or region for which scholarship is emerging, or has been marginalized due to bias or prejudice, may require niche or foreign language sourcing to meet significant coverage requirements, which is acceptable provided those sources indicate editorial control was used in their creation or transcription."
Another sentence could easily (!) be added to say something like, "Niche sourcing refers to....[and here, are provided a few examples of what a niche source can be]." DonFB (talk) 03:58, 2 October 2018 (UTC)[reply]
Your wording implies that foreign language sourcing is usually problematic and should only be used in these exceptional cases. That is wrong. —David Eppstein (talk) 05:02, 2 October 2018 (UTC)[reply]
TonyBallioni I'm open to suggestions on it, but cannot figure out another way to say it. It is ironic, because we are actually talking about the omission from the historic record of the majority of people and cultures on the globe, but the reality is what it is and scholarship is fairly recent for anyone who was not part of mainstream culture/power structures. Isaacl, the problem with your proposed statement would be that that the sourcing may not be independent of the subject, as noted in the cases of Argúas and Villa. Nor in the case that you have an oral history transcription, such as an interview conducted in an anthropological effort to preserve the historical record, such as the Indian-Pioneer Papers Collection, the Black Oral History Collection, the National Library of Australia's collection. These are typically dually secondary/primary sources as the interview is clearly primary, but the editor who summarizes the material and assesses it is a secondary source. As we are only talking about dead people, I don't understand how they would be promotional in any way. But, if you can give me an example of how that might be, I'd weigh it. We need to work on the foreign language part, as David Eppstein concurs that it is misleading. Maybe instead of niche, specialized sourcing? Thank you DonFB. I think that what Tony is getting at is that if we use the words bias or prejudice it will doom the proposal. They are triggering words which cause an emotional response that people tend to internalize. Though we are talking about systemic problems, it will be read "I am biased" and rejected. Does marginalized have the same connotation? I still think overall that the statement lacks something to indicate that it does not apply to BLPs and I do think we have to list the types of sourcing, otherwise it will be a continual battle, which is unproductive and thwarts actual creation. Maybe:
Historical figures (who are deceased) and events, especially when the subject is from a group or region for which scholarship is emerging, or has been marginalized, may require specialized sourcing to meet significant coverage requirements, which is acceptable provided those sources indicate editorial control was used in their creation or transcription. Examples of such sourcing, which may be in languages other than English, include, but are not limited to, contemporaneous local and ethnic newspapers, magazines, alumni journals, association bulletins, oral history interviews, etc. (Modern sourcing which does not meet the policy of reliable sourcing, may not be used). Evaluating the sourcing may require expertise of their authors and editors. A source can be deemed sufficiently independent and reliable if the authors and editors are judged to be recognized experts on the topic, and the source judged to be sufficiently free of bias.''
SusunW (talk) 16:10, 2 October 2018 (UTC)[reply]
The larger issue I see is one of first-person bias. My proposal is that a source can be deemed sufficiently independent and reliable if the authors and editors are judged to be recognized experts on the topic, and the source judged to be sufficiently free of bias. This is more tricky for biographies, though, for first-person accounts. A careful determination would have to be made regarding the accuracy of the personal narrative, and the article should clearly identify that it is based on the person's own autobiographical information. That being said, I do like evaluating the degree of editorial control over a given source. I'm not sure what you mean by "Evaluating the sourcing may require expertise of their authors and editors." Did you mean it may require evaluating the expertise of their authors and editors? isaacl (talk) 19:19, 2 October 2018 (UTC)[reply]
Yes I did, but you said it so much better. Masterful crafting of wording. Thank you Isaacl! SusunW (talk) 19:25, 2 October 2018 (UTC)[reply]
  • Thanks for making a proposal Tony but this misses the mark. The problem is with WP:BASIC; you will note that ANYBIO says that meeting one of those three things is not enough. The frustration being expressed by Women in Red participants, is that their efforts to address systemic bias in WP consistently turn into AfD drama (which is exhausting and drives people away) exactly because people are citing BASIC (as they should do, under the current P&G regime -- exactly because the literature base under-represents these people). A proposal that successfully meets the goals of WiR (which align with WP's mission) will loosen what is in BASIC for under-represented groups -- limited to people who are dead already. Is important for everybody that the BIO essay is clear, so that people creating these understand, and people considering deletion understand. The examples offered above about Mary Hayley, Margarita Argúas and Esilda Villa are good ones. Please hear the underlying issue and be responsive to it. Please. Jytdog (talk) 19:48, 1 October 2018 (UTC)[reply]
    • So they are trying to loosen the guidelines beyond what is existing? How then? Everything said above already clearly falls within existing policies and guidelines. Nothing of substance would actually change if the guideline passed, but it would be substantial more open to misinterpretation on either side if an RfC were held regardless of the outcome.
      Re: your AfD comments: It seems from the multiple discussions I’ve had on this topic that it eventually boils down to “we don’t like how AfD works so we’re going to try to change guidelines so we have to go to AfD less.” Unfortunately, that’s not a good way of getting a working proposal together (AfDs build the consensus that become guidelines and shape our interpretation of them, not vice versa) and while I admit they aren’t fun, they are still the single most effective way of developing deletion and inclusion policies and guidelines. Eventually people will get the message and stop nominating these figures, or they will see them deleted and it will become clear what the community’s actual standard on sourcing here is. An RfC is unlikely to change any of this. TonyBallioni (talk) 20:16, 1 October 2018 (UTC)[reply]
      • You have not read anything in this thread carefully. Please start from the top whenever you have time, reading with care, for the heart of the matter. Jytdog (talk) 20:47, 1 October 2018 (UTC)[reply]
  • This is already covered we do not need to use English Lagrangian sources.Slatersteven (talk) 10:24, 8 October 2018 (UTC)[reply]

proposal #3

This would go into WP:BIO, just before the "additional criteria" section:

Members of marginalized groups

The requirement for multiple reliable sources with substantial discussion of the subject, can be relaxed for non-living individuals who were members of a marginalized group,[a] for whom limited sourcing exists.[b] For such individuals, the "additional criteria" should be read in light of the bias in the underlying base of sources (e.g. a contribution by such a person may not be "widely recognized" in sources, while similar contributions by a person who is not in a marginalized group might be widely recognized.) This should not be taken as justification for the creation of thinly sourced permastubs. However as scholarship is developing on the history of marginalized peoples, pages about such non-living people should be given a two year moratorium on deletion before judging whether there is no reasonable prospect for expansion.

  1. ^ a marginalized group is a segment of society which because of class, gender, ethnic origin or race, belief, colonization, or other systemic bias was subjected to discrimination or exclusion
  2. ^ The community recognizes that the base of reliable sources from which it draws, is itself the product of societies with systemic biases and thus reflects those biases -- increasingly less so with respect to more contemporary sources, but the older sources are what they are.

That's my last attempt. I am getting no pleasure out of this, so will leave this to others. I do hope folks are able to agree on a proposal that can be put before the community in a widely-publicized RfC. Jytdog (talk) 19:53, 2 October 2018 (UTC) (tweak per below)[reply]

While this appears to be a solution, I feel there would need to be some essay or equivalent to explain the rational (based on this discussion) to be 100% clear that stubs and poorly sourced articles on these types of people that show they cannot be improved further can still be candidates for deletion. I don't know how best to approach that yet, but basically we need to be clear that one primary source to document a one-sentence bio is not cutting it for the long-term. --Masem (t) 20:16, 2 October 2018 (UTC)[reply]
Sorry I had intended to include something about permastub. Jytdog (talk) 20:29, 2 October 2018 (UTC)[reply]
I think it's very well crafted. I'm not a crusader on the issue, but this does a good job of addressing it directly in compact form and would get my support. I would drop "but the older sources are what they are" as superfluous and mildly snarkish, however. DonFB (talk) 20:33, 2 October 2018 (UTC)[reply]
You all can do with this as you will. I am unwatching. Jytdog (talk) 20:34, 2 October 2018 (UTC)[reply]
Jytdog I truly thank you for your reasoned approach throughout this discussion and I would support it. Combined with the language above, which I think belongs more in WP:NRV than NPossible, it would address the concerns that we have been discussing. It would establish a protocol for historic biographies and expand our diversity as a global encyclopedia. Masem, Women in Red has an essay Primer, which describes that sourcing must be sufficient to confirm notability and give a detailed profile of the subject. Don't know if that is what you mean, but it might be a place to start. SusunW (talk) 20:36, 2 October 2018 (UTC)[reply]
I think we should consider expanding that in general to any BIO, but that's not an immediate thing. A separate discussion permastubs related to biographical articles is needed, but that's more than just notability there. --Masem (t) 20:43, 2 October 2018 (UTC)[reply]

Question: When we get all the WP:FRINGE? What do we do? Alanscottwalker (talk) 20:50, 2 October 2018 (UTC)[reply]

How does fringe theories apply to bios of historical figures? --Masem (t) 20:52, 2 October 2018 (UTC)[reply]
Fringe applies to bios, if that alchemy practitioner is covered in 'Fred's Big book of Alchemy' published by Fred the mechanic out of his garage office, does the practitioner not have a claim of being having a "belief" that is systematically biased against (just look who writes allot about him, as opposed to "mainstream", who may mention practitioner in passing, if at all, proof of bias). Alanscottwalker (talk) 21:01, 2 October 2018 (UTC)[reply]
If used in conjunction with the language above for NRV, fringe would not come into play. A source can be deemed sufficiently independent and reliable if the authors and editors are judged to be recognized experts on the topic, and the source judged to be sufficiently free of bias, would rule Fred out as a reliable source. SusunW (talk) 21:11, 2 October 2018 (UTC)[reply]
A reminder that this change is intended for non-living people, among whom fringe theories do not proliferate, as they do among the living. Perhaps a few such persons from history might be added, but I don't think there is a large cohort available. DonFB (talk) 21:21, 2 October 2018 (UTC)[reply]
Good luck. 'Fringe' has ancient and glorious pedigree -- the true knowledge, after all. -- Alanscottwalker (talk) 21:27, 2 October 2018 (UTC)[reply]
The "discrimination" language would be applied to who they are and if that was the subject of discrimination, and not discrimination towards one's POV. --Masem (t) 03:43, 3 October 2018 (UTC)[reply]
I've been thinking about this, and about User:SusunW's comments on the gap between guideline and reality. I don't think that we need to be talking about "relaxing" any requirements. I think it might be more pointful to directly address bias: Editors need to be careful not to declare non-notability for unfair reasons, such as personal perceptions of the subject's importance. If two 500-word newspaper profiles are sufficient to establish notability for a <relatively privileged person>, then two 500-word newspaper profiles are sufficient to establish notability for a <person without similar privileges>.
I sometimes try to help at a tiny Wikipedia (whose language I can't read), and I helped create their notability guideline a while back. It's very limited, and I'm not entirely satisfied, but it's sufficient for now. And (surprisingly, because only the English Wikipedia has a significant problem with paid editing), we actually got a piece of self-promotional spam (from a poetry club. It's a weird world). One of the poets engaged on the talk page and really seemed to be trying to figure out the rules. One way I tried to explain it was this: She needed to find sources about her club that had not been written by the club or any of its members. And then she needed to sit down with those sources – and only those Wikipedia:Identifying reliable sources – and see whether she could make a list of ten separate facts about the club. If she could, then we could write a policy-compliant article about the club. And if she couldn't, then nothing else mattered: not the fact that they were important, not the fact that poetry doesn't get as much coverage in the press as it did in the 18th century, not the fact that she met someone famous, not the fact that the English-speaking press largely ignored non-English speaking poets, nothing. All that mattered was being able to find ten small facts about the club that could be verified in independent sources.
I'm thinking that this might be worth emphasizing: "Notability" is a means to an end. That end is a decent encyclopedia article. What's needed for that is not different sets of rules for different subjects. What's needed for that is ~10 facts that can be verified in independent reliable sources, and for editors to recognize that this is actually sufficient, no matter what the subject is. WhatamIdoing (talk) 15:29, 4 October 2018 (UTC)[reply]
If two 500-word newspaper profiles are sufficient to establish notability for a <relatively privileged person>, then two 500-word newspaper profiles are sufficient to establish notability for a <person without similar privileges>. is exactly the right way of thinking here, but the only caveat I'd add would be that we'd want to see multiple examples of previously established notability before using that. Let's say, for some reason, the (long-deceased) male mayor of a small town (~10,000 population) has an article based on local sources but no other article exists for any other mayor. It would be wrong to try to justify a similar article for a female mayor just because that one other mayor article existed, and might beg the question of notability of the male mayor. But if we had hundreds of such articles on male mayors of that quality, then we can justify the female one for your given reason. Of course, consideration should be given if there had been any review of these articles at a forum like AFD or the like to make sure that we've accepted that there is at least some notable elements here. --Masem (t) 16:03, 4 October 2018 (UTC)[reply]
WhatamIdoing what is needed is a sea-change in perception and a simple recognition that all things are not now and haven't ever been equal. If we could just stop pretending that they were/are and internalizing it as a personal affront anytime someone says can we implement something that better represents humanity globally. I'd be quite happy not to keep rehashing this subject. We need to analyze sources and determine whether they are objective, reliable, and give enough information to weigh whether someone is notable, rather than drawing hard lines in the sand delineating some all-encompassing rule of this is good, this is bad. I certainly get where you are coming from Masem, but as I have stated repeatedly, women did not typically compete in the same fields as men. We are not likely to have hundreds of articles on male social workers, nurses, etc. However, if the author/source is analyzed and found to be reliable, and states point blank that the woman was notable in her field, why are we rejecting what the sources say? But we routinely do, because ? Draw your own conclusion as to the why, I truly have no answers. I am not nearly so interested in why as in how do we stop it from recurring. SusunW (talk) 16:29, 4 October 2018 (UTC)[reply]
Why do we say that someone can be wikt:notable but still not Wikipedia:Notable? Because the reliable source is saying that "This person is important", and we're saying "We don't have enough verifiable information to write a separate, stand-alone, policy-compliant encyclopedia article about that important person". These are completely different, almost unrelated conclusions.
Or: We need to rename this page, so that it is named something like Wikipedia:Identifying subjects for which it is possible to write a decent encyclopedia article. WhatamIdoing (talk) 16:58, 4 October 2018 (UTC)[reply]
Well what happens on women and marginalized people is that even if we do have enough reliable sourcing to write a full-blown entry, the perception, not based on any academic principle, is that we do not because of hard and fast rules requiring mainstream media, and not all mainstream media at that, only those with huge distribution. Again, it boils down to common sense. BLPs have different guidelines because there are different considerations to take into account. Historical figures are no different, there are issues regarding time and place that impact the amount of sourcing available for certain groups. People who for whatever reason were not part of mainstream society were not likely to be covered in mainstream sources, but that does not mean that the sources in which they do appear are automatically unreliable. SusunW (talk) 17:33, 4 October 2018 (UTC)[reply]
I like, SusunW where you point out that we can all successfully determine how to treat different types of biographies differently when it's something that's perceived as "neutral" such as living or not-living. The fact is that we all have characteristics such as race, class, etc that affect how we move through the world and how we are perceived. This trickles into history and media coverage. Much earlier upthread I linked a paper from Women's Media Center that show that there is STILL significant bias even in the 21st century. Imagine how much bias there is in the 1900s when women didn't have the right to vote, etc! I think the discussions on this thread have been pretty good and productive and I really want to see all the hard work that Susun (an actual historian) has put into this come to fruition. Megalibrarygirl (talk) 00:59, 5 October 2018 (UTC)[reply]
SusunW, where exactly are these "hard and fast rules requiring mainstream media" written down? This sounds like something that was just made up by editors to rationalize their personal preferences, rather than something that's in a guideline. But if it is in a guideline somewhere, or (perhaps more likely) if there's something in a guideline that a wikilawyer could twist into that idea, then we should fix that. Wikipedia:Writing policy is hard, but I've got a lot of practice at it. WhatamIdoing (talk) 17:28, 5 October 2018 (UTC)[reply]
Megalibrarygirl if SusunW is an "actual historian", she can do the research and get it published. Then it stands a chance of appearing here some time in the future. That's how we have ended up with citations from the likes of Marc Bloch, E. P. Thompson and the Subaltern Studies movement concerning people and subjects that once were lesser known. And if the sources aren't there then they are not there but, hey, there is no deadline. - Sitush (talk) 20:52, 6 October 2018 (UTC)[reply]
@Sitush: Why the scare quotes? SusunW is an actual historian. Historians do many things, one of which is evaluate information and sources, which is what we're talking about here right now. I'd like to see what we're talking about become concrete suggestions. Megalibrarygirl (talk) 22:58, 6 October 2018 (UTC)[reply]
Because (a) on the internet, nobody knows who you are; (b) the "actual" is plain weird to me - I am a historian by training and what I do but I don't (usually) get paid for it. I think you probably meant "professional" or "tenured" or something like that. And on Wikipedia, like it or not, that counts for little.
I made a suggestion, which is to follow our long-term policies and remember that we're supposed to reflect the real world academics etc. When they write about it, we write about it. If SusunW wants to get their stuff published somewhere useful then we can use it. That's how "actual" historians work, and that is how Wikipedia works. Watering down our policies does not make this a better place, merely more of a mess than it is at present. We cannot cope and people are speaking of opening the floodgates to millions more crap articles about people on the fringes. We are not and should not be a movement for social change. We are not and should not be politicised. - Sitush (talk) 07:01, 7 October 2018 (UTC)[reply]
This's the exact point, which can't be driven home enough. I will go a step further and mention that Susun's points directly contradict our prohibition against righting great wrongs.It will just open the door for every POV pusher from marginalized groups to push random rubbish, under the pretext of these proposed-additions.For those who doubt this, you are welcome to the arena of Indian social groups and castes.
SYSTEMICBIAS can be understood but this is taking things, a step too far.WBGconverse 13:42, 7 October 2018 (UTC)[reply]
I respectfully request that any and all discussion of me and mischaracterization of my statements cease. I have engaged in discussion to make our guidelines more precise and have no belief or thought that we can right great wrongs of history. They exist. They will continue to exist. If we are indeed supposed to reflect real world academics (and I don't see anything in the guidelines that says that) then we weight reference material from any source and evaluate it for accuracy, bias, and fact. We back it up with other references to confirm that the material is most likely accurate. We do not discard a set of sources based on "circulation numbers", which has nothing to do with reasonable editorial control. Publication size means little except that they are good at marketing. SusunW (talk) 14:25, 7 October 2018 (UTC)[reply]
The only mischaracterising I am seeing seems to be coming from the likes of you and Kaldari, who are making sweeping statements about problems that I cannot see. I have asked before that you back up your claims with some diffs - eg: regarding the supposed problem with Indic languages - and you will note that I am not the only person who thinks you need to provide some evidence for your points. - Sitush (talk) 14:30, 7 October 2018 (UTC)[reply]
Just because you have not personally seen the problems being discussed, does not mean they do not exist. There's a reason why we're discussing this here and I assure you, it's not because it's "fun." We see a problem and want to address it. Megalibrarygirl (talk) 21:27, 8 October 2018 (UTC)[reply]
  • Just a comment that my thoughts on this are roughly the same as WhatamIdoing’s, but she is expressing them better than I could after this entire saga. I also agree with her that if there’s a misinterpretation somewhere, it’s easier to fix that than go through a bunch of proposals, and I’ll add that it may even be able to be done as a bold edit clarifying something depending on how large an issue of phrasing we’re talking about.
    As I’ve said above: this appears to be an issue that could simply be resolved by making these arguments in AfDs. That is where your sea change is going to occur, not an actual guideline page. In large part because our guidelines already say in much simpler terms what supporters of changing the guidelines are arguing for. TonyBallioni (talk) 17:36, 5 October 2018 (UTC)[reply]
WhatamIdoing surely you get that WP:AUD, which people are arguing everywhere should be applied to all notability (see discussion further up this page as just one example and the link to Bess Adams given in this discussion as another), flat out states that "attention solely from local media, or media of limited interest and circulation, is not an indication of notability". Thus, if you have only one mainstream publication indicating notability, but the remainder of your sources are from publications with limited circulation, they argue there is no notability. WP:Prof as it currently stands favors publication in the very small group of publishers who control academic publishing and are geared toward the Global North, not to mention that rankings typically require publishing to be in English, regardless of the native language of the academic.[1][2][3][4][5][6][7] WP is mirroring the systemic problem of academic publishing, recognition and skewing who is notable. And I repeat, TonyBallioni fragmenting these discussions in AfDs, hide the massive nature of the problem. I get that you want to retain what has already been written, but many of the guidelines you strongly support are acerbating the problems in writing about historically marginalized people. SusunW (talk) 20:08, 5 October 2018 (UTC)[reply]
AUD isn’t nearly strong enough in my opinion, but it doesn’t prohibit anything that you’ve been talking about (except maybe the self-published stuff, which the community will never accept for notability, nor should it.)
Re:AfDs I know you don’t like them, but Wikipedia is an inherently decentralized model. Imposing a guideline through a reform doesn’t work unless there is already consensus before the change is made. You could make the changes you are suggesting now and it would have no impact at all on deletions and deletion nominations: people would ignore it. We’re still fighting over schools and sportspersons 18 months after those RfCs tried to impose a highly centralized narrative on notability: they were both ineffective precisely because they didn’t realize that guidelines reflect practice. You need to build consensus slowly and over time in many small fragmented discussions to ever have a chance of getting a successful policy proposal through (which like WhatamIdoing, I have some experience with) these large discussions rarely have any impact on the encyclopedia or how we do things. The small discussions feed up and then over time you make a large proposal that passes because it’s just documenting what has been going on for a while. This method of policy development is in my experience much more effective and reflects the way Wikipedia was designed to work. TonyBallioni (talk) 20:33, 5 October 2018 (UTC)[reply]
Although it's not really germane to this topic, since you brought it up: if you're referring to this RFC, although I agree the closing statement was written more broadly than was warranted by the discussion, with respect to the sports-specific notability guidelines, it affirmed the status quo consensus from when the guidelines were first agreed upon. There was no change in consensus being imposed. isaacl (talk) 20:50, 5 October 2018 (UTC)[reply]
I was referencing the broad bit and the contradiction the close had with this guideline re: the relationship between the GNG and SNGs, which is a tension between NSPORTs and WP:N, which we are still fighting about in part because we have two centralized guidelines that contradict each other and AfDs in many areas haven’t found a way to resolve it.. TonyBallioni (talk) 21:11, 5 October 2018 (UTC)[reply]
The sports-specific notability guidelines explicitly defer to the general notability guideline in case of conflict. The real tension is between editors who want the sports-specific notability guidelines to take precedence, and those who feel that the sports-specific guidelines should remain as they are. isaacl (talk) 01:43, 6 October 2018 (UTC)[reply]
We are clearly not communicating again, Tony... "doesn’t prohibit anything that you’ve been talking about" comes from where? It prohibits everything that we have been talking about: local newspapers, ethnic journals, publications by associations, alumni magazines, all the materials you would find marginalized people in. The aversion to AfDs isn't mine alone. The report that started this entire discussion outlined specifically that such discussions are aggressive, unproductive, drive editors away and reinforce entrenched ideas. It may be working for you and you may find it effective, but a whole lot of people disagree with you. I am equally positive a whole lot of people would disagree with me as well and find AfDs to be an effective approach. Life doesn't happen in black and white, there's a whole spectrum of options that could improve what we have now if we actually want to improve the encyclopedia. SusunW (talk) 21:01, 5 October 2018 (UTC)[reply]
It prohibits none of those things... TonyBallioni (talk) 21:07, 5 October 2018 (UTC)[reply]
Absolutely it does. I find a person in an article in The Crisis which says a school founded and operated by X was widely responsible for improving the education of black students in a regional area. I find 10 articles in ethnic newspapers which give me enough information to write a full biography of X, even better, on the school as well. But AUD, if applied across all notability standards would preclude creation of the article because the only sources are local or in publications with limited circulation. Feminist journal says Y was responsible for creating an association which led to the development of the juvenile court system in country A. International women's journals widely confirm the information. Local papers give sufficient info to write a bio. Again, per AUD, not notable. How do you not see that this definitely limits creating articles on historically marginalized people and the organizations they were involved with? I admit I am baffled by your statement and am trying really hard to understand. SusunW (talk) 22:56, 5 October 2018 (UTC)[reply]
You are wrong. Such sourcing is more than sufficient and AUD would consider it as such. I’ve created articles using the similar sourcing on living people from margianalized communities and gotten it promoted to DYK. The journals and The Crisis would easily establish notability even ignoring the local sourcing, and when combined with such strong sourcing as you are describing, the local publications would significantly add to notability under AUD. AUD just means that the local supermarket parenting magazine plus a fluff piece in the local paper about the cop that got bit by a dog doesn’t make My neighbor’s dog that bit that policeman a valid article and that The child preacher who got in a car accident in Atlanta one time and then paid for an article on Wikipedia should be deleted (actual case...) AUD does not discount reputable journals or periodicals that focus on diverse communities, and anyone who is arguing that is reading it in the broadest possible terms to the point where it lacks any credibility in deletion discussions and admins would discount their !votes. TonyBallioni (talk) 04:43, 6 October 2018 (UTC)[reply]
I disagree. You are telling us how you interpret the words. I am asking you to look at what the phrase actually says: "attention solely from local media, or media of limited interest and circulation, is not an indication of notability." That is inaccurate and imprecise. It isn't the size of the publication or its distribution that determines notability, accuracy or authority, it is the careful editorial control of the creator and the publisher. SusunW (talk) 14:05, 7 October 2018 (UTC)[reply]
But note for anyone reading this, AUD is not in WP:N the talk page we are on, and it is unlikely to ever become part of this page (at least in that form). (Perhaps, take that concern over to the talk page where that is?) I do agree that what really matters is established editorial control and reputation for care/accuracy, but AUD has a more specific subject/issue context. --Alanscottwalker (talk) 14:46, 7 October 2018 (UTC)[reply]
Scroll up on this page Alanscottwalker it is being proposed that the language be added here. The fact that the language does exist colors people's perspective and gives them the idea that it has wider implications. And they are pushing it in discussions all over WP. SusunW (talk) 15:05, 7 October 2018 (UTC)[reply]
Yes, I know it's there, it was the basis for my comment that it is not gaining traction - as I suggested, if you want it modified or clarified, go to the page where AUD is and discuss it. Alanscottwalker (talk) 15:08, 7 October 2018 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose I dislike the idea of a presumption of notability. If someone will be notable in two years, why not just wait two years to create the article, and if they are not we then do not have to go through a lot of work to remove pet projects. If there is a problem it is not down to us to solve it, but for academics and journalists to start and write more about people whose achievements have been traditionally ignored. We are not here to fight societies battles, we are here to reflect notable knowledge.Slatersteven (talk) 10:30, 8 October 2018 (UTC)[reply]
  1. ^ Fellman, Megan (13 December 2012). "Fewer Resources May Explain Why Some Female Faculty Publish Less". Northwestern Now. Archived from the original on 15 June 2017. Retrieved 2018-03-03.
  2. ^ Morley, Louise (January 2014). "Lost Leaders: Women in the Global Academy" (PDF). Higher Education Research and Development. 33 (1): 114–128. doi:10.1080/07294360.2013.864611.
  3. ^ Beverungen, Armin; Bohm, Steffen; Land, Christopher (2012). "The Poverty of Journal Publishing" (PDF). Organization. doi:10.1177/1350508412448858.
  4. ^ Roux, Elizabeth le (2015-09-20). "Publishing South African scholarship in the global academic community". Notes Rec. 69 (3): 301–320. doi:10.1098/rsnr.2015.0033. ISSN 0035-9149. PMC 4528403.
  5. ^ Lee, Hikyoung; Lee, Kathy (August 2013). "Publish (in international indexed journals) or perish: Neoliberal ideology in a Korean university". Language Policy. New York, New York: Springer Science+Business Media. 12 (3): 215–230. doi:10.1007/s10993-012-9267-2. ISSN 1568-4555. Retrieved 5 March 2018 – via EBSCO's Academic Search Complete. {{cite journal}}: External link in |via= (help); Unknown parameter |subscription= ignored (|url-access= suggested) (help)
  6. ^ Nassi-Calo, Lilian (2014-05-19). "Non-native English-speaking authors and editors evaluate difficulties and challenges in publishing in international journals | SciELO in Perspective". SciELO in Perspective. Retrieved 2018-03-03. {{cite news}}: Cite has empty unknown parameter: |dead-url= (help)
  7. ^ Strauss, Pat (2017). "'It's Not the Way We Use English'--Can We Resist the Native Speaker Stranglehold on Academic Publications?". Publications. 5 (27). doi:10.3390/publications5040027.


I apologize for this wall of text, but it turns out that there were multiple interesting ideas above.

"WhatamIdoing surely you get that WP:AUD, which people are arguing everywhere should be applied to all notability (see discussion further up this page as just one example and the link to Bess Adams given in this discussion as another), flat out states that "attention solely from local media, or media of limited interest and circulation, is not an indication of notability". Thus, if you have only one mainstream publication indicating notability, but the remainder of your sources are from publications with limited circulation, they argue there is no notability."

SusunW, the problem you're describing isn't with AUD.  The problem is editors who can't read.  Oh, I suppose that's not a very friendly way to say it, and I was reminded today that there is a gender-specific insult for women who are unambiguous and direct about errors that other people make, but that's what it comes down to, doesn't it?  Because if you have:

  1. one mainstream publication indicating notability and
  2. other sources are from publications with limited circulation

then you do not actually have "attention solely from local media, or media of limited interest and circulation", do you?  Not by any definition of the word solely that we would expect to find in any reliable source, anyway.  That's (some) "attention from one mainstream publication indicating notability".

I think that one of the big problems you've identified is that certain editors aren't following AUD's advice, perhaps because they don't understand it.  We should address that.  (I have just added some text formatting that might make this more obvious; perhaps that will help a little.)  

On Tony's comment about "imposing a guideline through a reform":  I have found that he's correct to a first approximation, but there are limitations.  You can do this, if (a) your change would be supported by the (minority of) editors who have thought the problem through all the way, (b) doesn't interfere with most people's everyday workflows, and (c) you don't mind waiting about two years for it to have any real effect.  Point (a) means your change isn't necessarily bad, point (b) prevents immediate reversals, and point (c) is – well, WP:Nobody reads the directions, and it usually takes that long for people to really notice that the change was made.  I do find that Tony is correct about it being easier to put through several small proposals that add up to the same thing instead of making one massive change.  It's easier for people to adapt to small changes.  Big ones cause confusion, and editors don't like feeling confused.

And that brings me to another point:  Nobody reads the directions, so yes, there really is a problem with editors who don't know the standards making things up as they go along.  While we make an effort to document "the rules", Wikipedia's standards are primarily transmitted through word of mouth and watching what other people do.  At AFD, the closers don't usually bother to say "I have ignored the anti-policy vote from the editor who said that only English-language sources should count here at the English Wikipedia", and that kind of clarity (although someone clever might find a kinder way to say it) is what it would take to discourage that kind of comment.  We could more prominently address the language issue in WP:N, and that might be desirable overall, but just doing that will take a couple of years to make much difference overall.

And overall, it sounds like the problem isn't the standards that we have deemed to be desirable; the problem is the way the standards are misunderstood, or perhaps applied in a biased fashion, by the people who frequent these decisions.  Some of this is probably insoluble, since burnout on the anti-spam front looks like a deletionist in practice. However, we could probably be clearer about what the standards are. What do you think about these ideas?

  • Adding a line or two about editor bias (e.g., voting to delete because I don't think the marginalized subject is important)?
  • Adding stronger language about treating non-English sources as being equal to English sources for notability purposes?
  • Adding something about respecting academic sources from subject-specific fields (e.g., journals focused on women for articles about women, journals focused on a particular culture for people who come from that culture)?
  • Turning WP:WHYN into something more like a "standard" than an "explanation", so that "able to write an article that is longer than a stub and fully complies with WP:V and NPOV" (which can't be done without significant coverage in independent and reliable sources) is a key test of whether a subject qualifies for a separate article?  
  • Changing AUD to say that academic sources should not be considered "local" sources/sources of "limited interest"?  (We'd have to discuss it over there, of course.  Academic sources are largely irrelevant for companies and their products, but if it's getting cited for other subjects, then this clarification might be relevant.)

Of course, clarifying the guideline is only one part of the work that's needed. We also need editors who are willing to dive into AFD and explain the standards to people who need to know them. But one thing at a time. What do you think of these ideas? What do you think would be better? WhatamIdoing (talk) 02:11, 9 October 2018 (UTC)[reply]

As I have repeatedly said in this thread, the problem is the interpretation because our guidelines are far too vague to give actual guidance to those who lack an understanding of context of history. Any or all of those stipulations would improve the situation over what we have now. SusunW (talk) 05:42, 9 October 2018 (UTC)[reply]

Edit break

  • I think Jytdog's proposal above is a good starting point for us to try out. If it unexpectedly causes problems (like with FRINGE material) we can adjust as needed, but I don't think that should prevent us from moving ahead with this idea. I've seen many cases, especially with indigenous leaders, where they were clearly very important people within their culture, but the lack of substantial digitized English-language sources prevented us from including articles about them. This is something of a chicken and egg problem, because the lack of a Wikipedia article makes it less likely that a random grad student will discover them and write the sourcing that is needed for a more expansive article. Kaldari (talk) 18:01, 5 October 2018 (UTC)[reply]
  • Articles of the type envisaged already exist and, yes, they do cause problems. There is no need to try it out: just look at the number of unreferenced/poorly referenced Indic society and bio articles that have been lying around for years and are often the subject of additional unsourced/poorly sourced contributions. It is a maintenance nightmare for the, oh, 5 or 6 of us who actually bother. You are proposing to increased that by a 1,000-fold or more. Perhaps if someone wants to do that they might fork to SocialJusticeWikipedia, but please not here. As for providing grad students with inspiration, well, that isn't our role either: less chicken and egg and more a case of you putting the cart before the horse. - Sitush (talk) 19:23, 6 October 2018 (UTC)[reply]
  • What is being referred to when it is claimed that some sources are being rejected at AfD, which should not be rejected. (diffs of afd's would help, here) If people are rejecting sources that should not be rejected, has anyone ever brought the source(s) to the attention of more editors (at say RS/N) to get a better consensus? Alanscottwalker (talk) 17:54, 5 October 2018 (UTC)[reply]
    • Don’t really think RSN is great for notability questions, but I think asking at WT:BIO would be good in these circumstances. TonyBallioni (talk) 17:56, 5 October 2018 (UTC)[reply]
      • @Alanscottwalker: I see non-Latin language sources dismissed routinely at AfD, especially Indic language sources. Kaldari (talk) 18:21, 5 October 2018 (UTC)[reply]
        • Why? Because of language? (which is NOT a policy compliant objection) or because it's not RS? Alanscottwalker (talk) 18:26, 5 October 2018 (UTC)[reply]
I can confirm what Kaldari said but I have no clue how to research difs. Lots of AfD discussions about no sources in English. It is a time sink to repeatedly have to argue that that is not policy. The scope of the problem and how often it happens is hidden because of the fragmentation of individual discussions. SusunW (talk) 20:29, 5 October 2018 (UTC)[reply]
@Alanscottwalker: Because of language. Typically, the argument is: I can't read any of these sources, therefore I can't determine if they support notability or are RS, and since I can't find any English-language reliable sources, it's unlikely they are actually notable (which is a completely biased assumption). None of these arguments are based on policy, but they happen on a regular basis at AfD. Kaldari (talk) 21:18, 5 October 2018 (UTC)[reply]
My own experience of AfDs relating to India is very different from that of Kaldari and SusunW but, then, I don't think we've ever crossed paths at an Indic RfC. Non-Latin sources are fine and I've not seen anyone say otherwise, let alone see it affect an outcome. So, you're going to have to find a shedload of diffs to prove that point, however awkward the process may be. - Sitush (talk) 19:09, 6 October 2018 (UTC)[reply]
  • The "moratorium" bit is unworkable. We shouldn't have unsuitable articles hanging around for years before they're cleared out. If we think better sources might one day exist for a topic, but they don't yet, create the article after, not in anticipation of, the existence of those future sources. Sources first, then article, never the reverse. Seraphimblade Talk to me 04:20, 6 October 2018 (UTC)[reply]

We're not here to right great wrongs. As marginalised groups get more attention in sources, they will get more attention here. We're opening a huge can of worms. Our role is to be in the guard's van, not the vanguard. - Sitush (talk) 19:09, 6 October 2018 (UTC)[reply]

Nobody has said that we are here to right great wrongs. Not sure why you are bringing this up. What we are saying is that there are very good, reliable sources in history that show that some people in marginalized groups have succeeded in various endeavors throughout history. We want to make it easier for people to put together an article (that will not be constantly hauled over to AfD) using these kind of niche and small area sources. Megalibrarygirl (talk) 23:14, 6 October 2018 (UTC)[reply]
Then one of two things should happen. Either sufficient sources exist (in which case whoever creates the article should simply cite them; there's no surer way to prevent an AfD or survive one if it occurs), or it doesn't, in which case the article very well should be taken to AfD and should be deleted there. The nature of the subject should make absolutely no difference; we have the sources to write a full article, or, well, we don't. Seraphimblade Talk to me 23:20, 6 October 2018 (UTC)[reply]
^ What Seraphimblade said ^. If your summary is correct, Megalibrarygirl, then we're wasting thousands of characters discussing a non-problem. If very good, reliable sources in history exist etc then the articles should not be deleted. As with the SusunW/Kaldari statements above about how they have seen Indic AfDs lead to deletion because of people rejecting non-English sources, I think you need to provide some examples because otherwise this actually looks more like case of wanting to dilute our policies in order to pursue some RGW agenda, which is indeed how I have been reading it. - Sitush (talk) 07:12, 7 October 2018 (UTC)[reply]
Sitush:--My impression of wot MLG and Susun are saying throughout the discussion is that suppose a reliable academic states that a certain class/cluster/group has been marginalized throughout a particular time span.
Then, we ought to accept nearly every damn sourcing, (with certain minimal editorial control), available on anything tangentially connected to the subject and let them be allowed for the purpose of constructing articles.
Basically, local sources are to be treated at par with major news-sources and our desirability of significant coverage will go for a toss.
For example, from an Indian perspective, let's say two academics have stated that Caste X has been oppressed during colonial and pre-colonial times due to social stratification et al, present in the-then society and hence, might be termed as a marginalized community. (A majority of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes share the trait:-))
And, that there lived a person Mr. A from Caste X during 1901-1945.
Now, if anybody choose to write an article about him, he/she need not need to burn midnight's oil over locating significant coverage in major-news-papers or scholarly sources to establish his notability.
A few hits in a local town-daily; one of which mentions his father as a defaulter in two cases, another that lists his mother's death among a list of daily deaths, yet another that mentions his being inducted by the local jamindar as a chals-servant in the employment column and the golden one that mentions his chairing the local-village-wing of Liberate-X-from-oppresers will brand him as encyclopedic.
Notability will be proportional not to the quality of the sourcing but rather to the cardinality of Ctrl + f hits, across local dailies.
If this does pass, I promise to write at-least a thousand articles from West Bengal alone, using all local newspapers who have trivially mentioned a native, a few times. Post the moratorium, we will see whether the 2 can be 20:-) WBGconverse 14:19, 7 October 2018 (UTC)[reply]
Your impression, WBG is completely off. You don't understand what we're talking about. Further, there doesn't seem to be an effort on your part to understand, since you're just being sarcastic about what we are discussing here. Please don't make assumptions or jump to conclusions. You can and should just ask us what we mean if you don't get it. No where has anyone said that just any local person deserves an article. Please get caught up and then respond. Megalibrarygirl (talk) 21:32, 8 October 2018 (UTC)[reply]
This policy suggestion really isn't needed - as several WP:RSes already promote righting these great wrongs - there is a plethora of modern sources trying to cover figures that were deemed insignificant in the past and who belong to marginalized groups - all we have to do is to base our notability guidelines on coverage. Icewhiz (talk) 14:54, 7 October 2018 (UTC)[reply]
The guidelines already do that. If there is in-depth coverage in multiple independent reliable sources etc. What am I missing? Are people wanting to allow passing mentions and vested-interest sources? If that happens, I'm going because it is no longer an encyclopaedia but even more of a repository of trivia than at present and even more impossible to oversee. We struggle as it is, especially bearing in mind that although it is legally impossible to libel the dead it most certainly is morally possible to do so and it goes on every day here. - Sitush (talk) 16:00, 7 October 2018 (UTC)[reply]
No, nobody here is trying to get passing mentions and vested-interest sources accepted.
It appears that the problem is that on the one hand, we write down "If you want to write an article about the new Bollywood star, then you need to find some long articles about the subject in at least two mainstream newspapers", and then at AFD we say "I've never heard of this Dainik Jagran thing, I can't read it, and anyway their website doesn't look like my grandfather's newspaper, so that's obviously not a reliable source". Or "That might be a specialist academic publication, but it's feminist, so it's WP:BIASED and not reliable". Or many other things, all of which are technically wrong but which keep getting repeated, until we reach the point at which editors tell me (as they once did) that a school that was in existence for about two years sometime in the 19th century, and about which almost nothing, including its name(!!!), is actually known, is definitely notable if it ever conferred a single high school diploma. The obvious conclusion is that we're not here to write an encyclopedia article; we're here to enforce "rules".
Also, many editors want to avoid ending up at AFD in the first place, and nobody wants AFD to get even busier, so clearer advice might be helpful to the project overall. WhatamIdoing (talk) 02:28, 9 October 2018 (UTC)[reply]

The focus on separate, stand-alone articles

So I've read nearly every word on this page tonight, and I'm struck by something: We seem to think that getting a separate, stand-alone article for a marginalized person is an Obviously Good Thing™ – so obviously good, so obviously desirable, so inherently valuable, that we haven't stopped to ask: Is this the best way to represent marginalized people in Wikipedia? Is "getting a separate article" an end goal, the crowning glory of a lifetime of achievement, and the only way to measure inclusion and value?

Here's my thinking:

  • Creating doomed permastubs does nobody any favors. In addition to the internal deletion-related frustrations, readers rarely see those articles, and they are unlikely to be satisfied by them. That path also gives us a type of "inclusion" that looks a lot like isolating them and emphasizing how little any source cared. But the bigger problem (IMO) is that it creates bad articles. This is why the concept of notability exists: Every page should (eventually) be a decent encyclopedia article. If we predict that it can't reach that "decent encyclopedia article" stage, then we shouldn't create it in the first place. That means:
    • No permanently single-source articles. When there is only a single possible source, that means we have only a single possible POV that could be represented in the article (in the foreseeable future). That would violate WP:NPOV. We would ultimately rather have no article than have a non-neutral article.
    • No articles that are solely based on primary sources. Encyclopedias place their subjects in context, and you get context from secondary sources. We're not actually asking for much here. We don't need grand academic papers. We need sources that write things like "The first", "The biggest", "A pioneer in the field", and similar phrases. Those are all analytical claims – the kind of thing that you find in secondary sources.
    • No articles that are solely based on the subject's self-report. The failure to use WP:INDY sources for the majority of an article would be another NPOV problem.
      • The bottom line: If you can't find sources that provide the ability to write a proper encyclopedia article, then you just shouldn't create a separate article. "Creating a separate, stand-alone article" is the whole point about notability. Not every important set of facts is notable. To be clearer, not every important set of facts should be put on a separate page in Wikipedia.
    • Another good reason not to make a bunch of tiny and unexpandable microstubs is that it dilutes content over many articles. Navigation becomes difficult. Reyk YO! 09:22, 9 October 2018 (UTC)[reply]
There are going to be cases where it is impossible to slot a person into a reasonable list. 100% on board that a list article with redirects is the best way to do this when there's sufficiently narrow classification, but if we have to create an article "Women of the 18th Century" to include all of these potential persons that cannot slot in elsewhere, that's not good. So we sometimes need that standalone article. --Masem (t) 04:44, 3 October 2018 (UTC)[reply]
WhatamIdoing At WIR, we do this all the time. Adding women to their husband's, sons', colleagues files, employers', associations, etc. articles is frequently counseled and in our essays for how can you help. The point is that academics have studied Wikipedia files on the platform. Their evidence indicates that women's articles tend to be longer and more thoroughly researched than men's articles. I don't have statistics on stubs, but I doubt that they are in the majority for women's articles, because they have to be more thorough or they will be nominated for deletion. Many is the person who might have notability that I have not written because I don't have enough sources, not just to give a detailed account of their life and why they are notable, but because the sourcing lacks adequate authority. The same applies to colonized people, ethnic/racial minorities, etc. What we are asking for is common sense to be applied. If a group was not allowed to participate in mainstream culture, it should be obvious they were not covered in mainstream media. Don't just toss a source because it appeared in a local paper, ethic journal, feminist magazine, look at who wrote it and evaluate whether the author is an expert or the publisher is known for quality. The limits WP puts on sourcing is omitting the majority of people on the globe from being represented in the encyclopedia, because of rules which apply to only a few. No one has proposed not sourcing, not evaluating notability, not evaluating whether there are adequate sources to write an article. We seem to be going in circles. SusunW (talk) 14:19, 3 October 2018 (UTC)[reply]
So I ask again, any examples of this happening where a man would have had an article retained?Slatersteven (talk) 09:22, 9 October 2018 (UTC)[reply]
I believe that legislating common sense has been given up as a pointless endeavor in the real world.
Masem, I don't think that we should emphasize adding potentially notable people to lists. (One reason: Because then you redirect the name there, and someone blanks half the content in the list, and someone else decides to take the redirect to RFD on the grounds that it isn't mentioned in the current version of the article, even though that's not a valid reason for deleting redirects – yet) When possible, I think that it's better to integrate subjects into prose-based articles. Also, if a person is mentioned in multiple articles, it tends to make people think more highly of the notability, and if it develops significant content, then there tends to be more support for invoking WP:SPLIT on it. In my experience, something split out of a larger article is less likely to end up deleted at AFD. WhatamIdoing (talk) 16:09, 3 October 2018 (UTC)[reply]
So I ask again, any examples of this happening where a man would have had an article retained? Not examples of women who achieved something that you think is notable, a woman who achieved something notable enough (for the rest of us) for a man to get an article for it?Slatersteven (talk) 09:22, 9 October 2018 (UTC)[reply]
This seems a very reasonable approach, and a nice way to do it "organically", as it were. Mention someone in an appropriate sibling/parent article, list, organizational article, whatever have you. If in the future it becomes apparent that there's now enough source material to spin the content out into a separate article, great, let's do that! If there never is, well, we've still covered what we can about the person based on the source material available. A subject not being notable does not mean it shouldn't ever be mentioned in the encyclopedia at all; it just means it shouldn't be presented in the form of a standalone article. Seraphimblade Talk to me 16:35, 3 October 2018 (UTC)[reply]
Seems a good idea.Slatersteven (talk) 09:22, 9 October 2018 (UTC)[reply]

"Creating doomed permastubs does nobody any favors." - Er; no. A stub article is quite a big deal, and quite a lot different from no article at all. I give you Alexia Bonatsos; not a particularly long article. I didn't write it originally, but I did upload an image for it. The subject got in touch with me, not to make the article longer, but to upload a new image. Then she did it again, a year later. She wasn't all that interested about the text content, but she did want a more recent picture, and went to non-trivial lengths for it. In fact, I even had to prod as to whether she cared that she got married, and her profession and her name had changed in real life and did she want the article changed to reflect those things. And this is a technology journalist, someone who is quite savvy about these things. So, yes, very short articles are important. --GRuban (talk) 17:42, 5 October 2018 (UTC)[reply]

  • I created Margaret Abraham, who passes prof and I keep hoping a sociologist (or anyone really) will un-stub it but it seems to me it's been years. Alanscottwalker (talk) 18:12, 5 October 2018 (UTC)[reply]
Which is an issue with a number of BLP's about academics. Hopefully you can now do a bit more with what I have added.Slatersteven (talk) 09:18, 9 October 2018 (UTC)[reply]
  • I see your anecdote, GRuban, but I don't see where you get from "there's this one stub, among the millions of stubs on Wikipedia, where the subject likes to keep the picture updated but doesn't care about any other content" to "very short articles are important." Ravenswing 20:27, 6 October 2018 (UTC)[reply]
    • Indeed. If anything, it suggests a pandering to vanity rather than that micro-stubs are important. A similar pandering to vanity occurs in a lot of Indian biographical and society articles which, nonetheless, remain as poor as the day they were created. - Sitush (talk) 20:44, 6 October 2018 (UTC)[reply]
    • In re "very short articles are important": GRuban, I have to agree with Ravenswing about this anecdote.  The article is well beyond a doomed permastub, and I don't see any indication in your story that this BLP article has been valuable to anyone, i.e., any reader.  You said that the subject was willing to go to some work to get a more recent photo added, but that's irrelevant. Current version of 265630436 is a doomed permastub: one sentence that says "This is the name for a food in another language". It was eventually merged into a slightly larger subject – which is still a brief stub, but at least with potential for expansion – as should have been done from the beginning. WhatamIdoing (talk) 00:35, 9 October 2018 (UTC)[reply]

Makes sense. OK, let's do something a tad more scientific. Not a lot, of course, since this is an obscure little discussion, and only worth a limited amount of effort, but it is worth some. The contention is "Creating doomed permastubs does nobody any favors. In addition to the internal deletion-related frustrations, readers rarely see those articles, and they are unlikely to be satisfied by them." It's not trivial to test how satisfied readers are, but we can test how often they're seen fairly easily. I went to Category:WikiProject Biography articles and hit "Random page in this category" 5 times, excluded the ones rated as stubs, then wrote down the page views. Then I did the same for Category:Stub-Class biography articles.


  1. Zach Kline, rated Start-class, 626 pageviews latest 30 days
  2. Jack Shackelford, Start-class, 207 pageviews latest 30 days
  3. Bambang Widjojanto, Start-class, 365 pageviews
  4. Joy Alice Hintz, Start-class, 47 pageviews
  5. Ulrich Parzany, Start-class, 53 pageviews


  1. Livia Lancelot, 245 pageviews latest 30 days
  2. Tim Kempton Jr., 377 pageviews latest 30 days
  3. Stanley Allan, 16 pageviews latest 30 days
  4. The Folk Crusaders, 172 pageviews
  5. Ippolit Al'tani, 82 pageviews


  1. It's really hard to find a non Start- or Stub- class biography by hitting "random article"!
  2. The WikiProject Biography Article Assessment is, in my humble opinion, highly questionable - several of the so-called Start class articles are arguably more stubby than several of the so-called Stub articles. But, we work with what we've got.
  3. Start class articles are in general viewed more than stubs, average of 260 pageviews vs 178 pageviews. But less than twice as much more. The highest viewed "Stub" was viewed more than all but one of the "Start"s, and so forth.
  4. Looking a little more closely, it looks like views seem proportional to article length, even more than rating (see point 2, just above). So it looks like we're all right; stubs are not zero value, as long as they're not zero length, but increasing a stub's length seems comparably valuable in terms of getting views to creating a second stub. Which is a good thing; there are those of us who prefer improving existing articles, and there are those who prefer creating new ones. Each seem to create work that will be seen by readers. --GRuban (talk) 12:30, 9 October 2018 (UTC)[reply]

I don't think it's much surprise that views correlate to article length: I imagine how high a page shows up in search engine rankings is the primary factor in how many views it gets (multiplied by how often people search for the subject). I presume the major search engines pay no attention to the article assessment when determining how high a page should be ranked, and that article length has a greater influence. isaacl (talk) 15:18, 9 October 2018 (UTC)[reply]

User:GRuban, you might consider trying Special:RandomInCategory/B-Class biography articles. WhatamIdoing (talk) 18:12, 9 October 2018 (UTC)[reply]
Thanks User:WhatamIdoing. Five more random articles:


  1. Mohamed ElBaradei - 4,141 pageviews in last 30 days
  2. James Wright (historian) - 369 pageviews
  3. Stephanie Messenger - 115 pageviews
  4. Dennis Kucinich - 12,695 pageviews
  5. Thomas Tyra - 73 pageviews

So. These are all noticeably better and longer than the Start/Stub articles, and some have an order of magnitude more pageviews. Some, though, don't. The most popular Stub article has more pageviews than three of these five, even though all three are clearly much longer and better written. Three of the Stubs have more pageviews than two of the B class articles. So, if I were using these as a counterexample, I'd have been much stronger in stating that stubs can be quite valuable. (Also - Stephanie Messenger and Melanie's Marvelous Measles - I learned something today, and really wish I hadn't. Ew.) --GRuban (talk) 20:55, 10 October 2018 (UTC)[reply]

I'm not convinced that "page views" is a good measure of "usefulness". My notion of utility has a lot to do with the educational mission of an encyclopedia. WhatamIdoing (talk) 02:20, 18 October 2018 (UTC)[reply]
An article cannot serve an educational purpose unless it is read. Pageviews is probably the best proxy we have for that function. What other objective measure would you suggest for judging the educational usefulness of an article? - Donald Albury 11:34, 18 October 2018 (UTC)[reply]
A stub that gives an encyclopedic understanding of a significant topic could be "educational" even if only one person reads it. A stub that is full of errors or vandalism probably doesn't meet that goal, no matter how many people read it.
I don't know how we could easily measure that "objectively". It feels like the kind of thing that would require more effort than looking up the page view stats. WhatamIdoing (talk) 02:42, 23 October 2018 (UTC)[reply]
Page views mean nothing. We don't delete articles that have single-figure page views. Notability is not based on popularity. --Masem (t) 13:13, 18 October 2018 (UTC)[reply]
True, of course, but the question we're considering is whether a doomed permastub could be valuable, or if it should be considered non-notable. I'm thinking that doomed permastubs that run along these lines:
  • "Bob was the first white <profession> settler in this part of the US".
  • "Foo is the word for <thing> in the ____ language".
  • "There was a school for almost two years, sometime around 1865, somewhere in central <place>. Nothing else is known, not even its name".
are not educational, not encyclopedic, and not notable. I have not yet thought of a subject about which only a couple of sentence could possibly be written (even if you were given free access to all possible sources on the subject), and that I still think is a notable subject. That is the nature of a "doomed permastub": so little is known about the article that nobody can write down ten verifiable facts about it, and we have no plausible hope that this situation will change during our lifetime. WhatamIdoing (talk) 02:51, 23 October 2018 (UTC)[reply]


This discussion is very interesting, but is hopelessly unfocused across multiple lines of thinking, and is much too long to assess. "The white male perspective" provides a very poor title. Ideas for improving WP:BIO belong at WT:BIO. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 00:35, 8 October 2018 (UTC)[reply]

  • Oppose This always happens whenever anyone tries to discuss notability. The process is going to be messy and that's OK. We all have very different opinions and we are trying to come to consensus on a topic that is controversial. Let's keep the discussion going. Megalibrarygirl (talk) 21:33, 8 October 2018 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support There are now so many suggestions (some of which seem to be more of ma discussion point then a suggestion) it is hard to see now what we are actually "voting" on. At the very least we need to reduce the number of suggested solution.Slatersteven (talk) 09:09, 9 October 2018 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support: the discussion became difficult to follow, as it's unclear what exactly is being proposed. Perhaps an RfC would allow for more structure. --K.e.coffman (talk) 18:18, 20 October 2018 (UTC)[reply]
  • fwiw, I just launched Wikipedia_talk:Notability_(people)#RfC:_Amendment_for_BIO_to_address_systemic_bias_in_the_base_of_sources Jytdog (talk) 01:21, 26 October 2018 (UTC)[reply]
The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.


I have gone through an AFD of an article I created. I have pointed out multiple sources to maybe help save it yet editors are still calling out for it to be merged. My concern is that seems the guideline WP:NTEMP in this case is widely ignored for premature judging on the article scope. Editors are either too busy noticing the imperfect article and/or maybe not noticing that I am pointing out many sources. But either way I feel that this guideline needs to be more out there on helping save an article even when the consensus is not in the article’s favor. Jhenderson 777 02:17, 21 December 2018 (UTC)[reply]

Did you mean WP:NTEMP (or WP:NODEADLINE) ?Staszek Lem (talk) 02:37, 21 December 2018 (UTC)[reply]
Yes. The first one. Jhenderson 777 02:39, 21 December 2018 (UTC)[reply]
I read through the comments and I'm not seeing where WP:NTEMP would apply. Everyone seems on the same page that as part of the Powerpuff Girls, they are absolutely notable. No one seems to be questioning that. The issue is how notable they are individually, which is where WP:NOTINHERITED would come in. If you want to establish their notability outside the group, you need to find independent, reliable secondary sources that feature that individual member, and not focus on the group. I didn't click on every link that you provided, but the ones I did talked about the Powerpuff girls in great detail, but really only mentioned the individual members in passing. I am thinking of two contrasting examples here, one being the Avengers. Clearly they are notable as a group, but go look at the articles on the individual characters and check out what kind of sourcing they have. They are richly featured in media as individuals as well as the larger group. On the other hand, think of the Animaniacs: while they are definitely notable as a group, they are not significantly covered in independent, reliable secondary sources on an individual basis. Accordingly, Yakko, Wakko, and Dot were ultimately redirected to List of Animaniacs characters. CThomas3 (talk) 21:00, 21 December 2018 (UTC)[reply]
This - while I can definitely see arguments that the characters (as a trio) are possibly independent of the show, the sourcing to support that make it difficult to actually separate characters from the show, so it doesn't make much sense to have a wholly separate articles for the characters from the show. (Though as part of a larger character list for the show, sure). In contrast, you get some characters like Walter White (Breaking Bad) or The Doctor (Doctor Who) that, while only associated with one show, have a great deal of discussion of the character that can be clearly independent of the show itself. That's where a separate article can easily be shown. --Masem (t) 21:19, 21 December 2018 (UTC)[reply]
Fine then. If you say so. Meanwhile we got an article on Bliss (The Powerpuff Girls). I guess that means she is notable while the main characters aren’t? Also no linking to Wp:Otherstuffexists. I am well aware of that essay. Jhenderson 777 23:19, 21 December 2018 (UTC)[reply]
Greetings, Jhenderson777. All I was doing was giving you my own personal opinion. It carries no more weight than yours or anyone else's. I didn't say the other main characters aren't notable; I haven't !voted at the AFD, and don't plan to, because I haven't investigated the sources myself. I was merely pointing out that I didn't think NTEMP was the hill to die on, and that your best bet for convincing the others at AFD is to present some sources that speak to the notability of the trio and not just the group as a whole. To answer your other question, yes, it does look like she is notable, given that article survived AFD last year; in fact I might suggest looking at some of the sources in that article and in the AFD and see if they might help your case with the other main characters. Good luck. CThomas3 (talk) 23:40, 21 December 2018 (UTC)[reply]


I have a question regarding this part: "This is not a guarantee that a topic will necessarily be handled as a separate, stand-alone page. Editors may use their discretion to merge or group two or more related topics into a single article." Non-notable topics can also be merged or grouped, then what is the point of showing the topic's notability? Ali Pirhayati (talk) 07:08, 21 December 2018 (UTC)[reply]

Greetings, Pirhayati. If we don't show the topic's notability, it absolutely won't merit its own article, and likely will be redirected or deleted instead of merging. All this is saying is that proving notability will drastically improve the topic's chances being retained as a standalone page, but there are still exceptions. That's why we fall short of guaranteeing it. CThomas3 (talk) 23:53, 21 December 2018 (UTC)[reply]