Wikipedia talk:Notability (geographic features)

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Clarification[edit]

Could someone involved with project please clarify the sentence, "Reliable sources that document and verify governmental recognition of a place, such as a national census, are usually adequate to establish notability?" I'm assuming this means that a reliable secondary source is needed to document or verify the census (a public record, and therefore a primary source), but I'm not entirely sure. Is the "national census" in the sentence the reliable source or the government recognition? Best regards, Fowler&fowler«Talk» 09:04, 19 March 2014 (UTC)

In that sentence, "a national census" is an example of a reliable source that documents and verifies governmental recognition of a place. No other source is necessary to prove governmental recognition. If you have any suggestion for how to reword it to make it more clear, let me know. Kaldari (talk) 20:49, 19 March 2014 (UTC)

Request for comment[edit]

There appears to be consensus for this to be promoted to guideline status. Number 57 12:59, 20 June 2014 (UTC)

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

This is a request to re-promote this page to guideline status. The page was originally promoted in 2012 after a 3 month RfC, but was then unpromoted a month later due to concerns that not enough people participated in the original RfC. The wording of the page has been stable for years and it is frequently cited in deletion discussions even though it is not technically a guideline. There is nothing controversial here. This page consists only of well-established rules of thumb that are already in practice. By promoting them to be official guidelines, we can make the AfD process a bit more efficient and help new administrators learn the ropes more easily. Kaldari (talk) 03:10, 9 May 2014 (UTC)

  • Oppose I don't see it being frequently cited in deletion discussions and, where it is, it does not seem helpful. For example, here's the one example I could find: Selale. A vague wave is made to WP:GEOLAND which is then ignored in favour of the commentator's own personal opinion. I see more reference to WP:STREET which is just some editor's opinion and not a guideline either. See Shattuck Avenue which is rapidly tossed out for this reason. Moreover, the current text of the putative guideline does not seem well drafted. For example, "Populated, legally-recognized places[1] are considered notable". The footnote explains that "The definition of 'legally recognized places' for notability purposes may vary from country to country. For example, in the United States, census tracts are defined by the government and they are typically inhabited, but they are generally not notable." This seems quite confusing and contradictory. This is useless clutter and so WP:CREEP applies. Andrew (talk) 06:54, 9 May 2014 (UTC)
    • From looking at Special:WhatLinksHere, I see at least 100 links to AfD discussions. Regarding the confusing wording, I've fixed it so that it no longer sounds contradictory. Kaldari (talk) 08:05, 9 May 2014 (UTC)
      • Please see below for a summary of the page's use in various AfD discussions. NorthAmerica1000 09:14, 9 May 2014 (UTC)
  • (edit conflict) Comment  I don't see that the essay has gotten beyond the problem that it repeats WP:GNG over and over.  Two specific points, it doesn't have a key essay for streets, WP:STREET, and "The number of known sources should be considered to ensure there is verifiable content for an encyclopedic article." is either a throwback to 2007 when WP:N was a content guideline, or it is a WP:V issue.  With today's wp:notability, topics can be wp:notable without there being sources with which to write an article.  Unscintillating (talk) 07:11, 9 May 2014 (UTC)
  • (edit conflict) Bot needed for cleanup  There is a problem with how this essay is getting added to articles.  I looked at hundreds of links at [1], and there is not a single AfD listed.  Instead there are numerous schools, malls, and even a school faculty group linked.  This diff is where User:BattyBot changed a notability tag for a group of musicians to add this essay, listing the essay as a guideline.  Unscintillating (talk) 07:11, 9 May 2014 (UTC)
    • Yes, people have been linking to this page as if it were already a guideline. That should be a good hint that it's worth promoting (rather than systematically unlinking by BOT). I'm not sure why you weren't able to find any AfD links. There are at least 100 AfD links in that list. Kaldari (talk) 07:54, 9 May 2014 (UTC)
      • Please see below for a summary of the page's use in various AfD discussions. NorthAmerica1000 09:15, 9 May 2014 (UTC)
Doing... tonight to change the malls and schools, and see which other edits by my bot need to be redone. Thank you for alerting me to this issue. GoingBatty (talk) 11:28, 9 May 2014 (UTC)
Yes check.svg Done - Sorry for not doing this sooner. GoingBatty (talk) 05:23, 10 May 2014 (UTC)
  • Comment  Here is where Grutness himself added WP:STREET, in the second edit ever to this Project Page.  Unscintillating (talk) 07:28, 9 May 2014 (UTC)
  • Comment - below is a summary of this proposed guideline and shortcuts to it that have been used in AfD discussions. NorthAmerica1000 09:03, 9 May 2014 (UTC)
Additionally, here are results for
  • Support - per my rationale in the previous RfC and per the statistics above, particularly per the 2,211 uses of Wikipedia:Notability (geography) in AfD discussions. The page is already essentially being used as a guideline in AfD discussions and at this time has significant precedent as such. NorthAmerica1000 09:07, 9 May 2014 (UTC)
  • Support - a de-facto guideline. No specific arguments are given against the particular rules of the guideline which could not be fixed during routine improvements. The argument "it repeats WP:GNG over and over" does not invalidate the fact that the page has rules beyond GNG. And repetition of GNG is actually good, to remove doubts as to whether some objects are something special (which had happened in AfD pages). Staszek Lem (talk) 17:57, 9 May 2014 (UTC)
  • Support. A clear and commonsense proposal, this should be a guideline and is already used as such. --LT910001 (talk) 05:28, 10 May 2014 (UTC)
  • I'd support promoting parts of this to guideline status, but I'm not sure that it's ready. In the "Buildings and objects" section there's the sentence: "Artificial geographical features that are officially assigned the status of cultural or national heritage or of any other protected status are inherently notable." For the most important heritage sites that's probably correct, but there are lower levels of protection which don't meet notability, making this misleading. The sentence about excluding micronations also seems unnecessary (as in most cases they are populated places without legal recognition); is there a reason for it? Peter James (talk) 22:21, 10 May 2014 (UTC)
re: "protected status". Good catch of a WP:WEASEL; easily fixed: I added clarification "of national level". Staszek Lem (talk) 23:07, 10 May 2014 (UTC)
National level could still include Grade II Listed buildings or similar status, and most are not notable. Peter James (talk) 09:09, 11 May 2014 (UTC)
I see. Let's discuss it in a separate section. Staszek Lem (talk) 21:24, 11 May 2014 (UTC)
re: "micronations, reason for exclusion of": let me ask you back: why would you want to include them into this policy? There was silent consensus. I guess people had different reasons to consent on their exclusion. In my view, micronations are more from realm of fantasy, cosplay, kookery, etc., and I don't want even to start thinking about specific rules for their notability. Staszek Lem (talk) 23:07, 10 May 2014 (UTC)
I wouldn't specifically include them, but for some of them this seems to be a suitable subject-specific page. Many are a combination of geography and organisation, similar to local government districts, only not legally recognised as places. Peter James (talk) 09:09, 11 May 2014 (UTC)
  • fact check  Using the prefix tool suggested above, I ran the search on the name of the Project Page, "Notability (geographic features)".  This search returns seven hits, only one of which postdates the decision to restore this Project Page with essay status on 2013-01-18.  This one remaining case was on 2013-01-22, so it has been sixteen months since the name of this essay was mentioned in an AfD.  Unscintillating (talk) 22:48, 10 May 2014 (UTC)
    • check of fact check - A clueless suggestion and no wonder a totally wrong result. Try "What links here" link and be surprized. Staszek Lem (talk) 23:11, 10 May 2014 (UTC)
  • I probably should have rounded down to fifteen months instead of rounding up to sixteen, but that doesn't change the evidence that the name of this essay has not been mentioned in an AfD since January 2013.  Is this significant?  That is for discussion, which a statement of fact is not, but your adversarial response indicates that you think that this is a significant fact.  Unscintillating (talk) 01:40, 11 May 2014 (UTC)
    • This you first confusion: wikipedians are lazy (in a good sense) and don't care to type the name of the essay. They use shortcuts (surprize! ( [sic])). Staszek Lem (talk) 20:21, 11 May 2014 (UTC)
  • Statements of fact do not have confusion.  It is an adversarial viewpoint that brings the concept of "confusion" to this discussion.  The statement of fact remains.  Unscintillating (talk) 22:57, 11 May 2014 (UTC)
  • The premise above is "wikipedians are lazy (in a good sense) and don't care to type the name of the essay. They use shortcuts..."  By implication, Wikipedia editors do not use the proper (longer) name of a Project Page when they can use shortcuts.  The implication predicts that editors use "WP:IAR", and not "Wikipedia:Ignore all rules".  Fact check:
  1. WP:IAR 1,156 cases (the predicted usage)
  2. Wikipedia:IAR 3 cases (unpredicted)
  3. WP:Ignore all rules 43 cases (unpredicted)
  4. Wikipedia:Ignore all rules 85 cases (unpredicted)
Unscintillating (talk) 22:57, 11 May 2014 (UTC)
  • The confusion is not your fact, but an apparent interpretation of the fact, if taken for ultimate Truth. Specifically, that the name of the essay was not mentioned does not mean that the essay was not mentioned or linked. Hence, the "fact" is misleading, if taken in isolation. You didn't even bother to consider that the page had other names. P.S. Your exercise with IAR means what? That you can conduct search correctly after all? Then why didn't you report the info about this page in the same format? Highly selective facts breed confusion and mistrust. Staszek Lem (talk) 23:47, 11 May 2014 (UTC)
  • If there are insufficiencies in my formatting and search selections, I'm sorry; perhaps the previous poster can do better.  Escalating by using the word "mistrust" is a reason for the previous poster to step away from this discussion.  It also seems odd that with almost no previous contact between the two of us, the previous poster has taken a recent interest in an article listed at User:Unscintillating.  The statement of fact remains.  Unscintillating (talk) 07:05, 12 May 2014 (UTC)
  • Appeals to excrement do not advance the discussion.  Unscintillating (talk) 07:05, 12 May 2014 (UTC)
  • Earlier the previous poster wanted me to look in the What Links Here and thought I would be surprised.  Now the previous poster wants editors to look at the What Links Here with selective attention.  Unscintillating (talk) 07:05, 12 May 2014 (UTC)
  • Suggestion that @BattyBot: self-revert changes to add the WP:Notability (geographic features) notability tags. 
  1. For one, this has not been a guideline since January 2013, so I think that the changes made in December 2012 have been erroneous for over a year.
  2. BattyBot is second-guessing the original post, which may have really intended WP:GNG notability, and BattyBot doesn't change the date that the tag was added.  BattyBot doesn't have the judgement to know if a topic like a church is better listed as a building or as an organization.
  3. Editors are implying that the changes BattyBot has made show widespread interest in this essay, so the changes are confounding the level of interest in this essay.
Unscintillating (talk) 01:40, 11 May 2014 (UTC)
I have been running BattyBot to set one of the parameters of Template:Notability to link to this guideline. Before more mass reversions, let's see whether the consensus is to remove the parameter from Template:Notability (which makes reversions moot) or the page is promoted to guideline status (and a subset of the edits should be reverted), or something else. Thanks! GoingBatty (talk) 01:59, 11 May 2014 (UTC)
I have replied at User talk:GoingBattyUnscintillating (talk) 14:48, 11 May 2014 (UTC)
  • Possible contradiction with existing guideline: see Wikipedia talk:Notability (organizations and companies) - although a change may be needed there, not here. Peter James (talk) 09:38, 11 May 2014 (UTC)
    • It is a well-established consensus that e.g, organizations and buildings they occupy have independent notability status. Staszek Lem (talk) 20:24, 11 May 2014 (UTC)
  • Comment before this can be approved, the language should be adjusted to talk about "presumed" notability (the condition to create the stand-alone article) as to match with WP:N and other subject-specific notability guidelines. --MASEM (t) 20:26, 11 May 2014 (UTC)
    • Please describe the problem. Staszek Lem (talk) 20:53, 11 May 2014 (UTC)
      • If you review the other notability guidelines, language is stated something like "A topic is presumed notable if...". The reason we state that is that there can be exceptional cases where even though the condition on this page is met, if there's no significant sourcing , that presumption can be fairly challenged via AFD or other means. These guidelines (the ones above and beyond the base WP:N) are meant to define cases that should be able to product viable encyclopdic articles given enough time (per WP:DEADLINE) to do so; the presumption concept means the initial claim that these were notable can possibly be wrong. --MASEM (t) 21:45, 11 May 2014 (UTC)
        • Well, why don't you just do it? Sounds noncontroversial, so hardly a need to hinder this RFC by something easily done. Staszek Lem (talk) 22:23, 11 May 2014 (UTC)
          • The problem is that this is presently written that they are not presented in the same format as the other subject-specific guidelines, so rewritting to set that format could affect the present discussion. --MASEM (t) 01:02, 12 May 2014 (UTC)
            • In other words, you want a yet another round of bureaucracy: proposal rejected -> criticism fixed -> proposal re-submitted, right? Well, see you next year same place here again, then :-) Staszek Lem (talk) 01:30, 12 May 2014 (UTC)
              • I'm not rejecting this on that principle just that once the ideas of what should be included have stablized by this discussion the next step is to clean up the langauge to match the consensus and what other notability guidelines present, double check that it reads fine, and then promote. I or anyone else could be bold and rewrite this now, but there's also a good amount of disagreement points being made that any rewrite should hold off until the core details that should be in here are fixed. --MASEM (t) 01:41, 12 May 2014 (UTC)
                • In this case, for the purposes of easily tracking pro/contra, why don't you modify your beginning statement of this thread to something like "***Conditionally support***, predicated on rewriting in terms of "presumed notability...."? Staszek Lem (talk) 01:24, 13 May 2014 (UTC)
  • I've been working on some more numbers for recent AfDs.  The guideline was changed to essay status on 18 January 2013.  The following results are where the reference is later than or equal to 18 January 2013, and the reference is not by someone who has already !voted here:
  1. WP:Notability (geographic features), 1 case (as reported above)
  2. WP:Notability (geography), 0 cases
  3. WP:NGEO, 36 cases
  4. WP:NGEOG, 3 cases
  5. WP:GEOLAND, 21 cases
  6. WP:GEOFEAT, 12 cases
  7. WP:GEOROAD, 0 cases
Unscintillating (talk) 07:05, 12 May 2014 (UTC)
  • support It is not surprising that a non-guideline is not often cited. The question is does the proposed guideline have valuable guidance in it, and I think it does. Gaijin42 (talk) 17:01, 12 May 2014 (UTC)
  • Support about time someone started this discussion so that we can avoid all the wasted time at AFD when people debate whether a village with 50 people or what have you is notable. Carlossuarez46 (talk) 06:35, 14 May 2014 (UTC)
  • Comment I am the one editor who mentioned this former guideline at Selale; I argued for deletion despite this. This page is too broad in its criteria for inclusion, for my liking. (Even a village with a population of 4 persons would be considered notable.) We need a guideline for geographic places and I'd rather have some guideline than none at all. Chris Troutman (talk) 07:18, 14 May 2014 (UTC)
    • re: "4 persons": This is a perennial philosophical question: how many grains of sand makes it a hill. :-) Please notice an important caveat in the guideline "...with verifiable information beyond simple statistics". Yes, we would like to know even about ghost towns, if there is anything to say about them. Staszek Lem (talk) 18:37, 15 May 2014 (UTC)
      • @Staszek Lem: But that caveat is the problem, as Gigs points out. We consider Nobel prize winners notable, even if the subject has only a single reference. If enough references exist we don't need a SNG; we just use GNG. I want an SNG but this isn't written well enough. Chris Troutman (talk) 00:50, 16 May 2014 (UTC)
        • If enough refs exist we don't need SNG nowhere, not only for NGEO. The caveat is specific for geo features, because for them there are usually numerous maps, lists, navigation tables, etc. The caveat is twofold: it specifically dismisses maps and tables no matter now many of them (tables may be published annually, so you can have a hundred RSes for a river bank). On the other hand, if there is even a shred of non-trivial information, then we presume notablitity. As a final stroke, it is well-known that presumed notability is a not a 100% pass to wikipedia, so this 4-man village may still be deleted in AfD. Staszek Lem (talk) 15:55, 16 May 2014 (UTC)
          • Changing to Oppose the nom Staszek Lem has successfully argued me into opposition. Chris Troutman (talk) 16:12, 16 May 2014 (UTC)
            • Out of curiosity: which argument of Kaldari (the nom) convince you? Staszek Lem (talk) 16:34, 16 May 2014 (UTC)
              • @Staszek Lem: My mistake, I assumed this was your idea. You chased me from support with your nonsense argument above. I am willing to support a good SNG. I don't know how you think this plan makes any sense and at this point I don't care. Chris Troutman (talk) 17:07, 16 May 2014 (UTC)
                • Thank you, a very convincing counter-argument, especially coming off a keyboard of a "Wikipedia Visiting Scholar". I am OK if you do not explain why you dislike me, but for the purpose of this discussion you still did not explain what's wrong with a village with 4 dwellers, if there is nontrivial information about it. Staszek Lem (talk) 23:47, 17 May 2014 (UTC)
  • Support, essentially per comments by Northamerica1000, above. Cheers, — Cirt (talk) 18:01, 14 May 2014 (UTC)
  • Strongly Oppose This guideline serves no purpose.
    • "Populated, legally-recognized places", and "Major highways" are inherently notable, and every other heading on the page basically says "must meet the GNG". That's the entire guideline. Everything else is completely redundant with other guidelines. If there isn't already a sentence/small section in the GNG to this effect, we could just add it.
    • This isn't an SNG in the normal sense. It's only real purpose is to document a long-standing exception to all notability requirements taken from the "gazetteer" function. This is another reason it should just merit a sentence or two in GNG, not be a separate guideline.
    • In general, I oppose the entire idea of SNGs, however, even if you do support them, this should not be one, for the reasons outlined above. Gigs (talk) 19:15, 15 May 2014 (UTC)
      • This is an understandable position. Instruction creep is generally disliked. However many people consider SNGs to be time savers in AfD discussions (e.g. "oppose per WP:SNG_XXX, bullet 27"). Even if someone here considers my wiewpoint stupid, I still think that at least this SNG is a condensed wisdom of past outcomes of AfDs, rather than something crafted just for fun of bureaucracy. Staszek Lem (talk) 23:47, 17 May 2014 (UTC)
      • Comment: @Gigs: Actually, it may be a very good idea to carve out a non-controversial core of this proposal into a paragraph in the GNG. Can you make a formal suggestion in the GNG talk page? Staszek Lem (talk) 23:59, 17 May 2014 (UTC)
Oppose: Tries to carve out a notability exemption based on a place being legally recognized as opposed to it being discussed in reliable sources. That's perilously close to inherent notability, and nothing is inherently notable.—Kww(talk) 04:23, 16 May 2014 (UTC)
  • There is nothing "as opposed" in this policy. In addition, it is ridiculous to oppose "legal recognition" against "reliable sources". If it is legally recognized, there must be legal, hence reliable sources, right? Staszek Lem (talk) 23:47, 17 May 2014 (UTC)
  • Legal recognition does not say that anyone has discussed the topic. An entry in a census or atlas is not a discussion.—Kww(talk) 00:14, 18 May 2014 (UTC)
    • @Kww : First, I am glad that we agree about census or atlas. However in fact I don't think we have a disagreement about the first item either. Please recall that the policy is stated in terms of "presumed notability". Within wikipedia this means the notability has a good chance, but still not guaranteed. In the context of this guideline we merely say that (a) legally recognized settlements have reasonable chance (but not guaranteed) to have reliable information available and (b) the guideline expressly requires information beyond stats from atlases or census tables. Please notice that the GNG clause "Significant coverage" addresses the topic directly and in detail" does not exclude tables and censuses: they indeed cover the subject in minute detail. And the latter fact is the root of my interest in this guideline: to fix this omission (and not the desire to push for nonnotable 4-dweller settlements as some concluded). Staszek Lem (talk) 18:33, 18 May 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose, a subject is notable if and only if it has been substantially noted. That's perfectly well described at GNG. Subguidelines confuse this simple principle and we need less of them, not more. Like everything else we do, to determine if something is notable, we look at the references (or in this case, lack thereof). Seraphimblade Talk to me 04:27, 16 May 2014 (UTC)
    • Sigh An apple is tasty if and only if it tastes good. Right. Great logic. Yes, references is the foremost policy in wikipedia. This guideline is intended to clarify which references are to be considered. For example, a creek is not notable no matter how many maps show it. And so on. I may agree that this guideline is not perfect. Please explain what is confusing in it, and we will try to fix it. Staszek Lem (talk) 23:47, 17 May 2014 (UTC)
  • Support, because it is useful and per comments by Northamerica1000. --Bejnar (talk) 02:31, 17 May 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose  This is an essay, with editors with a GNG-centric POV seeking to convince other editors to share their viewpoint.  That which is claimed in the OP to be stable, is perhaps also described as ignored.  For example, the What Links Here has been ignored for over a year.  I'm the only editor who has tried to get something done about it.  GoingBatty initially helped with cleanup, but doesn't want to put any more time into the effort without this being a guideline.  If the RfC fails, it is my understanding that Template:Notability will be changed to ignore this essay, and all of the related What Links Here problems will quietly go awayUnscintillating (talk) 00:48, 19 May 2014 (UTC)
  • I struck the part about quietly going away.  I don't know how that will work, and perhaps it will need discussion.  Unscintillating (talk) 23:21, 19 May 2014 (UTC)
  • Support as it's useful and well It's about time someone created this!. →Davey2010→→Talk to me!→ 00:26, 20 May 2014 (UTC)
  • I have proposed merging a concise version of the relevant parts of this proposal into WP:N at Wikipedia_talk:Notability#Adding_a_small_sentence_about_geography Gigs (talk) 17:12, 20 May 2014 (UTC)
  • support as with all notability guidelines, it complements, rather than supersedes WP:GNG. it simply suggests how to properly apply the existing primary guidelines. it does not establish any special requirements for notability. pertsonally, i find that geographic feature notability is confusing as-is. -- Aunva6talk - contribs 23:50, 27 May 2014 (UTC)
  • tentative support in the interests of promoting clarity and nonambiguity. Is commonsense. GNG is only grudgingly consented to by editors of either extreme in inclusionism or deletionism. Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 22:20, 30 May 2014 (UTC)
  • Support - This seems like a well-written SNG. Carrite (talk) 17:35, 1 June 2014 (UTC)
  • Support. This seems well thought out. --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| reply here 02:15, 3 June 2014 (UTC)
  • Support. Very clear and helpful. A model example of how a SNG should be written. SilkTork ✔Tea time 08:28, 3 June 2014 (UTC)
  • Support. I was about to say more or less what SilkTork just did. — Scott talk 09:33, 3 June 2014 (UTC)
  • Strong support because Wikipedia is a gazetteer too. Also, a well-thought-out SNG per SilkTork. --Jakob (talk) 11:54, 3 June 2014 (UTC)
  • Strong Oppose Serves no purpose per User:Gigs. Me5000 (talk) 23:12, 3 June 2014 (UTC)
  • Support - as with all such SNGs, the proof will be in the pudding. This has the potential to become a useful shorthand for consensus that generally exists already. I understand those who suggest this serves no real purpose - it doesn't really say anything that isn't already said elsewhere but it does bring it together nicely. It's nicely written and well thought out. If it is consistently misused or misinterpreted it can always be demoted. Stlwart111 11:16, 5 June 2014 (UTC)
  • Support as nominator Considering how frequently geographic features are discussed at AfD, I think having a set of guidelines will be very useful for Wikipedia. At this point the wording has been well-tuned over several years of discussion, and I think that it accurately reflects the general consensus of those discussions. The fact that it often reiterates the GNG is a feature, not a bug. In many cases referring people to the GNG is the best course of action. Kaldari (talk) 17:34, 5 June 2014 (UTC)
  • Support per above. Enough of people trying to override community consensus by saying "It's just an essay". Ansh666 02:01, 6 June 2014 (UTC)
  • Support, broad enough for my taste but still reasonable, understands that WP also includes gazeteer-like information, it is used already in AfD, it also recognizes some embryonic degree of intrinsic notability, which is a good thing in my book (I know some people disagree). Good.--cyclopiaspeak! 15:18, 11 June 2014 (UTC)
  • Support, since it already seems to be used as a guideline and would make a good supplemental notability guideline. APerson (talk!) 20:17, 12 June 2014 (UTC)
  • Support about time. §FreeRangeFrogcroak 06:23, 13 June 2014 (UTC)
  • Support A well considered and indubitably useful proposal.  Philg88 talk 04:18, 16 June 2014 (UTC)
  • Support as above. I am adding this so that the PTB (Powers That Be) will know that one more person read through all this and was not persuaded that there was a significant problem with this being a guideline. --Bejnar (talk) 09:03, 17 June 2014 (UTC)
  • Strong oppose. The proposed guideline basically boils down to "Populated, legally recognised places and major highways are inherently notable". But this is too vague. What's the dividing line between a highway and a major highway? "Legally recognised" is left undefined. On the one hand, it might apply to any parcel of land (if a building has been sold in modern times, this entails it being "legally recognised"). On the other, it might be taken to mean places on some sort of official list of places. Which would be fine if all countries in the world kept such a list, but many don't. So there's an issue of systematic bias. Individual dwellings in one country might be inherently notable, whereas a town of 20,000 people in another might need to meet GNG. Why would this make sense? If I can produce a court document referring to a large quantity of banknotes having been found "at the back of Formerip's garage", does this make the back of my garage a legally recognised place for the purposes of the guideline?
Overall, the proposed guideline is not sufficiently clear to helpful in a dispute, which is the acid-test for whether it would be worth having. Formerip (talk) 14:39, 19 June 2014 (UTC)
@FormerIP: These are guidelines, not binding legislation. They are meant to be used with a grain of common sense. As to systemic bias, you claim that "many" countries do not have lists of populated places. As the author of several "List of municipalities in..." articles, I find this hard to believe. Even small developing countries normally have censuses. Institutions like the IMF and World Bank require such data. Do you have any examples of such countries? Kaldari (talk) 18:00, 19 June 2014 (UTC)
"A grain of common sense" is one thing, but what we have here is proposed guidance which is just completely vague. It doesn't provide any actual guidance, because it is hard to imagine any geographical place that has not been "legally recognised" in some sense. I suspect the example of the census illustrates the systematic bias problem. I'm only guessing, so apologies if I have this wrong. Is it that the US census provides data on individual settlements and neighbourhoods, and you are assuming everywhere else in the world does things the same way? They don't. In the UK, for example, they just divide the country up semi-arbitrarily, using Local Authority boundaries as a guide, and giving geographic areas at a "zoomed in" level alphanumeric codes, which may but in most cases don't conform to "real" geography. Some fairly large towns like Brighton and Huddersfield don't officially exist as far as the census is concerned. Formerip (talk) 18:40, 19 June 2014 (UTC)
@FormerIP:re: hard to imagine any geographical place that has not been "legally recognised" first, only populated places are about being "legally recognized". Second, it is not so hard to imagine ones (I mean pop places, not geo places), and even so, it is even the better: this is precisely the intention: wikipedian community decided they want to know all places where people live. Census is but one example of references of legal recognition. Third, how notability of Huddersfield is prevented by this guideline? Staszek Lem (talk) 19:02, 19 June 2014 (UTC)
By the way, of course, you may call "Formerip's garage" and even "Formerip's couch" a populated place, but this is not what is usually thought. And if you start an article Formerip's couch arguing it was legally recognized, because you can provide legal documents you received it as a divorce settlement, you will be a laughing stock. Staszek Lem (talk) 19:02, 19 June 2014 (UTC)
re: is just completely vague. Please provide a real-world example where the guideline will not work, and we will try to improve it. Otherwise your objection is just as well vague. Staszek Lem (talk) 19:02, 19 June 2014 (UTC)
Here's a real world example of how this guideline does work. In the country of Belize there are hundreds of villages. Some of these villages have thousands of people, some of them are just tiny informal farming communities. Without this guideline it is very hard to determine which are notable enough to have articles and which aren't (without scouring through obscure sources, many of which aren't online and aren't in English). There are, however, two official government lists of municipalities in Belize, one for village election results (compiled every 4 years), and one for the census (every 10 years). By combining those two lists we have a simple litmus test for which villages should probably have articles and which ones shouldn't. I would also like to hear an example of a real-world case where this guideline doesn't work. Kaldari (talk) 19:53, 19 June 2014 (UTC)
What you've described isn't a real world example of the proposal working, because there are too many ifs and supposes involved. Firstly, you've introduced a definition of "legally recognised" which is specific to Belize and isn't set out in the guideline. So, we need to make an assumption that there is no competing definition in the case of Belize. Because your way might seem tidy to you, but the guideline itself doesn't prevent me from saying "OK, my village may not feature in the census, but it received an official visit from the agriculture minister last year, so that constitutes legal recognition". Then there's the question of how well the lists reflect real geography. Is the electoral list actually a list of settlements, or is it a list of electoral districts which may take the name of a settlement? Do they reliably take the name of the most significant settlement within them, or might we be inadvertently promoting hamlets at the expense of towns? Do we have reason to suppose that appearing on one of the lists is a strong indication of the notability of a settlement, or is it little more than a blind guess, an arbitrary way of deciding because we don't have anything better to go off? I notice that we don't appear to have articles for any of the electoral divisions of Davenport, Iowa, for example, but we do have articles for various neighbourhoods not recognised for the purposes of elections. Given that it is the electoral divisions that should have inherent notability, are we doing this wrongly?
Even if there are good answers to all of these questions, all it means is that the proposed guidance is sort of, maybe helpful in the case of Belize. But that is not enough. As I've already indicated, the same approach would take us nowhere in the case of the UK, for instance, because areas recognised for the purposes of censuses and elections do not map well to what is and isn't a significant geographic entity. Formerip (talk) 21:40, 19 June 2014 (UTC)

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

Inherent notability of protected objects[edit]

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section. A summary of the conclusions reached follows.
Issue resolved: No inherent notability for anything.

Singled out of the RFC section. Here is the start of the discussion, copied for convenience:

  • I'd support promoting parts of this to guideline status, but I'm not sure that it's ready. In the "Buildings and objects" section there's the sentence: "Artificial geographical features that are officially assigned the status of cultural or national heritage or of any other protected status are inherently notable." For the most important heritage sites that's probably correct, but there are lower levels of protection which don't meet notability, making this misleading. The sentence about excluding micronations also seems unnecessary (as in most cases they are populated places without legal recognition); is there a reason for it? Peter James (talk) 22:21, 10 May 2014 (UTC)
re: "protected status". Good catch of a WP:WEASEL; easily fixed: I added clarification "of national level". Staszek Lem (talk) 23:07, 10 May 2014 (UTC)
National level could still include Grade II Listed buildings or similar status, and most are not notable. Peter James (talk) 09:09, 11 May 2014 (UTC)

I see at least the following options:

  • Remove the phrasing "or of any other..."
  • Clarify the level of protected status that decides inherent notability,
    • Likely, on a per-country basis
    • Possibly mention that this list of protections is subject to expansion basing on consensus (or not; since it is actually how wikipedia works)
  • Clarify that an item protection was based on its individual merits, rather than because of simply being a representative of historical panorama or "age or rarity", etc.

Ping user:Peter James. - Staszek Lem (talk) 21:22, 11 May 2014 (UTC)

By country may be the only option, apart from removing this entirely, unless AFD outcomes no longer reflect consensus. Natural features with protected status may need mentioning somewhere, as they are in the {{nutshell}} but not in the text of the page. Peter James (talk) 23:07, 11 May 2014 (UTC)
  • Object to the term "inherently" notable - While things may be practically inherently notable, this is not a phrase we want to use as a notability criteria. I've boldly edited the page to say that some things are almost always considered notable if their existence can be verified, leaving room for the rare counter-example. davidwr/(talk)/(contribs) 21:12, 12 May 2014 (UTC)
    • Sorry, reverted. The "inherently" stayed during years of discussion. To tilt the consensus you will need arguments stronger than "not a phrase we want". Every wikipedia policy has "rare counter-examples", and there is nothing wrong with this. Staszek Lem (talk) 00:08, 13 May 2014 (UTC)
      • We do not have the concept of inherited notability, anywhere; this is where "presumed notable" would be used instead. --MASEM (t) 00:14, 13 May 2014 (UTC)
        • You mean "inherent notability". Well, I don't see why this guideline is not allowed to have something special. Please see my next comment and please provide a convincing argument why the concept of "inherent notability" is bad. Staszek Lem (talk) 00:26, 13 May 2014 (UTC)
      • @Staszek Lem: Wikipedia:Notability (organizations and companies), Wikipedia:Notability (web)#No inherent notability, and Wikipedia:Notability (astronomical objects)#No inherent notability are 3 existing notability guidelines that explicitly point out that there is not inherent notability within those topics. As Masem pointed out, "presumed notable" is a better term for classes of things that are so rarely non-notable that the burden of proof is on the person that claims it is not notable to say "I tried to find significant coverage of this thing, and couldn't." davidwr/(talk)/(contribs) 00:20, 13 May 2014 (UTC)
        • Well, only 3 guidelines explicitly forbid inherent notability. This argumernt is kinda WP:OTHERSTUFFEXISTS. Why 1 or more policies cannnot explicitly allow? Staszek Lem (talk) 00:29, 13 May 2014 (UTC)
          • There are a few classes of things which even poorly-sourced entries will be considered "notable" if taken to AFD. Conventional/comprehensive/general-purpose diploma-granting secondary schools, astronomical bodies with generally-recognized names, species whose existence is generally accepted, and the geographic features listed on this proposed guideline. While some Wikipedia essays use the term "inherent notability" to describe such categories, there is a long-standing practice of using the term "presumed notable" or some similar phrase rather than "inherent notability," at least in guidelines. The danger of using a term like "inherent notability" in a guideline like this, where it might actually fit, is that it opens the door to WP:CREEP and in a few years, things like "bands that played multi-national tours" will be considered "inherently notable" even if the "tour" consisted of all-sub-100-person venues and neither the tour nor the band has ever received any non-routine, non-promotional coverage (but it has received routine/mere-mention-level coverage from reliable, independent sources, meeting WP:VERIFY). We can use a term like "presumed notable" to avoid this CREEP. davidwr/(talk)/(contribs) 00:46, 13 May 2014 (UTC)
            • Now I understand your point better, thank you. If I understand you correctly, I will agree that the term "inherently notable" may be safely replaced with "presumed notable". Now I see that the only difference being is that the class of "inherently notable" topics in this guideline is the topics which are "presumed notable" per se, without any further conditions (other than satisfaction of the WP content policies). Staszek Lem (talk) 01:16, 13 May 2014 (UTC)
              • Thanks for understanding. Just to provide further clarification as to why I am against the use of the term "inherent notability" in Wikipedia: The English-language term "inherently" means "xxxxx is true and it always will be." The English-language term "presumed" means "we can presume/assume that xxxxx is true until proven otherwise." It clearly leaves open the theoretical (or actual) possibility of an exception as part of the guideline itself. Using the term "inherently" would force those who wanted to call out an exception to point to the fact that "a guideline is just a guideline, not a policy." It's far better to explicitly allow for such exceptions such we know that sooner or later one will almost certainly crop up. davidwr/(talk)/(contribs) 17:14, 13 May 2014 (UTC)
      • Further clarification for newly arrived people: Most "notability" guidelines are basically shortcuts to arguments commonly used in AfD discussions, rather than something invented on the fly. A time-saver, I would say. All "notability" guidelines are trumped by major policies, in particular, by WP:VERIFIABILITY. Now, when we say here that something is "inherently notable", it basically means we strongly want a wikipedia article on the subject, even it is poorly referenced at a given moment, however scarce information is available. Nevertheless if someone convincingly proves that e.g., there are no reliable sources on the subject, then of course the article will be deleted regardless guidelines. @davidwr: I think this consideration fairly covers your expected "rare counter-examples". If not, please explain what other situations you have in mind. Staszek Lem (talk) 00:26, 13 May 2014 (UTC)
        • That's pretty much a very wrongly skewed version of notability guidelines. They may bore out from AFD discussions, but they are generally created predicated on discussion on whether a class of articles are worthy for inclusion, not because AFDs closed a certain way. --MASEM (t) 00:34, 13 May 2014 (UTC)
          • That's pretty much very wrongly skewed interpretation of what I wrote. Let me rephrase: A specific notability guideline is not being born by a troika who decided let's have a notability guideline for pizza nuts. In majority of cases it is based on a preexisting consensus of arguments for a particular category of articles. Of course I have no intention to argue that the final guideline is "predicated on discussion"; that's how wikipedia works, right? And yes precisely because AFDs usually closed a certain way. Statistics of thousands of AfD discussions trumps any consensus of a Committee of Seven, who happen to frequent a particular essay, unless someone has a solid argument to argue that previous AfD closures were all wrong. Staszek Lem (talk) 01:08, 13 May 2014 (UTC)
      • @Staszek Lem: In light of the discussion above, I have made a 2nd edit, this time replacing the term "inherently notable" with "presumed notable" or something equivalent. In the context of the overall document, the phrase "considered notable," when used without any qualification like "usually" means the same thing as "presumed notable." I would have no objection to a purely clerical harmonizing of the document, replacing unqualified used of "considered notable" with "presumed notable" or vice-versa. Any replacement of a qualified use of either term should be done with care, so the meanings aren't changed. Please wait 24 hours before making such changes to see if anyone has any objections or any better suggestions. davidwr/(talk)/(contribs) 17:30, 13 May 2014 (UTC)

The above discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section.


Added section" Sources"[edit]

I think this section is necessary, because I recall several cases when an article had no references other than an image of a map where a certain geographic location was marked, with subsequent long original research, kinda "the XXX in on the bank of ZZZ creek, 50mi west of TTT and 15mi north of Sss, just off Highway 3057". Staszek Lem (talk) 16:18, 16 May 2014 (UTC)

It also clarifies the phrase "information beyond simple statistics" from the 'nutshell' note. Staszek Lem (talk) 16:29, 16 May 2014 (UTC)

Except, the section contradicts other portions of the page in a few places. Ansh666 08:24, 13 June 2014 (UTC)
Whoa, whoa, Staszek, slow down. The way I read it, you've fundamentally changed the meaning here - by what you've added, many legally-recognized populated places (or once-populated places) are now non-notable because the sole reliable sources are census tables and such (see, for example, Nancy, Washington). Ansh666 03:06, 14 June 2014 (UTC)
Nope. The whole point is that legally recognized places are presumed notable regardless sources. Reliable sources are necessary for the fundamental policy of WP:VERIFY/WP:RS: no sources - no article regardless notability. Staszek Lem (talk) 00:35, 17 June 2014 (UTC)
@Staszek Lem: This isn't the way I'm seeing it. I see it the way Ansh666 does. The section should be removed or you should edit it to clarify this. --Jakob (talk) 08:51, 17 June 2014 (UTC)
Please explain how they become non-notable, since this guideline specifically declares them notable whenever verifiable. Please explain your reasoning, so that I can address your concern properly. While explaining, please keep in mind that WP:GNG will exclude these sources as well, since they do not provide "significant coverage". Staszek Lem (talk) 16:21, 17 June 2014 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Hence why I said it contradicts other parts of the page. What the guideline says is that verifiablity == presumed notability. What you've added states the opposite - certain sources can be used to establish verifiability, but not notability, which implies that notability is no longer presumed. And, WP:GNG doesn't apply when there is a more specific notability guideline (used in the general sense, in this case) to follow. For a shining example, see WP:PORNBIO, which has been hotly debated many times - its standards for notability are far lower than WP:GNG in most cases. Ansh666 17:14, 17 June 2014 (UTC)

The part you probably interpreted as "verifiability == presumed notability" was my last sloppy (and reverted) edit of the guideline. Verifiability is an independent, fundamental policy without which article cannot exist. It should not be conflated with the issue of notability. I can verifiablty prove, from multiple sources, that my house exists, but it does not become notable. However this guideline makes an exception for legal populated places. Their notability is presumed on the basis of this guideline (based on the past community practice), so I don't see any contradiction. I agree with your remarks about WP:GNG and WP:PORNBIO. What I said is that unlike WP:PORNBIO, WP:NGEO does not decrease the sourcing standards compared to GNG, except for some cases. Staszek Lem (talk) 18:32, 17 June 2014 (UTC)
Actually, you're right. The guideline doesn't even mention that legally recognized, populated places have to be verifiable anymore, after you removed that bit. Regardless, I'm not following your argument - what you've added seems to say that they are not presumed notable. This is from the last stable version (before February of this year): "Reliable sources that document and verify governmental recognition of a place, such as a national census, are usually adequate to establish notability." So, you removed this, added something which states the contrary, and say that there's no difference? Also, it's those cases where the guideline decreases the GNG standards that I'm specifically talking about here. Ansh666 17:02, 19 June 2014 (UTC)
@Ansh666:re: "...does not mention... have to be verifiable..." Neither it mentions other core wikipedia content policies, and rightly so. Staszek Lem (talk) 18:45, 19 June 2014 (UTC)
The removed phrase is redundant and in fact blurry. Once again: the common consensus, based on AfD outcomes is that legally recognized places are presumed notable without any extra conditions. The "reliable sources that..." are meant to establish legal recognition, per WP:V. Staszek Lem (talk) 18:45, 19 June 2014 (UTC)
re: "something which states the contrary": it states the contrary only if taken out of context. For legal pop places the "something" is irrelevant for notability, as I explained, and for the rest this "something" is exactly the intention from the very beginning (as seen in phrases of kind "beyond simple statistics", etc.). Staszek Lem (talk) 18:45, 19 June 2014 (UTC)
I am suggesting to add the following phrase, modifying the missing one you mention, to clarify the role of the sources here: The legal recognition of the populated place must be confirmed by reliable references to governmental sources, such as census data. Staszek Lem (talk) 18:45, 19 June 2014 (UTC)
re: " where the guideline decreases the GNG standards"" Yes, it was a consensus that, as a single (NB!) exception, we always would like to know about where Nancy, Washington is, even if it did not hit tabloids or travel guides. Staszek Lem (talk) 18:45, 19 June 2014 (UTC)
You're assuming that everyone who reads the guideline will read and understand everything, know all about the history of the entire issue, and/or instantly realize that one thing is completely different than the others when it's not mentioned at all in an eye-catching section? Because, I can tell you, people can and will cherrypick things from pages like this to use in arguments, and refuse to admit that their narrow reading is wrong. The less ambiguity, the better. Ansh666 01:23, 20 June 2014 (UTC)
Well, this one thing is spelled in the "Nutshell": "Legally recognized, populated places are presumed to be notable.". I also suggested a clarification about the role of the sources in this item. Staszek Lem (talk) 16:49, 20 June 2014 (UTC)
  • I oppose the addition of this section in its current form and support its removal per Ansh and the rest of the guideline. Can we remove it while we talk about it, in accordance with the Wikipedia:BOLD, revert, discuss cycle? --Bejnar (talk) 17:58, 17 June 2014 (UTC)
    • Once again, please explain your reasoning. I am sure you have something in mind beyond WP:IDONTLIKEIT. As for removing, it is a bit too late for WP:BRD: the section is here for a month and edited (i.e.) reviewed by several persons. However if you provide a significant, difficult to contest, drawback, I will agree with its removal here, for discussion. Staszek Lem (talk) 18:15, 17 June 2014 (UTC)
      • I also find the Sources section to be somewhat confusing. If you just want to say that being shown on a map doesn't establish notability, why not just say that? The rest of that section doesn't really add anything useful, IMO, and much of it overlaps with other guidelines and policies. Kaldari (talk) 04:20, 12 July 2014 (UTC)

Notability template linking to this guideline[edit]

Congratulations on your recently completed RfC! Since this is now a notability guideline, it makes sense that the {{notability}} template should continue to be used with the "Geo", "Geographic", "Geography", "Place", or "Places" parameter, which will provide a link to this guideline instead of the general notability guideline, where appropriate.
During the RfC, some editors correctly pointed out that the guidelines I was using to have my bot add the "Geography" parameter were not appropriate. I made many revisions during the RfC, but eventually tabled the discussion of my bot so that the RfC could focus on its primary objective. Now that the RfC is done, I would be happy to resume the discussion about the bot. The bot adds a parameter to existing {{notability}} templates based on the infobox on the page, so that the template links to the appropriate guideline. The rules I use are posted at User:BattyBot/Notability. I welcome any suggestions to improving this bot task. Thanks! GoingBatty (talk) 03:00, 14 July 2014 (UTC)

Roads notability[edit]

I am uncertain whether the criteria for roads differs so significantly from other topics. Any state road qualifies. In contrast, the threshold for a professor is much more strict.

Perhaps, the presumption of road notability should be abandoned. Instead, there should be multiple sources attesting to the notability of the route (which isn't common but may be common for a controversial tunnel), famous folklore (such as Route 66 in the U.S.), etc. Eating Glass Is Bad (talk) 23:20, 20 November 2014 (UTC)

As a first piece of commentary, thank you for notifying WikiProjects like WP:HWY or WP:USRD that might be interested in your opinions challenging the notability of their topic area.
There are some other considerations than pure notability at work to consider. WP:5P says that "Wikipedia is an encyclopedia: It combines many features of general and specialized encyclopedias, almanacs, and gazetteers." Gazetteers include information on roads, whether it is confined to mere lists or richer explanations in text format.
No one should think Featured article Michigan State Trunkline Highway System is not notable. However, that is a very broad topic. To adequately cover the topic, we need to spin content out to separate articles. With hundreds of current and former highways in the state, we end up with Featured list List of Interstate Highways in Michigan, List of U.S. Highways in Michigan, List of state trunklines in Michigan and Michigan Heritage Route. Even these can't cover the various historical details of the highways without running afoul of WP:SIZE, so we get a third level of the hierarchy for articles like Featured article Interstate 69 in Michigan, Featured article U.S. Route 2 in Michigan, and Featured article M-6 (Michigan highway), We end up with separate articles, or article subsections, for most state highways to avoid SIZE-related issues. It would look especially inappropriate to have separate articles on a majority of a state's highways, and then delete articles written in a similar fashion because the sources don't match your expectations, thus creating a huge hole in our coverage of a topic that directly or indirectly impacts millions of people each day.
Another consideration is that to be a state highway is usually a special thing for a road. In Michigan, there are only 9,716 miles (15,636 km) of state highways compared to 89,755 miles (144,447 km) of county roads and 20,785 miles (33,450 km) of city/village streets. Most county roads in Michigan lack separate articles, but the few like Featured article H-58 (Michigan county highway), Featured article Brockway Mountain Drive or Good article County Road 595 (Marquette County, Michigan) that do exceed WP:GNG by a long shot. Imzadi 1979  00:46, 21 November 2014 (UTC)