Wikipedia talk:School articles needing evaluation

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Discussion related to the proposed policy itself[edit]

I began this page with several hopes in mind. People with differing views will be able come together to discuss school related articles' futures in a forum dedicated to such articles. School article will be recognized as similar, and it won't depend on the week whether or not schools are deleted via VfD, as everyone knows there are more deletions of schools some weeks than others.

I think this proposal will be the best way of attacking this problem. Feel free to discuss and contribute. Nothing I initially wrote is set in stone by any means. I hope everyone will take this proposal seriously, discuss what Wikipedia's future in this matter will be, and of course treat each other with respect. Remember, we're all Wikipedians working in the best interests of Wikipedia. siroχo 13:54, Oct 30, 2004 (UTC)

Discussion of inclusion of schools[edit]

I think that merging school stubs with their city articles is the best idea, but full articles about schools should certainly be permitted, as they grow within their city articles. The bigger and older the school, the more encyclopedic quality information they will merit. We cannot restrict a school to a two-sentence entry if there is more to be said. That said, we cannot bloat article about schools either, the information presented should truly add to the encyclopedic quality of the school article. If not enough information exists, (very little of note has happened) the school article should be restricted to its corresponding city article.

Some notable factors that add to the encyclopedic quality of a school article are circumstances of founding, circumstances of major expansions or moves, notable alumni, faculty or administration, large effects on their town and surrounding area, sports or academic teams that achieve state-wide recognition, unconventional academic philosophies or methods used by the school, awards given to the school, and of course events of significance relating to the school. Lastly, we should not blindly delete school articles via VfD, we should use a better evaluation policy (like the one proposed on the correpsonding project page). siroχo 13:54, Oct 30, 2004 (UTC)

See relevant discussion at Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Schools, too. [[User:CatherineMunro|Catherine\talk]] 14:21, 30 Oct 2004 (UTC)

notability[edit]

It seems to me that the single most useful thing we could do is to lay down criteria for what would make a school notable enough to merit inclusion.

So far, we seem to agree that:

  • accredited colleges and universities are inherently notable.
  • schools that figured prominently in news stories that got widespread attention are notable.

Less clearly, one might propose that:

  • schools that have architecturally important buildings are notable.
  • schools with a consistent history of turning out notable graduates are notable.
  • schools whose curricular innovations have been widely imitated are notable.
  • schools with numerous notable faculty and/or headmasters/principals are notable.
  • schools that figured prominently in a significant nationally or internationally covered news story are notable.

-- Jmabel | Talk 00:35, Oct 31, 2004 (UTC)

What does notability have to do with anything? Why shouldn't there be articles about schools that you or some people consider non-notable? For me, the main criteria for whether there should be a separate article for a school or simply an annotation on a list or a city article depends on how much information has been processed. I thin the default starting point should be for school descriptions to be included within some other article, such as for the municipality or for the school district or such. Then, when the amount of information in the parent article becomes unwieldy, it can get spun off into new articles. olderwiser 03:13, Oct 31, 2004 (UTC)

Agree entirely with older≠wiser. Nearly every school has affected tens or hundreds of thousands of lives, there's little issue of notability. The only firm requirement for notability per se is how notability is inherently connected to verifiability, and encyclopedic quality of the article. As Wikipedia is, indeed, not paper, something that is very important to the lives of tens of thousands of people seems to be quite deserving of as much of an article as it can produce. Be it a small mention on the city page or a full article. siroχo 08:08, Oct 31, 2004 (UTC)

I disagree so vehemently with the above two statements in terms of their implication for Wikipedia that there is no point in my attempting to work with either of you on this. The standard you are setting would also mean that every person in the world is of encyclopedic notability because thousands of people have met him or her; similarly every business, every product, and every web site. Seeing that this is your stance, I will take this page off of my watchlist and will oppose your effort to set up a separate VfD process for schools, since it is clear that you are simply trying to use this as a mechanism set up an extreme inclusionist policy in one particular subject-matter area. -- Jmabel | Talk 04:46, Nov 1, 2004 (UTC)

I'm sorry you feel that way. I actually consider myself more of a moderate inclusionist (I do not think everything under the sun deserves an separate article and I don't think WP needs to preserve edit history of semi-literate babble from every contributor and I have no problem with deleting substubs, even on valid topics, that do not contain any non-obvious information). I think the recent increase on VfD of radical deletionism reflects a fundamental betrayal of how Wikis work. It is imposing artificial and elitist values of "notability" in an attempt to filter out some classes of conributions. No one has been able to demonstrate exactly what harm is done to Wikipedia by having articles about schools (or the so-called "fancruft" for that matter). What is the threat that requires such militant deletionism? The main challenge that I see to such articles is organizing them and deciding how to manage them. My take is that as long as Wikipedia is a Wiki, then people will continue to attempt to add such information. What we should be doing is deciding how to manage, organize and improve the information rather than simply supressing it. olderwiser 13:26, Nov 1, 2004 (UTC)
What harm is done? Well, you only have to look at articles on Wikipedia on, say The Register to see what effect having 'fancruft' has on the image of Wikipedia (admittedly they're an extreme example, more like professional trolls than journalists, but it illustrates the point). As for schools - look, if the school is important, I'm happy to have it in. But I don't want to pad articles out to make them look good - most schools have so little that is actually worth noting about them, you could easily combine a region's schools into one article, which is then easier to monitor for getting out of date and useless. Average Earthman 14:03, 1 Nov 2004 (UTC)
Regarding The Register, they show not only their bias but complete ignorance as well. If we start to decide policy based on such critics, then there is no hope at all and Wikipedia is a failed experiment. As to your second point, if you read my earlier comments, I completely agree that the information for most schools is better presented within some sort of parent article (such as a municipality or school district) and only when the information grows unwieldy within the parent article then break it out into a separate article. What I'm suggesting is that rather than expending so much effort in such un-Wikilike attempts to suppress such information, we should be trying to determine guidelines for how best to present it and organize it. olderwiser 14:14, Nov 1, 2004 (UTC)
The harm that is done is to Wikipedia as an encyclopaedia, as opposed to a data dump. I think one simple standard is a school with one or more past pupils who have Wikipedia articles devoted to them. I have created a couple of school stubs because James Joyce, Samuel Beckett and Oscar Wilde were past pupils. Filiocht 14:27, Nov 1, 2004 (UTC)
I'm not entirely sure what you mean by your first sentence, as it seems to be lacking an active verb. But I don't see anyone here advocating a "data dump". Taking information about schools and making it presentable and usable is, I think, encyclopedic. I certainly do not advocate mindlessly generating bazillions of substub school articles (or even longer articles that contain nothing but "directory" type data). I rather like the criteria described at User:Dpbsmith/BEEFSTEW, where one of the points is alumni who have a Wikipedia article. olderwiser 21:44, Nov 1, 2004 (UTC)
Understand that I am not proposing creating of hundreds of database-like entries about schools. As I said above, if there is not possiblity to create a true article, there should only be mention of the school in the city article corresponding to it. I don't ever advocate the creation of substubs. I advocate allowing well written encyclopedic articles about schools to be included. Jmabel, I also hope you undnerstand that I don't advocate having articles about most people—even if they've met a couple thousand poeple, they won't have had the profound effect on all of them that a school has. If they have been able to have a profound effect on tens or hundreds of thousands of people, they might deserve an article, if there is a way of verifying this. Also I'm strongly against including articles about "every business, product and website." Most of the time we won't be able to find enough vefiable facts about these thigns to create more than a subtub or advertisement, neither of which I support adding intentioaally. I certainly am not trying to advocate any policy of extreme inclusionism, i'm simply trying to divert the extreme deletionism often present on VfD away from school articles, that they may be evaluated in a less hostile and unforgiving environment. I certainly won't be against not including article, for example, schools with short histories that have no exceptional quality. I simply think that short mention should be given to them on their correpsonding city page, as education is always a big part of any community. Anyways, I hope that helps settle everyone's stomach. siroχo 01:11, Nov 2, 2004 (UTC)

Following two comments copied from User talk:Jmabel,user talk:Siroxo:

Jmabel, I want to apologize for jumping on your comment about notability. I took it too far and replied with a blanket statement, which was unfair of me. I want to let you know that I am not plotting to make Wikipedia:School articles needing evaluation into some inclusionists' collection of nonverfiable substubs. My prime reasons for creating this page were to divert the hostility of VfD away from these school articles, and to give us a better way of evaluating them. I am against school (or any) substubs in principle, and would not advocate keeping them as such. In fact, I think that merging schools into their related city articles is probably the best idea for most school articles. I do, however, think that there are some very well written articles about schools, (ex. Moanalua High School, Saint Louis School). and I don't want vfd to make it impossible to achieve that. Lastly, I do not support inclusion of articles about all people who have met thousands of other people. A person who has not had a profound effect on all of those people, an effect that has a verifiable paper-trail and possiblility for an encyclopedic article, rarely deserves an article, if ever. I don't support including unverifiable advertisments about businesses, products and websites either. I merely want to be able to give better evaluation to school articles than VfD currently does. Hope that helps to clear stuff up. siroχo 01:45, Nov 2, 2004 (UTC)

Glad to hear you may not have meant what you said. I was responding mainly to olderwiser's statement that began by asserting that notability has nothing to do with it, which seems to me to be a statement of the extreme inclusionist position. You said you "agree entirely" with that, which I took at face value. Looking at your two examples, the article on Moanalua High School clearly makes the case for notability. Saint Louis School seems iffier to me: I'm not sure anything I see there really establishes it as something that belongs in an encyclopedia, but I can certainly imagine more research leading to clearer notability.
My main concern with adding schools (and the case gets stronger as we move down in size and age -- I assume you would agree that very few one-classroom preschools deserve any sort of mention in Wikipedia, let alone an article on each one) is that, as with fancruft, the inclusion damages the credibility of Wikipedia. I also suspect that multitudinous articles on schools will be magnets for subtle misinformation and outright vandalism. What worries me most is what these articles will be like in their stubby phases.
And, yes, unlike some people, I think that sometimes an article on a marginal topic is fine to keep if it's a good enough article. If we come up with a mechanism by which these articles, once started, will rapidly advance to something like the quality of the two you've shown me, then I think this would not damage our credibility. Perhaps the solution may lie in an "incubator" namespace for articles like this to be built up to a certain level before becoming part of Wikipedia proper? I'm not completely sure.
Anyway, I'll put the page back on my watchlist. My fear (and I don't think I was unreasonable on the basis of what had been said) was that the two apparent prime movers of this were trying to say this was an area in which an extreme inclusionist approach would apply.
Would you mind if we copy your remark an my response to Wikipedia_talk:School_articles_needing_evaluation and continue any further exchange there? Jmabel | Talk 02:42, Nov 2, 2004 (UTC)
Your concern about damage to Wikipedia's credibility is a valid one. I'd hope that any school article that was kept would be verified, and monitored, as all articles should be. I suppose that, yes, there is a threshold of notability, but I do think that that is inherently realted to the availability of truly verifiable information, and whether or not it is enough to construct an encyclopedic article about the school. Most one-room preshools would not yeild sufficient material. However, as we go up the ladder, its more and more likely that it would be possible to write an article, or at least a couple paragraphs on the city page about the school. Your idea of an "incubator" namespace is a good one, and I'd support it. In a way thats what I hope for, in that people would research the schools in question and decide whether an article could exist about the schools. If one could exist, that research could be used to expand the article, rather than just leaving it as a stub or short article. siroχo 03:15, Nov 2, 2004 (UTC)
Notablity has never been a criteria for inclusion. Rare species documented only by one person in one journal would usually get an entry, whereas a school that touches thousands of people every year doesn't? Which is more 'notable'? There was an interesting suggestion on the mailing list that we look at whether the information could concievably be of use to anyone. Much of what folks seem to be worried about already comes under vanity or other policies. Schools are not fancruft, vanity programming languages or any of the other strawmen mentioned. Mark Richards 21:57, 7 Nov 2004 (UTC)

What is an encyclopedic school article?[edit]

Please provide any examples of good encyclopedic articles about normal schools which have have been in existance for at least 20 years to show what a good encyclopedic articles about schools could be like. Articles can be from Wikipedia or from any other source, on the web or off it. Jallan 02:36, 31 Oct 2004 (UTC)

What do you mean by "normal schools"? For starters, how about the list at Wikipedia:WikiProject Schools#Lists of school articles? olderwiser 03:07, Oct 31, 2004 (UTC)

Here are two excllent examples of what school articles can become: Moanalua_High_School, Saint_Louis_School. Also, if there is not enough information to create a full encyclopedic article, the next best idea is to include information on the corresponding city page. The point of this policy is to help check and find facts to decide what should be done with each individual school article. If there aren't any verifiable facts, then we would not be able to include anything about it. siroχo 08:20, Oct 31, 2004 (UTC)

User:Dpbsmith/BEEFSTEW[edit]

An interesting set of guidelines to what school articles should look like. Seems like a good set of guidelines. I don't think this project should take on such rigid standards, but its certainly something people contributing might like to be familiar with. siroχo 20:55, Nov 7, 2004 (UTC)

I believe this should be made official Wikipedia policy, as a compromise between the two positions. I don't oppose articles on any high school outright, but due to their nature, I believe we should set a higher bar than for other articles. Ambi 02:10, 8 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Votes for deletion/High schools[edit]

A place where you can check out the schools that have been up for debate for deletion. Lowellian (talk)[[]] 23:27, Nov 7, 2004 (UTC)

Miscellaneous[edit]

I am generally against merging school information into a city article. Too many schools per city, for one thing.

I think a good compromise could be "Schools of X". "X" could vary (city, state, etc.), depending on various factors.

Another possibility could be some type of two-tier system or "Wikischools." Wikischools could include any school; those that pass whatever bar is set could also go in the Wikipedia. Maurreen 18:46, 13 Nov 2004 (UTC)

No consensus on vfd vote[edit]

Wikipedia:Votes_for_deletion/School_articles_needing_evaluation. --Woohookitty 06:36, 16 July 2005 (UTC)