Wikipedia talk:What Wikipedia is not

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Because of increasing problems with excessive statistics, I believe that the sentence "Any statistics should be accompanied by explanatory text providing context" needs stronger emphasis and so I've amended it to "Any statistics must be accompanied by explanatory text providing context" (i.e., "should" → "must"). I know several projects have the NOSTATS issue but it has become particularly bad at WP:CRIC and we have recently AFDed numerous "articles" that are nothing more than lists of bare statistics without any context other than perhaps a short intro that does nothing more than summarise the statistics.

WP:IINFO is a very important policy/guideline that if broken, as is it so often is, undermines the site's credibility. I am happy to discuss this change but I have been WP:BOLD at the outset and implemented it. It can always be reverted if there should be a WP:CONSENSUS against and I would accept that, but I strongly believe we must combat this growing trend of passing off a list of bare statistics as an article. I should add, with regard to cricket, that even for someone like me who has lived with the game all his life, it is a very complex sport indeed: certainly in terms of its tactics, terminology and statistics. The statistical lists we are deleting even confuse us and must be absolutely meaningless to non-cricket readers. Thank you. Jack | talk page 13:10, 4 December 2016 (UTC)

This seems like a good idea, but I wonder how practicable it is. Sometimes statistics don't need any explanation (e.g. 2016–17 Manchester United F.C. season#Squad statistics). – PeeJay 13:24, 4 December 2016 (UTC)
I'd argue very strongly that the example you give us absolutely needs at least a sentence (for now) before the table to place the table in context. At the end of the season I'd certainly like to see a prose summary written to highlight some of the more important statistics from the table - most goals, most appearances etc... at the very least. To leave it just as a table of statistics without any context would really worry me in the long term - especially bearing in mind that a non-specialist reader may well come to the article and be confused by the table. I'd argue the same is true for the transfers (which, frankly, I'd expect to see dealt with in prose as they happen). I understand completely that sticking a bunch of stuff in a table is easier and fulfils an urge to have everything written down for some people, but I can look up those sorts of stats elsewhere if you give me a link. What I really want to know is what's important in them. You need to write prose to tell me that. Blue Square Thing (talk) 20:03, 4 December 2016 (UTC)
I think making "should" to "must" can be problematic. I could see it taken that lists of stats that are written in summary style from a very large target, where there's minimal prose on the list, could be see as afoul. It is better to handle these case by case, rather than require something. --MASEM (t) 15:13, 4 December 2016 (UTC)
In my view, this change over-emphasizes the point. While WP is primarily factual information presented in a narrative style, there are many instances (and sports throw them up all the time) where the facts are most conveniently presented as stats, and the stats are most accessibly presented in tabular form. As WP:NOTSTATS currently reads, it warns against making factual information inaccessible in the form of impenetrable stats, and that strikes me as wise. I see no need for a change. Johnlp (talk) 18:38, 4 December 2016 (UTC)
  • My initial reaction is also to oppose the proposed change. For most statistics that appear in articles, a good table with proper section headings (and perhaps a key or legend) should provide a sufficient framework for the average reader to understand. Some additional accompanying explanatory text is preferable, of course, but the problem with turning should into must is that is gives license for the well-intentioned but over-zealous editor to remove tables that lack the "required" text.
I am interested, however, in learning more about the observations raised by User:BlackJack of the "increasing problems with excessive statistics" and "this growing trend of passing off a list of bare statistics as an article." I'm not aware of those problems on topics on which I regularly edit. Even if those observations are true, it is a problem that would be solved by changing the guidance here, or is the issue adequately addressing by enforcing existing guidelines and policies and using good editorial judgment? CUA 27 (talk) 02:54, 5 December 2016 (UTC)
@CUA 27: Hello, I can best refer you to WT:CRIC and the AfD invitation posts there about multiple articles which breach NOTSTATS. About thirty or more have already been deleted and there are still several in AfD. Thanks. Jack | talk page 13:30, 5 December 2016 (UTC)
  • I don't see why this is any different from any other failure of style and presentation, and I fear that this page is becoming something of a backdoor for stylistic policies that really belong in MOS, if they belong anywhere. EEng 07:46, 5 December 2016 (UTC)
  • a list of bare statistics as an article There are plenty of these in sports topics, such as 2013–14 Panionios B.C. season, 1985–86 Hibernian F.C. season, Governor Carlito S. Marquez Cup 2012. Maybe a "must" requirement for any statistics is too sweeping: but an entire article should start by telling us at least what sport it was, what country and who won. I trust the reconstituted new page patrol brigade won't be letting any more through in this condition: Noyster (talk), 11:03, 5 December 2016 (UTC)

Proposal withdrawn. I don't think there is going to be any clear consensus on this so I'm happy to withdraw my suggestion and retain the current proviso that "Any statistics should be accompanied by explanatory text providing context". We can, of course, continue to deal with the rogue cricket articles on an individual basis, especially as the bulk of the bare stats ones have now gone (I see in my watchlist that ha;f a dozen more were deleted overnight). Thanks to all for your contributions. And Merry Xmas Face-smile.svg. Jack | talk page 12:36, 10 December 2016 (UTC)

NOTSTATS (again)[edit]

The current explanation of NOTSTATS is internally inconsistent. The paragraph suggests that articles should not contain statistics that are "excessive" or "lengthy"; the paragraph then goes on to explain how best to present lengthy statistics, which is basically to follow WP:SPLIT and WP:SUMMARY, even those are not linked in the explanation. I propose revising the paragraph along the lines below. The proposed rewrite does not provide inconsistent advice, and gives the reader helpful links to split and summary.


Excessive listings of statistics. Any statistics should be accompanied by explanatory text providing context. Long recitations of statistics reduce readability and may be confusing. Where large quantities of statistics are appropriate (e.g. Nationwide opinion polling for the United States presidential election, 2012) consider placing them in tables to enhance readability; where large quantities are not appropriate (e.g. the main article United States presidential election, 2012) omit excess statistics and summarize.


Excessive listings of unexplained statistics. Statistics that lack context or explanation can reduce readability and may be confusing; accordingly, statistics should be accompanied by explanatory text providing context or placed in tables to enhance readability. Where statistics are so lengthy as to impede the readability of the article, the statistics can be split into a separate article and summarized in the main article. (e.g., statistics from the main article United States presidential election, 2012 have been moved to a related article Nationwide opinion polling for the United States presidential election, 2012).

CUA 27 (talk) 12:26, 25 December 2016 (UTC)

Just sending out another note to see if there were any objections to my proposal above to NOTSTATS. To recap, the proposed change would remove the internal inconsistency and add links to WP:SUMMARY and WP:SPLIT. CUA 27 (talk) 21:31, 29 December 2016 (UTC)
Seeing as how no opposition materialized over the past week, I have made the proposed change. Feel free to discuss here if anyone has any questions. Thanks. CUA 27 (talk) 17:02, 31 December 2016 (UTC)
I disagree with removing the guidance that long recitations of statistics reduce readability, which can be the case even with accompanying context or explanation. isaacl (talk) 05:57, 1 January 2017 (UTC)
Isaacl — I don't think I follow your comment. The revised version still acknowledges that length can reduce readability ("Where statistics are so lengthy as to impede the readability of the article ..."), and then gives guidance on how to deal with that situation. If I'm missing something, please take another shot at explaining. Thanks. CUA 27 (talk) 13:01, 1 January 2017 (UTC)
Your changes specified that "Statistics that lack context or explanation can reduce readability", whereas the previous guidance did not qualify this but simply said "Long recitations of statistics reduce readability". Context or explanation does not necessarily mitigate the issues with the inclusion of lengthy statistics in all cases. isaacl (talk) 19:48, 1 January 2017 (UTC)
If you read the very next sentence, you will find the language you are looking for. CUA 27 (talk) 22:01, 1 January 2017 (UTC)
You changed the bold heading to "Excessive listing of unexplained statistics" and the first sentence to qualify the type of statistics that reduce readability. Accordingly, the reference to "statistics" in the second sentence will be interpreted as a reference to "unexplained statistics" in the heading and the qualified "statistics" in the first sentence. This changes the meaning of the guidance. isaacl (talk) 15:52, 2 January 2017 (UTC)
The previous formulation of the guidance mentioned two possible issues with stats — the sheer length of stats, and stats that are unexplained. I changed the bold heading to reflect those two issues, as I thought the previous bold heading inadequately summarized the paragraph. In my formulation, the second sentence goes to the unexplained issue, and the third sentence goes to the length issue. They go to two different issues, not to be read in the way you are interpreting them. CUA 27 (talk) 22:25, 2 January 2017 (UTC)
The change to the heading only covers excessive listings that are not explained; it no longer covers excessive listings that are explained. Perhaps it would be better to separate these two into separate list items? isaacl (talk) 22:46, 2 January 2017 (UTC)
I'd prefer not to break it into two, as all the material in here applies to stats. To the extent you are bothered by a perceived increase in emphasis in unexplained stats vs lengthy stats, I must say I'm surprised; my my review of this and related talk pages, as well as various AfD discussions, it seems that it is unexplained stats is what drives wik editors batty. (See, eg, Noyster's comment below re sports stats that don't even tell you what sport is being discussed). CUA 27 (talk) 23:56, 5 January 2017 (UTC)
@CUA 27: Sorry for the delay in responding; I was unavailable for a bit and lost track of this thread. It comes up often with articles on sports figures: some people want to replicate the stats tables from the league web sites, while others think Wikipedia is better off letting third-party sites deal with this, particularly since they can use databases that are more suitable for this type of info. isaacl (talk) 03:23, 11 February 2017 (UTC)
Thanks for implementing this CUA 27. A slight problem I see is that the way it reads now suggests that any stats without attempt to give context are OK if formatted as a table. I'd want to change "or" to "and" in statistics should be accompanied by explanatory text providing context or placed in tables... The unadorned listings of results that are the sole content of many sport articles are mostly given as a table, but that's of no help to the reader who isn't even told which sport they were playing: Noyster (talk), 11:05, 1 January 2017 (UTC)
User:Noyster — Thanks for the feedback. I'd be happy to revise to improve further. One possible ambiguity I foresee: Would readers interpret this guidance to mean that (1) the article should have explanatory text or that (2) each table in the article should have explanatory text? The example given in the guidance Nationwide opinion polling for the United States presidential election, 2012 suggests that #1 is acceptable (maybe not preferable, but at least acceptable), but I wanted to check to make sure we are in agreement, and if so, whether there is a better way to word it or to make the change exactly as you propose. Thanks. CUA 27 (talk) 13:01, 1 January 2017 (UTC)
CUA 27 I wouldn't insist on every table having a piece of text nestling right up against it. What I would want to see is any article or section containing stats to tell the reader what the stats are about and what their main message is. How and where this is done will vary from case to case. Text is important but so are section headings, table titles, row & column headings, bolding, colour and links. Perhaps we could leave out the part about tables and say something like Where statistics are displayed, their context and meaning should be made clear to the general reader: Noyster (talk), 17:02, 1 January 2017 (UTC)
Re the sentence you have flagged, how about changing the second half of that sentence to read: "accordingly, statistics should be placed in tables to enhance readability and articles with statistics should include explanatory text providing context." This formulation addresses the and/or issue you flagged, while still hues quite closely to the language of the original formulation, and providing the reader with more clear guidance. CUA 27 (talk) 12:11, 2 January 2017 (UTC)
OK, we can go with that: Noyster (talk), 15:24, 2 January 2017 (UTC)
Thanks for your input in helping improve the guidance. CUA 27 (talk) 22:25, 2 January 2017 (UTC)

Pre-RfC discussion about adding "excessive examples" to WP:INDISCRIMINATE[edit]

I've previously made an RfC and was surprised by the opposition from what seemed would be a widely-supported proposal. I'm pre-re-listing it here with some modifications to gauge support and see if I should re-list it.

Pre-RfC discussion about adding "excessive examples" to WP:INDISCRIMINATE
5. Excessive listings of examples. Any example in an article that's not a stand-alone list should include sources that establish not only the example's verifiability, but also establish, discuss, or illustrate its significance in the context of the article.

Should WP:INDISCRIMINATE be expanded to include the above list item? BrightRoundCircle (talk) 17:51, 12 December 2016 (UTC)


This discussion about "in popular culture" examples on WP:V led me to make this proposal; previously I early-closed it because of apparent consensus against it. The rationale behind the proposal is that it will improve article quality by limiting examples to the best ones, setting a higher bar for examples than mere verifiability. Stand-alone lists are exempt, while prose articles would need citations not only that the example exists, but also of its significance. The reader benefits from prose that's concise, while completionists can still list everything that's verifiable.
Significance is verified both by the type of sources that give them, and by the description of the example in the sources. Significance may be due to the example being presented as highly illustrative of the topic, or used by a prominent or authoritative source, or prominently featured in texts on the subject, or said to be critically acclaimed, or prominent in some other way as described by the source. for example the majority of modern examples in Cultural depictions of Abraham Lincoln are not frequently mentioned in sources that discuss Abraham Lincoln). Poor sources are relatively easy to identify too; listicles, for example, give a lot of examples but rarely if ever discuss or illustrate the examples' significance, and in general print any example with little to no editorial oversight. BrightRoundCircle (talk) 17:51, 12 December 2016 (UTC)

This isn't an RfC yet; I'd like to know if there are any glaring issues before proposing this. BrightRoundCircle (talk) 17:51, 12 December 2016 (UTC)

I'm not keen of content guidelines that depend on the writing style of the article where they're applied - i.e. whether the article is "prose" or "list", which is sometimes too grey-area to decide (is Cultural depictions of Abraham Lincoln a standalone list article? I would definitely say "yes", but others may disagree).
I think a guideline like this should be more concerned with selecting the best examples available, which depends on the number of existing examples for the topic. In areas with very few examples, the rule should be more permissive than in articles with lots of them; in the first case, I think plain verifiability should be enough, while for topics with hundreds or thousands of examples, requiring some significance for including high-quality examples is reasonable (at least for the items to be included in the main article, while still allowing the least significant to be included in a WP:SPLIT article if this exist).
For a proposal that expands WP:IINFO, I find that I dislike it less than I would have expected. It sort of approximates current practice with respect to example lists, in the direction that many editors mean when they link to WP:IINFO; and it can be read in reverse to support inclusion of examples that do have significance (although this part should also be spelled out).
However, defining a single criterion in the guideline for all possible situations seems excessive; I would make it more flexible, allowing it to be adapted case by case. In practice, what happens in articles that work well is that editors agree on some consensus, to determine an inclusion criterion for acceptable examples, and then allowing any item that passes the criterion. But the nature of the criteria should be left open in the guideline.
I would craft something like this:
Version B
5. Listings of irrelevant examples. Lists of examples should have a set of inclusion criteria, defined by consensus for the topic at hand in order to establish, discuss, or illustrate the significance of each example in the context of the article, and which are deemed sufficient for the example to be included in the list. Examples that don't meet the criteria should be deleted or moved to an article where they are more relevant.
The use of "Irrelevant" instead of "Excessive" is deliberate. "Excessive" implies that the amount of examples shown should be weighted primarily with respect to the size of the list, but limiting the number of items in this way is contrary to WP:NOTPAPER. Since WP:INDISCRIMINATE is about removing information that is out of context, not about limiting information just because there's too much of it, "Irrelevant" looks more adequate. Diego (talk) 11:08, 13 December 2016 (UTC)
  • I agree that "excessive" is not the right term; "non-encyclopedic" is better.
  • Regarding consensus, examples are already being weeded out case-by-case through consensus, but this is the opposite of the WP:ONUS Wikipedia policy: "The onus to achieve consensus for inclusion is on those seeking to include disputed content." This is often ignored by stubborn editors who put the onus on removing disputed content rather than adding disputed content. Examples without reliable sources that illustrate their significance like "In the music video for the comedy song Cold Dead Hand, one of The Eels members is dressed up like Lincoln" should be removed from prose articles by default, instead of added by default. List articles can have more permissive inclusion criteria that are stated in their lead section, which usually means mere verifiability through primary sources.
  • The distinction between prose and list articles already de-facto exists (see the Lincoln example); an article that lays out list inclusion criteria is a list article.
5. Indiscriminate listings of examples. Examples in stand-alone lists should have clear selection criteria that's unambiguous and supported by reliable sources. Examples in prose or embedded lists must be verifiable, but not all verifiable examples must be included. Any disputed example should be cited to reliable third-party sources that establish, discuss, or illustrate the example's significance.
That's already looking a lot better than my initial proposal. BrightRoundCircle (talk) 16:18, 13 December 2016 (UTC)
  1. I don't like either "indiscriminate" nor "non-encyclopedic"; both words are impossible to define in any semi-objective way, so they can only be used in "I don't like it" ways in discussions. At least the concept of "relevant / irrelevant" is more focused, as it can be referenced to whether reliable sources cover the example in connection to the topic - i.e. it is relevant because some reliable source has written about its relevance. No RS is going to define an example as "encyclopedic".
  2. I'd say that forming a consensus of what examples should be included is exactly what WP:ONUS is about.
  3. Though the distinction between lists and non-list articles exists, my point is that it shouldn't be relevant to the examples included in a list that is not stand-alone, but included in a larger article.
I.e. a list would be defined by being a section with list-like inclusion criteria, not by having an article of its own. (BTW, do you consider Cultural depictions of Abraham Lincoln to be a list article or prose? It's still not clear if you intended it as an example of list article, as it can easily be seen as "prose with bullet points".) Diego (talk) 18:04, 13 December 2016 (UTC)
P.S. The admonishment to forbid inclusion of all verifiable examples is unacceptable. If all reliably sourced examples are relevant, of course all of them should be included; a blanket prohibition like that, without any regard for context, is absurd and would never survive an RfC. And you're repeating twice the requirement of sources, the first referring to reliable sources (acceptable), and the second to third party sources (again, excessive detail; the nature of what sources are reliable is to be decided case by case).
And a minor caveat, I think it should be "a clear selection criterion" (though I'm not a native speaker). Diego (talk) 18:13, 13 December 2016 (UTC)

This is my next attempt:

Version D
5. Irrelevant listings of examples. Examples in stand-alone lists should have unambiguous selection criteria that are deemed sufficient for the example to be included in the list. Examples either in prose or lists must be verifiable with reliable sources that establish, discuss, or illustrate the example's compliance with the defined criteria. Disputed examples should be deleted or moved to an article where they are more relevant.

Diego (talk) 18:23, 13 December 2016 (UTC)

  • Both "indiscriminate" and "non-encyclopedic" are already used in the policy; they don't define anything. The policy for what should or shouldn't be included is elaborated beyond these terms.
  • You flipped around WP:ONUS. Not every verifiable piece of information should be included, the onus is on showing it should be included, not on showing it should be excluded. Don't know why you object to "not all verifiable examples must be included". This is already Wikipedia policy and it's simply sensible that a concise summary-style article will not include every single verifiable fact or example about the topic, only the "encyclopedic" ones.
  • The distinction between stand-alone lists and prose is relevant. Prose articles have "detail and clarification of context" while lists do not, which is why it's sensible to require "detail and clarification of context" or "reliable third-party sources that establish, discuss, or illustrate the example's significance" in a prose article but not necessarily in a list article.
  • The distinction between "reliable sources" and "third-party reliable sources" should be clear. BrightRoundCircle (talk) 22:30, 13 December 2016 (UTC)
  • Precisely because "indiscriminate" and "non-encyclopedic" don't define anything I think they should be excluded. In discussions they are typically used to mean "I don't like it", so it's best to avoid including them in more places of the policy, and instead use terms with at least a vague meaning with respect to content and references.
  • My concern is that what you wrote ("not all verifiable examples must be included") can easily be interpreted as "you can't include all verifiable examples"; while the way WP:ONUS is written makes it clear that there is no requirement to include all verifiable examples (i.e. "this does not mean that all verifiable examples must be included"), which is quite different from an overall prohibition to do it. You could convey the same meaning by changing it to "not all verifiable examples need to be included", which is closer to what WP:ONUS means.
  • My position here is this: defining a set of criteria for the examples that belong in the list is enough to establish the needed context for each item; therefore, creating the inclusion criteria for a list should be enough for individual examples to meet WP:IINFO if they pass the criteria. To be useful, this expansion to WP:IINFO should describe when it is acceptable to include examples, not only when those should be rejected.
Otherwise, you'll get squabbels over the inclusion of every example, and the guideline is useless. Sure, with my method you still could get disagreement over whether any item meets the defined criteria or not; but at least you will be arguing over something concrete, not just whether the example is "significant" or "indiscriminate"; and further refinements could be made in the long term to improve the list criteria, tending to fix the situation with criteria that are well-adapted to available information for each particular list.
If editors consider that reliable third-party sources are needed for items in a list, that should be defined as a requirement for that particular case, not mandated per WP:NOT. This policy is not the place to establish a single universal criterion that all lists (nor even "all embedded lists") must adhere to.
  • A wholesale requirement that all disputed pieces of content need to be referenced by reliable third party sources has never been part of content policies; the gold standard always has been whether a consensus can be formed to include the item. I'm just warning, trying to change WP:NOT to add this new strong requirement will instantly cause your proposal to fail. It is OK if this proposal is about expanding the guideline to reflect current practice; it is not OK trying to extend its scope to include new requirements that have always been contested. Doing the later will face much stronger opposition, which is what you experienced in your first RfC. Diego (talk) 10:14, 14 December 2016 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── I see. I'll try making the wording as close to current policy as possible.

5. Merely-verifiable listings of information. Stand-alone lists should have clear selection criteria that's unambiguous and supported by reliable sources, while embedded lists should be put in context with sourced explanations. This does not mean that all verifiable list items must be included. The onus to achieve consensus for inclusion is on those seeking to include disputed content.

Sentence for sentence, this is almost verbatim what current policies and guidelines state:

If the guidelines reflect consensus, then this addition should reflect consensus too. BrightRoundCircle (talk) 18:40, 14 December 2016 (UTC)

Thanks, that certainly looks better than the previous attempt. It still doesn't include my request that it should talk about when examples can be included (i.e. when WP:NOT ceases to apply), together with a reminder to use WP:CONSENSUS as the critical appliable policy; and I'm sure the wording will still evolve more if you post it as an RfC; but at least now it has a more solid basis. I would drop the very last sentence and leave just the part within the link; I don't see the need to reinstate WP:ONUS almost in its entirety, as it can be read at WP:V. The relevant part of WP:ONUS to this policy is the reminder that V does not automatically grant permission to include content (although WP:CONSENSUS does). Diego (talk) 22:11, 14 December 2016 (UTC)
I'm thinking it's better to include only the bare minimum. All these policies already exist, the reason to put them all together is that they're not applied, in particular WP:ONUS and the "merely-verifiable" part of WP:INDISCRIMINATE. BrightRoundCircle (talk) 22:41, 15 December 2016 (UTC)
Diego, mind if I fold everything above this line? BrightRoundCircle (talk) 22:45, 15 December 2016 (UTC)
I'd prefer that you don't. My arguments in this section explain why I think stand-alone and embedded lists should not be governed by different rules, which your proposal at part 2 still does, and why the guideline should also explain when including an example is considered acceptable, which your proposal does not do. Diego (talk) 07:32, 16 December 2016 (UTC)
Take Al Pacino for example. Listings in Al Pacino's filmography have context and sourced explanations in the section above them so the they're not only merely verifiable. Al Pacino on stage and screen is a SAL and its selection criteria are (presumably) "stage and screen works (and videogames) featuring Al Pacino", so its listings are not only merely verifiable. The distinction between SAL and prose articles already exist in Wikipedia guidelines and practice, this addition to policy is not creating anything new. The addition explains exactly which listings are considered acceptable: ones with context and sourced explanations, or ones that follow the selection criteria of the SAL. BrightRoundCircle (talk) 13:37, 16 December 2016 (UTC)

Pre-RfC, part 2[edit]

Pre-RfC discussion about adding "merely-verifiable listings" to WP:INDISCRIMINATE
5. Merely-verifiable listings of information. Listings beside or within prose should be put in context with sourced explanations (navigational lists are excepted). Stand-alone lists should either have clear selection criteria that's unambiguous and supported by reliable sources, or inline citations for each item. Verifiability does not guarantee inclusion.

Should WP:INDISCRIMINATE be expanded to include the above? BrightRoundCircle (talk)


This addition to policy helps fix or remove listings that appear "indiscriminate": lacking context and sourced explanations. Readers are often faced with lists of information of questionable significance—such lists need context. Mere verifiability is not adequate context, which is why explanations backed by reliable sources should be provided. The addition emphasizes the existing policies, WP:NOT, WP:INDISCRIMINATE, WP:LISTN, and WP:ONUS, and its wording is taken almost verbatim from these policies—however, since they're spread apart, they're often overlooked, so this addition collects the parts relevant to listings into one short paragraph. They're joined by selection criteria for stand-alone lists (and only the selection criteria, not the entire SAL MOS page), which is already almost universally followed. Navigational lists such as "see also" sections are explicitly excluded from needing reliable sources because there's no current consensus that I could find. BrightRoundCircle (talk)

Further review is appreciated before I make this an RfC. BrightRoundCircle (talk) 01:36, 21 December 2016 (UTC)

No further comments? I'm about to RfC this version. BrightRoundCircle (talk) 19:36, 4 January 2017 (UTC)
Only that I will Oppose that version if proposed as such, for the reasons I stated above. It imposes new constraints on content, and does little to guide editors on when it's OK to include listings of information. I see no need to add new rules if that is the achieved effect. Diego (talk) 09:46, 5 January 2017 (UTC)
Could you clarify which constraints are new (they're all already part of policy) and why "put in context with sourced explanations" and "selection criteria" are not clear guides? BrightRoundCircle (talk) 15:55, 5 January 2017 (UTC)
"Listings within prose should be put in context" is a new criterion, which further restricts how to write lists, and is not already in policy; otherwise you wouldn't need to expand INDISCRIMINATE to write it. The way it's written, selection criteria only supports excluding content that doesn't have it, not including content that has one. I feel that this addition will be used to delete a large amount of lists that currently are accepted as part of the project, and it's not doing enough to support cleaning up and expanding those lists instead of removing them.
Any addition regarding example lists should explain how INDISCRIMINATE relates to the core content policy of WP:PRESERVE, but by the way you word it you seem to be interested only on how some types of examples should be deleted. (You've summarized ONUS, but ONUS itself links to PRESERVE, which only allows removing content that can't be fixed, not merely that in bad shape).
Our previous discussion served to excise from your initial version any requirement that was too egregious, but the current form still doesn't include anything that makes the addition valuable to inclusionists / eventualists. Diego (talk) 16:31, 5 January 2017 (UTC)
"should be put in context" isn't new, it's straight from WP:INDISCRIMINATE: "data should be put in context with explanations referenced to independent sources." Prose, images, charts, statistics and more are dealt with elsewhere; they all need context too, but this addition deals with lists since they're overlooked.
"selection criteria only supports excluding content" - the opposite, selection criteria are for inclusion. You include what's in the selection criteria. If the items in a SAL match the inclusion criteria, they are included.
"[remove] content that can't be fixed, not merely that in bad shape" - I agree. WP:INDISCRIMINATE is about content that's "non-encyclopedic" as it were. If you provide "context with explanations referenced to independent sources" then you "fix" the list from being apparently indiscriminate.
Thanks for your input, I'll add this to my rationale. BrightRoundCircle (talk) 21:51, 5 January 2017 (UTC)

A requirement for clear and unambiguous criteria is a hurdle that many lists cannot meet. It looks like only the first sentence of WP:LISTCRITERIA is reflected above. The second sentence of WP:LISTCRITERIA — which places an important modifier on the first sentence — is absent. In that respect, this could be understood as a significant change. Also, if this were put into practice, would this spell the end of "See also" sections in articles? I don't think they would come close to passing muster under the formulation above. CUA 27 (talk) 18:19, 7 January 2017 (UTC)

Unfortunately for those lists selection criteria (called "notable list topics") based on reliable sources is already a part of Wikipedia policy so if they cannot meet it they're already going against policy. Good call about the second sentence, I'll add it to the wording. And good call about "see also" sections. I couldn't find any policy regarding what goes or doesn't go into see-also sections, but I'll look some more and try to fix this. Very valuable input, thank you very much. BrightRoundCircle (talk) 19:40, 7 January 2017 (UTC)
There appears to be no consensus about see-also lists so I'm explicitly mentioning them. BrightRoundCircle (talk) 20:01, 7 January 2017 (UTC)


Proposal to add a bullet point: "Even where appropriate and sources indicate a future event is certain or very likely to happen, use qualifying language, including future tense or other qualifiers, so as to make it clear that the event is not present or past."

I know, 'common sense' right. But I have noticed in the change of government articles in the US, editors are just putting things in the present that belong in the future, either out of a rush or misunderstanding. It likely happens in other areas, so some mention would be helpful. Alanscottwalker (talk) 14:51, 13 December 2016 (UTC)
Certainly reasonable. Is there a potential MOS link we can include? --MASEM (t) 15:24, 13 December 2016 (UTC)
  • I'd like to see examples of the problem being solved. EEng 16:14, 13 December 2016 (UTC)
Article protection imposed and citing Crystal in the page history of Electoral College (United States); the discussions related to Wikipedia:Village pump (policy)#Presidential cabinet members, come to mind. Alanscottwalker (talk) 16:50, 13 December 2016 (UTC)
Certainly the cabinet nominations don't come under "certain foror very likely to happen". Anyway, you don't seem to be talking about what to include (or not include), but rather style questions about tense and so on. EEng 18:29, 13 December 2016 (UTC)
" . . .certain for?" But the proposal is talking about what to include (and not) in the same vein as the Crystal principle - in this case, don't include the future, as the present or the past. Alanscottwalker (talk) 21:11, 13 December 2016 (UTC)
I think the current text makes it clear that we should not predict the future ("Trumps Secretary of State will be...") but merely recount the present and past ("After considering Person X, he announced on Dec 7 that Y he would be nominating Y"). EEng 21:23, 13 December 2016 (UTC)
Sure, the proposal is a corollary: don't predict the future; don't represent the future as the present or the past. Alanscottwalker (talk) 23:11, 13 December 2016 (UTC)
If it's a corollary I'm not sure we should include it. We really must do all we can to resist adding to the already crushing weight of policies and guidelines. EEng 23:17, 13 December 2016 (UTC)
Not more, just clearer, more practical. Review the history of the EC article, an admin edited through protection basically with the understanding that the future was certain so Crystal did not apply. Alanscottwalker (talk) 00:37, 14 December 2016 (UTC)
If an admin did that there's a much more serious problem than anything NOT can fix. EEng 01:03, 14 December 2016 (UTC)
The point is not to 'get' anyone, it's just to make clear 'how does one not predict the future' - one way is to not assume in writing the future is certain by representing it as the present or the past. For example, the cabinet issue was basically defused by adding the qualifier "proposed" to cabinet. -- Alanscottwalker (talk) 12:04, 14 December 2016 (UTC)
When I read through NOT#CRYSTAL, I do not see language that really addresses this type of case, save for specifically dated events (like the Olympics). To take a less controversial example, if news comes out that public-traded company A is merging with company B as agreed on by their respective boards on a recently-past date, but that there has not yet been any SEC-type review and approval, we should write "A plans to merge with B following government review." rather than "A has merged with B." That is, we should not assume that future events that have the most minuscule chance of not occurring will go off without question, and always write such in the future tense. It might seem obvious, but Alanscottwalker does bring up an example where the lack of clear language in NOT could be a problem. --MASEM (t) 01:09, 14 December 2016 (UTC)
Indeed. It's a subtle issue, which is what makes it very useful for masses of writers of an encyclopedia (in formal writing) -- writers who happen to every day go through life making assumptions about the certainty and likelihood of future things - but in formal writing are required to be circumspect. Alanscottwalker (talk) 16:36, 14 December 2016 (UTC)
  • Oppose - instruction creep and misplaced. It belongs to general manual of style about time-sensitive information, along with the phrases like "Today the London Bridge is the most expensive property ever sold to an alien". Staszek Lem (talk) 17:37, 14 December 2016 (UTC)
Style? Conveying misinformation or mistake is not a matter of style. (They convey misinformation with style?) -- Alanscottwalker (talk) 17:56, 14 December 2016 (UTC)
  • Oppose on two grounds. First, I'm assuming that most wiki editors have a sufficient level of competence that they don't need to be told that when writing about future events they should use the future tense and not the past tense. Second, as this suggestion is not about what should or should not be included in wiki, and is more about how to write about the information, if the instruction belongs anywhere it belongs in one of the MOS pages and not in WP:NOT. WP:NOT has already become quite bloated beyond its core purpose. CUA 27 (talk) 23:08, 23 December 2016 (UTC)


The line about WP:NOTGENEALOGY ("Genealogical entries. Family histories should be presented only where appropriate to support the reader's understanding of a notable topic.") is not very informative to me. Could somebody please explain, preferably with examples, what is ok and what is not? The article "Alids" is why I am asking this, if anyone wonders. --HyperGaruda (talk) 09:38, 24 December 2016 (UTC)

In general, you can tell if something is "appropriate" or not for inclusion by the amount and quality of reliable sources that cover it. In this case there is a substantial amount of reliable sources (because genealogy is important for monarchies) so it's fairly clear it's appropriate.
A different issue with the article is that there's very little context outside of the genealogy trees, so the reader (in this case, me) can't work out, for example, why the Safavids genealogy is important if "there is no independent documentation that supports it". In fact the Safavids article provides several reliable sources written by historians that the genealogy claims are unsubstantiated. This means the Alids article is probably giving undue weight to unsubstantiated claims under the justification of completeness. BrightRoundCircle (talk) 12:41, 24 December 2016 (UTC)
@BrightRoundCircle: Thanks, but I was actually looking for what a "genealogical entry" is and what sets it apart from an encyclopedic article. Perhaps I should have been more clear (the irony...). --HyperGaruda (talk) 05:23, 25 December 2016 (UTC)
Ah, that has to do with notability. If the article consists only of a non-notable person's genealogy and nothing else, it should be deleted. In this case the topic of Alids is clearly notable because of the abundant high-quality reliable sources about it. BrightRoundCircle (talk) 20:39, 25 December 2016 (UTC)

Proposal - instead of the vague "only where appropriate to support the reader's understanding of a notable topic", put "only in a balanced proportion to their overall significance to the article topic." BrightRoundCircle (talk) 12:49, 24 December 2016 (UTC)

@ BrightRoundCircle: Notability has a specific meaning on Wikipedia (WP:NOTABLE). I do not think that your suggestion an improvement. One only has to spend a few minutes looking at some of the entries for unimportant European continental nobility to see that. Wikipedia contains dozens of articles that only exist because of some geological connection with someone else who may nor may not be notable. In those cases the "only in a balanced proportion to their overall significance to the article topic." is true because there is nothing else "significant[snip] to the article topic." Some editors are notorious for creating such articles. Perhaps a good place to start would be with a now banned user User:LouisPhilippeCharles (articles created) and this biography: Charlotte de La Marck. She warrants a sentence in her father's, mother's or husband's biography (if any were notable enough to have an biography)! -- PBS (talk) 10:33, 8 February 2017 (UTC)
Of course I agree, this can't exempt articles from being notable. The important part is changing "appropriate" to "balanced proportion". If nothing else is significant other than a passing mention in a genealogy tree, then the topic isn't notable, or am I missing something? BrightRoundCircle (talk) 10:40, 8 February 2017 (UTC)

Applying WP:NOTDIR to sports articles[edit]

How do we apply the following guidance at WP:NOTDIR to sports articles?

  1. Directories, directory entries, electronic program guide, or a resource for conducting business. For example, an article on a broadcaster should not list upcoming events, current promotions, current schedules, format clocks, etc., although mention of major events, promotions or historically significant program lists and schedules may be acceptable.

This guidance at WP:NOTDIR suggests that articles should not list upcoming events or current schedules. However, it is common practice for various types of sports articles to list schedules of upcoming fixtures. Examples of sports articles that contain upcoming fixtures include:

  • Tournament articles. e.g., see the December 2013 version of the 2014 FIFA World Cup article, with fixtures listed several months before the tournament starts.
  • Season articles. e.g., see the 2017 Super Rugby season article, which lists fixtures for the upcoming 2017 season.
  • Team articles. e.g., see the Chile national football team article, which lists fixtures throughout 2017.

How do we reconcile the WP:NOTDIR prohibition with the current practice of including upcoming fixtures? I don't think it's practical to cut chunks of text out of many existing articles. Or am I misreading WP:NOTDIR? I'm not clear on what is permitted and what is prohibited. Thanks. CUA 27 (talk) 22:23, 27 December 2016 (UTC)

The tourney articles seem fine, because the entire tourney is significant so all the matches that are part of it appropriate. A team's participation in these upcoming tourneys also seems okay for that reason. The example Super Rugby season article seems atypical of a typical sports season, as it seems like a slightly extended tourney. I would have a problem with a season article for where there are far more than a few dozen games (such as a MLB or NBA team's season, in contrast to a NFL team that only has 16 games). Also add that these are less about being program guides and promotional in that sense. --MASEM (t) 02:22, 28 December 2016 (UTC)
User:Masem — To be clear, the Chile national team example above doesn't violate WP:NOTDIR? I've seen these upcoming fixtures sections in a number of national team articles for soccer and rugby, but I haven't seen them in club team articles. CUA 27 (talk) 02:28, 29 December 2016 (UTC)
  • Fixtures? EEng 04:11, 29 December 2016 (UTC)


Should this essay opposing the introduction of "indiscriminate and trivial lists" be included in WP:IINFO? Jack | talk page 13:12, 1 January 2017 (UTC)

The essay is too broad to stand a snowball's chance in hell to become policy. I'm about to propose a much more concise addition to policy about indiscriminate and trivial listings, you can discuss it in the section above. BrightRoundCircle (talk) 16:21, 1 January 2017 (UTC)

Scare-line being split from Scare quotes article[edit]

Opinions are needed on the following: Talk:Scare-line#WP:Content fork. A permalink is here. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 05:36, 10 January 2017 (UTC)

Alternative Medicine[edit]

I would be personally be happy if it was added "Not a Portal for Alternative Medicine". Are there any essays or guidelines regarding this? Shaded0 (talk) 22:30, 10 January 2017 (UTC)


Having just left Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Lifespan timeline of Presidents of Ukraine, I propose changing the wording of this section from Photographs or media files with no accompanying text (emphasis mine) to Photographs or media files with no encyclopedic context per the following sentence in the guideline. The spirit of the standard is not met simply by providing any accompanying text whatsoever, but by incorporating an image into something resembling an encyclopedia entry. The purpose of the guidance is that a new Wikipedia entry shouldn't be created simply for the purpose of hosting a file, and done in a way that adds no value other than the existence of the file itself available for public use. TimothyJosephWood 20:46, 18 January 2017 (UTC)

This might be a case where we want positive examples of good articles that focus on an image but include needed encyclopedic text. For example, in the same vein as that timelien would be Periodic table (large cells) which not just presents the table but also explains rational for it. --MASEM (t) 21:49, 18 January 2017 (UTC)
I think it would help to focus discussion on the "best" case example rather than the worst examples. Lifespan timeline of Presidents of the United States has been getting a steady 100+ page views per day, and it peaked at over 2,300 page view per day around the US presidential election.[1] These don't really seem to be "articles". They seem to be Deletes under policy. They are basically images with a caption on top. I also find it very peculiar why anyone would care about these overlapping lifespan charts. However I would really hesitate before casting a delete on the US one. It seems a lot of people are finding it useful for some odd reason. If the US one is a delete, then clearly we delete all of the pages of this type. If the US one is considered acceptable, then we may have to tweak the definition of an acceptable "article". I'm not an inclusionist or a deletionist. I'm torn on what to do about the US version. Alsee (talk) 15:06, 19 January 2017 (UTC)
All that would need to be done is to augment that page to have a table of the data with more precision (month and day) that the image is too unresolved to display. It would still be the "lifespan timeline" but given sufficient context to be more useful. Same case with the Ukraine one as well. Pictorial data is good but if can also tabulated, that absolutely should be done. --MASEM (t) 15:11, 19 January 2017 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Wikipedia is not a business listing[edit]

The redirect Wikipedia:Wikipedia is not a business listing, which targets Wikipedia:What Wikipedia is not#Wikipedia is not a directory, has been nominated for deletion at Wikipedia:Redirects for discussion/Log/2017 January 22#Wikipedia:Wikipedia is not a business listing. Your comments in the discussion there, which partly centres on whether the targetted section (Wikipedia is not a directory) does or does not prohibit "business listings", are invited.

Related to the same topic is Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/List of businesses in Omaha, nominated on the grounds that a list of businesses is not encyclopaedic per the "Wikipedia is not a directory" section of WP:NOT. Your comments in that discussion would also be welcome. Thryduulf (talk) 13:15, 23 January 2017 (UTC)

Merely-verifiable listings[edit]

5. Merely-verifiable listings of information. Listings beside or within prose should be put in context with sourced explanations (navigational lists are excepted). Stand-alone lists should either have clear selection criteria that's unambiguous and supported by reliable sources, or inline citations for each item. Verifiability does not guarantee inclusion.

Should WP:INDISCRIMINATE be expanded to include the above? BrightRoundCircle (talk) 21:37, 29 January 2017 (UTC)


This addition to policy helps fix or remove listings that appear "indiscriminate": lacking context and sourced explanations. Readers are often faced with lists of information of questionable significance—such lists need context. Mere verifiability is not adequate context, which is why explanations backed by reliable sources should be provided. The addition emphasizes the existing policies, WP:NOT, WP:INDISCRIMINATE, WP:LISTN, and WP:ONUS, and its wording is taken almost verbatim from these policies—however, since they're spread apart, they're often overlooked, so this addition collects the parts relevant to listings into one short paragraph. They're joined by selection criteria for stand-alone lists (and only the selection criteria, not the entire SAL MOS page), which is already almost universally followed. Navigational lists such as "see also" sections are explicitly excluded from needing context and reliable sources because there's no current consensus that I could find. BrightRoundCircle (talk) 21:37, 29 January 2017 (UTC)

  • Yes, but the provided text is not clear enough — It would greatly benefit with the addition of this sort of clarification:

5. Merely-verifiable listings of information. Listings beside or within prose should be put in context with sourced explanations (navigational lists are excepted). Stand-alone lists should either have clear selection criteria that's unambiguous and supported by reliable sources, or inline citations for each item. Verifiability does not guarantee inclusion. If an article gives examples of something, the choice must be substantiated.

WP:MOS#Examples would then contain this elaboration:

Topics are limited to a certain level of detail, factoring in encyclopedic and topical relevance, not just verifiable existence. If an article gives examples of something, the choice must be substantiated. That someone simply listed them does not automatically mean that we must copy this list into Wikipedia. Examples must be most prominent cases, or of unique character, or of defining contribution, etc. The remaining ones must be referred to in "List of ...". Reasonable exceptions may be found in most topics outside the realms of culture, aesthetic, or the humanities which often depend on arbitrary examples in order to effectively illustrate their subject (i.e. Equation, Algorithm, Cryosphere, Mammal).

--Ilovetopaint (talk) 22:05, 30 January 2017 (UTC)
[2] [3] are problems. Some templates that address it are {{Specific}}, {{Refexample}}, {{Examplefarm}}, and {{Importance example}}. There is no one specific policy to reference with this issue — It's a combination of:
WP:BALASPS (An article should not give undue weight to minor aspects of its subject)
WP:ONUS (While information must be verifiable in order to be included in an article, this does not mean that all verifiable information must be included in an article.)
WP:DETAIL (Many readers need just a quick summary of the topic's most important points. Others need a moderate amount of information on the topic's more important points)
WP:LISTCRITERIA (Criteria for inclusion should factor in encyclopedic and topical relevance, not just verifiable existence. )
--Ilovetopaint (talk) 20:06, 30 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Support Ilovetopaint's version. This makes the existing criteria for lists clearer, which will lead to improvements to articles. Thryduulf (talk) 11:42, 30 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Comment: The above RfC is the result of the Wikipedia talk:Verifiability#"A self-sourcing example" addition discussion (a permalink is here). I agree that we shouldn't have indiscriminate lists. We already state that we shouldn't, but I'm not sold on the idea that every example of something needs to go beyond simply being a sentence that notes that it's an example. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 20:13, 30 January 2017 (UTC)
While Ilovetopaint is trying to broaden this RfC into a continuation of that discussion, the scope of this RfC is actually far narrower exactly for the reasons you give (among others). Framing it as a continuation of that discussion is inaccurate; I've been discussing this topic for at least six months, and this RfC specifically for over two months. BrightRoundCircle (talk) 20:26, 30 January 2017 (UTC)
My rationale is mainly with regards to topics of history, culture, or aesthetic, where there is (almost?) always a "prominent example" to cite.[1] I don't think this policy should be applied to fields of science or mathematics, like the example presented in the lead for Equation.--Ilovetopaint (talk) 20:49, 30 January 2017 (UTC)


  1. ^ See:
    • Deceptive cadence: "One of the most famous examples is in the coda of the Passacaglia and Fugue in C minor, BWV 582 by Johann Sebastian Bach."
    • Theremin: "The Beach Boys' 1966 single "Good Vibrations" – though it does not technically contain a theremin – is the most frequently cited example of the instrument in pop music."
    • Arthropods in film: "Arguably the most well-known animated insect is Jiminy Cricket."
    • French new wave: "Some of the most prominent pioneers among the group, including François Truffaut, Jean-Luc Godard, Éric Rohmer, Claude Chabrol, and Jacques Rivette, ..."
    • Experimental rock: " Author Doyle Greene identifies the Beatles, Frank Zappa, the Velvet Underground, Plastic Ono Band, Captain Beefheart, and Nico as "pioneers of avant-rock", though also noted "proto-prog" bands such as Pink Floyd and the Soft Machine as an influence."
  • Support shorter version. I utterly fail to see how the longer one clarifies the shorter one. Which lists does the longer text have in mind? Are Beatles listed in "concept album"? is "Concept album" listed in "Beatles"? If one has to clarify a policy item with an example, it must be taken from an existing or hypothetical WP article, as well as a comparison what is good and what is bad. But in this case the larger text belongs to MOS, rather than content policy. Staszek Lem (talk) 21:49, 30 January 2017 (UTC)
    • At the same time the shorter version does require clarification. Not only wikipedia, but "reliable sources" often produce "random" lists of examples, probably out of the writer's head: "1950s witnessed the popularity of AA, BB, CC, DD...". IMO MOS:LIST must have an advice of something like that:
    • If an article gives examples of something, the choice must be substantiated. That someone simply listed them does not automatically mean that we must copy this list into wikipedia. Examples must be e.g., most prominent cases, or of unique character, or of defining contribution, etc. The remaining ones must be referred to List of ....

      Staszek Lem (talk) 21:50, 30 January 2017 (UTC)
I prefer that wording.--Ilovetopaint (talk) 21:52, 30 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Enh, I dunno. So with "Listings beside or within prose should be put in context", you are proposing to disallow formations such as "An X is such-and-such. And here are some examples of X: Foo, Bar, Baz [refs]." While I guess this would be allowed: "An X is such-and-such. Foo is an emblematic example of X because such-and-such, and Bar is because such-and-such, and Baz is because such-and-such [refs]". I don't see what's so wrong with the first. I guess the second is better, but better is the enemy of good enough, and I'm leery of admonishing editors to not include somewhat useful information if they can't come up with very useful information right away. Examples, even stand-alone, can be useful to helping a person understand a concept. (If I'm misreading the intent of the passage, then the passage is poorly formed.) Herostratus (talk) 19:15, 8 February 2017 (UTC)
You're right, it's a lot like tagging unsourced information with {{cn}} versus removing that information. A contextless list can be better than nothing, though if the listings are relevant it should be easy enough to contextualize them. BrightRoundCircle (talk) 01:09, 9 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose (invited by the bot) I agree that some changes are needed regarding lists, but this is unworkable. Saying that one can never put in a list without a sourced explanation of that very list is absolutely unworkable. Sources do not write about Wikipedia articles, so an editor could never make even the smallest listing of items unless it is copied from elsewhere. North8000 (talk) 13:01, 9 February 2017 (UTC)
Can you give an example of an "unworkable" scenario? Is WP:LISTVERIFY also an "unworkable" policy?--Ilovetopaint (talk) 15:32, 9 February 2017 (UTC)
I just hit "Random article" and the first hit has an example, the second list (ones named after him) at Haydon_Warren-Gashwould be flat out illegal to put in under the above. Regarding WP:LISTVERIFY, there are hundreds of things in it and overall it looks workable. I don't know if there is a problematic item amongst those 100's. Did you have a particular item in mind with your question? Sincerely, North8000 (talk) 17:42, 9 February 2017 (UTC)
flat out illegal - thanks for the laugh! Indeed there is nothing wrong with this list and the policy needs to be worded to reflect that. BrightRoundCircle (talk) 20:42, 9 February 2017 (UTC)
I suppose the question is "does an article about a lepidopterist need context for a list of species that they described?" Some list items are so trivial that they don't require any context... BrightRoundCircle (talk) 21:14, 9 February 2017 (UTC)
Cool. I'm not sure exactly what context for a list would mean. There's criteria for inclusion which should of course be described. After that, a list might be used closely related to some text in the article, or it could be information itself, or, with expansions on each list item, it may be a way or organize content.North8000 (talk) 21:45, 9 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose although desirable, I don't think we need to have this in a policy. The proposal really relates to content found in an article, rather than what a whole article is. A bare list could be expanded as suggested, but the proposal does not really determine whether or not a list on the topic is something that we should NOT have. Instead for lists we need some other kinds of rules, eg that someone else has published something on the topic that this is a list of. examples could include List of black superheroes can exist because there is a Museum of black superheroes, but List of green superheroes does not exist because no one has written about it (or perhaps no Wikipedian want to make it up). Graeme Bartlett (talk) 12:37, 11 February 2017 (UTC)
You mean WP:LISTN? BrightRoundCircle (talk) 13:25, 11 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Support Ilovetopaint's version, but a) remove "of something" in "examples of something" (it's redundant), and b) with minor copyedits to the MOS#Examples addition: "Topics are limited to a certain level of detail, factoring in encyclopedic and topical relevance, not just verifiable existence. If an article gives examples of something, the choice must be substantiated. That someone simply listed them does not automatically mean that we must copy this list into Wikipedia. Examples must be the most prominent cases, of unique character, of defining contribution, or otherwise encyclopedically relevant. The remaining ones must be referred to in a "List of ..." article, if they meet the article's inclusion criteria. Reasonable exceptions may be found in many topics outside the realms of culture, aesthetics, or the humanities, where they depend on arbitrary examples in order to effectively illustrate their subject (i.e. Equation, Algorithm, Cryosphere, Mammal)."  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  11:55, 12 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Comment: Now at the halfway point of the traditional 30 days, support doesn't seem strong enough to change Wikipedia policy, and the issues raised by Herostratus and North8000 are not addressed by the current suggested wording. I believe with the correct wording, "merely-verifiable information" can be made part of Wikipedia polcy, and important progress was made in this RfC. BrightRoundCircle (talk) 23:40, 13 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Comment I'm sympathetic to the goal, but find the suggested wordings lacking. Coming up with the right wording can be a difficult task here; it reminds me of "I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material I understand to be embraced within that shorthand description, and perhaps I could never succeed in intelligibly doing so. But I know it when I see it". – Finnusertop (talkcontribs) 00:26, 14 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose, or perhaps more precisely, "unable to support at this time". It's not an unreasonable goal. However, (a) I question whether we actually need to document this, since editorial judgment and common sense can handle this, and (b) as currently written, it's unclear and will cause disputes. I don't know, for example, whether this is meant to include or exclude lists of famous alumni (very typical content for articles about universities), how to handle a {{main}} summary of a stand-alone list, or other things. For that matter, I'm not sure what exactly is supposed to count as "a sourced explanation". If I've got a source that says Disease X is portrayed in popular culture, then can I include several examples of it being portrayed in popular culture, or is this meant to prohibit inclusion of any examples except the ones that are named in that source (therefore excluding all examples that post-date that source, are in languages unknown or uninteresting to that source, etc.)? WhatamIdoing (talk) 18:23, 14 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose The current standards work, and their interpretation at AfD is consistent.As WhatamIdoing says, the exact language is critical--the current language has a known interpretation, & the new language could be interpreted in such a way as to remove a surprising number of lists. There's real problems with wording like m "Examples must be e.g., most prominent cases, or of unique character, or of defining contribution, etc." To first say "Must", then qualify it by "such as " and "etc." doesn't clarify anything--the debates will be over what fits into the etc. DGG ( talk ) 15:26, 15 February 2017 (UTC)

Wikinews in NOT#NEWS[edit]

I recognize that Wikinews is a very low-volume sister project that hasn't gained the same attention as, however, I dispute the notion that it is so dead as to not mention its existence. We have a serious problem with too many editors jumping to right about current events before there's any way that NEVENT can be properly applied that we need Wikinews visibility more than ever, and NOT#NEWS is exactly the place to have it. Until the Foundation shuts it down, we need to refer people towards that to maintain NOT#NEWS. --MASEM (t) 21:24, 3 February 2017 (UTC)

I have to disagree. I would agree it were a new striving project and we wanted to help it get more traction. However no point in beating a dead horse: the project had its time already. More then wikipedia, wikinews is prone to be a vehicle for fake news, because I seriously doubt it will ever have a rigorous oversight. Once it gets even 10% of wikipedia's visibility, it will become an easy prey of trolls and jokers (now they don't care there, because no seen, no glory). Staszek Lem (talk) 21:29, 3 February 2017 (UTC)
We would not include Wikinews if it was a "new" project just to help give it traction. It was created by the Foundation, and until the Foundation says its time to pull the plug, it should be considered a viable outlet. It may be prone to fake news, but so is, but that's also an issue addressed by the relative volume of the project - its much easier to patrol Wikinews with only a few editors while the same requires a massive undertaking on And it seems silly to deride a project on the basis that it will attract vandals when it gets large enough -- that's been the problem for any open wiki, much less those of the Foundation, from day one, and it is a problem that comes with the territory. --MASEM (t) 22:58, 3 February 2017 (UTC)
This is English Wikipedia, and WMF is not the final say unless it is a legal issue. I've just looked at its main page and already despise it. I am not Trump's fan, but the wikinews article title "U.S. federal judge halts Trump's ban on refugees, people from Muslim countries entering U.S." makes me cringe. Of course one can make it less partisan. But I don't like the idea of sending potential wikipedia contributors to some sinkhole of political debate. I say, let them debate here and make wikipedia more neutral. Why Wikipedia must worry about Wikinews? It is long been known that interests of Wikipedia and WMF diverge more and more. Staszek Lem (talk) 23:49, 3 February 2017 (UTC)
But we do not want people here writing like this is a newspaper, that's the whole point of NOT#NEWS. (And I would argue there's just as much problematic bias on if not more, it is just a matter of which stone you overturn. Wikinews may have its own problems, but we have just as many if not more). Get more people involved in Wikinews and you improve the quality of Wikinews, and help by offloading news events that have not yet shown clear NEVENT notability. If you hide that Wikinews exists in the most relevant places, you make the problems worse on both sides. --MASEM (t) 00:36, 4 February 2017 (UTC)
re: "But we do not want people here writing like this is a newspaper" -- Yes, but this does not mean "we don't want people here who are writing like this is a newspaper". We have to cherish people willing to write for free at all, and rather than sending them elsewhere, we must educate them. For example, if they like adding info from paint-fresh newspapers, tell them to dig and process "yesterday's news", do some research on whether the "old news" was not just a flick, and put the findings in a summarized, encyclopedic way. Staszek Lem (talk) 00:51, 4 February 2017 (UTC)
We've tried that, that's why NEVENTS was made to help provide the guidance a few years ago. It helped to stem the amount of current event articles but nowhere close to the effectiveness needed, and as of late there's more and more problems results from the current political cycle that generates a lot of sensational news topics that do not make for appropriate encyclopedic topics in the long run, but are perfectly suited for Wikinews. Yes, we want to retain editors here that can write both encyclopedically and journalistically even if they contribution to Wikinews, that's why the language in NOT#NEWS is based on the topic, not the editor "Timely news subjects not suitable for Wikipedia may be suitable for our sister project Wikinews". It is not written to drive the editor way. --MASEM (t) 01:01, 4 February 2017 (UTC)
I suspect a good deal of people who "write journalistically" simply like to write about events, and trying to direct them towards "retrojournalism" (see belo) before sending them off might be a better idea. Staszek Lem (talk) 01:10, 4 February 2017 (UTC)
Here is an algorithm for "retrojournalism":
  1. Pick a splashy headline from 5 years ago
  2. Check whether wikipedia covers it.
    1. If yes, expand the article
    2. If no, check whether it was still remembered 4 years ago
      1. If yes, write up a wikiarticle, since you already have at least two reliable independent referenced
      2. If no,
        1. If you are stubborn do more digging, rinse, and repeat.
        2. If you are not, have a beer.
I am sure this will satisfy lots of wikiholics. Staszek Lem (talk) 01:07, 4 February 2017 (UTC)
Again, the language of NOT#NEWS pointing to WikiNews is not saying "if you are journalisticly inclined, go there instead". It is based on the topic, if it is too "news-y" than encyclopedic, that they should use Wikinews write about it instead. (I do note we do say "WP is not written in news style" but that's more MOS advice, and still not meant to drive off jouranlistic writers). --MASEM (t) 01:25, 4 February 2017 (UTC)

It seems fairly evident that there is no apparent harm in promoting Wikinews, while there is the perhaps unlikely put potential harm of not doing so, in the case that the project, if actually dead, may one day be resurrected by, lord knows, the mountains of editors that are directed there from this page. So it appears that we have a solution with no problem. It's not as if the plug for Wikinews is a substantial burden that the readers have to overcome. TimothyJosephWood 23:37, 3 February 2017 (UTC)

Yes IMO there is some harm to wikipedia, see my 2nd answer to Masem. Staszek Lem (talk) 23:52, 3 February 2017 (UTC)
But if the harm you identify is a harm that would be solved by having more editors directed to the project, which it seems to be, then your objection makes no sense. TimothyJosephWood 00:47, 4 February 2017 (UTC)
OK, let me rephrase. The harm I see is sending editors away off our project, see news in Masem's thread. Staszek Lem (talk) 00:55, 4 February 2017 (UTC)
Agreed. In addition to inappropriateness of using our policy pages as advertising spaces for moribund projects. Gamaliel (talk) 01:07, 4 February 2017 (UTC)
I have no idea how active Wikinews is, but so long as it is at least somewhat live then I think we should unselfishly behave as a community-of-communities. It would be pretty obnoxious if sister projects started scrubbing links to Wikipedia because they were afraid of losing people to us. I say sister project links are fine where they are obviously relevant. Alsee (talk) 14:01, 5 February 2017 (UTC)

NOT SOCIAL MEDIA expansion?[edit]

We get a lot of people lately who come here as part of their job as social media people for companies or organizations, thinking WP is another platform to "get the word out" but this isn't really covered currently by this section. Before I just slapped soemthing in there I thought I'd look for some feedback/possible wording here first. Beeblebrox (talk) 00:20, 11 February 2017 (UTC)

I don't have an immediate answer but I would suggest looking at the "NOTWEBHOST" section currently at the top of this page , started by Jytdog in Oct 2016 (in case it goes to archives) as I think there's some elements of the same problem. I agree we should not be seen as promotional and there's a certain balance between encyclopedic and promotional information. --MASEM (t) 00:33, 11 February 2017 (UTC)
Should already be covered in guidelines for article namespace (Wikipedia:Conflict of interest) and for user pages (WP:UP#PROMO). Guidelines are less strict than policies, but I've seen plenty of user pages deleted under UP#PROMO, and COI edits to articles are usually very quickly spotted and reverted, many times resulting in lengthy bans. BrightRoundCircle (talk) 01:47, 11 February 2017 (UTC)
I think Wikipedia:What Wikipedia is not#Wikipedia is not a soapbox or means of promotion covers this. isaacl (talk) 03:15, 11 February 2017 (UTC)
This can be a problem, but also a source of useful edits. What about the pr/social media employee who corrects clear mistakes, updates the CEO, or expands the history section? All the faults such edits address are very characteristic of our articles. WP:COI certainly applies, and WP:UNDUE and WP:PROMO may do for burble about new products etc, but wording to catch the difference may be difficult. Johnbod (talk) 16:00, 15 February 2017 (UTC)
I believe WP:NOTPROMO adequately covers this already, as others have highlighted. Stickee (talk) 22:14, 16 February 2017 (UTC)