Wikipedia talk:What Wikipedia is not

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Talk page soapboxing[edit]

Is this soapboxing?[1] A talk page (of Sayerslle, now notified) blanked, and completely replaced with political propaganda (user page as well). FunkMonk (talk) 19:53, 26 March 2015 (UTC)

Yes, this is outlined at WP:UP. --MASEM (t) 20:06, 26 March 2015 (UTC)
Thanks, placed a "warning". FunkMonk (talk) 22:18, 26 March 2015 (UTC)

Semi-protected edit request on 27 March 2015[edit]

27.97.98.209 (talk) 17:06, 27 March 2015 (UTC)

Red question icon with gradient background.svg Not done: it's not clear what changes you want to be made. Please mention the specific changes in a "change X to Y" format. NiciVampireHeart 17:52, 27 March 2015 (UTC)

Propose restrictions on statistics be changed to restrictions on numbers[edit]

The section "Wikipedia is not an indiscriminate collection of information" previously has read as follows:

# Excessive listings of statistics. Long and sprawling lists of statistics may be confusing to readers and reduce the readability and neatness of our articles. In addition, articles should contain sufficient explanatory text to put statistics within the article in their proper context for a general reader. In cases where this may be necessary, (e.g. Nationwide opinion polling for the United States presidential election, 2012), consider using tables to enhance the readability of lengthy data lists. Where it is not necessary, as in the main article United States presidential election, 2012, omit excess statistics altogether and summarize any necessary data concisely.

I just changed it to the following:

# Excessive listings of numbers, data without context, or statistics. Long and sprawling lists of numbers may be confusing to readers and reduce the readability and neatness of Wikipedia articles. In addition, articles should contain sufficient explanatory text to put numbers within the article in their proper context for a general reader. In cases where this may be necessary, such as in presenting polling information from an election or numbers of lost lives in a war, consider using tables to enhance the readability of lengthy data lists. Where it is not necessary, omit excess numbers altogether and summarize any necessary data concisely.

My intent is this to to emphasize that all kinds of lists of numbers need context, and not only statistics. I think that this is already the Wikipedia practice, and that this section has been interpreted in that way already. I would appreciate comments from anyone here who either supports or opposes this change. Thoughts? Blue Rasberry (talk) 14:27, 8 April 2015 (UTC)

I was thinking that there is not much difference in popular use between "statistics" and collections of "numbers" Merriam-Webster says

"Definition of STATISTICS

  • 1 a branch of mathematics dealing with the collection, analysis, interpretation, and presentation of masses of numerical data
  • 2 a collection of quantitative data"

1) is the "scholarly" definition IMHO, and your change helps distinguish between that and a mere collection of numbers,

2) is the "popular" definition, and your change doesn't really affect the meaning in this sense.

In sum, it helps a bit and doesn't hurt anything. Smallbones(smalltalk) 15:15, 8 April 2015 (UTC)

  • Oppose. "Excessive listings of ... data without context" is gibberish, or at least unclear. The "context" refers to the context of the data as a whole, not the amount of data. "Excessive listings of ... data" is wholly unacceptable, as the sort of people who want to delete everything would claim that "data" included all entries whatsoever in all lists whatsoever, not just lists of numbers. Removing the link to Statistic is unacceptable for the same reason, as we don't want people coming up with their own (erroneous and overly expansive) definitions. When this was discussed before, there was no consensus to use any definition of "statistic" other than the correct one, which is a real valued function of the observations in a random sample (DeGroot and Schervish, Probability and Statistics, Third Edition, Addison Wesley, 2002, p 371). I am not at all convinced this should be expanded to "numbers". List of numbers, for example, is potentially uncountably infinite, and rightly so. There would be no value in limiting it on grounds of length alone, as the number of notable numbers is likely to be very large, making a "long and sprawling" list absolutely necessary. I don't see a clear analogy between numbers, data and statistics. It occurs to me that you can do all manner of meaningless calculations on a sample and produce all manner of irrelevant statistics. I don't see a clear analogy for numbers or data. I am certain that what is proposed here is not existing practice and that the policy is not interpreted in that way already. This change is clearly substantial and, in view of the outcome of previous discussions, should not have been made without discussing it first. James500 (talk) 08:28, 28 April 2015 (UTC)

Private schools and WP:SOAP[edit]

Please see this discussion on whether the Zurich International School (a private school) should be listed in the commune of Adliswil: Talk:Adliswil#Private_schools_and_Adliswil - The other believes that mentioning private schools in a city article is WP:SOAP while I argue that doing so is not WP:SOAP. The edit in question. WhisperToMe (talk) 14:14, 22 April 2015 (UTC)

This page being used to support wikilawyering[edit]

An editor recently replaced the lead sentence of the page Aneuploidy with an inaccurate statement, arguing that the original statement which was accurate "violates WP:NOTJOURNAL". I believe the specific sentence on this page that they are referring to must be "While wikilinks should be provided for advanced terms and concepts in that field, articles should be written on the assumption that the reader will not or cannot follow these links, instead attempting to infer their meaning from the text." Specifically, the sentences are:

  • "Aneuploidy is the presence in a cell of an atypical number of chromosomes." (followed by a citation where someone made that statement)
  • "Aneuploidy is a condition in which the number of chromosomes in the nucleus of a cell is not an exact multiple of the monoploid number of a particular species,[a citation is here] such as when there is an extra chromosome or one missing. It differs from polyploidy, which involves full multiples of the monoploid number."

The presence and lack of links are as in the originals.

My problem with this is that the first version is unhelpful to the reader, and is inaccurate

1) it implies that polyploidy is a type of aneuploidy, and that humans are aneuploid great apes (humans have a chromosome number that is not typical of the great apes).
2) the reader has no link available to understand what "chromosome" means.

Is the sentence "While wikilinks should be provided for advanced terms and concepts in that field, articles should be written on the assumption that the reader will not or cannot follow these links, instead attempting to infer their meaning from the text." really necessary on this page? Could it be removed, please, I believe it is damaging wikipedia. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 13:01, 24 April 2015 (UTC)

I think it is pretty weird that you brought this here instead of trying to work out the differences on Talk. fwiw i think that the objection by Nbauman could also be described per WP:TECHNICAL - your version is pretty jargony and WP is aimed at the general public. See Wikipedia:Manual_of_Style/Medicine-related_articles#Technical_terminology for more guidance. The lead especially should be plain English as much as possible. Jytdog (talk) 13:11, 24 April 2015 (UTC)
I like the first version. It is simple. We should write the lead in simple language. We can get more technical in the body of the article. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 13:29, 24 April 2015 (UTC)
On the specifics of this case: although the first version has the benefits of simplicity and readability, if it isn't fully accurate then ultimately that's perhaps not helpful to the reader. Remember that some readers will never get beyond the lead. Would adjusting the sentence to read "Aneuploidy is the presence in a cell of an atypical number of chromosomes for any given species" be an improvement accuracy-wise?
On the generality of the instruction on this page, there doesn't appear to be anything inherent in the statement quoted above ("While wikilinks should be provided for advanced terms and concepts in that field, articles should be written on the assumption that the reader will not or cannot follow these links, instead attempting to infer their meaning from the text") that states that accuracy can be compromised as a result of applying it, in which case, if accuracy is compromised, then it seems the instruction is being applied a bit carelessly. PaleCloudedWhite (talk) 07:21, 25 April 2015 (UTC)
Thank you for the suggestion PaleCloudedWhite. It is an improvement since it eliminates the possible meaning that all humans are aneuploid (which they are not) but still doesn't exclude the polyploidy case, such as in the salivary glands of insects, which are polyploid but not aneuploid. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 13:04, 25 April 2015 (UTC)
I am the editor at issue. The definition is accurate, at least according to WP:RS. I got it from Science magazine. (Samuel H. Vohr and Richard E. Green (10 April 2015). "Aneuploidy and mother's genes". Science 348 (6231): 180–181. doi:10.1126/science.aab0877.) I also considered the definition in the NEJM review article on Aneuploidy, and in the glossary to Campbell's Biology, but I went with Science. Reasonable people could disagree.
The issue is not accuracy, the issue is readability.
And I agree that this discussion should continue not here but on Talk:Aneuploidy https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:Aneuploidy#First_sentence_is_now_inaccurate --Nbauman (talk) 10:25, 25 April 2015 (UTC)

I'll write some more at the talk page of the content dispute, since there is clearly a serious problem that any content issue has to be readily understandable in all its aspects to the audience here before people will discuss the policy rather than the content itself. Perhaps technical components of the encyclopedia can never have any influence on policy. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 13:04, 25 April 2015 (UTC)