Wikipedia talk:What Wikipedia is not/Archive 20

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Archive 19 Archive 20 Archive 21

How to tweak WP:PLOT

Pixelface has suggested up above that we tweak WP:PLOT somehow to make it clear that an article consisting solely of plot is not a reason to delete, pointing to this edit [1] as an example of how to word it. I think that's a very good point which is best made in our editing policy, so to better make this fit with that policy, how should we amend the current wording? How about "A concise plot summary is appropriate as part of the larger coverage of a fictional work, and in keeping with editing policy where at all possible information plot summaries should be so integrated in an encyclopedic manner"? Hiding T 09:43, 23 May 2008 (UTC)

If an article fails any part of WP:NOT (or indeed any other core content policy), then the question is whether it can be fixed or whether it should be deleted, and WP:PLOT is no exception. In general, it is preferable to fix the problems with the article, but sometimes deletion is exactly the right thing to do. Again, that's true in general, and is not specific to PLOT.
If we need to clarify the "fixable" issue then we need to do so for all types of content issues. It may be more appropriate to amend WP:DP#Reasons for deletion, and perhaps add a reference to editing policy there. It's a mistake to create a special case for plot summaries. Jakew (talk) 11:14, 23 May 2008 (UTC)
That's an idea. How would we amend WP:DP#Reasons for deletion? I think a lot of this stems from the fact that there has been some sort of movement on Wikipedia to dress some opinions as objective rather than subjective. It is of course objective that an article consists solely of plot. It is of course subjective that it should be deleted because of this to improve Wikipedia. Hiding T 11:55, 23 May 2008 (UTC)
Clearly we should change the deletion policy and create WP:Plot summaries, as well as change WP:AFD and institute WP:POSTPONE in order to support WP:FICT instead of simply removing a bad idea that never had consensus to begin with from policy. Clearly. --Pixelface (talk) 22:20, 3 June 2008 (UTC)
This is clearly true. You cannot make sweeping judgements. Some plot-only articles can clearly be improved to be encyclopedic, some are suitable for merge to another article, whilst some are plainly untenable. It is the last of those three which means that WP:PLOT can be a reason for deletion, but may not always be so. What we must not do is remove PLOT from the reasons for deletion completely, because that's clearly a slippery slope regarding the rest of WP:NOT. There is an argument that such untenable articles can generally be deleted through failure to meet WP:V, but that's a separate issue. Black Kite 12:21, 23 May 2008 (UTC)
<ec> Well, here's the problem I have, and I think this is still true. We don't delete because of WP:PLOT, we delete because of WP:CONSENSUS. We nominate because of WP:PLOT. An admin has to weigh a debate, determining rough consensus in an impartial manner, looking at underlying policy. Now it appears that WP:PLOT is being utilised in this form as a reason to delete, in ignorance of WP:EP, which indicates we should preserve information. Maybe we need to decide which policies it is that an admin bows to in closing a deletion debate. Looking at WP:EP, it would indicate WP:OR, WP:V, WP:BLP and WP:COPYRIGHT are the policies which decide information which should be deleted, but not WP:NOT. Thoughts? Hiding T 13:01, 23 May 2008 (UTC)
The problem with AfD at the moment is that "rough consensus" is being obscured by large amounts of block voting on the most tenuous of policy-related reasons (or more often, no reason at all). It is getting very difficult for many admins to wade through this morass of non-votes, many of which ignore WP:V and WP:OR, never mind WP:NOT. Black Kite 13:42, 23 May 2008 (UTC)
To be honest I've ignored afd as much as I can for something like 18 months now. I became very disillusioned with it and realised participation wasn't mandatory. You'd have to wonder what would happen if we ignored afd altogether. Imagine if we only deleted through CSD and PROD. Maybe more cleanup would happen? We'd perhaps keep articles in a better shape. It is a thought. Maybe we would need a "Is this a hoax page", and some sort of deletion process for contentious biographies, but beyond that? Hmmm... food for thought... Hiding T 13:48, 23 May 2008 (UTC)
AFD is still needed: it should however be the last step in dispute resolution, not the first. There will be fundamental disagreements if a page, after all good faith efforts are exhausted, meets NOT or NOTE or similar policy, say, only one secondary source is found to show a work being notable, which begs if that is "significant coverage". This isn't a CSD case, and the PROD would be contested. Assuming that there's been dispute resolution before this point, AFD is a proper venue to get more input on whether appropriate policies have been made. Mind you, there are problems when you have tried DR, and you present an article for deletion where tons of keep votes without policy backing get put on; we need to have closing admins carefully evaluation and fully explain their actions so that even if an article is deleted, those that filled the box with "keep" don't feel disenfranchised. (eg: "While there were a lot of "keep" votes, they did not comment on the original nom's question of the article's notability.") But that's more a behavioral problem at WP:DEL than at WP:NOT. --MASEM 14:05, 23 May 2008 (UTC)
You've preloaded the debate by asserting that such a page should be deleted. This is why afd may be broken. Hiding T 14:11, 23 May 2008 (UTC)
My argument could go both ways: maybe there's a group that completely want to delete a topic based on IDONTLIKEIT grounds (see things like Homoepathy). The point I was trying to make is regardless of the state of the article, AFD is a necessary step in dispute resolution; if we allow for CSD and PROD, we need AFD to handle contested cases. The problem I agree is in line with the above: that AFD is too often used as a first step, and too many AFD via PLOT with the intent of delete, when really the step should have been to work with the page editors to either avoid failing PLOT by adding information, or finding a suitable merge point to retain information. Are there still times where AFD is needed in cases of topics failing PLOT? Sure: say someone creates a character article for a character already described in reasonable detail on a list of characters, and ultimately the article can't be shown to expand more than just a plot summary. At that point, it is assumed that deletion of the content is fine since it's already present, but a redirect should be left in place. However, such cases should be rare.
Maybe what is needed is a more formal "Articles for Merge" process than the one we have presently, which specifically should be used with PLOT-failing articles instad of AFD. In otherwords, there would be a central point for all such discussions and run in the same manner as AFD, though people should be !voting "Keep" or "Merge" or variations thereof. --MASEM 14:27, 23 May 2008 (UTC)
I don't understand what your suggestion is intended to achieve, Masem. If deletion is a valid outcome in an "Articles for Merge" process, then it would serve exactly the same function as AfD (with, perhaps, less focus on deletion, so it may have merit in this respect, but why limit it to PLOT?). On the other hand, if deletion is not a valid outcome, then there would be no effect if the consensus at AfD would have been to keep or merge, but exactly the opposite of consensus if the outcome at AfD would have been to delete. Jakew (talk) 15:01, 23 May 2008 (UTC)
Sorry, not making myself clear. We have a problem that AFD can often result in generally four outcomes instead of three: keep, delete, and no consensus are three of them, and the three expected, but merge is the fourth option. If AFD is being used properly as a last resort of dispute resolution, the merge suggestion should have happened much much sooner in the process (though there are likely times the nominator is genuinely unaware of a proper merge target). We are stating that articles that fail PLOT and only fail PLOT should not be deleted, and thus the whole process of using AFD to end up at a merge point taints the process, because it gives the wrong impression of what should be done to the article. Instead, I argue that if we create a specific AFMerge process akin in every regard to AFD, save that the only three general outcomes are keep, merge, and no consensus, we provide a better route for details with articles that may fail PLOT, because the concept of "delete" never comes into the picture. --MASEM 15:22, 23 May 2008 (UTC)
Thank you for clarifying. I agree that there is a problem with premature nominations to AfD, and I think that problem needs to be solved in some way, but I'm not convinced that special-case processes for one particular problem is the solution. I think it's more of a band-aid solution, and one that may cause more problems than it solves.
I think it's safe to say that articles that fail PLOT usually fail other policies as well, and I'd guess that it's probably rather rare for an article to fail PLOT, have little hope of ever meeting PLOT, and yet only fail PLOT. If sufficient secondary sources are available to (potentially) meet WP:V and WP:NOR, then it is overwhelmingly likely that out-of-universe material can be written. Similarly, if the available sources can only support in-universe material, then it is probable that the article will also fail WP:V, etc.
But, for the sake of argument, some thoughts about such an article. First, I think such a situation is probably quite rare (in the vast majority of cases, it's likely that other policies and guidelines will also apply), and I wonder whether it's worth creating a special process for a rare event. Second, I'm having such difficulty in imagining such an article that I can't honestly say that the article should not be deleted. I think it should certainly be considered as a possible option, and I suspect that it would be a mistake to make such an outcome impossible. Jakew (talk) 15:57, 23 May 2008 (UTC)
If something fails PLOT, it's likely failing NOTE/FICT, easily. (Hypothetical question: can something fail PLOT and still meet NOTE/FICT? ) Alternately, by making the topic meet PLOT, you are generally then satisfying it for NOTE/FICT as well, and to that extent, also WP:V; any other failures of the article at that point are likely due to writing style and making sure to watch for problems in NOR and NPOV. A big complaint of naysayers of PLOT (such as Pixelface) is that there is a strong tie between it and notability, yet notability is not policy. Can we separate these better? I don't know, I'm just throwing it out. But the key here is that most of the time, PLOT and NOTE are tied together presently; once you make it to pass one, you've likely passed the other and there are rarely other policies that cannot be fixed with standard cleanup, removing the need to AFD.
As for the AFMerge idea, it has wider applications beyond PLOT-type articles. Mind you, I'm pretty sure the idea is not new. We basically need to have it clear, somehow, that citing PLOT, ultimately failing NOTE as a reason for deletion is not good. Deletion, strictly, means that we should not cover any aspect of that topic at all. Rarely this is the case that we want to delete the coverage of a plot-based item, instead opting to reduce the amount it is covered and placing it in better context if the element itself cannot pass PLOT -- effectively merging content. AFDs should not be used as they are now with plot-based articles to try to end up with a merge decision, because you are presenting the option of "deletion". As suggested, PLOT-failing articles likely never should go to
We still need some form of wide-participation dispute resolution for PLOT-type articles. The current merge process unfortunately does not attract a lot of attention as AFDs do; unless you advertise it to an interested project page, you only have the person interested in the merge and the editors of the page. At that point gaining consensus can be rather difficult because you're dealing at the local level. Say you're the one suggesting a merge and you know that the merge is appropriate by policy but you cannot get those editors to move. Even if you get a larger opinion at a project, this type of situation can be very difficult to bulge, and likely will end up in an edit war if neither side relents. Presently, the next step is to take it to AFD, but as I've noted, this is the wrong attitude. This is exactly where the AFMerge idea would be better; you can now go from local consensus to global consensus in a manner that suggests that you don't want to remove that material, just help better with its encyclopedic presentation. --MASEM 18:16, 23 May 2008 (UTC)
Interesting comments. It's true that WP:PLOT and WP:NOTE are closely related, but so too is WP:V. As I (and others) have stated previously, WP:V in particular implies WP:N, and in most cases any argument based upon WP:N can be rephrased as an argument based upon WP:V and WP:NOR (if there are sufficient reliable sources to write a verifiable article, the subject probably meets WP:N). In a sense, then, the underlying principles of notability are already policy. I'm not sure if it's possible to separate the policies and guidelines, which are after all intended to be understood as a whole. So yes, WP:PLOT and WP:NOTE are closely linked, but if we were to remove WP:PLOT from the equation, there would still be a policy basis for WP:NOTE, and in most cases one could still make notability-type arguments on the sole basis of policies (as opposed to guidelines).
Hypothetically, I suppose, one could propose that we amend WP:V and WP:NOR as well, but this raises the question of why one would want to. "PLOT shouldn't be a part of NOT because NOT is a reason for deletion and so article X might be deleted" is not, by itself, a compelling argument. Nor is "the requirement for secondary sources shouldn't be a part of WP:PSTS because WP:NOR is policy and so article X might be deleted". Neither of these arguments are remotely compelling unless one starts from the assumption that article X shouldn't be deleted. Similarly, "WP:NPOV needs to be rewritten so that I can rewrite the King George article to explain my theory that he was actually a sentient carrot" isn't very compelling unless one starts from the assumption that such an assertion ought to be made. So the question, to my mind, is this: what is so important about article X (or the class of articles like X) that means that they should be kept? And is there sufficient support for that view that we should rewrite PLOT, V, NOR, etc. in order to accomodate it?
Regarding the AFMerge idea, I think it's rather interesting, but I wouldn't like to see it as the only option for PLOT-type problems, because I think that deletion is often (though far from always) the correct approach with these articles. Nevertheless, when merging is appropriate it would be very good, as you say, to have an effective mechanism for getting more eyes and more input from the wider community. A couple of ideas spring to mind, in addition to AFMerge. The first is that perhaps WP:PM could be enhanced or restructured in some way so as to get more attention? The second is that perhaps we could have a NOT/Noticeboard, similar to WP:NOR/N and WP:RS/N? I'm not sure whether either of these are any good, but I thought they were worth mentioning. Jakew (talk) 21:27, 23 May 2008 (UTC)
I think it's somewhat inaccurate to bluntly state that "we should preserve information". It depends on the information, and whether it is appropriate encyclopaedic content. If inappropriate content was added, there's no particular reason to keep it, and keeping information just because someone added it is counter to the goal of creating a quality encyclopaedia. WP:EP actually states: "For text that is beyond hope we will remove the offending section to the corresponding talk page, or, in cases in which the article obviously has no redeeming merit whatsoever, delete it outright. The decision to take the latter action should not be made lightly, however." Whether or not pure plot summaries fall into the exceptions listed in WP:EP#Preserve information (I would argue that they tend to be duplicative and OR), I think it's a mistake to think that WP:DP is automatically invalid because of perceived inconsistencies with WP:EP. Jakew (talk) 13:21, 23 May 2008 (UTC)
Give the two lists of reasons to delete at WP:EP and WP:DP, I think it is inaccurate to describe an assertion of inconsistency as perceived. I'd also point out I am not contending DP is invalid, only that the inconsistency exists. I'd be curious how you square the two lists; for example notability makes no appearance in WP:EP. It's almost like the left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing. I'd be curious as to how we decide which hand has primacy. As to your argument regarding plot summaries being OR, that's not supported by policy. Oh, and it isn't inaccurate to describe our mission as being one of preserving information. Unless you believe Wikipedia will only be complete when all information has been removed. Hiding T 13:38, 23 May 2008 (UTC)
I guess I don't see a major inconsistency because I view WP:EP#Preserve information as a non-exclusive list (ie., it includes, but is not limited to...) I suppose that if I viewed it otherwise then I would probably agree with you. Additionally, I view "preserve information" as applying primarily to within-article editing, not to the deletion process. Intuitively, it makes much more sense to me to view DP as definitive when it comes to valid reasons for article deletion.
Notability is a combination of two issues: i) whether it is possible to meet the requirements of WP:V and WP:NOR (ie., are there enough sources out there to support a theoretical fully-sourced article), and ii) relevance to an encyclopaedia (note that "irrelevancy" is an exception to "preserve information" and that WP:RELEVANCE discusses WP:N and WP:NOT). Hence, in my analysis, WP:N is largely an explanation of existing policy for convenience, while notability is not explicitly listed in EP, it is implied.
Finally, on a philosophical note, the purpose of the project is to create an encyclopaedia. Creating and preserving encyclopaedic information is essential to that goal, but so too is removing unencyclopaedic information (the difficulty, I admit, is agreeing how to distinguish between the two). Jakew (talk) 13:58, 23 May 2008 (UTC)
Intuitively I would expect WP:DP to explain how we delete. What we delete I would expect to be at WP:NOT, intuitively, but that's Pixelface's main bone of contention and is where we cam in. This whole argument is based on subjective intuitions, and we can go around in these circles all day, it doesn't really help. The broad point is that we have no clear definition of what an encyclopedia is. An 18th century encyclopedia of butterflies would look different to a 20th century one. Is one more encyclopedic than another? At least we agree this is a subjective decision. Hiding T 14:09, 23 May 2008 (UTC)
But is is a perfectly good reason for deletion if there doesn't exist enough third party verifiable information in reliable sources to make a balanced article that is not mostly plot summary. So the question shouldn't be what does the article have now, but how much out of universe verifiable information exists. If enough out of universe information doesn't exist in reliable sources to make the article mostly out of universe and only a little plot summary, then yes it should be deleted. That's just a basic synthesis of WP:V, WP:NOT, and the other content policies. - Taxman Talk 12:58, 23 May 2008 (UTC)
Is it? That seems to be enacting WP:N as policy, not guidance? I'd agree it is a good reason to argue for deletion, but not a reason which should trump other opinions. It seems to be attempting to violate WP:NPOV. For example, if all that has been written on a subject in reliable sources is glowing, we don't refuse to summarise it because there is no criticism to counter balance. If all there is to say about a work is that it exists, and to describe it and classify it, where is the harm in that? How are we breaching our observance of a neutral point of view? Surely having inclusion standards in some sense violates the ability to maintain a neutral point of view, a fundamental principle? Jimmy made this point himself once, saying we wouldn't discuss Flat Earthers or some such in Earth, but we could discuss such theories in their own article. Look, cards on the table, the argument really seems to boil down to What improves the encyclopedia best, deleting or retaining verifiable material? Let's not make the flawed assumption that our policies mean anything, they're just words we wrote and rewrite as we go, it's all made up. What's the goal. That's the heart of the debate, how expansive are we. Are we deletionist or inclusionist. Can we find a middle ground which doesn't consist of robotic automaton, enslaved to subjective notions. Hiding T 13:11, 23 May 2008 (UTC)
If it is only verifiable to itself then it is not verifiable, that's basic application of WP:V. That's what what I said above boils down to. And yes, I would argue that irrespective of what we have written for our policies WP:V is at the core of what makes a good encyclopedia and what makes an encyclopedia worth using. In any case it is policy, and bedrock at that. That's why I've always argued we don't even need WP:N because WP:V already covers what we need. If people simply discussed whether subjects had enough third party verifiable sources to make balanced articles we'd never need to argue about notability again. - Taxman Talk 14:54, 23 May 2008 (UTC)
Well, I think I'm the man who suggested the third party sources addition to WP:V, so I can remember when that wasn't a policy, but then I remember when WP:V wasn't policy, and we were still an encyclopedia. I'm not sure it is bedrock; WP:NPOV certainly is, but WP:V? It's hard for me to take as bedrock something I proposed, since it's just something I made up one day. The trouble with bedrock is how we interpret it and what it all means. WP:PAPER is bedrock. Deeper bedrock. There's a division deep within Wikipedia that we have never truly solved. Because all that policy, all that bedrock really is, is just words we made up. And they mean whatever we want them to mean. Some people argue that including plot summaries makes us the good encyclopedia we are. The whole point about us is we're here to build an encyclopedia. Nobody ever thought to work out what sort of encyclopedia, because we were never meant to be the enyclopedia. Something else was. The good content was going to get published somewhere else. We lost sight of that, or dropped that idea, but we never replaced it with anything else. Wikipedia itself didn't start out as the encyclopedia. It's the place where we write the encyclopedia. It's also become the encyclopedia, but it is still also the sandbox. We can keep whatever we want in the sandbox, but not whatever we want in the encyclopedia. The place is split into factions on so many points it's hard to decide what we are. There really are no objective statements here, WP:IAR makes that clear if nothing else. We do whatever is best to build a NPOV encyclopedia. We're here to "to present a fair, neutral description of the facts". Incidentally, I think the third party sources grew from the original formulation of WPNPOV; Perhaps the easiest way to make your writing more encyclopedic is to write about what people believe, rather than what is so. If you can't source what people believe, you can't write about it. Hiding T 16:14, 23 May 2008 (UTC)
No offense, but you didn't exactly just make it up one day. It's basic scholarly attribution. And the it's just words we made up one day can be just a really convenient way to ignore policies that have extremely wide community consensus on what we want this project to be. I realize some people want to make this a fan site, but luckily WP:V is here to stay. - Taxman Talk 17:20, 23 May 2008 (UTC)
Why would it cause offence? Obviously I took it from somewhere. The point is, until it was added it wasn't policy, and there is quite a large amount of policy and flotsam and the like which somewhat contradicts it. Ignoring the fact that we made all this up entrenches the point of view that none of this can be changed and that we could make this a fan-site if consensus wants. I don't endorse the idea that we should be, I merely wish to point out that these arguments are circular. We need better reasons than "because". If we forget why we have these things, from my point of view we don't deserve them, because we can't defend them. Is there a reason we can't be both a fan-site and an encyclopedia? Hiding T 17:30, 23 May 2008 (UTC)
Yes, and it's fairly easy to establish from the verifiability policy. And since there are long established and well thought out reasons for the verifiability policy, your arguments are kind of pedantic. We just don't need to rehash the reasons every time. The only conflict is in trying to make Wikipedia into something it doesn't need to be. There are lots of fan sites out there, it's just that this isn't one. - Taxman Talk 17:56, 23 May 2008 (UTC)
That's what I love about this place. You try and engage with people so that the issues can be seen to be discussed and you get called a pedant. This place was made up as it went along. It means only what we want it to mean. You don't need to tell this stuff to me. You need to find a better way of telling it to the editors out there with different opinions, editing in a different way, because by WP:CONSENSUS they have an equal right to have voice and be heard. Apologies for wasting everyone's time. Hiding T 20:04, 23 May 2008 (UTC)
I didn't call you anything. I referred to your arguments. It's an important difference and was done specifically not to refer to you as a person. What your argument did was to set aside strong consensus to repeat that it can change. Of course it can change, but that also doesn't change that it is there and has valuable reasons behind it. - Taxman Talk 02:27, 24 May 2008 (UTC)
An interesting question seems to be at the heart of this turn of discussion. At what point do we determine that consensus has changed, and "how much" of a consensus is needed to determine this? And if you think this is an arbitrary thought, check out the current "controversy" concerning the deciding of consensus at Wikipedia talk:Autoconfirmed Proposal/Poll#Closed. And this is from what would ordinarily seem to be a fairly straight-forward poll. So how many would we need to join the discussion to "invalidate" WP:V? When I consider the mess that was made during the WP:ATT discussions, I'm not sure that any discussion can ever be strong enough to "overturn" an existing policy. And here's the "fun" part: My understanding is that "policy" isn't necessarily what's on some policy page, but rather current practice, or something "endorsed" as "good practice" by the community. So what do you think? Can the community overturn policies? Is it theoritically possible? Is it concretely possible? Or will they get blocked/censured for contravention of those self-same policies? - jc37 03:46, 24 May 2008 (UTC)
yes, this is a policy page, and the appropriate thing to discuss here is what we want the policy to be. Obviously, we can decide on the policy we want--we are not bound by what might have existed on the page before. I think Hiding is right, that material of even very great detail can be verifiable, even a good fan site can have a very large part of its contents accurate and verifiable, even to the extent that it might become a RS in its own right. The question of exactly what counts as verifiable is a guideline from RS, and can be discussed there. The policy question of whether we should go into great detail is a matter of consensus. At present, its clear that consensus is somewhat divided, and I dont think there's really a firm supermajority either way. Therefore, the appropriate thing to do on a policy page is to admit the fact, and leave the question open. DGG (talk) 01:26, 24 May 2008 (UTC)

PLOT and NOTE overlap?

I had this thought based on the above discussion between me and Jakew on the AFMerge idea. Basically, this is a question to make sure we know how much, if any, there is overlap of PLOT and NOTE, and if there's a way to possibly separate these to a degree.

Lets consider an article on a fictional character (though this reasonable applies to any such fictional element or work). For purposes of discussion, the article is only about that one character, so it is important to note that the topic is the fictional character.

Now there are two p/gs that apply to this (warning, descending into some modern math concepts...):

  1. PLOT: The topic needs to include other information in addition to a plot summary, otherwise should not be an article. Let us call this other information as Set A.
  2. NOTE/FICT: The topic must show some information to be worthy of coverage as a single topic (otherwise we're going to merge it). Some information is Set B.

I'm starting from the assertion that these are two different statements. One states that being encyclopedic we simply don't allow topics to be only covered by plot summaries, the other states that we only include information if there's more than just primary and trivial information about it.

Now, I propose trying to consider the following cases (I will assume that there are things that work in Set A that also work in Set B, so that the intersection of the two sets is not the null set).

  1. Set A is exactly equal to Set B - If this is absolutely true, then we need to admit that PLOT and NOTE are the same, or more specifically that for purposes of published works, NOTE/FICT is policy, or that we weaken PLOT to a guideline. Neither of these seems like a good result from this.
  2. Set A is a subset of B - There may be aspects of notability demonstration that do not make an article more than just a plot summary. One could call Cliff Notes of works of fiction secondary sources at times as they do analysis the plot, so we can surpass NOTE, but as this is just more plot summary, albeit in a different writer's opinion. (This is just an example and can be shown to be different) This may be better because the policy statement is more restrictive with the guideline being more open.
  3. Set B is a subset of A - There may be information more that just the plot summary that can pass PLOT, but this information is not sufficient to pass NOTE. Here, I'd use the examples of director commentaries, which have the unfortunate problem of being primary sources yet more than just plot information (but again, my example to be proven in a different manner).
  4. "Some Set A are not B, Some Set B are not A" - This, personally, is where I think the correct overlap lies: there's elements that make things more than just plot summary that don't make it notable, there's notability demonstration that doesn't help to be more than just plot summary. However, I am opening this for further consideration.

What does this all mean? Depending on how other sees this, this tells us what we should be able aiming for in PLOT; do we specifically mention notability or should we try to prune it out? If of the above cases, case 1 and case 3 beg that topics on published works must mention notability, while neither case 2 or 4 require that it be mentioned, or if is, mentioned in a different clause as being a significantly different concept as plot-only articles. --MASEM 13:13, 24 May 2008 (UTC)

Fascinating analysis, Masem. I would mostly agree with you, I think: point 4 is the correct overlap. I would put it like this: PLOT tells us about the kind of information that should be included, whereas NOTE tells us (broadly speaking) about the amount of external coverage. To a certain extent, PLOT implies NOTE, but because this is true of other policies (esp. V), I don't think we need to view this as a "problem".
From the narrow perspective of deletion discussions, I would characterise the relationship as follows: applying V and PLOT together, we expect the eventual state of the article to be such that a fully-sourced article can be written with detailed coverage of out-of-universe information, in addition to in-universe aspects. This leads us naturally to NOTE, but they add some clarification - when we evaluate coverage in potential sources, we need to evaluate whether those sources will enable us to meet PLOT.
From the wider perspective of content creation, PLOT is important in that it gives a brief overview of the kind of coverage we want in WP, and what should be avoided. Just as with other WP policies, PLOT gives people information about how to write good articles. We need to bear this in mind. I'm concerned that we shouldn't get lost in the "deletion" perspective and forget about the article-building value of this policy. Jakew (talk) 14:08, 24 May 2008 (UTC)
It's hard to tell NOTE and NOT apart anymore, there are 14 mentions of notability on this policy page. A bunch of them explicitly making it policy. According to NOT, NOTE is policy with regard to original inventions, memorials, sales catalogs, travel guides, scheduled and future events, future history, plot summaries, and news reports. - Peregrine Fisher (talk) 16:20, 24 May 2008 (UTC)
Which begs the question, should NOTE and NOT be as tied as they are? Mind you, I'm looking at PLOT specifically, but there may be cases, particularly for future events, news reports, memorials, and original inventions, where one must show something is notable to be included. Other cases, like catalogs and travel guides, and arguably plot summaries are more on content, and thus notability is a separate (but valid) issue.
I also still want to state that we can call that for certain aspects (say, news events) where notability is required per NOT (not NOTE), but what defines notable left best to the guideline.
These are really subtle issues (content verse coverage), but given the various discussions, its clear that a lot of the confusion and arguments over PLOT and related aspects are related to how we word this language. --MASEM 19:55, 24 May 2008 (UTC)
Yes, exactly the problem. Its a little absurd to have what is in effect our policy on notability expressed indirectly in the negative terms of this policy page. It's more conducive to confusion than to the clarification of how to write for Wikipedia. I think two steps need to be taken. First, this page needs to be divided between the "community" policy and the content policy. the behavioral policy is appropriate for NOT. The content policy needs to be restated in a positive page, which would amount to the principles of notability. Problem is, I do not think there is any real agreement on that part--another reason to separate out the community policy,which is something I think there is true consensus on. Lets narrow down the areas of disagreement so we can work on them. DGG (talk) 03:18, 25 May 2008 (UTC)
It already has sections for conent and community, and I don't think rolling the content ones into NOTE or something similar is going to fly anytime soon, or it's already there. I do think we should leave notability to NOTE, since I think it was proposed to be a policy and there wasn't a consensus for that. I don't know, it's pretty convoluted. NOT keeps saying WP is not X, except when X is notable. If NOTE was removed from this, about half of it would be see NOTE, plus some stuff like DIRECTORY, DICTIONARY, GUIDEBOOK and some others that pass NOTE not but not NOT, - Peregrine Fisher (talk) 05:41, 25 May 2008 (UTC)

Opinion versus Fact

An interesting problem has become apparent as I have looked over the various articles, and I hope you will allow me to present this issue to you all for your consideration.

As I understand it, an encyclopedia is a document that presents information on many subjects. It cannot be simply for the presentation of facts. Therefore, by that definition, it must be allowed to include opinions as well as facts.

While you may or may not agree with this statement, I am confident that it can be seen as self-evident by virtue of the fact that many individuals, as well as peoples, are written about in such documents, and their comments are listed as quotations and/or as general beliefs. As such these have historically required no proof. They are simply included as statements about such individuals or groups, whether true or not, factual or not, and generally accepted or not, because they exist.

I believe that it is disturbing and off-putting when some "editors" think it is their responsibility to change someones' contributions simply because they don't agree with it. That just seems wrong, and is obviously unfair.

One of the basic pillars of the project should be that, particularly if anyone can contribute, that all positions must be included in a subject for it to be considered as exhaustive. Therefore, the rule should be that anyone can contribute by adding in another opinion or viewpoint without fear of deletion. After all, isn't that the purpose of an encyclopedic work?

An extreme example of this would be when dealing with a distasteful topic, such as white supremacy. Is it not true that those who adhere to that philosophy actually exist, hate other races, see them as lesser in species rating and use derogatory statements against them? Would it not be correct to state the philosophy as they see it, rather than as the rest of us see it? Without doing so, the documentation of the subject is incomplete and inherently misleading.

If Wikipedia is to become accurate and exhaustive, then it must become inclusive to all ideas as long as each different opinion is kept to separate paragraphs and/or sections. Without this methodology, Wikipedia will continue to be untrusted and viewed as specious.

Thank you very much for you kind consideration.

KitchM (talk) 23:16, 24 May 2008 (UTC)

I think the page you want to look for is Wikipedia:Neutral point of view which describes the need to present articles in a balanced and proportional manner. Note: The page explicitly does not say that all points of view must be presented equally. Fringe points of view get coverage proportionate to their acceptance. Nor does the page say that those holding a particular philosophy must be portrayed in the the same way that they would describe themselves. Our mission is to strive for objective balance to the maximum degree humanly feasible.
However, there is also a potential misunderstanding in your comment. The opinions of Wikipedians do not matter at all and have no place in the body of the encyclopedia. Encyclopedias are, by definition, tertiary sources - we synopsize the writings of others. A well-sourced and relevant opinion by a noteworthy or historical figure may be appropriate for inclusion in the encyclopedia. But we present it as the demonstrated fact that so-and-so said thus, not as an opinion. An opinion entered by an editor in his/her own name has no place here.
Hope that helps. Rossami (talk) 02:00, 25 May 2008 (UTC)
If something does not have to be presented “equally”, then one may question the idea of balance and proportion. Of course, there are two meanings to “equally” as it may apply here. One is that it gets equal time or amount of coverage. That would raise the question of who it is that makes such determinations.
Another meaning is that a subject gets mentioned at all when other similar subjects are mentioned. Let us assume that you meant the latter.
By using that meaning, one would be saying that they are going to make a judgment call on what they think most people believe, or what they personally believe is the value of the subject.
Without a poll, the first cannot be decided with any degree of legitimacy. Without the recognition by some “authority” the second has no relevance. So, who's to say? You? Me?
Your second point seems to indicate a particular bias that is built in to the process. Fairness would dictate that Wikipedia make that a clearly stated position on the home page. There is, for instance, a huge difference between a liberal, a conservative or a non-biased point of view. One would hope that Wikipedia takes the last one, but your implication is clearly otherwise. I hope that is not the position of the majority.
It should be pointed out that I am sorry if I have led you to misread my comments. It was never implied that Wikipedians (and I am not sure who they are, so please be patient of this newbie who is still learning the private lingo.) would be the ones giving opinions. More correctly, the editors of an encyclopedia simply include the opinions of those about whom they are writing. That must obviously be the source of any opinions stated.
And since a majority of what is included in the Wikipedia have no source stated, there is little that anyone can claim with any degree of wide acceptance as proving that opinions which are included only come from some “noteworthy or historical figure” (whoever that is, and the definition of such being judged by whom?)
Hence, we are back to my original points. - KitchM (talk) 04:55, 27 May 2008 (UTC)
Here's how it actually works. We have a principle called the "neutral point of view." If this principle represents a genuine consensus of the Wikipedian community, then it is possible to build an encyclopedia. What happens is that articles on controversial topics will contain reasonably fair, well-referenced descriptions of the important mainstream points of view, tied to reliable sources.
Reasonable editors who hold one of the points of view in the article will concern themselves mostly with the question of whether their own point of view is fairly presented, and whether the article leads a curious reader to more information about that point of view. They will not fuss too much about the presence of other points of view in the article, because they are not concerned about suppressing other points of view, only about making sure their own is fairly represented. They will not try to measure proportionate balance with precision because that doesn't matter; all that matters is whether their own view is adequately presented.
Thus, if there is an article on "the shape of the world," and if I believe the world is round, I'll accept an article that includes the flat-earth theory as long as the article fairly presents the round-earth theory, and also mentions that it is the mainstream theory among astronomers and geologists (back this up with a suitable reference, of course).
If the article's balance is reasonable, I won't fuss about it. Only if the article's balance is so grotesquely unreasonable that it fails to include the round-earth theory at all, or includes it only to mock it, or fails to mention that it is the mainstream theory, will I fuss about it.
If the general community of editors pretty much all feel this way, then articles can be reasonably stable--include roughly the same content next week as they do this week--and are likely to be perceived as reasonable by the outside community. Progress is possible, and an encyclopedia is possible.
On the whole, points of view that are held by substantial minorities will tend to get more than proportional exposure under such a system, because the amount of space it takes to adequately describe a point of view depends on logic and the English language, not on the number of people holding that opinion.
Conflicts arise when people try to use Wikipedia as a promotional vehicle for points of view that are held only by tiny numbers of people. In this case, the measuring stick is whether that point of view has had enough written about it in reliable sources that can be referenced.
If the general community of editors does not accept the principle of the neutral point of view, then progress is impossible, and you will have articles that never settle down but are simply unending edit wars that oscillate between one extreme and other. Dpbsmith (talk) 21:32, 1 June 2008 (UTC)

Shouldn't some things here be more relaxed?

I often hear users say that anything that cannot be found in a paper encyclopedia shouldn't be here but doesnt any user think that the whole point of an encyclopedia which anyone can edit should be that you have more freedom in what it contains than a paper encyclopedia? Otherwise we just end up recreating a less reliable version of a paper encyclopedia. Tbo 157(talk) 14:18, 27 May 2008 (UTC)

No! We are trying to create the bigger, better, more global and less Anglocentric version of what a combination of all the paper encyclopedias would be if they could. Too much "relaxed" attitude encourages the crap festival that has padded our article count with endless unnoticed hoaxes, garage bands, vanity spam, gamers' trivia guides, recentist media piffle, etc. --Orange Mike | Talk 16:05, 27 May 2008 (UTC)
If that is what we are trying to create, then why is there so much scepticism about the reliability of Wikipedia as a source with many education institutes in the UK banning it as a source of research. Thanks. Tbo 157(talk) 17:47, 27 May 2008 (UTC)
Because we're a compendium, and the students should be going to the places toward which a properly-cited article will point them. (The same is true of a paper encyclopedia; my department wouldn't let me use the Encyclopedia Britannica as a source for a footnote in most scholarly contexts.) --Orange Mike | Talk 18:02, 27 May 2008 (UTC)
How reliable do you think Wikipedia is and to what extent can it be used as a source? Alot of people do claim it is less relaible than a paper encyclopedia as it can be edited by anyone. What are we trying to achieve? Tbo 157(talk) 21:01, 27 May 2008 (UTC)

Wait, and here I thought wikipedia was not paper. :-P --Kim Bruning (talk) 17:49, 1 June 2008 (UTC)

Sure, with 5,000,000 editors, most of them untrained, there are some not-so-high-quality articles. However, there are many articles that are better than what you can get from a paper encyclopedia. I've gone looking for sources on articles only to find we already had more content that was better cited than my would be sources. Don't know what education is like these days, but by the time I was in high school mubledy-mumble years ago, we were told to find other sources besides encyclopedias. The encyclopedia should be a quick reference and a starting point. Cheers, and happy article building. Dlohcierekim 04:49, 8 June 2008 (UTC)

Wikipedia is not a crystal ball

The section states "Individual scheduled or expected future events should only be included if the event is notable and almost certain to take place". However, in the case of the Russian presidential elections in 2008, the winner was almost certain about half a year before the election. I was tempted to change this, but didn't. Does this policy include a need to be politically correct, despite filling the criteria of being "almost certain"? :)

I'm mainly pointing this out, as the above policy would technically allow for such edits. HJV (talk) 02:23, 1 June 2008 (UTC)

Yes. We cannot say that that person "won" the election, though it would be completely appropriate to include relevant news articles that claimed the victory "would be" virtually guaranteed, as long as it was approached in a neutral manner; the analysis that claim that type of information occurred in the past and thus not a future event. --MASEM 02:45, 1 June 2008 (UTC)

A radical way of rethinking WP:NOT

Based on thinking about PLOT and how other sections of NOT work, I've come to realize that as NOT is worded, it is trying to say a heck of a lot that apply to three very different types of concepts: what content is not to be included at all (inclusion guidelines), what approach to writing about content is not to be used (style guidelines), and what types of behavior are not acceptable (behavioral guidelines). There are some that overlap but for the most part each specific point (like PLOT) can be classified into one of these. Now, I know its great that we nave this page we can point new editors to, saying "ok, this is what WP is not" and its nice and concise in that fashion, but because all of these are combined, in the current inclusionists/deletionsists atmosphere, remedies that work for class of the above are being pushed for other classes where that type of remedy is inappropriate. In other words, there are some that see any failure of NOT to be a reason for deletion, for example. (Failing PLOT, the most common example, is not necessary a reason for deletion, but instead should be improved or cleaned up) The problem is that the specific instances of the above are all mixed up in NOT that it makes it hard to see the difference between them.

I'm not sure exactly what the right way to fix this is, if it can be fixed or not, nor expecting this to be turned around quickly, but I'm trying to put this out there to see how others feel. My first thought is to reorder this page to have a major section on each of the above, then describe the proper remedies to resolve those before introducing them all. For content not to be included, that would be along the path of deletion, while content in poor style should go in the path of editing improvements, for example.

But this also leads to the fact that for the first class, improper content, we really do lack an inclusion guideline. We have what is not appropriate but here in NOT, and we have one case of what is, as per WP:NOTE, but that leaves a large hole between the two without any guidance. Thus, to some extent, another possible way to deal with this is that we create three separate policy pages based off NOT, one becoming the inclusion policy page (with what is and is not appropriate, relying but not citing NOTE for guidance), one being a page for improper editing behavior, and the rest (the style problems) probably left here. However, that means we do have to separate these elements and that may be a more difficult barrier to get over.

Again, I'm not sure yet what the answer could be here. I'm just trying to brainstorm if there is a way to improve NOT to make it easier to appreciate and understand how content that fails NOT will be dealt with, that possibly be variable depending on the type of content. --MASEM 14:19, 2 June 2008 (UTC)

WP:NOT#PLOT should really only concerned with content issues and this could be rectified by a simple statement such as

"Wikipedia articles on fictional topics should offer real-world context and sourced analysis, not solely a plot summary".

In my view, the current wording is a watered down version of the policy wording compared with last year's version, and now includes the wishy-washy statement that "A concise plot summary is appropriate as part of the larger coverage of a fictional work". Since this statement neither proscribes or prohibits content per se, it seems to say that plot is a style issues, and should be dropped in my view. This would be the most straight-foward way to clarify the wording. --Gavin Collins (talk) 15:41, 2 June 2008 (UTC)
Two points:
  1. That clause was added because people were interpreting the old wording as meaning that no plot summaries should exist.
  2. Masem's not talking about WP:PLOT, Masem's talking about all of WP:NOT.
Hope that helps. SamBC(talk) 17:26, 2 June 2008 (UTC)
Sambc said what I basically what I was going to say: I just want to think about all of NOT (PLOT is called out specifically, but every clause should be considered). I don't dispute anything stated here as policy, but I think there's a better way to organize it that may make this easier to understand. --MASEM 19:28, 2 June 2008 (UTC)
I think Masem may be on to something here, but I'm very uncertain as to how it should actually be done. What seems to be the ultimate and (somewhat) obvious conclusion of this would mean at least slight restructuring of most WP policy/guidelines. Note that I say restructuring, not actually changing. I don't see any need (as part of this) to change what any policy says. However, the idea of having a "root" policy page for content, behaviour, and inclusion makes sense, that each call to other policy and guideline pages while stating the "first principles" that the policy and guidance is based on. To some extent these things already exist, but consolidation and rationalisation will make them easier to understand. It will also help to distinguish between content policy and inclusion policy (inclusion is at the level from article to topic, content is mostly below the level of article). How to go about it, well, that's a harder question. SamBC(talk) 10:04, 3 June 2008 (UTC)
I don't think you can get much clearer or more concise a guideline than WP:NOT. Why fix it, if it ain't broke? --Gavin Collins (talk) 08:36, 4 June 2008 (UTC)

I have for some time wanted to do this, but the first step is divide the behavioral and the content guidelines--there is much more agreement on the behavioral ones,and I dont think we'd want to weaken them. They are fundamentally different: the behavioral ones talk about the project, the content ones about the encyclopedia. Ideally the second step would be to find something we can agree one, but we may be stuck with gnomic utterances. for example:

as for the fiction, perhaps we're getting close-- how about : "Wikipedia coverage on fictional topics should include real-world context and sourced analysis, as well as plot summary". The key point of disagreement is "articles" vs "coverage" -- what goes in particular individual articles is indeed a style guideline. What goes or doesnt in Wikipedia as a whole is a matter of policy.

But I'd go a good deal further--the content guidelines should be worded as positives, and the page called Content Policy. DGG (talk) 00:15, 5 June 2008 (UTC)

Elaborations on "Wikipedia is not a traditional encyclopedia"

user:Yvwv recently added what I thought were some fairly non-controversial additions to this page. They were promptly reverted with the comment "Discuss major policy changes on the talk page first." While I think the section on "not quality-assured" needed a rewrite to describe the controls that we do have instead of the traditional academic controls, I thought it was a reasonable draft and appropriate to boldly make. It did not seem to me like the kind of major change that needed weeks of discussion first. What am I missing here? Rossami (talk) 16:32, 4 June 2008 (UTC)

The only change I saw being "bad" relatively was that the first top level heading was changed from "Style and Format" (which aligned with "Content" and "Community" headings) to "Wikipedia is not a traditional encyclopedia". These top levels should stay consistent, but the rest of the changes seemed positive and non-confrontational. --MASEM 17:09, 4 June 2008 (UTC)
Well, Wikipedia is not a lot of things. It is not a brick, for instance. But we don't have that in the policy here. The issue is, why are each of these new additions needed at the policy level? Policies are supposed to be followed by all editors at all times. Keeping this in mind, let's look at the new additions one by one.
  • The "Not quality assured" section. Saying that the information on Wikipedia is unreliable seems contrary to WP:V. There already is a general content disclaimer. Furthermore, what is the purpose of having an encyclopedia at all if it is unreliable by design?
  • I also question the need to say that "Wikipedia is not proprietary." I have less of a problem with this, but I wonder what the need is in this policy. We already have the Wikipedia:Copyright policy for this, and it is much more detailed. Is there anything to be gained by having it reiterated here?
  • Finally, the section on writing for a global audience, while a good idea, is a far cry from being a policy-level matter. Perhaps an editorial guideline is a better place of this kind of thing. siℓℓy rabbit (talk) 02:05, 5 June 2008 (UTC)

Proposing WP:FICT for global acceptance

Following the long discussions about the rewording and/or removal of NOT#PLOT here last month, the editors of the currently disputed/proposed guideline WP:FICT (which combines WP:NOTABILITY and WP:NOT#PLOT) believe it is ready for global acceptance and ask for input at WT:FICT#RfC: Proposing WP:FICT for global acceptance. – sgeureka tc 18:54, 7 June 2008 (UTC)

not a good idea at this time--the very basics parts of it are being revisited by several people. Turns out a good deal isnt at all clear. I hope the time will come, but the lack of activity last month was merely from exhaustion. DGG (talk) 03:24, 9 June 2008 (UTC)
I would almost say that it's forcing a rechallenging of what NOTE means (demonstrated by the recent RFC added there), in that are secondary sourcing absolute or are there others. I will easily admit that if the latter is true, FICT can be written to fix that point, but that's a critical aspect of both discussions. (PLOT is also being challenged as well). --MASEM 03:31, 9 June 2008 (UTC)

Not a soapbox

Do we need to add a section about not being a soapbox to warn against the worlds ills? I'm thinking of the people who create WP:BLP violations about not notable individuals as a sort of public service announcement. You name a heinous crime/offense and someone will come up with someone who has committed it, and come here to tell the world. Cheers, Dlohcierekim 04:43, 8 June 2008 (UTC)

PLOT is disputed

Please stop removing the {{disputedtag}} from above WP:NOT#PLOT. I added[2] a {{disputedtag}} above WP:NOT#PLOT and it's been reverted by Gavin.collins[3] and Seraphim Whipp[4]. I don't know if those editors have been following this talk page since March 2008, but that section of WP:NOT *is* disputed, by me, DHowell, and many others, and that section is currently under discussion, as you can see from the small text in WP:NOT#PLOT itself, as well as in {{fiction notice}}, which is transcluded on Wikipedia talk:Plot summaries. WP:Plot summaries was created and linked from {{cent}} because PLOT is disputed. So please stop removing the {{disputedtag}} and actually look at the talk page archives, specifically these threads [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10] [11] [12] [13] [14] [15] in Archive 17, 18, and 19 — as well as these threads on the current talk page [16] [17] [18] [19] [20] [21]. Gavin.collins and Seraphim Whipp may may also be interested in reading the comments above in the Moved the bit about plot summaries to Wikipedia is not a manual, guidebook, or textbook thread by DGG[22] and Ned Scott[23], about how to mark a section of a policy page as disputed. Thank you. --Pixelface (talk) 22:12, 9 June 2008 (UTC)

  • You are being disputatious. The extent of disagreement (and you know this perfectly well) is simply insufficient to challenge the longstanding consensus that attains to this injunction, as your repeated efforts at excision have, ironically, proven all too well. Eusebeus (talk) 22:18, 9 June 2008 (UTC)
    • As eloquent as ever, Eusebeus has covered everything I would want to put in a reply. Seraphim♥Whipp 22:25, 9 June 2008 (UTC)
    • Adding a disputed tag to the section is "disputatious"? I suppose. The section *is* disputed after all. Although I suppose it's not as disputatious as editwarring on Scrubs episode articles. And what "injunction" are you talking about? PLOT is disputed, and it's been disputed for a while now. You think the level of discussion concerning PLOT on this talk page is insufficient to put a disputedtag above the section? This policy isn't written on stone tablets and consensus can change. A discussion about putting a disputedtag on the section is already present further up on this page. A bunch of E&C2 workshop editors re-adding PLOT to NOT is not evidence of "longstanding consensus." --Pixelface (talk) 02:12, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
      • I agree with Pixelface. There is no consensus regarding this aspect of what Wikipedia is or is not; in fact much of what is claimed Wikipedia is not seems to lack consensus in practice. We need greater focus, time, and energy on what Wikipedia is per User:GlassCobra/Essays/What Wikipedia is and other arguments. Best, --Le Grand Roi des CitrouillesTally-ho! 03:46, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
        • How many Pokemon articles do we have now? -- Ned Scott 06:54, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
          • If it's a serious question: four pages (Pikachu, Bulbasaur, Meowth, Jigglypuff), 25 lists (of the species). Sceptre (talk) 08:21, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
            • You left out Darkrai (it's not listed on Template:Pokemon directory) I'll let you see for yourself who created that article (although I should note they merged it into a list 9 months later). Which brings up Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Pokémon/Archive 18 where editors like Teggles were quoting PLOT like scripture. Editors never questioned why a particular policy page said something. If anyone had wondered why PLOT was in NOT and bothered to look, they would have found this thread, in Archive 6 of WT:NOT, where PLOT was first proposed by Hiding. There was not a strong consensus for PLOT to be policy — yet Hiding added it to policy anyway, even though Leflyman said "I think this would be an extremely contentious issue, as the vast slew of articles dealing with television shows, film, books and comics go beyond merely "plot points" into full summaries. I would not be surprised if that's a major chunk of the many articles on fictional topics." TTN was following PLOT and facing opposition everywhere he went because PLOT never had consensus. Two arbitration cases later, PLOT should be removed from NOT until there is consensus for it to be policy, and I think Hiding should probably be restricted from making any edits to any policy page. --Pixelface (talk) 03:44, 17 June 2008 (UTC)
          • The question is how many articles were deleted by a vocal minority that thousands of editors, readers, and donors contributed to and felt should be kept but happened to miss five day AfDs or were overwhelmed by the vocal minority in these types of discussions? Best, --Le Grand Roi des CitrouillesTally-ho! 16:35, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
          • Well Ned, since you bring it up, how long is the editor that redirected all those Pokemon articles currently restricted by the arbitration commiteee from redirecting not just articles about Pokemon but all articles about television characters? --Pixelface (talk) 00:30, 11 June 2008 (UTC)
  • There are no "many others". A vocal minority of half a dozen people don't make a section disputed. If you want to change something, please work out an alternative that may enjoy consensus before demanding change. You can read up on the brainstorming sessions from last month for inspiration. Thank you. – sgeureka tc 06:27, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
    • It does when in practice a majority of good faith contributors create and work on these articles. Sincerely, --Le Grand Roi des CitrouillesTally-ho! 16:35, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
    • Sgeureka, does this look like a half a dozen people to you? [24] [25] [26] [27] [28] [29] [30] [31] [32] [33] [34] [35] And when PLOT was first proposed by Hiding, you can see these comments [36] [37] [38] [39] [40] In the past on WT:NOT, you can see these comments [41] [42] [43] [44] [45] [46] [47] And none of those people were involved parties of E&C1 or E&C2. This isn't the first time people have asked whether consensus exists for PLOT. [48] [49] [50] [51] And look at these AFDs where PLOT was ignored [52] [53] [54] [55] [56] [57] [58] Is there anyone that wasn't a party of E&C1 or E&C2 besides Gavin.collins or Seraphim Whipp who thinks PLOT is *not* disputed and under discussion? How am I supposed to write up an alternative that may enjoy consensus, when the people who want to keep PLOT in NOT can't even do that? And why is there a "brainstorming session" going on at WP:Plot summaries and linked from centralized discussions if PLOT is not disputed? Do you see above where Masem says "PLOT is also being challenged as well"? Do you see above where Collectonian asks why put a disputed template on top of WP:NOT "when its only one single item disputed?"? Do you see above where Fram says "Some people dispute the wording of WP:PLOT, so a discussion is going on to find the best wording (with some people arguing for complete removal)"? In Archive 19, Hiding says "Part of the dispute over WP:PLOT is that it is used as a reason to delete." Those editors appear to acknowledge PLOT is disputed, and they don't even want PLOT removed. So will people please stop removing the {{disputedtag}} above PLOT since PLOT is obviously disputed and obviously under discussion? --Pixelface (talk) 00:18, 11 June 2008 (UTC)
    I am well aware of the old discussions. And yes, there was disagreement what NOT#PLOT should express and where. But that doesn't mean that people dispute its essense. I read the first five of your links (my time is limited), and four of them expressed that NOT#PLOT may be be better as part of WAF, a MOS or elsewhere, i.e. they agree with its basics. Now, the way for you would be to make a proposal to move NOT#PLOT to WAF, not slap a disputed-tag on here and force others to spend their time figuring out what you want. If this thread is any indication, you and Grand are already outnumbered 5:2 (and you don't offer any solution), so there is little reason to change the old consensus status quo. – sgeureka tc 06:27, 11 June 2008 (UTC)
    No, you don't appear to be aware of those discussions, because you thought only a "half a dozen people" think PLOT should be removed from this policy, and I already made a proposal to move PLOT to WAF in the RFC I started. And nobody has said why PLOT does not belong in WAF. So don't say I'm forcing you to spend your time figuring out what I want. Personally, I don't have time to deal with people who show up here and have no clue of the discussion that's been going on for three months. I'm not going to read this whole talk page and Archive 17, 18, and 19 for you. If this thread is any indication, I see E&C1 and E&C2 parties who oppose PLOT's removal saying that PLOT is not disputed, so I don't care if I'm outnumbered in this particular thread. If you're interested in numbers, go read the thread where PLOT was first proposed by Hiding and tell me how many people supported it and how many people thought it wasn't a good idea. PLOT is disputed. If you think PLOT should be policy, tell me why the articles Cosette, Baldrick, and Andrey Nikolayevich Bolkonsky should be deleted right now. Several people on this talk page who want to keep PLOT in this policy acknowledge that PLOT is disputed. If you think PLOT is not disputed, are you saying PLOT is not under discussion? Are you saying {{disputedtag}} does not say "is disputed or under discussion"? I'm now going to re-add the disputed tag and ask that people stop removing it. --Pixelface (talk) 22:13, 12 June 2008 (UTC)
    Using the E&C cases to judge the concensus or lack thereof of a guideline is a bad idea. Most of the participants of those cases were there to complain about TTN's actions, and as part of that, disagreeing with any policy that TTN justified his actions on. This is not to say that there is or isn't dispute on PLOT or the like, but just that you're created a biased picture - it's just like trying to judge if we should get rid of Social Security by asking Democrats, or end the war by asking Republicans. Mind you, those that participate on NOT normally are also probably biased, but that RFC was the way of attracting the issue to the attention of the larger crowd to get an unbiased view, and though the wording may be disputed, the necessity of PLOT in NOT is not, based on that RFC. --MASEM 22:40, 12 June 2008 (UTC)
    Um, most of the people here now who are saying PLOT is *not* disputed are involved parties of E&C1 and E&C2 who support TTN's actions, speaking of biased pictures. Masem, is PLOT disputed or not? That's what this thread is about, the presence of the template {{disputedtag}} above PLOT. Le Grand Roi des Citrouilles wasn't an involved party of E&C1 or E&C2, and they say PLOT is disputed. So Masem, do you think a disputed tag should be placed above PLOT or not? Would you like to retract your statement that "PLOT is also being challenged as well", because it kind of makes it look like you agree that PLOT is disputed and should carry a disputedtag. --Pixelface (talk) 23:07, 12 June 2008 (UTC)
    A policy or guideline is challenged when there at least one voice that is speaking out against it - but one voice does not a consensus make; disputed becomes when there is significant question if the consensus has changed. Your RFC, perfectly reasonably asking the question if the consensus has shifted, and it showed that it has not - the wording may be in question, but the overarching idea that simply providing a plot summary for a topic is insufficient currently still has consensus. I will note I did say the regulars here are biased towards keeping PLOT for obvious reasons, but even with the RFC which drew in more uninvolved editors, that consensus still held. So should we have a disputed tag on it? No, because consensus is still there, but I think adding language as already present that there's discussion on issues of PLOT is perfectly valid, and we can still talk about it here, though again, with the same people involved, we are chasing tails. My suggestion is that you need to take your cause to NOTE. There are people that are mindset on deleting any article without secondary sources, PLOT or no PLOT. I'm trying to figure out a way through that, but I really really urge you to consider pushing there first. PLOT is not what is threatening articles on fiction, it is the adherence to NOTE that some people insist (and for the record, I don't care which way this falls, I want to get something out there that ends this constant battling between parties and leads to a better encyclopedia; my WP has been close to 80% on policy issues in the last several months, and I'd rather get back to articles.) --MASEM 23:38, 12 June 2008 (UTC)
    You think there's just one voice? There's not only a significant question now if consensus has changed, there's also a significant question whether consensus ever existed for PLOT in the first place. [59] [60] [61] [62] How's your RFC on FICT, which is based in part on PLOT, going by the way? The idea that simply providing a plot summary is content not suitable for Wikipedia does not "still have consensus." [63] [64] [65] [66] [67] [68] [69] Why should I try to get PLOT removed from NOT at WT:NOTE? NOTE is a just a guideline and WP:NOT is a policy. PLOT's designation as a policy is disputed. PLOT as a reason to delete is disputed. NOTE has nothing to do with PLOT. If people will AFD an article without secondary sources PLOT or no PLOT, why does PLOT have to remain in this policy? For someone who supposedly doesn't "care" about this, you've sure used a lot of KB expressing that. Nobody is forcing you to be here, nobody forced you to revert my edits to WP:NOT, nobody forced you to be at the E&C2 workshop, nobody forced you to waste all your time rewriting FICT — so if you'd rather get back to articles, please do so. If you think nomating the Andrey Nikolayevich Bolkonsky article for deletion for failing PLOT improves Wikipedia, please do so. --Pixelface (talk) 00:38, 13 June 2008 (UTC)
    I completely believe PLOT to not be a reason for deletion; as with every other factor in NOT's "Content" section, these are reasons to cleanup and/or merge, and deletion should only result if there is no useful content left after cleanup (which is not the case for PLOT - plot summaries are allowed in a larger context) or the information is duplicative. PLOT works probably closer to the GUIDE section in this aspect, but also is considered IINFO, but either way, a failure of PLOT alone is not sufficient for deletion. If editors are bringing articles to AFD that only fail PLOT and somehow are fine with NOTE, we should be working to inform these editors that they should be asking for cleanup and not AFD, because if a plot-summary only article has been shown to be notable, 99.9% of the time, more info outside the plot summary can be added from the demonstration of notability. It is just that most commonly, if an article fails PLOT, it is also failing NOTE, which itself is a reason for deletion, but should only be the case if demonstration of notability has been requested but not shown. --MASEM 15:17, 13 June 2008 (UTC)
    We've already discussed this Masem. I know you don't like me repeating myself, so I'll point you to where you and I have already discussed this. Or you can skip to the 5th paragraph if you like.
  • As for whether things in NOT are a reason for deletion, go to Archive 18. Search for "01:24, 8 May 2008 (UTC)", where you falsely claimed that the deletion policy does not link to NOT in WP:DEL#REASON (it does). The Reasons for deletion section in the deletion policy linked to NOT then and it still does. You may also want to read this thread[70] again from Archive 19. And this thread[71] by DHowell on how PLOT is actually used. WP:IINFO says "Articles are not simply...plot summaries" and that is why people nominate articles that are only plot summaries for deletion and cite PLOT.
  • As for the dispute about PLOT being under GUIDE or IINFO, see this thread[72] in Archive 19. And you may want to re-read this thread[73] about your suggested "Wikipedia is not a fan guide" rewrite.
  • As for whether PLOT has anything to do with NOTE (it doesn't), read my reply to you on April 7, (go to Archive 17 and search for "21:42, 7 April 2008 (UTC)"). In April, in RFC1 for FICT you started, read the statement by Hiding, the user who added PLOT to NOT in the first place. Hiding said, "I proposed WP:PLOT. The intention was that it be used as a tool to improve articles away from being plot, rather than a tool to delete articles about plot. It has nothing to do with notability, never has, never will. It has to do with article content. WP:PLOT doesn't apply to this question, even though a vast number of people seem to assert it does." Articles that "fail" PLOT do not necessarily "fail" NOTE. Luke Skywalker is a notable fictional character (I mentioned the article about that character clear back on January 20 in my evidence in E&C2), and yet the article is *still* pretty much just a plot summary. TTN says the article has "potential." What do you think?
  • All articles on fictional characters will mainly consist of plot summaries because in order to summarize a fictional character's life, you have to summarize the events related to that character in the fictional work(s) the character appears in. The policy WP:NOT is for listing what Wikipedia is not, content not suitable for Wikipedia. If PLOT is not meant to be used as a tool to delete, it doesn't belong in WP:NOT, since PLOT's presence in NOT makes it a tool to delete, as can be seen in those AFDs you're tired of me linking to. If an article being just a plot summary is not a reason for deletion, what to you propose to do about all the AFD nominations that cite PLOT as a reason for deletion? Editors are nominating articles that are just plot summaries for deletion and citing PLOT as a reason for deletion because PLOT is in IINFO, IINFO says "Articles are not simply...plot summaries", and NOT is listed as a reason for deletion in the deletion policy. What Wikipedia is not is a reason for deletion. I think PLOT should be removed from NOT instead of trying to inform 7 million editors that PLOT is not a reason for deletion. I think PLOT should be removed from NOT because it doesn't have the consensus required to be policy. What do you think should be done? --Pixelface (talk) 03:10, 15 June 2008 (UTC)
    Better education of editors of what failing NOT (including but not limited to PLOT) means, and why AFDs should only be used as the last step in dispute resolution as outlined at WP:DEL. PLOT is an appropriate policy; editors sticking to it blindly with no other recourse but deletion are the problem. (I am not saying that at the end of a day we should never delete plot-only articles; a plot-only article may be deleted if there's no recourse for relocating or saving the content elseshwere, bu these are steps to be done first). --MASEM 03:33, 15 June 2008 (UTC)
    How do you propose to "better educate" 7 million editors? Masem, AFD is not a step in dispute resolution. As an admin, you should know that. WP:NOT lists things NOT suitable for Wikipedia — things like advertising, promotion, how-to guides, opinion pieces, resumes, propaganda, etc. You don't seem to realize that people nominate articles that are only plot summaries for deletion because WP:NOT says articles are not simply plot summaries. The deletion policy says "content not suitable for an encyclopedia" is a reason for deletion. The editors are simply following this policy, a policy that does not have consensus. The way to tell editors that an article being just a plot summary is not a reason for deletion, is to remove PLOT from NOT. Just about every plot summary can be merged into another article. Go ask Black Kite on his talk page what failing NOT means. Go ask Otto4711. Go ask Jay32183. Go ask Angr. Education of editors occurs on policies and guidelines Masem. --Pixelface (talk) 03:56, 15 June 2008 (UTC)

Arbitrary section break

  • Pixelface, in no shape or form do I dispute WP:PLOT. Your diff of my comment was to inform DGG about a tag that he asked about. -- Ned Scott 06:52, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
    • I know you don't Ned. I didn't say you did. DGG asked how to mark a section of policy as disputed, you told him how, and I added that tag to this policy. --Pixelface (talk) 23:17, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
  • I don't think it's disputed enough to warrant removal - the concept of the ruling is accepted by nearly all the contributors on this page (so much a majority you could pass RFB with it). It's just the wording that makes it screwy. Sceptre (talk) 08:17, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
  • Per Sguereka - a few people making a lot of noise is not equivalent to "disputed" and it's certainly not equal to "consensus". Yes, consensus can change, but you need to demonstrate that it has. Black Kite 08:49, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
    • Yes, we have no consensus on what Wikipedia isn't and if anything we need to get back to focusing on building up what it is. Thus, a vocal minority should not be permitted to advance so many AfDs. Sincerely, --Le Grand Roi des CitrouillesTally-ho! 16:35, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
      • There is a consensus. It's why this is still policy. And the opposition is a vocal minority until it can show otherwise, which it hasn't. Simply saying that there is no consensus or that there is significant opposition to this policy means nothing unless you have something to show for it. Sephiroth BCR (Converse) 10:09, 11 June 2008 (UTC)
        • There is no consensus which is why it is being challenged. Those supporting it our a vocal minority. There is clearly significant opposition both here and in practice by those who create and edit the articles in question and by those who also defend them in AfDs. Sincerely, --Le Grand Roi des CitrouillesTally-ho! 17:12, 11 June 2008 (UTC)
          • Offer a solution for a new (better) consensus instead of claiming no current consensus. The previous proposal to reword NOT#PLOT did not gain consensus, the proposal to remove NOT-PLOT did not gain consensus. Marking the section as disputed and watching the others work out a solution that fits your views is just the lazy way out (we already have that at FICT). Until then, the previous WP:CONSENSUS stands. – sgeureka tc 17:27, 11 June 2008 (UTC)
            • A better idea would be to just remove the section altogether as clearly the community at large does not support it. That's the solution. Sincerely, --Le Grand Roi des CitrouillesTally-ho! 02:01, 12 June 2008 (UTC)
              • A better idea would be to show that such support for overthrowing NOT#PLOT exists. Doing nothing but saying that it does, again, means nothing. That and the clear opposition you've garnered through this thread is indication enough of how your attempt will end up. Sephiroth BCR (Converse) 02:25, 12 June 2008 (UTC)
            • The people who want PLOT in NOT can't come to a consensus on what it should say, so how do you expect the people who want PLOT removed from NOT to come to a consensus on what it should say? You don't need to obtain on a policy talk page a consensus to remove a section of policy that does not have consensus. A section of policy needs consensus in order to be policy in the first place. As far as I can tell, there was never consensus to add PLOT to NOT in July 2006 when it was first proposed. As far as I can tell, the only reason PLOT remained in this policy until now is because there wasn't a handful of editors using it to delete every fiction article they could find (although I should note that Metalbladex4 removed PLOT from NOT in October 2006[74]). PLOT is ignored in AFD debates [75] [76] [77] [78] [79] [80] [81], so you can't say that an article that is only a plot summary is content NOT suitable for Wikipedia, and you can't say that PLOT is a "a widely accepted standard that all users should follow." How is the Andrey Nikolayevich Bolkonsky article an example of what Wikipedia is not? PLOT simply does not belong in the What Wikipedia is not policy. It's fine to tell editors that they should try to be make an article more than just a plot summary, which is why PLOT should be removed from NOT and moved to WP:WAF. --Pixelface (talk) 22:49, 12 June 2008 (UTC)
  • In answer to Pixelface, I have already gone on record to explain that there are very good reasons why WP:NOT#PLOT is highly relevant to fictional topics. Not only have I provided arguments to show that it is not possible to write a plot summary which is not a reinterpretation of the author's interpretion of the fictional world they originally created, but I have also provided reliable secondary sources which show that plot-only articles are not encyclopedic, no matter how heavily they cite primary sources. The reason is that plot summaries fail one of the most important policies in Wikipedia, namely that All Wikipedia articles and other encyclopedic content must be written from a neutral point of view. Works of fiction are written from one or more points of view[82], such as a first, second or third-person narration. Once you try to summarise a work of fiction, the perspective can change and a books meaning is altered in the process, but also the bias of the person writing the plot summary creeps in to replace that of the author, or reinforces a bias towoards a fictional perspective that may seek to portray real-life events from a literary viewpoint as if it were objective. If Pixelface can provide evidence that an article based on pure plot summary should be included in Wikipedia, that might provide ammunition for his arguements. However, since he has not quoted secondary sources for his argruements, they have been rebutted, and from my perspective, the disputes have been resolved, and the matter is closed.--Gavin Collins (talk) 10:29, 11 June 2008 (UTC)
    • Devil's advocate here: they can be sourced using secondary sources; For example, The Doctor Who Reference Guide, which does a good job of summarising the episodes without straying from the author's intent. Sceptre (talk) 16:33, 12 June 2008 (UTC)
    • Gavin, go look at some of our Featured Articles on fiction topics and count how many citations you see in the plot summaries. The fact of the matter is that editors are allowed to make descriptive summaries of sources (fictional works in this case) and put those summaries into articles. And plot summaries do not necessarily violate the neutral point of view policy. How could there be any plot summaries in Featured Articles, any plot summaries on Wikipedia if they all violate WP:NPOV? That a book can be written in first-, second-, or third-person is not what the neutral point of view policy is talking about. Sometimes it's possible to write plot summaries from secondary sources, but on Wikipedia the primary source is considered acceptable. Tell me why the articles Cosette, Andrey Nikolayevich Bolkonsky, Baldrick, and Luke Skywalker should be deleted. Wikipedia is not paper, Wikipedia is work in progress, there is no deadline, and the editing policy says "It is wonderful when someone adds a complete, well-written, final draft to Wikipedia. This should always be encouraged. However, one of the great advantages of the Wiki system is that incomplete or poorly written first drafts of articles can evolve into polished, presentable masterpieces through the process of collaborative editing." If an editor creates a stub that is only a plot summary, that's fine. You don't have to write a Featured Article on your first draft. In the past I've argued that plot summaries should cite secondary sources, but primary sources are considered acceptable. In the past I've argued that plot summaries should cite reliable third-party published sources, but primary sources are considered acceptable. I think free online reliable secondary sources are preferable, since then a reader can immediately check the information in an article, but primary sources are considered acceptable. There's already plenty of evidence in AFDs that editors think articles that are just plot summaries shouldn't be deleted [83] [84] [85] [86] [87] [88] [89] I think it's fine to tell editors in WP:WAF they really should try to add more than just a plot summary to an article — but if they can't do that in five days, so what? PLOT being in WP:NOT is disputed, so please stop removing the {{disputedtag}} from above PLOT. --Pixelface (talk) 00:16, 13 June 2008 (UTC)
      • I was actually asked about unsourced plot summaries on FAC. Normally, they're fine because the episode is the reference itself, and normally doesn't require any more synthesis than normal source interpretation. How it's cited (external vs. primary vs. both vs. none) is a matter of editor preference. Sceptre (talk) 01:15, 13 June 2008 (UTC)
In answer to Pixelface , WP:V says that editors should provide a reliable source for quotations and for any material that is challenged or is likely to be challenged, or the material may be removed, and that if no reliable, third-party sources can be found for an article topic, Wikipedia should not have an article on it. If an article is comprised soley of plot summary, then it probably fails WP:V, and it will always be at risk of deletion.--Gavin Collins (talk) 11:08, 13 June 2008 (UTC)
Gavin, you may not agree with the fact that we accept primary sources as proper and indeed preferred RSs for V for plot, but nonetheless so we do. Personally, I do not think there is real agreement on either NOT PLOT or any negatively worded content guidelines here. there may be agreement with the concepts behind them, but the wording is no longer what actually applies.DGG (talk) 18:05, 13 June 2008 (UTC)
Gavin, the editor who added PLOT to NOT is the same editor who added "if no reliable third-party sources can be found for an article topic, Wikipedia should not have an article on it" to WP:V. That editor is Hiding. On Wikipedia, plot summaries are verifiable by consulting the book/film/game/etc the summary is written from. If you cite a news article in an article, you're allowed to summarize the news article yourself. You don't have to cite someone else that summarized the news article. Similarly, an editor may cite a book in an article, and they are allowed to summarize the book themselves. They don't have to cite someone else that summarized the book. --Pixelface (talk) 03:54, 17 June 2008 (UTC)
  • I agree with Pixelface that in theory plot summary can be verified if supported by chapter, scene or episode references, and can be useful where it provides context and a flavour of the work in question, but only if the article cites reliable secondary sources that provide real-world content, context, analysis and critisism. However, very often those articles that are nominated for AfD becasue they fail WP:NOT#PLOT tend to be little more than a regurgitation of primary source material, but at their worst they tend towards being primary research, personal essays or plaigarism which cannot be verified. Also plot sumamry written without chapter, scene or episode references tends to place an over-reliance on an in universe perspective. If an article gets nominated for AfD, it is usually because an undue emphasis on plot summary is just one of serveral related content and style issues relating to a lack of real-world content cited from reliable secondary sources. --Gavin Collins (talk) 09:28, 17 June 2008 (UTC)
  • We should simply ban Pixelface. dorftrottel (talk) 18:15, 13 June 2008 (UTC)
  • No that would not be fair; he has made valid and well constructed arguments which are worth reading and resonding too, even if you disagree with him. However, if you going to mete out cruel and random punishments, I would like nominate Hiding for special attention :p With regard to the comments made by DGG, I would have to disagree, as if you look at the article Ancient characters in Stargate, which has primary sources, yet fails WP:NOT#PLOT. Without reliable secondary sources, articles like this lack real-world content, context and analysis that is need for an encyclopedic article. One symptom of this that it is an article that is over reliant on an in universe perspective, and is riddled with original research. I would say it is a prime candidate for deletion.--Gavin Collins (talk) 20:20, 13 June 2008 (UTC)
  • And I would say this list is a prime candidate for trimming&merging, especially since interviews and audio commentaries and DVD special features (IIRC) are available for at least some of the characters/actors. Your volunteering in making the info NOT#PLOT-compliant will be very much appreciated, but it will take significantly longer than opening an AfD. – sgeureka tc 21:26, 13 June 2008 (UTC)
  • My gut feel about this article is that it will be difficult to find real-world content from reliable secondary sources about these characters. Although Stargate cites reliable secondary sources, it will be difficult to find multiple secondary sources that discuss these characters in any depth and which would provide evidence that they are independently notable. My view is that this article is just a coatrack for an personal essays about the characters, but this can never be a substitute for real-world content, context, analysis or critism.--Gavin Collins (talk) 09:38, 17 June 2008 (UTC)
  • I think an outright ban of Pixelface is over the top. However, I would like to see some sort of restricting him from commenting on fictional topics meta-debate - while stating an opinion is healthy, now it's getting into horse-beating territory, disruption (I think six users have now reverted him on WP:NOT#PLOT), and inflaming the dispute contrary to E&C2. Sceptre (talk) 01:08, 14 June 2008 (UTC)

Pokemon plot break

How long has this debate gone on? It is too hard to follow. Is there a dispassionate editor who can provide a succinct summary of the debate? --SmokeyJoe (talk) 13:52, 17 June 2008 (UTC)

I can't claim fully dispassionate, but I can try to be unbiased as to the history and discussion points:
The PLOT phrase was added back in 2006 - it appears to have been through local consensus on this page though some editors cautioned on its use. PLOT has since been used for justification in how to approach articles on fictional works, but more important and to part of the dispute, as a reason to delete such articles (typically in conjunction with NOTE or FICT, but often times without).
Mid 2007 is the point where TTN starts doing mass merges and deletions of such articles, leading to the two E&C cases in regards to his behavior; as ArbCom, however, they made no statement on the actual content issue (as it is not in their purview). Part of this issue includes those that believe PLOT should not be in NOT. (This is also the point where FICT begins feeling the pressure from those responding to TTN's actions and forcing the rewrite that it is now).
Earlier this year, a few alternative wordings for PLOT came along to help tidy the language or change the intent of PLOT ("brief" verse "concise" plot summary, or suggesting stronger language that WP is not a fan guide). None of these really received any strong consensus to change, but at the same time, those arguing to remove PLOT also brought this up as an option. Pixelface's RFC for if PLOT had consensus was about May of this year. Some of the issues regarding this were editor removing PLOT or moving it around NOT, but having that change reverted; presently the issue is if this section should be marked "disputed" or left as it currently is (stating discussion is taking place here).
At this point, to summarize the issue, those that feel PLOT doesn't belong in NOT argue along several ways: plenty of articles are plot-only and there are many editors that believe these to be fine; failing PLOT should not be a reason for deletion of articles and the fact it is (per both being listed at Deletion policy and how used in AFD) is a reason to move it; it is a style guideline, describing how to write articles on fiction, and thus should be moved to WP:WAF; this enforces a notability guideline at the policy level; and that PLOT never had consensus to belong here in the first place, and thus should be removed. Those in favor of keeping it generally state that the fact that PLOT has stayed in NOT for as long as it has means it has consensus, and nor was there no consensus when it was added and consensus still remains now to keep it per the current discussion; PLOT helps to maintain the core policies of WP, including V, NOR, and NPOV, and guidelines like NOTE; and PLOT belongs here in NOT because it is about the content, much as the advice about "not a travel guide" is a content restriction for geographic articles.
Hopefully that is an unbiased summary. --MASEM 14:52, 17 June 2008 (UTC)
Yeah, I would say that's a pretty good summary of the debate. --Pixelface (talk) 11:53, 18 June 2008 (UTC)
Thanks Masem. That's pretty much what I thought. It's a pretty well defined dispute that has been thoroughly thrashed a few times over. It would be nice to wrap it up. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 13:59, 19 June 2008 (UTC)
  • The only way I can think of to wrap it up is to poll on it. It would have to be a wide poll, reaching all, and it would have to have clear consensus to stay in the policy, otherwise it should be removed. The problem, is, every time I mention a poll on it, I am ignored. It seems odd that I was not ignored when I added it, and yet I am ignored when I suggest we test the consensus in the most direct manner possible. Should WP:PLOT be policy? I'd suggest 72% as an arbitrary number required in support of it remaining so, otherwise it should be removed. 72 seems a reasonable distance between two thirds and 8 tenths, or 66 and 80%, and so has that magic number quality of being a good mid-point between two numbers used to determine consensus. Feel free to ignore me once again. Hiding T 12:21, 7 July 2008 (UTC)
You could poll retaining WP:N and you wouldn't get 72% positive. (I strongly suspect that there would be a strong correlation between those voting negatively on that hypothetical vote and this one.) Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 12:44, 7 July 2008 (UTC)
Based on what's happening in WP:N, I think we're headed for an RFC that will be put to wide range input (via watchlist-notification) that will determine exactly how NOT, NOTE, and other policies/guidelines intersect or more specifically how we end up covering fiction and what changes are needed to make whatever global consensus work out. PLOT is a small piece of this larger puzzle, so I would not focus too much effort on it just yet. --MASEM 12:47, 7 July 2008 (UTC)

Holding one's breath until one turns blue and shouting, "There isn't consensus, there isn't, there isn't!" does not constitute evidence that WP:NOT#PLOT lacked or lacks consensus. Certain people just want to use Wikipedia as a fan guide for their fave fandom(s), and feel that in-universe importance is sufficient. Sadly, this interlocks with our problems with recentism and Western-pop-culture-centrism. --Orange Mike | Talk 13:13, 7 July 2008 (UTC)

  • Holding one's breath until one turns blue and shouting, "There is consensus, there is, there is!" does not constitute evidence that WP:NOT#PLOT had or has consensus. Certain people just want to use Wikipedia as a substitute for Encyclopedia Brittanica, and feel that esoteric and popular culture topics lack importance. Sadly, this interlocks with our problems with elitism and academic-standards-centrism. You haven't helped move the debate on and are easily rebutted. Wikipedia was supposed to be the encyclopedia anyone could edit, aiming to provide the sum of all knowledge, and editors were to respect others and to write from a neutral point of view whilst avoiding the promotion their own theories. Writing about popular culture does nothing to violate those foundation principles, and attempts to slur those ho do write about such topics amount to intellectual snobbery, something Wikipedia was purportedly founded to counter. Hiding T 13:33, 7 July 2008 (UTC)
  • For what it's worth I don't see the problem. The current version of NOT#PLOT seems to reflect the vast majority of well written articles out there in mainspace. We don't have articles that exist mainly as plot summaries. We do have concise (that word being rather important) summaries of fictional works (and documentaries, and nonfiction, and reality shows, etc) in the context of an article that is about the work. That's just my observation - perhaps I need to read more Pokemon articles. Which raises a second point. If you want to eliminate the Pokemon phenomenon from Wikipedia you'll have to do more than write missives on the policy talk page - policy reflects consensus, and I think people have to be educated and convinced about what's unencyclopedic about in-world fancruft, not just strong-armed into avoiding it. Wikidemo (talk) 16:56, 7 July 2008 (UTC)
  • Having not read the debate, I will say what I always say: I believe Final Fantasy VIII and its subarticles handle coverage of a complex plot in the best way possible. — Deckiller 17:18, 7 July 2008 (UTC)


In my opinion, the section should make it much clearer that Wikipedia is not a place to put in live coverage of any events, like e.g. live scores of ongoing sports matches. dorftrottel (talk) 18:16, 13 June 2008 (UTC)

Yes, I agree with you. It will help new users and non-regular users of Wikipedia. Masterpiece2000 (talk) 09:15, 21 June 2008 (UTC)
I have added some lines to the section, noting that edits are supposed to stand for future reference. LessHeard vanU (talk) 18:43, 22 June 2008 (UTC)
Let's be careful with the wording. I would not be proper to say that information on recent affairs is inappropriate for inclusion on principle. The point is that "breaking news" shouldn't be given special treatment over other information.
For example, a newcomer recently added some relevant and significant information to the German Fernandez article. It shouldn't have been placed at the top of the page or prefaced with "News:", but its inclusion was completely appropriate. — xDanielx T/C\R 21:22, 22 June 2008 (UTC)
Indeed, but even if the subjects record is quickly broken it is still notable as being a new record - I am trying to create a form of words that precludes mentioning unsuccesful attempts (although being the then second fastest person over a distance is perhaps notable enough for inclusion in an otherwise noteworthy subject). I have been here before, when I waited months for the regulatory body to ratify new world records for autogyro's so I could replace the blatantly wrong (but properly sourced to the same body) previous set of records. Publishing a set of "records" upon release of the news, only to find they are not official because of windspeed considerations (okay, more often in sprints than middle distance running), does not do the encyclopedia any favours. I am trying to find a form of words to indicate that it should be not until the results are officially declared that we can use the detail. LessHeard vanU (talk) 21:34, 22 June 2008 (UTC)
Aye, that's a fair point. Not sure how I'd word it either. — xDanielx T/C\R 23:17, 22 June 2008 (UTC)

User:Everyme and I came up with this wording:

Information concerning recent developments should be included only if it has lasting encyclopedic value.

Is everyone okay with this? — xDanielx T/C\R 09:52, 26 June 2008 (UTC)

Unhelpful (to those needing the help) tautology to require “encyclopedic” qualities. Only encyclopedic content is suitable in an encyclopedia. What misconception does that help correct? --SmokeyJoe (talk) 11:42, 26 June 2008 (UTC)
No. I don't agree to that. In theory it sounds good. But it just creates a new thing to argue over, whether a recent development has "lasting encyclopedic value." And it's a huge generalization for a very specific situation — in this case, editors updating the scores of matches at the UEFA Euro 2008 article while the games are being played. I don't think it's a big deal if an editor updates a score for a football match while the game is ongoing. If the score changes I suppose one could say those edits were only valuable for a short while, but scores in football are generally very low and every point may be the final score. One of the benefits of an online encyclopedia is that information can be updated very quickly. When someone scores a point in football, editors want to be the first to put that in the article. I certainly don't think editors who update sports scores are "mouth-breathing idiots" like Everyme said. --Pixelface (talk) 16:03, 26 June 2008 (UTC)
One of WP:NOT's primary purposes is to reign in bad ideas about Wikipedia's framework, such as making it clear —for those who are in need of that clarification— that pure plot summaries are de facto not encyclopedic articles. Those are not newly created facts, but obvious truths to any non-idiot. To paraphrase a clever warning sign I once saw: Considerate editors don't update live scores, for all others it's forbidden. Everyme (was Dorftrottel) (talk) 17:25, 26 June 2008 (UTC)
Is this section about plot summaries or your suggested addition to NOT#NEWS? Why exactly should "considerate editors" not update live scores — especially in sports where the cumulative final score can usually be counted on one hand? How about we change policy to say everyone who disagrees with (whatever name you're calling yourself today) is a an "idiot" and leave it at that? --Pixelface (talk) 17:21, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
I tend to agree with Pixelface, specifically, I too don't think it's a big deal if an editor updates a score for a football match while the game is ongoing. Nor a tennis match, a cricket match or otherwise. There are bigger fish to fry. Hiding T 13:36, 7 July 2008 (UTC)
While the big fish are not getting fried and continue to stink to the high heavens, why not fry some small ones? user:Everyme 09:25, 11 July 2008 (UTC)

Regarding Wikipedia's impersonality

I've been spotting a few editors who have lately been editing with what seems to be a disregard to the community, and some seem to have "personal crusades" which, though may be good-intentioned, lack an understanding that Wikipedia is as much an online community as it is an online encyclopedia. I should note that their edits are not disruptive, simply lacking in one aspect or another (lack of edit summary, for one) that gives them an appearance of being these lone-wolf editors. Perhaps a point should be made here in WP:NOT concerning that Wikipedia is a community and NOT personal, either in WP:SOAP or in its own section. Any thoughts to that? Brokenwit (talk) 02:31, 20 June 2008 (UTC)

How about "Wikipedia is not a punching bag"? Hyacinth (talk) 20:00, 21 June 2008 (UTC)
I like it! (talk) 18:26, 22 June 2008 (UTC)
Is your concern with addressing these "lone-wolf" editors or with how these editors are being addressed? Hyacinth (talk) 22:53, 22 June 2008 (UTC)
Addressing them. There seems to be a pattern that these editors believe that they can make "personal" edits to Wikipedia. As per what Calgary is saying below, I raise this issue because though they aren't making disruptive edits or vandalism as defined here, they aren't making constructive edits either. For example, there has been a few cases of section blanking without explanation, or with a personal explanation. That may not be disruptive as defined, but it can be considered disruptive in terms of editing against consensus. It's somewhat (though not entirely) comparable to the conflict-of-interest edits of late. What I'm trying to say is, maybe they are being disruptive based on interest. Brokenwit (talk) 01:40, 23 June 2008 (UTC)
I'm still not too sure what you're saying. If an editor makes edits without providing an explanation, and someone takes issue with the edit, then the person who made the edit in the first place is simply going to have no weight in attempting to establish a consensus, which doesn't really hurt anyone but that editor. On the other hand, if the editor edits in conflict with an established consensus, or ignores attempts to establish a consensus, then the editor IS editing in conflict with Wikipedia policy, but that's covered in Wikipedia:Consensus, and I'm not sure it needs to be mentioned here as well. Although I'm still not entirely sure what you mean when you say "personal". What would you consider to be a "personal" edit? I'm sorry, i just want to be sure I fully understand what you're saying. Calgary (talk) 02:30, 23 June 2008 (UTC)
I'm not sure I follow you. If an editor is following all of the guidelines, and their edits are constructive and not disruptive, how are they doing anything wrong? I guess I don't just understand what you're saying. I could understand if an editor was editing against consensus, or ignoring decisions made on the talk page, but that would be disruptive. If it just seems that an editor is editing out of personal interest, and not out of a desire to support the community, though, I really don't see how we could put in something to tell people not to do that. I mean, as far as I understand it, we can tell people how to edit Wikipedia, we can't tell them why. Calgary (talk) 01:10, 23 June 2008 (UTC)
I think I know what's being said here. When I used to edit more frequently there was an issue with some editors and WP:OWN, don't know if that still exists. doktorb wordsdeeds 05:58, 23 June 2008 (UTC)

Proposed new section: Wikipedia is not governed by statute

Might I suggest a new section under "Community"? This follows from and builds on WP:NOTBUREAUCRACY but goes up a level from rules made by bureaucrats to rules made by a legislature. IMHO Bureaucracy deals best with "instruction creep". The demands we sometimes see for "enforcement" of policy would be better dealt with in a separate section. You may feel that the writing style of this proposal is not consistent with that of the article generally; in that case re-wording it in a more consistent style would be totally cool. Scolaire (talk) 13:33, 24 June 2008 (UTC)

Wikipedia is not governed by statute

Policies and guidelines express standards that have community consensus. They do not have the force of law. Arguments such as "policy dictates..." or "policy forbids..." have no validity, nor has the follow-on argument that "admins should be enforcing policy" or "we all have a duty to enforce policy". It is reasonable to say "in my opinion this is contrary to policy X", but if nobody agrees with you, or if your interpretation of policy X is challenged, it is wiser to bow to consensus than to invoke non-existent "laws". See also Wikipedia:Ignore all rules.

That itself looks like instruction creep. Though policy and guidelines are to a certain extent mutable and IAR does apply to wikipedia as a whole, they exist for a reason and good reason should be given before they are broken or ignored. IAR comes after discussion in my mind, not before. In some cases (like WP:BLP I believe) the policies are based on law (Florida law I think). I'm a big fan of all policies, guidelines or guidance that exists and rarely find the need to ignore them. I've never been a fan of encouraging people to ignore policy and guidelines. WLU (talk) 13:57, 24 June 2008 (UTC)
I don't really understand "looks like instruction creep". There does seem to be a lot of editors who justify the most whimsical of demands with "policy dictates..." or "policy forbids..." and cannot grasp that these policies are not set in stone, and at the moment conciencious editors trying to improve articles don't have a simple NOT that we can point them to. In my first draft, which I didn't use, I was going to say "Policies must be adhered to in serious matters such as copyright violations and the inclusion of unreferenced contentious material in biographies of living persons, but..." I do recognise and respect the need to follow policy! The reference to IAR could easily be taken out if it makes the whole section look like an "anything goes" manifesto, but bear in mind it's already linked to in the Bureaucracy section. Scolaire (talk) 14:34, 24 June 2008 (UTC)
Now that you bring up Wikipedia is not a bureaucracy, how is anything covered here that is not, in essence, already covered there? Calgary (talk) 16:36, 24 June 2008 (UTC)
What I said: bureaucracy is about instruction creep, "perceived procedural errors" and such like, not about people trying to lay down the law by insisting that "policy dictates..." WP:BURO might be expanded to cover that, but at the moment it's not covered at all, hence my suggestion. Scolaire (talk) 17:10, 24 June 2008 (UTC)
To give you an idea where I'm coming from, I've recently been involved in two separate move requests where sincere but misguided editors said "the proposed name is forbidden under WP:COMMONNAME", although the proposed name was a reasonable one and enjoyed a reasonable consensus. I've also seen (many, many) edit reverts on several articles with edit summaries of "this is not allowed under WP:OR (or WP:V or WP:RS)". The editors in question simply didn't understand the relevant policies, but despite everybody explaining this to them they wouldn't back down. The situation could have been dealt with easily if we could have pointed to a NOT that said "you can't just cite a rule and leave it at that". As it stands, WP:BURO doesn't cover that at all. IMO a new section with an unambiguous heading would be better than just expanding BURO. Scolaire (talk) 17:11, 24 June 2008 (UTC)
Well, if you really think it's necessary to include it as a separate section on WP:NOT, then I think it would be better to include something more clear, such as:
Wikipedia policy represents community consensus, and is meant to improve the encyclopedia, not to detract from it. While Wikipedia policy is a standard that all users should follow, it should be approached with common sense. Policy outlines a common standard for Wikipedia content and practices, but it is not meant to be used as a technicality to dismiss otherwise valid contributions which improve the encyclopedia.
In my opinion, with no offense intended, I think this sounds less presumptuous and condescending. Although I still think this is suficiently covered already. Calgary (talk) 19:38, 24 June 2008 (UTC)
No offense taken :-) It probably is covered if you read the whole article carefully, but I think it is desirable to have it dealt with specifically in its own section - as I said, a specific section with its own shortcut that you can point editors to. Your wording works for me. Scolaire (talk) 23:01, 24 June 2008 (UTC)
In principle there is no difference since the same people here have the power and the right to make content policy pages and enforce it by deleting & editing articles. It's not like there are two castes, or classes, or sets of people with opposing interests. Every editor here has the exact same rights with content and policy. (The admins check the final deletion, and close afds, but that is or at least should be a routine function--whether admins are to be seen a separate caste is another matter--but one thing they do not have the right to do in any case, which is to make policy.) Everyone who cares about, say, policy for including schools, can work on the N:Schools page and at AfDs concerning schools and at discussions of whether to merge or redirect school articles.
So why is there any difference between the two? Partly, because some people are more comfortable working at one place or the other. People who care about something shouldn't really do this--they will be more effective working at both. Unfortunately, all of us have a limited amount of time, and can't work everywhere that might be relevant--and this does give people with a strong position the opportunity to try to concentrate their efforts and carry out something that might not get more general approval. But the other reason is that changing a policy page requires a much greater degree of consensus than deleting an article. No one or two people can force an afd one way or another, but they can hold up a policy page change indefinitely--for better or worse--I'm talking completely generally. This gives a greater stability, which is fine, but it also lets it drift from reality--whether reality be defined as what happens at AfD or what most people want as policy.
I'm not sure how to solve this. Even formal criteria for the necessary supermajority for policy change will still always leave it as more conservative. And there's a problem why it is hard to get even a bare majority, let alone a supermajority. It is very easy to get general consent that change is needed about a general policy. it is much harder to get agreement on what to change it to. The basic [policies and the major guidelines affect a great number of disparate interests, and everyone will want to protect their own. In the RW, this is carried out by political bargaining, but online communities aren't good at this, because it takes two things that we don;t have: the ability for face to face contact to judge how strongly people actually do feel, and the acceptance by the group of a small number of lead negotiators.
There are other factors. By now, many of us have gotten rather good at defending our interests under the existing policies. We could probably learn to do almost as well under others, but we know how to work with there. I doubt N=2RS could be adopted ab initio, but it sort of works because we know all the necessary qualifications and work-arounds. I may really dislike the principle, but I nonetheless know how to often get what I want using it. If it changed radically, no one would be sure how it would go--that's the basic argument for conservatism in general, in the RW too. The lawyer types tend to like it, for they make a living with their knowledge of the existing rules. I might rationally decide that, though I lose about 1/3 of the articles I fight for, if the rules changed, while I might lose only 10%--but I might lose 50%, and I might not be willing to take the chance.
But I am not a conservative about the rules--here's why: the life of Wikipedia depends on keeping new people coming in, both for articles and for policy. Many very active people lose interest or time after a few years, and need to be replaced. The existing rules are a maze that takes most people many months to learn. So long, in fact, that people who join and rapidly show a knowledge of the rules tend to be suspected of sockpuppetry! the way to avoid this is the same as the way to avoid the strangulation of fossilized rules--have many fewer of them and have them simpler and less ambiguous. Better a definite decision, than arguing every case.As an example only, if I know I can't put my local losing candidates for office in, I won't even try. DGG (talk) 20:32, 25 June 2008 (UTC)
I'm sorry, and please don't take offence, but I have read and re-read this post, and I just can't see what it has to do with my proposal. By any chance did you mean to post it in a different section? Scolaire (talk) 18:30, 26 June 2008 (UTC)
I'll outline the argument: the question is whether policy is descriptive or prescriptive. You are arguing that the formal rules take precedence over the actual practice--what others call prescriptive. I say the describe the consensus of the current practice. I note that its odd that there's differences between what we do and what we say, since we do make our own rules. I then explain why the formal statement of this in the form of rules is always going to be somewhat behind the actual effective rules. DGG (talk) 23:57, 26 June 2008 (UTC)
Okay, my argument is that the formal rules do NOT take precedence over the actual practice, hence my proposal to include this in What Wikipedia is not. My idea is to educate those sincere but misguided people who talk about policy as though it was statutory law, with a penalty of a $1,000 fine or three years in prison if you violate it, as it were. So can I take it that you are in agreement with this position? Scolaire (talk) 06:07, 27 June 2008 (UTC)
So, here is a re-statement of my proposal. I think it is important (obviously). What does anybody else think?
  • Wikipedia policies are descriptive, not prescriptive. That is, policies and guidelines represent community consensus, and are meant to improve the encyclopedia; they are not a code of law. Editors and administrators alike try to ensure that policies are followed in a reasonable way for the improvement of articles, rather than "enforce" rules. While Wikipedia policy is a standard that all users should follow, it should be approached with common sense, and policy should not be used as a technicality to dismiss otherwise valid contributions which improve the encyclopedia.
Scolaire (talk) 23:44, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
I like it. It's a quite important explanation of how Wikipedia functions that is very worth having on this page.--Father Goose (talk) 05:22, 6 July 2008 (UTC)
Thanks :-D Scolaire (talk) 07:39, 6 July 2008 (UTC)
I see I came late to the party but I think it's a strong addition. One quibble - shouldn't it be 'that' instead of 'which' in "valid contributions which improve the encyclopedia"? Wikidemo (talk) 08:33, 6 July 2008 (UTC)
Done. Scolaire (talk) 08:41, 6 July 2008 (UTC)
The content added in this new section is all true and not particularly controversial (at least, to me) but it seems redundant with the WP:NOTBUREAUCRACY section immediately below it. I always worry about instruction creep on this page that we all admit is already longer than ideal. Does the new section really add that much new content? Could the two sections be merged and the page tightened up a bit? Rossami (talk) 16:34, 7 July 2008 (UTC)
It's the principle that's important. It seems to me that bureaucrats or would-be bureaucrats are not a particular problem on WP, but people quoting policy as if it were international law are a daily menace IMO. It may be that a merge is doable, but it should emphasise the NOTLAW aspect, and deal with the lesser issues of instruction creep and "perceived procedural errors" after. Perhaps it could be headed Wikipedia is not governed by statute, and have a sub-heading "Alternative title: Wikipedia is not a bureaucracy, with the associated shortcuts. Scolaire (talk) 17:32, 7 July 2008 (UTC)
I agree that there is a bit of redundancy between this new section and WP:BURO, but that is because BURO is a facet of the broader "statute" issue. On the other hand, BURO has a long and healthy history within WP:NOT, so I'm not so eager to subsume it to the new section. I think there are one or two sentences that are duplicated and can be removed, however. I'll try to tighten it up when I get some time later.--Father Goose (talk) 21:32, 7 July 2008 (UTC)
Cool. Scolaire (talk) 21:46, 7 July 2008 (UTC)
Okay, I've done what I could to specialize their respective messages and reduce redundancy -- cutting a couple of things, moving some sentences from one section to the other, etc.--Father Goose (talk) 04:19, 10 July 2008 (UTC)
In general, this is just what I was hoping for - a clear distinction between bureaucracy and law. The re-write was well done. But I would have quite a serious problem with swopping IAR and wikilawyering. This gives NOTLAW a message very different from what I intended. To those people who insist (usually sincerely) that the current edit, discussion or consensus goes against policy we need to say "policy is not law, and citing it as though it was is wikilawyering"; the section as it stands now says (to them) "sure, we don't have to follow the rules at all if it doesn't suit us!" This is guaranteed to gall them into redoubling their efforts to "enforce" the rules, including clamouring to have that section in NOT struck out. I really would prefer if they were swopped back, and they could be re-worded as appropriate e.g. "Insisting that something must (or cannot) be done simply because of policy is a form of wikilawyering." Scolaire (talk) 09:07, 10 July 2008 (UTC)
I have been bold and swopped them back. I hope that's okay. Scolaire (talk) 06:35, 11 July 2008 (UTC)

Wikipedia is not permanent

Shouldn't we mention the fact that the information and images in Wikipedia are subject to change, and what's here today may be gone or completely different tomorrow? GO-PCHS-NJROTC (Messages) 02:07, 27 June 2008 (UTC)

Not a game guide?

Can someone help me to understand why "not a how to play" WP:NOTGUIDE applies only to video games and not to Acey-deucey or Cards in the hat or any of the other mainstream table and card game articles that are little more than a list of the rules? Is it time to revisit this policy to tighten it to exclude those current articles or loosen to allow computer games to have rules articles? I'm not trying to be a jerk, I'm actually trying to find out what the actual policy is and how it should be applied. LegoTech·(t)·(c) 03:12, 30 June 2008 (UTC)

It does apply to those as well - they should be cleaned up significantly or merged to a larger list. --MASEM 03:38, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
That's what I would think, but I got told off for nominating Cards in the hat Wikipedia:Articles_for_deletion/Cards_in_the_hat so I am asking for clarification on this policy...if it's going to be applied to some articles it should be applied to all or changed to allow these types of articles in table, card, AND video and computer games. LegoTech·(t)·(c) 04:23, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
There's a difference for NOT being a guide, and not demonstrating notability. The former is a cleanup issue; the latter is a deletion issue. The AFD showed that it, at minimal , notable, so deletion is not proper. However, it does need to be more about why the game is notable, which, when wrapped around what is there, is fine. --MASEM 04:32, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
Oh dear...see, this is where the policy's wording can be deceptive, and have some very negative consequences. I remember last year when someone tried to delete Rules of chess based on this policy (see Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Rules of chess). The problem is the definition of the word "game quide" can confuse people (although I don't think the phrase is currently used). A "game guide" is not simply an explanation of the mechanics and rules of a game, but is an instructional guide, meant to give advice to a person playing the game. If a particular game is notable, then the rules of the game are almost inherently notable as well. You can't write about chess without describing the rules of chess, you can't write about go without describing the rules of go. As long as these articles do not serve main the purpose of advising people how to win or improve their gameplay, they are not "game guides" per se. Also, keep in mind, there are no rules prohibiting the inclusion of description of the rules or mechanics of video games. See for example Pokémon game mechanics, or Gameplay of World of Warcraft. These articles are about the gameplay of video games, but are not "game guides", because their primary function is as a description of the mechanics of a notable video game, not as a manual designed to help people improve their own ability to play. And if by some chance a person can learn how to play a game by reading an article, this is a coincidence, not a violation of Wikipedia policy, because the intended purpose of the article is what should be considered, not additional possible effects. (I'm tempted to make an teleological argument here, but for the sake of space I will not. Calgary (talk) 00:28, 1 July 2008 (UTC)
Hrm...ok...makes sense...can we figure out how to reword this bit? "a Wikipedia article should not read like a how-to style manual of instructions, advice (legal, medical, or otherwise) or suggestions, or contain how-tos. This includes tutorials, walk-throughs, instruction manuals, game guides, and recipes" Because the way you explain it makes sense....the way it is currently written technically excludes rules descriptions as a how to play or an instruction manual. So I agree with your explanation, how can we make it so that everyone does? (am I making sense?) LegoTech·(t)·(c) 01:33, 1 July 2008 (UTC)
Well, is the word "tips" of any use? --Kizor 06:37, 10 July 2008 (UTC)

Defining discriminate and indiscriminate

Recently, I had an AFD closed as no consensus at Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/List of Fictional Pandas, in which I raised the question, are such lists indiscriminate if the only linking factor is their species? And given the result of the AFD, I would like to pose that question here: what is really the boundary line for discriminate and indiscriminate? And where does this particular article that I AFD'd stand in that? I believe we're going to need some more clarification on this issue, and for it to be more apparent. Red Phoenix flame of life...protector of all... 19:42, 5 July 2008 (UTC)

  • The boundary line for discriminate and indiscriminate is purely a matter of opinion. Since we are not allowed to express our own opinions in articles, then only the citation of reliable secondary sources is evidence that a topic is not indiscriminate. Once a subject matter is notable, then it falls outside the scope of WP:NOT#IINFO.--Gavin Collins (talk) 20:10, 5 July 2008 (UTC)
    By the same token, one would have to cite secondary sources saying the topic is indiscriminate. We're not allowed to insert our own opinions in articles, true, but we are most definitely allowed to exercise them when making editorial decisions, such as evaluating the merits of a given article. If we weren't allowed to exercise our own judgment while editing articles, we wouldn't have been able to write word one.
    "Indiscriminate" is the new "unencyclopedic" -- like xDanielx says, "all encompassing". Further, IINFO (in its current form) isn't a reflection of WP:Notability, it's a group of not-especially related "other things Wikipedia isn't". That lyrics, news, plot summaries, etc. are all grouped together as "indiscriminate" is arbitrary -- but that word has taken on a life of its own, and people attempt to enforce it in ways completely disconnected from what's actually written in the section. It would have no more intrinsic meaning if the section were titled "Wikipedia is not an unencylopedic collection of information".--Father Goose (talk) 06:52, 19 July 2008 (UTC)
  • In this case, I'd say the list was purely organizational, and therefor the bar is a lot lower. It probably should be a category but given that the title of each subject is fairly uninformative, a fairly sparse like this seems reasonable. As Gavin says, this is pretty much subjective. Hobit (talk) 20:31, 5 July 2008 (UTC)
  • IMO, it's generally a bad idea to reference the indiscriminate clauses of WP:NOT in XfDs (with exceptions, e.g., when newcombers have trouble understanding the motivation for deleting valid info). They're directly based on the notability guidelines, and while the notability guidelines tend to leave significant room for interpretation, it's better to argue about sources than to engage in a back-and-forth about the discriminant clauses. All articles are discriminative to some extent (try insert long strings of random characters into articles), so the gray area between "discriminate" and "indiscriminate" is essentially all-encompassing. — xDanielx T/C\R 10:35, 11 July 2008 (UTC)
  • As a newcomer, I was quite surprised to learn from an inclusionist editor that the typical section "References in popular culture", in many articles, is generally unsuitable for Wikipedia. When somebody would raise the question where to look for pop references to topic ABC or theme XYZ, I would have knee-jerk responded "Wikipedia". If consensus among editors seems to be that this is not correct, then I would welcome an extra guideline under the WP:INDISCRIMINATE list. And an eradication campaign of all such sections throughout Wikipedia, while you're at it. —Bokske (talk) 21:08, 25 August 2008 (UTC)
    • A few especially notable examples are generally considered acceptable within an encyclopedia article but attempts to build comprehensive lists of every instance where the word, phrase or concept occurs are more like concordances than encyclopedic content. They may have a place but it's not really supposed to be here at Wikipedia. Someday we will get around to cleaning them up. Rossami (talk) 21:46, 25 August 2008 (UTC)
  • maybe what it needs is a change of wording, something like Wikipedia is not a haphazard collection of facts and data. maybe change the intro paragraph on that section to read Wikipedia provides articles that discuss notable topics; articles that primarily serve to gather together information of a type, without significant discussion, are not generally encyclopedic. Lists or collections of information may be inherently notable for a number of reasons (as in List_of_Presidents_of_the_United_States or List_of_placental_mammals), but that should be considered the exception rather than the rule. what do you think? --Ludwigs2 21:58, 25 August 2008 (UTC)
    • Those examples, in my opinion at least, are not lists which are inherently notable as lists - we keep those lists around because they are useful navigational aids to similar encyclopedic topics. We can safely say that every US President meets Wikipedia's inclusion standards so a list that puts those related topics in context (for example, by chronological order) is useful to our readers in ways supplement the categorization of the individual biographies. To go back to Bokske's example, though, we can not say that every instance of a usage or reference to MAD is inherently encyclopedic, therefore a list of those instances, even with discussion, is probably inappropriate for the encyclopedia.
      I think any clarification of the rule needs to address the two different reasons we might keep a list - as a navigational aid to related topics (which may not require any supplemental discussion at all) and when the list is notable as a list (in which case, the page should primarily be about the notability of the list and possibly not even include the list itself). I don't have good wording to make that clearer, though. Rossami (talk) 02:17, 26 August 2008 (UTC)
      • hmmm... I kinda think what you're getting at is 'scholastic' or 'pedagogical' use. lists are often used in educational contexts for teaching general knowledge by rote (e.g., teachers might very well force kids to memorize a list of US presidents, a list of state capitals, even a list of knots if it's a sailing class or the scouts), but there would never be a pedagogical reason to gather a list of MAD references. there might be a research reason to do that, mind you (making a text analysis of cold war politics, say), but not a simple pedagogical 'learn this because everyone ought to know it' reason. so: something like the List_of_Presidents_of_the_United_States should be kept because it has clear scholastic value; something like List_of_placental_mammals should be kept because it has navigational value in Wikipedia (as well as some scholastic value); something like a lists of birthstones should not have a separate list page (since it has little pedagogical or navigational value) but should be (as it is) one part of a larger article. there will be some hubbub about what constitutes 'scholastic' value (I don't want to see how that plays out on List_of_Pokémon for instance), but it would certainly rule out mere collections of information. --Ludwigs2 04:57, 26 August 2008 (UTC)

Not a teaching tool

One of the problems that I've run into in some discussions on WP:NPOV is that some editors appear to want to use wikipedia to teach the reader of the article, particularly in articles about science. There isn't a bright line between providing information and teaching, but there is a line. In some ways, this is really the same as WP:SOAP, though the intentions behind it are honest. Including it is under the list of soapboxish activities has problems, because many wikipedia contributors want to share what they know about the world (heck, I might even say all of them do, vandals aside).

Is it worth including this concern under WP:SOAP, or is it simply too much of a minefield to word it properly? SDY (talk) 04:55, 18 July 2008 (UTC)

I think WP:NOT#TEXTBOOK already addresses the issue you raise. But I'm not really sure what your saying, since I don't see how you are equating teaching with soapboxing. siℓℓy rabbit (talk) 05:05, 18 July 2008 (UTC)
I've just seen a lot of comments about "getting the point across" and such that sound like the editor is trying to educate a prospective reader, and I'm hearing that as trying to convince a prospective reader. SDY (talk) 05:17, 18 July 2008 (UTC)
  • I understand what SDY, and in a way, I agree with Silly rabbit. I would add that most text books are a synthesis of primary sources, and articles written as if they are a teaching aide are not permitted in Wikipedia. Unless you can come up with a more specific point, I think the existing policies and a guidelines already have this issue covered.--Gavin Collins (talk) 08:47, 18 July 2008 (UTC)
Reading further, I am satisfied with what the textbook section has to say on the matter. It's sort of a different spin on the same concern, but adding it twice would be redundant. SDY (talk) 09:21, 18 July 2008 (UTC)
hmmm... just as a thought, we could add something like the following to the not-a-soapbox section: "wikipedia is not decisive or authoritative. It does not decide between sides in an issue, or present authoritative claims about what is or is not correct or true. such claims will appear in wikipedia where reliable sources make them, but editors should be careful to give proper attribution, and should taking sides on contested points even where they believe a given side is clearly right or clearly wrong." --Ludwigs2 19:27, 26 July 2008 (UTC)
I very much like at least that first sentence. For the rest, I also like it, and am thinking further about wording Something like this can be so useful w need to get it right. Possible "Such claims will appear in a balanced manner in Wikipedia ..." DGG (talk) 08:26, 27 August 2008 (UTC)

Textiquette Discussion

I was talking with a friend about a Radio 4 interview about text messaging and its popularity and this led to us talking about when it is an appropriate time to text. We both agreed that it could be perceived as rude to either receive or send a text message when out socialising unless it is a matter of urgency. What are people's thoughts on this? Am I being harsh. This led me to then consider if there are other unspoken rules about receiving and sending text messages especially regarding the use of abbreviations. Could this rules be captured in the word Textiquette? :-) This is my first post so feel free to blast me down in flames. Nathan Nathancresswell (talk) 11:30, 19 July 2008 (UTC)

Well, you won't get a constructive response to this question here; this page is for discussing Wikipedia, not general topics, and in particular is for discussing this page of rules on Wikipedia. Google for an Internet forum that discusses stuff like texting and social etiquette, where you'll get a better response.--Father Goose (talk) 19:26, 19 July 2008 (UTC)

Recent changes to NOTCENSORED

Does anybody beside me find the changes made here hard to understand? I'm not sure what the changes were meant to accomplish, so I don't know how to rewrite them to make them clearer or more concise.--Father Goose (talk) 08:57, 25 July 2008 (UTC)

I'm not sure exactly what the main point was but I do get the idea. I suspect this might be an outgrowth of the AfD/DRV of [90] or something similar. The basic idea being that while we have an open mind about what we document, BLP violations still need to be dealt with. So saying that "gross thing X" happens and describing it is something that might be NOTCENSORED, but saying "And Bob does X" still needs to meet BLP guidelines and folks can't just argue "but NOTCENSORED means we should include this anyways" . Or something like that. I'd prefer to remove it as being a small part of NOTCENSORED, and fairly obvious in any case. No ideas on how to clearly clean it up. Hobit (talk) 02:05, 26 July 2008 (UTC)
harumph. well, seems a little strident. let me see if I can clean it up some... --Ludwigs2 03:59, 26 July 2008 (UTC)
I went further with your cleanup, and removed some stuff that could be taken all out of proportion. I'm very happy with the current version -- clearer than it's ever been.--Father Goose (talk) 08:27, 26 July 2008 (UTC)


Hi all, Two links were removed, re-added and removed again from NOT#PLOT. As the one who re-added it, I think it's useful and relevant for most anyone who is reading NOT#PLOT to be aware of what is currently being discussed. The links are:

Current discussion regarding this section is occurring on both WT:NOT and Wikipedia:Plot summaries.

Thoughts? Hobit (talk) 17:22, 30 July 2008 (UTC)

  • As a data point, it looks like this was added in early May. Hobit (talk) 17:51, 30 July 2008 (UTC)
Neither of those discussions appear to be active any longer. Nor does there appear to be any appetite to restart those debates. The disclaimer was reasonable at the time but removal of the disclaimer seems appropriate (and probably a bit past due) at this point. Rossami (talk) 17:55, 30 July 2008 (UTC)
I have to agree; the conversations about WP:PLOT at this time are dormant.--Father Goose (talk) 01:32, 31 July 2008 (UTC)
  • Its unnessary linkspam. Discussions about WP:NOT#PLOT occur all over Wikipedia, and the purpose of this policy page is not to list them all.--Gavin Collins (talk) 13:01, 31 July 2008 (UTC)
I have a suspicion that the discussions are dormant through mutual exhaustion, rather than any even partial consensus or true loss of interest in the issues and will be revived as soon as any of the participants regain enough hope of the possibility of convincing the others. The scattering of discussions was due to the attempts of people (on all sides) to gain at one place what they could not gain at another; I would like to think we have all abandoned that tactic which will permanently postpone conclusions, except that there are clearly those (on various sides) who will fight indefinitely rather than compromise. And even if we reach a compromise it will be temporary, for a wiki has no method of permanently settling anything. But yes, we might as well remove the traces for the time being. DGG (talk) 07:46, 27 August 2008 (UTC)

Do guestbooks violate WP:MYSPACE?

I have come across 2 users with "guestbooks" on their user subpages. Is this a violation of WP:MYSPACE? Exploding Boy (talk) 16:39, 1 September 2008 (UTC)

If you are referring to the so-called "autograph books", then I would say "yes". However, see Wikipedia:Miscellany for deletion/Autograph books and Wikipedia:Deletion review/Log/2007 March 30. –Black Falcon (Talk) 16:46, 1 September 2008 (UTC)
Allright, so now I'm confused. Guestbooks are a violation of WP:MYSPACE but the deletion review you pointed me to, which called for multiple deletions was overturned with no consensus to take other action. Exploding Boy (talk) 16:56, 1 September 2008 (UTC)
Sorry, I should have been more clear in that I was expressing my personal interpretation. Although many editors share it, many others do not, as can be seen in the MfD (of course, many of the comments in the MfD don't touch on WP:MYSPACE at all..). –Black Falcon (Talk) 18:52, 1 September 2008 (UTC)
Hmmm. Time to go to the Village Pump. Exploding Boy (talk) 19:02, 1 September 2008 (UTC)

Wikipedia is censored

I find it very disturbing reading claims that "wikipedia is not censored" while it is in fact censored! Let's just take a simple example: child pornography,

  • is it allowed on wikipedia? NO!
  • Is this censorship? YES!
  • Is not allowing child porn on wikipedia a bad thing? I leave that to you...

Wikipedia says that "it must comply with USA law", and if something can't be included in wikipedia because of that, isn't that censorship? sure it is. EVERY country in the world is probably censored (just think about child porn). I really think this must be changed...

PS: I'm in no way here defending the inclusion of child porn on wikipedia, (and that's not what I personally want!) I just wanted wikipedia to tell what really happens.... —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:31, 5 September 2008 (UTC)

As a principle Wikipedia is not censored, there are necessary practical exceptions to this "rule" such as ones you mentioned and they are made clear in the policy page, nobody's hiding anything. Guest9999 (talk) 01:17, 9 September 2008 (UTC)
"Wikipedia is not censored" simply means Wikipedia doesn't add a layer of censorship to the law where Wikipedia is hosted. As in, content would be legal and on topic but we still decide not to host it, for whatever reason. At least that's my understanding of the rule. --Rividian (talk) 03:50, 9 September 2008 (UTC)
I'll point out, as well, that Wikipedia does in fact have an article on child pornography. Wikipedia is not intended to be a repository of images of any sort, and so collections of images (child pornography or no) would be excluded because WP doesn't do collections of images. you shouldn't confuse a restriction of content due to project scope with censorship, any more than you should complain that airplanes don't have soccer fields. Face-smile.svg --Ludwigs2 01:28, 12 September 2008 (UTC)

Wikipedia is not a language reform institute

This is inspired by some of the sillier notions that float around the Manual of Style. Usually they die off, but it would be quicker and easier if we had policy against such notions as: all dates should be entered in ISO 8601: that is: as 2008-9-12 or 9-12 if the year need not be mentioned. I'm not making this up; I wish I were. Should we add Wikipedia is not a language reform institute to this page? Septentrionalis PMAnderson 00:57, 12 September 2008 (UTC)

you're kidding, right? let's not make rules about changes that may or may not find consensus at some future date. it would in fact be very useful (from the perspective of a template coder) to have all dates be in a ISO 8601 format - why should that possibility be excluded?
put another way, if wikipedia had been around in Shakespeare's day, and the rule you have in mind were put in effect, then all thy wikipedia pages wouldst be pain and pestilence to read. Gogs Wouns man, ask thee not for what might ail thee. Face-wink.svg
Having noted all that, I have seen occasions where an attempt is being made to reform certain language uses. For example, MOS and general journalism style currently calls for the word "actor" to refer to both male and female performers, but there has been dispute over this usage at Angelina Jolie. I've also seen debates over whether American or British spelling is "correct" and which should dominate (beyond the "UK spelling for UK topics/US spelling for US topics" dictim). I don't know ISO 8601 from WD-40, but in some of the less technical aspects, having something spelled out under WP:NOT might be handy for those trying to defuse revert wars. 23skidoo (talk) 03:33, 12 September 2008 (UTC)
Our job is to write the world's encyclopedia, not to right the world's problems. Folks who come here to push a novel scheme should not be given any support. However, Wikipedia is an innovative project. How many other encyclopedias have been edited by people on every continent? We've created our own citation practices, we've decided on our own punctuation rules, use formatting unlike any previous encyclopedia, and have created countless unique stylistic norms. If there is a problem to be resolved, such as with dates, then we should be open to whatever solution makes the best sense. ISO standards are not fringe schemes. Adopting international standards is logical for an international encyclopedia. So I wouldn't support a provision which precludes the use of legitimate standards. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 03:59, 12 September 2008 (UTC)

Wikipedia is not a doctor or a medical diagnostic tool

This may seem over the top and ludicrous to many, but it would only take one attempted lawsuit by a reader to make everyone second-guess this as a bad idea. Basically, the Internet contains a vast number of websites with information on all kinds of illnesses, and these days many people will research all over the web when they feel a symptom or two trying to find the answer themselves without consulting a physician in order to save money, time, or trouble. The difference between other sites with this type of information and Wikipedia is that the other sites are either 1] specialized medical websites maintained or checked by people qualified to give accurate medical information along with disclaimers explicitly stating to immediately contact a doctor if you are actually experiencing any symptoms of the conditions that you are researching or 2] forums full of medical questions but random "It might be this" answers that no rational person would freely test against without first consulting a doctor to be sure.

But Wikipedia is in between. It contains information on a large number of illnesses, their symptoms, their causes, and sometimes the treatment (which is ok). Unlike a random forum, though, the information seems more trustworthy by many people (proof: 1] WP's popularity and how many people come here first for answers instead of doing general search engine searches, but even if they did a search, WP can often appear at the top of those searches, and to many people "higher up result = more accurate result". 2] The anger buzz by young students each year who are mad at WP because "they failed a report after getting their information from WP", where more than likely they failed because they plagiarized, but they wouldn't have copied from here if they did not at least think that the information was accurate and it saved having to do any research themselves. 3] Articles contain direct links to the specialized medial sites mentioned above (but bypasses those before-mentioned website disclaimers) which can give the impression of WP being a one-stop-shop resulting in no need to visit the other sites despite even WP's recommendation never to use only one source. 4] WP:ENC, and yet, your typical Encyclopedia does not have entries about conditions such as Ornithine transcarbamylase deficiency... Ok, so that last one isn't proof as much as a point being made.). On the other side of the issue, unlike the specialized medial websites, the information can be edited by anyone and all that it takes is one cheapskate idiot to read the medical information on this site, diagnose himself with possibly inaccurate information from the site, try to treat himself with possibly inaccurate information from the site, and end up in worse shape than he would have been if he had just gone to see a doctor instead. WP needs to reflect that (and this seems like the best place) since, unlike the random gossipish information about our favorite celebrities, inaccuracy of medical information on this website can actually matter and have a real effect on someone. — CobraWiki ( jabber | stuff ) 04:23, 12 September 2008 (UTC)

the typical paper encyclopedia doesn't have articles on OTCase, but that's because they are paper--even so, if they don't have information on it somewhere, they would be deficient even by their standards--and this is a problem where nobody is remotely likely to rely on WP for a diagnosis. But as to the general question, considering the quality of 99% of the medical information on the web--and considering that misinformation from paid commercial advertisements of some very dubious places shows up prominently on the search page with most search engines--we are doing fairly well. Once we start putting in disclaimers, it won't stop. Next will come the legal articles, then the ones on foods, and so forth. As for medical questions on the reference desk, people answering them do usually give strong disclaimers. Considering the quality of some of the answers, that's pretty wise. — Preceding unsigned comment added by DGG (talkcontribs) 11:11, September 13, 2008 {UTC)
There's nothing much to say on this subject beyond Wikipedia:Medical disclaimer. It is important to realize that this isn't really a matter of quality - I don't believe there is an encyclopedia in the world that would accept legal responsibility for its medical content, regardless of how accurate or reliable it is or advertises to be. GregorB (talk) 07:53, 16 September 2008 (UTC)
I agree, but that doesn't mean some idiot out there won't hurt himself in the mistaken belief what we post here is 100% accurate. The Disclaimer, I believe, serves to absolve Wikipedia of any legal issues (the fact a person may not have read it doesn't mean anything - it's sort of like being found guilty of breaking a law you never knew about; ignorance is not a defence. I think there might be a warning template of some sort that can be added to medical-related articles - if there isn't there should be. But WP:NOT is supposed to be a guideline for what articles are acceptable, as well as providing backup for AFD discussion of same. Someone coming to create an article on a medical matter isn't likely to be the one blindly following it, and if someone posts some unproven medical theory or, say, step by step instructions on how to remove a gall bladder, then one would assume other wiki-policies would kick in like NOR, and such an article probably would get speedied before causing any "harm". I don't know if WP:NOT needs a section talking about this. 23skidoo (talk) 17:43, 17 September 2008 (UTC)
If I'm reading the discussion correctly, the concern is that some idiot will read something here, hurt him/herself and try to sue the project for it. In today's litigious society, I can't say that's an unrealistic risk. But it's a risk that the Foundation gets paid to worry about. So far, they haven't told us to add disclaimers on every page or to avoid certain topics. Until the Foundation pushes something down, I'm reluctant to clog up the pages and make them even more cluttered for the 99.x% of readers who know how to use an encyclopedia wisely. Rossami (talk) 22:53, 19 September 2008 (UTC)

Wikipedia is not a review site

It seems that a fair number of articles are kept because they are reviewed by reliable sources. If you exclude these reviews, however, there are no reliable sources. Examples include Peek email device and Logitech G5.

The problem with articles like these is that, unless WP:NOR is violated, the pages can only ever hope to be reviews, themselves. That Joe Bob, at, thought the battery life was more than sufficient, and that John Doe, at, thought the screen wasn't big enough, is hardly encyclopedic. To be encyclopedic, real world notability needs to be established, and Joe Bob's opinions on the battery life of a particular product simply doesn't do that. Misterdiscreet (talk) 04:13, 22 September 2008 (UTC)

Poor idea for addition, as it contradicts quite a few of our notability guidelines. The bar for notability is that published secondary sources have done significant analysis of the subject of the article. That's what a review is, analysis. --erachima talk 04:37, 22 September 2008 (UTC) is at its best not when it's analyzing something, but rather, when it's objectively reporting on something. A review is not objective. A news article discussing troopergate, however, is objective. Your assertion seems to be that sites like have the Midas touch - that a single mention on their website and it immediately becomes notable. I disagree.
If Logitech G5 were notable, there'd be facts to include, above and beyond the hardware specifications. Like maybe "the Logitech G5 mouse is the best selling mouse in history, having sold over 25 billion units" or something. Misterdiscreet (talk) 04:52, 22 September 2008 (UTC)
You're reading into my statements a bit presumptively. I never said that a single review makes a subject notable, nor mentioned the new york times at all. A single review would rarely if ever qualify as "significant secondary coverage" by itself. Reviews published by third party professionals are, however, a valid type of source to cite, and a body of them can be used to demonstrate the notability of a subject.
Your complaint here appears to be based on experience with articles on the subject of consumer electronics. I do not edit within that area of Wikipedia myself, though based on what I've seen at AfD we do appear to have overly splintered coverage of individual products that are non-notable or just barely notable and would be better off with their information merged to articles on broader subjects (e.g. product lines, or "List of Casio keyboards", or whatever). So I sympathize with your wish to get rid of those sorts of very marginal articles. However, your stance that reviews cannot constitute significant secondary coverage heavily contradicts our notability guidelines, and also clashes with common sense when it comes to other areas of the 'pedia. Articles on literature that don't discuss the reception of the book by reviewers are missing a key element of the subject, for instance, and when it comes to entertainment in general the three universally agreed-on factors that establish notability are awards, reviews, and exceptional sales.
So in conclusion, when it comes to the general case, you're going against years of consensus as to what "notability" is. Therefore this cannot be added to WP:NOT. If there are subject-specific cases that require an exception to this rule, you should be discussing them with the other editors of those subjects (I suggest trying the relevant wikiproject) and reaching consensus there. --erachima talk 05:37, 22 September 2008 (UTC)
The problem is that there's no one wikiproject under which all this stuff falls. Software can receive reviews as can products and books.
According to WP:BK, "Some of these works should contain sufficient critical commentary to allow the article to grow past a simple plot summary." I suppose Joe Bob's opinions on the screen of some device may qualify as "critical commentary", but even assuming it did, Joe Bob's opinions are never incorporated into the article for which his opinion is allegedly serving as a reliable source.
If all an article does is enumerate upon the technical specifications of a product, it's essentially a "simple plot summary". That's not okay for books, so why is it okay for products?
Anyway, I think having an entry in WP:NOT would be prudent because this is a fairly common occurrence and having to copy / paste the same argument, over and over again, when instead, a WP:NOT link would suffice, would be worthwhile. Misterdiscreet (talk) 14:49, 22 September 2008 (UTC)
Reviews of a product/book/whatever are a form (and outside of academically covered subjects, generally the form) of critical commentary which we value placing in articles. If a review is being cited but no content from it included, that's solved by including the relevant information from the review.
Another point which you may not be aware of is how the information taken from reviews is supposed to be used: ideally, a number of such reviews are gathered, and we then write a section which describes how the subject was received based upon those sources, along with other related information on sales, any awards it got, etc. This does not make the article into a review, because we are describing and writing about the reviews rather than simply quoting them verbatim. When used in this way, reviews are a valuable source of critical commentary on a subject.
At any rate, since WP:NOT is for describing things we as an encyclopedia do not do, an entry excluding the citation of reliable reviews cannot be placed here. The use of published reviews as sources for critical commentary is a well-entrenched practice, and you should not find a single good or featured article on literature or entertainment which does not use them. Sorry for the time you've lost here, and have a good day. --erachima talk 19:31, 22 September 2008 (UTC)

I think this is a bad idea... reviews/criticism are encyclopedic, look at any good article on a book or film. An encyclopedia article can be useful to readers by summarizing notable criticism (positive or negative). Excluding articles on products is a disservice to our readers... if the product is notable (in terms of non-trivial coverage) we can write a decent, encyclopedic article. --Rividian (talk) 18:44, 22 September 2008 (UTC)

I don't know that we need an explicit admonition about reviews on this page. On the other hand, it might be useful to have an essay somewhere about the reliability and/or sufficiency of reviews as a source of information. The facts presented in the review can probably be relied upon but the review itself is too often unhelpful to addressing whether a particular product meets Wikipedia's generally accepted inclusion criteria for products. For one thing, the reviews often fail the independence test. There was a scandal not that long ago about paid book reviews which undermines their reliability. Product reviews are often written based upon company-produced press releases, not on independent testing. The motivation and compensation of the reviewer must be seriously considered when evaluating the review. A review by an independent (and independently funded) organization like Consumer Reports ought to get higher weight than a review by an unknown editor or a dedicated trade publication. So I don't think an absolute rule either way ought to apply but I do agree that reviews should be read with some skepticism. Rossami (talk) 16:11, 23 September 2008 (UTC)

International rankings

Hi there. I noticed you created the page for International rankings of Costa Rica, and I did not know there exist a whole category for many countries. Just in case you are interested in creating more of such pages, I want to let you know I did created similar tables for Panama, Uruguay, and a more comprehensive table with indicators for Latin America. I pick up the idea of these tables from the article about Chile. Just check those articles. --Mariordo (talk) 04:19, 22 September 2008 (UTC)

"old school, Macedonia (terminology), or truthiness"

The "Not a dictionary" section says: "In some cases, a word or phrase itself may be an encyclopedic topic, such as old school, Macedonia (terminology), or truthiness." Is it just me, or are two of these not the best examples? Old school, while it does contain a brief discussion of the term's origin, is mostly about its varied uses and the genres it represents, not about the phrase itself. Truthiness is hard to classify; as a neologism for a novel concept, both the word and the concept spread simultaneously, so any discussion of concept of "truthiness" will be closely related to discussion of the term itself. To me, though, it seems the article is primarily about the concept of "truthiness", addressing the word only to the extent necessary to chronicle the concept. (Macedonia (terminology), on the other hand, looks like a shining example of what an article about a word should contain.) Should we perhaps choose some other examples? "Old school", in particular, seems to be causing some confusion about what kinds of articles are allowed under WP:NOTDICDEF. Powers T 01:40, 11 July 2008 (UTC)

Old school is just a shitty article right now; it has a lot of speculation/OR and is desperately in need of additional sourcing, though it is not irredeemable. I'm confident that it could be turned into an article just as good as the other two examples, focusing on the concept of "formative style" as well as the use of the term "old school" to refer to that style in a number of different genres, and which artists are felt to have "old school" style.
I think it's also worth keeping a less-than-great example in the policy so as to not imply that "only well-written articles on terminology should be permitted". If an article contains encyclopedic content, and is not just a dicdef, it not only tends to be "kept" at AfDs, but it reasonably should be kept -- as it contains encyclopedic content. Pure dicdefs should get deleted or transwikied -- few people contest that. For me -- and I believe for many other editors -- the rule of thumb is whether there is content in an article that would be removed when transwikiing it to Wiktionary (as its content scope is very narrow), but that should not be "thrown out" all the same. We see no value in discarding that content merely because an article is about a word -- nothing is gained by moving it from Wikipedia to Wiktionary if any substantial content is lost in the process. If, on the other hand, it's a total crap article -- pure OR or some other damning problem -- then it should be deleted on that basis. That includes articles that would be nothing more than a dicdef if all the policy-violating content were removed.
Separately, I believe the general perception of most Wikipedia editors is that documenting the historical usage of terms (as different from "usage guides"), including their origin(s) and evolution of their usage, is considered potentially encyclopedic. Technically, some dictionaries, such as the Oxford English Dictionary, do go extensively into usage, usage history, and etymology. However, I think articles incorporating such material, past a certain size, simply work better in an encyclopedic format (semi-conversational tone and article structure) than in the terse, rigidly structured dictionary format.
On the simplest level, it may come down to this: if it reads like an encyclopedia article (and is sourced like one), we are willing to think of it as an encyclopedia article, even if it's an article about a word. Maintaining a segregation between Wikipedia and Wiktionary in such cases does not seem all that important or constructive.--Father Goose (talk) 08:17, 11 July 2008 (UTC)
So, then, is there any word about which an encyclopedia article could not be written? That seems to be what people are saying, though I can't get anyone to admit it. Powers T 12:53, 11 July 2008 (UTC)
I won't say that they can or can't -- just that if I see an encyclopedia article written about a word that goes beyond a "dicdef" (and is not OR), I generally feel it should be kept. I see nothing gained by deleting them, or deleting any substantial portion of them in the transwikiing process.
I understand and agree with the principle that Wikipedia is not a dictionary -- but this means, simply, "no dictionary entries", not "no articles about words".--Father Goose (talk) 02:08, 12 July 2008 (UTC)
But how else to interpret the principle, clearly stated in WP:DICDEF, that the article octopus is properly about the eight-armed mollusk, not about the English word? Powers T 14:39, 15 July 2008 (UTC)
With your brain.--Father Goose (talk) 08:43, 16 July 2008 (UTC)
That's not very helpful. Powers T 13:42, 16 July 2008 (UTC)
No, I meant it exactly as I said it. We apply the rules according to what makes sense, not according to a rigid interpretation. Sure, octopus should be about the cephalopod -- there's nothing in that that precludes us from writing encyclopedia articles about words, when the word is the encyclopedic subject itself. An article being "about a word" isn't an automatic indicator that it's a dictionary entry.--Father Goose (talk) 07:11, 19 July 2008 (UTC)
I would disagree on the point of historical usage. Most Wikipedia editors who comment in AfD discussions on word-articles tend to, in my opinion, vastly underestimate the capabilities and potential of a truly great unabridged dictionary. Even OED's coverage of usage is somewhat limited. Wiktionary, on the other hand, is not paper. Usage, history and etymology are all excellent content and can be included in Wiktionary at any level of detail that our editors decide is appropriate. (I use "our editors" inclusively because many editors work both projects and all of us can.) Some excellent Wiktionary pages have long prose-based discussions of usage and history. The existence of a section on history alone is not enough reason to keep a page on Wikipedia. A page here needs to have more than merely lexical content such as discussion of social impact, etc.
It's probably true that you could have an article on any noun. You would not, however, want a separate article on every noun. The policy and practice as Wikipedia has long been that synonyms should redirect to the Wikipedia page using the most common name for the subject. Other word types are less clear. To me, the threshold for an encyclopedia article about a word comes when someone has written extensively about the word as a word, not merely used the word. So by that threshold, there are many words for which an encyclopedia article can not now be written. The necessary academic sources do not exist. Rossami (talk) 16:47, 11 July 2008 (UTC)
I don't know about that; I bet a large proportion of English words have been written about academically. Powers T 18:39, 11 July 2008 (UTC)
That question would seem fairly easy to test. Here are the first four english words, phrases or acronyms that turned up using Wiktionary's random page feature. Can anyone find academic texts specifically about these words as words? Rossami (talk) 19:52, 11 July 2008 (UTC)
Well, two of those aren't English words. =) Admittedly, though, I should have said "common English words". Rare ones like "oxilorphan" are admittedly less likely. Powers T 01:16, 12 July 2008 (UTC)
Actually, they may have been loan words but they're english now. But I understand your point. Back to Wiktionary random page for more common english words. The next ones that turned up were:
If, when transferring articles over to Wiktionary, those "long prose-based discussions of usage and history" were retained, I probably wouldn't have a problem with keeping such articles on Wiktionary. Unfortunately, such articles are almost always cut down to a nub in the transwikiing process, and not for any compelling reason. Let's take the example of dime (slang), an article you yourself transwikied, then overwrote with a "soft redirect" here. The Wiktionary page you created out of it (wikt:dime) is a shadow of the Wikipedia article. I'm not seeing how shifting it to a different site while stripping out most of its content improved the encyclopedia. Importing some of its material into the Wiktionary article improved Wiktionary, but I don't see how discarding the additional content improved Wikimedia's offerings overall.
You also talk of how such articles should have "discussion of social impact, etc." Nucular was just such an article, and the issues discussed during its recent AfD apparently prompted LtPowers to open this thread. It had citations from academic sources discussing several different aspects of the word, and I'm not sure if you (Rossami) would have opted to delete it, though clearly, LtPowers wanted to, and he seems to think that current policy ought to necessitate its deletion. (It was actually deleted, in what I consider a poor decision by the closing admin -- not just because I disagree with him; I believe any objective person would find the closing rationale wanting.)
So, I'd like to hear from you an actual rationale for why articles of this type should be deleted. Why delete dime (slang)? Why did that make for an improved encyclopedia?--Father Goose (talk) 02:08, 12 July 2008 (UTC)
When I moved Dime (slang) over, I kept the only parts that I thought were appropriate (much like the editorial decisions in any merge-and-redirect). The things I left out were, in my opinion, trivia that didn't belong in the encyclopedia in the first place. But if you think there was useful content that was missed, feel free to pull it out of the pagehistory and expand the Wiktionary page. (Bear in mind, though, that some of the content shoehorned into the old version of dime (slang) was already in Wiktionary but on different pages. All those related phrases, for example, have their own pages in the Wiktionary structure.) I hardly consider the Wiktionary version "a shadow" of the former Wikipedia page. If I thought it made the project worse, I wouldn't have done it. I think it made the project better because Wiktionarians are demonstrably better at verifying, sourcing, organizing and presenting lexical content than Wikipedians are. Their policies and tools are better optimized for it. But again, if you think you can make the Wiktionary page better, be bold and do it. Editing is not supposed to stop just because a page has been transwiki'd and one of the major reasons for a soft redirect using {{wi}} is to encourage editors to cross-over and help write the Wiktionary article. Rossami (talk) 03:06, 12 July 2008 (UTC)
As a casual passer-by happening upon this discussion, I had a read of the already linked Dime Wikipedia article and was underwhelmed. I far prefer the Wiktionary article. Surely the whole point is that in the appropriate wiki there is consistency of aproach to give an informative and enjoyable article! Keep doing what you're doing because it works for me. Scolaire (talk) 22:01, 13 July 2008 (UTC)
there is no sharp dividing line. It is impossible to discuss a word in a meaningful way if one completely ignores explaining the concept for which it stands. It is impossible to explain a concept, without discussing the terminology. Any article with significant discussion of the concept--academic or popular-- belongs here. Any article about a word as a word where there is significant controversy or academic or popular discussion of the meaning belongs here also. I'm not at all sure that NOT DICTIONARY is a useful distinction except at the extremes. —Preceding unsigned comment added by DGG (talkcontribs)
I have seen plenty of AfDs concerning articles about words and the problem seems to be basically the same in every instance. On the one hand you have a small minority that try to point out that articles consisting only of etymology, usage information, list of compounds and semantic meanings are the basic definition of a dictionary entry, and on the other you have a majority that wish to save virtually all word-article simply by claiming that they all "go beyond a dicdef" without ever specifying how this is possible with articles like yes, no, we, you, etc. And like Rossami pointed out already, most editors who keep voting to save word articles by sheer vote counting seem to share the belief that all information removed from Wikipedia, even when it's transferred to projects that specialize in that kind of information, is always a net loss. Even if it is not intentional, this makes for a rather patronizing attitude towards our sister projects.
Something needs to be done about this situation, because with the current outcome of AfDs, WP:NOTDICDEF could just as well be summarized with the following words: Wikipedia is not a dictionary except when dictionary definitions are worded and formatted like encyclopedic articles. Referring to WP:IAR is not a tenable argument if it renders an major piece of core policy practically defunct. The examples given in the the policy (old school, Macedonia (terminology) and truthiness) are in my opinion reasonable exceptions, since they have significant relevance outside of their mere usage in language, but we need to figure out a way to separate those articles from mere wiktionary duplicates, like football (word).
Peter Isotalo 13:32, 19 September 2008 (UTC)
I've removed these examples as they are not in the main policy article, and they haven't been through the AFD process, and thus their inclusion appears to me to have been OR by the adding editor.- (User) Wolfkeeper (Talk) 02:31, 27 September 2008 (UTC)
I thought old school was actually a rather valid example myself... If surviving an AfD is enough to alter central policy, then take a look at no and yes. These are flat-out contradictions not just of the policy, but of the definition of dictionary definition itself. And to top it off yes (word), which is basically identical to yes, was deleted, and then resurrected without any discernable change in arguments or policy. All that really happened was that there were more "keep"-votes and that the "beyond dicdef"-argument became wordier.
Peter Isotalo 11:16, 27 September 2008 (UTC)
I'm pretty sure that old school isn't valid. First it's about a term, secondly it's about the multiple, independent uses of the term, i.e. multiple topics. That makes it at best a disambiguation. Yes and no are at least on a single subject each, I think that yes and no are valid encyclopedia articles as they stand for this reason.- (User) Wolfkeeper (Talk) 15:16, 27 September 2008 (UTC)
Terms are very much a part of dictionaries, just like compounds are. As for "old school" it can very easily be boiled down to the general meaning "a venerated tradition within a cultural sphere that has wide-ranging precedence over more recent developments" (or something along those lines). The difference between old school hip-hop and rock is a matter of details relevant to the music genres. The basic meaning, though, has not changed. I'm not saying this is the best example of a term for policy documents, but it's infinitely better than fart or homie, both of which have been AfD:ed and kept.
As for the explanation of yes/no, the argumentation strikes me as being entirely subjective. We're talking about a common interjection pair. You can hardly find more clear cut examples of dictionary definitions, and they are most definetely not about a "single subject". No has a section called "Syntax", which is describing the different semantic and grammatical categorizations of "no", again pure dicdef material. That's just another way of saying that the article covers a combination of letters, rather than a term or specific topic. And just look at the "Advocacy"-section. It doesn't even deal with the word "no" as such, but topics which happen to be partially expressed with the word "no", a wordy "See also"-section at best. Yes has the exact same problem. It's limited to usage info (dictionary information) and doesn't even manage to stick to just "yes", but goes into the synonyms of "yea" and "yeah". As far as I'm concerned, both of these pages are doing readers a disservice. Anyone looking for encyclopedic articles called "yes" (Yes (band) or "no" (Nô (film)) or happen to include these words are served a poor excuse of a Wiktionary duplicate instead of winding up at a disambiguation page.
Peter Isotalo 16:15, 27 September 2008 (UTC)
I just ran across Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Old school and in the light of that I'm less inclined to defend old school, but as an article concept, I still think it's no worse than articles like fart.
Peter Isotalo 16:28, 27 September 2008 (UTC)
I think that fart shares the same problems. However it might be possible to save farts, but IMO it's flatulence. ;-)--- (User) Wolfkeeper (Talk) 16:57, 27 September 2008 (UTC)