Wikipedia talk:What Wikipedia is not/Archive 21

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Archive 20 Archive 21 Archive 22

Wikipedia is not a bureaucracy - but it has Bureaucrats?

How is it possible for official policy to state "Wikipedia is not a bureaucracy" when there are administrators who are called "Bureaucrats" WP:BUR. Not trolling, honestly curious. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Johnelwayrules (talkcontribs) 20:15, 22 September 2008 (UTC)

If I recall correctly the title of the "bureaucrats" is determined by the software and beyond our control, so it's just a name. Also note that Wikimedia is not a stewardship either, but we have Stewards. --erachima talk 21:07, 22 September 2008 (UTC)


WP:CFBSEASON seems to state that since articles on college football seasons does not fall under on of the categories listed at WP:INDISCRIMINATE the policy does not apply. Is this a reasonable interpretation?

Also the policy currently states As explained in the policy introduction, merely being true, or even verifiable, does not automatically make something suitable for inclusion in the encyclopedia.. But the policy introduction does not currently state this. Taemyr (talk) 23:54, 22 September 2008 (UTC)

Their statement is essentially accurate. "Wikipedia is not an indiscriminate collection of information" has two purposes: first, it explains that we as a community reserve the right to rule that certain types of verifiable information are not encyclopedic, and second, it lists the few types of page on which the issue is settled.
The inclusion of how-to/FAQ content, coverage of fictional universes outside of giving context to notable real-world subjects, lyrics, raw data tables, and news reports have all been discussed to the point of exhaustion, and a strong line taken against them. There are other classes of article which have ongoing debate surrounding their suitability for inclusion, but we have not taken a policy stance against them because we have not reached consensus on the matter, and thus they are not included in this policy page. So citing WP:NOT#INDISCRIMINATE as an argument against articles which do not fall into those specific categories is invalid, because the policy does not cover them except in the general "if consensus says this doesn't belong, it doesn't belong" sense. --erachima talk 00:36, 23 September 2008 (UTC)

Off-site hangouts for Wikipedians?

Since Wikipedia is not a forum for casual discussions, I am wondering if there are any other venues (besides the #wikipedia channel) where Wikipedians can hold casual discussions. The only other website I know of is The Wikipedia Review, but that site frequently has technical problems (I always get a 404 error unless I use a proxy) and many Wikipedians don't seem to have a positive image of that site.

If there are any such sites, it may be a good idea to list them under WP:FORUM. I know this isn't necessary, but it would be quite useful for editors who want to take a break from editing to chat with other editors. Wikipedia isn't about editing 24/7/365.25, you know? :) --Ixfd64 (talk) 04:37, 27 September 2008 (UTC)

Lots of people don't have a high opinion of WP:IRC either, actually, though I'm personally fine with it. (Something to do with people being nasty behind others' backs if I recall correctly.) As for how to talk to people offwiki, I'd suggest IMing them. Also, any sort of Wikipedia fansite/forum is unlikely to be listed on this policy page because it would create the impression of official endorsement. --erachima talk 07:01, 27 September 2008 (UTC)

Wikipedia is not a dictionary

This paragraph doesn't align well with the main article. It currently reads:

  1. Dictionary definitions. Although articles should begin with a definition and description of a subject, they should provide other types of information about that subject as well. Articles that contain nothing more than a definition should be expanded with additional encyclopedic content, if possible. In some cases, a word or phrase itself may be an encyclopedic topic, such as Yes or truthiness. Articles about the cultural or mathematical significance of individual numbers are also acceptable.
    For a wiki that is a dictionary, visit our sister project Wiktionary. Dictionary definitions should be transwikied there.

I would like to rewrite it as something like:

  1. Dictionary definitions. Dictionary entries list multiple definitions for the same term, whereas individual encyclopedia articles give only one. In some cases, a word or phrase itself may be an encyclopedic topic, such as Yes or truthiness, particularly where there is only essentially one meaning. Articles about the cultural or mathematical significance of individual numbers are also acceptable.
    For a wiki that is a dictionary, visit our sister project Wiktionary. Dictionary definitions should be transwikied there.
  • Uh, I think the current wording better explains what a dictionary definition article is. It seems like your revised version omits that... which would seem to be a step backwards, as confusion over what a dicdef articles is is why we have so many divided AFDs. --Rividian (talk) 20:40, 27 September 2008 (UTC)
But the definition of a dictionary article is not what we're trying to convey here at all (and I can't see which bit of the current text attempts to do that). What we're trying to convey is the difference between a dictionary entry and an encyclopedia article, and if you actually read WP:NOTADICT you find it's more like the above.- (User) Wolfkeeper (Talk) 21:17, 27 September 2008 (UTC)
I actually think that the AFD problem is a symptom of the current paragraph. It completely fails to describe what the difference is, and everyone keeps saying stuff like 'I think this article is comprehensive enough to be an encyclopedia article.' when on the contrary, if it covers multiple distinct definitions, it's too comprehensive and needs to be divided into individual articles.- (User) Wolfkeeper (Talk) 21:22, 27 September 2008 (UTC)
I mean, read WP:NOTADICT, does it or does it not align with my paragraph above better than the old one?- (User) Wolfkeeper (Talk) 21:22, 27 September 2008 (UTC)
Why must you continually imply I haven't read that page? I find that very off-putting, I said nothing to indicate I hadn't read it. We're talking about WP:NOT here. --Rividian (talk) 22:31, 27 September 2008 (UTC)
We're not really talking about WP:NOT, we're talking about WP:Wikipedia is not a dictionary- I think this is a paragraph that is supposed to be a summary of that. And I certainly don't mean to imply that you've never read it, I'm just saying- maybe you should read it again; I know I had to read it many times to get the full gist.- (User) Wolfkeeper (Talk) 22:43, 27 September 2008 (UTC)
I think if we can get this policy page square with that one, AFDs should be a lot more pleasant and less controversial. Hopefully(!) At the moment, they seem to miss each other.- (User) Wolfkeeper (Talk) 22:43, 27 September 2008 (UTC)
The distinction that "dictionary entries cover multiple definitions but encyclopedia articles only cover one" is overly simplistic. While a page with multiple definitions would almost certainly be a clue that it's more lexical than encyclopedic, a page with only one definition can still be a dictionary entry. I think I understand the distinction that you're trying to make but the wording above will likely add to, not reduce the confusion. Rossami (talk) 19:51, 30 September 2008 (UTC)
But isn't that exactly what my proposal says? And isn't this supposed to be a simplified version of WP:Wikipedia is not a dictionary?- (User) Wolfkeeper (Talk) 20:26, 30 September 2008 (UTC)
Your proposed wording above says that the way to identify a dictionary-like page is through the existence of multiple definitions on the page. The wording strongly implies that it's the only way. It does not address pages like "Cup of joe is a slang term for a cup of coffee" - patently a mere definition but only one possible definition. Rossami (talk) 23:12, 30 September 2008 (UTC)
It doesn't actually say that it is the way to tell. And even if some misunderstood it in that way, it would still be better than the current paragraph. We could rephrase it Dictionary entries can list multiple distinct definitions for the same term, whereas individual encyclopedia articles give only one. or something like that if you prefer.- (User) Wolfkeeper (Talk) 23:49, 30 September 2008 (UTC)
Cup of joe is just another term for cup of coffee, and it should just be merged according to the policy at WP:Wikipedia is not a dictionary. Where's the problem?- (User) Wolfkeeper (Talk) 23:49, 30 September 2008 (UTC)

Example of words beeing encyclopedic topics

While it's good to have an example where there is consensus, I can see little encyclopedic content on yes. So I think Macedonia (terminology) is a better example. Taemyr (talk) 09:49, 28 September 2008 (UTC)

I heartily agree. Neither yes nor its counterpart no are encyclopedic in the least. They are nothing but very common words, and that by itself does not make them relevant enough for a separate Wikipedia article. In my view, the guideline should actively proscribe the creation and upholding of articles about everyday words unless they have actually been written about as a topic in of themselves.
Peter Isotalo 12:29, 28 September 2008 (UTC)
I only look at the evidence and the policies. 3 AFDs say that yes it is encyclopedic. The question about whether it's a 'dicdef' is not the question. The question is whether it is encyclopedic. The answer yes. The reason the answer is yes from an AFD viewpoint is that it survived. The reason the answer is yes from a policy standpoint is that it's a single definition. The dictionary argument only really flies when you have multiple distinct definitions in one article. Or at least that what WP:Wikipedia is not a dictionary says.- (User) Wolfkeeper (Talk) 14:27, 28 September 2008 (UTC)
Macedonia is a very poor example, it's never been tested in AFD and there's multiple definitions of what it means. We need to stick to community consensus examples; and Macedonia has never been tested.- (User) Wolfkeeper (Talk) 14:30, 28 September 2008 (UTC)
Yes has only survived two AfDs, one of which was a speedy keep. The first AfD of yes (word), now a redirect to yes, resulted in deletion. I don't know what the exact contents of that first article was, but I can't imagine that it could be less encyclopedic than the current word-article. The major problem with the one proper AfD that resulted in a keep, however, is that keep-voters presented non sequitur motivations, just like in so many other similar AfDs. The discussion of what dictionary information actually consists of is on the a "oh, yes it is!"-level, and I believe what I'm saying here pretty much echoes your own rightful complaint over at the AfD of old school.[1] The problem is that I think you're judging dicdefs by how cohesive their definition is, and that's not really the issue here.
As for Macedonia, I agree that it could at first glance seem like too disparate, but it has lots of things going for it. For one thing, it deals with a reasonably cohesive topic; the controversial terminology and classification of a geographic region, the boundaries of which have varied throughout history. This is equally true for other regions, like Flanders, or better yet, Kurdistan. For a scholarly parallel, just look at feudalism, a term that is today hotly disputed with many different interpretations from historians (albeit around a core of ideas about a kind of client-patron relationship). Most importantly, however, Macedonia (terminology) is not limited to dictionary information. I have a lot of trouble seeing it ever being deleted in an AfD, whether its still an FA or not.
Peter Isotalo 16:17, 28 September 2008 (UTC)
Unless you're prepared to stick Macedonia up for AFD, your edit is purely speculation. It's never been tested, and I for one do not consider it to be a good example encyclopedic article. It was added with no prior discussion here or anywhere else. Therefore your edit restoring it does not reach consensus. It is not policy that Macedonia is encyclopedic.- (User) Wolfkeeper (Talk) 18:11, 28 September 2008 (UTC)
You're taking this line of argument a bit too far. You can't change major policy documents based on individual AfDs, especially not ones that so obviously go against the wording of guidelines. Yes is a pure dicdef and has been so for the past two years. Macedonia (terminology) may not have been up for AfD, but that doesn't mean you have the right to remove it. The FA status does more than you think to outweigh the fact that it's not been put up for deletion. You're pretty close to starting a revert war in the policy page, and I think it would be best if you waited for consensus instead of making unilateral changes.
Peter Isotalo 05:18, 29 September 2008 (UTC)
Yeah you can change it by AFDs and so forth. That's what Jimmy Wales says; ultimately it's down to consensus.- (User) Wolfkeeper (Talk) 18:31, 29 September 2008 (UTC)
The point is the other way around, Macedonia should never have been added. It's not a consensus, and neither was old school that was added at the same time (that is currently on the ropes in an AFD).- (User) Wolfkeeper (Talk) 18:31, 29 September 2008 (UTC)
The AfD simply concludes that consensus is that the article be kept. It does not indicate that consensus is that the article in it's current state is encyclopedic. I am fairly certain that consensus would indicate that Yes in it's current state is not encyclopedic. In comparison, the FA status does indicate that the article is encyclopedic. From Wikipedia:Featured article criteria; A featured article exemplifies our very best work and features professional standards of writing and presentation. In addition to meeting the requirements for all Wikipedia articles, Taemyr (talk) 21:14, 29 September 2008 (UTC)
If you think yes isn't an encyclopedia article, please AFD it. I don't think you're right at all, but that would be for the review to decide, and it's already been kept twice.- (User) Wolfkeeper (Talk) 18:13, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
There is a difference between an article not being encyclopedic, and the impossibility of writing an encyclopedic article on a subject. Only the latter is grounds for deletion. Taemyr (talk) 08:57, 3 October 2008 (UTC)
The thing is that all articles define at least one term- the meaning of the article name. Where dictionaries and encyclopedia articles definitely have parted company is when there's more than one distinct definition of the term in the same article. That's not the case for 'yes'.- (User) Wolfkeeper (Talk) 14:27, 3 October 2008 (UTC)

Macedonia (terminology) has been nominated for a featured article review. Articles are typically reviewed for two weeks. Please leave your comments and help us to return the article to featured quality. If concerns are not addressed during the review period, articles are moved onto the Featured Article Removal Candidates list for a further period, where editors may declare "Keep" or "Remove" the article from featured status. The instructions for the review process are here. Reviewers' concerns are here.

Clarifications or Changes needed for WP:NOTHOWTO

I was looking at the article on Nodal analysis, a technique used to analyze electrical circuits. It's tagged as being a How-To, but why shouldn't it be a How-To? The article's subject matter itself is the How-To! How can you describe a systematic set of instructions for completing a task in any way other than How-To format? I'd like to suggest that the What Wikipedia Is Not policy be updated with an exception for articles with subjects which are themselves How-Tos.Ziiv (talk) 10:40, 29 September 2008 (UTC)

An article about a manual does not need to repeat the exact procedure of that manual, especially not in a point-by-point basis. The method should be summarized, not described in exact detail. To give an parallel: if you write an article about a book, you don't cite the entire book, but attempt to summarize it as concisely as possible.
Peter Isotalo 12:02, 29 September 2008 (UTC)
looking at it, although the style it is written in seems like a set of directions, there are many technical topics which are almost impossible to present clearly any other way. It could be improved by changing the style: e.g. ,instead of "Label all the nodes" write "First, all the nodes are assigned labels" its clumsier, but it sounds more like an encyclopedia. DGG (talk) 19:17, 29 September 2008 (UTC)


Isn't the primary difference between a dictionary and an encyclopedia synonyms?- (User) Wolfkeeper (Talk) 04:06, 3 October 2008 (UTC)

In a dictionary, synonyms go in completely different parts of the dictionary, for example, baby and infant; whereas in an encyclopedia, they're the same article.- (User) Wolfkeeper (Talk) 04:06, 3 October 2008 (UTC)

That's a difference and a very useful way to explain the general principle but I would not necessarily call it a definitive difference. A word can have no synonyms but still have a dictionary definition. Rossami (talk) 15:53, 3 October 2008 (UTC)
Well, are you claiming that words with no synonyms are not encyclopedic? Can you give an example? Plenty of words have both a dictionary definition as well as an encyclopedic article, without any problems at all. There is clearly a large overlap between a dictionary term and an encyclopedic term.- (User) Wolfkeeper (Talk) 16:59, 3 October 2008 (UTC)
No, I'm saying the opposite - that a dictionary definition might have zero synonyms but still merely be a dictionary definition. The existence or non-existence of synonyms is not a good 'bright-line' rule for sorting between dictionary definitions and encyclopedia articles.
Encyclopedia articles are about topics (primarily nouns) and discuss the topic, its social implications, historical impact, etc. in some depth. And yes where there are multiple names for the same topic, they should redirect to the same page. Lexical content, on the other hand, is about the word itself and focuses on meaning, usage examples, etymology, etc. Rossami (talk) 18:40, 3 October 2008 (UTC)
I mostly agree, but not on one point. If there are multiple distinct definitions of the article name in the article, then that's a dictionary entry, not an encyclopedia entry. That's a sufficient condition. I'm not right now claiming that it's a necessary condition that all articles that do not have multiple definitions are encyclopedic (but having said that, I don't know of any generally agreed counterexample right now either, but I agree that there may be some).- (User) Wolfkeeper (Talk) 19:04, 3 October 2008 (UTC)
We are agreeing after all. Now how can we explain that in real-people language instead of in math?
Something along the lines of You might be writing a dictionary definition if...
Rossami (talk) 19:23, 3 October 2008 (UTC)
A single definition is not encyclopedic or dictionary-like; most definitions slot just fine into either. It's more like You are almost certainly writing a dictionary entry if you have two or more non-synonymous definitions of the title.- (User) Wolfkeeper (Talk) 21:13, 3 October 2008 (UTC)
I have trouble with the separation of "dictionary defintion" and "dictionary entry" that was introduced to the policy just a few days ago. A definition is an integral part of an entry and should be not be separated. There are plenty of wiktionary entries which are basically nothing but a definition.
Peter Isotalo 06:30, 4 October 2008 (UTC)
Peter, in principle you can take a dictionary and reformat it, putting all the synonyms together and separating out the different definitions into different articles, and you'd really end up with an encyclopedia (although not necessarily a good one!) They're not necessarily different in content, mostly where you put things, some of the articles/entries can be word-for-word the same.- (User) Wolfkeeper (Talk) 15:47, 4 October 2008 (UTC)
Dictionary information formatted to look encyclopedic is still just dictionary information. It's not much different from organizing Thirty Years' War into a giant bullet list and calling it a dictionary entry.
Peter Isotalo 16:54, 4 October 2008 (UTC)
Nah, that doesn't work. You're probably only familiar with the normal, short dictionaries that mostly contain usage information of English terms. A full dictionary has pictures and all manner of things, proper nouns, biographies etc. etc. They look quite encyclopedic, but they're still dictionaries because of the way the information is laid out. The wiktionary isn't a full dictionary for example, it's hanging on the coat tails of the wikipedia too much and is scoped accordingly.- (User) Wolfkeeper (Talk) 20:32, 4 October 2008 (UTC)
That last statement is pretty arrogant. Dictionaries may be less voluminous than encyclopedias, but that's natural, since they deal with information that is usually more compact. The scope is somewhat narrower, but that doesn't make them less worthy as reference material. What you're claiming has nothing to do with how Wiktionary is intended to work. Its potential is vastly understated by almost all Wikipedians, and I'm not the first to point it out. Virtually none of the people who protest loudly about deletion of word articles lift a finger to improve the corresponding Wiktionary entries, even when it requires no more but minor changes in prose and some reformatting. Most of them time, they don't even understand that the information is already present simply because they haven't bothered to read the entries properly. I don't know where the idea of a "full dictionary" comes from, but to me it simply sounds like an encyclopedia, as though this format was the only relevant format for presenting information.
Peter Isotalo 11:03, 9 October 2008 (UTC)
So, you're arguing that dictionaries are less voluminous, because they are more compact? ;-)- (User) Wolfkeeper (Talk) 15:32, 9 October 2008 (UTC)
Wiktionary doesn't have many proper nouns in it. It only has proper nouns used as adjectives.- (User) Wolfkeeper (Talk) 15:32, 9 October 2008 (UTC)
More comprehensive dictionaries are rarer because they are harder to extract information from- you have to jump around a lot from word to word, whereas encyclopedias collect the information by topics. As the policy says, dictionaries and encyclopedias do not differ simply in length.- (User) Wolfkeeper (Talk) 15:32, 9 October 2008 (UTC)
The way the work is laid out is only one criterion--traditionally a dictionary is arranged in a more schematic fashion. If an etymology is presented in a dictionary, it gives the information, with a minimum of discussion; an article in an encyclopedia gives a treatment of the same material in sentences, with an explanation, in prose, not outline. But this is to some extent an obsolete and incomplete distinction. We could organize our Wikipedia so the information would be presented in outline, given the proper xml; we could organize wikitionary, to combine the material into sentence and paragraphs. We could have a combination, with the wikitionary information being the first paragraph. And in print even, there were all possible versions and combinations that the media permitted--the only thing they could not do, was an arrangement giving the reader the opportunity to alter the arrangement or to choose one of a multiple of arrangements. xml can do exactly this, though we have not yet made use of the opportunity. We could even with html let the reader hide or show infoboxes, or have a switch that would choose a paragraph or outline presentation, or--very easily--display only lede paragraphs of articles. The reason we follow the conventional arrangement is because we're a web 1.0 production, and at this early stage we want the work to look' like a conventional encyclopedia (or dictionary), as the readers have been accustomed to seeing. And almost all web reference works from commercial or non commercial sources have made a similar choice--to look conventional. That's because we are judged and internally judge by those standards. I think it time we grew up, and grew out of it.
There is the other basic reason, of trying to have a consistent depth of information. This is more plausible in a top-down edited work, where there is editorial control. In a work like ours, where nobody can force an article to have depth, we have the unfortunate choice for any particular subject of permitting an incomplete account that is less than desired, or none at all. we try to say that if there can never be a complete article, then it doesn't belong here, but that is artificial also. There's almost nothing, that if someone wanted to expand upon, that could not be made encyclopedic--that could not, even be used as a theme for a book-length discussion. We can & do limit this by requiring that it be expandable on the basis of existing secondary sources, but we have no way of comprehensively searching for such, and a suitably diligent person could find a great deal more to say that we do say on almost any subject represented here, and many that are rejected because nobody will work on them. And there's an assurance that more will be forthcoming--in the course of just our 7 year history to date Google Books has greatly expanded the easily available material on a great many subjects; G News Archive promises to digitize free any newspaper the publisher will let it, and a similar expansion there will probable force a revaluation of our practice on local topics.
Most words if discussed fully even as a word could probably be made the basis of an full article. All one need do is follow the ramifications of the etymology and the uses. All words have a history that can be discussed in more depth than a tradition etymology. DGG (talk) 23:01, 5 October 2008 (UTC)
I agree that that is possible. However, I think as wiktionary improves, the desire to do that will lessen, and articles dealing with a single term, rather than a topic will probably eventually all be moved over to wiktionary, without any loss of material occurring.- (User) Wolfkeeper (Talk) 15:32, 9 October 2008 (UTC)

Welcoming comments

I've put together a short essay at Wikipedia:Discriminate vs indiscriminate information as a response to the arguments at WP:IINFO. I would appreaciate any comment and/or feedback on that essay's talk page.--Paul McDonald (talk) 02:47, 10 October 2008 (UTC)

WP:NOTDIR w.r.t. newspapers

WP:NOTDIR was recently cited at Template talk:Infobox Newspaper as a reason for not citing the newsstand price of newspapers. To be more specific, the policy statement supposedly being violated is the following:

Wikipedia articles are not: 4. Sales catalogs, therefore product prices should not be quoted in an article unless they can be sourced and there is a justified reason for their mention....[examples of exceptions omitted]....[S]treet prices are trivia that can vary widely from place to place and over time. Therefore, lists of products currently on sale should not quote street prices. In addition, Wikipedia is not a price guide to be used to compare the prices of competing products, or the prices of a single product across different countries or regions.

I contend that no one "shops" for newspapers in a sales catalog like they shop for books or DVDs at and other websites. People either subscribe, or they pick them up at newstands or self-serve vending machines; in either case, the price paid is non-negotiable. Although newspapers are sold on the street, they have no "street price" as is mentioned in the policy (look up the meaning of "street price" if you're not familiar with the term). The newstand price just another attribute found on the newspaper's front page, like its nameplate, slogan, or its hometown. The price is fixed, it is not a suggested retail price like those for automobiles or the rack rates of hotel rooms. Therefore "Wikipedia articles are not sales catalogs" is not applicable.

So can anyone make a case for why "Wikipedia articles are not sales catalogs" applies to newspapers? (talk) 01:36, 10 October 2008 (UTC).

I disagree with your premises. Newspaper prices do vary and are negotiable in certain cultures or points in history. The "fixed price" on the front page is no more fixed that the suggested retail price that comes printed on the packaging of the bag of candy in the grocery story. Prices also change over time and become rather rapidly stale. But most importantly, the price of a newspaper, like the price of any other product, is trivia - irrelevant to the encyclopedia reader's understanding of the topic. Rossami (talk) 14:16, 10 October 2008 (UTC)
Responding to your points in reverse order:
  1. Your latter and "most important" point is a separate issue that needs to be discussed at Template talk:Infobox Newspaper, not here.
  2. If "Becoming rather rapidly stale" might be relevant here if that were some other part of Wikipedia:What Wikipedia is not besides the sales catalog aspect, but that's not part of that policy (think of the pop culture detail that gets covered here, for example).
  3. "Prices also change over time" is explicitly part of the section of the policy I quoted above but it only applies if a catalog item has a "street price" which newspapers do not (at least in some cases--see below).
  4. I agree that a "bag of candy in the grocery store" and a newspaper both have prices, but that's the limit of the analogy. Newspapers don't have suggested retail prices, stores that discount products similar to newspapers such as magazines don't discount newspapers. As I said before, the price is non-negotiable. In the U.S. for example, there's a history of court cases about the legitimacy of this pricing approach (e.g. United States v. Colgate & Co.)
  5. "negotiable in certain cultures or points in history": I think "not a sales catalog" targets the present-day, not points in history. Your "certain cultures" argument could be tested online at Newseum's website here but at first glance I found plenty of cases where the nameplate is accompanied by a price. So even if you could cite a decent-sized culture where the price of a particular day's newspaper from a particular publisher varies, I would claim there are enough places, particularly cities and town's with only one daily newspaper, to make WP:NOTDIR inapplicable to newspapers. Furthermore, we're talking about an optional field, so WP:NOTDIR would have to apply to all uses of the newspaper infobox to warrant its removal on the basis of WP:NOTDIR.
In summary, while you didn't cite a reason for WP:NOTDIR to apply, you did bring up some points that could be discussed at Template talk:Infobox Newspaper after price is re-established as an optional field. Thanks. (talk) 21:03, 10 October 2008 (UTC).

Applying the policy to a single number in an article seems legitimate and, at the same time, a useless exercise in wikilawyering. Lots of buzz, little sense to end reader. What I would be concernes with: is it possible to provide a comprehensive roundup on the pricing issue and keep it up to date? Obviously, listing prices of, say, The Wall Street Journal in, say, thirty countries is unrealistic; updating them as they change is beyond imagination. It makes sense only for regional editions that are sold within the same price zone. How much sense? beats me, but it definitely won't hurt anyone. NVO (talk) 16:10, 15 October 2008 (UTC)

Wikipedia is not a local guide

Parallel to the paragraph on Wikipedia not being a travel guide, I'd like to see something that says it isn't a guide to local services, facilities, etc. It bugs me to see an article on a neighborhood in some city that devotes space to saying, "On Park Drive there's an Uno's Pizza and a Chevy's Mexican Cafe. On Simpson Street is the Simpson Commons Mall, with a Macy's and a Barnes and Noble." And then there are the extension articles, like one on the Simpson Commons Mall that says, "Simpson Commons Mall is on Simpson Street in Banakitchee, Pyorrhea. It has a Macy's and a Barnes and Noble, and it has the first Snips and Snaps west of the Mississippi." These are the kinds of mundane things common to every urban and suburban area in the developed world. Not every one of them is worthy of an article. —Largo Plazo (talk) 23:32, 10 October 2008 (UTC)

  • Why? Isn't it encyclopedia? Which city would you prefer to delete first? NVO (talk) 15:57, 15 October 2008 (UTC)


See WP:Update for the September changes to all the Category:Wikipedia content policies pages (including this one) and also the most generally-used style guidelines (called, unsurprisingly, Category:General style guidelines). If anyone wants to take on the job of updating monthly content policy at WP:Update, please reply at WT:Update. Obviously, since this page is in WP-space, anyone can make any edit at any time, but it would be nice to get a core of "regular" updaters. - Dan Dank55 (send/receive) 18:06, 16 October 2008 (UTC)

Not a directory taken to excess

While WP is not a directory, I feel that edits like this are taking the matter too far. Comments? Andy Mabbett (User:Pigsonthewing); Andy's talk; Andy's edits 10:36, 18 October 2008 (UTC)

That's a completely reasonable deletion of directory-type information. A list of locations of a nationwide chain (particularly when one can find the list from the company's official website) is not necessary; what is acceptable is the general geographic area the story serves ("Hudson's serves primarily the Midwest and New England regions..."). --MASEM 12:07, 18 October 2008 (UTC)
I concur. That looks like an entirely reasonable edit to me. Rossami (talk) 13:29, 18 October 2008 (UTC)
In case it makes a difference, the list in question is of defunct stores, not current ones, does include non-directory information (when they were opened and, where relevant, when they were demolished or who took them over), and in this case (as I assume Masem would have been speaking generally) there is no company site, as the company is defunct. So while it is probably an ok edit, I can see a good argument for keeping it, too. :) - Bilby (talk) 13:44, 18 October 2008 (UTC)
However, these lists, besides not being a directory, also contain unverifiable original research, and are therefore also being removed under WP:V and WP:OR. SchuminWeb (Talk) 14:46, 18 October 2008 (UTC)
You don't believe that any newspaper ever mentions that, in this case, an anchor store has opened/closed or exists in a given mall or shopping center? I'm not understanding how this stuff would be unverifiable... newspapers often report on this sort of stuff. --Rividian (talk) 20:53, 18 October 2008 (UTC)

The funny thing is, actual, print encyclopedias often will dump a "directory" list into an otherwise prose article, if it's information that would be interesting to people reading that article. In this case, a defunct store, people are reading the article are generally wanting to learn its history, and part of that was its locations. I'm not sure how removing the directory actually improved the article for readers... it seems more about just following the letter of policy. So I ask this: how does a reader, interested in the history of this chain, get more out of reading the article now that the former locations list is gone? --Rividian (talk) 21:39, 18 October 2008 (UTC)

It's not easy where to draw the line. The information is not "unverifiable" for reasons already mentioned above. Part of the issue is sometimes these lists get a bit "splindly" and become larger than the article itself. Squidfryerchef (talk) 01:37, 19 October 2008 (UTC)
I understand that directory-style information can sometimes become problematic... but in this specific case, it seems like applying the letter of the law left us with a poorer article. I'm not really seeing how the reader would think the new version of the article is better or more informative... it just arguably follows policy more closely now. --Rividian (talk) 02:55, 19 October 2008 (UTC)

It seems that the big fundamental question here is, what makes a list of locations for a defunct chain any more notable than a list of locations for an operating chain? We could get sources for the opening and closings of most locations of chains still operating, just like we could for defunct ones. For example, usually, when Wal-Mart comes to a town, it more often than not gets newspaper coverage. Would we list all 3000-some Wal-Mart locations in the Wal-Mart article? No. That's what we need to work through - does the fact that the parent company went out of business make the individual locations any more notable than stores of an operating company? I say no. SchuminWeb (Talk) 05:46, 19 October 2008 (UTC)

← I don't get it. Can anyone draw the line between unacceptable directory and a featured list? What (other than the fans' energy) makes a directory like List of Chicago Landmarks impervious to deletionists? What makes it different from the deleted entry discussed immediately above? NVO (talk) 19:28, 18 October 2008 (UTC)

The difference between the list of Chicago landmarks and the list of Hudson's stores are twofold (to me):
  • The former is a well defined, well references list - there is a specific criteria for the landmark to be listed as the article explains. A list of defunct Hudson stories would have qualify if locations had moved, closed down earlier, etc - there's no strong reasoning for why one would include one store over another, and unless it can be referenced, it's pretty much out in the open in terms of sourcing.
  • The encyclopedic value of the information: specifically the scholarship of the lists, is very different. The list of Chicago landmarks has several scholarly applications: the Hudson's list not so much. --MASEM 03:19, 19 October 2008 (UTC)
The former has no references beyond links to the official landmark registers. No indication of any scholarly research (and no prospects of such research appearing in the foreseeable future. Some survivors of the great fire are covered in history books, some in engineering sources, but which branch of science dared to study Café Brauer? The point is, scholarly value of at least half of listed properties in Chicago (or elsewhere) is just as great as that of the deleted store directory. They are points of local interest, nothing more. NVO (talk) 17:36, 20 October 2008 (UTC)
In the case of the example you cited, List of Chicago landmarks, the information is highly verifiable. Everything is highly sourced. These location lists are less so. SchuminWeb (Talk) 15:B01, 19 October 2008 (UTC)
Is it some kind of joke? Most of the links from Chicago list are to the official registers of ... yes, Chicago landmarks. No independent references. A list quoting another list. Not that the source is irrelevant, but isn't it circular reference? NVO (talk) 17:36, 20 October 2008 (UTC)

These edits are ravaging the articles that attempt to provide the history of businesses that in many cases were the central feature of a small-town business district for decades, then abruptly disappeared due to a merger. Histories of these businesses are not readily available on the Internet, but they are important. I would hope that stubby articles, including lists of locations, will be the seed for more thorough articles based on sources such as local newspaper archives.
Based on the edit you made to Miller's of Tennessee, I concluded that your objection was not to unsourced content but rather to embedded lists. In that article, you left unsourced historical content in paragraph form, but removed sourced (as well as unsourced) content in list form. (I rewrote it in paragraph form, but I don't have time to do that for every store where you removed lists.) Please don't trash content from good-faith contributors who aren't comfortable with writing paragraphs. --Orlady (talk) 15:14, 19 October 2008 (UTC)

The reworking of Miller's of Tennessee is , to me, a better way (though not perfect) to describe locations of a chain business: the first and likely second stores are going to have some history, but when it starts expanding beyond that, it can run into a list of locations. Knowing where exactly (e.g. malls) branch locations are is not really helpful, though saying that a store had branch locations in several cities, including "x, y, and z" helps. --MASEM 15:33, 19 October 2008 (UTC)
I would agree - flagship stores for a company are likely notable in the context of the company. However, numerous smaller mall anchor locations are not. SchuminWeb (Talk) 17:29, 19 October 2008 (UTC)

Wikipedia is not a collection of inappropriate clean-up tags

See Solar Energy Generating Systems: There is a tag there stating that Wikipedia is not a collection of images. Of course it could well be said that Wikipedia is not a random collection of superfluous visual information any more than any other kind of info, but what is more inappropriate in this case? The tag or the picture it urges to 'clean up'? These pictures are more pertinent to the story of Solar Energy Generating Systems than the rather large diagrams that seem to have taken precedence over them...

I think there is really a need for cleaning up tags more than there is a need to deprive the reader of relevant visual information just because there is not enough text to embed it in.

Jcwf (talk) 21:53, 19 October 2008 (UTC) Oh, just to be clear: I was a reader of this article and had nothing to do with its creation

I removed the tag and the image gallery. There's a link to a much larger image gallery at Wikipedia Commons, containing all of the images in this article. --Orlady (talk) 22:40, 19 October 2008 (UTC)
Why did you remove the perfectly good images? Are readers to be 'protected' from getting too much useful information? Is that encyclopedic? This is really insane. Jcwf (talk) 23:05, 19 October 2008 (UTC)
As I see it, no images were "removed", but rather, they were relocated to more appropriate places. Too many images in an article makes it appear cluttered, and galleries really have no place in Wikipedia. That's what Commons is for. The link to Commons serves the purpose of displaying large quantities of images quite admirably. SchuminWeb (Talk) 23:56, 19 October 2008 (UTC)
  • I agree that Wikipedia should not present its editorial notes and tags as prominent and primary content. They are not appropriate at the head of article pages as they distract the reader from the actual content and try to persuade him to become an editor rather than a reader. In a proper encyclopedic work, editorial notes are put into separate sections such as prefaces or are sparingly used as inconspicuous footnotes. Framed as a NOT, we might say

Wikipedia is not a working document.

Wikipedia articles are already used daily by millions of readers as a source of information. While they are constantly open to improvement, they should be presented as if they were the final version. Content which is not intended for final consumption such as:

  • editorial comments, criticisms, debates and suggestions;
  • links and lists of raw data and sources;
  • project affiliations and assesssments;
  • other working notes

should not appear in the article but should be placed upon the corresponding discussion page. If inline annotations, such as a citation tag, seem essential, they should be used sparingly and with an inconspicuous format.

Colonel Warden (talk) 09:12, 26 October 2008 (UTC)

The only problem I see with this approach (an approach I can stand behind, mind you), is that there are editors that feel that we should be encouraging readers to become editors when articles need to be "completed". There was a recent debate, umm, somewhere on the use of the "Missing photo" images for biographies, and a similar one for missing coordinates for the Geolocation project. Both ended in the general agreement that having tags that encourage the end user to help are more important than the separation of the workings of WP from the casual user. There feels like there's a compromise position here somewhere (we should not get pre-lead tag crazy, for example, but specific section tags and use of {{fact}} and similar tags should be kept to a minimum seems like a middle ground). --MASEM 09:19, 26 October 2008 (UTC)

"not a publisher of original thought" - Logical conclusions?

This is a "common sense" and "logic" issue and I am not sure where it really fits in. Here is a scenario:

  • A verifiable citation states a date of birth.
  • A verifiable citation states an age
  • A verifiable citation states an amount of years

So now an Editor wants to combine those into an article. So they might put down:

  • The subject was born on mmddyyyy and in yyyy, when the subject was xx years old, they started doing something that continued until yyyy.

In this case the "uncited" statements would be the years, other than the year of birth. However to me it is logic that can be verified by simply reading the citations. "Doing the math" seems logical however it seems like doing this is a violation of policy - namely that by "doing the math" it is a violation of "Wikipedia is not a place to publish your own thoughts and analyses or to publish new information not previously published". The No original research policy also states: "Editors should not make the mistake of thinking that if A is published by a reliable source, and B is published by a reliable source, then A and B can be joined together in an article to come to the conclusion C. This would be synthesis of published material which advances a position, which constitutes original research. "A and B, therefore C" is acceptable only if a reliable source has published this argument in relation to the topic of the article."

My question is about common sense and logic. Should either ever enter into an article or should all articles only include wording to reflect the verifiable facts as they were worded? (Policy states: "Best practice is to write Wikipedia articles by taking information from different reliable sources about a subject and putting those claims in our own words on an article page, with each claim attributable to a source that explicitly makes that claim") Soundvisions1 (talk) 18:57, 21 October 2008 (UTC)

I don't think this applies to a lot of mathematical synthesis. It does apply in biochemistry, where many variables are to impede logical deduction and induction. It also applies to Physical sciences. By the same token, math is an art, and an art is in communicating it, so if someone challenges a conclusion, then you should be able to deliver a proof. BrewJay (talk) 07:53, 22 October 2008 (UTC)
You are taking the point to extreme; trivial calculation is quite far from "synthesis" and nowhere near "research". Your example may contain an error of plus-minus one year (30 or 31 years old? cannot say exactly when only one date is known precisely). Avoid such calculations for this reason alone, there is no need to invoke NOR. NVO (talk) 08:41, 26 October 2008 (UTC)

Not censored versus not anarchy

I am about to make a WP:BOLD edit to the anarchy section to emphasize that our primary mission of building an encyclopedia and promoting free content may prevail over free expression of ideas where there is a conflict. My concern is that many people whose edits are reverted or discussions closed or redacted as OR, FRINGE, RS, NOTFORUM, POV, perrenial proposals, against consensus, etc., cry censorship. It would be useful to have something more solid we can point to when explaining that no, we are not censoring your idea because it is unpopular, we are simply providing for the orderly construction of an encyclopedia. Please feel free to comment, trim, etc., or point me to a better place or a past discussion if this is all old hat. I am fairly new to this page. Thanks, Wikidemon (talk) 19:06, 21 October 2008 (UTC)

Actually, after reading the section again I sees it already covers this quite well. I just need to point people to it when they complain. I did create a new policy shortcut, NOTFREESPEECH, in hopes of making it clearer. Wikidemon (talk) 19:11, 21 October 2008 (UTC)
Stop Any edit to this page should reflect consensus. Please do not make any edits to the policy until there has been time to discuss. Soundvisions1 (talk) 19:15, 21 October 2008 (UTC)
No - that's not how consensus works on policy pages. However, I'm an old hand and recognize that boldness has a much lower threshold on policy pages, and for the most part policy pages are descriptive rather than prescriptive.Wikidemon (talk) 19:18, 21 October 2008 (UTC)
Soundvisions1 is correct - any change to this page that is not purely maintenance-related needs to be brought to a consensus on this talk page first. Back in 2002 one could just jump right in here and be bold (I sure did) but those days are over. --mav (talk) 02:14, 22 October 2008 (UTC)
I'll edit how I please. Sorry if I raised anyone's hackles but everyone is eligible to edit meta-pages. I assume you all are on a hair trigger for disruptive edits like we all are across the project. But that's no reason for mindless WP:BITE-y templating of the regulars - on a talk page for goodness sakes. In the past year or so I've made plenty of useful edits to WP:BLP, WP:RS, WP:EL, WP:NFCC, WP:CFD, among others. If you want to be helpful it's often better simply to do it. Here I did just what a careful editor should. I justified my edits before making them, took a good look around, tried to encapsulate the overwhelming consensus of Wikipedia on a policy matter, and in this case concluded that the policy page already describes consensus well so no edit was needed. If the page were out of step with consensus I would have edited accordingly, and if I find so in the future I will not hesitate to edit it before, while, or after discussing the matter on the talk page. You don't like it, revert me or take me to AN/I or arbitration. Wikidemon (talk) 06:49, 22 October 2008 (UTC)
In the short term you can do just that and the only consequence is that you will get reverted (as was done here). But a pattern of such behavior will get you in trouble. That is why it is necessary to seek consensus first before making edits that are a departure from current practice or policy. If you are unsure, then ask on the relevant talk page (as you did). But please don't ignore the feedback. --mav (talk) 03:21, 24 October 2008 (UTC)

Wikipedia is not a Movie, Book or TV Guide

I propose that the section WP:NOT#GUIDE be amended such that it is explicitly stated that Wikipedia is not a Movie, Book or TV Guide. There is already a prohibition on articles & lists comprised only of guides WP:NOT#GUIDE and plot summary in WP:NOT#PLOT, so now is the time to make it explicit that media listings that do not contain analysis, context or criticism are unencyclopedic, and fall outside the scope of Wikipedia. The amendment would read as follows:

Wikipedia is not a Movie, Book or TV Guide. Articles and lists of movies, books or television titles should be treated in an encyclopedic manner, not simply as a record of everything that has ever been distributed or broadcast in the media. Such articles and lists should provide analysis, context or criticism, regarding the reception, impact and development of notable works (see also Wikipedia:Manual of Style (writing about fiction)).

The reasons for this proposed ammendment are two fold:

  • Firstly Wikipedia is not a record of everything under the sun; a topic or group of topics need to broadly demonstrate some sort of notability for inclusion within Wikipedia mainspace as an article or list;
  • Secondly there should be some precaution taken against spam to explicitly prevent the listing non-notable movies, books or TV series/episodes by film distributers, book publishers and broadcasters, who have a strong incentive to list all of their products on Wikipedia together with flap or DVD cover type summaries of their content.

To some extent there is already a large but random body of movies, books and TV series/episodes being listed on Wikipedia which do not demonstrate notability or contain any encyclopedic content. For instance there are extensive lists of television episodes that duplicate TV guides and listings published in the press and internet sites such as There are also many publishers whose works are listed, relisted and listed again under different covers, such as Penguin Classics, Penguin Great Ideas, Penguin Celebrations, which are little more that a duplication of the their back catalogue.

The justification for such articles and lists being created is that although they do not offer any encyclopedic content, there is no explicit prohibition. I cannot see the value of such lists even if is no limit to the quantity of random stuff that can be added to Wikipedia. I think we should make it explicit that such listings on their own are not encyclopedic, since they offer no real-world context. --Gavin Collins (talk) 09:30, 14 October 2008 (UTC)

There is indeed encyclopedic content. The issue is that there are editors who seem to have an opinion on what they consider to be "trivia". Consider that everything in an encyclopedia is trivia.
So it all seems to come down to subjective preference for inclusion.
Strong oppose. - jc37 09:48, 14 October 2008 (UTC)
Strong Oppose: Per jc37. - NeutralHomerTalk • October 14, 2008 @ 10:29
Oppose Good lists of episodes are encyclopedic. They are sourced, offer real world context (viewing figures, airdates). They do not simply duplicate TV listings. Of course, the younger, less developed ones might, but you could say the same about non-popular culture articles. The Wikipedia philosophy is supposed to be openness, accessibility. Narrowing the goal posts is going to piss people off, which will harm the project. The JPStalk to me 10:35, 14 October 2008 (UTC)
Strong oppose per Jc37 and the JPS. I've personally learned a lot from articles like the ones you're trying to ban and I know others have too. Abyssal (talk) 10:38, 14 October 2008 (UTC)
Strong support with one exception. I get the feeling that the opposers read the title, but not the content. Requiring all articles about fiction to contain some analysis is eminently reasonable. Requiring it of lists is probably unrealistic. I can see the argument, but you might as well tie a cannonball to the legs of this pigeon.—Kww(talk) 11:54, 14 October 2008 (UTC)
Oppose not only for the reasons above, but also for the fact that claiming that articles that lack analysis or critical commentary should not be on WP. There are articles that are just facts (most of our geography ones), and to apply a higher standard to these media articles to any other type of article is inappropriate (we already ahve WP:NOT#PLOT to provide some guidance on how these go) Furthermore, since some individual episodes, books, etc are notable, there is no reason why we cannot at least mention briefly (but not giving them their own article) all the other ones. --MASEM 11:57, 14 October 2008 (UTC)
Comment. WP:NOT#PLOT seems to be concerned with written fiction. But there is already a guideline, WP:EPISODE, that fully addresses this.—Largo Plazo (talk) 12:07, 14 October 2008 (UTC)
Oppose. It's useful to have such lists as indexes to shows and episodes. Even paper encyclopedias have indexes. Squidfryerchef (talk) 12:47, 14 October 2008 (UTC)
Strong support with Kww's exception - This is the kind of chaff that makes us a laughingstock (along with American sports über-trivia); although book catalogs are the least of the problem. Why should we host multi-paragraph guides to the details of every episode of Frasier or SpongeBob Squarepants ever broadcast? --Orange Mike | Talk 14:00, 14 October 2008 (UTC)
Why not? Why should we pander to a particular cultural judgment? Indeed, isn't that subjectivity dissuaded on Wikipedia. The truth is that, for many, Wikipedia itself and its editors are laughingstocks. The same people who would criticise the articles you mention would also laugh at us for wasting our lives having this type of discussion. The JPStalk to me 18:27, 14 October 2008 (UTC)
How is "the use of a separate article for each and every episode of each and every program that has ever been on television is a waste of space" a cultural judgment? As is made abundantly clear in the policies and guidelines, the community's efforts to keep Wikipedia a useful and practical resource and not an archive that is unaffordable and unmaintainable and/or a duplicate minute details that are already available elsewhere are not "the subjectivity dissuaded on Wikipedia". (Why would people who would criticize the kinds of articles we're talking about [of which most of us in this discussion are a subset] laugh at people having a discussion to keep out these kinds of articles?) —Largo Plazo (talk) 18:46, 14 October 2008 (UTC)
Sorry, I was referring to people outside of the project. This whole thing stinks of a right-wing elitist agenda and I'm disgusted that a democratic project is being contaminated by this cultural prejudice. The JPStalk to me 19:06, 14 October 2008 (UTC)
Right-wing? My various friends, comrades and fellow workers would be stunned to hear it! --Orange Mike | Talk 19:20, 14 October 2008 (UTC)
Hehe. Well, yeah, from a socio-cultural perspective.... The JPStalk to me 20:17, 14 October 2008 (UTC)
Likewise. (Well, with respect to the "friends being surprised" part, ignoring the articles you chose to hyperlink to.) Can we please skip the tactic of branding everything we disagree with as relating to the side of the political spectrum opposite to the one with which we identify?—Largo Plazo (talk) 20:57, 14 October 2008 (UTC)
Oppose. Yes, I read the title, and I vote against the title and the content and the new round of burning the books that will follow. There's more than enough censorship already. NVO (talk) 18:55, 14 October 2008 (UTC)
A couple of you seem to be confusing censorship (restriction of contributions according to opinion expressed) with keeping order. Not allowing people to stand up in a movie theater and deliver a speech during the main feature isn't censorship.—Largo Plazo (talk) 20:57, 14 October 2008 (UTC)
Oppose Seeing how often I use episode lists for legitimate non-fan research reasons, I strongly oppose this. Even de.wikipedia, which has a very strong anti-cruft stand against fiction, allows Lists of episodes, so disallowing them on en.wikipedia is simply overkill. – sgeureka tc 20:27, 14 October 2008 (UTC)
Is everyone overlooking where I pointed out that the guidelines whose supposed creation is being discussed already exist at WP:EPISODE, so this discussion is moot?—Largo Plazo (talk) 20:58, 14 October 2008 (UTC)
This would be policy if it got consensus, not guideline, so it would have sharper teeth.—Kww(talk) 21:20, 14 October 2008 (UTC)
AFAIK all the Notability articles are guidelines, so WP:EPISODE is as strong as any of them.—Largo Plazo (talk) 21:39, 14 October 2008 (UTC)
Yes, but KWW is saying that the issue here is that WP:NOT is a policy, so this discussion is policy-level, not guideline level (as with the notability guidelines) and thus will have more impact than WP:EPISODE could. Indeed, it could override WP:EPISODE, should it have stronger outcomes. This is unlikely, though. - Bilby (talk) 23:33, 14 October 2008 (UTC)
Strong Opposie as well. Wikipedia has become the best and most well known resource to read about movies and books in places others than the US A here in Brasil. Please dont pull the plug on this. Thank you, FFDiempredome (talk) 23:25, 14 October 2008 (UTC) FFDiempredome (talk) 23:25, 14 October 2008 (UTC)
Oppose, WP:NOT#PLOT never had consensus to be added to this policy. So basing another addition to this policy on that is crazy. See, the funny thing about the word "guide" is that you can add it onto anything. Is Wikipedia a poker guide? Why of course not! But then why are all these poker articles here? Is Wikipedia a zoo guide? Why of course not! But then why are all these animal articles here? Is Wikipedia a guide to the galaxy? Why of course not! But then what's this Galaxy article doing here? And the proposal assumes that "movie guides" do not provide "analysis, context or criticism, regarding the reception, impact, and development" of movies. Huh? Gavin, how about "Wikipedia is not a guide to cricket clubs"? This is a list of things Wikipedia is not. So the attempts to insert text that says "every article needs this and this" should stop, unless someone wants to make Wikipedia:Things articles need to have and add it there. --Pixelface (talk) 05:54, 15 October 2008 (UTC)
  • I think a clear intellectual point is being missed here. Of course you can have articles and lists on films, books and movies, provided the topics are notable, and this proposal make this clear. However, articles and lists that are drawn soley from the primary sources (like plot summaries) don't meet the other content policies of Wikipedia, and I think this is a key point that is being missed or ignored by opponents to this proposal, and maybe I need to make this clearer. What has not been explained by opponents of this proposal is why a list of non-notable episodes should be listed on Wikipedia, anymore than say a list on non-notable street numbers. There is clearly a difference between an encyclopedia and a telephone directory, and I am not sure this difference is understood. --Gavin Collins (talk) 08:15, 15 October 2008 (UTC)
  • A list of telephone numbers or street addresses has little scholarly value as part of an encyclopedia. A list of episodes, on the other hand, does have some. The other point to consider is that there are a good proportion of notable episodes and other such elements out there - not a majority, certainly, but not a trivial number either. This doesn't mean that every episode is immediately notable or needs its own article, but it does suggest that brief coverage of all episodes/elements in some fashion is appropriate. --MASEM 11:59, 15 October 2008 (UTC)
  • A list of episodes will only have scholarly value if it cites reliable secondary sources. If a list is of scholarly interest, then scholars will have studied it, and written about it, which is why the inclusion criteria in WP:N says that a topic is presumend notable if a it has received significant coverage in reliable secondary sources. There are notable television episodes, but not all are, and that is the cutoff point for inclusion. --Gavin Collins (talk) 13:08, 15 October 2008 (UTC)
  • Information can be scholarly without having secondary sources: we have tables of facts and figures that are scholarly that meet two policy requirements: they are indiscriminate and they are verifyable. In the case of episode lists, they are also scholarly for those that study modern culture and social sciences; just because they aren't for you doesn't mean they aren't for someone else. We of course can't go into significant detail about topics that don't have secondary work (that is, having its own dedicated article) but we can provide shorthand information that is consistent with all other WP coverage. --MASEM 13:27, 15 October 2008 (UTC)
  • Information can be scholarly without having secondary sources, but not encyclopedic, as it lacks analysis, criticism and context. For instance, many magazines, newspapers and TV guides provide such infomation about movies everyday, but do not necessarily provide the analysis that readers of an encyclopedia seek. Information, such as TV guides, may be studied by scholars, but Wikipedia would not be their primary source; to do so would be to obtain such information third hand. There is no need for Wikipedia to list non-notable infomation, as it can be obtained first hand elsewhere, such as IMDb. The point I am making is that WP is not a first-call primary source for information about movies, books and TV titles; how could it be? --Gavin Collins (talk) 14:11, 15 October 2008 (UTC)
  • But we're more than just an encyclopedia; we include elements of specialized encyclopedias and almanacs and certainly in terms of the last part, almanacs rarely contain secondary source coverage. We don't want to be the end-all informational works (from the free content mission, we really can't be) but there is absolutely no harm in being the first-call source using redirects to lists or larger articles when people are searching for these things; we should be allowing people to search on episode titles, minor character names, or fictional locations and find out the notable work they are associated with easily. --MASEM 15:20, 15 October 2008 (UTC)
  • On the contrary, Wikipedia is not a Gazette or Almanac, as the inclusion criteria for these publications is not based on notability. Traditionally such publications would be where you might look to find out when high tide is at your local port, and a TV guide is a similar type of publication; their subject matter falls outside the scope of Wikipedia. Establishing a cut-off between what is to be included in Wikipedia can be established from the GNG, not whether or not it would cause "absolutely no harm". --Gavin Collins (talk) 15:40, 15 October 2008 (UTC)
  • According to WP's mission, we have elements of almanacs. Sure, listing the time of tides is highly indiscriminate, but there are other aspects that aren't. Listing a TV show's episodes is not - it a bounded list with a very specific inclusion criteria. They have been shown to be acceptable by numerous AFDs, and would fall into the acceptable type of lists based on the RFC. At this point, you seem to be fighting against the clear demonstration that certain types of lists are allowable, this proposal for NOT being one way to counter it, but the consensus is clearly not for this approach. Non-notable article, yes - I think we agree that's an issue, but non-notable lists under certain constraints is a reasonable compromise between two extremes. --MASEM 15:46, 15 October 2008 (UTC)
  • What are the "very specific inclusion criteria" you are refering to? I don't see any clause in WP:N that allows the inclusion of topics that are not notable? I see no exemption given to television episodes of unproven notability. I see no evidence of consensus at policy or guideline level for this approach at all. --Gavin Collins (talk) 10:36, 16 October 2008 (UTC)
  • There are no specific inclusion criteria nor any specific directive towards lists because we haven't had any opportunity yet to define them - only that the RFC is clear that such need to be set first before stating that such lists are ok. At the same time, there is no existing policy or guideline that explicitly forbids them either. Given that the RFC is in favor of allowing lists under specific criteria, it's a matter of figuring out that framework first, making sure that we're well aware of what's already stated in NOT and other policies. --MASEM 12:50, 16 October 2008 (UTC)
  • If there no specific inclusion criteria that exempt lists from any Wikipedia policies or guidelines, then you can be sure that Movie, Book or TV Guides based on primary sources are not exempt either. I can see why you might want to have episode lists as a special case because TV guides are a familiar subject matter to all of us, but as their inclusion conflicts with exisiting policies and guidelines, I don't see how you can justify them on any other grounds other than WP:ILIKEIT: If your favourite song/computer game/webcomic/whatever is as great as you believe, someone will likely write about it eventually, so please just be patient. --Gavin Collins (talk) 13:35, 16 October 2008 (UTC)
  • The reason they don't exist is that we have yet to create them based on the input from the RFC; the fact that there is nothing against such lists in policies or guidelines is that we've never gotten to a point where this is a recognized solution to compromise on topics. Just because a policy or guideline doesn't exist for something doesn't mean its not allowable or disallowable - just that nothing formal has been written down about it, and the best advice is to see what has been there through consensus and discussion, which both AFD results and the RFC point to as allowing this practice. We just have to codify what consensus points to. --MASEM 13:51, 16 October 2008 (UTC)
  • It's really beyond that in this case, Gavin, and you know my stance on this kind of thing. The de-facto exclusion for "list of episodes" and "list of characters" may not be codified anywhere (which annoys me to no end, because people won't even write down the things that there is widespread agreement on), but it's real. It's one of the few compromises that has come out of the whole episodes and characters debates. I agree with you that they don't meet policies and guidelines, and that they really shouldn't exist. However, I recognize that while you think that and I think that, we are in a very, very, very small group. Continuing to hammer on lists will prevent anyone from making progress anywhere on this front.—Kww(talk) 13:58, 16 October 2008 (UTC)
  • Lists of fictional characters are definetly prohibited by WP:NOT#DIR, so no such exclusion exists for them at policy level. Whether you call such articles lists or not, they amount to the very much the same thing: listcruft. These type of articles come up for deletion all the time, e.g. Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Other Rangers and Ranger-like allies (2nd nomination).
    As regards lists of episodes, I see no evidence of an exemption for them or other types of list in any subject area; I think this is an example of an editorial "walled garden" in the making. You might be mistaking special pleading for "consensus", as there there is no specific justification in any of the episode debates I have read. Whilst WP:EPISODE contains the presumption that it is quite likely that sources can be found to support a series or season page, no exemption is claimed per se. --Gavin Collins (talk) 12:58, 21 October 2008 (UTC)
  • How does a list of fictional characters or a list of episodes fail the first part of WP:NOT#DIR (the only one that applies):
  • Lists or repositories of loosely associated topics such as (but not limited to) quotations, aphorisms, or persons (real or fictional). If you want to enter lists of quotations, put them into our sister project Wikiquote. Of course, there is nothing wrong with having lists if their entries are famous because they are associated with or significantly contributed to the list topic, for example Nixon's Enemies List. Wikipedia also includes reference tables and tabular information for quick reference. Merged groups of small articles based on a core topic are certainly permitted. (See Lists (stand alone lists) - appropriate topics for clarification.) (emphasis mine)
  • I can agree that "Fictional characters with hats" is a loosely associated list, and thus indiscriminate and unneeded, but '"List of characters in TV show X" is not. And even then, the last sentence pretty much says that lists of characters and episodes are completely appropriate. Yes, there are bad lists of characters that are created, but not every list is deleted, meaning there is some unstated acceptable level for these. --MASEM 13:12, 21 October 2008 (UTC)
  • I think you are being a little to kind in your description of lists that are compiled from primary sources to form a synthesis that this propsal is directed at prohibiting. Describing "List of characters in TV show X" as discriminate is ignoring the fact that such lists are neither complete nor accurately categorised, and they are generally better described as "List of some of the characters in TV show X that may have appeared in some of the episodes". To be defensible against accusations of original research (as well as lack of completeness or incorrect categorization), such lists should cite a reliable secondary sources; those that don't are just random stuff. Wikipedia has stronger inclusion criteria than, say, Wookipeida. You may recall that I gave an example relating to synthesis of Star Wars characters that appeared in a sequence of books described as The New Jedi Order (which is itself a synthesis); you can see what happens to such list by going to Talk:List_of_New_Order_Jedi_characters#Redirect. Your suggestion that WP:NOT#DIR can be applied loosely is your own interpretation; I think you missing the fact that lists of fictional characters are random if they are not sourced reliable secondary source. --Gavin Collins (talk) 14:18, 21 October 2008 (UTC)
  • WP:OR and WP:V require reliable sources, but do not require reliable secondary sources. Lists of characters and episodes can be legitimately sourced to primary works; care has to be taken to avoid OR, but it is quite doable, particularly when lists generally limit characters to one to two paragraphcs at most. And we know that the list of New Order Jedi is a bad example, you keep bringing it up. There are plenty of other lists of characters that are not indiscriminate and are sourced; the list itself does not need notable to be kept based on general AFD results and the notability RFC. Again, what in WP:NOT#DIR explicitly disallows lists of characters or lists of episodes? --MASEM 14:29, 21 October 2008 (UTC)
  • In answer to Masem, the problem is I don't think that you will be able to find an example of Lists of characters and episodes that is not either original research or synthesis, which is why the prohibition above is so important.
    In fairness to me, List of New Order Jedi characters was an example I was using before it was merged, which is what I see happening to these types of lists eventually. Another classic example of listcruft is List of Star Wars characters itself, which is clearly a synthesis of so many different sources that it is almost meaningless. To fans of Star Wars, this may appear to be a discriminate list, but this assumption is based on an in universe perspective that views all fictional characters as if they were defined by a fictional setting; in reality these are fictional characters, which have been drawn together from different sources, authors, films, grpahic novels and cartoons have no real world commonality, other than George Lucas may have earned a penny or two from their francise at some time in the past. I think where I have to say I have a radically different viewpoint from Masem is that I am not looking through these lists of characters and episodes from an in universe perspective. If you can free yourself from this mindset, you will recognise that the only an encyclopedic methodology that should be applied to these characters, and that involves disgarding non-notable topics and restore the focus of Wikipedia to content which can be used to write (and even lists) that are based on reliable secondary sources, rather than on the objective of turning Wikipedia into a Star Wars Guide. I have no objection to Star Wars per se (it is one of my favorite film series as a teenager), but what I do object to is random lists of stuff being dumped in Wikipedia, which is what you seem to be proposing.--Gavin Collins (talk) 16:37, 21 October 2008 (UTC)
  • I'm sorry Gavin, but I've been meaning to ask you the same question Masem has been asking. I accept that you see these lists as synthesis or OR. I don't agree with you, but that's not the concern at the moment. The concern here is that I can't see anything in WP:NOT#DIR that relates to these lists of characters and episodes. Indeed, I had assumed that you started this thread because you felt that WP:Not should be modifed so that it does encompass them, which suggests to me that it doesn't do so as things stand. - Bilby (talk) 16:49, 21 October 2008 (UTC)
  • If you don't agree with me, then what are they? The word brought from the Mount by Moses, per chance? I respect your right to disagree, but on what basis? If these lists are not original research or synthesis, then what are they? --Gavin Collins (talk) 17:39, 21 October 2008 (UTC)
  • I don't have any real hassle with us disagreeing on this. :) I'm just curious about how you saw WP:Not applying, as I can't see the connection. In my case, though, if they aren't OR or synthesis, then they can just be a way of ordering content. Perhaps non-notable in their own right, but that's a different issue. - Bilby (talk) 11:49, 22 October 2008 (UTC)
  • I am not following you, either. My propsoal above sets out why Wikipedia is not a TV guide - it is not sufficient just to include stuff because it is ordered into a list. Are you suggesting that just because a list is ordered, this is the inclusion criteria which you would to it? If not, what is your inclusion criteria for lists of episodes and characters? --Gavin Collins (talk) 15:34, 22 October 2008 (UTC)
  • If there was no issue on size, then a notable television show article, which would include the history of the show, production notes, reception, etc. etc would include in the same article the list of major and recurring characters and the list of episodes (both with tightly limited amounts of text per character/entry) per comprehensiveness and completeness; this is no way a violation of PLOT, and V/NOR/NPOV are also met as well as WP:N (since it does not limit article content). Without these, articles would typically be considered incomplete (there are cases where a list of episodes is impractical such as game shows and soaps - in the latter case where overarching list of seasons make more sense). But we do have size issues, and thus the two parts that make the most sense to separate out to a new article are the list of characters and list of episodes. Sometimes these can be expanded upon further to make them notable, but they are still part of the notable television show's full coverage. Thus, the reason for inclusion is that they are necessary to augment a show's comprehensive coverage. Going the next step, providing expanded coverage of each character or episode is where we would run afoul of being just a fan guide, presuming that not notable information exists for the character or element - this type of expanded coverage would not be part of a single TV show article (ignoring size), and thus should not be part of what WP provides. The same can be applied to other works of fiction. --MASEM 16:06, 22 October 2008 (UTC)
  • So lets be clear what Masem is asserting: provided that a television series is notable (e.g. the long running series Guiding Light), then spinout articles about that series which do not demonstrate notability should be allowed to be included in Wikipedia (e.g. Guiding Light (1980–1989)), provided that they include lists of characters, episodes and production notes.
    I disagree with Masem's approach on two grounds, namely that spinout articles that do not cite reliable secondary sources cannot inherit notability and should be merged into the main article, but also it is not possible to write an article that does not fall foul of Wikipedia's content policies unless it contains reliable secondary sources that provide analysis, context or criticism. For instance, the article Guiding Light (1980–1989) demonstrates this perfectly: although it is not all plot summary, its content simply replicates the TV guide from which it is drawn. The opinions, analysis and context provided by the article are taken from the producers of the show, CBS, and therefore fail WP:NPOV. Note of the information about the characters, episodes or production notes have not been fact-checked by a reliable secondary source. This article is just a regurgitation of the primary source, and although the information that this article contains may be discriminate (in that it makes sense), it is not encyclopedic, because it is biased, may be factually incorrect and does not treat its subject matter from a real world perspecitive. Simply put, Guiding Light (1980–1989) is a content fork from the article Guiding Light. Clearly this is the wrong way to expand the coverage of the over arching subject; basically this is just a lot of cruft. Wikipedia is not a Movie, Book or TV Guide, and this content belongs on elsewhere, such as, unless reliable secondary sources can be added to the article. --Gavin Collins (talk) 16:16, 25 October 2008 (UTC)
  • There is absolutely nothing wrong with expansion of facts summarized from primary sources without secondary sources as long as the WP editors do not engage in OR or POVism; this is perfectly acceptable per WP:PSTS. CBS cannot be considered biased as they are the primary source of the work, so there's no NPOV issues to deal with. Now, I do look at the article and seem it is long-winded in plot and seems crufty, however, this is a daily soap opera and covering 10 years of shows (more than 1000 episodes); while we would normally want an episode list, that is completely impractical, and this method of summarizing each year is perfectly fine. Again, if size wasn't an issue, a reasonable article on the soap would have each of these decade summaries embedded in the main article along with the notable information on production and reception. However, it is easy to see it will get too long (well over a meg of data) so splitting them off is a completely logical solution. --MASEM 16:28, 25 October 2008 (UTC)
  • Your viewpoint in this instance is not supported by Wikipedia policies and guidelines, particularly your statement that "there nothing wrong with expansion of facts expansion of facts summarized from primary sources without secondary sources", by which you mean the creation of non-notable spinout articles. Clearly if a spinout is not notable, it will fail WP:N, whilst a primary source being used for analysis, context or critism, particularly where the broadcaster of the series has a commercial interest in the TV series in question, is not appropriate since using CBS as a source for its own series must be viewed as biased. Clearly TV guides type articles such as Guiding Light (1980–1989) are little more than duplications of CBS own marketing. Such entries may be suitable for, but not for Wikipedia. The article is article and seem it is long-winded in plot and seems crufty which is the nature of TV guides; they have lower inclusion criteria than Wikipedia. Splitting this article and then splitting it again into more and more content forks is not a logical solution; merger with the over-arching notable topic (with a generous pruning) is the answer. --Gavin Collins (talk) 19:26, 25 October 2008 (UTC)
  • Several fallacies at this point:
    • WP:N applies to topics, not articles. Only notable topics should have articles, but that does not mean that articles must be about notable topics. That's not saying that spinouts are acceptable (the RFC showed this), but clearly the RFC shows there's a place for non-notable spinouts of material that would otherwise be included in the main article as part of the coverage of the work that otherwise hits size issues.
    • It is a long-standard agreement that primary sources are sufficient to source plot summaries as part of coverage of the fictional work (including appropriate sources for notability); secondary sources are great if they can be found, but that's not available. A well-written plot summary is not analysis or criticism of the work (they can be written as such but most experienced fiction editors know how to avoid this), and thus are not OR or POV. If you believe that plot summaries anywhere need secondary sources, then you'd better start going through every FA and GA fictional work article and tag those sections as such.
    • Summarizing the plot from the direct source (CBS in the example given) is not a POV violation. Again, no analysis or criticism is being introduced into the summary, so the facts of the occurrences of the fictional work by it's publisher is a perfectly acceptable source. This is different from, if for the criticism section of an article, we cited CBS saying "This is the best show on television", since they are biased to its success.
    • Your logic about the article being CBS's marketing leads to the conclusion that talking about any commercial product (fictional work or tangible retail item) can be considered the same, which is obviously not the case. In every case, NPOV is the policy that prevents a page about a commercial product from being a marketing blurb. We still have to discuss features and distinguishing aspects of a product; this may use primary sources (manufacture's specifications) in addition to secondary sources, but this is again a neutral discussion; only until you say "well, this is better than this other product..." is when you need to pull in secondary sources to prevent POV. In the case of the Guiding Light article, there is no attempt to say why this show is better than others or otherwise market the show, and thus there's no POV issues.
    • Content forks explicitly state that spun-off material due to length does not constitute a content fork. (We still need to be careful that the material spunoff, however, is appropriate for a spinoff per the RFC on notability)
  • Now, I'm not saying the given article is top notch or a perfect example - it is wordy and inadequately sourced and a mess to read. But, in lieu of an episode list for 1000+ shows, a summary per season (and grouped by decade) makes much more sense.
  • Again, I cannot understand what you have against these lists. Would you agree or disagree that in a single complete article about a notable television show that an episode list as part of that article is appropriate? Given that individual episodes for some shows can be notable, to remove any bias, it seems perfectly appropriate to allow other shows that cannot show notability for individual episodes to at least list them out and describe them briefly; it's the compromise we need to make.
  • I get a strong sense that you are unhappy with the results of the RFC that point to the support for the allowance for non-notable, specifically crafted lists and spinouts (to be determined via consensus before allowing such formally), and that you are forum shopping to prevent that from going through. Yes, there are many many bad non-notable spunout lists, but there are also a smaller, but not trivial, number of good, encyclopedic ones. That situation is correctable without burning all of them down, it just needs to be written in a precise manner as allowable by a guideline so that it is clear what lists are good, and what lists are not good. Years have shown there is a place for these on WP, and the RFC shows that they are not going away any time soon. You have to come to the realization that your stance is not in congruence with the consensus of the RFC and that either you need to work to compromise with those that want lots of fiction coverage by meeting somewhere in the middle (the whole point of allowing non-notable lists), or otherwise your input demanding your viewpoint will be ignored. At this point, I know I can't convince you any more, all I can ask is that you realize you are failing to compromise. --MASEM 20:19, 25 October 2008 (UTC)
  • I am glad that you agree that only notable topics should have their own articles. In the case of Guiding Light (1980–1989), there is no evidence that the topic is notable as not one reliable secondary source has been cited in the article to demonstrate that the series Guiding Light was notable during this period. This is precisely the type of TV Guide type article that proposal seeks to prohibit because the article does not contain any encyclopedic content. In fairness, if reliable secondary sources could be added, then it would no longer fail WP:NOT.
    Whilst I agree with you that primary sources are sufficient to source plot summaries, they cannot be relied upon as the only source for an article as is the case here. The fact that there is information about the characters and produciton notes does not improve the situation: it is just more primary content being added, without demonstration of notability for the topic.
    In the case of the article Guiding Light (1980–1989), you are correct in saying that there is no attempt to say why this show is better than others or otherwise market the show, because to do so would require a reliable secondary source to allow such a point of view to be expressed. However, the article is still biased because the article content is drawn from one source (CBS); to say that it is not biased is like saying a court case where only the prosecution is allowed to speak is fair as long as their arguments are balanced; this argument is a fallacy. Simply put, an article about a TV show written from the perspective of its broadcaster is not written from an independent persective. This is a problem shared by all TV Guide type articles; they are not independent of their subject matter.
    Your statement that "Content forks explicitly state that spun-off material due to length does not constitute a content fork" is a half-truth; you omit to mention that the article that contains the spun-off material should also demonstrate notability of its subject matter. As the article Guiding Light (1980–1989) does not provide any evidence of notability for this topic, it must be viewed as a content fork from the over arching subject Guiding Light. This is a major problem with the overall approach to this television series: it has been sliced and diced into various content forks, but why the period 1980–1989 was chosen over 1980–1990, I have no idea (perhaps each series covered a calendar year, rather than a season?).
    Your accusation that I have something against TV Guide articles is not relevant to the discussion; what is clear is that TV Guide type articles do not meet Wikipedia guidelines and policies - only articles that demonstrate the notability of a particular topic can. My proposal is designed to clarify this issue to people like yourself whose thinking is not clear on this issue: Wikipedia is an encylopedia, not a Movie, Book or TV Guide. --Gavin Collins (talk) 09:50, 27 October 2008 (UTC)
  • There are hundreds of books which might be used to source article about Guiding Light, as you'd expect for the longest-running soap opera in the world. Since there's lots to say about such a subject, it is no surprise that there is a sub-article about a particular decade of its history. Since such articles exist and have a readership which outweighs the handful of nay-sayers here, it is a plain fact that Wikipedia comprises such material and asserting the contrary would be a falsehood. You have no mandate to outlaw it as it is our policy that Wikipedia is not governed by statute and so its "policies and guidelines are descriptive, not prescriptive". Your attempts to legislate are therefore illegitimate. Colonel Warden (talk) 20:21, 27 October 2008 (UTC)
  • I don't disagree with you that there are lots of books which could be used as source articles for the article Guiding Light. However, there is no evidence that the topic Guiding Light (1980–1989) is itself notable, as the article has been created from a synthesis of primary sources: in fact it is is a content fork. In the world of TV Guides, writing an article based on synthesis is perfectly acceptable, but since Wikipedia has more rigorous content policies than, say,, it not the correct approach to write an encyclopedic article, because synthesis a form of self-referencing.
    There is indeed alot to say about the longest running soap opera in the world, but a TV Guide article is not the right format. Articles and lists about TV series should provide analysis, context or criticism, regarding the reception, impact and development of notable works, or notable characters or notable episodes. That is to say, if there is any episode, character or element of the series production that is notable, then that would be a suitable topic for inclusion in Wikipedia, but groups of non-notable characters and episodes are not. Guiding Light (1980–1989) is therefore not a suitable topic for inclusion in Wikipedia, not only because it is not itself notable, but also because its synthetic content fails Wikipedia content policies. --Gavin Collins (talk) 10:52, 28 October 2008 (UTC)
  • You are still misapplying the concept of content fork, nothing on POVFORK says what you are implying. Also, baring size, there is nothing in any guideline or policy that says the the plot summary of the events of soap opera over time cannot be described in an article, presuming that we have already talked about the secondary information for the topic, which is the case for Guiding Light already. However, SIZE says that combining all the information is inappropriate, so something has to be split out. Your insistence that WP:N applies at the article level (not the topic level as it states now) causes a paradox with other policies and guidelines that cannot be resolved. That's why WP:N is a guideline; it is not to be taken as a hard rule and to allow the flexibility when it is obviously needed. --MASEM 13:21, 28 October 2008 (UTC)
  • Masem, you say this, but the fact is the article provides no evidence of notability, and articles that fail WP:N tend to fail other Wikipedia content policies as well - this is a problem your analysis fails to address and I think you really need to understand, because it is the achilles heal in all your arguements that inclusion criteria for articles should be relaxed to include lists of non-notable characters and episiodes.
    For instance, in the example of Guiding Light (1980–1989), if you don't agree with view that it is a content fork then can you provide any evidence, in the absence of reliable secondary sources, that it is not? It has all the characteristics of one: it is comprised of plot and character summary, synthesis and original research, but because there is no evidence in article to show that the topic itself is notable and its source is not independent of the subject matter, it is pretty safe to say it has all the classic symptoms of a content fork.
    I have heard the arguement before that the article is not a content fork because it contains information about a more notable topic, in this case the television series Guiding Light. However, notability cannot be inherited/presumed/acknowledged in the absence of reliable secondary sources, so your arguments do not carry any weight.
    You have also argued that WP:SIZE alows articles to be slit into sub-articles, but nowhere does it say that the resulting sub-article is exempt from WP:N: only if the topic of the sub-article has received significant coverage in reliable secondary sources that are independent of the subject, it is presumed to satisfy the inclusion criteria for a stand-alone article.
    The fact is that the articles Guiding Light and Guiding Light (1980–1989) are seperate articles but they can't be exempted from any of Wikipedia policies and guidelines on the grounds that they deal with the different aspects of the same television series. --Gavin Collins (talk) 14:06, 28 October 2008 (UTC)

Proposal: WP is significant news.

I've seen fights citing "Wikipedia is not news". The actual policy quote is "Routine news coverage of such things as announcements, sports, and tabloid journalism are not sufficient basis for an article."

We should clarify that "Significant news is the basis for an article". This would help. It wouldn't change keeping trivial news from being a Wikipedia article.

The alternative, which I hope people will not advocate is "Significant news is prohibited in Wikipedia." Chergles (talk) 20:42, 24 October 2008 (UTC)

Even a "significant event", defined as being covered in many reliable sources, may not really warrant an article; events should be given a bit of time to make sure that it is really an impacting incident that requires wider coverage or that it may be part of a larger story (For example, the recent Subprime mortgage crisis is a case where there were a lot of "significant events", but each one does not warrant coverage on it's own, such as the actions taken against Fannie May and Freddie Mac). --MASEM 21:04, 24 October 2008 (UTC)
Should we re-examine the concept of "Wikipedia is not news". Many people cite it. Has there been a discussion to whether this is a fundamental Wikipedia point? It's certainly not one of the five pillars of Wikipedia. If a strict definition of "impacting event" is used, then much of Wikipedia should be deleted. How about the video game articles? What I am questioning is whether the Wikipedia is not news idea should be kept? If kept, should it be better defined to guide debates? Chergles (talk) 17:22, 25 October 2008 (UTC)
WP is not to be used to simply report on events without analysis; there is a sister site, Wikinews, that allows for this under the free-content medium. And it is not that news necessarily disappears, but usually what happens is that the event coverage is molded into the coverage of a "time-less" topic; eg Joe the Plumber or any number of hurricane articles. For example, there's no article on the nationally covered collapse of the I-35 bridge in Minnesota, but there is an article about the bridge and that goes into depth of the event's impact (I-35W Mississippi River bridge). Basically, the thing with news items is that running out to create a topic just because it got a piece of news coverage is ill-advised; there is likely a place that a piece of news coverage can be placed permenantly though with the possibly of a seperate article if the news coverage becomes much more significant. (a good question to ask is, where are you seeing "not news" being evoked in a manner you disagree with?) --MASEM 08:53, 26 October 2008 (UTC)
I would have to oppose that change. The word 'significant' is far too subjective and open to misinterpretation. ('Routine' is hardly better but at least that's a problem we already understand to some degree.) The problem is that 'significance' can almost never be properly determined at the time. Significance is a value judgment that can only be made with the perspective of time and history. That means we should wait before writing the article. Editors who want to write about the latest breaking news should be working at our sister project, WikiNews. Just like Wikipedia, they're always looking for more good editors. Rossami (talk) 16:37, 26 October 2008 (UTC)
I don't see a conflict with the way things are right now. Wikipedia isn't news, but the fact that it's not news or a newspaper shouldn't preclude the creation of content that includes recent events. -And it doesn't. What would be gained by following your suggested change? Can you clarify with a likely scenario? --VictorC (talk) 17:53, 26 October 2008 (UTC)
Like the hundreds of poorly maintained articles about flash-in-the-pan topics which are neglected, out-dated and impossible for our critically-short cadre of experienced editors to monitor for vandalism or to find sources to update? The articles which accumulate subtle vandalism like "corrections" in the number of shooting victims and other very hard-to-verify (or dispute) changes? Articles that try to cover overly recent events do not demonstrate that they have the power to attract the critical mass of informed and interested editors needed for long-term support. The argument that 'it can be verified' ignores the fact that we don't have enough people to actually do the verifying - and to keep doing it forever.
The power of Wikipedia is that it's a dynamic and constantly updated encyclopedia. That's also one of its more serious weaknesses. We don't have a version that can be fully verified and 'locked in'. Articles have to be patrolled forever. Diverting resources on articles that don't matter - that don't rise above the level of news to the level of encyclopedia content - that will kill the project. Wikipedia is not paper, server space is so cheap that it's virtually free. The one scarce resource that we have is editorial time. We have to protect that. Rossami (talk) 03:28, 27 October 2008 (UTC)
While I understand and sympathize with the spirit of this proposal, we need something clearer than "significant". The present NOT doesn't do any bertter in this regard. There has never been a really accepted guideline here for interpreting this. DGG (talk) 15:51, 27 October 2008 (UTC)

Not a TV guide, redux

While I sympathize strongly with Gavin's goal, I think it went further than would ever be able to achieve consensus on Wikipedia. Hell, I couldn't even make myself agree with it, and represent about as far as you can go towards the exclusionist side and stay sane around here. How about this as an attempt to codify the base concept into something we might be able to build a consensus policy around:

Wikipedia is not a TV guide, nor a movie guide, nor a comic handbook. Articles which describe fictional works cannot be dominated by the plot or by description of elements contained within the work. Articles which describe fictional work must emphasize analysis and critique of the fictional element they are describing.

Kww(talk) 00:20, 15 October 2008 (UTC)

Are you saying movie guides[2][3][4][5][6] don't "emphasize analysis and critique of the fictional element they are describing"? --Pixelface (talk) 06:05, 15 October 2008 (UTC)
  • In answer to Kww, I see little difference between his proposal and mine, other than the omission of books and the addition of comics within the scope of the prohibition.
    In answer to Pixelface, the point is you can't write a movie guide on Wikipeidia, as this contravenes WP:NOR and the only way to get around this is to cite reliable secondary sources, such as the guides you have listed. I think I make it clear in my proposal that articles that are not encyclopedic are those that do not cite reliable secondary sources: e.g. List of film crossovers or List of film director and actor collaborations are clear examples of synthesis which would be useful source if it had been drawn from one of the film guides, but composing these lists in Wikipeida is not appropriate. It is clear that the horse is being put beofore the cart in these examples: these lists must be cited from film guides, not written as if film guides cite the lists. --Gavin Collins (talk) 08:27, 15 October 2008 (UTC)
Mine does not include lists, which is the source of 98% of the opposition to your proposal.—Kww(talk) 11:08, 15 October 2008 (UTC)
This reads as a restatement of WP:NOT#PLOT so I don't think this would change anything; maybe its needed to strength PLOT to including undue weight of the primary sourced material vs secondary sourced. --MASEM 11:31, 15 October 2008 (UTC)
It really is subtly different, but I agree that it could be covered by expansion of WP:NOT#PLOT. I carefully chose the phrase descriptions of elements within the work, because many people have tried to claim that highly detailed descriptions of a character, location, weapon, or monster was not a retelling of the plot.—Kww(talk) 11:54, 15 October 2008 (UTC)
That, I agree, is a needed clarification of PLOT and probably can be worked into that. --MASEM 12:05, 15 October 2008 (UTC)
Like Masem, I see Kww's proposal just as a rephrasing of NOT#PLOT. While I am always open for new suggestions re:PLOT, introducing redundancy is not the solution. – sgeureka tc 12:32, 15 October 2008 (UTC)
  • The problem is not limited to articles that comprise of just a description of elements contained within the work, as often there is production, broadcasting and distribution information included in the mix. In the same way that Wikipedia is not a train spotting guide, recording every train, model and number, I don't think there is a need for Wikipedia to duplicate IMDb. I think the point is that no matter what primary content is included in article about a movie, book, television title, it has to more than just bare bones for it to be included in Wikipedia, no matter how extensive the primary coverage is. Just because a film has a plot, some characters, a director and a film distribution company, it cannot be presumed to worthy of inclusion unless it notable. I think the catch all wording of my proposal takes this into account, by stating that Wikipedia is simply as not a record of everything that has ever been distributed or broadcast in the media. --Gavin Collins (talk) 13:00, 15 October 2008 (UTC)

Is this an inclusion critereon or a content critereon? As a content criterion, I support. As an inclusion critereon, I oppose. We shouldn't be deleting otherwise notable articles because the content needs work as long as they have the potential to evolve into an article that does meet the criteron. That's the way a wiki is supposed to work. -Chunky Rice (talk) 17:00, 15 October 2008 (UTC)

PLOT is a content guideline: Articles on fiction or elements thereof should not be heavily weighted on plot. As a consequence, this can be read as a notability guideline: a plot-only article (non-notable) is unacceptable -- however, this is not the intent of its meaning, it is just a happenstance that lines up with notability. Mind you, we do need to consider DEADLINE and that articles can be improved, but articles that ultimately are only plot and cannot be improved fail both PLOT and WP:N, and thus should be merged to a larger topic. --MASEM 18:26, 15 October 2008 (UTC)
  • I think in general there's a consensus to have a leniency towards list articles (though they are not completely immune depending on the content). I'm in support of not having plot only articles, but other than being more explicit than NOT#PLOT, I'm not sure what this addition will add. Bill (talk|contribs) 20:12, 25 October 2008 (UTC)
  • The problem is that list articles can be turned into lists of plot only or character only summaries. Some editors here believe that lists are exempt from Wikipedia guidelines and polices just because they are not classed as articles; however, since such lists are a synthesis of primary sources, this is not the case. --Gavin Collins (talk) 10:57, 28 October 2008 (UTC)
Well yes, if the content is unsourced and it moves beyond a purely descriptive summary then editors will be creating their own work. My point is that by their nature, a list of characters or episodes are more likely to have a much larger percentage of the page which is plot only information than a normal article. I very much doubt you'll get any legislation against lists of characters or episodes because I've seen many times at AFD and merge discussion that there is a consensus towards allowing them even with minimal real world information. I think it would be better to focus energy on ensuring that these articles don't become filled with OR and don't become a retelling of entire plots. Bill (talk|contribs) 12:22, 28 October 2008 (UTC)
  • Even if a list cites primary sources, it can still be a synthesis. A list which is plot summary still fails WP:NOT#PLOT, in the same way that an article that is all plot does. There is already sufficient guidelines and policies prohibiting lists of plot summaries, but now is the time to make this prohibition clear and explicit. In my experience, may lists of characters or episodes have been deleted or because they have failed one or polices or guidelines, and unless they get cleaned up, probably those that did not will be deleted in the future. --Gavin Collins (talk) 13:28, 28 October 2008 (UTC)
  • I don't think it's necessary to provide a blanket ban on a type of list because it could be original research. Every single article could fail any policy or guideline we have if it was edited poorly. Wikipedia policies don't legislate every possible situation (nor should they try). List articles are one of those situations where PLOT isn't asserted as heavily. There's no consensus to say that it should be. Bill (talk|contribs) 15:03, 28 October 2008 (UTC)
  • I understand your concerns, but these lists of non-notable characters and episodes is a very specific area; namely topics that fail WP:N. The problem with topics that fail WP:N, regardless of whether they are articles, sub-articles or lists, is that they usually fail one or more content policies such as WP:NOT, so there aleady exists an effective prohibition for these type of articles and lists. The consensus therefore already exists at policy level. --Gavin Collins (talk) 09:56, 29 October 2008 (UTC)
  • I'm well aware of all these policies. I keep saying that there is very much a consensus not to apply them as strongly to these lists. Take the reaction to your proposal for example. Your inclusion of lists is a big reason that it failed to get support. Bill (talk|contribs) 12:44, 29 October 2008 (UTC)
  • I think not. WP:LISTS says that "Lists, whether they are embedded lists or stand-alone lists, are encyclopedic content as are paragraphs and articles, and they are equally subject to Wikipedia's content policies". So the argument that policy should be applied to them less strongly does not hold weight at policy level. --Gavin Collins (talk) 13:12, 29 October 2008 (UTC)
  • LISTS also suggests getting consensus also, which in this case is for the inclusion of the lists in a some circumstances. This is not the only place this occurs on Wikipedia. There's a consensus for the inclusion of many types of geographical locations where the articles are mostly descriptive. Airports are another one I've seen. Policy doesn't dictate every situation. In the face of consensus it becomes necessary to ignore it. Bill (talk|contribs) 13:36, 29 October 2008 (UTC)

Do we really want to be this inclusive?

"It is appropriate to report discussion and arguments about the prospects for success of future proposals and projects or whether some development will occur, if discussion is properly referenced."

Which Journal of Prophecy is an acceptable source? BrewJay (talk) 08:04, 22 October 2008 (UTC)

How about the beliefs of market commentators about unreleased products? We had a hell of a lot of discussion of "Windows Longhorn" before Windows Vista was released, for instance. --FOo (talk) 08:40, 23 October 2008 (UTC)
WP:CRYSTAL seems to be geared away from topics so controversial as the future. There's just no way to really know anything about the future until it gets here, so {{prophecy}} is inherently unreliable. Even talk pages are not really discussion forums at all. I looked at the words with a sharp eye for holes and I see that worms hav been eating policy voraciously. Maybe I should look for a very old version of the section. Now, if you can tell me about qualities in Longhorn before Vista is released, then go ahead. Extrapolating Longhorn to Vista would be garbage.BrewJay (talk) 12:20, 29 October 2008 (UTC)
Nobody could sensibly hold a position that states that, for example, an upcoming election is non encyclopedic, so from this and the lurid coloring you added to the page, it is clear that you are engaging in content vandalism. If you continue to do this you will be banned.- (User) Wolfkeeper (Talk) 14:46, 29 October 2008 (UTC)
The example currently given of United States Senate elections, 2010 is quite non-encyclopaedic and should be removed. Material of this sort contravenes WP:NOT#NEWS and WP:NOT#JOURNALISM as well as WP:CRYSTAL because it is political speculation and current affairs reporting. Such speculative topics are unsettled by definition and so not appropriate content for an encyclopedia which aims to present well-established facts. Your proposition that editors who hold this view are not sensible and should be blocked as vandals is absurd and uncivil. Colonel Warden (talk) 18:07, 29 October 2008 (UTC)
The section makes an explicit exception for the next upcoming election. My colouring is appropriate for words that go without saying among things that should definitely not appear in articles. Arguments and discussion should mostly be on USENET, IRC, and e-mail. What I find most troubling about the section is that a great deal of text in it contradicts the title. BrewJay (talk) 15:06, 29 October 2008 (UTC)
Either you're trolling, or you don't understand what 'verifiable' means. It doesn't mean we can check that the events will happen precisely as the article states; it never, ever means that in the wikipedia. Verifiability over truth, right? No, it means that we can check that the statements in the article are ones made by people on this particular topic. We're not looking for an article to predict things, we want an article that reports or describes what others say about it, people that are generally agreed to be trustworthy.- (User) Wolfkeeper (Talk) 15:19, 29 October 2008 (UTC)
Who said anything about "verifiability over truth"? If what someone says isn't falsifiable, then it can't be written either way, and I don't care who says it. In other words, if I can't find out, now, if what someone says is true for myself, then it isn't reliable. If it isn't reliable, then it doesn't belong here. You can still say it, and it doesn't belong here until it's a fact. BrewJay (talk) 15:37, 29 October 2008 (UTC)
"Who said anything about "verifiability over truth"?" Well, the opening sentence of Wikipedia's core policy on verifiability, for one. Sarcasticidealist (talk) 17:29, 29 October 2008 (UTC)
I don't think a herd of lawyers will ever make me distinguish verifiability and truth. Do you value reliability? Do you understand why it's a component of verifiability? If I can't test something, then it's not verifiable. Comprendez? If Bill Gates says that MicroSoft will go belly-up tomorrow, would you check into whether that's true or would you sooner discover that he's selling shares in his corporation short. BrewJay (talk) 06:52, 30 October 2008 (UTC)
Wikipedia:Verifiability#Exceptional_claims_require_exceptional_sources is relevant to the reliability of statements about the future.

Proposed addition re using Wikipedia to post hacking info

As we all know, many internet sites have protected/restricted access requiring authentication through user ID's and passwords. Having encountered a SSP posting passwords on a Talk page to access a protected webpage, I propose the following policy addition to Wikipedia is not a manual, guidebook or textbook:

Wikipedia is not a hacker magazine, and shall not be used to disseminate passwords or encryption keys to access restricted/protected websites. -  JGHowes  talk 15:58, 29 October 2008 (UTC)
Would this not already be covered by WP:COPYVIO? --MASEM 16:06, 29 October 2008 (UTC)
I would have gone with Wikipedia:Vandalism but COPYVIO is probably better. Either way, it's clearly a bad-faith edit under current rules. Revert it when you see it and consider escalating for a block if the user persists. Rossami (talk) 16:26, 29 October 2008 (UTC)
Do we need a rule? How often does it happen, and how would having a rule affect things? Having one would not stop these additions, because the people behind them don't read the rules. Nor does a rule seem necessary to authorize people to deal with such things, as Masem and Rossami courteously demonstrated above. So thank you for the sentiment, but we seem to be handling things all right and making additional rules should be approached with reluctance as we WP editors are human and not very good at keeping things from becoming an incomprehensible morass of restrictions. --Kizor 06:27, 30 October 2008 (UTC)
I don't feel we need to post such an addition. WP:COPYVIO covers it nicely, as does the already-stated WP:NOT a Manual. I can't see anyone wanting to post such material being able to challenge either. If there's an actual problem with users posting such material (I haven't noted any myself), and a real concern, then an actual policy to cover this (with penalties spelled out) would be better than burying it among a bunch of guidelines. 23skidoo (talk) 14:27, 30 October 2008 (UTC)
I've read through WP:COPYVIO and there's nothing there explicitly covering the divulging of passwords to protected websites. WP:NOT is policy, and not just a "bunch of guidelines", so I don't understand your objection. By the reasoning that violators don't read rules, so why bother?, then what's the point of having WP:NOT at all? And yes, there are cases, viz., this.  JGHowes  talk 16:39, 30 October 2008 (UTC)
Let's see if I can explain the legal theory. I am not a lawyer but I think I understand this well enough to attempt the explanation.
  1. WP:COPYVIO doesn't explicitly call out passwords because it doesn't need to. Passwords are themselves copyrighted. (They're published materials - they automatically inherit copyright just like everything else.) Unlike the text of a document, passwords can not be paraphrased or restated in your own words. Any use must comply with one of the acceptable 'fair use' exceptions to the copyright laws. However, there are none that would ever be likely to apply to a password in the context you describe.
  2. The protected website contains protected content which, by definition, the content owner has not elected to disseminate publicly. Distribution of the access credentials needed to impersonate your way onto the site (the password) would facilitate the violation of the copyright of the protected content. The Digital Millennium Copyright Act has some interesting lessons that would apply here since passwords are an accepted form of protection of copyrighted work. Under DMCA, any act of dissemination to circumvent the protective measures would be a violation. Note that the DMCA criminalizes the act of circumventing the access control whether or not there was an actual violation of the copyright itself.
    Now, you can argue over whether DMCA is a good law, whether it strictly applies to this scenario or to what degree any party inherits liability but a plain reading of the legislative intent makes it clear that the US Congress intended for copyright protection to extend to password-protected content. It's an example of a clear social standard that expects passwords to be kept secret and that the principles of copyright ought to apply.
The bottom line is that there's no legitimate reason why someone should be sharing those passwords on a Wikipedia site. Whether you call it a copyvio, vandalism or something else, it's clearly not a good-faith edit.
As to why not to explicitly add it to this page, that's because instruction creep is a serious and continuing problem for us, especially on this page. It's already far longer and more complicated than any of us really want. Rossami (talk) 17:54, 30 October 2008 (UTC)

Another proposed addition

Section saying that wikipedia is not C.S. Lewis's N.I.C.E organization from his 1947 sci-fi book That Hideous Strength. This fictious organization was actually based on the problems that Lewis saw in his Oxbridge world and many of his colleagues. Same sort of niceness creep seems to be happening on wikipedia. In Lewis's N.I.E. organization policies like WP:AGF and WP:CIVIL would be used to instill fear in those did not conform in tediously minor ways. --Firefly322 (talk) 14:07, 30 October 2008 (UTC)

Already covered in "WP is not a battleground", I believe. --MASEM 14:14, 30 October 2008 (UTC)


When an edit is made, other editors have these options: accept the edit, change the edit, or revert

My Recent edit here was reverted partly on the grounds you should use the talk page first. First may I remind everyone that this is NOT correct - the Wiki Policy is as illustrated. Ironically this leads to the second reason for the revert we need it here, becasue notability is a guideline, not policy I have gathered the threads (which I think) cover NotMemorial: 1; 2; 3; 4; 5; 6; 7. I think this is evidence that (1) Whan applied as intended it achieves no more than Wikipedia:Notability (which, despite being a guidline, is treated as a policy) (2) It has been inconsistently applied/misapplied beyond the initial intention of the author thus leading to reams of fruitless argument. I propose NOTMemorial is removed and that we continue to remove articles about unnotable subjects. Lucian Sunday (talk) 16:01, 20 October 2008 (UTC)

First, I would recommend that you read Wikipedia:Consensus and the drill-down page Wikipedia:How to contribute to Wikipedia guidance a bit more closely because they clearly state that a higher standard of demonstrated consensus is necessary for highly-edited, long-standing policy pages. While WP:BRD is the ideal for most article pages, Wikipedia precedent on this page is that all but the most minor edits should be discussed here first.
On the specific question of whether the NOTMEMORIAL clause is redundant with the Notability clauses, I will note that NOTMEMORIAL predated the entire concept of notability by quite a bit. I'll also note that while the concept of notability remains controversial in some circles, the NOTMEMORIAL clause is no longer at all controversial. And our history at the project shows that it is and remains heavily used. The clause lets us politely remove Uncle Mike's obituary entry without the need to open ourselves up to the endless fights and distractions of what "notability" really means.
Furthermore, Notability is a straight inclusion criterion - if you're notable, you might get an encyclopedia article - if you're not notable, you don't. NOTMEMORIAL covers that but also goes beyond it to style directive. You might be notable but we still won't include your obituary. We write neutral and balanced biographies, not memorial articles.
Like all sections of this page, the clause is occasionally misused. On the whole, however, I think it is more helpful than not. Even if parts of it are a bit redundant, NOTMEMORIAL neatly encapsulates both aspects in a way that is very easy for new users to understand. Rossami (talk) 17:14, 20 October 2008 (UTC)
Occam's razor should be applied to Wikipedia precedent on this page and indeed any other precedent which requires an editor to be sent off on a virtual paper trail to understand that a simple policy is infact not so simple. Again WP:MOS adequately deals with unencyclopedic obituary type elements. How can NOTMEMORIAL neatly encapuslate anything if parts of it are a bit redundant? Lucian Sunday (talk) 21:47, 20 October 2008 (UTC)
I would say that, as an inclusion policy, WP:BLP1E is probably more comprehensive and less confusing on the same topic. That said, NOTMEMORIAL directly addresses a recurring issue and on occassions where it is applied improperly, it's fairly easy to address. So, I guess I don't care if it stays or goes. -Chunky Rice (talk) 17:24, 20 October 2008 (UTC)
I agree WP:BLP1E is more comprehensive and less confusing but whether NOTMEMORIAL was applied improperly or not here it was not addressed fairly easily. It is still being used to remove some Victims (rightly or wrongly?) but not others. Lucian Sunday (talk) 22:22, 20 October 2008 (UTC)

Boy, you really don't understand WP:BRD do you? I don't really see a consensus here for removing it. For my opinion, I agree with Rossami. It is more helpful than not. Garion96 (talk) 08:19, 23 October 2008 (UTC)

The threads 1; 2; 3; 4; 5; 6; 7 show the confusion that has been caused. Are you aware of a single application of NotMemorial that could not be dealt with by an existing policy or Guidline. Lucian Sunday (talk) 08:29, 23 October 2008 (UTC)
So what if it is double. Almost this complete policy is explained also in seperate guideline's/policy's. WP:User page vs WP:NOTBLOG. You still haven't explained where the consensus is. I saw your change, looked at the talk, did not see consensus so I reverted. Which you again nicely reverted. Garion96 (talk) 09:03, 23 October 2008 (UTC)
WP:NOTBLOG is a succinct summary of the weighty article that is WP:User page. NOTMEMORIAL is not a succinct summary of any other article. It is lumped in with talk space issues blog, webspace provider, or social networking site (ironically memorials are tolerated in Talkspace) when it is infact an article issue. It is fruitless work to wikify articles such as Here because it is difficult to get across that NOTMEMORIAL was not intended in such cases. Lucian Sunday (talk) 09:24, 23 October 2008 (UTC)
Then change the wording instead of removing it. Btw, I still fail to see a consensus here for a complete removal in this discusion to which you linked in your edit summary. Garion96 (talk) 11:15, 23 October 2008 (UTC)
What rewording do you propose? Lucian Sunday (talk) 11:20, 23 October 2008 (UTC)
I don't even object to the current wording, so feel free to improve. :) Garion96 (talk) 11:23, 23 October 2008 (UTC)
The phrase WP:NOTMEMORIAL should be removed. There are examples as Here were it is inappropriately applied. The wording is misleadingly too definitive a position that is not policy. Lucian Sunday (talk) 11:48, 23 October 2008 (UTC)
I think you need to find better examples. In my opinion, the removal of that text about the officers who died was entirely appropriate. The subsequent discussion on that article's Talk page confirms that even if you removed the NOTMEMORIAL wording here, the text would have been removed from the article in question. It is detail that's just not appropriate in an encyclopedia article. NOTMEMORIAL, however, neatly encapsulated the arguments and made the discussion both simpler and more civil. Rossami (talk) 18:04, 23 October 2008 (UTC)
IMO those are borderline examples. Not everybody is clear on the concept, but you could say that about every policy and guideline, and people's misapplication of a policy or guideline is not by itself a reason to remove it. NOTMEMORIAL serves a minor but useful purpose, which is to discourage people from writing articles, article sections, etc., that are primarily eulogies or online memorials. That does not mean we cannot talk about people's deaths or use obituaries as sources (they are often the most concise sources available of people's basic biographical information). It just means the person's death has to be treated if at all in an encyclopedic way. Similar with NOT:NEWS, and many of the other categories. It's not a prohibition on the subject or source, it's a statement of an approach Wikipedia should not take.Wikidemon (talk) 18:16, 23 October 2008 (UTC)
I have to say Wikidemon that you have articulated that very well. I propose your verbatim wording be placed into the article

NOTMEMORIAL serves a minor but useful purpose, which is to discourage people from writing articles, article sections, etc., that are primarily eulogies or online memorials. That does not mean we cannot talk about people's deaths or use obituaries as sources (they are often the most concise sources available of people's basic biographical information). It just means the person's death has to be treated if at all in an encyclopedic way. Lucian Sunday (talk) 20:24, 23 October 2008 (UTC)

I've reverted the change to the redir (it makes no sense at all for WP:NOTMEMORIAL to redirect to a page which starts "this is a memorial...") and restored the note on this article. If the language needs improved then so be it, but removal isn't the right answer. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 07:47, 1 November 2008 (UTC)

Rampant Use of These Criteria in Talk Pages & Individual User Pages?

I am a little concerned about the use of these criteria (which seem to be intended to apply to actual pages, not "talk" or "user" pages) as a basis for editors swooping in and deleting sentences, sections, and other items. If I'm mistaken, please correct me. I hope this is the appropriate place for my entry.

It seems to me the criteria are not intended to stifle the freedom of expression of we, the editors, which takes place in areas like talk pages, user pages, and personal areas of Wikipedia not set up to serve as part of the Wikipedia itself. I find this a little alarming. I recently became aware that not just a few editors are relying on this 'What Wikipedia is Not' page (and perhaps a few others) as a basis for swooping in out of the blue and deleting miscellaneous entries. Many of these deletions are without adequate explanation, only citing a short abbreviation. I have yet to see any that have occurred with at least a "heads up" or some kind of notification to the original editor or the Wikipedia community.

MIND YOU, this has to do with editing of personal "talk" pages, user pages, and Wikipedia "talk" pages. It seems to me a blatant overzealousness to extend these rules to those sections of Wikipedia. So here is a request for clarification. Do these rules extend to "talk" pages or not. If so, why do they extend that far, and doesn't it restrict people from have a free exchange of ideas if this is so? Thanks for your participation. --VictorC (talk) 18:44, 25 October 2008 (UTC)

This policy extends to all of Wikipedia. In particular, WP:SOAP, WP:NOTBLOG, and WP:NOT#HOST, explicitly mentions talk and user space. But the rest of the policy also applies, if you are using your user page as a directory for whatever, then an editor could complain with basis in WP:NOTDIR. Taemyr (talk) 19:17, 25 October 2008 (UTC)
Thanks. How would this apply in light of Talk Page Guidelines (editing other's comments)? My analysis of the main jist of this is that there is a basic requirement to get permission of the author before acting. I can see that this would make more sense to elucidate the situation by educating the author and allowing the author to edit the comment individually, or at least defend the veracity of the comment (or user entry) to justify it to the editor concerned with a perceived "What Wikipedia is Not" infringement.
I've seen other editors eliminate statements of other authors (sometimes only a sentence) supporting positions that they disagree with using these criteria as justification. I have seen other editors eliminate entire pages of research from userspace not only with no permission, but with no communication or explanation (other than a three to five letter abbreviation). This is frightenly coarse and disturbing. Is this truly the spirit of these criteria? I hope not. --VictorC (talk) 19:57, 25 October 2008 (UTC)
The spirit is in the liquor store; here, if a rule can be stretched, it is stretched. WP:NOT is a very stretchable rule, and WP:AGF prohibits you from even thinking of response unless you have a larger pack behind your back. If not, don't feel disturbed, it's OK, just see that you contribute more than the deletionists can delete. Cat and mouse, you add, they delete. With your rate of 20-40 edits per month the cats win. Anyway, storing anything valuable, especially research, on wikipedia user pages is imprudent. P.S. Unsolicited moving of other users' stuff from userspace to mainspace is equally common and disturbing. NVO (talk) 21:21, 25 October 2008 (UTC)
Thanks. You aren't giving weight to Talk Page Guidelines (editing other's comments)? --VictorC (talk) 22:46, 25 October 2008 (UTC)
Sure, weight is given to that. But if some user has a copy of a non-notable article squirreled away on a talk page so that he can edit-war more easily, deleting it isn't "editing another's comments", because the content wasn't a comment at all. Same thing for keeping a complete database of BitTorrent download sites for every Disney Channel show, complete program schedules for television networks, etc. Just putting a "User:" or "User Talk:" on the article name doesn't make it invulnerable to deletion.
So, to win an argument, can someone just delete an entry from a talk page, citing "not a forum?" This is one thing I'm very concerned about. --VictorC (talk) 01:32, 26 October 2008 (UTC)
That would have to be pretty extreme to be acceptable. Can you give me a diff?—Kww(talk) 01:37, 26 October 2008 (UTC)
If you mean this, I think the other editor was out of line.—Kww(talk) 01:41, 26 October 2008 (UTC)
Not really: deleting an entry does not hide past versions from public. Deleting whole pages does and can be appealed and reversed. Not a forum is indeed a very out of line reasoning and should be reverted. Again, seek consensus (i.e. the pack behind your back) before reverting. NVO (talk) 08:48, 26 October 2008 (UTC)
No, if the comment in some manner pertains to how the editor thinks the page should be improved, then the comment should never be deleted. We are technically a forum on each article's talk page, but only a forum on how to improve that article; nothing else. The example Kww showed is a very inappropriate use of NOTFORUM, and the editor that removed it should be reminded of this - users should not refactor parts of other users comments save in extreme cases of courtesy blanking. Users that engage in too much refactoring and deleting along these lines should be brought to WP:ANI or other means of dispute resolution. --MASEM 08:59, 26 October 2008 (UTC)
Well, when you say "users that engage in too much refactoring and deleting ..." too much means exactly what? Obviously once or twice isn't too much. Maybe it is, but that is why I am asking. This seems to be a way some editors are using to win, quell or stifle talk page interactions. --VictorC (talk) 14:52, 31 October 2008 (UTC)
Even once or twice should be warned against, if the text being edited or deleted is even loosely connected to improvements of the article, and further aggravation beyond that should be brought to the admins to deal with. --MASEM 15:17, 31 October 2008 (UTC)
Well. This has been done twice by another editor. I just reverted and restored the two conversations on the Talk:Joe the Plumber page[7]. The editor immediately left something on my talk page about how the discussion didn't belong there. I am now letting you know. I am not an administrator. I can't issue warnings. --VictorC (talk) 12:52, 2 November 2008 (UTC)
Assuming you're talking about this edit, now we're getting into murky water. The initial question raised in that section ("should Joe be called a "plumber" even though he lacks certain qualifications?") is a valid question to be addressed, but as noted, that point was addressed in the article, and for the purposes of the notability of Joe (the political aspects, not the exact nature of his profession), not a significant point as a few others raised and would bear no change in the article. That question is valid, but your following insistence after several pointed out its doesn't matter, and after RedPen asked to stay on topic, make it questionable. And note that he didn't delete the comments but moved them to your talk page, still providing a link to that, so its certainly not censoring or the like. If, instead, he removed that whole section and didn't provide any relocation or the like, that would be more of a concern, but this is a completely reasonable approach in context here. The point here, per NOT, is that we're not a forum - you present your ideas for improvement but if its clear that it will not be added or the like, you don't keep insisting that it does, or at least until you can provide a different light for your case. I am certainly not blaming you for any breach of policy that requires any sort of admin action, but you may want to read some pages like tenacious editing to get an idea of directions one should avoid taking in talk page discussions that basically help to keep discussions away from WP:NOT#FORUM. --MASEM 13:58, 2 November 2008 (UTC)
Not exactly the event I was talking about, although that was a part of the situation. I apologize for my ineptitude with linking to stuff. Here is the stuff I restored.[8] I didn't restore the stuff that was erased from Redpen's talk page.
Yes, it was part of the article as a result of OUR discussion. To put some context on this, the discussion started with how a plumbing license was even a factor. It was a factor since it was a news item and kept on getting added by numerous editors (not me). This was made difficult when an extraneous editor (who hadn't even been editing the page or discussing anything on the talk page prior) came into the mix and accused the entire discussion of being "silly."[9] It wasn't. I was able to draw conclusions from the discussion that added to the article. This resulted in my updating the section of Plumbing_career to reflect the result of the discussion. The discussion WAS fruitful. Then the discussion increased focus on what Joe's position was within the plumbing profession. This is where a few editors didn't see any point and where there was significance. However, there is a point because this effected the whole explanation for the discussion that came immediately before. Specifically, I was stipulating that there is an actual difference between the job of "plumber" and "plumber's helper." This discussion was resolved, and the information from the discussion (that Redpen altered) became part of the article. This discussion was ALSO fruitful, resulting in clarifying that Joe is a "plumber's helper," further illuminating the article's reference why there is no record of his being licensed (no need). Doesn't that show that the discussion was part of the talk page topic?
The second instance (which you didn't really see yet) was chronologically the first[10]. It was a discussion under the talk page topic of Qualifications which were in relation to the article section on Draft Campaign. The congressional seat is up for the next election. Joe the Plumber is being groomed by the Republicans as a possible candidate to run against his current representative (a Democrat). The topic that Redpen altered was to do with a potential candidate's qualifications, his ability to fulfill the requirements of a congressional representative. This was the first incident (with no admonitions) [11].
I tried to discuss this on the user's talk page, and the user just deleted the entire discussion [12]. I treid to restore the conversation, and he ignored me and just deleted it again [13]. I realize a user's talk page is private, and personal. I just don't see how that is a good way to either finish or quell a discussion.
So, basically this isn't anything I should be concerned about. I appreciate you paying attention to this, and I apologize for taking up your time. Thanks so much for your service. I realize more now that admins have a difficult job. --VictorC (talk) 15:22, 2 November 2008 (UTC)
Don't worry about taking up time; asking questions is better than nothing. Basically, in this situation you are both right - on any other article, I'd not remove the discussion, but given the volume of info on Joe the Plumber in the current timeframe, I'd take RedPen's erring on that side to keep side related discussions down. Nor was it outright censoring, which is generally where I'd be cautioning about talk page refactoring abuse. --MASEM 15:38, 2 November 2008 (UTC)

Suggested addition

  • Wikipedia is NOT the Council of Nicaea. In 325, the Roman Emperor called a council of Christian bishops at Nicaea that was responsible for determining what beliefs widely practiced then were heresy, and what beliefs were to be approved or required for all. A neutral encyclopedia such as wikipedia cannot play any such role; its purpose is not to settle doctrinal disputes or issue pronouncements in an active controversy, but merely to report faithfully on what the various actual positions and viewpoints have been. Wikipedia recognizes that there is a diversity of world views and philosophies in the world today which do not always agree, and ideally it will make no attempt to ensure rigid conformity with any one set of ideas, nor will it declare ideas widely held by others to be false, without attributing this opinion to those who hold it. All ideas are to be given due weight in proportion to their significance to a given article.

Comments? Unfortunately, there still seem to be a few editors who, firebrand in hand, seem to see this project as a sport, going after one idea after another that they may not like or subscribe to, but that are widely held by other schools of thought, and denying them due weight, while enforcing their own favorite viewpoints which they try to redefine "neutral". This "pushing" behaviour completely defeats the whole concept of having a "neutral encyclopedia". Til Eulenspiegel (talk) 14:40, 2 November 2008 (UTC)

I believe this is fundamentally Neutral point of view? (plus, the reference to Nicaea I'm sure is going to be lost on most, if this was to be included it needs to be simpled down.) --MASEM 15:17, 2 November 2008 (UTC)
Yes, there is nothing new here, and no new departure from policy; this is fundamentally WP:NPOV. I think because this is a cornerstone policy that is rampantly abused, it needs to be strengthened here by amplifying it. I have explained Nicaea as simply and succinctly as I know how but am open to suggestions if it can be made still clearer. Til Eulenspiegel (talk) 15:34, 2 November 2008 (UTC)
Objections: 1. Can you say the same without the framework of a particular religion? Wikipedia is not Talmud, neither Sharia. 2. The balance between "worldwide view" and "nor will it declare ideas widely held by others to be false" should be in the minds, not in the policy. You're opening a can of wikilawyering worms: Me and Jack held it false, hence speedy delete. Basically, it's imposing arbitrary censorship instead of consensus editing. NVO (talk) 19:10, 3 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Objection 1 - This is a good objection, and you have a good point. How about "Wikipedia is not the Council of Nicaea, Talmud, nor Sharia"..? If Nicaea is really too obscure, how about "Wikipedia is not the Spanish Inquisition, nor Sharia, nor HUAC." The point is really the same, though.
  • Objection 2 - I don't see anything in my language imposing censorship, nor calling for anything to be deleted. Maybe you misconstrued the order of the clauses - "nor will it declare ideas to be false, that are widely held by others" might work better. (ie, "to be false" doesn't go with "held by others", but with "declare ideas") In other words, wikipedia is not there to declare disputed ideas either true or false, or to settle controversies, or to decide who is "right" and who is "wrong"; it's just there to sum up what views have already been published, in an even-handed manner, and make sure these views are attributed rather than stated as fact. Basically, what WP:NPOV already says. Til Eulenspiegel (talk) 20:39, 3 November 2008 (UTC)

Plot and sourcing?

Do plot summaries need sources? In my experience, within the vast majority of articles on games, films, and novels, the "plot summary" section is almost always by far the longest and most poorly written section of the article (and often inaccurate). Additionally, since plot summaries are straight from the source, they never have any citations. Could plot summaries be marked for cleanup or even pruned or deleted entirely as unsourced and unencyclopedic material? Some guy (talk) 22:35, 2 November 2008 (UTC)

Plot summaries should be sourced, even if from the original work (using transcript or dialog to support it) though secondary sources should be used if possible; however, outright deletion of a plot summary section for lack of sources is never appropriate since it can be sourced. Generally, we're lax about that until the article starts in the GA/FA process which then sourcing becomes necessary. --MASEM 23:09, 2 November 2008 (UTC)
Plot summaries are sourced by the films themselves (primary source). Rarely will you find a secondary source that gives the level of detail that Wikipedia does. Plus, unless you are directly quoting the entire summary, you cannot source that much personal wording (i.e. on Wikipedia we tend to really paraphrase huge events down into a couple of sentences). The FA process (at least none that I have been a part of) does not require that a plot section has a source physically present, as the source is implied (so long as there is nothing of interpretation listed in the plot section. i.e. only bare, observable facts). See WP:MOSFILM.  BIGNOLE  (Contact me) 23:18, 2 November 2008 (UTC)
I've found ever fiction-based FA I've put forth gets feedback asking for some sourcing of the plot. Not a lot, obviously - certainly not for each sentence, but any key turning points in the story usually should have something. Now, maybe video games are different from movies in the sense that movie plots are pretty much self containing in 2 hrs while a VG may require condensing material from 10-40hrs to a few paragraphs. --MASEM 23:24, 2 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Self-written plot summaries are orgininal research. --Gavin Collins (talk) 00:01, 3 November 2008 (UTC)
I agree with Gavin. Would it be practical to update the rules and guidelines for plot summaries to require at least some sourcing, and secondary sources where possible? I think this would greatly increase the quality standards of articles on works of fiction. I have definitely seen articles that have inaccurate elements in the plot summaries. Without sourcing standards, it is difficult to maintain a high level of accuracy in summaries. I recall a fair amount of edit warring over Death Proof while it was still in theaters; some (I presume) vandals were attributing an important action to the wrong character, and all debate about the subject consisted entirely of "no, this is what happened" until I deleted that portion of the summary entirely. Some guy (talk) 00:07, 3 November 2008 (UTC)
Self written plot summaries use primary sourcing which is specifically allowed for in WP:NOR for descriptive cases such as this. You can verify the details without being any kind of an expert on the subject. Bill (talk|contribs) 00:25, 3 November 2008 (UTC)
Yea, self-written plot summaries are as much OR as the general process of summarizing secondary sources for any WP article - in other words, there is nothing wrong with that. As long as primary sources are allowed for providing additional verifiable information beyond what the secondary sources provide, self-summarized plot summarizes are completely appropriate. --MASEM 00:35, 3 November 2008 (UTC)
Gaven, original research is when you introduce ideas not supported by sources. Writting a plot summary, based on the film, and only reporting the observable facts (e.g. Batman apprehends the Joker) is not original research. Now, it may not have a secondary source saying that, but not having a secondary source for an observable fact and introducing your personal opinion unsupported by a source is not the same thing. WP:NOR is pretty clear about what is and what is not "original research". Film and TV plots are, as is pointed out by many, sourced from primary sources (the show itself). It is redundant to put a physical source in the plot section when the information presented in such a source is already listed in multiple locations of the article (in other words, there isn't a policy that says you must have in-text citations, thus the plot typically never gets one). There is no policy that says all sources must be secondary, only that secondary typically is better (depending on the actual information being presented). Some guy, just because people mistakenly attribute an action to a character doesn't mean you need a secondary source to prove it. I could cite a book, and without a url (which isn't mandatory), anyone without said book could challenge it as wrong. Someone will always come around (like yourself) and noticed that someone mistakenly (or maliciously) has placed incorrect information in a plot section. A secondary source won't change that. Hell, I've read critical reviews of films where a critic has mistakenly attributed actions to the wrong character, or identified some element inaccurately.  BIGNOLE  (Contact me) 01:14, 3 November 2008 (UTC)
Okay, that all makes sense. Guess I was being stupid. Sorry. However, I think a secondary source is still beneficial in some ways. I guess this really only applies for web sources, but it's much easier to verify information by looking at a review or something online than getting out the book or DVD (assuming you own it) and finding the right section... even worse for games, since a player might need to beat many hours of gameplay to confirm or disprove that such-and-such really does happen (though cheats can simplify this matter). Anyway, thanks for opinions and such. I'm still interested in hearing what others have to say, if anyone else wants to comment. Some guy (talk) 02:23, 3 November 2008 (UTC)
We should encourage using secondary sources when possible, but most media rarely have their full plot iterated out - just enough to flavor a review or the like. Only works that become academic study typically gain full plot descriptions in secondary sources. Now, the primary source templates for fictional works do have the ability to narrow down where certain quotes are used (eg, you don't just source the work and say "check it yourself", you provide a quote or two to confirm the relevant point.). --MASEM 02:33, 3 November 2008 (UTC)
Providing a quote is just as needless if you're saying, "Go watch the movie to verify that a character says what I say they are saying". With or without the quote, you're still telling people that they have to go watch the movie just to verify that the quote is accurate. Secondary sources, no matter how much better they could make something, only make plot sections better if they are in the form of a url that anyone can view. We encourage secondary sources for information other than the plot, because the basic plot of a movie rarely, if ever, receives any form of academic coverage. What does get written about is a character, a theme, or some other element within the overall plot. In such case, whenever someone is discussing said element they will typically discuss events in the plot that coorborate their theory. But, as I said, this is why we do not require secondary sources for plot descriptions because their general overviews that are written entirely from the words of Wiki editors and sourced through the primary work (the film or TV show or game).  BIGNOLE  (Contact me) 03:58, 3 November 2008 (UTC)
  • I still have a big problem with plot summaries. I agree with Some guy when he says that "within the vast majority of articles on games, films, and novels, the "plot summary" section is almost always by far the longest and most poorly written section of the article (and often inaccurate)". The reason for this is that they are usually original reseach, often in the form of an essay. Bignole says that original research is when you introduce ideas not supported by sources, but the only way you can show that your edit does not come under this category is to produce a reliable published source that contains that same material. Basically it is down to the contributing editor to prove that the plot summary is not original research. --Gavin Collins (talk) 10:17, 3 November 2008 (UTC)
  • The primary source is the proof as it provides a method of verifying the content in the article. It doesn't have to be a secondary source if it is a descriptive claim with no analysis or conclusion. It is possible for anyone to view the content to see if what is written is factual. There is a large number of articles with plots that are too long or inaccurate, but that is a separate issue to whether primary sources can be used for plot summaries. Bill (talk|contribs) 10:58, 3 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Indeed. As WP:RS says, Primary sources are considered reliable for basic statements of fact as to what is contained within the primary source itself (for example, a work of fiction is considered a reliable source for a summary of the plot of that work of fiction).. Colonel Warden (talk) 11:07, 3 November 2008 (UTC)

Exactly. Gavin, what you are doing is trying to claim that plot sections need sources with a url attach that will allow you to verify the information. I can attribute any "secondary source" that I want, but YOU still have to follow up with it to verify that I interpreted correctly. If I use a book to cite the plot of a film, then if you don't have the book you'll have to go out and get the book to verify it. That is in no way different then if I cite the actual film. You're trying to push a particular format of citation, one with something that you can view on the spot; that is something that we have never, and should never force on any editor. It is not anyone's responsibility to find a source that was published on the internet so that Editor X can easily verify the information. Yeah, I know you didn't say "published on the internet" specifically, but since I've already explained in a previous comment that if we cite a book it's the same thing, I figured you couldn't possibly be arguing the same comment over again and that by "reliable published source that contains that same material" you must have meant published and easy for you to view (i.e. something on the internet). P.S. Just because a section is poorly written does not mean that is the fault of the "sourcing" it is using. I've read plenty of articles with tons of reliable sources down the board and the entire article was poorly written. Generally, that gets corrected with articles that are going through the FA process, and as far as I'm aware there are no film articles that are FA that have outside sourcingin the plot (maybe one or two of the articles on older films that are out of print). What you'll also not find are those "poorly written" plot sections in those FA articles. If the plot section is poorly written, there's a good chance the entire article is poorly written. The two generally go hand-in-hand.  BIGNOLE  (Contact me) 12:08, 3 November 2008 (UTC)

  • Its a convenient assumption that "the primary source is the proof", but an unfortunetly falsehood, alas. Any source (even the subject matter) should be cited clearly and precisely to enable readers to find the text that supports the article content in question. Editors should cite sources fully, providing as much publication information as possible, including page numbers when citing books. That is rarely done, and the result is original research. --Gavin Collins (talk) 18:49, 3 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Lacking citations is not OR, it's just poor Verification. --MASEM 18:53, 3 November 2008 (UTC)
  • It is stretching the imagination to say that plot summary without citiations is not original research. If a thief breaks into your house and steals your cash, you would want some damn good eviedence that it was not a burglar. Plot summary without citations is original research. If in doubt have a look at the Plot development: Guiding Light 1980-1989 for a long essay that is all original research. --Gavin Collins (talk) 20:01, 3 November 2008 (UTC)
  • There's a big difference between not being sourced correctly and original research. I think it's very clear that a lot of the plot summary you've linked there goes beyond being only descriptive. It makes analytical claims and conclusions which means it is OR. Even if it did cite the primary source it wouldn't be acceptable. Nobody is claiming that writing this sort of summary would be acceptable if it cited the television programme alone. It has to be purely descriptive. Can you explain why you believe you cannot verify something purely descriptive using a primary source? To use an earlier example, if the summary states that Batman apprehends the Joker, why is it unacceptable to say that this can be verified by viewing the film to see exactly that? There's no original research there. Bill (talk|contribs) 20:48, 3 November 2008 (UTC)
  • In answer to Bill's question, the answer is obvious: because every editor has their own personal viewpoint as to how a plot summary can be written, it is impossible to write a plot summary that is independent, not of the primary source, but of the editors interpretation of the primary source. Simply put, plot summary is interpretation, i.e. original research.
    The example "Batman apprehends the Joker" is a trite example of what is not original research, and is misleading. If you want to read a plot summary about Batman, read the plot summary The Dark Knight (film), which is better quality than the example of Guiding Light (1980–1989) that I gave ealier. It is an entertaining example of plot summary, very like one you would get in a movie guide, and one I am sure you would approve of. However, Wikipedia is not a place for such composition, and the reason is that it is based on a personal viewpoint which cannot be verified. It seems harmless, probably because plot summary can be read in many other publications with lower inclusion criteria, but where there are no citations are used to anchor content, you cannot say whose the viewpoint is being expressed. When you read this harmless piece, I don't think you would find the viewpoint objectionable in anyway, but don't fall into the trap of thinking it is not original research.
    By contast, take an exraordinary example of where original research in the form of plot summary is deliberately ommitted from an article: Mein Kampf. Plot summary is alluded to in the Contents section, but note the complete absence of a summary section. The theme or plot of this book is a bit of hot potatoe, and here is an example of an article where personal viewpoint in the form of summary would be highly controversial.
    In summary, I can understand if why you think original research is not present in plot summary where the subject matter is harmless, but nonetheless original research is present and it has the potential to be damaging and misleading.--Gavin Collins (talk) 22:19, 3 November 2008 (UTC)
Again, you're saying that any paraphrasing of information is original research. In that case, entire articles are original research, because (and this is how they should be written) they contain paraphrased information based on what a source provides. A plot summary is no different. It contains paraphrased information based on the events that are illustrated in a movie or TV show.  BIGNOLE  (Contact me) 22:33, 3 November 2008 (UTC)
  • (ec. reply to Gavin.collins) Your logic that suggest it is original research simply because the editor has summarised from a source is flawed because every single edit to Wikipedia is a summary of a source in some way, be it primary or secondary. Unless it is a word for word copy of a source then the editor has chosen their own words at some point during the addition to Wikipedia. Bill (talk|contribs) 22:36, 3 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Not so. If I cite a source, both you and I can refer to it on equal footing. However, if I don't cite a source, then you are forced to accept the original research that I have composed as the source. If my viewpoint is harmless, you may be inclined to accept it as your own, but if it is not, then you would be justified to challenge what I have written. --Gavin Collins (talk) 22:45, 3 November 2008 (UTC)

This is the template for citing a film. Now, this is a nice little box that appears in the article, adjacent to the plot section no less. What you will notice is that the second link contains the information that is present in the first link. Filling out the first link when you're on the page that contains all of that information visible to all readers is really redundant an unnecessary. Since there is no policy that says one must have an in-text citation (only a source for the info), there really is not a reason to duplicate sourcing information in the plot section that is visible to all readers in the infobox, especially when there is nothing more than descriptive claims about the film present in the plot section (and yes, it is easy to tell when someone is introducing subjective interpretations and when they are merely stating visual facts).  BIGNOLE  (Contact me) 22:51, 3 November 2008 (UTC)

  • Where ever possible, it is best to cite plot summaries from a secondary source. For movies, there are lots of movie guides which can act as the source for such material, and eventually I would expect the plot of films such as The Dark Knight (film) to be sourced in this way, as (a) there are so lots of well written movie guides that would improve such articles, and (b) it is better to replace unsourced orginal research with something better.
    There is nothing wrong with plot summaries if you agree with the personal viewpoint of whoever wrote it, but the accepance of plot summary at face value breaks down when dealing with more controversial topics, like Mein Kampf. One person's "description" maybe another persons denial, and that is why sourced plot summaries is the future.--Gavin Collins (talk) 23:09, 3 November 2008 (UTC)
  • I have the opposite reaction: the plot summary in The Dark Knight looks to be rather innocuous, if a bit longwinded, and should be checkable by viewing the film. Mein Kampf in contrast contains an Analysis section that contains a mixture of summary and thematic analysis, devoid of citations. That is much more troubling to me than the Dark Knight summary. Fletcher (talk) 23:15, 3 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Even if you use a secondary source, you'd still be paraphrasing and rewriting what it says because of copyright reasons. Nomatter what the source is, there is always going to be a level of editorial input on how the information is written on the page. For controversial topics then yes, it's best to keep the description as brief and to the point as possible, but paraphrasing and summarising sources is the main way that Wikipedia works with all topics, fiction or non-fiction. Bill (talk|contribs) 23:20, 3 November 2008 (UTC)
  • In answer to Fletcher, I agree that the article Mein Kampf is not great, but the point I am making is that it does not have a summary at all because a summary based on original research just would not be acceptable in this context. The summary for The Dark Knight (film) is indeed innocuous, but although it is not such a controversial topic, the summary is still original research.
    In answer to Bill, your argument that editors should not cite sources for copywrite is spurious. It is far better to cite sources, than compose original research. --Gavin Collins (talk) 09:26, 4 November 2008 (UTC)
  • But Mein Kampf does have a summary -- it is just called "Analysis" rather than "Summary." And our "Analysis" is chalk full of OR, making it an example of the kind of summary that doesn't work because it strays from the primary source, making thematic observations rather than simply summarizing the contents of the work. Summary and OR are interwoven in the Analysis, for example the second paragraph: "The narrative describes the process by which he became increasingly antisemitic and militaristic, especially during his years in Vienna, Austria. Yet the deeper origins of his antisemitism remain a mystery." The first sentence could go into greater detail and cite page or chapter numbers, but it is not OR. The second sentence is OR, as it is thematic analysis beyond which can be confirmed simply by reading the text. So I am inclined to doubt your claim that Mein Kampf was written with an eye toward avoiding original research, else the Analysis section would not have been allowed to stand. In contrast, The Dark Knight (film) is innocuous, not because it is an uncontroversial topic, but because its summary generally appears to avoid making statements of opinion or analysis, keeping to just factual details that can be observed by watching the movie. Of course, the plot summary could be misstated, but it is equally possible to misstate what a secondary source is saying. Relying only on secondary sources would not absolve Wikipedians of the need to be careful about what the source is actually saying. Fletcher (talk) 13:09, 4 November 2008 (UTC)
  • I'm not saying editors shouldn't cite secondary sources for copyright reasons, I'm saying that they will be rewriting the source, paraphrasing or summarising because they cannot copy it word for word. I'd say it's a good idea to use secondary sources if they have one, but there will always be some editorial input, where they put it in their own words, because they cannot copy it word for word. This happens for both primary and secondary sources. Bill (talk|contribs) 14:11, 4 November 2008 (UTC)
  • I don't think you could mistake the section in the article Mein Kampf entitled "Analysis" for a section entitled "Summary" on any day of the week (even on April Fool's Day), so I don't think Fletcher views about differentiating between the two make any sense - the analysis section is clearly not a summary (or at least was never intened to be a summary, at least give me that). I do agree that the analysis section is filled with original research, but I still think the article itself is an almost unique in that all there is not one paragraph of summary for any one of the 27+ chapters listed in the "Contents " section. I also agree with Feltcher's view that secondary sources would not absolve Wikipedians of the need to be careful about what the source is actually saying, but at least when sources are cited, you know it is not written from a personal perspective.
    To conclude, I don't think plot summaries absolve us of the need to be on our guard against original research, regardless of how innocuous form it may take. The plot summary in the article The Dark Knight (film) is pleasant to read, but it is still original research, and can (and hopefully will) be improved upon. One of the reasons why we should ask contributing editors to provide citations for plot summary is that when we as editors ourselves come to believe that self-composed original research is superior to verifiable sources, we are (mistakenly) assuming that our own perspective is superiour to those of other editors. When we cite other sources, it is a way of say "I am wise enough to acknowledge that there are other people who know more than I do myself". --Gavin Collins (talk) 22:45, 4 November 2008 (UTC)

<=outdent First, the "Analysis" of Mein Kampf looks quite clearly like a broad summary of the work, though of course it is not a plot summary. There are many sentences summarizing Hitler's words, often beginning with a telltale "Hiter claimed...", "the narrative describes...", "Hitler announces his hatred", "Hitler predicts the stages", "Hitler asserts...", "Hitler goes on to say...", etc. These are sweeping summary statements which as noted could be more detailed and provide citations, but they are not original research as such (yet there is some original research mixed in with them).

Second, your comments on plot summaries assume your own conclusion, and do not constitute an argument but rather a string of assertions giving your opinion, but not the underlying reasoning. Since your position contradicts our policies and guidelines (WP:PRIMARY, WP:WAF) you will really need to improve upon that to convince anyone. For example, explain why, contrary to WP:PRIMARY, making "descriptive claims about the information found in the primary source, the accuracy and applicability of which is easily verifiable by any reasonable, educated person without specialist knowledge" necessarily entails making interpretative, subjective claims that do constitute original research. Further, if editors are so biased that they cannot be trusted to make descriptive claims about primary sources without interjecting their own perspective, why can they be trusted to make descriptive claims about the content of secondary sources? One can check the secondary source, but one can also check the primary source. Fletcher (talk) 00:27, 5 November 2008 (UTC)

Editors can cite reliable secondary sources, without being accused of original research, because the sources can be verified and compared with the summary. Writing a plot summary from a personal perspective can't be verified in the same way as original research is a form of self-referencing. That is why plot summaries are original research: the summary cannot be checked for reliablity, completeness or bias against the primary source, unless it too contains a summary. Summarising is by definition a process of synthesis; a process of distillation of the primary source. --Gavin Collins (talk) 09:29, 5 November 2008 (UTC)
Primary sources can also be verified and compared against the summary, such as by watching the film or reviewing the book (but we are to use them judiciously, per WP:PRIMARY). You continue to assume your conclusion, by interjecting the phrase "from a personal perspective," which prejudices the argument in favor of the view that plot summaries are original research. Yet you don't show why it is impossible to write a plot summary from an im-personal perspective, i.e., not loaded with OR, which is the crux of the issue. Further, summarizing is not synthesis. According to WP:SYNTH, "Summarizing source material without changing its meaning is not synthesis; it is good editing." Clearly, you are wildly out of step with existing practice and policy, and you provide no reasons to change things but for your bare assertions. Fletcher (talk) 16:09, 5 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Plot summaries cannot written from a impersonal perspective because works of fiction are written from one or more points of view created by the author, 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 of writing a summary, such that the author's persepctive can be replaced, distorted or reinforced, often resulting in bias. You say that primary source can be compared against a summary, but such a comparison would reveal the differences between the summary and the original. The only way to avoid personal perspective to cite a secondary source. --Gavin Collins (talk) 18:28, 5 November 2008 (UTC)
  • The same can be said for secondary and tertiary sources - This is a prime example that one can introduced bias regardless of the source to spin the details to meet one's personal goals. The key of NOR and NPOV is that the article is written as neutrally as possible - there will always be those that can't - but the wiki process helps to smooth that out. Every FA that I've help worked on features a plot summary that has had many hands on it to smooth out the biases and the like, as well as other sections. What you claim to be occurring for primary can occur for any referencing of any type, so singling out primary sourcing in this manner is not appropriate. --MASEM 19:18, 5 November 2008 (UTC)
  • How can you "smooth out the bias" of a plot summary if it is based on original research? The answer is you can't. At least if you cite secondary or tertiary sources, it is possible to review and compare them, and to assess whether that source is reliable or questionable. But with plot summaries that are based on original research, the best you can do is "smooth out" the grammar, the spelling or the composition, as you can't assess whether a particular editor's personal perspective is reliable or questionable.
    This is also one other aspect of plot summaries that suggest to me that that, if you cite a published source, it is possible to write a better article than if you rely on your own perspective alone. For instance, there are many good film and book reviewers who are excellent writers, and there are many published book and movie guides that are well respected. It seems to me that a plot summary based on secondary or tertiary sources has the potential to be of much higher quality than a plot summary that I could write myself. --Gavin Collins (talk) 22:40, 5 November 2008 (UTC)
  • But we are back at the same problem if you insist we rely on secondary sources - we still have to summarize those, and the same problems you have with people restating primary sources will come again when restating secondary sources. WP allows for a minimal amount of OR from any source as necessary to summarize and restart what was presented in that source, period. It doesn't matter if it's a movie or a scientific principle, every WP article engages in a tiny amount of OR to for purposes of writing. Good editors know how to avoid stretching their summary beyond what the source gives, and that is a concern with fictional works, but it's also a mitigated concern through the input of several edits - aka the smoothing out that I talked about. --MASEM 05:27, 6 November 2008 (UTC)

Gaven, from your comments I keep getting the feeling that you are interchanging "secondary source" and "internet source" as if they are one in the same. If my secondary source is say the seventh season companion for Smallville (which I'm using to "source" my plot summaries), please explain to me how you plan to "review and compare" my plot summaries with that book? That's a primary source, but let's test this with a secondary source. What if I sourced the Batman Begins plot summary (that I wrote) with the book "Batman Begins and the Comics"? That's a secondary source, it's a book, and it's not on the internet. How would you "review and compare" the information in that book to the information I have in the film article? Unless you go buy the book, it would be slightly difficult - well, as difficult as it would be if you went out and bought the movie and watched it for yourself.  BIGNOLE  (Contact me) 05:46, 6 November 2008 (UTC)

  • In answer to Masem and Bignole, you are still working from the mistaken assumption that "the primary source is the proof" that unsourced plot summaries are not original research. A comparison of a plot summary and the primary source would show there to be huge differences, in the same way that a comic story is different from a film adaptation.
    The mistake arises from a failure to recognise that plot summary is entirely different from the work of fiction it describes, as a summary has more emphasis on formality, impersonality, and narrative structure. To do this, an editor has to impose logical reasoning and abstraction in order to shoehorn awork of fiction into a summary format. For example, unconventional narratives such as the Naked Lunch, plot summary does not really describe the "story" at all.
    You are also falling into the trap that summarising a reliable secondary source is in some way comparable to summarising the primary source itself, but this is not so. A reliable secondary sources is itself a summary of the primary work that it describes through analyis, context and criticism. We recognise that such sources contain opinions (whether they are explicit or implicit), but at least the perspective of published sources can be verified for reliablity and impartiality, whereas personal perspective cannot.
    To conclude, a plot summary that is loosely based on the primary source is a classical example of synthesis, but plot summary without citations of any sort is original research, because no attempt to verify the source through citation has been made. In both cases, the primary source for plot summary is the personal persepective, not the work itself, from which unsourced plot summary is at least once removed. --Gavin Collins (talk) 10:47, 6 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Most articles in Wikipedia are necessarily once removed from the sources that they cite because they have to express the matter in new words to avoid breach of copyright. The main exceptions seem to be those articles taken in whole from encyclopedias which are out of copyright, such as the 1911 Britannica. So, whether we start from a primary source or a secondary one, the same objection arises but carries no weight. Colonel Warden (talk) 11:03, 6 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Justifying original research on the basis that it is a means of avoiding copywrite issues is an intellectually bankrupt argument; it is bit like trying to justify plagiarism by arguing it avoids having to engage in time consuming research. --Gavin Collins (talk) 11:12, 6 November 2008 (UTC)
Thank you Gavin for completely ignoring my question and trying to turn it back around on me. First, primary sources ARE reliable sources too. Seconday, I provided you a secondary source above, but because you had no answwer for me you chose to ignore what I said. I take that to mean that I was correct in my assumption that you are confusing secondary sources with internet sources. Wikipedia does not require, recommend, or even mention that an article should have internet based sources to verify its information. You have a nice day now. :D  BIGNOLE  (Contact me) 12:49, 6 November 2008 (UTC)
Not only is the primary source reliable and verifiable, I tend to think it should be preferred source for covering plot summary. Using a secondary source requires two changes in perspective -- one from that of the original work to the secondary, and another from the secondary to Wikipedia -- we obviously can't simply copy summaries from secondary sources to Wikipedia. Any change in perspective can introduce error and bias. It makes more sense to consult the original work directly to describe what it says, using secondary sources to provide analysis and criticism. Fletcher (talk) 16:52, 6 November 2008 (UTC)
  • In answer to Bignole, I don't think I am confusing internet sources (reliable or otherwise) with any other source. The internet is just a medium of transmission. Primary sources can be reliable (even those published on the internet can be good too), if they are cited directly. And of course you can cite a secondary source, such as the Smallville companions you mention, that is probably good too; in both cases I would expect to see footnotes, which is what I see in the plot summary for Pilot (Smallville). To paraphrase Masem, good editors know how to avoid stretching their source beyond what it says, and in this case it appears that the plot summary has been written by citing the "Pilot" commentary, which itself is a partial summary of the episode. However, writing such a commentary from the episode itself is original reseach, as there is a difference between citing a source and transforming it into something altogether different.--Gavin Collins (talk) 22:53, 6 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Every use of sourcing on WP is "transforming it into something altogether different" - unless we quote from the source directly, every sentence on WP is a transformation of the original source. Your concerns that apply to primary sources would immediately apply to secondary and tertiary sources. Which is why there is an acceptable, minimal amount of OR that every WP article will have - that OR that is needed to avoid outright copyright/plagiarism problems and to summarize what that source says. It occurs regardless of the type of source. Every possible problem that can occur that you have stated as concerns for primary sources - personal interpretation, bias, and misinformation - can occur for secondary sources. Every benefit you state about having the secondary source - the ability to fact check it - is present for primary sources. There is no difference between using a primary source or a secondary or a tertiary sources for writing a summary of what the source contains on WP - the same benefits and the same problems will come up regardless. The problems may arise more for primary works only because you have people that are fanatics of a certain aspect of work, but that is not an insurmountable problem when someone less concerned with the work can edit what has already been stated to be more consist with the way we approach primary works and in line with policy. --MASEM 23:39, 6 November 2008 (UTC)
  • There is a clear difference between citing a source and transforming it into something altogether different. Its one thing to cite a sentence, but it is another to condense an entire book, book film or into a plot summary. The latter is clearly original research. --Gavin Collins (talk) 08:59, 7 November 2008 (UTC)
Actually, you take a single event and you tranform it into a sentence (that is not original research). Batman arrests someone is rather straight forward. It's visibly identifiable in the film; it cannot be interpreted in a different manner. The only subjectiveness to such things is the choice of words, which is no more original research than when I choose a particular set of words when I paraphrase any source. The fact that my source is the film does not change any of that. You keep saying that primary sources are reliable, but then say that citing a film (which is a primary source) cannot be done because it's original research. You can just as easily verify what happens in a film as you can what appears in a book.  BIGNOLE  (Contact me) 12:46, 7 November 2008 (UTC)